Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

490th Bombardment Group

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Active  1943–1945
Role  Bombardment
Country  United States
Part of  Eighth Air Force
490th Bombardment Group
Branch  United States Army Air Forces

The 490th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was to the III Bomber Command, being stationed at Drew Field, Florida. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945.


During World War II, the group was an Eighth Air Force heavy bombardment unit in England, stationed at RAF Eye. The group flew 158 combat missions, its last mission on 20 April 1945, after 5,000 sorties. It lost 22 aircraft.


Activated 1 October 1943 at Salt Lake City Army Air Base, Utah. Transferred to Mountain Home Army Air Field, Idaho, where Group formed and trained from December – April 1944. Ground unit left for Camp Shanks, New York. 11 April 1944 and sailed on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam, 15 April 1944 arriving Clyde 25 April 1944. Aircraft started overseas movement on 12 April 1944 taking the southern ferry route, via Morrison Field, Florida, via Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar and Marrakesh to the UK. Moved to RAF Eye, England in April 1944 for operations with VIII Bomber Command in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) and was assigned to the 93d Combat Bombardment Wing. The group tail code was a "Square-T" - the tail code was discontinued on the B-24 before the unit converted to B-17's. A red upper tail segment marked the group aircraft thereafter.

The 490th BG combat in June 1944 with B-24's, bombing airfields and coastal defenses in France immediately preceding and during the invasion of Normandy. Then struck bridges, rail lines, vehicles, road junctions, and troop concentrations in France. Supported ground forces near Caen in July and near Brest in September 1944. Flew its last mission with the B-24 Liberator on 6 August 1944 when it struck V-1 launching sites in Basse Foret d'Eu, France

The group converted to B-17's in early August 1944 and flew its first mission with the B-17 on 27 August 1944 to Genshagen, Germany to attack the BMW Engine Factory - the 8th Air Force however was recalled due to weather. It operated primarily against strategic targets until the end of February 1945. The 490th mounted attacks against enemy oil plants, tank factories, marshalling yards, aircraft plants, and airfields in such cities as Berlin, Hamburg, Merseburg, Münster, Kassel, Hannover, and Cologne. Interrupted strategic missions to attack supply lines and military installations during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Beginning in March 1945, attacked interdictory targets and supported advancing ground forces.

After V-E Day, carried food to flood-stricken areas of the Netherlands and transported French, Spanish, and Belgian prisoners of war from Austria to Allied centers.

Redeployed US July 1945. Aircraft left RAF Eye on the 6 July 1945. The ground unit sailed from Southampton on the RMS Queen Elizabeth on the 26 August 1945 arriving New York 1 September 1945. The group was established at Drew Field, Florida on 3 September 1945 and inactivated there on 7 November.

The 490th BG did not have an official unit insignia approved by the United States Army Air Forces.


  • Constituted as 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
  • Activated on 1 October 1943 Inactivated on 7 November 1945


  • II Bomber Command, 1 October 1943
  • Second Air Force, 6 October 1943 – April 1944
  • 93d Combat Bombardment Wing, 7 April 1944 – 24 August 1945
  • III Bomber Command, 3 September-7 November 1945
  • Components

  • 848th Bombardment Squadron (7W), 1 October 1943 – 7 November 1945
  • 849th Bombardment Squadron (W8), 1 October 1943 – 7 November 1945
  • 850th Bombardment Squadron (7Q) 1 October 1943 – 11 May 1944; 10 August 1944 – 7 November 1945
  • 851st Bombardment Squadron (S3) 1 October 1943 – 7 November 1945
  • Stations

  • Salt Lake City AAB, Utah, 1 October 1943
  • Mountain Home AAF, Idaho, 4 December 1943 – April 1944
  • RAF Eye (AAF-134), England c. 1 May 1944 – August 1945
  • Drew Field, Florida 3 September-7 November 1945
  • Aircraft

  • Consolidated B-24 Liberator, December 1943 – August 1944
  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. August 1944 – August 1945
  • Notable Members

  • Howard Zinn, democratic socialist and historian.
  • Ken Kavanaugh, American football player, coach, and scout.
  • Memorial

    A permanent memorial, situated near the old fuel dump on RAF Eye, was dedicated to the 490th Bombardment Group on May 29, 2016, in front of families of 490th veterans, current serving USAF personnel, and guest of honor, 490th veteran, Si Spiegel.


    490th Bombardment Group Wikipedia

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