2nd Bombardment Wing (Second World War)

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The 2nd Bombardment Wing was a heavy bombardment unit of the Eighth Air Force, and its B-24 Liberators took part in the strategic bombing campaign in Europe, supported the fighting after D-Day and were briefly detached to the Mediterranean.

The 2nd Bombardment Wing of 1942-1945 was the third incarnation of the unit. The first had been the 2nd Wing, an observation wing formed after the First World War and that only existed for two years. The second was the 2nd Bombardment Wing (1929-35), 2nd Wing (1935-1940), 2nd Bombardment Wing (1940-1), an important part of the pre-war Air Force.

The third incarnation of the 2nd Bombardment Wing was formed to hold the B-24 Liberator groups of the Eighth Air Force. It was activated in the United States in June 1942 and moved to England in August-September to join the Eighth Air Force. One of its first duties was to train the bombardment groups that had been assigned to the Twelfth Air Force and Operation Torch.

The Wing flew its first combat mission in November 1942 and took part in the strategic bombing campaign from then until June 1943. On 27 January 1943 the 2nd Bombardment Wing took part in the first Eighth Air Force daylight raid over Germany, an attack on Wilhelmshaven. The wing lost two aircraft to German fighters, but the heavy flak at Wilhelmshaven was badly handled and didn't shoot down a single aircraft.

In July-August 1943 the 2nd Bombardment Wing was temporarily out of action while its bombardment groups were detached to serve in the Mediterranean.

In September 1943 the original 2nd Bombardment Wing became the new 2nd Bombardment Division (better known as the 2nd Air Division), which was officially activated on 13 September. The new division inherited the 2nd Bombardment Wing's commander, Brigadier General James P Hodges, although his replacement only lasted for a day on his first appointment and Hodges ended up holding both posts until his replacement returned in October. The new 2nd Bombardment Wing moved from Old Catton, on the northern outskirts of Norwich to Hethel, south-west of Norwich. The 2nd Bombardment Wing now contained three bombardment groups, a form it maintained until the end of the war.

The new 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing (as it was known until June 1945) began life on detached duty in the Mediterranean, joining its groups. It returned to England in October 1943 and took part in the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign from then until the end of the War in Europe. The wing returned to the United States in August 1945 and was inactivated in November.


1942-1945: Consolidated B-24 Liberator


4 September 1919 Organised as 2nd Wing
30 September 1921 Inactivated
8 August 1922 Activated
1929 Redesignated 2nd Bombardment Wing
1935 Redesignated 2nd Wing
1940 Redesignated 2nd Bombardment Wing
5 September 1941 Inactivated
7 June 1942 Activated
August-September 1942 To England and Eighth Air Force
July-August 1943 Inactive while units detached to Mediterranean
August 1943 Redesignated 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
September-October 1943 Detached to Mediterranean
October 1943 Back to England
April 1945 Ceased Operations
August 1945 To United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj Justus K Hetsch: c. 13 July 1942
Col Harold D Smith: c. 10 Aug 1942
Brig Gen James P Hodges: 7 Sep 1942
Col Edward J Timberlake Jr: c. 15 Sep 1943
Brig Gen James P Hodges: 16 Sep 1943
Brig Gen Edward J Timberlake Jr: 4 Oct 1943
Col Milton J Arnold: 7 Aug 1944
Col James M Stewart: 10 May 1945
Col Eugene A Romig: 15 Jun 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Detrick Field, Md: 7 Jun-15 Aug 1942
Old Catton, Norfolk, England: c. 7 Sep 1942
Hethel, Norfolk, England: 14 Sep 1943
Alconbury, Cambridgeshire, England: c. 12 Jun-c. 25 Aug 1945
McChord Field, Wash: 6 Sep- 7 Nov 1945.

Component Units

2nd Bombardment Wing (1942-45)
Group Dates Aircraft Used 2 3 4 5
44th Bombardment Group 1942-42; 1943 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
93rd Bombardment Group 1942-1943 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
389th Bombardment Group 1943-1945 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
392nd Bombardment Group 1943-1945 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
445th Bombardment Group 1943-1945 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        
453rd Bombardment Group 1944-1945 Consolidated B-24 Liberator        

Assigned To

1942-1943: VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
1943-February 1944: 2nd Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
February 1944-1945: 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe
1945: 1st Air Division, Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 October 2012), 2nd Bombardment Wing (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/2nd_Bombardment_Wing.html

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