41st Bombardment Group

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History

The 41st Bombardment Group was a B-25 bomber unit in the Seventh Air Force that took part in the fighting in the Marshall Islands, Tinian and Guam in 1943-44 and the air campaign over Japan in 1945.

The group was activated in January 1941 and trained with the B-18 and A-29. It converted to the B-25 in 1942 and used that aircraft to fly patrols off the US west coast in 1942-43. The group was allocated to the forces being gathered for the invasion of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic), and in October 1943 it moved to Hawaii to join the Seventh Air Force. In the event the group wasn't involved in the fighting on Tarawa, but it was one of the first AAF groups to move onto the newly conquered island. Two of its squadrons moved to Tarawa on 15 December, although their airfield wasn't really ready for another week.

Between 28 December 1943 and 12 February 1944 the group concentrated on low level attacks on Maloelap and Wotje, with Mille and Jaluit as secondary targets (all four are islands in the Marshalls). The low level strafing and bombing were effective but costly and the group lost seventeen aircraft during that period. On 19 February the group switched to medium altitude attacks, and the losses dropped. Losses also dropped after the group's 47th Bombardment Squadron took part in a very effective attack on Maloelap that ended the threat from Japanese fighter aircraft.

From February 1944 the group began a series of attacks on shipping in the Caroline Islands, although Maloelap and Jaluit remained important targets. In April 1944 the group moved to Makin, and a standard mission would see its aircraft attack one of those two islands, landing at the new Navy airfield at Majuro, refuel and rearm and then bomb the other island on the way home. The group's level of activity rose from 175 sorties in February to 605 in March and 875 in April.

In July 1944 the 48th Squadron moved to a temporary forward base on Saipan, and began a series of low level ground support attacks on Japanese positions on Tinian and Guam. Tinian was the target of sixty nine sorties during the last five days of July, while Guam saw ninety-one sorties from 3-8 August. The squadron then returned to Makin and rejoined the campaign against bypassed Japanese bases in the Marshalls.

The group's main targets in this period were Nauru and Ponape.

In October 1944 the group moved back to Hawaii, partly to get new B-25s and partly to train with rockets. This kept it out of action until May-June 1945 when the group moved to Okinawa. From June until August 1945 the group used its new aircraft to attack airfields, railways and harbours in Kyushi and airfields in China.

After the end of the war the Group moved to Manila (December 1945) and was inactivated in the next month.

Books

To Follow

Aircraft

1941-42: Douglas B-18 Bolo and Lockheed A-29 Hudson
1942-46: North American B-25 Mitchell

Timeline

20 November 1940 Constituted as 41st Bombardment Group (Medium)
15 January 1941 Activated
October 1943 To Hawaii and Seventh Air Force
December 1943 To Tarawa
27 January 1946 Inactivated in the Philippines

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Captain Lawrence H Douthit: 15 Jan 1941
Lt Col Archibald Y Smith: 2 Jun 1941
Lt Col Charles B Dougher: 1942
Col Murray A Bywater: 18 Aug 1g43-c. Nov 1945.

Main Bases

March Field, Calif: 15 Jan 1941
Tucson, Ariz: May 1941
Muroc, Calif: c. 10 Dec 1941
Hammer Field, Calif: Feb 1942-29 Sep 1943
Hickam Field, TH: 16 Oct 1943
Tarawa: 17 Dec 1943
Makin: 24 Apr 1944
Wheeler Field, TH: 14 Oct 1944
Okinawa: 7 Jun 1945
Manila: Dec 1945-27 January 1946

Component Units

46th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-43
47th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-46
48th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-46
76th Bombardment Squadron: 1943
396th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46
406th Bombardment Squadron: 1943
820th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-46

Assigned To

1943-1944: VII Bomber Command; Seventh Air Force
1945: VII Bomber Command; Seventh Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 March 2013), 41st Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/41st_Bombardment_Group.html


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