The 492nd Bombardment Group was a unit of the Eighth Air Force, but despite being a heavy bombardment group it actually spent most of its time in Europe flying "Carpetbagger" missions, transporting agents and supplies to resistance movements in Occupied Europe.
The group entered combat on 11 May 1944 as a conventional bomber unit, starting with a number of raids over Germany before taking part in the operations to support the D-Day landings and the breakout at St. Lo. This first incarnation of the 492nd was effectively disbanded at the start of August 1944.
On 5 August 1944 a provisional group based at Harrington was redesignated as the 492nd Bombardment Group (officially the 492nd moved, but without aircraft, equipment, personnel or its commanding officer - it is not entirely clear what did actually make the move!).
The new 492nd was equipped with a mix of B-24 Liberators and C-47 Dakotas, with which it carried out "Carpetbagger" operations. This was the code name given to operations designed to support the resistance, and involved flying supplies and agents into Occupied Europe.
This first spell of "Carpetbagger" missions was short lived, ending on 16 September 1944. During the rest of September the 492nd was one of a number of units used to fly fuel to the rapidly advancing Allied troops in France and Belgium.
In October the group began to train to operate at night. In this period it also carried out intermittent raids on targets in occupied France, the Low Countries and Germany. Night operations finally began in February 1945, but after four months of training the night operations only lasted until 18 March, when the unit resumed its "Carpet Bagger" operations, this time with a mix of B-24s, Mosquitoes and A-26 Invaders.
The 492nd Bombardment Group won two unit awards for these operations. The French government awarded it the Croix de Guerre with Palm for the operations in 1944, and it received a Distinguished Unit Citation for the second spell between 20 March and 25 April 1945.
September 1943-August 1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
August 1944-March 1945: Consolidated B-24 and C-47 Dakota
March-April 1945: Consolidated B-24, A-26 Invader and De Havilland Mosquito
|14 September 1943||Constituted as 492nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 October 1943||Activated|
|April 1944||Moved to England to join Eighth Air Force|
|11 May 1944||First combat mission|
|August 1944||Ends normal bombing missions, begins Carpetbagger missions|
|April 1945||Last Carpetbagger mission|
|July-August 1945||Returned to the United States|
|August 1945||Redesignated 492nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)|
|17 October 1945||Inactivated|
Colonel Arthur J Pierce: 19 October 1943
Major Louis C Adams: 17 December 1943
Colonel Eugene H Snavely: 26 January 1944
Colonel Clifford J Heflin: 13 August 1944
Lt. Colonel Robert W. Fish: 26 August 1944
Colonel Hudson H. Upham: 17 December 1944
Lt. Colonel Jack M. Dickerson: 7 June 1944
Lt. Colonel Dalson E. Crawford: 30 August-October 1945
Alamogordo Field, New Mexico: 1 October 1943-1 April 1944
North Pickenham, Norfolk, England: 18 April 1944
Harrington, Northamptonshire, England: 5 August 1944-8 July 1945
Sioux Falls, SD: 14 August 1945
Kirtland Field, New Mexico: 17 August-17 October 1945
406th Bombardment Squadron: 1945
856th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
857th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
858th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1944, 1944-1945
859th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
Eighth Air Force: 1944-1945
1944: 14th Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
c. August 1944-1945: 40th Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force