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502d Bombardment Group: Wikis


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502d Bombardment Group
502nd bg.gif
502d Bombardment Group Insignia
Active 1944 - 1946
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Bombardment
Part of Twentieth Air Force
Garrison/HQ Pacific Ocean Theater of World War II
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1945)

The 502d Bombardment Group (502d BG) was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. The unit was inactivated on 15 April 1946.

The unit served primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II as part of Twentieth Air Force. The 502d Bomb Group's aircraft engaged in very heavy bombardment B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan. It's aircraft were identified by a "H" inside a diamond painted on the tail.





  • Constituted as 502d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 25 May 1944
Activated on 1 Jun 1944
Inactivated on Guam on 15 Apr 1946


Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 26 Sep 1944-7 Apr 1945





Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress "Pacusan Dreamboat" (44-84061)

The group was equipped with the B-29 Superfortress. From an original group of 11 officers and 82 enlisted men, the 502d grew to three flying squadrons, a photo lab and thousands of personnel.

In September 1944, the ground echelon was sent to its staging area at Grand Island AAF, Nebraska. The 315th Wing was in fact unique, for it was equipped entirely with the only true variant of the B-29 ever manufactured—the B-29B. These aircraft were actually stripped-down versions of the normal B-29, bereft of the General Electric gun system and a variety of other components, in order to save weight and increase bomb-carrying capacity. The resultant unladen weight of 69,000 pounds was a vast improvement, lessening the strain on engines and airframe and enabling the payload to be increased from 12,000 to 18,000 pound ordnance. In addition, the 502nd and all of the other 315th groups were equipped with the new AN/APQ-7 "Eagle" radar sets which gave a much clearer presentation of ground images through a wing-shaped radar vane slung beneath the fuselage. It also gave a biplane effect in appearance. The "Eagle" was the product of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Eagle radar development group. It had been designed especially for night missions.

During World War II this special antenna and equipment for precision night radar missions was so secret that no B-29s were ever shown with it, and there are no actual official photographs in existence. The only armament on these aircraft was in the tail, where two .50 caliber machine guns were installed. Missions had to be planned and prepared so that briefing material could be slanted from the radar point of view.

The 502d was deployed to Guam during Apr-Jun 1945, and assigned to the 315th Bomb Wing, Twentieth Air Force. Upon arrival the group's personnel were engaged in Quonset hut construction. By mid-July most personnel were able to move into the huts from the initial tents which they were assigned on arrival. On 9 July, the group flew a shakedown mission to Truk, carrying about half a normal payload of bombs. The group entered combat on 30 June 1945 when the group bombed enemy installations on Rota. Flew its first mission against the Japanese home islands on 15 July 1945, and afterward operated principally against the enemy's petroleum industry. The 502d was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for attacks on the coal liquefaction plant at Ube, the tank farm at Amagasaki and the Nippon oil refinery at Tsuchizaki in August 1945.

After the war, dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners in Japan and participated in several show-of-force missions over Japan. Inactivated on Guam on 15 Apr 1946.


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.

External links


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