385th Bombardment Group (Second World War)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 385th Bombardment Group was a B-17 group of the Eighth Air Force and took part in the strategic bombing campaign over Europe.

The group was activated in the United States in December 1942, and moved to England in June 1943. The 385th and 388th Bombardment Groups joined the 4th Bombardment Wing in the summer of 1943, bringing it up to six groups.

The group's combat debut came on 17 July 1943 when it took part in an attack on Hannover in which 332 bombers participated, making it the largest Eighth Air Force mission to that date. The bomber force reached the Dutch coast but was then recalled.

After that the group spent most of the war taking part in the strategic bombing campaign over Europe, attacking targets at Oschersleben, Marienburg, Stuttgart, Beauvais, Chartres, Ludwigshafen, Merseburg, Munich and Oranienburg amongst many others.

The group also performed a number of tactical missions. It attacked German targets on the French coast before D-Day, targeted marshalling yards and transport targets during D-Day and supported the American breakout at St Lo in July 1944. It was used to attack German communications and strongpoints during the battle of the Bulge and attacked German troops directly during the final fighting in Germany in March-April 1945.

After the end of the fighting the group was used to fly food to the starving population of Holland and to bring Allied POWs out of Germany. The group returned to the United States in August 1945 and was inactivated in the same month.

The group was awarded two Distinquished Unit Citations. The first came on 17 August 1943 for its part in an attack on the aircraft factory at Regensburg, where three aircraft were lost. The second was for leading the 4th Bombardment Wing during a difficult raid on an aircraft repair factory at Zwickau on 12 May 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

25 November 1942 Constituted as 385th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 December 1942 Activated
June 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
August 1945 To United States
28 August 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Elliot Vandevanter Jr: 3 Feb 1943
Col George Y Jumper: 24 Aug 1944
Col William H Hanson: 2 Jun 1945
Maj Totton J Anderson: c. July 1945- unkn.

Main Bases

Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz: 1 Dec 1942
El Paso, Tex: 21 Dec 1942
Geiger Field, Wash: 1 Feb 1943
Great Falls AAB, Mont: 11 Apr-Jun 1943
Great Ashfield, Suffolk; England: Jun 1943-Aug 1945
Sioux Falls AA Fld, SD: Aug-28 Aug 1945

Component Units

548th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 August 1945
549th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 August 1945
550th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 August 1945
551st Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1942-28 August 1945

Assigned To

1943-February 1944: 4th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
February 1944-1945: 4th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe
1945: 93rd Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 93rd Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 20th Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 45th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force (1945 assignments possibly not in this order)


How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 October 2012), 385th Bombardment Group (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/385th_Bombardment_Group.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies