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491st Bombardment Group: Wikis

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491st Bombardment Group
"Ringmasters"
491stbombgroup-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 491st Bombardment Group
Active 1943–1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Bomber
Part of Eighth Air Force
B-24s of the 854th Bomb Squadron on a mission.
Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 491st Bomb Group lining up for takeoff

The 491st Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the II Bomber Command, stationed at McChord Field, Washington. It was inactivated on 8 September 1945.

During World War II the group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit stationed in England. Assigned to RAF North Pickenham in early 1944. The group flew 187 combat missions, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a raid over Misburg on 26 November 1944. The unit flew its last mission on 25 Apri 1945.

Contents

History

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 491st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943
Activated on 1 Oct 1943
Inactivated on 8 Sep 1945

Assignments

Components

  • 852d Bombardment Squadron (3Q) 1 Oct 1943-8 Sep 1945
  • 853d Bombardment Squadron (T8) 1 Oct 1943-8 Sep 1945
  • 854th Bombardment Squadron (6X) 1 Oct 1943-8 Sep 1945
  • 855th Bombardment Squadron (V2) 1 Oct 1943-8 Sep 1945

Stations

Aircraft

Operations

Activated 1 Oct. 1943 at Davis-Monthan Fd, Ariz. Moved to Biggs Fd, Texas 11 Nov. 1943. Most of ground unit transferred to B-29 groups. Group transferred less personnel and equipment to 2BD Hq. as of 1 Jan. 1944 Apparently planned for 14CBW and North Pickenham designated a base in Feb. 1944, but in view of advanced state of training of 492BG 491BG rescheduled for Metfield. Four established groups in 2BD ordered to raise and train an additional squadron ground unit each one of the five ground echelons in each group then selected for 491 BG. These transferred to Metfield on 25 April 1944. Aircraft continued training in US, moving to Pueblo AAB, Colorado. in early Jan. 1944. Began movement overseas on 21 April 1944 via Florida, Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar and Marrakesh. Served in combat with Eighth Air Force. The 491st was assigned to the 14th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-Z".

The 491st Bomb Group, less the air echelon, was transferred without personnel and equipment to North Pickenham initially in February 1944 briefly before being transferred to RAF Metfeld in March. With the withdrawal of the 492d Bomb Group from operational missions in August the group was transferred back to North Pickenham .

Upon its return, the 491st concentrated its attacks on strategic objectives in Germany, striking communications centers, oil refineries, storage depots, industrial areas, shipyards, and other targets in such places as Berlin, Hamburg, Kassel, Cologne, Gelsenkirchen, Bielefeld, Hanover, and Magdeburg; on one occasion attacked the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen, Germany.

While on a mission to bomb an oil refinery at Misburg on 26 November 1944, the group was attacked by large numbers of enemy fighters; although about one-half of its planes were destroyed, the remainder fought off the interceptors, successfully bombed the target, and won for the group a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Although engaged primarily in strategic bombardment, the group also supported ground forces at Saint-Lô in July 1944; assaulted V-weapon sites and communications lines in France during the summer of 1944; dropped supplies to paratroops on 18 September 1944 during the airborne attack in Holland; bombed German supply lines and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945; supported Allied forces in the airborne drop across the Rhine in March 1945; and interdicted enemy communications during the Allied drive across Germany in April 1945.

Redeployed US June 1945. The aircraft left 17 June 1945. Ground unit sailed on Queen Mary on 6 July 1945 arriving in New York 11 July 1945. The Group established McChord Fd, Washington but inactivated there 8 Sep. 1945.

References

 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.

External links


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