490th Bombardment Group

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The 490th Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force that entered combat just before the D-Day landings, attacking German airfields. After the invasion it attacked German transportation links and troop concentration in France. In July 1944 the group was used to support the British attack at Caen, and in September to support the attack on Brest.

The 490th then converted to the B-17 Flying Fortress, and spent most of September 1944-February 1945 involved in the strategic bombing offensive against Germany. During the Battle of the Bulge the 490th attacked German supply lines and military installations, and from March 1945 until the end of the war the group operated in support of the ground forces as they advanced across Germany.

After the war the group transported supplies to Holland and returned French and Belgian prisoners of war from camps in Austria, before returning to the United States in the autumn.


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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 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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 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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September 1943-September 1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
September 1945-April 1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


14 September 1943 Constituted as 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
1 October 1943 Activated
April 1944 Moved to England to join Eighth Air Force
June 1944 First combat mission
September 1944 Converted to the B-17
August-September 1945 Returned to the United States
7 November 1945 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Major Lyle E. Halstead: 11 October 1943
Lt. Colonel Beirne Lay Jr: 28 October 1943
Lt. Colonel James H. Isbell: November 1943
Colonel Lloyd H Watnee: 30 December 1943
Colonel Frank P Bostrom: 26 June 1944
Colonel Gene H Tibbets: c.10 June 1945
Lt. Colonel Clarence J Adams: c.9 July 1945

Main Bases

Salt Lake City, Utah: 1 October 1943
Mountain Home, Idaho: 4 December 1943-April 1944
Eye, England: c.1 May 1944-August 1945
Drew Field, Florida: 3 September-7 November 1945

Component Units

848th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
849th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
850th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
851th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945

Assigned To

Eighth Air Force: 1944-1945
1944-1945: 93rd Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
1945: 13th Bombardment Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 February 2008), 490th Bombardment Group, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/490th_Bombardment_Group.html

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