482nd Bombardment Group

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The 482nd Bombardment Group provided a pathfinder force for the heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force. It was unusual in that it was activated in England on 20 August 1943, not serving in the United States until the end of the war in Europe.

The group was equipped with a mix of B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, all equipped with radar and designed to lead the main bomber formations to targets that were obscured by bad weather. Its first mission came on 27 September 1943, when it lead aircraft from the 1st and 3rd Bombardment Divisions to attack the port of Emden. It was the first group to use the H2S navigational radar set, as used by RAF Bomber Command. The success of their early tests meant that the equipment was adopted more widely by the Eighth Air Force.

Although the group was officially based at Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, for the entire duration of its time in Great Britain, from September 1943 until 1944 the unit normally operated in detachments, with the B-17s and B-24s based with the squadrons they were leading.

While operating in this way the 482nd lead attacks on targets at Gotha, Brunswick and Schweinfurt during Big Week (20-25 February 1944), the attack on the German aircraft industry. The group won a distinguished unit citation for its role in an attack on central Germany on 11 January 1944. Poor weather made the fighter escort ineffective, but the group pushed on and bombed its target while fighting a running battle with German aircraft.

In March 1944 the group was removed from the front line (its last pathfinder mission was an attack on Berlin on 22 March) and became a pathfinder school.The aim was to train one squadron in each Bombardment Group to act as a pathfinders, dramatically increasing the poor-weather capability of the Eighth Air Force.

This change did not end the combat career of the unit. It carried out a number of experimental and mapping flights over occupied Europe and Germany, often carrying out bombing missions at the same time. On D-Day (6 June 1944) the group operated as a pathfinder unit targeting German coastal defences in Normandy, and also attacked German transport targets behind the beachhead.


 Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Crowood Aviation), Martin W. Bowman. A well balanced book that begins with a look at the development history of the B-24, before spending nine out of its ten chapters looking at the combat career of the aircraft in the USAAF, the US Navy and the RAF.
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 B-24 Liberator Units of the Eighth Air Force, Robert F. Dorr. Although the Eighth Air Force is famous for operating the B-17, even at the end of the Second World War the B-24 still equipped one third of all Eighth Army Bombardment Groups. Here Dorr looks at the role the Liberator played with the Eighth Army, from its tiny beginnings in 1942 to the final massive air armadas of 1944 and 1945. Dorr also looks at the sizable detachments sent to North Africa during 1943, and the famous Ploesti mission.  
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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen. A well researched and illustrated history of the B-17, with a very strong section on its combat record, an interesting chapter on the efforts made to improve the aircraft (including a number of suggestions that didn't enter production) and a good selection of colour pictures of the aircraft. [see more]
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August 1943-June 1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator


10 August 1943 Constituted as 482nd Bombardment Group (Pathfinder)
20 August 1943 Activated in England with Eighth Air Force
27 September 1943 First combat mission, an attack on the port at Emden
September 1943-March 1944 Operates as a pathfinder unit
March 1944-May 1944 Operates as a pathfinder school
November 1944 Redesignated 482nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)
May-June 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Colonel Baskin R. Lawrence Jr: 20 August 1943
Colonel Howard Moore: 1 December 1943
Lt. Colonel Clement W. Bird: 15 December 1944-1945

Main Bases

Alconbury, England: 20 August 1943-21 May 1945
Victorville, California: 5 July-1 September 1945

Component Units

812nd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
813rd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
814th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945

Assigned To

Eighth Air Force: 1943-1945
1943: 1st Bombardment Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 February 2008), 482nd Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/482nd_Bombardment_Group.html

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