A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE 410TH
ROLES OF THE 8TH AND 9TH AIRFORCES
The 8th AF with heavy bombers B-17s and B-24s conducted strategic bombing or strikes against the urban-industrial infra-structure of the Nazis. Factories, command-control, transportation, refinerys, etc.
The 9th AF with medium and light bombers and fighters conducted tactical bombing against the enemies war machine: Combat troops, acft, tanks, guns, rail, and road transportation, airfields, fuel and ordnance dumps, etc.
The 9th AF was actiivated in 1942 in North Africa and reformed in UK in OCT. 1943. Its mission was given 3 priorities:
1-- To gain and maintain air superiorty.
2--To disrupt enemy lines of Transportation and communication.
3--To destroy enemy troops and material in cooperation with ground forces.
The 9th AF was also charged with providing troop carrier, recon and photo acft as well as air defense protection of all areas except forward battle lines.
Last but not least the 9th AF combat engineers constructed or rehabilitated air- fields required in both rear and forward areas.
The command structure to accomplish this awesome task was:
11 grps. of B-26, A-20, A-26 bombers--Each grp. had approx. 70 acft.
18 grps. of P-47, P-38 and P-51 fighters
2 grps. of F-5, F-6 recon acft.
14 grps. of C-47, C-46 troop carrier & supply acft.along with Horsa gliders.
4 Regiments of Combat Engineers.
5 AAA Air Defense Battalions plus airwarning groups.
To give you a perspective on the size of the 9th AF--over 30,000 acft. were dispatched during the month of June 1944. On D-DAY over 3,000 acft. dropped almost 2 million pds. of bombs on enemy targets.
Thru-out the war the 9th averaged over 2,000 sorties or single acft. strikes per day.
The P-47 fighter under the 9th AF was as historians agree the most effective acft. providing direct air support to our ground forces. The official AIR FORCE position from the Office of AIR FORCE HISTORY states this concerningthe fighter:
"The Air Forces principal weapon was the fighter armed with bombs, bullets, rockets and chemical fire bombs. It was capable of rapid diversion through radar and radio control to the most critical targets. It maintained excellent communcations with armored and infantry spearheads. It was the most familiar acft. to infantrymen and tanks on the line.It outmatched the German Air Force whenever they met. With bombs and machine guns it destroyed thousands of enemyacft. and installations.
Now the 9th BOMBER COMMAND also under the 9th AF with its 11 grps. contributed enormously to the support of our ground forces and to the ultimate defeat of the Nazis. Since we flew with the 410th Bomb Group our knowledge of bomber type operations will be highlighted here.
Our 410th BOMB GROUP command structure consisted of 4 Sqds. of light A-20 bombers with 16 to 20 aircrews each. A quick capsule sketch of the 410th shows that we had about 1500 total troops.
We formed at WRF OKLA. in July 1943 and trained at 4 stateside bases.
We arrived in the UK Apr. 1944and moved to France in Sept. 1944.
Our first mission was flown on 1 May 44 our last the 241st on 25 Apr. 1945.
Our missions flown at 12,000--3,500 ft. using Norden Bombsight.
We bombed targets as a grp. with 36 to 54 acft. in flights of 6 boxes of 16.
The crew consisted of 1 pilot, 1 B/N and 2 gunners, we carriied six 500 lb. bombs.
We were the only bomb group in ETO, fully equipped and manned to fly both day and night mossions using precision bombing techniques.
42% of our bombs landed winthin 500ft. of targets for the best record in the ETO
PRE D-DAY BOMBING
The priority 1, 9th AF mission to smash the German Air Force in the air and on the ground so as to gain full supremacy of the skies prior to D-DAY was accomplished for the large part by April 1944.
To support the coming invasion the 9th AF target priotities were shifted to bombing rail centers, V-1 launch sites and airfields. During the month of May the 410th struck 8 rail centers, 7 V-1 sites and 12 airfields.
Coastal Defense batteries were also a concern and the 410th struck the one at St. Marie Au Bose on 4 May 44. This was one diversionary attack to strike the 16 coastal batteries located outside the beach landing areas. The 8 batteries along the Normandy coast, including Pointe du Hoe, were also struck by the 8th AF. thus the Germans had no hint of upcoming invasion areas. The strategy called for 2 outside landing areas to be bombed for every one in landing zones. The 8th AF and RAF also bombed the defenses.
