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306th Bombardment Group

Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF. During combat, Oct 1942-Apr 1945, operated primarily against strategic targets, striking locomotive works at Lille, railroad yards at Rouen, submarine pens at Bordeaux, shipbuilding yards at Vegesack, ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt, oil plants at Merseburg, marshalling yards at Stuttgart, a foundry at Hannover, a chemical plant at Ludwigshafen, aircraft factories at Leipzig, and other objectives on the Continent. Took part in the first penetration into Germany by heavy bombers of Eighth AF on 27 Jan 1943 by attacking U-boat yards at Wilhelmshaven. Sgt Maynard H Smith received the Medal of Honor for his performance on 1 May 1943: when the aircraft on which he was a gunner was hit by the enemy and fires were ignited in the radio compartment and waist sections, the sergeant threw exploding ammunition overboard, manned a gun until the German fighters were driven off, administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, and extinguished the fire. Without fighter escort and in the face of powerful opposition, the 306th completed an assault against aircraft factories in central Germany on 11 Jan 1944, being awarded a DUC for the mission. Received another DUC for action during Big Week, the intensive campaign against the German aircraft industry, 2~25 Feb 1944: although hazardous weather forced supporting elements to abandon the mission, the group effectively bombarded an aircraft assembly plant at Bernberg on 22 Feb. Often supported ground forces and attacked interdictory targets in addition to its strategic operations. Helped to prepare for the invasion of Normandy by striking airfields and marshalling yards in France, Belgium, and Germany; backed the assault on 6 Jun 1944 by raiding railroad bridges and coastal guns. Assisted ground forces during the St Lo breakthrough in Jul. Covered the airborne invasion of Holland in Sep. Helped stop the advance of German armies in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by attacking airfields and marshalling yards. Bombed enemy positions in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Remained in the theater after V-E Day as part of United States Air Forces in Europe, and engaged in special photographic mapping duty in western Europe and North Africa. Inactivated in Germany on 25 Dec 1946.

Redesignated 306th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated in the US on 1 Jul 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Not manned until Aug 1948. Redesignated 306th Bombardment Group (Medium) in Aug 1948. Equipped with B-29's and later with B-50's. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.

Squadrons. 367th: 1942-1946; 1947-1952. 368th: 1942-1946; 1947-1952. 368th: 1942-1946; 1947-1952. 423d: 1942-1946.

Stations. Gowen Field, Idaho, 1 Mar 1942; Wendover Field, Utah, c. 6 Apr-1 Aug 1942; Thurleigh, England, Sep 1942; Giebelstadt, Germany, Dec 1945; Istres, France, Feb 1946; Furstenfeldbruck, Germany, 16 Aug 1946; Lechfeld, Germany, 13 Sep-25 Dec 1946. Andrews Field, Md, 1 Jul 1947; MacDill AFB, Fla, Aug 1948-16 Jun 1952.

Commanders. Col Charles B Overacker Jr, c. 16 Mar 1942; Col Frank A Armstrong Jr, 3 Jan 1943; Col Claude E Putnam, 17 Feb 1943; Col George L Robinson, c. 20 Jun 1943; Col James S Sutton, Sep 1944; Col Hudson H Upham, c. 16 Apr 1945; Col Robert F Harris, May 1946; Lt Col Earl W Kesling, Jun 1946-unkn. Lt Col Charles R Heffner, 13 Aug 1948; Lt Col Loran D Briggs, c. 1 Nov 1948; Col John A Hilger, 1 Sep 1949; Col Michael N W McCoy, Mar 1950-16 Jun 1952.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 11 Jan 1944; Germany, 22 Feb 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Per fess enhanced dancette azure and or, in base the Indian idiogram for the jaws of a rattlesnake gules. Motto: Abundance Of Strength. (Approved 6 Jan 1943. This insigne became an element of a new insigne approved 2 Oct 1951.)

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986


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