866th Bombardment Group

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The 866th Bombardment Group was the third of three B-24 Liberator squadrons formed to create the 494th Bombardment Group, the last Liberator group to leave the United States during the Second World War. The three new squadrons were joined by the 867th Bombardment Squadron, which under three different designations had taken part in the anti-submarine war since early in 1942, and after spending most of 1944 in training the new group left for Angaur at the end of September 1944.

The B-24s of the 866th Bombardment Squadron were left in their natural metal finish and could be distinguished by two vertical stripes painted in black on the tail.

The 866th Bombardment Squadron took part in the bombing campaign in the Palau Islands and in the campaign over the Philippines from its first base on Angaur. In June 1945 it moved to Okinawa, and on 5 July took part in the first B-24 Liberator raid on the Japanese home islands from Okinawa. For the last two months of the war the squadron took part in the attack on Japan as well as carrying out raids on targets in China and Korea. After the end of the war the squadron flew mercy missions to Allied prisoners of war held in Japan.

For more details see the 494th Bomb Group (H) Association website


Consolidated B-24 Liberator: 1944-1945


 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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14 September 1943 Constituted as 864th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
1 December 1943 Activated
7 January 1946 Inactivated


Combat in Western and Southwest Pacific: 22 November 1944-12 August 1945


Air Offensive, Japan
Eastern Mandates
Western Pacific
Southern Philippines
China Offensive
Air Combat, Asiatic-Pacific Theater

Main Bases

Wendover Field, Utah: 1 December 1943
Mountain Home Army, Idaho: 14 April-1 June 1944
Barking Sands, Hawaii: 15 June 1944
Angaur: 30 September 1944
Yontan, Okinawa: 24 June-19 December 1945
Vancouver, Washington: 4-7 January 1946

Assigned To

494th Bombardment Group: 1 December 1943-4 January 1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 July 2008), 866th Bombardment Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/866th_Bombardment_Squadron.html

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