502nd Bombardment Group

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The 502nd Bombardment Group was a B-29 group that entered the fighting late in the Second World War and concentrated its efforts against the petroleum industry.

The group was formed in the US in June 1944 and moved to Guam in April-June 1945. Its combat debut was a raid on Rota on 30 June 1945 and this was followed by an attack on Truk in early July. By this stage in the war the Japanese on Truk were unable to harm high flying B-29s so it made an ideal early target.

The first attack on the Japanese home islands came on 15 July 1945 and after that the group concentrated its efforts against the fuel industry. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for attacks on a coal liquefaction plat at Ube, a tank farm at Amagasaki, and the Nippon oil refinery at Tsuchizaki, all in August 1945.

After the end of the war the group dropped supplies to Allied POWs in Japan and carried out a number of 'show of force' flights designed to discourage diehards. It was inactivated on Guam on 15 April 1946.




June 1944-April 1946: Boeing B-29 Superfortress


25 May 1944 Constituted as 502nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)
1 June 1944 Activated
April-June 1945 To Guam and Twentieth Air Force
30 June 1945 Combat debut
15 April 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt. Col Estley R Farley: 9 Jul 1944
Lt Col Robert C McBride: 1 Aug 1944
Col Kenneth O Sanborn: 6 Oct 1944-15 April 1946

Main Bases

Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz: 1 Jun 1944
Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 5 Jun 1944
Grand Island AAFld, Neb: 26 Sep 1944- Apr 1945
Northwest Field, Guam: 12 May 1945-15 Apr 1946.

Component Units

402nd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
411st Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
430th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946

Assigned To

May 1944-April 1945: 315th Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Second Air Force (training in US)
May 1945-1946: 315th Bombardment Wing; XXII Bomber Command; Twentieth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 May 2014), 502nd Bombardment Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/502nd_Bombardment_Group.html

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