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Histories for 389th BOMBARDMENT GROUP, USAAF




Overview of 389th Bomb Group
THE 389th BOMB GROUP Activated 24 December 1942 at Davis-Monthan AAB, Arizonia. Physical formation began at Biggs Field, Texas on 1 February 1943 under Lt. Col. David B. Lancaster. Between 17 and 20 April 1943 they moved to Lowry Field, Colorado for final training. The ground unit went to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and arrived on the 11th June 1943, and embarked on the Queen Elizabeth on the 30th of June 1943, and arrived in Gourock on the 6th July 1943. The aircraft went overseas on the 13th June 1943 via Dow Field in Me., Goose Bay, Gander, Meeks Field, Iceland to Prestwick. Hethel, Norfolk, England is 4 miles SE of Wymondham, NE of Wreningham. Hethel was built between 1941 and 1942. In mid-September 1942 its first occupants arrived, Americans forming the ground echelon of the 320th Bomb Group (Medium) training for action in north-west Africa. They had worked upon Marauders, the aircraft being diverted to Africa where the ground echelon joined them in December 1942, leaving a few Americans to run Station 114. In June 1943 the 389th Bomb Group arrived, the third to fly B-24Ds. Like so many others, the Group had prepared in the USA for high-level bombing. Barely had they settled at Hethel when they were ordered to train in low-level attack. Quite suddenly the B-24s left East Anglia. They had also flown to North Africa, the 389th settling at Benghazi, which name so often figured in the fighting there. From Benghazi Hethel's B-24s attacked targets in Sicily, Italy and Cr?, operations culminating on August 1, 1943 in the hazardous long distance low-level attack on Roumanian oil fields around Ploesti. This brought to 2nd Lieutenant Lloyd H. Hughes a Medal of Honour. Although his B-24 was hit and petrol streamed forth, he pressed on, making a low-level attack on the distant target. Before he could land the aircraft it crashed. His high courage and that of all who took part in the Ploesti raid was memorable. On August 13 the 389th struck deep into Austria, at the Messerschmitt factory at Wienar Neustadt, before returning to Britain late in August 1943. The first operation from Hethel came on September 7 1943 as Operation Starkey was unfolding. Barely was the unit operational than it flew to Tunisia, the intention being that it should weigh in at Salerno. The Group was not really needed there and instead made raids on Italy, Corsica and again on Wienar Neustadt. When the 389th returned to Hethel it was for more permanence, the Group beginning a long, intensive campaign of day bombing that continued until April 21 1945. Targets varied and included Berlin, supporting the Normandie landings and break-out at St LO, supply dropping during the Nijmegen landing and again during the Rhine assault. When the last landing was made the Group had flown 351 operations. On May 30 1945 the 389th began the long trek home to America as many of the soldiers redeployed to the US May/June 1945. First of the aircraft departed the United Kingdom on 20 May 1945. Ground echelon sailed from Bristol on the USS Cristbal on the 30th of May 1945, arriving in New York on the 8th of June 1945. Personnel to Camp Kilmer and had 30 days R and R and on 12 June 1945 assembling in Charleston AAFd, South Carolina for transport duties but apparently they were not fully manned. The Group was inactivated on the 13th of September 1945. Many air stations vacated by the Americans were quickly run down, but not so Hethel which passed to Fighter Command on June 25 1945 Here, on September 6 1945, Spitfires of 65 Squadron arrived when 12 Group took over the station. This squadron remained until September 1946, having been joined in September 1945 by Mustang 111s of 126 Squadron which disbanded here on April 26 1946. Late in March 1946 Mustang 111s and IVs of 303 and 316 Squadrons and a few Harvards had arrived, but there was comparatively little flying. The Poles