95th Bombardment Group

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 95th Bombardment Group was a B-17 group that took part in the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign over Europe as well as supporting the Allied armies fighting in Europe after D-Day.

The 95th was one of five new B-17 Groups to become operational in May 1943, greatly increasing the power of the Eighth Air Force (the number of available crews rose from 100 to 215 on 13 May). Its first mission was an attack on the German airfield at St Omer-Longuenesse on 13 May. Its first loss came on the following day when an aircraft was shot down during an attack on a Ford and General Motors factory at Antwerp.

On 13 June 1943 the group took part in an attack on the U-boat yards at Kiel. The leading aircraft was shot down and amongst the dead was General Nathan Bedford Forrest III, the grandson of the famous American Civil War general. Forrest became the first American general to be killed in combat in Europe during the Second World War. The rest of the group also suffered heavily during this raid and nine aircraft were lost.

In July 1943 the group began to take part in longer range raids against strategic targets in Germany. Most of the group's raids for the rest of the war were part of the strategic bombing campaign.

The group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first was for its role in the attack on an aircraft factory at Regensburg on 17 August 1943, when four aircraft were lost. The second was won during a raid on Berlin on 4 May 1944 when the 95th was one of a small number of units to actually reach Berlin (others diverting to secondary targets or returning to base after encountering terrible weather).

The group also flew a significant number of tactical missions. It attacked coastal defences in Normandy during the D-Day campaign, supported the American breakthrough at St Lo in July 1944, dropped supplies to the isolated Poles during the Warsaw Uprising (18 June 1944), attacked German transport links during the Battle of the Bulge (to prevent reinforcements or supplies reaching the advancing Germans). It also supported the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

The group's last combat operation was an attack on marshalling yards at Oranienburg on 20 April 1945. It was then used to drop food to the starving Dutch and to move POWs and displaced persons from Austria to France and Britain. The group returned to the USA in June-August 1945 and was inactivated on 28 August.

Books

The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission, Martin Middlebrook. A very detailed account of the costly American daylight raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt of 17 August 1943, a pair of maximum effort attacks that were meant to cripple parts of German industry but instead made it clear that even the heavily armed B-17 Flying Fortress couldn't operate without fighter escort. [read full review]
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Aircraft

1942-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Timeline

28 January 1942 Constituted as 95th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
15 June 1942 Activated
March-May 1943 To England and Eighth Air Force
June-August 1945 To United States
28 August 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Alfred A Kessler Jr: 23 Oct 1942
Col John K Gerhart: 22 Jun 1943
Col Chester P Gilger: c. 29 Jan 1944
Col Karl Truesdell Jr: 10 May 1944
Col Jack E Shuck: Dec 1944
Lt Col Robert H Stuart: 28 Apr 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Barksdale Field, La: 15 Jun 1942
Pendleton Field, Ore: 26 Jun 1942
Geiger Field, Wash: 28 Aug 1942
Ephrata, Wash: 31 Oct 1942
Geiger Field, Wash: 24 Nov 1942
Rapid City AAB, SD: 14 Dec 1942-11 Mar 1943
Framlingham, England: 12 May 1943
Horham, England: 15 Jun 1943-19 Jun 1945
Sioux Falls AA Fld: 14-28 August 1945

Component Units

334th Bombardment Squadron: 15 June 1942-28 August 1945
335th Bombardment Squadron: 15 June 1942-28 August 1945
336th Bombardment Squadron: 15 June 1942-28 August 1945
412th Bombardment Squadron: 15 June 1942-28 August 1945

Assigned To

1943: 4th Bombardment Wing; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
1943-February 1944: 13th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
February 1944-1945: 13th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 October 2012), 95th Bombardment Group (Second World War), http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/95th_Bombardment_Group.html

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