505th Bombardment Group, USAAF

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History

The 505th Bombardment Group, USAAF, was a B-29 unit that took part in the strategic bombing campaign against Japan and the mining campaign that cut off the Japanese Home Islands.

The 505th was activated on 11 March 1944 and after a short spell operating the B-17 Flying Fortress converted to the B-29 Superfortress. Late in 1944 the group began to move to the Pacific and the Twentieth Air Force.

By January 1945 the 505th had reached North Field, Tinian. It was joined by the rest of the 313th Bombardment Wing by the end of February. The 505th was felt to be under-trained and an in-combat training regime was put in place, but by the start of February the group was judged to be ready to take part in an attack on the Japanese Home Islands.

On 4 February 1945 the group took part in the first multi-wing attack on the Japanese Home Islands, taking part in a 129-aircraft attack on Kobe. Only 69 aircraft from the 129 reached their target, but the raid was judged to have been effective. February also saw attacks on Iwo Jima and Truk. The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation very early in its combat career, for a raid on the Nakajima factory at Ota in February 1945.

The group spent much of its time carrying out low-level night-time incendiary attacks on the Japanese Home Islands. It wa also used to support the landings on Okinawa.

In the early summer of 1945 the 313th Wing was used to drop mines in Japanese waters. Once the original minefields had been dropped most of the wing moved on, but the 505th BG was given the task of maintaining the mining, and dropped 3,542 mines in fourteen missions between 7 June and 3 July. A second DUC was awarded for the mine laying operations in June and July.

After the war the unit dropped supplies to POWs, took part in show-of-force missions over Japan and helped to evaluate the impact of the bombing. It moved to the Philippines in 1946, where it was inactivated later in the year.

Books

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Aircraft

1944: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
1944-46: Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Timeline

Constituted as 505th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 28 February 1944
Activated 11 March 1944
Combat debut February 1944
Inactivated 30 June 1946

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj George D Roberts: 15 Apr 1944
Col Robert A Ping: 3 May 1944
Lt Col Charles M Eisenhart: 1 Jul 1945
Col John P Kenny: c. Sep 1945-1946.

Main Bases

Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 11 Mar 1944
Harvard AAFld: Neb, 1 Apr-6 Nov 1944
North Field, Tinian: 19 Dec 1944-5 Mar 1946
Clark Field, Luzon: 14 Mar-30 Jun 1946.

Component Units

482nd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
483rd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
484th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
485th Bombardment Squadron: 1944

Assigned To

1944: 313rd Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Second Air Force (training in US)
December 1944-1946: 313rd Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Twentieth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 December 2013), 505th Bombardment Group, USAAF, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/505th_Bombardment_Group.html

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