Activated on October 1, 1943, the 490thtrained for combat with B-24 Liberators and deployed to England in April 1944 for operations with the Eighth Air Force. Constituent units included the 848th, 849th, 850th, and 851stbombardment squadrons. The group entered combat in June, bombing airfields and coastal defenses in France prior to and during the invasion of Normandy. The 490ththen struck bridges, rail lines, vehicles, road junctions, and troop concentrations in France, and supported ground forces fighting for Caen in July and for Brest in September. The group converted to B-17 Flying Fortresses and bombed such strategic targets as oil plants, tank factories, marshalling yards, aircraft plants, and airfields in Berlin, Hamburg, Merseburg, Munster, Kassel, Hanover, Cologne and elsewhere.
The 490thattacked supply lines and military installations during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 through January 1945, and then attacked further targets in support of ground forces advancing into Germany. After V-E Day, the 490th carried food to flood-stricken areas of Holland, and transported French, Spanish, and Belgian prisoners of war out of Austria. The 490th Bombardment Group returned to the United States in August and September and inactivated on November 7.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe