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492nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 492nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was constituted on September 14, 1943 and activated on October 1, 1943. The group trained for combat with B-24s and moved to England in April 1944 where it was assigned to the Eighth Air Force. The group entered combat on May 11, 1944, and throughout the month operated primarily against industrial targets in central Germany. It attacked airfields and V-weapon launching sites in France during the first week in June. The group bombed coastal defenses in Normandy on June 6, 1944 and attacked bridges, railroads, and other interdiction targets in France until the middle of the month. 

Lt. and crew 602, 492nd Bomb Group in North Pickenham, England. June 1944.

The 492nd resumed the bombardment of strategic targets in Germany and, except for support of the infantry during the Saint-Lo breakthrough on July 25, 1944, continued such operations until August 1944. The group transferred less personnel and equipment to another station in England on August 5, 1944 and assumed personnel, equipment, and the Carpetbagger mission of a provisional group that was discontinued. The group operated chiefly over southern France with B-24s and C-47s engaging in Carpetbagger operations, that is, transporting agents, supplies, and propaganda leaflets to patriots. The group ceased these missions on September 16, 1944 to haul gasoline to advancing mechanized forces in France and Belgium. The 492nd intermittently attacked airfields, oil refineries, seaports, and other targets in France, the Low Countries, and Germany until February 1945. 

B-24J Liberator 44-40146 SUGAR-N-SPICE (far left) flying in formation on the 492nd's first mission on May 11, 1944 to Mulhouse, France.

Meanwhile, in October 1944, the group began training for night bombardment operations; concentrated on night bombing of marshalling yards and goods depots in Germany during February and March 1945. It ceased these missions on March 18, 1945 to engage in Carpetbagger operations over Germany and German-occupied territory, using B-24, A-26, and British Mosquito aircrafts to drop leaflets, demolition equipment, and agents. The 492nd received a Distinguished Unit Citation for these operations (March 20 through April 25, 1945), which were performed at night despite adverse weather and vigorous opposition from enemy ground forces. The group was also cited by the French government for participating in similar operations over France in 1944. The 492nd flew its last Carpetbagger mission in April 1945 and then ferried personnel and equipment to and from the Continent until July. The group returned to the United States in July and August 1945. The 492nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was redesignated to the 492nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945 and was inactivated on October 17, 1945.

Lt. Peter Val Preda and crew 601, 492nd Bomb Group. North Pickenham, England. April 1944.

Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; Rhineland ; Central Europe.