42nd Bombardment Group (Second World War)

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The 42nd Bombardment Group was a B-25 Mitchell group of the Thirteenth Air Force that operated in the Solomons, New Guinea, Borneo, the Philippines, off the coast of China and over French Indochina.

The group was activated on 15 January 1941 and trained with a wide range of aircraft, most importantly the Douglas B-18 Bolo, North American B-25 Mitchell and Martin B-26 Marauder. After the American entry into the war the group flew patrols off the US west coast, watching for any possible Japanese attack.

In March-April 1943 the group moved to the Pacific, arriving on Fiji in April. The group left behind its mixed bag of aircraft and concentrated on the B-25, the aircraft it would operate for the rest of the war. While on Fiji the group focuses on low-level training. It formed part of the Thirteenth Air Force, where for a long period it would be the only medium bombardment group.

In early June the group moved to Guadalcanal where it entered combat. During 1943 it operated over the central Solomons, attacking Japanese airfields, bases, gun positions and shipping. It took a heavy toll of Japanese ships attempting to pass along the Slot in an effort to get reinforcements to the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal. By the end of August 1943 the group had sunk or damaged beyond repairs seventeen barges. During this period the group used staging bases to extend its range. On 12 January 1944 they attacked Simpson Harbour on Rabaul, using Treasury Island as a staging post for the first time (this was also the group's first attack on Rabaul). After this first strike they attacked the Rabaul time eleven more times during January. During the month they flew 180 sorties against Rabaul.

From January to July 1944 the group focuses on Japanese airfields and harbours on New Britain, while also attacking shipping in the northern Solomons and Bismarck islands as well as supporting the Allied troops fighting on Bougainville.

In August 1944 the group briefly moved to Hollandia, before moving to New Guinea in the following month. It began to focus on targets on New Guinea, Celebes and Halmahera. It also flew a number of photographic reconnaissance missions.

In March 1945 the group moved to the Philippines, occupying a modified Japanese base at Puerto Princesa on Palawan, the westernmost island of the Philippines. The group had actually taken part in the campaign that led to the capture of their new base. It then operated across a vast area, attacking Japanese shipping on the Chinese coast, supported the Allied armies fighting on Mindanao and attacked Japanese targets around the Philippines and operated over French Indochina.

In April the group operated over Borneo for seventeen consecutive days before the initial landings on Tarakan Island.

In May and June 1945 the group also operated in support of Australian troops operating on Borneo. It won a Distinguished Unit Citation for its pre-invasion bombardment of Balikpapan (23-30 June 1945), and it continued to support the landings until 11 July. Finally it was used to attack Japanese forces that had been isolated by the Allied advance on Luzon.

After the end of the war the group was used to fly Allied troops to Manila. It moved to Japan in January 1946 to form part of the occupation forces but was inactivated there on 10 May.


To follow


1941-43: Douglas B-18 Bolo, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, North American B-25 Mitchell, Martin B-26 Marauder, Lockheed A-29 Hudson
1943 onwards: North American B-25 Mitchell


20 November 1940 Constituted as 42nd Bombardment Group (Medium)
15 January 1941 Activated
March-April 1943 To Pacific theatre and Thirteenth Air Force
January 1946 To Japan
10 May 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col John V Hart: 15 Jan 1941
Col Harry E Wilson: Jul 1942
Maj Edwin J Latoszewski: 14 Dec 1942
Lt Col Guy L Hudson: Jan 1943
Col Harry E Wilson: 22 Apr 1943
Col Charles C Kegelman: 16 Nov 1944
Lt Col Harry C Harvey: 15 Mar 1945
Col Paul F Helmick: 10 May 1945
Lt Col Harry E Goldsworthy: Sep 1945
Maj Thomas B Waddel: Mar-10 May 1946.

Main Bases

Ft Douglas, Utah: 15 Jan 1941
Boise, Idaho: c. 3 Jun 1941
Mc Chord Field, Wash: c. 18 Jan 1942-15 Mar 1943
Fiji Islands: 22 Apr 1943
Guadalcanal: 6 Jun 1943
Russell Islands: Oct 1943
Sterling, Solomon Islands: 20 Jan 1944
Hollandia: Aug 1944
Sansapor, New Guinea: Sep 1944
Morotai: Feb 1945
Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Mar 1945
Itami, Japan: Jan-10 May 1946.

Component Units

69th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-46 (B-25)
70th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-46 (B-25)
75th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-46 (B-18, A-29, B-26, B-25)*
76th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-43 (B-18, B-24, A-29, B-25)#
77th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-42 (B-18, B-26, B-25)
100th Bombardment Squadron: 1945 (B-25)
390th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46 (B-18, A-29, B-26, B-25)*
406th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-43 (B-18, B-26, A-29, B-25, B-24)

* B-25 only from 1943 onwards
# Became 23rd Antisubmarime Squadron 1943

Assigned To

1941: 20th Bombardment Wing

1943-1945: XIII Bomber Command; Thirteenth Air Force

1946: 310th Bombardment Wing; Fifth Air Force
1946: V Fighter Command; Fifth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (date), 42nd Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/42nd_Bombardment_Group.html

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