384th Bombardment Group (Second World War)

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The 384th Bombardment Group was a B-17 Flying Fortress group that fought with the Eighth Air Force from June 1943 until the end of the war in Europe.

The Group's combat debut came on 22 June 1943 when it took part in a diversionary attack on a Ford and General Motors factory in Antwerp. Soon after this it took part in the raid on Schweinfurt on 17 August 1943 where it lost five aircraft.

The group received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in a role on aircraft factories in Germany on 11 January 1944. It then took part in the Big Week attacks on the German aircraft industry of 20-25 February 1944.

Boeing B-17F Alabama Exterminator II
Boeing B-17F
Alabama Exterminator II

The group suffered very heavy losses during an attack on Schweinfurt on 12 April 1944. It was acting as the high box part of the wing formation and lost an entire box of eight aircraft in a single attack by German fighters.

The group suffered heavy losses again during an attack on the Dornier factory near Munich on 24 April 1944, when it lost seven aircraft. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance on this raid, where it led the 41st Bombardment Wing to the target.

The group was also used on a number of tactical missions. It was used to attack coastal fortifications before and during the D-Day landings. It then attacked Luftwaffe airfields and transport targets for the rest of June. The group returned to the strategic role in July, but took part in the breakout at St Lo on 24-25 July, taking part in the heavy raids on the German front line that preceded the successful attack.

During Operation Market Garden the group was used to directly attack German troops, hitting tanks and artillery north of Eindhoven. It was used to attack German transport and strong points during the Battle of the Bulge and supported the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

The group was one of the small number of Eighth Air Force groups chosen to stay in Europe after the war, although this only lasted until February 1946 when it was inactivated in France. In this period the group was used to fly American troops to Casablanca on the first step of their journey back to the United States, to fly Greek troops home and to move Allied troops into Germany to form the occupation army.


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]
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‘Big Week’ 1944 – Operation Argument and the breaking of the Jadgwaffe, Douglas C. Dildy. Looks at the USAAF’s concentrated attack on the German aircraft industry, a week of massive bombing raids that forced the Luftwaffe into an equally massive defensive effort that cost them around 150 aircrew at a time when they could hardly afford those losses, as well as cutting German fighter production by around 2,000 aircraft, and proving that the long range escort fighter was the key to a successful daylight bombing campaign (Read Full Review)
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1942-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


25 November 1942 Constituted as 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 December 1942 Activated
May-June 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
28 February 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Coll Budd J Peaslee: 2 Jan 1943
Col Lucius K Lacey: c. 6 Sep 1943
Col Dale O Smith: 23 Nov 1943
Lt Col Theodore E Milton: 24 Oct 1944
Lt Col Robert W Fish: 17 June 1945
Lt Col Lloyd D Chapman: 18 Oct 1945-Feb 1946.

Main Bases

Gowen Field, Idaho: 1 Dec 1942
Wendover Field, Utah: 2 Jan 1943
Sioux City AAB, Iowa: c. 3 Apr-9 May 1943
Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, England: June 1943
Istres, France: c. Jun 1945-28 Feb 1946.

Component Units

544th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 February 1946
545th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 February 1946
546th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 February 1946
547th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 February 1946

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
1945-46: 40th Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 November 2012), 384th Bombardment Group (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/384th_Bombardment_Group.html

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