dispersed, leaving Hethel to run down in the early months of 1947. In 1964 Lotus Cars established a base here and use two runways for high speed testing. The base is still used by Lotus cars and the security is very high. Squadrons of the 389th BG: 564th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy 565th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy 566th Bombardment Squadron -Heavy 567th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy Attached also to the 389th was the 463rd Supply Depot Service Group, the ground crew who helped maintain the planes and supervised the Norden bombsights. Assigned 8th AAF: September 1942 Wing/Command Assignment: VII BC, 2 BW, 201 PCBW 11 Jun 1943 VII BC, 2 BD, 2 CBW 13 Sep 1943 2 BD, 2 CBW 8 Jan 1944 2 AD, 2 CBW 1 Jan 1945 Combat Aircraft: B-24D B-24H B-24J B-24L B-24M Stations: AAF Station Number 114 HETHEL, located 5-7 miles south of Norwich, Norfolk) 11 June 1943 to 30 May 1945 Note: The headquarters of the 2d Bomb Wing of the Eighth Air Force was also located at Hethel, Norfolk Temporary stations in North Afica: Benghazi, Libya; 3 July 1943 to 25 Aug 1943, and Massicault, Tunis, 19 Sep 1943 to 3 October 1943. Group COs: Col. Jack W. Wood 16 May 1943 to 29 Dec 1943 Col. Milton W. Arnold 30 Dec 1943 to 29 Mar 1944 Col. Robert B. Miller 29 Mar 1944 to 17 Aug 1944 Col. Ramsey D. Potts Jr. 17 Aug 1944 to 4 Dec 1944 Col. John B. Herboth Jr. 4 Dec 1944 to 7 Apr 1945, MIA Lt. Col. Jack G. Merrell 14 Apr 1945 to Jun 1945 First Mission: 9 July 1943 Last Mission: 25 Apr 1945 Missions: 321 Total Sorties: 7,579 Total Bomb Tonnage: 17,548 Tons Aircraft MIA: 116 Major Awards: Distinguished Unit Citation: 1 Aug 1943 Ploesti Medal of Honor 2Lt Lloyd H. Hughes on 1 Aug 1943 Claims to Fame: One of three 8th AAF B-24 groups that took part in the Ploesti mission. At one time provided PFF aircraft for all 2 Bomb Division Groups. 564 Bomb Squadron was judged on efficiency the best in the European Theater of Operation in 1945. Sources in the National Archives include: 1.Control Number NWDNM(m)-18-CS-1396 Media Motion picture films Descr. Level Item Record Group 18 Series CS Item 1396 Title HETHEL PRESENTATION, CITATION TO 389TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP, HETHEL, ENGLAND ProductionSeries Army Air Forces -- Combat Subjects Format silent, unedited, black & white. Creating Org. Army Air Forces Items 1 motion picture title, 35mm Contact Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch (NWDNM), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 PHONE: 301-713-7060 FAX: 301-713-6904 2. Control Number NWDNM(m)-342-USAF-17947 Media Motion picture films Descr. Level Item Record Group 342 Series USAF Item 17947 Title WAR DEPARTMENT CITATION PRESENTED TO THE 389th BOMBARDMENT GROUP: FOR THEIR FAMOUS MISSION OF AUGUST 1, 1943, TO RUMANIA Production Date 05/10/1944 Format sound, edited, black & white. Creating Org. United States Air Force Scope & Content Summary: Presentation speech, awarding of medals and troops marching in parade formation. 1) MS stationary B-24 with group of approximateiy 25 personnel standing on wings and fuselage officers and enlisted men in fg looking toward review stand. 2) CU motion picture and sound man recording event. 3) LS across open field troops marching. 4) CU three high-ranking officers observing parade. 5) LS across open field showing parade formation -- B-24 flying low in bg. 6) CU parade formation marching past camera. 7) CU stationary B-24, crew members on top of ship -- crowd and MPs are standing in front of parked aircraft. On nose of aircraft is picture of the Statue of Liberty. 8) MS color guard, parade formation on both sides. 9) CU stationary B-24, "Ole Irish" -- large group of military men standing on wing and nacelle; officers standing in front of aircraft -- all personnel are saluting. 10) CU color guard marching toward camera. 