17th Bombardment Group

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The 17th Bombardment Group was a B-26 group that took part in Operation Torch, and the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Southern France.

The group converted to the B-25 just in time to use those aircraft for patrols off the US west coast. It them moved south to cover the Gulf of Mexico, then spent the second half of 1942 covering the Atlantic. During this last period it also converted to the B-26.

Late in 1942 the group was allocated to Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The group moved to Africa along the southern ferry route, which took it from Natal (Brazil) to Ascension Island and then to Bathurst (Now Banjul, the Gambia). Once in Africa it joined the Twelfth Air Force.

The group made its combat debut on 30 December 1942, when six of its B-26s attacked the German airfield at Gabes. Its first loss came on the following day during a second raid on the same target. Another aircraft was lost during an attack on the Tunis marshalling yards on 1 January 1943.

In November 1943 the group was transfered to the Fifteenth Air Force and moved to Sardinia, from where it could hit targets in northern Italy.

In January 1944 the group returned to the Twelfth Air Force

The group took part in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa in June 1943, the only occasion during the Second World War where a strong garrison was forced to surrender by air power alone.

The group took part in the invasion of Sicily in 1943

The group took part in the invasion of mainland Italy in September 1943. It took part in the advance on Rome and was awarded the DUC for an attack on airfields at Rome on 13 January 1944.

On 15 March 1944 the group took part in a heavy attack on Cassino, where it achieved a high accuracy rate in a raid where that wasn't entirely common.

The group was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for its actions in Italy in April-June 1944.

In August 1944 the group took part in the invasion of southern France. On 9 August the group took part in the only major attack on a German airfield during the support operations for Dragoon, an attack on Bergamo-Seriate in northern Italy.

In the last year of the war the group operated against targets in northern Italy, France and Germany. It received a second DUC for an attack on German defences near Schweinfurt on 10 April 1945.

After the end of the fighting the group took part in the disarmament of the German armed forces. It returned to the US in November 1945 and was inactivated in the same month.


To follow


1933-1939: Northrop A-17
1940-1941: Douglas B-18 Bolo
1941-1942: North American B-25 Mitchell
1942-1945: Martin B-26 Marauder


18 October 1927 Authorized as 17th Observation Group
1929 Redesignated 17th Pursuit Group
15 July 1931 Activated
1935 Redesignated 17th Attack Group
1939 Redesignated 17th Bombardment Group (Medium)
Late 1942 To North Africa and Twelfth Air Force
November 1943 To Fifteenth Air Force
January 1944 To Twelfth Air Force
November 1945 To United States
26 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt Frank O'D Hunter: 1931-unkn
Lt Col Walter R Peck: Mar 1941
Lt Col William C Mills: Feb 1942
Lt Col Flint Garrison: 16 Jun 1942
Lt Col Curtis D Sluman: 26 Jun 1942
Lt Col Karl E Baumeister: 11 Mar 1943
Lt Col Charles R Greening: 25 May 1943
Lt Col Robert A Zaiser: 18 Jul 1943
Col Donald L Gilbert: 14 Oct 1943
Col R O Harrell: 21 Jul 1944
Col Wallace C Barrett: 20 Mar 1945
Lt Col Stanford W Gregory: 1 Jun 1945-unkn

Main Bases

March Field, Calif: 15 Jul 1931
McChord Field, Wash: 24 Jun 1940
Pendleton, Ore: 29 Jun 1941
Lexington County Aprt, SC: 9 Feb 1942
Barksdale Field, La: 23 Jun-Nov 1942
Telergma, Algeria: Dec 1942
Sedrata, Algeria: c. 10 May 1943
Djedeida, Tunisia: 23 Jun 1943
Sardinia: Nov 1943
Corsica: c. 14 Sep 1944
Dijon, France: c. 20 Nov 1944
Horsching, Austria: Jun 1945
Clastres, France: c. 3 Oct-Nov 1945
Camp Myles Standish, Mass: Nov-26 Nov 1945

Component Units

34th Bombardment Squadron: 1931-1945
37th Bombardment Squadron: 1931-1945
95th Bombardment Squadron: 1931-1945
432nd Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945

Assigned To

1941: 17th Bombardment Wing
Late 1942-Nov 43: 47th Bombardment Wing; XII Bomber Command; Twelfth Air Force
August 1943: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; Northwest African Strategic Air Force
September 1943-November 1943: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; XII Bomber Command; Twelfth Air Force
1 November 1943-1 January 1944: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; Fifteenth Air Force
1 January 1944-27 November 1944: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; XII Bomber Command; Twelfth Air Force
27 November 1944-6 January 1945: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; XII Tactical Air Command
6 January 1945- May 1945: 42nd Bombardmenr Wing; First Tactical Air Force (Provisional)

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 March 2013), 17th Bombardment Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/17th_Bombardment_Group.html

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