391st Bombardment Group (USAAF)

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The 391st Bombardment Group was a medium bomber unit that served with the Ninth Air Force in Europe, supporting the D-Day invasion and the campaign that followed.

The group was activated in January 1943 and trained with the Martin B-26 Marauder. It moved to England in January-February 1944 and joined the Ninth Air Force, the American contribution to the tactical air forces that were to support the D-Day landings. The group entered combat on 15 February 1944, and was used to attack transport links, V-weapon sites and airfields across France and the Low Countries.

On D-Day and D+1 the group attacked German coastal defences on the invasion beaches. From then until September the group attacked transport and communications links, fuel dumps and German troop concentrations. It supported the breakout at St Lo in July 1944.

On 6 July 1944 the 391st attacked the long viaduct at Maintenon, breaking the rail line to Chartres. The viaduct was soon repaired, but a second attack on 25 July broke it again.

In September 1944 the group moved to the Continent, and was able to extend its area of operations to include Germany. Troops, transport links and ammo dumps remained key targets. The group also took part in the battle of the Bulge, attacking German transport links between 23-26 December.

On 23 December the 391st flew two missions. In the morning it attacked the Ahrweiler bridge, despite having failed to meet up with its fighter-bomber escort. Sixteen aircraft were lost in the morning attack, but the group was still able to carry out its afternoon mission. It was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the two raids.

During 1945 the group concentrated its efforts against the German transport network and communications links. It converted to the A-26 Invader in April 1945 but flew its last mission on 3 May after a short period with the new aircraft.

The group was redesignated as the 391st Bombardment Group (Light) in July 1945, but returned to the US in October and was inactivated on 25 October 1945.




January 1943-April 1945: Martin B-26 Marauder
April 1945-: Douglas A-26 Invader


15 Jan 1943 Constituted as 391st Bombardment Group (Medium)
21 Jan 1943 Activated
Jan-Feb 1944 To England and Ninth Air Force
15 Feb 1944 Entered combat
Sept 1944 To Continent
3 May 1945 Last combat mission
July 1945 Redesignated 391st Bombardment Group (Light)
October 1945 To US
25 October 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col. Gerald E Williams: 23 Jan 1943-1945

Main Bases

MacDill Field, Fla: 21 Jan 1943
Myrtle Beach Bombing Range, SC: 24 May 1943
Godman Field, Ky: 4 Sep-31 Dec 1943
Matching, England: 25 Jan 1944
Roye/Amy, France: 19 Sep 1944:
Assche, Belgium: 16 Apr 1945
Vitry-en-Artois, France: 27 May-27 Jul 1945
Camp Shanks, NY: Oct-25 Oct 1945

Component Units

572d Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
573d Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
574th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
575th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945

Assigned To

1944-45: 99th Bombardment Wing; 9th Bombardment Division (Medium); Ninth Air Force
1945: 98th Bombardment Wing; 9th Bombardment Division (Medium); Ninth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 January 2013), 391st Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/391st_Bombardment_Group.html

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