839th Bombardment Squadron
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|839th Bombardment Squadron|
Flight crew of "Shoo Shoo Baby", Ford B-24H-15-FO Liberator 42-52747, 839th Bombardment Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 839th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 487th Bombardment Group, stationed at Drew Field, Florida. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945.
Initially established as a Southeast Air District bomb squadron at Savannah AAB, Georgia in early 1941 as part of the United States buildup of forces after the eruption of World War II in Europe. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the unit was the unit was re designated as the 8th Antisubmarine Squadron (Heavy) on 29 November 1942, and assigned to the Miami Airport, Florida as an element of the 26th Antisubmarine Wing, Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command.
Following limited operations and training out of Miami, the Squadron was attached to the Antilles Air Task Force in June 1943, and commenced operations from Batista Field, Cuba, patrolling the Yucatán Channel.
As the submarine war in the Caribbean shifted, the unit moved from Cuba to Edinburgh Field, Trinidad where the runway was found to be insufficient to sustain B-24 operations. Consequently, the Squadron Headquarters was established there and the B-24Ds were further deployed to Zandery Field in Surinam and Air Transport Command airfields in the Natal, Brazil area and even as far as Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic (these being described as "B" and "C" Flights).
During the Squadron's first month's operations, four unit B-24D's made attacks on submarines, several of them "scoring" against the U-boats and, in turn, several of them reporting damage by return anti-aircraft fire, although all regained their base and there were only slight casualties.
The bulk of the unit returned to Miami Airport on 30 August 1943. However, a detachment was maintained at Waller Field, Trinidad, as late as 11 September 1943, by which time it was the only Antisubmarine squadron still active in the Antilles. By then, the United States Navy had taken over responsibility for antisubmarine operations and the unit was reduced to an administrative organization.
Heavy Bombardment Squadron
Re-designated in late-1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron, assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Trained in Nebraska and New Mexico for overseas duty. Deployed to European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England in April 1944.
Engaged in long-range strategic bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, attacking transportation, industrial, Oil Industry and other targets as directed. Also engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy forces in France in support of the Operation Overlord landings in Normandy, and the subsequent breakout at Saint-Lô in July 1944. Changed equipment from B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses in July 1944. Attacked enemy formations and armor during the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945. Continued bombardment of strategic targets until the German Capitulation in May.
Largely demobilized in England during the summer of 1945; small cadre of personnel reassembled at Drew Field, Florida in September as part of Third Air Force, Continental Air Forces. Japanese Capitulation and general demobilization of the AAF led to the squadron's inactivation in November.
- Constituted as 79th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 20 Nov 1940.
- Activated on 15 Jan 1941
- Re-designated: 79th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 30 Dec 1941
- Re-designated: 8th Antisubmarine Squadron (Heavy) on 29 Nov 1942
- Re-designated: 839th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 Oct 1943
- Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
- Attached to 25th Bombardment Group, Jul-Aug 1943
- 487th Bombardment Group, 14 Oct 1943-7 Nov 1945.
- B-18, A-20, DB-7 (for training and maneuvers), 1941–1942
- B-18, DB-7, B-34, A-29, RM-37, B-24 during the period of antisubmarine operations, 1942–1943
- B-24 Liberator, 1943–1944
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1944–1945
- Hagdedorn, Dan (1995), Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal, Turner Publishing, ISBN 1563111535
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, D.C.: 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, D.C.: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.