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344th Bombardment Group
394thbg-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 344th Bombardment Group
Active 1942-1946
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Force

The 344th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the XII Fighter Command stationed at Schleissheim Palace, Germany. It was inactivated on 15 February 1946.

The unit was deployed to Ninth Air Force in Western Europe during World War II as a B-26 Marauder medium bomber group. The 344th Bombardment Group was selected to lead the IX Bomber Command formations on D-Day, with the first aircraft taking off at 04:12 hours to attack coastal batteries in Cherbourg. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for three-day action against the enemy, 24-26 Jul 1944, when the group struck troop concentrations, supply dumps, a bridge, and a railroad viaduct to assist advancing ground forces at Saint-Lô.

The 371st was redesignated as the 126th Bombardment Group, and allotted to the Illinois Air National Guard on 24 May 1946.

Contents

History

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 344th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 31 Aug 1942
Activated on 8 Sep 1942
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946

Assignments

Attached to: XII Fighter Command, 15 Sep 1945-15 Feb 1946

Stations

Components

  • 494th Bombardment Group (K9), 8 Sep 1942-31 Mar 1946
  • 495th Bombardment Group (Y5), 8 Sep 1942-31 Mar 1946
  • 496th Bombardment Group (N3), 8 Sep 1942-31 Mar 1946
  • 496th Bombardment Group (7I), 8 Sep 1942-30 Dec 1945

Aircraft

Operations

B-26 Marauders of the 394th Bomb Group on a bomb run - 1944

Equipped with B-26's and served as a replacement training unit for Third Air Force.

Moved to England, Jan-Feb 1944. Began operations with Ninth Air Force in March, attacking airfields, missile sites, marshalling yards, submarine shelters, coastal defenses, and other targets in France, Belgium, and Holland. Beginning in May, helped prepare for the Normandy invasion by striking vital bridges in France. On D-Day 1944 attacked coastal batteries at Cherbourg; during the remainder of Jun, supported the drive that resulted in the seizure of the Cotentin Peninsula. Bombed defended positions to assist British forces in the area of Caen.

Received a DUC for three-day action against the enemy, 24-26 Jul 1944, when the group struck troop concentrations, supply dumps, a bridge, and a railroad viaduct to assist advancing ground forces at St Lo. Knocked out bridges to hinder the enemy's withdrawal through the Falaise gap, and bombed vessels and strong points at Brest, Aug-Sept 1944.

Attacked bridges, rail lines, fortified areas, supply dumps and ordnance depots in Germany, Oct-Nov 1944. Supported Allied forces during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, and continued to strike such targets as supply points, communications centers, bridges, marshalling yards, roads, and oil storage tanks until Apr 1945. Began training A-26 but continued to use B-26 aircraft. Made training flights and participated in air demonstrations after the war.

Moved to Germany in Sept 1945 and, as part of United States Air Forces in Europe, served with the army of occupation. Redesignated 344th Bombardment Group (Light) in Dec 1945. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US on 15 Feb 1946. Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946.

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links


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