Several days prior to D-DAY lead crews of the 410th were grounded and required to study and memorize all landfalls between Ostend, Belgium and Brest, France. Some were suprised that the Normandy area was chosen as our 410th bombing was concentrated in the Calais-Le Havre ares.
The night before D-DAY all allied acft. were painted with alternating black and white stripes--on both wings and fuselages. Thus acft. recognition was no problem for the invasion troops.
On D-DAY our first mission was against Carentan located on the SE edge of the Cherbourg Peninsula.
Railyard and oil storage, explosions after bombs hit, 3 boxes of 15 acft.--45 total.
100s of ships, gliders, acft. seen by aircrews.
Our second target on D-DAY was against a rail yard near Abbeyville. This was one of many diversionary strikes and as history has pointed out the Nazis still believed the main invasion would be in the Calais area.
We bombed exstensively in the Normandy area until Gen. Patton raced into Paris and we continued to bomb in support of the ground the ground troops until wars end.
Most of the 410ths missions were flown against pinpoint type targets, where precision type bombing was required. On several missions tactics called for area bombing. A large area, such as troop concentration, supply and storage facilities that were widely dispersed in wooded areas or in an area where ground troops were to advance could be damaged or disrupted by spreading bombs over a large area. One example is the massive bombardment on 25 July 44 at ST. Lo.
1500 heavy bombers, 580 9thAF bombers. 102 ground troops killed, 410th last to bomb at 12:23 hrs. looked as if all of France was destroyed. Our support of the ground troops continued to the wars end, and we awarded the coveted Presidential Unit Citation for action in the Battle of the Bulge.
We had an interesting exchange program with Gen. Pattons 3rd Army which helped us understand their promblems and vice versa. Forward patrols for 410th troops. They flew missions with us.
I will switch gears now and discuss night missions. Night bombing was deemed necessary as the Germans were moving forces and supplies under cover of darkness. The 410th was selected in Dec. 1944 to begin training and at the same continue full day operations.
Tactics required A-20, A-26, and B26 acft.
GEE used for navigation.
4 missions--ground troops advanced faster than predicted.
Next a few points to wrap up.
The 410th lost many brave airmen during WWII. Approx. 80 crews flew most of the moissions and of those 1 in 3 was killed in action and a number of others were wounded, injured or became prisoners of war. We continue to honor them in many ways.
We are very proud of the 410th superb record during WWII and hope some day some one will write a reasearch paper or thesis on our operations. Our history book is chock full of detailed data that makes it easy to correlate with other historical references.
410th Bomb Group POWs and Evadees, By Jack Deuitch, S/Sgt, Gunner, 644th Bomb Sqdn, 410th Bomb Group, 9th AF, USAAF
A Surprise Landing, biography of Karl Haeuser, Mopsy, 410th Bomb Group, 9th AF, USAAF
Biography of Jack Deuitch, S/Sgt, Gunner, 644th Bomb Sqdn, 410th Bomb Group, 9th AF, USAAF
Diary of Guiseppe A. Siciliano, S/Sgt, Eng/Gunner, A20#714 "Dexter's Dragon", 646th Bomb Sqdn, 410th Bomb Group, Unit History, 9th AF, USAAF - Not a Center Page LINK BAD
410th Bomb Group at Christmas Mass, 1944, 410th Bomb Group
A20 Flak Hit, 410th Bomb Group
A20J Bombs Away, 410th Bomb Group
Col. Parret with A20, Col., Pilot, A20 "Maxine", 646th Bomb Sqdn, 410th Bomb Group, 9th AF, USAAF
Guiseppe A. Siciliano with A20, S/Sgt, Eng/Gunner, A20#714 "Dexter's Dragon", 646th Bomb Sqdn, 410th Bomb Group, 9th AF, USAAF
A20 of the 410th Photo at Boeing Co. Site, LINK BAD
Photo Gallery 410th Bomb Group Not A Center Page - LINK BAD
410th Bomb Group Collection
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