|878th Bombardment Squadron|
[[File:|240x240px|frameless}}|878th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem|alt=]]|
878th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem
|Branch||United States Air Force|
Activated in November 1943 as one of the initial B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment squadrons. Trained in Kansas with early model B-29s, with frequent delays in training due to modifications of the aircraft correcting production deficiencies.
When training was completed moved to Isely Field, Saipan, in the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific Area in January 1945 and assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force. It's mission was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands and the destruction of its war-making capability. Flew "shakedown" missions against Japanese targets on Moen Island, Truk, and other points in the Carolines and Marianas. The squadron conducted combat missions over Japan participating in wide area firebombing attacks, but the first ten day blitz resulting in the Army Air Forces running out of incendiary bombs. Until then the squadron flew conventional strategic bombing missions using high explosive bombs.
The squadron continued attacking urban areas with incendiary raids until the end of the war in August 1945, attacking major Japanese cities, causing massive destruction of urbanized areas. Also conducted raids against strategic objectives, bombing aircraft factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, and other targets in Japan. The squadron flew its last combat missions on 14 August when hostilities ended. Afterwards, its B 29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria Squadron was largely de-mobilized on Saipan during the fall of 1945. Was reorganized as part of continental Air Forces, Fourth Air Force at March Field, California in November 1945, being manned and equipped with low-hour B-29s returned from the Central Pacific. It later was transferred to the new Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946, being one of SAC's initial bombardment squadrons. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the unit turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 31 March 1946.
Operations and decorationsEdit
- Combat Operations: Combat in Western Pacific, 24 Nov 1944-14 Aug 1945.
- Campaigns: Air Offensive, Japan; Western Pacific.
- Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citations: Nagoya, Japan, 23 January 1945; Japan, 22–28 April 1945.
- Constituted 878th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 19 November 1943
- Activated on 20 November 1943
- Inactivated on 16 February 1946
- 499th Bombardment Group, 20 November 1943 – 16 February 1946
- Maurer, Maurer, ed (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/af_combat_units_wwii.pdf.
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