Constituted as 487th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943 and activated on 20 Sep. Prepared for overseas duty with B-24's. Moved to England, Mar-Apr 1944, and assigned to Eighth AF. Began combat in May 1944, bombing airfields in France in preparation for the invasion of Normandy; then pounded coastal defenses, road junctions, bridges and locomotives during the invasion. Attacked German troops and artillery positions to assist British forces near Caen in Jul; struck gun emplacements to support the Allied effort at Brest in Aug and to cover the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Flew a few missions against German industries, refineries, and communications during the period May-Aug 1944, but operated almost solely against strategic targets from Aug 1944, when conversion to B-17's was completed, until Mar 1945. Attacked oil refineries in Merseburg, Mannheim, and Dulmen; factories in Nurnberg, Hannover, and Berlin; and marshalling yards in Cologne, Munster, Hamm, and Neumunster. Aided ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, and turned again to support and interdictory operations in Mar 1945 as the Allies crossed the Rhine and made the final thrust into Germany. Returned to the US, Aug-Sep 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
Squadrons. 836th: 1943-1945. 837th: 1943-1945. 838th: 1943-1945. 839th: 1943-1945.
Stations. Bruning AAFld, Neb, 20 Sep 1943; Alamogordo AAFld, NM, 15 Dec 1943-c. 13 Mar 1944; Lavenham, England, 5 Apr 1944-26 Aug 1945; Drew Field, Fla, 3 Sep-7 Nov 1945.
Commanders. Lt Col Charles E Lancaster, 4 Oct 1943; Lt Col Beirne Lay Jr, 28 Feb 1944; Col Robert Taylor III, 12 May 1944; Col William K Martin, 28 Dec 1944; Lt Col Howard C Todt, May 1945; Col Nicholas T Perkins, 3 Jun 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986