The 447th Bombardment Group was a B-17 group of the Eighth Air Force that took part in the campaign to support the D-Day landings before joining the full strategic bombing campaign.
The group was activated in the United States in May 1943 and moved to England to join the Eighth Air Force in November 1943. Its combat debut came in December 1943, and it took part in the pre D-Day period of operations, flying a mix of strategic bombing raids against industrial and transport targets in Germany and more tactical missions, targeting transport links, V-weapon sites, ports and airfields across France and Belgium. It also took part in the 'Big Week' attacks on the German aircraft industry (20-25 February 1944).
During the D-Day campaign the group attacked targets near the beachhead and German airfields. It supported the American breakthrough at St Lo in July and the attack on Brest in September as well as playing a part in Operation Market Garden in the same month. The group was also used to drop supplies to Free French forces.
In October 1944 the heavy bombers returned to the strategic bombing campaign. It took part in the attack on German oil production of late 1944, before being diverted to support American troops during the battle of the Bulge. The group also supported the Allied crossing of the Rhine in March 1945, although most of its efforts during 1945 were part of the strategic bombing campaign.
On 2 November 1944 2nd Lt Robert E Femoyer, a navigator in the group, won a posthumous Medal of Honor. He was mortally wounded by flak but refused to take a sedative so that he could navigate his aircraft to safety. The aircraft reached safety, but Femoyer died of his wounds soon after landing.
1943-1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
|6 April 1943||447th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 May 1943||Activated|
|November 1943||To England and Eighth Air Force|
|August 1945||To United States|
|7 November 1945||Inactivated|
Lt Col. Robert D McDonald: 10 May 1943
Col Hunter Harris Jr: 23 May 1943
Col William J Wrigglesworth: 25 Sep 1944
Lt Col Louis G Thorup: 31 Mar 1945
Lt Col Wilfred Beaver: 1 July 1945
Ephrata AAB, Wash: 1 May
Rapid City AAB, SD: c.1 Jul 1943
Harvard AA Fld, Neb: Aug-11 Nov 1943
Rattlesden, Suffolk, England: c. 29 Nov 1943-c.1 Aug 1945
Drew Field, Fla: c. 14 Aug- 7 Nov 1945.
708th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943-7 November 1945
709th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943-7 November 1945
710th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943-7 November 1945
711th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943-7 November 1945
1943-February 1944: 4th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; VIII Bomber Command; Eighth Air Force
February 1944-1945: 4th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force; US Strategic Air Forces Europe
1945: 14th Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force