The 34th Bombardment Group was created during the pre-Pearl Harbor buildup of the USAAF, and was based on the east coast, where it spent the remaining months of peace flying the B-17 Flying Fortress.
After the American entry into the war the 34th spent a month flying patrols off the US east coast, before moving west to Oregon at the end of January 1942, where it became part of the west coast defence force. This period of active service ended in May 1942, when the 34th moved inland to Arizona, where it would spend the rest of 1942 and all of 1943 serving as a replacement training unit.
At the end of 1943 the 34th converted to the B-24 Liberator in preparation for a move to the Eighth Air Force in England. The move took place in April 1944, and operations began only one month later, in May.
During the summer of 1944 the 34th used its B-24s to support the Allied invasion of Europe, attacking German gun emplacements and supply lines. The unit took part in the heavy attack on German forces at St. Lo on 24-25 July. It also took part in the campaign against the V-weapon sites.
In the autumn of 1944 Eisenhower surrendered control of the heavy bombers back to the Eighth Air Force and the strategic bombing campaign was resumed. At this point the 34th BG converted to the B-17 Flying Fortress, flying that aircraft for the rest of the war. From October 1944 until February 1945 the group concentrated on attacking industrial targets in Germany, with a short break to help support the Allied armies during the battle of the Bulge.
As the number of worthwhile strategic targets began to dwindle, the 34th BG returned to tactical duties, attacking German communications and supported Allied attacks.
20 November-late 1943: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Late 1943-Summer 1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Summer 1944-August 1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
|20 November 1940||Constituted as 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|15 January 1941||Activated|
|December 1941||Begins patrol missions off US east coast|
|Mid 1942-late 1943||Replacement training unit|
|April 1944||Moved to England with Eighth Air Force|
|May 1944||Entered combat with B-24 Liberators|
|October 1944||Began operations with B-17 Flying Fortress|
|28 August 1945||Inactivated|
Major John W. Monahan: 15 January 1941
Lt. Colonel Harold D. Smith: 1 March 1941
Major Ford J. Lauer: 9 January 1942
Colonel Ralph E. Koon: 12 February 1942
Major Irvine A. Rendel: 21 July 1942
Major John A. Rouse: 24 February 1943
Lt. Colonel John E Carmack: 15 September 1943
Colonel Ernest F. Wackwitz, Jr.: c.5 January 1944
Colonel William E. Creer: September 1944
Lt. Colonel Eugene B. Lebailly: 29 May 1945-August 1945
Langley Field, Virginia: 15 January 1941
Westover Field, Mass: 29 May 1941
Pendleton Field, Oregon: 27 January 1942
Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona: 13 May 1942
Geiger Field, Washington: 4 July 1942
Ephrata, Washington: 1 December 1942
Blythe, California: 15 December 1942-April 1944
Mendlesham, England: 26 April 1944-25 July 1945
Sioux Falls: August 1945
4th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1945
7th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1945
18th Bombardment Squadron: 1941-1945
391st Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1945
Eighth Air Force: April 1944 onwards
1944-1945: 93rd Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 20th Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 45th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force