379th Bombardment Group (Second World War)

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History

The 379th Bombardment Group was part of the second wave of B-17 Groups to join the Eighth Air Force and took part in the daylight strategic bombing campaign over Germany.

The group crossed the Atlantic in two waves. The air echelon flew across the North Atlantic in April 1943 while the ground echelon crossed by sea in May.

The 379th was one of five new B-17 Groups to become operational in May 1943, greatly increasing the power of the Eighth Air Force (the number of available crews rose from 100 to 215 on 13 May). Its combat debut came on 29 May 1943 during one of the largest American raids of the war. 279 heavy bombers attacked the U-boat bases at La Pallice and St Nazaire. The Group's entry into combat was very costly, and in its first two missions it lost nine bombers.

The group arrived after the period of early probing attacks, and spent most of the war taking part in the daylight strategic bombing campaign over Germany. It also attacked targets in France, Holland, Belgium, Norway and Poland. Targets included airfields, aircraft factories, the ball-bearing factory at Schweinfurt and railway marshalling yards. The group was one of a small number that lost no aircraft during the first Schweinfurt raid of 17 August 1943.

The group took part in the pre D-Day bombing campaign in France, attacking V-weapon sites, German airfields and radar bases. On D-Day it attacked German defensive positions close to the landing beaches. It was engaged in the support program during the battle of Normandy, and attacked German troop positions during the breakout from St Lo (24-25 July 1944). The group attacked German transport links, communications and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge and attacked bridges and viaducts to limit the German responce to the crossing of the Rhine.

The group moved to Morocco in June 1945 and was inactivated there on 25 July 1945. During its active service it flew the most sorties (10,492) and droppd the highest weight of bombs (26,459.6 tons) of any group in the Eighth Air Force. It also had the B-17 with the most sorties - 'Ol Gappy' had flown 157 sorties during the war.

The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first was for operations over Europe between May 1943 and July 1944, while the second was for the units role in the attack on aircraft factories in Germany on 11 January 1944.

Books

The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission, Martin Middlebrook. A very detailed account of the costly American daylight raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt of 17 August 1943, a pair of maximum effort attacks that were meant to cripple parts of German industry but instead made it clear that even the heavily armed B-17 Flying Fortress couldn't operate without fighter escort. [read full review] cover cover cover

 

Aircraft

1942-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Timeline

28 October 1942 Constituted as 379th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
3 November 1942 Activated
April 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
June 1945 To Morocco
25 July 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Maurice A Preston: 26 Nov 1942
Col Lewis E Lyle: 11 Oct 1944
Lt Col Lloyd C Mason: 6 May 1945
Lt Col Horace E Frink: 23 May-Jun 1945

Main Bases

G eiger Field, Wash: 3 Nov 1942
Wendover Field, Utah: 19 Nov 1942
Sioux City AAB, Iowa: 3 Feb-Apr 1943
Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, England: 21 May 1943-12 Jun 1945
Casablanca, French Morocco: 17 Jun-25 Jul 1945

Component Units

524th Bombardment Squadron: 3 Nov 1942-25 Jul 1945
525th Bombardment Squadron: 3 Nov 1942-25 Jul 1945
526th Bombardment Squadron: 3 Nov 1942-25 Jul 1945
527th Bombardment Squadron: 3 Nov 1942-25 Jul 1945

Assigned To

1943: 1st Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force
1943-1944: 41st Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
1944-1945: 41st Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 September 2012), 379th Bombardment Group (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/379th_Bomdardment_Group.html

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