Constituted as 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943. Activated on 1 Oct 1943. Trained for combat with B-24's. Moved to England in Apr 1944 for operations with Eighth AF. Entered combat in Jun 1944, bombing airfields and coastal defenses in France immediately preceding and during the invasion of Normandy. Then struck bridges, rail lines, vehicles, road junctions, and troop concentrations in France. Supported ground forces near Caen in Jul and near Brest in Sep 1944. After that, converted to B-17's and operated primarily against strategic targets until the end of Feb 1945. Mounted attacks against enemy oil plants, tank factories, marshalling yards, aircraft plants, and airfields in such cities as Berlin, Hamburg, Merseburg, Munster, Kassel, Hannover, and Cologne. Interrupted strategic missions to attack supply lines and military installations during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Beginning in Mar 1945, attacked interdictory targets and supported advancing ground forces. After V-E Day, carried food to flood-stricken areas of Holland and transported French, Spanish, and Belgian prisoners of war from Austria to Allied centers. Returned to the US, Aug-Sep 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
Squadrons. 848th: 1943-1945. 849th: 1943-1945. 850th: 1943-1945. 851st: 1943-1945.
Stations. Salt Lake City AAB, Utah, 1 Oct 1943; Mountain Home AAFld, Idaho, 4 Dec 1943-Apr 1944; Eye, England, c. 1 May 1944-Aug 1945; Drew Field, Fla, 3 Sep-7 Nov 1945.
Commanders. Maj Lyle E Halstead, 11 Oct 1943; Lt Col Beirne Lay Jr, 28 Oct 1943; Lt Col James H Isbell, Nov 1943; Col Lloyd H Watnee, 30 Dec 1943; Col Frank P Bostrom, 26 Jun 1944; Col Gene H Tibbets, c. 10 Jun 1945; Lt Col Clarence Adams, c. 9 Jul 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