The 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association was formed in 1985. The Association currently has more than 250 members who, through their donations and interest, support the research efforts to remember the history and legacy of the bomb group and to honor the American men and women who served the 392nd between 1943 and 1945.
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The group was constituted as 392nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 15 January 1943 and activated on 26 January 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona. The cadre coming chiefly from the 39th and 34th Bomb Groups, Lt. Col. Irvine Rendle commanding.
Trained with B24 Liberators, at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas and Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. Moved to England during July-August 1943 and assigned to 8th USAAF at Wendling Air Base in East Anglia.
The first B-24s of the Group landed at Wendling, Norfolk, on 15 August 1943. The first mission was made on 10 September 1943 against Poix Airfield, France.
The group began combat on 9 September 1943 and engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic objectives on the European continent until April 1945. Attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshaling yards, railroad viaducts, steel plants, tank factories and gas works.
Participated in the intensive campaign against the German aircraft industry during the "Big Week," 20-25 February 1944.
The Group's outstanding mission was the mission on 24 February 1944 to the Gotha Waggenfabrik at Gotha, Germany, the largest twin engine fighter plant in the Reich. The 392nd ships fought their way into the target and dropped 98 percent of their bombs within 2,000 feet, completely destroying the target. Lt. Col. Lorin L. Johnson was the command pilot for the 392nd and 14th Bombardment Wing formation. The group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for destroying an aircraft factory in Gotha, Germany.
The 392nd flew its 100th mission on 6 June 1944-D-Day. The target-The Invasion Beach, France. The 392nd was cited by Maj. Gen. James P. Hodges for a degree of bombing accuracy on its 100 missions consistently better than that of any other unit of the 2nd Air Division.
Bombed airfields and V-weapon launching sites in France prior to the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, struck coastal defenses and choke-points on D-day in addition to supporting ground forces and carrying out interdictory operations. Hit enemy positions to assist ground forces at St. Lo, France, during the breakthrough in July 1944.
Bombed railroads, bridges and highways to cut off German supply lines during the "Battle of the Bulge" December 1944 - January 1945. Dropped supplies to Allied troops during the airborne landings at Eindhoven and Nijmegen, Holland, in September 1944, and during the airborne assault across the River Rhine in March 1945. Flew last combat mission on 25 April 1945, then carried food to the Dutch.
The group flew 285 combat missions, suffering 1552 casualties including 832 killed in action or line of duty and 184 aircraft lost.
As the curtain rang down on the war for the strategic Bombardment Groups of the Eighth Air Force, the men of Station # 118 at Wendling could reflect back with justifiable pride on the previous nineteen months and sixteen days of combat operations credited to the 392nd since the Liberators took to the air on their first mission, September 9th, 1943. The bombing record of the fourth oldest B-24 Group to be assigned to the Eighth would go down as an excellent one - ranking well above the average in comparison with all other bomber units. But, the persistency and determination with which its aircrews had fought their bombers through to attack some of the toughest targets in Hitler's Nazi Germany had also cost a grisly toll of men and aircraft. Those who never returned would not be forgotten by their comrades who, through God's fortune, did come back from it all.
In June 1945 the group returned to the United States and was inactivated at Charleston AAF in South Carolina in September of the same year.
Redesignated 392nd Bombardment Group (Light) in June 1949. Inactivated on 10 November 1949. In the 1950s, squadrons of this group activated as missile experimental and training units in Strategic Air Command.
SQUADRONS: 576th, 577th, 578th and 579th.
STATIONS: Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 26 January 1943 - 28 February 1943; Biggs Field, Texas, 1 March 1943 - 17 April 1943; Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico, 18 April 1943 - 18 July 1943; Wendling Airfield, Norfolk, England, July 1943 - 15 July 1945; Charleston Army Air Field, South Carolina, 25 June - 13 September 1945; Barksdale Field, Louisiana, 30 July 1947 - 10 November 1949.
COMMANDERS: Col. Irvine A. Rendle, 26 January 1943 - 20 June 1944; Col. Lorin L. Johnson, 21 June 1944 - 26 May 1945; Lt. Col. Lawrence G. Gilbert, 27 May 1945 - 13 September 1945.
CAMPAIGNS: Air Offensive Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe. Flew 285 missions between 9 September 1943 and 25 April 1945, and dropped 17,452 tons of bombs. Completed 7,060 sorties., Lost 127 B-24s in combat, 57 in other operations., 144 enemy aircraft claimed as destroyed, 45 probable, 49 damaged. Lost 832 men killed, lost 447 men as prisoners of war, internees and evadees/escapees. Total Casualties 1,602.