860th Bombardment Squadron
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|860th Bombardment Squadron|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 860th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 493d Bombardment Group. It was inactivated at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota on 28 August 1945.
Established in late 1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. One of the last heavy bomb squadrons activated, the unit trained at McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska in a "hurry up" mode, as B-29 Superfortress training was being conducted by Second Air Force and heavy bomber training was rapidly being phased out. Intensive training of all airmen and support specialists began in January and was only occasionally interrupted by Nebraska's late winter and early spring storms. Air exercises in several models of B-24s included day and night flights, cross-country navigation, simulated bombing, aerial-gunnery practice, and squadron and group formation flying.
Was deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England. Was assigned to RAF Debach though the balance of the war, with a temporary move to RAF Wormingford in early 1945 while runways were being repaired at Debach. Combat aircraft included B-24Hs and B-24Js from June 6 to August 24, 1944, and B-17Gs from September 8, 1944 to April 20, 1945.
Engaged in very long range strategic bombardment attacks on Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe, striking airfields, bridges, and gun batteries prior to and during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; hitting enemy positions to assist ground forces south of Caen and at Saint-Lô in July 1944; bombing German fortifications to cover the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September 1944; attacking enemy communications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945; and assisting the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. The squadron flew its last combat mission, an attack on marshalling yards at Nauen, on 20 April 1945.
The squadron redeployed to the United States. in July and August 1945 and was established at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota on August 12 for B-29 training, however the Japanese Capitulation negated the need for the unit to train in B-29s and re-deploy to the Pacific Theater. The personnel were demobilized and the unit was inactivated there on August 28, 1945.
- Constituted 860 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943
- Activated on 1 Nov 1943
- Redesignated 860 Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 21 Feb 1944
- Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945
- 493d Bombardment Group, 1 Nov 1943-28 Aug 1945
- McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska, 1 Nov 1943-1 Jan 1944
- Elveden Hall, England, 1 Jan 1944
- RAF Debach (AAF-152), England, 17 Apr 1944
- RAF Wormingford (AAF-159), England, 17 Feb 1945
- RAF Debach, England, 18 May-6 Aug 1945
- Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, c. 13-28 Aug 1945
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, AL: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.