99th Bombardment Group

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The 99th Bombardment Group was a B-17 group that served in North Africa and as a strategic bomber unit from bases in Italy.

The group was activated in June 1942 and trained with the B-17 Flying Fortress. It moved to North Africa in February-May 1943 (having originally been allocated to the Eighth Air Force in Britain), and was based in Algeria. It entered combat in April 1943 (with notably accurate bombing on its first two missions) and supported the campaign in the Mediterranean and on Sicily between then and December 1943. During this period it attack airfields, harbours, Axis shipping and transport links in Tunisia, Sardinia, Sicily, Pantelleria and on the Italian mainland.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for for an attack on the fighter base at Gerbinin on 5 July 1943 during the build-up to the invasion of Sicily. It also took part in a major attack on Messina on 25 June, one of a series of raids intended to cut the flow of supplies to Sicily.

Boeing B-17 of 99th Bombardment Group Sinking
Boeing B-17 of
99th Bombardment Group

In September 1943 the group helped support the landings at Salerno, taking part in a successful attack on bridges over the Volturno River at Capua on the day of the landings.

In November 1943 the group became part of the Fifteenth Air Force, a strategic bombing force. In December it moved to Italy and began a series of attacks on industrial and transport targets across the south and east of Europe, reaching France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans. The aircraft industry was a constant target, with a ball-bearing factory at Villa Perosa a target on 3 January 1944.

On 13 January the group took part in a complex attack on German fighter fields around Udine. The bombers flew a normal attack pattern, and were picked up by German raider. In the meantime a force of P-47s shadowed them at low altitude. They waited until the German fighters would be armed and fuelled and ready to take off and then attacked the airfields fifteen minutes ahead of the bombers. The P-47s claimed thirty-six fighters destroyed and the bombers were unopposed. In total 140 German aircraft were claimed as destroyed.

In February-March 1944 the group took part in the battles of Anzio and Cassino, directly supporting the ground troops.

On 24 March 1944 the group took part in the Fifteenth Air Force's first thousand-ton raid, an attack on rail targets in northern Italy.

It was awarded second DUC for an attack on an aircraft factory at Weiner Neustadt on 23 April 1944, carried out in the face of heavy fighter attacks.

In August 1944 the group attacked German defences in southern France in preparation for the upcoming invasion (Operation Dragoon). Amongst its targets were the airfields at Istres/ Le Tube and Salon, attacked by 180 B-17s on 17 August. Ninety four German aircraft were destroyed in this raid.

In April 1944 the group supported the Allied offensive in the Po Valley.

The group was inactivated in Italy in November 1945.


To Follow


1942-45: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


28 January 1942 Constituted as 99th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 June 1942 Activated
Feb-May 1943 To North Africa and Twelfth Air Force
November 1943 To Fifteenth Air Force
December 1943 To Italy
8 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Unkn: Jun-Sep 1942
Col Fay R Upthegrove: c. Sep 1942
Lt Col Wayne E Thurman: 24 Nov 1943
Col Charles W Lawrence: 19 Dec 1943
Lt Col Wayne E Thurman: 26 Jan 1944
Col Ford J Lauer: 15 Feb 1944
Col Trenholm J Meyer: Jul 1944
Lt Col James A Barnett: Aug 1944
Col Ford J Lauer: Sep 1944
Col Raymond V Schwanbeck: Jan 1945
Lt Col Robert E Guay: 8 Oct 1945
Maj Joseph D Russell: 11 Oct 1945
Maj John S Giegel: 16 Oct 1945-unkn

Main Bases

Orlando AB, Fla: 1 Jun 1942
MacDill Field, Fla: 1 Jun 1942
Pendleton Field, Ore: 29 Jun 1942
Gowen Field, Idaho: 28 Aug 1942
Walla Walla, Wash: c. 30 Sep 1942
Sioux City AAB, Iowa: 17 Nov 1942-3 Jan 1943
Navarin, Algeria: c. 23 Feb 1943
Oudna, Tunisia: 4 Aug 1943
Tortorella Airfield, Italy: c. 11 Dec 1943
Marcianise, Italy: Oct-8 Nov 1945.

Component Units

346th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-45; 1947-49
347th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-45; 1947-49
348th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-45; 1947-49
416th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-45; 1947-49

Assigned To

1943: Twelfth Air Force
1943-45: 5th Bombardment Wing; XII Bomber Command; Fifteenth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 March 2013), 99th Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/99th_Bombardment_Group.html

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