29th Bombardment Group

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History

The 29th Bombardment Group entered the Second World War as a heavy bomber group based in the Caribbean, before reformed as a B-29 unit and taking part in the strategic bombing campaign against Japan.

The group was activated in February 1940 and was equipped with the B-17 and B-18. For most of the next two years it underwent training and took part in aerial reviews.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the group, which was already based in Florida, was used to fly patrols over the Caribbean. This lasted until June 1942 when the group moved to Idaho. It converted to the B-24 Liberator and became an Operational Training Unit. When losses began to mount at the front it became a replacement training unit.

This version of the group was inactivated on 1 April 1944 and on the same day the group was reactivated as a very heavy bombardment unit, equipped with the B-29 Superfortress. The group trained with its new aircraft throughout 1944, before moving to Guam in December 1944-February 1945.

The group's first mission against Japan came on 25 February 1945 when it took part in a maximum effort incendiary attack on Tokyo, launched to support the invasion of Iwo Jima.

In March General LeMay decided to switch to low level night incendiary raids. The B-29s would have most of their defensive weapons removed and less fuel was needed if the aircraft didn't have to climb to high altitude. This allowed each aircraft to carry an extra six tons of bombs, and it was hoped that the lack of good quality radar in Japan would make the raids safer than the daylight raids. The 29th took part in the first major night raid on the night of 9-10 March, a very effective raid on Tokyo involving 334 B-29s and 2,000 tons of bombs.

The group was awarded a DUC for an attack on an airfield at Omura, Japan on 31 March 1945.

On 12 April S/Sgt Henry E Erwin won the Medal of Honor for saving his B-29 by throwing a burning phosphorous bomb that had blown back into the fuselage out of a window.

During the Okinawa campaign the group attacked the airfields being used by the kamikazes.

The group received a second DUC for attacks on industrial areas of Shizuoka, the Mitsubishi plant at Tamashima and the Chigusa arsenal at Nagoya in June 1945.

After the end of the war the group was used to drop supplies to isolated prisoners of war and for show-of-force flights over Japan. It was inactivated on May 1946.

Books

To Follow

Aircraft

1939-1942: Douglas B-18 Bolo and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
1942-1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
1944-: Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Timeline

22 December 1939 Constituted as 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 February 1940 Activated
Dec 41-Jun 42 Caribbean
1942-44 Training unit
1 April 1944 Inactivated
1 April 1944 Activated as 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)
Dec 44-Feb 45 To Guam and Twentieth Air Force
25 February 1945 First mission over Japan
20 May 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Ma.j Vincent J Meloy: 1 Feb 1940
Maj Charles W Lawrence: 15 Jan 1941
Lt Col James P Hodges: 1 Feb 1941
Maj Frank H Robinson: 1 Oct 1941
Lt Col James M Fitzmaurice: 1 Dec 1941
Lt Col Robert F Travis: 30 Mar 1942
Lt Col William B David: 28 Aug 1942
Maj Henry H Covington: 2 Feb 1943
Lt Col Walter E Arnold Jr: 20 Feb 1943
Lt Col Horace M Wade: 20 Sep 1943-1 Apr 1944.
2d Lt Philip J Lamm: 21 Apr 1944
Capt Samuel W Bright: 28 Apr 1944
Maj Quinn L Oldaker: 2 May 1944
Col Carl R Storrie: 28 May 1944
Col Robert L Mason: 23 Jul 1945
Lt Col Loran D Briggs: 9 Oct 1945-unkn
Col Vincent M Miles Jr: 1946.

Main Bases

Langley Field, Va: 1 Feb 1940
MacDill Field, Fla: 21 May 1940
Gowen Field, Idaho: 25 Jun 1942-1 Apr 1944
Pratt AAFld, Kan: 1 Apr-7 Dec 1944
North Field, Guam: 17 Jan 1945-20 May 1946.

Component Units

6th Bombardment Squadron: 1940-44
43rd Bombardment Squadron (formerly 29th): 1940-44; 1944-46
52nd Bombardment Squadron: 1940-44; 1944-46
411th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-44
761st Bombardment Squadron: 1945-46

Assigned To

1940-41: 3rd Bombardment Wing

April-December 1944: 314th Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Second Air Force (Training in US)
December 1944-1946: 314th Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Twentieth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 March 2013), 29th Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/29th_Bombardment_Group.html


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