574th Bombardment Squadron

Summary

The 574th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. The squadron was a World War II unit assigned to the 391st Bombardment Group. After training in the United States, the squadron moved to England, and participated in operations against Germany from there and the European Continent as part of IX Bomber Command. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its combat actions. Following V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States and was inactivated at the port of embarkation.

574th Bombardment Squadron
Match-391bg-b26-2.jpg
B-26 Marauders of the 391st Bombardment Group[note 1]
Active1943-1945
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleLight bomber
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Insignia
World War II fuselage code[1]4L

HistoryEdit

The 574th Bombardment Squadron, was activated at MacDill Field, Florida on 21 January 1943 as one of the four original squadrons of the 391st Bombardment Group. After training with Martin B-26 Marauder in the United States, it departed for the European Theater of Operations in December 1943.[2][3]

The squadron gathered at RAF Matching, its first combat station in theater in late January 1944 and flew its first combat mission on 15 February. It initially concentrated on attacks to support Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, by attacking airfields, bridges and marshalling yards. It attacked V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket launch sites as part of Operation Crossbow. On D-Day and the next day it struck German coastal defenses near the invasion beaches.[3]

Until September, the squadron continued attacks from its English base. It supported Operation Cobra, the breakout at Saint Lo in late July by attacking fuel dumps and troop concentrations, then hit transportation and communications targets to slow the German retreat eastward. in late September it moved to Roye-Amy Airfield, France to be closer to the advancing ground forces it was supporting and extending its targets into Germany. From its continental bases, it hit bridges, railroads, highways, ammunition dumps and other targets,[3] The unit was also tasked on occasion to drop propaganda leaflets.[4]

During the Battle of the Bulge, it attacked heavily defended bridges and viaducts. Performing these attacks without fighter escort in the face of heavy flak and overwhelming attacks by enemy fighters earned the squadron a Distinguished Unit Citation for the period between 23 December and 26 December 1944.[3] On 23 December, it attacked a rail viaduct at Ahrweiler. Although its fighter escort failed to arrive due to adverse weather, the squadron continued its attack, despite the loss of both pathfinder planes leading the attack. More than 60 Luftwaffe fighters attacked the 391st Group's formations while it was on its bomb run. The 391st Group lost 16 of its Marauders on this attack. The following day, the squadron destroyed the railroad viaduct at Konz-Karthaus.[5]

The squadron continued its attacks, concentrating on German transportation and communications systems. It converted to the Douglas A-26 Invader in April and flew its last combat mission on 3 May 1945. The squadron left Europe in September 1945 and was inactivated on arrival at the port of embarkation, Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts on 13 October 1945.[2][3]

LineageEdit

  • Constituted as the 574th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 15 January 1943
Activated on 21 January 1943
Redesignated 574th Bombardment Squadron, Medium c. 9 October 1944
Redesignated 574th Bombardment Squadron, Light on 23 June 1945
Inactivated on 15 October 1945[2]

AssignmentsEdit

  • 391st Bombardment Group, 21 January 1943 – 15 October 1945[2]

StationsEdit

AircraftEdit

  • Martin B-26 Marauder, 1943-1945
  • Douglas A-26 Invader, 1945[2]

Awards and campaignsEdit

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
  Distinguished Unit Citation 23-26 December 1944 [2]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
  Air Offensive, Europe 26 January 1944 – 5 June 1944 [2]
  Air Combat, EAME Theater 26 July 1943 – 11 May 1945 [2]
  Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944 [2]
  Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944 [2]
  Rhineland 15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945 [2]
  Ardennes-Alsace 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945 [2]
  Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945 [2]

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft in foreground is Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder, serial 42-95835.
Citations
  1. ^ Watkins, pp.108-109
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 668
  3. ^ a b c d e Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 278-279
  4. ^ Rust, p. 112
  5. ^ Rust, pp. 133-134
  6. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 22.
  7. ^ Station number in Johnson, p. 21.
  8. ^ Station number in Johnson, p. 28.
  9. ^ a b Station number in Johnson, p. 20.

BibliographyEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  • Johnson, 1st Lt. David C. (1988). U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO) D-Day to V-E Day (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  • Rust, Kenn C. (1967). The 9th Air Force in World War II. Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers, Inc. LCCN 67-16454.
  • Watkins, Robert (2008). Battle Colors. Vol. III Insignia and Tactical Markings of the Ninth Air Force In World War II. Atglen, PA: Shiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7643-2938-8.