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320th Bombardment Group

Constituted as 320th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 Jun 1942 and activated on 23 Jun. Trained with B-26 aircraft. Most of the group moved to North Africa via England, Aug-Dec 1942; crews flew their planes over the South Atlantic route and arrived in North Africa, Dec 1942-Jan 1943. Began combat with Twelfth AF in Apr 1943 and operated from bases in Algeria, Tunisia, Sardinia, and Corsica until Nov 1944. During the period Apr-Jul 1943, flew missions against enemy shipping in the approaches to Tunisia, attacked installations in Sardinia, participated in the reduction of Pantelleria, and supported the invasion of Sicily. Then bombed marshalling yards, bridges, airdromes, road junctions, viaducts, harbors, fuel dumps, defense positions, and other targets in Italy. Supported forces at Salerno and knocked out targets to aid the seizure of Naples and the crossing of the Volturno River. Flew missions to Anzio and Cassino and engaged in interdictory operations in central Italy in preparation for the advance toward Rome. Received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for action in preparation for and in support of Allied offensive operations in central Italy, Apr-Jun 1944. Received a DUC for a mission on 12 May 1944 when, in the face of an intense antiaircraft barrage, the group bombed enemy troop concentrations near Fondi in support of Fifth Army's advance toward Rome. From Jun to Nov 1944 operations included interdictory missions in the Po Valley, support for the invasion of Southern France, and attacks on enemy communications in northern Italy. Moved to France in Nov 1944 and bombed bridges, rail lines, gun positions, barracks, supply points, ammunition dumps, and other targets in France and Germany until V-E Day. Received a DUC for operations on 15 Mar 1945 when the group bombed pillboxes, trenches, weapon pits, and roads within the Siegfried Line to enable a breakthrough by Seventh Army. Moved to Germany in Jun 1945 and participated in the disarmament program. Returned to the US, Nov-Dec. Inactivated on 4 Dec 1945.

Redesignated 320th Bombardment Group (Light). Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 9 Jul 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.

Squadrons. 441st: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 442d: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 443d: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 444th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949.

Stations. MacDill Field, Fla, 23 Ju 1 1942; Drane Field, Fla, 8-28 Aug 194: Hethel, England, 12 Sep 1942; La Senia, Algeria, c. 2 Dec 1942; Tafaraoui, Algeria, 28 Jan 1943; Montesquieu, Algeria, Apr 1943; Massicault, Tunisia, 29 Jun 1943; El Bathan, Tunisia, 28 Jul 1943; Sardinia, 1 Nov 1943; Corsica, c. 18 Sep 1944; Dijon/Longvic, France, 11 Nov 1944; Dole/Tavaux, France, 1 Apr 1945; Herzogenaurach, Germany, 18 Jun 1945; Clastres, France, c. Oct-Nov 1945; Camp Myles Standish, Mass, 3-4 Dec 1945. Mitchel Field, NY, 9 Jul 1947-27 Jun 1949.

Commanders. Maj John F Batjer, 1 Jul 1942; Col John A Hilger, c. 5 Aug 1942; Col Flint Garrison Jr, 25 Oct 1942; Lt Col John Fordyce, 15 Feb 1943; Col Karl Baumeister, 25 May 1943; Lt Col Stanford Gregory, 25 Sep 1943; Col Eugene B Fletcher, 25 Oct 1943; Col Ashley E Woolridge, 2 Nov 1944; Lt Col Blaine B Campbell, 28 May 1945-unkn.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAM Theater; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Italy, 12 May 1944; ETO, 15 Mar 1945. French Croix de Guerre with Palm : Apr, May, and Jun 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, an alligator volant in bend or, winged and armed gules, speed lines sinisterward of the second. Motto: Forever Battling. (Approved 3 Mar 1943. This insigne was replaced 22 Jan 1953.)

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


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