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856th Bombardment Squadron
856th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 856th Bombardment Squadron
Active 1943-1945
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bombardment; Special Operations

Consolidated B-24D-120-CO Liberator 42-40992 - Red Ball Express 856th Bomb Squadron

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The 856th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 492d Bombardment Group, based at Kirtland Field, New Mexico. It was inactivated on 17 October 1945.

History[edit | edit source]

Established in October 1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. One of the last B-24 squadrons established. After training was deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England at RAF North Pickenham.

Entered combat in May 1944, engaging in long-ranger strategic bombardment of enemy industrial targets in central Germany. Attacked airfields and V-weapon launching sites in France during the first week in June. Bombed coastal defenses in Normandy on 6 June 1944 and attacked bridges, railroads, and other interdiction targets in France until the middle of the month. Resumed bombardment of strategic targets in Germany and, except for support of the infantry during the Saint-Lô breakthrough on 25 July 1944. The squadron suffered very high losses of personnel and equipment while engaged in combat; combat losses leading to withdrawal of unit from operations in August 1944 after only 89 days of combat. Remaining equipment and personnel were reassigned to other Eighth Air Fore units in England.

Squadron organization was transferred without personnel or equipment, to RAF Harrington on 5 August 1944 and assumed personnel, equipment, and the special operations "Carpetbagger" mission of the 406th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional). With black-painted aircraft configured with engine flame dampeners and optimized for night operations, the group operated chiefly over southern France with B-24's and C-47's, transporting agents, supplies, and propaganda leaflets to patriots. Flew its last Carpetbagger mission on 25 April 1945.

Was redesignated a Very Heavy squadron for B-29 operations in Central Pacific, however became unnecessary when Pacific War ended. Inactivated on 17 October 1945.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted as: 856th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
Activated on 1 October 1943
Consolidated with 36th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional), 1 August 1944
Redesignated as: 856th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 17 October 1945.

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

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