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13th Combat Wing 390th Bomb Group (Heavy)

13th Combat Wing
390th Bomb Group (Heavy)

390th Bomb Group Website

On 26 January 1943, the 390th Bombardment Group (H) was activated on General Order 14, issued by Headquarters second Air Force, Fort George Wright, Washington. Formation did not begin until late February 1943. Training at Geiger until 6 June 1943 when the Group moved to Great Falls AAB, Montana. The aircraft went overseas on the 4th of July 1943 taking the northern ferry route from Iceland to Prestwick, where the first aircraft arrived on the 13th of July 1943. The ground unit left for Camp Shanks, NY on the 4th of July 1943 and sailed on the USS James Parker on the 17th of July 1943, and they arrived in liverpool on the 27th of July 1943. Prepared for combat with B-17’s and assigned to Eighth AF. Operated chiefly against strategic objectives, flying many missions with the aid of pathfinders. Began combat on 12 Aug 1943. The first mission was on the 12th August 1943 and involved all four squadrons.

On August 17 1943 attacked the Messerschmitt aircraft complex at Regensburg and received a DUC for the mission. Received another DUC for a mission on 14 Oct 1943 when the group braved unrelenting assaults by enemy fighters to bomb the antifriction-bearing plants at Schweinfurt. Participating in the intensive Allied assault on the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944, the organization bombed aircraft factories, instrument plants, and air parks. Other strategic missions included attacks on marshalling yards at Frankfurt, bridges at Cologne, oil facilities at Zeitz, factories at Mannheim, naval installations at Bremen, and synthetic oil refineries at Merseburg. Sometimes flew interdictory and support missions. Bombed the coast near Caen fifteen minutes before the landings in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944. Attacked enemy artillery in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at St Lo in July. Cut German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944 – Jan 1945. Hit airfields in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 20 Apr 1945. Dropped food supplies to the Dutch during the week prior to V-E Day.

On August 11th 1945 the 390th arrived in New York Harbor. After a months leave the Group reassembled at Sioux Falls S.D, but never reorganized as a unit. The 390th Bombardment Group was deactivated on August 28, 1945.

Statistical Summary:
First Mission: 12 Aug 1943
Last Mission: 20 Apr 1945
Missions: 300
Total Sorties: 8,725
Total Bomb Tonnage: 19,059 Tons
Aircraft MIA: 179

Awards and Decorations:
Distinguished Unit Citation: 17 August 1943: Regensburg (all 4BW groups)
Distinguished Unit Citation: 14 October 1943: Schweinfurt