1st Bombardment Wing (Second World War)

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History

The 40th Bombardment Wing formed part of the 1st Air Division of the Eighth Air Force and took part in the strategic bombing campaign over Europe from September 1943 until the end of the Second World War.

While in the United States the wing was commanded by Major Charles Normand. An officer of the same name was later shot down while flying a B-17 of the 305th Bombardment Group over Germany (24 August 1944) and survived to be taken prisoner. If this was the same man (and his service number shows him to have been a pre-1942 officer) he had been promoted to Lt Col by the time he was shot down.

The 40th Bombardment Wing joined the 1st Air Division of the Eighth Air Force. During 1943 the wing operated three groups - the 92nd, 305th and 306th. All three groups were inherited from the old 1st Bombardment Wing, which was split into several new wings and used to form the basis of the 1st Air Division.

The wing entered combat in September 1943, under the command of Brig Gen Howard M Turner. He had previously commanded the 100th then the 395th Bombardment Groups, and remained with the wing until he was promoted to command the 1st Air Division in October 1944 (after the end of the war Turner briefly commanded VIII Fighter Command, then the Tenth Air Force (1946-48) and the First Air Force (1952-54).

The Wing (and all three of its groups) was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in an attack on aircraft factories in Germany on 11 January 1944.

In 1944 the wing gained a new group, the 492nd. This group had entered combat in May 1944 as a normal heavy bomber unit, but was effectively disbanded in August 1944. A new group with the same number, but different aircraft, equipment, personnel and commanding officer was formed at Harrington, as part of the 40th Wing. While the rest of the wing continued to operate as heavy bombers, the 492nd took part in 'Carpetbagger' operations, flying in support of the Resistance. The group also flew a number of night bombing missions.

Two more groups joined the wing during 1945. The 384th Bombardment Group came from the 41st Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force, which was inactivated in June 1945. The 2nd Bombardment Group came from the 5th Bombardment Wing, which was inactivated in Italy in November 1945.

The 40th Bombardment Wing remained in Europe as part of the occupation forces, moving to Germany late in 1945. It spend the next year in Germany before being inactivated in December 1946.

Aircraft

1944-45: Mainly Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress; 492nd BG more varied

Timeline

15 January 1943 Constituted as 40th Bombardment Wing
21 January 1943 Activated
May 1943 Redesignated 40th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
May-June 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
August 1943 Redesignated 40th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
June 1945 Redesignated 40th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
25 December 1946 Inactivated in Germany

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj Charles Normand: 1943-unkn
Brig Gen Howard M Turner: 16 Sep 1943
Col Anthony Q Mustoe: 22 Oct 1944
Brig Gen Emil C Kiel: 1 Mar-c. 1 Dec 1946.

Main Bases

MacDill Field, Fla: 21 Jan-c. 17 May 1943
Brampton Grange, England: Jun 1943
Thurleigh, England: c. 16 Sep 1943
Istres, France: 26 Jun 1945
Erlangen, Germany: 15 Nov 1945-25 Dec 1946.

Component Units

40th Bombardment Wing, 1943-1946
Group Dates Aircraft Used 2 3 4 5
2nd Bombardment Group 1945-46 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
92nd Bombardment Group 1943-46 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
305th Bombardment Group 1943-45
1945-46
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
306th Bombardment Group 1943-45
1945-46
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
384th Bombardment Group 1945-46 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
492nd Bombardment Group 1944-45 Consolidated B-24
C-47 Dakota
A-26 Invader
De Havilland Mosquito
       

Assigned To

1943-1944: 1st Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
1944-1945: 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 October 2012), 40th Bombardment Wing (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/40th_Bombardment_Wing.html

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