9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

2911th Bombardment Squadron (L) Provisional





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Information primarily provided by James Adams and Wayne Downing

View Interview with Wayne Downing describing "A-20s of the 2911th Bomb Squadron".
Taped 2009 at Wayne Downing's home by Wayne Sayles.

View the 2911th BS Photo and Documents Collection page.

What does the 2911th Bomb Squadron (Light) Provisional have to do with the 416th Bomb Group?

In the 416th official history under February 1944 the following appears: "Twenty Officers were transferred to the Group during the month. Of these thirteen were replacement pilots." Some of these Officers along with some Enlisted men came from the 2911th BS, a squadron attached to the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group (originally 67th Observation Group).

In September 1942 the 67th Observation Group with its four Squadrons arrived at Membury, Berkshire, England (Station 466). One of them was a Liaison Squadron with Light airplanes. The others had fighter types rigged for photo work at Membury. Its 153rd Liaison Squadron was placed at Station 471, Keevil Airfield 4 miles east of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England November, 1942. Steeple Ashton, a small one Pub town was on one side of the field and Keevil, a similar tiny town was on the other side of the field. The RAF also used the field to test late model Spitfire fighter aircraft.

RAF Keevil (Royal Ordnance Survey Photo)

Between 20 June and 17 July 1943, 2nd Lts James Adams and Wayne Downing, along with others, were transferred overseas from the United States via the following sets of orders:
  William Northern Army Air Field, Tullahoma, TN
  to Army Air Base, Presque Isle, ME
  to (overseas) Casual Pool, 12th Replacement Control Depot AAF-591 (Washington Hall, Lincolnshire, England)
  to 3rd Bomb Wing, Eighth Air Support Command AAF-160 (Marks Hall, Essex, England)
  to HQ 67th Reconnaissance Group USAAF Sta 466 (Membury, Berkshire, England)
  to 107th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter)
  to 153rd Liaison Squadron USAAF Sta 471 (Keevil, Wiltshire, England).

The creation of the 2911th Bombardment Squadron (Light) Provisional

When the 15th Bombardment Squadron was sent to the North African War Front, England did not have any American A-20 units. Sometime after this a shipload of A-20B Havoc's arrived, intended for the 15th BS but they were not here. The A-20B Havoc's were put together and placed at Keevil Airfield.

Special Orders No 13, 7 September, 1943, assigned 55 Officers and 143 Enlisted Men (including Adams and Downing) to the 2911th Bombardment Squadron (Light) Provisional. Most came from the 153rd Liaison Squadron, some from the 12th, 107th and 109th Reconnaissance Squadrons all of the 67th Reconnaissance Group (the 67th Observation Group had its name changed May, 1943), 8th Air Force.

Major Henry Clay Allen was the Commanding Officer and Capt. Milton "Mitt" T. Evans was the Operations Officer. Both were from Mississippi with a lot of National Guard experience. Ten A-20 trained crews from the USA were assigned. Some Americans in the RAF and the RCAF who transferred to the USAAF were also assigned to the 2911th; and the squadron was on the way with a lot of flying all over England and Wales, and later France.

The 9th Air Force activated in the United Kingdom when Major General Lewis H. Brereton, his dog and Chief of Staff Brigardier General Victor Strahm arrived on 16 October 1943, assumed command and established his headquarters at Sunninghill Park, Berkshire, England. After the 9th AF arrived, the 67th Reconnaissance Group, including its 153rd, 2911th and other Squadrons were transferred from the 8th AF to IX Air Support Command in the 9th AF.

2911th Bomb Squadron (L) Combat Missions

The 2911th Bomb Squadron was called upon for a Photo Reconnaissance mission via Field Order #8 on 20 September, 1943 to fly two A-20B Aircraft to make Vertical Pinpoint Photographs of the following seven objectives in France: Docks at Cherbourg, Airdromes at Guernsey, Dinard, St. Brieuc, Guipavas at Brest and Lanveoc-Poulmic at Brest, along with Lezardrieux.

After their transfer to the 9th Air Force, the first combat bombing mission flown by the 2911th BS was on 27 October, 1943 to the Cherbourg Peninsula, France. This mission failed to drop bombs due to 10/10 cloud cover preventing accurate bombing run on the target.
See the PDF file "Report of RAF No 10 Gp., Circus No 58, US Field Order No 1" for a Summary and Route map.

