Constituted as 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943. Activated on 1 Oct 1943. Trained with B-24's. Moved to England, Apr-May 1944, and assigned to Eighth AF. Entered combat on 30 May 1944, and during the next few days concentrated on targets in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion. In an attack against coastal defenses near Wimereaux on 5 Jun 1944, the group's lead plane was seriously crippled by enemy fire, its pilot was killed, and the deputy group commander, Lt Col Leon R Vance Jr, who was commanding the formation, was severely wounded; although his right foot was practically severed, Vance took control of the plane, led the group to a successful bombing of the target, and managed to fly the damaged aircraft to the coast of England, where he ordered the crew to bail out; believing a wounded man had been unable to jump, he ditched the plane in the Channel and was rescued. For his action during this mission, Vance was awarded the Medal of Honor. The group supported the landings in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944, and afterward bombed coastal defenses, airfields, bridges, railroads, and V-weapon sites in the campaign for France. Began flying missions into Germany in Jul, and engaged primarily in bombing strategic targets such as factories, oil refineries and storage plants, marshalling yards, and airfields in Ludwigshafen, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Saarbrucken, and other cities until Nov 1944. Other operations included participating in the saturation bombing of German lines just before the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul, dropping food to the liberated French and to Allied forces in France during Aug and Sep, and carrying food and ammunition to Holland later in Sep. Returned to the US, Nov-Dec 1944, to prepare for redeployment to the Pacific theater. Redesignated 489th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in Mar 1945. Equipped with B-29's. Alerted for movement overseas in the summer of 1945, but war with Japan ended before the group left the US. Inactivated on 17 Oct 1945.
Squadrons. 844th: 1943-1945. 845th: 1943-1945. 846th: 1943-1945. 847th: 1943-1945.
Stations. Wendover Field, Utah, 1 Oct 1943-3 Apr 1944; Halesworth, England, c. 1 May-Nov 1944; Bradley Field, Conn, 12 Dec 1944; Lincoln AAFld, Neb, c. 17 Dec 1944; Great Bend AAFld, Kan, c. 18 Feb 1945; Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 3 Apr 1945; Fairmont AAFld, Neb, c. 13 Jul 1945; Ft Lawton, Wash, 23 Aug 1945; March Field, Calif, 2 Sep-17 Oct 1945.
Commanders. Col Ezekiel W Napier, 20 Oct 1943; Lt Col Robert E Kollimer, 5 Feb 1945; Col Paul C Ashworth, 11 Apr 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. American Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986