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323rd Bombardment Group (Medium)

Activated on August 4, 1942, the B-26 Marauder-equipped 323rddeployed to England in April 1943. It served with the Eighth Air Force until October 1943, and then with the Ninth Air Force. Constituent units included the 453rd, 454th, 455th and 456th bombardment squadrons. The 323rdbegan combat operations in July, attacking marshalling yards, airfields, industrial facilities, V-weapon sites and other targets in France, Belgium, and Holland. It attacked airfields at Leeuwarden and Venlo during the Allied “Big Week” campaign (February 20-25, 1944) against the German Air Force and aircraft industry. The 323rdprepared for the invasion of Normandy by bombing coastal defenses, marshalling yards, and airfields in France, and struck roads and coastal batteries on D-Day itself. The group supported the breakthrough at St. Lo in July, and moved to Europe in August. Here it began night missions against fuel and ammunition dumps.

A Martin B-26 Silver Streak Marauder of the 323rd Bombardment Group bombs a vital road intersection behind battle lines in Torigni, France on June 6, 1944.

The 323rdeliminated strong points at Brest in September, and then shifted operations to eastern France to support the assault on the Siegfried Line. During the Battle of the Bulge the group hit transportation installations reinforcing the German Ardennes offensive, and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for missions flown from December 24 through 27, 1944. The 323rd flew interdictory missions in the Ruhr Valley to support of the final Allied drive into Germany. The group ended combat in April 1945 and moved to Germany in May to participate in the disarmament program. The 323rdBombardment Group returned to the United States in December and inactivated on December 12.

B-26 Marauders of theĀ 323rd Bombardment GroupĀ stand ready to take off at a snow-covered field in France, 1945.

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