The second 2911th BS combat bombing mission, 30 October, 1943, was comprised of six A-20B aircraft successfully bombing the Maupertus Aerodrome, east of Cherbourg, France. The target was the underground aviation fuel tanks on the airfield. Serial Number of the six A/C on this mission were (positions 1 to 6): 41-3380, 41-3377, 41-3388, 41-3368, 41-3386 and 41-3439.
See the PDF file "Report of RAF No 10 Gp., Ramrod No 99, US Field Order No 2" for the Bomb strike photos, Photographic interpretation reports, Summary and Route map.

Maupertus Aerodrome, France bomb strike photo

Three additional combat bombing missions identified by Field Orders #3, #4 and #5 were acknowledged by the 2911th BS November 3, 4 and 5, 1943 respectively. Field Order #3 (Target Morlaix Airdrome, France) was rescinded. There are no details on missions resulting from Field Orders #4 and #5 (Targets Z359 and Z422, in France), so these may have also been cancelled.

Transfer to the 416th Bomb Group

The 2911th BS was short lived, existing less than 3 months. Special Orders No 77 on 24 November, 1943, relieved 52 Officers and 209 Enlisted Men from the 2911th BS and assigned them to HQ & HQ Sq, 67th Reconnaissance Group. Four days later on 28 November, 1943, Special Orders No 188 assigned 47 Officers and 171 Enlisted Men back to the 153rd Liaison Squadron, remaining at Keevil.

The 416th Bombardment Group advance echelon arrived at Wethersfield, England (Station 170) on 17 January 1944. The first plane was assigned to the Group on February 4th and on 13 February 1944, Special Orders No 27 transferred 17 Officers and 11 Enlisted Men (formerly of the 2911th BS) from the 153rd Liaison Squadron, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, IX Air Support Command to 416th Bombardment Group.


Special Orders No 27, 13 Feb 1944
Transfer of 153rd Liaison Squadron personnel (formerly 2911th BS) to 416th Bombardment Group

Special Orders No 19, 22 Feb 1944
Assignments of 416th BG Officers to Bomb Squadrons

The 17 Officers and 11 Enlisted Men transferred to the 416th BG included:

To the 668th BS:
  1st Lt Galen F. Bartmus
  1st Lt Wayne E. Downing
  1st Lt Eldon B. Kreh
      (He was flying Wellingtons on coastal patrol in the RCAF and transferred to the USAAF in 1943 and was assigned to the 2911th)
  Sgt Ellis C. Malone
  S/Sgt John R. Orr

To the 669th BS:
  S/Sgt Harold E. Boyer
  1st Lt Robert L. Burton
  Sgt Pervy L. Clearman
  1st Lt Joseph S. Connor
  2d Lt Harry E. Hewes
      (He was shot down over France, was MIA, but came home minus one leg after we captured the hospital he was in.)
  Sgt Joseph F. Kasper
  Pvt Allen J. Zeikus

To the 670th BS:
  2d Lt Neil G. Brown
      (After the war he became the Chief of Police for the City of Tampa, Florida)
  S/Sgt Joseph A. Frey
  1st Lt Gerald M. McNulty
      (He transferred from the RAF to the USAAF in 1943 and was assigned to the 2911th. He had been in the RAF a long time and was married to an English girl named Billie. He later went to the 668th BS.)
  Capt Zean R. Moore
  Sgt Howard E. White

To the 671st BS:
  2d Lt James D. Adams
  1st Lt Rayford L. Boone
  1st Lt Hilary P. Cole
  Capt Laverne F. Huston
      (He got his orders changed and went to fly C-47s in the Air Transport Group.)
  1st Lt Robert H. Smith

To the 416th BG:
  Pfc Frank Blum
  1st Lt John A. Cheatham
  Cpl Lucian F. Jeter
  1st Lt Charles D. Nelson, Jr.
  Pvt Anthony J. Paolucci
  1st Lt Lee W. Rice

View Interview with Wayne Downing describing "A-20s of the 2911th Bomb Squadron".
Taped 2009 at Wayne Downing's home by Wayne Sayles.

View the 2911th BS Photo and Documents Collection page.