11) CU review stand -- two officers walk from in front of review stand to color guard, and place banner at top of guidon. Written on guidon: 389Th HEADQUARTERS BANNER PLOESTI, 1 AUGUST 1943 -- line of officers and enlisted men standing at attention in bg. 2) CU RV Gen. Spaatz pinning medals on crew. 13) Repeat same scene description -- Gen. Spaatz is assisted by Col. Potts. 14) MLS men who received citation -- color guard in bg; in extreme bg is formation of soldiers; in fg, crowd. 15) CU review stand. 16) MCU three officers standing on review stand -- Gen. Doolittle at rostrum. 17) CU officers near a B-24 -- crowd on top and in front of aircraft. 18) CU general giving speech -- high-ranking officers in bg. 19) CU color guard and crew members who received citation marching directly in front of camera. 20) CU airmen marching. 21) CU high-ranking officers. 22) CU airmen marching past camera. 23) CU crew members who received citation. 24) CU RV band marching. 25) CU RV review stand, band, airmen, and color guard marching in front. 26) CU review stand -- military personnel in bg. (All personnel are saluting). 27) CU stationary B-24, personnel on top saluting. 28) Several views of parade formation. 29) Several CUs high-ranking officers conversing. 30) CU crowd. 31) CU officer getting into B-17. 32) CU engines warming up. 33) MLS B-17 taxiing, then taking off. NOTE: (sound only on parade formations and speeches). Good Contributors production company or unit, 3 Subject Ref. Aircraft -- USAF -- B-17 -- Loading/unloading -- Passengers; Aircraft -- USAF -- B-17 -- Taking off; Aircraft -- USAF -- B-17 -- Taxiing; Aircraft -- USAF -- B-17 -- Warming up; Aircraft -- USAF -- B-24 -- Aerial Single; Aircraft Names -- Ole Irish; Ceremonies -- Parade Formation; Ceremonies -- Presentations; Honors; Parades & Processions -- in Us -- Military; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Bands; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Color Guard; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Crews -- Flight -- B-24; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Crews -- Flight -- Other Activities; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Military Police; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Officers -- Other; Personnel -- Military -- USAF -- Officers and Enlisted Men; Settings & Sites -- Stages; Units -- 389th Bombardment Group Personal Ref. Doolittle, Gen.; Potts, Col.; Spaatz, Gen. Access Unrestricted. Use Restrictions None. Items 1 motion picture title, 35mm, 750 feet Contact Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch (NWDNM), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 PHONE: 301-713-7060 FAX: 301-713-6904 Copy Information Preservation Copy 1: 35mm, 1 reel(s) Intermediate Copy 1: 35mm, 1 reel(s) Intermediate Copy 2: Digital Betacam, 1 tape(s) Reference Copy 1: 35mm, 1 reel(s) 3. Control Number NWDNM(m)-18-CWD-32 Media Motion picture films Descr. Level Item Record Group 18 Series CWD Item 32 Title Army Air Forces Combat Weekly Digest Variant Title Army Air Forces Combat Weekly Digest, No. 032 Release Date 05/29/1944 Format sound, edited, black & white. Scope & Content MILITARY FILM REPORT: Highlights activities. R.1: (1)PHOTO-MAPPING MISSION, MYITKYINA, BURMA, APRIL 1944. 9th Photo Reconnaissance Squardon photograph railroad yards and hospital area. (2) SOUTH PACIFIC ACTION, ADMIRALTY ISLANDS, 4, 5 MAY 1944. U.S. bomb damage to Los Negros Island, supplies para dropped and retrived, and Japanese positions are strafed. (A) PANAPAI, NEW IRELAND, 19 MARCH 1944. 