|858th Bombardment Squadron|
Consolidated B-24 Liberator 44-40159 "Battling Boop" of the 858th Bombardment Squadron. Aircraft landed in Sweden after attacking an airfield at Bremerhaven, Germany, 18 Jun 1944 and was interned.
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Bombardment; Special Operations|
The 858th 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 in April 1945 and then ferried personnel and equipment to and from the Continent until July.
Returned to the US, July–August 1945 and was reassigned to Kirtland Field, New Mexico and was redesignated a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bomb squadron. Was programmed for B-29 operations in the Central Pacific, however became unnecessary when Pacific War ended. Inactivated on 17 October 1945.
Lineage[edit | edit source]
- Constituted as: 858th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
- Activated on 1 October 1943
- Consolidated with 406th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional), 1 August 1944
- Redesignated as: 858th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 5 August 1945
- Inactivated on 17 October 1945.
Assignments[edit | edit source]
- 492d Bombardment Group, 1 October 1943
- VIII Air Force Composite Command, 19 June 1944
- 492d Bombardment Group, 5 August 1944 – 17 October 1945
Stations[edit | edit source]
- Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico, 1 October 1943
- Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico, October 1943
- RAF North Pickenham (AAF-143), England, 1 January 1944
- RAF Harrington (AAF-179), England, 10 August 1944
- Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, 14 August 1945
- Kirtland Field, New Mexico, 17 August-17 October 1945.
Aircraft[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- 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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