Activated on December 1, 1942, the B-17 Flying Fortress-equipped 384thdeployed to England in May 1943 for service with the Eighth Air Force. Constituent units included the 544th, 545th, 546thand 547thbombardment squadrons. The 384thbombed airfields and industrial facilities in France and Germany. Targets included airfields at Orleans, Bricy, and Nancy; motor works at Cologne; a coking plant at Gelsenkirchen; an aircraft component factory at Halberstadt; steel works at Magdeburg; and ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt.
The group made a daring raid on aircraft factories in central Germany on January 11, 1944, and received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for this action. The 384thtook part in the “Big Week” campaign (February 20-25) against the German aircraft industry. It earned a second DUC on April 24, when, although crippled by heavy losses of men and aircraft, it led the 41stWing through fierce opposition to bomb aircraft factories and airfields at Oberpfaffenhofen. The 384thattacked oil storage plants in Leipzig and Berlin, ports at Hamburg and Emden, and marshalling yards in Duren and Mannheim. Prior to the Normandy invasion it bombed coastal installations, and during the Normandy Campaign bombed airfields and communications beyond the beachhead.
The 384thsupported the breakthrough at St. Lo in July, and attacked tanks and artillery north of Eindhoven to support airborne assaults into Holland in September. The group struck enemy communications and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 through January 1945, and supported the Allied assault across the Rhine in March by attacking marshalling yards, railroad junctions, and bridges. It remained in the theater after the war as part of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. The 384thcarried American soldiers to Casablanca for return to the United States, returned Greek soldiers to their homeland, and moved Allied troops to Germany. The group inactivated on February 28, 1946.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe