726th Bombardment Squadron
|726th Bombardment Squadron|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Fifteenth Air Force|
|Engagements||Mediterranean Theater of Operations|
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation|
|726 Bombardment Sq emblem (approved 8 July 1944)|
The 726th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 451st Bombardment Group at Dow Field, Maine, where it was inactivated on 26 September 1945. The squadron was activated during World War II as one of the original squadrons of the 451st Bombardment Group. After training in the United States, it served in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, earning three Distinguished Unit Citations for its combat actions. After VE Day the squadron returned to the United States, where it was inactivated.
The 726th Bombardment Squadron was activated at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona in May 1943 as one of the original squadrons of the 451st Bombardment Group. The squadron trained with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator as a heavy bomber unit under the supervision of II Bomber Command. After completing training in November 1943 the squadron deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
The squadron arrived in Southern Italy in January 1944, although the air echelon spent several weeks training in Algeria before joining the ground echelon. The squadron engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. It attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges, and airfields.
The 726th earned Distinguished Unit Citations for three of these missions in a six-month period. The first was for an attack on an aircraft factory at Regensberg on 25 February 1944, the second for an attack on oil and transportation facilities in Ploesti, Romania on 5 April, and the last for an attack on an airfield near Vienna, Austria on 23 August. On each of these missions the squadron encountered strong fighter opposition and heavy flak, but was able to inflict heavy damage on its assigned targets while destroying a substantial number of the opposing interceptors.
At times the squadron also flew support and interdictory missions. It helped to prepare the way for and participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France in August 1944. The squadron also performed airlift missions, transporting supplies to troops in Italy during September 1944. It supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in April 1945.
- Constituted as the 726th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Activated on 1 May 1943
- Redesignated 726th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 10 May 1943
- Inactivated on 26 September 1945
- 451st Bombardment Group, 1 May 1943 - 26 September 1945
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator 1943–1945
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 722
- Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 325-326
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.