|Active 1943-1945; 1948-1950|
|Country United States|
|Branch United States Air Force|
Engagements European Theater of World War II
WW II Tail Marking Circle C, later yellow with black stripe
The 707th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to Twelfth Air Force as an Air Force Reserve unit at Lubbock Air Force Base, Texas in 1950. During World War II the squadron served as a heavy bombardment unit in the European Theater of World War II.
Training for combat
The squadron was first activated on 1 April 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona as the 707th Bombardment Squadron with an initial cadre drawn from the 39th Bombardment Group. It was one of the original squadrons of the 446th Bombardment Group. The cadre departed for Orlando Army Air Base, Florida for training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, where they flew simulated combat missions from Montbrook Army Air Field.
The unit headed for Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico in June 1943, but was diverted to Lowry Field, Colorado, where the squadron was filled out and advanced training was completed. The squadron lost one aircraft during this training. The ground echelon left Lowry on 18 October 1943 for Camp Shanks, New York and embarked on the RMS Queen Mary, sailing on 27 October 1943 and arrived in Greenock on the Firth of Clyde on 2 November 1943. The aircraft left Lowry on 20 October 1943 for staging at Lincoln Army Air Field, Nebraska. The aircrews ferried their planes under the control of Air Transport Command via the southern route from Florida through Puerto Rico, Brazil, Senegal, and Morocco to England. The 707th was part of the first United States Army Air Forces group to complete the Transatlantic hop from Brazil to Africa without the installation of additional bomb bay fuel tanks.
Combat in the European Theater
The squadron arrived at its new base at RAF Bungay in the east of England in early November. The 707th flew its first mission on 16 December 1943 against shipping facilities in Bremen. The unit operated chiefly against strategic objectives. Its targets included U-boat installations at Kiel, the port at Bremen, a chemical plant at Ludwigshafen, ball-bearing works at Berlin, aircraft engine plants at Rostock, aircraft factories at Munich, marshalling yards at Coblenz, motor works at Ulm, and oil refineries at Hamburg.
Besides strategic missions, the 707th often carried out support and air interdiction operations. It supported the Normandy invasion in June 1944 by attacking strong points, bridges, airfields, transportation, and other targets in France. The squadron aided ground forces at Caen and Saint-Lô during July by hitting bridges, gun batteries, and enemy troops. It dropped supplies to Allied troops near Nijmegen during Operation Market-Garden in September. The unit bombed marshalling yards, bridges, and road junctions during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. It flew low level missions to drop medical supplies, arms, and food to airborne and ground troops near Wesel during Operation Varsity in March 1945. The 707th flew its last combat mission on 25 April, attacking a bridge near Salzburg, Austria.
After V-E Day, the 707th flew transport missions to France, sometimes landing at fields that had been targets the previous year. It also flew Trolley missions, transporting support personnel for "sightseeing" trips over Germany to view the results of their efforts. The squadron began to redeploy to the US in June 1945. The first aircraft of the air echelon departed the United Kingdom in mid-June 1945 flying the northern route via Iceland. The ground echelon sailed from Greenock on the Queen Mary on the sixth of July 1945 and arrived in New York on 11 July 1945. Personnel were given 30 days leave. The ground and air echelons reassembled at Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota in late July. Its personnel were transferred to other Second Air Force units or demobilized and the squadron was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
The squadron was reactivated as an Air Force Reserve squadron in April 1948 at Lubbock AFB, Texas, although group headquarters was located at Carswell AFB. It was apparently never fully manned or equipped and was inactivated in 1950.