Activated on November 1, 1943, the 493rd deployed to England and served in combat with the Eighth Air Force from May 1944 through April 1945. Constituent units included the 860th, 861st, 862nd, and 863rdbombardment squadrons. The 493rdflew B-24 Liberators initially, and then transitioned to B-17 Flying Fortresses in September 1944. The group bombed industrial and military facilities in Germany including an ordnance depot in Magdeburg, marshalling yards at Cologne, synthetic oil plants at Merseburg, a railroad tunnel at Ahrweiler, bridges at Irlich, and factories in Frankfurt.
The 493rd struck airfields, bridges, and gun batteries prior to and during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, and supported ground forces south of Caen and around St. Lo in July. The group bombed German fortifications to cover the airborne assault into Holland in September, and attacked enemy communications during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 through January 1945. The 493rdsupported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March, and flew its last combat mission, an attack on marshalling yards at Nauen, on April 20. The 493rdBombardment Group returned to the United States in August and inactivated on August 28.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe