Constituted as 493d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943. Activated on 1 Nov 1943. On 1 Jan 1944 transferred, less the air echelon and without personnel and equipment, to England where personnel were assigned. Joined by the air echelon in May 1944. Served in combat with Eighth AF, May 1944-Apr 1945, using B-14's until they were replaced with B-17's in Sep 1944. Operated chiefly against industrial and military installations in Germany, attacking an ordnance depot at Magdeburg, marshalling yards at Cologne, synthetic oil plants at Merseburg, a railroad tunnel at Ahrweiler, bridges at Irlich, factories at Frankfurt, and other strategic objectives. Additional operations included striking airfields, bridges, and gun batteries prior to and during the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944; hitting enemy positions to assist ground forces south of Caen and at St Lo in Jul 1944; bombing German fortifications to cover the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944; attacking enemy communications during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and assisting the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission, an attack on marshalling yards at Nauen, on 20 Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
Squadrons. 860th: 1943-1945. 861st: 1943-1945. 862d: 1943-1945. 863d: 1943-1945.
Stations. McCook AAFld, Neb, 1 Nov 1943; Elveden Hall, England, 1 Jan 1944; Debach, England, Apr 1944-6 Aug 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 12-28 Aug 1945.
Commanders. Col Elbert Helton, 1 Nov 1943; Col Robert B Landry, 16 Feb 1945; Lt Col Shepler W Fitzgerald Jr, 5 Jun-28 Aug 1945.
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