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The 492d Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Second Air Force, stationed at Kirtland Fieldmarker, New Mexicomarker. It was inactivated on 17 October 1945.

During World War II the unit entered combat in May 1944, and sustained the heaviest losses of any other B-24 Liberator group for a three month period. The group was withdrawn from combat with its personnel and equipment being reassigned to other units. The 801st Bombardment Group (Provisional) was redesignated as the 492d Bombardment Group, and the group performed special operations missions throughout the remainder of the war in Europe.

History

Lineage

  • Constituted as: 492d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943
Activated on 1 Oct 1943
Withdrawn from combat with personnel and equipment reassigned to other units, 5 Aug 1944
Assumed personnel and equipment of 801st Bombardment Group (Provisional), 5 Aug 1944
Redesignated as: 492d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 17 Aug 1945
Disbanded on 17 Oct 1945


Assignments



Squadrons

Consolidated with 36th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional)*, 1 Aug 1944
Consolidated with 850th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional)*, 1 Aug 1944
Consolidated with 406th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional)*, 1 Aug 1944
Consolidated with 788th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional)*, 1 Aug 1944
Detached on 17 Dec 1944 and sent to Mediterranean Theater of Operations, where the squadron operated with the 15th Special Group ) until 20 May 1945


*Note: Personnel and equipment of squadron were reassigned to other units. Name-only transfer of provisional squadron took place, with squadron absorbing personnel and equipment of provisional squadron.


Stations



Operational History

B-24 of the 492d Bomb Group on a mission over Nazi Occupied Europe.
Activated 1 October 1943 at Clovis AAB, NM. Moved to Alamogordo AAFd, NM. in Nov. 1943 and trained there until end March. Only a small part ground unit (124 men) from US left Alamogordo on 11 April 1944 and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 20 April 1944. Main body of ground echelon from four 2BD groups were already in the UK. These groups had been ordered to raise additional squadron ground unit. The aircraft left Alamogordo on 1 April 1944, to commence overseas movement by the southern ferry route: Florida, Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar and Marrakesh.

Entered combat on 11 May 1944, and throughout the month operated primarily against industrial targets in central Germanymarker. Attacked airfields and V-weapon launching sites in Francemarker during the first week in June. Bombed coastal defenses in Normandy on 6 June 1944 and attacked bridges, railroads, and other interdiction targets in France until the middle of the month. Resumed bombardment of strategic targets in Germany and, except for support of the infantry during the St Lomarker breakthrough on 25 Jul 1944, continued such operations until Aug 1944 when after only 89 days of combat, the 492nd had lost 52 aircraft to enemy action, with 588 men killed or missing. Rather than try to rebuild the shattered group, the group was stood down and the surviving members were reassigned to other units in theater. In the words of one veteran, "the whole group was wiped out".

Subsequently, the organization was transferred without personnel or equipment, to RAF Harringtonmarker on 5 August 1944 and assumed personnel, equipment, and the Carpetbagger special operations mission of the 801st Bombardment Group (Provisional) that was discontinued. Operated chiefly over southern France with B-24's and C-47's, transporting agents, supplies, and propaganda leaflets to patriots. Ceased these missions on 16 September 1944 to haul gasoline to advancing mechanized forces in Francemarker and Belgiummarker.

Intermittently attacked airfields, oil refineries, seaports, and other targets in France, the Low Countries, and Germany until Feb 1945. Meanwhile, in Oct 1944, began training for night bombardment operations; concentrated on night bombing of marshaling yards and goods depots in Germany, Feb—Mar 1945.

Ceased these missions on 18 Mar 1945 to engage in Carpetbagger operations over Germany and German-occupied territory, using B-24, A-26, and British Mosquito aircraft to drop leaflets, demolition equip¬ment, and agents. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for these operations, performed at night despite adverse weather and vigorous opposition from enemy ground forces, 20 Mar- 25 Apr 1945. Also cited by the French government for similar operations over France in 1944. Flew its last Carpetbagger mission in Apr 1945 and then ferried personnel and equipment to and from the Continent until July. Returned to the US, Jul—Aug 1945.

Was redesignated a Very Heavy unit for B-29 operations in the Central Pacific, however became unnecessary when Pacific War ended. Inactivated on 17 Oct 1945

References



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