389th Bombardment Group

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


The 389th Bombardment Group was one of the relatively small number of Eighth Air Force groups to operate the B-24 Liberator throughout the war in Europe.

The group was constituted and activated almost a year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced the United States into the Second World War. After six months of preparation and training the group moved to England to join the Eighth Air Force, but almost immediately after reaching its new base, a detachment was sent to Libya, beginning operations from North Africa on 9 July 1943. This detachment attacked targets on Crete and Sicily, and in Italy, Austria and Romania, taking part in Operation Tidalwave, the attack on the Ploesti oil refineries on 1 August 1943.

B-24 Liberator over Ploesti
B-24 Liberator over Ploesti

The detachment returned to England in August 1943, but in the next month the entire group moved to Tunisia, where it spent September and October supporting the troubled Allied landing at Salerno.

The unit resumed strategic bombing duties from England in October 1943, and remained in that role until April 1945. The group took part in "Big Week", the concerted attack on the German aircraft industry of 20-25 February 1944, helped support the D-Day invasion by attacking German targets in Normandy, and supported the breakout at St. Lo in July. It also took part in the battle of the Bulge, attacking German storage depots and lines of communication, and in the crossing of the Rhine of March 1945, where it dropped supplies to the airborne troops. This was almost the last major operation in the west, and the group flew its last combat mission in April 1945, returning to the United States in June.


Photo essay on the 389th Bombardment Group - showing parts of their base at Hethel.


 Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Crowood Aviation), Martin W. Bowman. A well balanced book that begins with a look at the development history of the B-24, before spending nine out of its ten chapters looking at the combat career of the aircraft in the USAAF, the US Navy and the RAF.
cover cover cover
 B-24 Liberator Units of the Eighth Air Force, Robert F. Dorr. Although the Eighth Air Force is famous for operating the B-17, even at the end of the Second World War the B-24 still equipped one third of all Eighth Army Bombardment Groups. Here Dorr looks at the role the Liberator played with the Eighth Army, from its tiny beginnings in 1942 to the final massive air armadas of 1944 and 1945. Dorr also looks at the sizable detachments sent to North Africa during 1943, and the famous Ploesti mission.  
cover cover cover
‘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)
cover cover cover


December 1942-April 1945: Consolidated B-24 Liberator


19 December 1942 Constituted as 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
24 December 1942 Activated
June-July 1943 Moves to England to join Eighth Air Force
July-August 1943 Detachment to Libya, taking part in attack on Ploesti
September-August 1943 Entire group operates from Tunisia
October 1943 Resumes operations in Britain
April 1945 Ends operations in Europe
Inactivated 13 September 1945

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Colonel David B. Lancaster: 24 December 1942
Colonel Jack W. Wood: 16 May 1943
Colonel Milton W Arnold: 30 December 1943
Colonel Robert B Miller: 29 March 1944
Colonel Ramsay D Potts Jr: 17 August 1944
Colonel B Herboth Jr: 4 December 1944
Lt. Colonel Jack G. Merrell: 14 April 1945

Main Bases

Davis Monthan Field, Arizona: 24 December 1942
Biggs Field, Texas: 1 February 1943
Lowry Field, Colorado: 19 April-8 June 1943
Hethel, England: 11 June 1942-30 May 1945
Charleston Field, South Carolina: 12 June-13 September 1945

Component Units

564th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945
565th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945
566th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945
567th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945

Assigned To

Eighth Air Force: 1943-1945
1943-1945: 2nd Air Division; 2nd Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force
1945: 1st Air Division; 2nd Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 February 2008), 389th Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/389th_Bombardment_Group.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy