41st Bombardment Wing (Second World War)

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History

The 41st Bombardment Wing was a heavy bomber wing within the Eighth Air Force, and operated three B-17 groups as part of the strategic bombing force from September 1943 until the end of the Second World War.

The wing was formed with three bombardment groups - the 303rd, 379th and 384th, all taken from the old 1st Bombardment Wing, which was split into smaller wings and used as the basis of the 1st Air Division.

The wing entered combat in September 1943, under the command of Brig Gen Robert F Travis. He had joined the army in 1924 and had been working in bombardment squadrons and groups since 1937. He was commander of the 29th Bombardment Group from March-August 1942, the 15th Bombardment Training Wing from September 1942 to July 1943 and I Bomber Command in the United States from July-August 1943. He spent a year in command of the 41st Bombardment Wing, before returning to the States to command the 17th Bombardment Training Wing. After the war he commanded the Seventh Air Force from 1948-49.

The wing and all three of its groups were awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its role in an attack on an aircraft factory in Germany on 11 January 1944.

The wing suffered heavy losses during an attack on the Dornier factory near Munich on 24 April 1944, when it lost fifteen aircraft. The 384th Bombardment Group won a Distinguished Unit Citation for leading the wing on this raid.

After the end of the war the wing was quickly inactivated, as were the 303rd and 379th Groups. The 384th survived a little longer - it was moved to the 40th Bombardment Wing and both units remained in Europe until the end of 1946.

Aircraft

1943-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Timeline

29 January 1943 Constituted as 41st Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
16 February 1943 Activated
July 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
August 1943 Redesignated 41st Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
18 June 1945 Disbanded in England

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt. Col Donald S Graham: 1943-unkn
Brig Gen Robert F Travis: 16 Sep 1943
Col Maurice A Preston: 11 Oct 1944
Col Lewis E Lyle: May 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Salt Lake City AAB, Utah: 16 Feb 1943
Rapid City AAB, SD: Mar-c. 4 Jul 1943
Brampton Grange, England: c. 26 July 1943
Molesworth, England: c. 16 Sep 1943-18 Jun 1945.

Component Units

41st Bombardment Wing, 1943-1945
Group Dates Aircraft Used 2 3 4 5
303rd Bombardment Group 1943-45 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
379th Bombardment Group 1943-45 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        
384th Bombardment Group 1943-45 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress        

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), 41st Bombardment Wing (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/41st_Bombardment_Wing.html

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