20th Bombardment Wing (Second World War)

History - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To


The 20th Bombardment Wing was a B-24 Liberator Wing of the Eighth Air Force which took part in the strategic bombing campaign from December 1943 until April 1945.

The wing operated the B-24 Liberator during its period of active operations. It gained a number of B-17 groups after the end of the fighting, in a period when the Eighth Air Force was shrinking rapidly, and groups were moving between wings on a regular basis.

Although a large number of groups were part of the wing during the war, it contained four groups while operating with the Eighth Air Force. The 93rd, 446th and 448th Bombardment Groups were part of the wing from 1943-45 while the 489th joined it in 1944, before later in the year being withdrawn to the United States to convert to the B-29 Superfortress. Of these groups only the 93rd had combat experience before joining the 20th Wing, having served with the 2nd Bombardment Wing.

The wing spent most of its time taking part in the strategic bombing offensive, but it also took part in the D-Day campaign, the fighting in Normandy and supported the Allied armies during the Battle of the Bulge.

The wartime wing returned to the United States in August 1945, where it became the 20th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy). In October it was used to form the basis of a new VIII Bomber Command (Very Heavy), but this formation never had any combat units and was inactivated in November 1946. Its B-24 groups transferred to the 96th Bombardment Wing and prepared to convert to the B-29, but didn't reach combat.


1943-45: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
1945: Consolidated B-24 Liberator and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


19 October 1940 Constituted as 20th Bombardment Wing
18 December 1940 Activated
1 September 1941 Inactivated
1 November 1942 Activated
February 1943 Redesignated 20th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
May-June 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
August 1943 Redesignated 20th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
November 1943 Received first groups
December 1943 Entered combat
April 1945 End of combat
June 1945 Redesignated 20th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
August 1945 To United States
August 1945 Redesignated 20th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy)
October 1945 Redesignated VIII Bomber Command (Very Heavy)
10 November 1945 Inactivated
8 October 1948 Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Shepler W FitzGerald: 16 Jan 1941
Brig Gen Walter H Frank: 6 Feb 1941
Brig Gen Ralph Royce: 2 Mar 1941
Col Lowell H Smith: 6 May-c. 1 Sep 1941

Col John H Hayden: c. 30 Oct 1943
Col Jack W Wood: 29 Dec 1943
Brig Gen Edward J Timberlake Jr: 25 Sep 1944
Col Leland G Fiegel: 17 May 1945
Brig Gen Archie J Old Jr: 18 Jun 1945- unkn
Col Brooke E Allen: c. 18 Aug 1945
Col John W Warren: 22 Aug 1945
Brig Gen Hugo P Rush: 2 Nov 1945-unkn

Main Bases

Ft Douglas, Utah: 18 Dec 1940-1 Sep 1941

MacDill Field, Fla: 1 Nov 1942-c. 8 May 1943
Camp Lynn, England: c. 9 Jun 1943
Cheddington, England: c. 1 Jul 1943
Horsham St Faith, England: c. 14 Sep 1943
Hethel, England: 24 Sep 1943
Hardwick, England: c. 7 Nov 1943
Snetterton Heath, England: c. 13 Jun-6 Aug 1945
Sioux Falls AA Fld, SD: c. 15 Aug 1945
Peterson Field, Colo: 17 Aug 1945
MacDill Field, Fla: 14 May-10 Nov 1946.#

Component Units

20th Bombardment Wing, 1942-1945
Group Dates Aircraft Used 2 3 4 5
7th Bombardment Group 1940-41 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
34th Bombardment Group 1945 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
42nd Bombardment Group 1941 B-18, B-25 and B-26        
93rd Bombardment Group 1943-45 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
385th Bombardment Group 1945 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
388th Bombardment Group 1945 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
446th Bombardment Group 1943-45 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
448th Bombardment Group 1943-1945 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
452nd Bombardment Group 1945 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
489th Bombardment Group 1944 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        

Assigned To

1943-February 44: 2nd Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
February 1944-45: 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe
1945: 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 November 2012), 20th Bombardment Wing (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/20th_Bombardment_Wing.html

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