439th Troop Carrier Group

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The 439th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) took part in the D-Day landings, the Italian campaign and the invasion of the south of France, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine.

The 439th was one of twelve groups to join the Ninth Air Force direct from the United States in the first half of 1944. It reached Britain in March 1944 and joined the Ninth Air Force.

On D-Day the group dropped troops from the 101st Airborne Division in the first attack, then towed gliders to Normandy on D+1. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation and a French citation for its efforts in Normandy.

In July the group's air echelon was sent to Italy, where it was used to fly supplies into newly-liberated Rome and to evacuate wounded Allied personnel. It then took part in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France. This time it dropped troops from the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment on the Riviera on 15 August 1944, then towed reinforcements in gliders. The group received another French citation for this campaign.

On 25 August the group returned to the UK, before moving to France in September. For most of the rest of the war it acted as a cargo unit.

During Operation Market Garden the group dropped troops from the 82nd Airborne Division around Nijmegen, then once again towed gliders carrying reinforcements into the area.

During the Battle of the Bulge the group towed gliders carrying supplies to Bastogne on 27 December 1944.

On 24 March 1945 the group transported part of the 17th Airborne Division across the Rhine, with each aircraft towing two gliders which were released near Wesel.

After the end of the war the group converted to the C-46 and helped return some of the millions of displaced people who were attempting to return home after escaping from German captivity. The group returned to the US by September 1945 and was inactivated on 10 June 1946.




1943-45: Douglas C-47 Skytrain
1945-46: Curtiss C-46 Commando


14 May 1943 Constituted as 439th Troop Carrier Group
1 June 1943 Activated
Feb-Mar 1944 To England and Ninth Air Force
Jul-Sep 1945 To United States
10 June 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt Col Ralph L Zimmerman: 1 Jun 1943
Col Charles H Young: 21 Jan 1944
Col Gordon L Edris: 6 Oct 1945
Lt Col Lester C Messenger: 16 Apr 1946
Lt Col William M Massengale, Jr: 28 May-10 Jun 1946.

Main Bases

Alliance AAFld, Neb: 1 Jun 1943
Sedalia AAFld, Mo: 15 Jun 1943
Alliance AAFld, Neb: 2 Aug 1943
Laurinburg- Maxton AAB, NC: 16 Dec 1943
Baer Field, Ind: 2-14 Feb 1944
Balderton, England: 21 Feb 1944
Upottery, England: 26 Apr 1944
Juvincourt, France: 8 Sep 1944
Lonray, France: 28 Sep 1944
Chateaudun, France: 4 Nov 1944-11 Jul 1945
Baer Field, Ind: Jul 1945
Sedalia AAFld, Mo: 7 Oct 1945-10 Jun 1946

Component Units

91st: 1943-1946
92nd: 1943-1946
93rd: 1943-1946
94th: 1943-1946

Assigned To

1943: 53rd Troop Carrier Wing; US Based
1944-45: 50th Troop Carrier Wing; IX Troop Carrier Command; Ninth Air Force
1945-46: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 September 2015), 439th Troop Carrier Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/439th_Troop_Carrier_Group.html

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