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91st Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 91stBombardment Group was constituted on January 28, 1942 and activated on April 15. The group was trained with B-17s and moved to England between August and October 1942, assigned to the Eighth Air Force. The 91st Bombardment Group Operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization throughout the war. It entered combat in November 1942 and concentrated its attacks on submarine pens, shipbuilding yards, harbors, and dock facilities until mid-1943. During this period, the 91stBombardment Group also struck airdromes, factories, and communications. It attacked the navy yard at Wilhelmshaven on January 27, 1943 when heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force first penetrated Germany. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for bombing marshalling yards at Hamm on March 4 in spite of adverse weather and heavy enemy opposition. From the middle of 1943 until the war ended, the 91st engaged chiefly in attacks on aircraft factories, airdromes, and oil facilities. Specific targets included airfields at Villacoublay and Oldenburg, aircraft factories in Oranienburg and Brussels, chemical industries in Leverkusen and Peenemunde, ball bearing plants in Schweinfurt, and other industries in Ludwigshafen, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Wilhelmshaven.

91st Bombardment Group operations officer Lt. Col. Marvin D. Lord (L) and crew, stand near their plan at their base in England, 1944.

On January 11, 1944 organizations of the Eighth Air Force went into central Germany to attack vital aircraft factories; participating in this operation, the 91st group successfully bombed its targets in spite of bad weather, inadequate fighter cover, and severe enemy attack, being awarded a DUC for the performance. 

91st Bombardment Group planes drop bombs on enemy military installations at Helgoland, North Sea on May 15, 1943.

Expanding its operations to include interdictory and support missions, the group contributed to the Normandy invasion by bombing gun emplacements and troop concentrations near the beachhead area in June; aided the St. Lo breakthrough by attacking enemy troop positions from July 24 to 25; supported troops on the front lines near Caen in August; attacked communications near the battle area during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945; and, assisted the push across the Rhine by striking airfields, bridges, and railroads near the front lines in the spring of 1945. It evacuated prisoners from German camps after the war ended. The 91st Bombardment Group returned to the United States between June and July 1945. It was inactivated on November 7.

B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 91st Bombardment Group release a cascade of bombs over Berlin, Germany.

Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe