|Active 1942-1945||Country United States|
|Branch United States Air Force|
The 863d Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 493d Bombardment Group, based at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota. It was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
Established as an I Bomber Command squadron in late 1942; later assigned to Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command with a mission to conduct antisubmarine patrols over New England coastline using light observation aircraft. Later re-equipped with B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, October 1942-September 1943 when the antisubmarine mission was taken over by the United States Navy.
Re-equipped with B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and reassigned for training at Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado. Squadron personnel formed the core of the newly established 493d Bombardment Group, moving to McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska where it completed training as part of the newly formed group.
Was deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England. Assigned to RAF Debach until the end of the European War in May 1945, with a temporary move to RAF Wormingford in early 1945 while runways were being repaired at Debach.Used B-24's until they were replaced with B-17's in September 1944.
Engaged in long-range strategic bombardment of enemy targets in Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe. The squadron operated chiefly against industrial and military installations in Germany, attacking an ordnance depot at Magdeburg, marshalling yards at Cologne, synthetic oil plants at Merseburg, a railroad tunnel at Ahrweiler, bridges at Irlich, factories at Frankfurt, and other strategic objectives. Additional operations included 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 St Lo 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 redeployed to the United States. in July and August 1945. Reassembled at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota on August 12, 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.