43rd Bombardment Group

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The 43rd Bombardment Group was created over the winter of 1940-1, on the US East Coast, training with a mix of aircraft. When the United States entered the war in December 1941 the group carried out a number of anti-submarine patrols off the east coast, but it spend most of the war in the South West Pacific with the Fifth Air Force.

The group reached Sydney in March 1942, but did not enter combat until September, when it finally had a reasonable complement of aircraft. From then until November 1944 the group operated in support of the campaign in New Guinea, first from Australia, then from New Guinea and Owi Island, concentrated in particular in attacks on shipping. The unit experimented with low level skip bombing, using this tactic at the battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-4 March 1943 with some success. The Group received a DUC for its efforts during this battle.

Between May and September 1943 the group's B-17s were replaced with B-24 Liberators, believed to be more suited to the long ranges of many Pacific missions. In November 1944 the group moved to the Philippines, helping the ground campaign on Luzon as well as conducting strategic bombing missions against targets in China and Formosa. Finally in July 1945 it moved to Le Shima, from where it flew missions over Japan, still attacking shipping, as well as airfields and railways.


 B-24 Liberator Units of the Pacific War, Robert F. Dorr. The B-24 played a major part in the war in the Pacific, serving as the main heavy bomber for the USAAF in the Pacific from the start of the war until the late arrival of the B-29. The Pacific campaign was fought on a vast scale, over theatres as varied as the jungles of Burma and the icy Aleutian islands. Dorr splits this volume into five parts - one looking at the early period of the war, when small numbers of B-24s took part in desperate attempts to stop the Japanese advance, one chapter each for the Fifth, Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces, and a final chapter for the combined Far East Air Force.  
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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, B-18, A-29 and Consolidated LB-30 Liberator: 1941-1942 (training)
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress: 1942-May 1943
Consolidated B-24 Liberator: May 1943-December 1945


20 November 1940 Constituted as 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)
15 January 1941 Activated
December 1941-February 1942 Anti-submarine patrols off east coast
February-March 1942 Transferred to South west Pacific
August 1942-November 1944 Mainly anti-shipping from Australia, New Guinea and Owi Island
November 1944-July 1945 Based on Phillipines, operating over China and Luzon
July 1945-August 1945 Based on Le Shima, attacking Japan

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt. Colonel Harold D Smith: 15 January 1941
Lt. Colonel Francis B Valentine: 1 March 1941
Major Conrad H Diehl, Jr: 18 February 1942
Colonel Roger M Ramey: 21 October 1942
Lt. Colonel John A Roberts: 30 March 1943
Colonel Harry J Hawthorne: 24 May 1943
Lt. Colonel Edward W. Scott Jr: 18 November 1943
Colonel Harry J. Hawthorne: 8 February 1944
Colonel James T Pettus, Jr: 18 September 1944
Major Paul B. Hansen: 8 September 1945

Main Bases

Langley Field, Va.: 15 January 1941
Bangor, Maine: 28 August 1941-17 February 1942
Sydney, Australia: 28 March 1942
Torrens Creek, Australia: 1 August 1942
Port Moresby, New Guinea: 14 September 1942
Dobodura, New Guinea: 10 December 1943
Nadzab, New Guinea: 4 March 1944
Owi, Schouten Islands: 2 July 1944
Tacloban, Leyte: 15 November 1944
Clark Field, Luzon: 16 March 1945
Le Shima: 26 July 1945

Component Units

63rd Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1946
64th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1946
65th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1946
403rd Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945

Assigned To

V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force: 1942-1945

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 December 2007), 43rd Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/43rd_Bombardment_Group.html

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