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491st Bombardment Group (Heavy)

Aircraft:B-24
Group Emblem:
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Wing:14th Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:2nd Bombardment Division
Airfield(s)
Squadrons:852nd Bombardment Squadron
853rd Bombardment Squadron
854th Bombardment Squadron
855th Bombardment Squadron
Tail Marking:
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Details:Trained for combat with B-24's. On 1 Jan 1944 the group, less the air echelon, was transferred without personnel and equipment to England, where personnel were assigned later. The air echelon continued to train in the US until it joined the group in England in May 1944.

Served in combat with Eighth AF until the end of Apr 1945. Began operations early in Jun 1944 and attacked airfields, bridges, and coastal defenses both preceding and during the invasion of Normandy. Then 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, Hannover, and Magdeburg; on one occasion attacked the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen, Germany. W

hile on a mission to bomb an oil refinery at Misburg on 26 Nov 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 DUC.

Although engaged primarily in strategic bombardment, the group also supported ground forces at St Lo in Jul 1944; assaulted V-weapon sites and communications lines in France during the summer of 1944; dropped supplies to paratroops on 18 Sep 1944 during the airborne attack in Holland; bombed German supply lines and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; supported Allied forces in the airborne drop across the Rhine in Mar 1945; and interdicted enemy communications during the Allied drive across Germany in Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Jul. Inactivated on 8 Sep 1945.

    Commanders:
  • Col Dwight O Monteith, 10 Oct 1943
  • Maj Jack G Merrell, 20 Dec 1943
  • Col Wilson H Banks, 5 Jan 1944
  • Maj Alex E Burleigh, 19 Jan 1944
  • Lt Col Jack G Merrell, 29 Jan 1944
  • Lt Col Carl T Goldenburg, 12 Feb 1944
  • Col F H Miller, 26 Jun 1944
  • Col Allen W Reed, c. 20 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: