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2nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 2ndBombardment Group was organized as the 1stDay Bombardment Group in France on September 10, 1918. It was re-designated as the 2ndBombardment Group in 1921 and as the 2ndBombardment Group (Heavy) in 1939. The group trained with B-17s and served on antisubmarine duty for several months after the United States entered World War II. The 2ndmoved to North Africa in March through May 1943, and remained in the theater until after V-E Day, where it was assigned first to the Twelfth Air Force and later in December 1943 to the Fifteenth Air Force. The group flew many support and interdictory missions, bombing such targets as marshalling yards, airdromes, troop concentrations, bridges, docks, and shipping.

B-17s of the 96th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bombardment Group, during a mission on an oil refinery in Ploesti, Rumania on June 10, 1944.

It also participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia in April and May 1943; the reduction of Pantelleria and the preparations for the invasion of Sicily during May through July; the invasion of Italy in September; the drive toward Rome during January through June 1944; the invasion of Southern France in August; and the campaigns against German forces in northern Italy from June 1944 to May 1945.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 2nd Bomb Group begin their climb to high altitude, from Amendola Airfield, c. 1944.

The 2ndengaged primarily in long-range bombardment of strategic targets after October 1943, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, steel plants, and other objectives in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Greece. En route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr, Austria on February 24, 1944, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target. The 2ndBombardment Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for the performance. On the following day, while on a mission to attack aircraft factories at Regensburg, the group met similar opposition equally well and was awarded a second DUC. It also served as part of the occupation force in Italy after V-E Day. The 2ndBombardment Group was inactivated in Italy on February 28, 1946.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 20th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force over Munich, c. November 1944.

Campaigns: Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley