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409th Bombardment Group (Light)

Activated on June 1, 1943 and equipped with the A-20 Havoc, the 409thdeployed to England in February 1944 for service with the Ninth Air Force. Constituent units included the 640th, 641st, 642ndand 643rdbombardment squadrons. The 409thbombed coastal defenses, V-weapon sites, airdromes, and other targets in France from April through June in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. During the Normandy campaign the group struck gun batteries, rail lines, bridges, communications, and other targets. In July the 409thsupported Allied offensives against Caen and the breakthrough at St. Lo by attacking troops, flak positions, fortified villages, and supply dumps. 

An A-26 Invader from the 409th Bombardment Group flies over western Germany, en route to bomb German communications and supply lines, 1944.

The group supported Third Army’s advance toward Germany from August through November, and operated from bases in France beginning in September. The 409thconverted to the A-26 Invader in December, and attacked enemy lines of communication during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 through January 1945. It bombed targets in Germany until May, and flew its last combat mission on May 3, an attack on an ammunition dump in Czechoslovakia. The 409thBombardment Group returned to the United States between June and August and inactivated on November 7.

The Douglas A-20 Havocs of the 409th Bombardment Group form boxes before heading for the fighter rendezvous point and their target behind enemy lines, August 1944.
A formation of 16 Douglas A-26 Invaders of the 642nd Bombardment Squadron, 409th Bombardment Group leave a German target in flames near Reinbach.

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