394th Squadron bombs Panapi airfield. R.2: (B) DAGUA. A-20's of 5th Air Force bombs airstrip Wewak, New Guinea. (3) CRASH LANDING, ITALY. Medical officer and ground crew rescues radio operator from crashed B-24 of 15th Air Force. (4) ATTACKES AGAINST EUROPE. (A) BUCHAREST, ROMANIA. On 24 April, B-24's of 15th Air Force bomb city. (B) VIERZON, FRANCE, 20 APRIL 1944. B-24's bomb city. (C) HAMM, GERMANY, 22 APRIL 1944. B-24's and B-17's bomb freight and marshalling yards and Hethel Airdrome radar building. (5) FIGHTER KILLS, FEB-MARCH 1944. Footage of gun sight aiming point (GSAP) camera records of aerial encounters with enemy aircraft. General Note Series title. Synopsis and narration sheets available. Contributors production sponsor, First Army Air Forces Combat Weekly Digest Subject Ref. WORLD WAR, 1939-1945 --AERIAL SUPPLIES; FIRES -- AIRPLANES; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945 -- PHOTOGRAPHY, AERIAL; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945 -- AERIAL OPERATIONS; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945 -- CASUALTIES Items 1 motion picture title, 35mm, 18 minutes Accession Number III-NNT-155 Contact Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch (NWDNM), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 PHONE: 301-713-7060 FAX: 301-713-6904 4. Control Number NWDNM(m)-200-WL-1 Media Motion picture films Descr. Level Item Record Group 200 Collection WL Item 1 Title 2ND AIR DIVISION, 8TH U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE, #1 Variant Title WADE LEMMONS COLLECTION Dates ca.1941-ca.1945 Scope & Content Scenes of Ketteringham and Hethel 1944-1945. Installing K-22 and K-21 cameras. Scenes of England and Wales (Conway Castle, Wales). Old walled city of Chester, England. London, Picadilly Circus. Access Unrestricted. Use Restrictions None. All rights were conveyed to the U.S. Government on June 16, 1993. Items 1 motion picture title Accession Number NN3-WL-93-001 Contact Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch (NWDNM), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 PHONE: 301-713-7060 FAX: 301-713-6904 Copy Information Preservation Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) Intermediate Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) Reference Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) Reference Copy 2: 3/4" U-matic, 1 tape(s) 5. Control Number NWDNM(m)-200-WL-5 Media Motion picture films Descr. Level Item Record Group 200 Collection WL Item 5 Title 2ND AIR DIVISION, 8TH U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE, #5 Variant Title WADE LEMMONS COLLECTION Dates ca.1941-ca.1945 Scope & Content 8th Air Force Day. Views of headquarters base, Hethel, B-24s on field, recreation activities, horse in field, planes. Access Unrestricted. Use Restrictions None. All rights were conveyed to the U.S. Government on June 16, 1993. Items 1 motion picture title Accession Number NN3-WL-93-001 Contact Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch (NWDNM), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 PHONE: 301-713-7060 FAX: 301-713-6904 Copy Information Preservation Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) Intermediate Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) Reference Copy 1: 16mm, 1 reel(s) REFERENCE BOOKS: 389TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP. A PICTORIAL REVIEW OF OPERATIONS IN THE ETO [European Theater of Operations]. San Angelo, TX: privately published by Newsfoto Publishing, 1946, 133 pages, profusely illustrated. Also referred to as "The Blue Book". Mackay, Ron and Paul Wilson. THE SKY SCORPIONS: THE STORY OF THE 389TH BOMB GROUP IN WORLD WAR II. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 2006, $59.95; 272 pages, over 420 b/w photographs; 8-1/2"x11", hardcover, ISBN: 0764324225. From the publisher: "The 389 Bomb Group was unique among all Groups assigned to the 8th USAAF because it actually commenced operations in July 1943 out of North Africa that culminated in the infamous Ploesti mission on 1 August. After returning to England in September, the combat crews joined in on the grim duty of hammering Nazi Germany?s industrial resource. By April 1945, 321 missions had been flown during which over 17,000 tons of ordnance was dropped. The cost was 153 B-24s MIA or lost over England. Known as the 'Sky Scorpions?'from their detachment in North Africa, the Hethel-based unit also provided the initial numbers of PFF-equipped aircraft for the 2nd Bomb Division. "

Posted by Richard Nelson
Jun 07 2006 07:37:38:000AM




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