493rd Bombardment Group

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History

The 493rd Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force, that entered combat in May 1944, just in time to take part in the operations to support the D-Day landings.

Most of the group's sorties were carried out as part of the strategic bombing campaign over Germany, attacking targets at Magdeburg, Cologne, Merseburg, Ahrweiler and Frankfurt and elsewhere in Germany and occupied Europe.

The 493rd took part in a number of tactical missions. Before and during the Normandy landings the group attacked German airfields, bridges and gun batteries in France. It was also used in the operations to support the ground forces fighting at Caen and before the breakout at St. Lo. In September the unit attacked German fortifications in support of Operation Market Garden. During the Battle of the Bulge it attacked German communications. It also flew in support of the airborne crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. The 493rd's last combat mission was an attack on marshalling yards at Nauen on 20 April 1945.

Books

 Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Crowood Aviation), Martin W. Bowman. A well balanced book that begins with a look at the development history of the B-24, before spending nine out of its ten chapters looking at the combat career of the aircraft in the USAAF, the US Navy and the RAF.
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 B-24 Liberator Units of the Eighth Air Force, Robert F. Dorr. Although the Eighth Air Force is famous for operating the B-17, even at the end of the Second World War the B-24 still equipped one third of all Eighth Army Bombardment Groups. Here Dorr looks at the role the Liberator played with the Eighth Army, from its tiny beginnings in 1942 to the final massive air armadas of 1944 and 1945. Dorr also looks at the sizable detachments sent to North Africa during 1943, and the famous Ploesti mission.  
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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen. A well researched and illustrated history of the B-17, with a very strong section on its combat record, an interesting chapter on the efforts made to improve the aircraft (including a number of suggestions that didn't enter production) and a good selection of colour pictures of the aircraft. [see more]
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Aircraft

September 1943-September 1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
September 1944-April 1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Timeline

14 September 1943 Constituted as 493rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 November 1944 Activated
1 January 1944 Ground echelon to England
May 1944 Air echelon to England
May 1944-April 1945 In combat with Eighth Air Force
September 1944 Converted to B-17
20 April 1945 Last combat mission
August 1945 Returned to United States
28 August 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Colonel Elbert Helton: 1 November 1943
Colonel Robert B. Landry: 16 February 1945
Lt. Colonel Shepler W. Fitzgerald Jr: 5 June-28 August 1945

Main Bases

McCook Field, Nebraska: 1 November 1943
Elvendon Hall, England: 1 January 1944
Debach, England: April 1944-6 August 1945
Sioux Falls Field, SD: 12-28 August 1945

Component Units

860th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
861st Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
862nd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
863rd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945

Assigned To

Eighth Air Force: 1944-1945
1944-1945: 93rd Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 February 2008), 493rd Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/493rd_Bombardment_Group.html

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