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319th Bombardment Group (Medium)

The 319thBombardment Group (Medium) was constituted on June 19, 1942 and activated on June 26. The group trained with B-26s and moved via England to the Mediterranean theater, from August to November 1942, with part of the group landing at Arzeu beach during the invasion of North Africa on November 8. It operated with the Twelfth Air Force until January 1945, except for a brief assignment to the Fifteenth from November 1943 to January 1944. The group began combat in November 1942, attacking airdromes, harbors, rail facilities, and other targets in Tunisia until February 1943. The 319th also struck enemy shipping to prevent supplies and reinforcements from reaching the enemy in North Africa. After a period of reorganization and training from February to June 1943, the group resumed combat and participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and the campaign for Sicily. 

A B-26 of the 438th Bomb Squadron, 319th Bombardment Group, leaving its target, a bridge in the Po Valley, August 1944.

The 319thdirected most of its attacks against targets in Italy after the fall of Sicily in August 1943. It hit bridges, airdromes, marshalling yards, viaducts, gun sites, defense positions, and other objectives. The group also supported forces at Salerno in September 1943 and at Anzio and Cassino during January to March 1944. The 319thBombardment Group carried out interdictory operations in central Italy to aid the advance to Rome and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on March 3, when the group, carefully avoiding religious and cultural monuments, bombed rail facilities in the capital. The 319threceived another DUC for striking marshalling yards in Florence on March 11  to disrupt rail communications between that city and Rome. It received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for action in preparation for and in support of the Allied offensive in Italy from April to June 1944. From July to December 1944, the group bombed bridges in the Po Valley, supported the invasion of southern France, hit targets in northern Italy, and flew missions to Yugoslavia, converting in November to B-25 aircraft. 

The commanding officers of the 319th Bombardment Group receive two Distinguished Unit Citations in Sardinia on July 5, 1944.

The 319threturned to the United States in January 1945 and was re-designated as the 319thBombardment Group (Light) in February. The group trained with A-26 aircraft and moved to Okinawa from April to July 1945, and was assigned to the Seventh Air Force. It flew missions to Japan and China, attacking airdromes, shipping, marshalling yards, industrial centers, and other objectives. The 319th returned to the United States during November to December 1945 and inactivated on December 18.

An annotated photo showing the bomb fall plot on the target area during the raid on Baie de Cavailaire, France in a mission by the 319th Bombardment Group, August 15, 1944

Campaigns: Air Combat, EAME Theater; Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Air Offensive, Japan; Ryukyus ; China Offensive