466th Bombardment Group
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|466th Bombardment Group|
466th Bombardment Group insignia
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces|
|Part of||Eighth Air Force|
|Garrison/HQ||European Theatre of World War II|
The 466th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was to the Second Air Force, being stationed at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona. It was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
During World War II, the group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England, assigned to RAF Attlebridge. Its 785th Bomb Squadron flew 55 consecutive missions without loss. The 466th flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945.
Constituted as the 466th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943, the unit was officially activated on 1 August 1943 at Alamogordo AAFd, New Mexico. Personnel started training at Kearns Field in Utah at the end of August 1943, remaining there until 24 November 1943 when the unit moved back to Alamogordo AAFd. In February 1944 they moved to Topeka Kansas for a week before beginning the trip overseas to England.
The ground units sailed from New York on the Queen Mary on 28 February 1944. The air unit took the southern ferry route and arrived at RAF Attlebridge England, in March 1944, where they were assigned to the Eighth Air Force. The 466th was assigned to the 96th Combat Bombardment Wing. Their group tail code was "Circle-L".
The 466th began operations on 22 March 1944 by participating in a daylight raid on Berlin. The group operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization, attacking such targets as marshalling yards at Liege, an airfield at St Trond, a repair and assembly plant at Reims, an airfield at Chartres, factories at Brunswick, oil refineries at Bohlen, aircraft plants at Kempten, mineral works at Hamburg, marshalling yards at Saarbrücken, a synthetic oil plant at Misburg, a fuel depot at Dulmen, and aero engine works at Eisenach.
Other operations included attacking pillboxes along the coast of Normandy on D-Day (6 June 1944), and afterwards striking interdictory targets behind the beachhead; bombing enemy positions at Saint-Lô during the Allied breakthrough in July 1944; hauling oil and gasoline to Allied forces advancing across France in September; hitting German communications and transportation during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945; and bombing the airfield at Nordhorn in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine on 24 March 1945.
The 466th flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, striking a transformer station at Traunstein. During combat operations, the 785th Bomb Squadron flew 55 consecutive missions without loss. The group flew 232 combat missions with 5,762 sorties dropping 12,914 tons of bombs. They lost 47 aircraft in combat.
The group redeployed to the United States during June/July 1945. The air echelon departed Attlebridge in mid-June 1945. The ground units sailed from Greenock on the Queen Mary on 6 June 1945. They arrived in New York on 11 July 1945. The group was then established in Sioux Falls AAF South Dakota in July and was redesignated the 466th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945 and was equipped with B-29 Superfortress aircraft. The group was transferred to Pueblo Colorado, and then later to Davis Monthan Field, Arizona for Superfortress training and programmed for deployment to the Pacific Theater.
With the end of the war the Group was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
- Constituted as 466th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
- Activated on 1 August 1943
- Redesignated 466th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945
- Inactivated on 17 October 1945.
- IV Bomber Command, 1 August 1943 – February 1944
- 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, 7 March 1944 – 6 July 1945
- Second Air Force, 15 July-17 October 1945
- 784th Bombardment Squadron (T9), 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 785th Bombardment Squadron (2U), 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 786th Bombardment Squadron (U8), 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 787th Bombardment Squadron (6L), 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945
- Childers, Thomas. Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1995. ISBN 0-201-48310-6.
- Freeman, Roger A. Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle, 1978. ISBN 0-900913-09-6.
- Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Co., 1991. ISBN 0-304-35708-1.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Woolnough, John H. Attlebridge Diaries: The History of the 466th Bombardment Group (Heavy). Hollywood, Florida: 8th Air Force News, 1979 (Reprinted 1985 by Sunflower University Press. Second Expanded Edition Dallas, Texas: Taylor Pub., 1995).
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