398th Bombardment Group (USAAF)

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


The 398th Bombardment Group was a B-17 group that served with the Eighth Air Force from May 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.

The 398th was activated on 1 March 1943, equipped with the B-17 and began to prepare to move to Europe. These preparations were interrupted in the second half of 1943 by the need for more training organisations, and from July to December 1944 the group acted as a replacement training group.

In April 1944 the group finally moved to England where it joined the Eighth Air Force. Its combat debut came in May and it spent most of the next year taking part in the strategic bombing campaign. Amongst many other targets it hit Berlin, Munich, the marshalling yards at Saarbrucken, shipping facilities at Kiel, oil refineries at Merseburg and the aircraft factories at Munster.

The group also flew a variety of tactical missions. In June 1944 it was used to attack German coastal defences and troops in the Cherbourg peninsula. In September 1944 it attacked gun positions near Eindhoven as part of Operation Market-Garden. During the battle of the Bulge it was used to attack railways, bridges and power stations as part of the wider attempt to isolate the battlefield. In March 1945 the group attacked airfields to keep what was left of the Luftwaffe away from the crossing of the Rhine. Even its final combat mission was a tactical strike, this time on an airfield at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, on 25 April 1945.

After the end of the war in Europe the group was used to fly liberated POWs from Germany to France, as the first step on their journey home. It returned to the US in May-June 1945 and was inactivated on 1 September 1945.




1943-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


15 February 1943 Constituted as 398th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 March 1943 Activated
April 1944 To England and Eighth Air Force
May-June 1945 To United States
1 September 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Frank P Hunter Jr: 1 Mar 1943
Lt Col Lewis P Ensign: 29 Jan 1945
Lt Col Arthur F Briggs: 18 Apr 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Ephrata AAB, Wash: 1 Mar 1943
Blythe AA Fld, Calif: 5 Apr 1943
Geiger Field, Wash: 29 Apr 1943
Rapid City AAB, SD: 20 Jun 1943-4 Apr 1944
Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire, England: 22 Apr 1944-26 May 1945
Drew Field, Fla: 3 Jul-1 Sep 1945-

Component Units

600th Bombardment Squadron: 1 March 1943-1 September 1945
601st Bombardment Squadron: 1 March 1943-1 September 1945
602nd Bombardment Squadron: 1 March 1943-1 September 1945
603rd Bombardment Squadron: 1 March 1943-1 September 1945

Assigned To

1944-45: 1st Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 January 2014), 398th Bombardment Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/398th_Bombardment_Group.html

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