304th Bombardment Group

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History

The 304th Bombardment Group was formed as a standard bombardment unit, but briefly served as an antisubmarine warfare unit in November and December 1942 before being inactivated at the end of December.

The group was activated on 15 July 1942, and was allocated four Bombardment Squadrons. The new group was based on the US West Coast, where it began to train as a bomber unit. After a few months of this it was decided to convert it into an anti-submarine unit. During November three of its squadrons were redesignated as antisubmarine squadrons (1st, 18th and 19th). The 19th began operations on around 1 November, the 1st on 10 November and the 421st Bombardment Squadron began at around the same time. The 18th Antisubmarine Squadron was used as an operational training unit.

The group had a short life span. The USAAF decided to organise its anti-submarine squadrons directly into wings, but the group began to shrink before the new wings became operational. The 1st Squadron was attacked to VIII Bomber Command when it began operations while the 421st came under the the control of Newfoundland Base Command on 6 November. Finally on 30 December 1942 the remaining two squadrons were transferred to the 25th Antisubmarine Wing, and the 304th Bombardment Group was inactivated.

Books

To Follow

Aircraft

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Douglas B-18 Bolo, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Douglas A-20 Havoc, Lockheed B-34 Ventura

1st Antisubmarine Squadron: B-17 & B-24
18th Antisubmarine Squadron: B-18, A-20, B-24, B-34, B-17
19th Antisubmarine Squadron: B-17
421st Bombardment Squadron: DB-7, A-20, OA-12, B-17

Timeline

28 January 1942 Constituted as 304th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
15 July 1942 Activated and assigned to Second Air Force
30 December 1942 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Ford J Lauer: 24 Sep 1942
Lt Col Dale O Smith: c. 29 Oct 1942
Maj Francis H Matthews: Nov-Dec 1942

Main Bases

Salt Lake City AAB, Utah: 15 Jul 1942
Geiger Field, Wash: 15 Sep 1942
Ephrata, Wash: 1 Oct 1942
Langley Field: Va, 29 Oct-30 Dec 1942

Component Units

1st Antisubmarine Squadron: 15 July-10 November 1942
18th Antisubmarine Squadron: 15 July-30 December 1942
19th Antisubmarine Squadron: 15 July-30 December 1942
421 Bombardment Squadron: 15 July-6 November 1942

1st Antisubmarine Squadron formed as 361st Bombardment Squadron

18th Antisubmarine Squadron formed as 362nd Bombardment Squadron, later becomes 4th Search Attack Squadron

19th Antisubmarine Squadron formed as 363rd Bombardment Squadron

20th Antisubmarine Squadron constituted as 32nd Reconnaissance Squadron, changed to 421st Bombardment Squadron before being activated, then to 20th Antisubmarine in February 1943 and finally to 847th Bombardment Squadron in October 1943

Assigned To

1942: Second Air Force
1942: AAF Antisubmarine Command (later I Bomber Command)

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 March 2013), 304th Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/304th_Bombardment_Group.html

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