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305th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

Aircraft:B-17
Group Emblem:
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Wing:40th Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:1st Bombardment Division
Airfield(s)
Squadrons:364th Bombardment Squadron
365th Bombardment Squadron
366th Bombardment Squadron
422nd Bombardment Squadron
Tail Marking:
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Details:Trained for duty overseas with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Oct 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF.

Began combat on 17 Nov 1942 and operated chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization until Apr 1945. Until mid-1943, attacked such targets as submarine pens, docks, harbors, shipyards, motor works, and marshalling yards in France, Germany, and the Low Countries. Bombed the navy yards at Wilhelmshaven on 27 Jan 1943 when heavy bombers of Eighth AF made their first penetration into Germany.

Received a DUC for a mission on 4 Apr 1943 when an industrial target in Paris was bombed with precision in spite of pressing enemy fighter attacks and heavy flak. During the second half of 1943, began deeper penetration into enemy territory to strike heavy industry. Significant objectives included aluminum, magnesium, and nitrate works in Norway, industries in Berlin, oil plants at Merseburg, aircraft factories at Anklam, shipping at Gdynia, and ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt.

Received another DUC for withstanding severe opposition to bomb aircraft factories in central Germany on 11 Jan 1944. Participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. 1st Lt William R Lawley Jr, and 1st Lt Edward S Michael, pilots, each received the Medal of Honor for similar performances on 20 Feb and 11 Apr 1944, respectively; in each case a B-17 was severely damaged by fighters after it had bombed a target in Germany, crew members were wounded, and the pilot himself was critically injured; recovering in time to pull his aircraft out of a steep dive, and realizing that the wounded men would be unable to bail out, each pilot flew his plane back to England and made a successful crash landing.

In addition to bombardment of strategic targets, the group often flew interdictory missions and supported infantry units. Prior to the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944, it helped to neutralize enemy installations such as V-weapon sites, airfields, and repair shops; and on D-Day, 6 Jun, bombed enemy strongholds near the battle area. Attacked enemy positions in advance of ground forces at St Lo in Jul 1944. Struck antiaircraft batteries to cover the airborne invasion of Holland in Sep. Took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by bombing military installations in the battle zone. Supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Sometimes flew missions at night to bomb enemy installations or to drop propaganda leaflets. Flew its last combat mission on 25 Apr 1945.

Remained in the theater as part of United States Air Forces in Europe after V-E Day; and, from stations in Belgium and Germany, engaged in photographic mapping missions over parts of Europe and North Africa. Inactivated in Germany on 25 Dec 1946.

    Commanders:
  • Capt John H deRussy, c. 15 Mar 1942
  • Lt Col Ernest H Lawson, c. 1 Apr 1942
  • Lt Col Fay R Upthegrove, c. 27 May 1942
  • Col Curtis E LeMay, c. 2 Jun 1942
  • Lt Col Donald K Fargo, 18 May 1943
  • Col Ernest H Lawson, Nov 1943
  • Col Anthony Q Mustoe, Jun 1944
  • Col Henry G MacDonald, Oct 1944

Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Maurer, Maurer: USAF, 1986

Accident Reports:Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group: