9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Support Units

USAAF

 

 

WWII-Medal

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Units that provided vital Support Services to the 416th BG during their combat months included:





4th Combat Camera Unit

During World War II, fourteen US Army Air Force Combat Camera Units (CCU) provided still and motion picture coverage of the war in every theater of operations. They used a variety of motion, still and aerial photography to create a visual record of operations and battlefields used for battle planning, operational analysis, training, public news reels / information and as a permanent historical record.

On 16 August 1943, under authority of Immediate Action Letter AGO 320.2 WD, Dated 4 February 1943, six officers and 23 enlisted men were transferred from First Motion Picture Unit, AAF, to 4th Combat Camera Unit, AAF. Many of these men had been in combat training since early in the year. The 4th CCU was commanded by Capt. William H. Clothier, their initial base was Camp Letz, Laurel Canyon, near Hollywood, California and in November 1943 they moved overseas to the ETO and were assigned to the 9th AF.

In March 1944 a new 4th CCU detachment was put into the field, in charge of Lt. Glen Sutliff, attached to the 416th Bomb Group at Station 170 Wethersfield, England, to cover activities of the A-20 Havocs. This 4th CCU detachment was not part of the 416th Bomb Group Photographic Services Group headed by Aerial Photo Officer Captain Francis J. Cachat.

Several 4th Combat Camera Unit Soldiers flew missions with the 416th BG through the end of the War to capture combat film footage. Unfortunately, 4th CCU Photographer Pfc Byron K. Allen was killed on the 5 July 1944 Merlemont, France Mission #90. At least one A-20 and one A-26 aircraft and a few members of the 416th Bomb Group were attached (and later transferred) to the 4th CCU and used for special photograph work.

4th CCU Patch
4th Combat Camera Unit Patch
"Sweet Sixteen" likely refers to the 16mm film used at the time.
(US Militaria Forum Combat Camera Unit insignia | 4th, 6th 7th, 9th & 12th CCUs and
ASMIC "Trading Post" April-June, 2018 issue, "Army Air Force Combat Camera Units" article, by Rick Breithaupt)


4th Combat Camera Unit Monthly History (PDF)
4th Combat Camera Unit Field Reports (PDF)
4th Combat Camera Unit Statistics, Lists, Other Documents (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A0484)

See also NARA 4th CCU Video Clips on the 416th BG Videos page.


Additional Resources for 4th Combat Camera Unit:
usafcombatcamera.org - AIR FORCE COMBAT CAMERA — AMERICA’S EYES TO THE WORLD
US Militaria Forum - Combat Camera Unit insignia | 4th, 6th 7th, 9th & 12th CCUs Top of Page



4th Service Group

As the USAAF expanded early in WWII, the organizational support structure changed. Before WWII, the USAAF operated with a fixed-base, service support structure; however, during the war, it became apparent that mobile service support was necessary. In 1942, the Air Service Group and Air Depot Group were fielded to provide this mobile support. The Air Service Group operated with the air combat units, while the Air Depot Group, which provided depot level support, operated farther to the rear.

The 4th Service Group was activated 13 June 1942 at Kirtland Field, Alburquerque, New Mexico, although the actual physical beginning of the 4th Service Group was at March Field, California when the designation was given to the Station Compliment on 1 March 1936.

This Group performed supply and maintenance service to both the 416th and 409th Bomb Groups (L).

Wayne Downing once noted:
"There were several support Companies of specialist units on our fields. Collectively, they were referred to as the Sub-Depot. When an aircraft was ready to have something done to it that the aircraft's Crew Chief's crew did not do; he or the Line Chief would contact the Sub-depot to get the required specialist crew to come to the aircraft to do the job. When battle damage was excessive, the aircraft was towed to the Sub-depot area of the field where it was worked on until it was ready to fly again."


4th Service Group Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel B0800)

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46th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron, Detachment "A"
(4th Service Group)

The 46th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron was activated on December 5, 1943, by General Order No. 140, Headquarters Ninth Air Force, APO 696, U.S. Army ETOUSA, dated December 5, 1943. The 46th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron Less Detachment "A" was placed on duty at AAF Station 165, Little Walden, Essex, England (409th BG) and Detachment "A" was placed on duty at AAF Station 170, Wethersfield, England (416th BG).


46th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0928 and B0800)

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484th Service Squadron
(4th Service Group)

The 484th Service Squadron (Team "A", 4th Service Group) Date of Activation was 15 March 1943 at Mac Dill Field, Tampa FL, per GO No. 27, Hq, Mac Dill Air Base Area Command, Mac Dill Field, Tampa, Fla., dates 30 March 1943. The Unit arrived at US AAF Station #170, Wethersfield, England 1 January 1944 and remained with the 416th Bomb Group.


484th Service Squadron Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0958 and B0800)

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868th Chemical Company, Air Operations (L) (Less Detachments "A" and "B")
(4th Service Group)

The mission of the 868th Chemical Company, Air Operations (CCAO) was to receive, store, prepare, load, and arm chemical warfare (gas, smoke, and incendiary) munitions for delivery by aircraft, along with training in preventive chemical warfare activities for Air Depot Groups assigned to the IX Air Force Service Command.

Activated 11 January 1944 via General Order Number 140, HQ 9th AF, dated January 11, 1944. Strength as of 29 February 1944: 4 Officers and 111 Elisted Men, Detachment "A" assigned to Station 165, Little Walden, Essex, England (409th BG) and HQ assigned to Station 170, Wethersfield, England (416th BG).

Wayne Downing once noted:
"There were several support Companies of specialist units on our fields. One Company was a Chemical Bomb Company. At Viillaroche AF in France, they kept their stockpile of Chemical Bombs in the 668 BS area. The commander was Captain Sheehan, a New York State man who we got to know well. (Back in WW ONE the Germans used chemical gas on American troops and caused a lot of serious casualties. If the Germans were to use Chemicals in WW TWO, Captain Sheehan's Company was ready to load our airplanes up with their Chemical Bombs and we would retaliate. Fortunately for the Germans we never had to get the order to drop the Chemical Bombs.)"


868th Chemical Company, Air Operations (L) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0193 and B0800)

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1112th Signal Company (SG) (Less Detachment "A")
(4th Service Group)

The 1112th Signal Company Service Group (SG) was activated March 15, 1943, by Authority Par 1, General Order No. 15, HQ WRADSC (Warner Robins Air Depot Service Command), Robins Field, Warner Robins, George, dated March 15, 1943.


1112th Signal Company (SG) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0466 and B0800)

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1179th Quartermaster Service Company (Less Detachment "A")
(4th Service Group)

The 1179th Quartermaster Service Company was Activated 15 June 1943 at Charleston Army Air Base, 10 Mile Station, Charleston, S.C., per General Order No. 43, HQ Warner Robins Air Service Command, Robins Field, Georgia, dated 15 June 1943. The Unit was assigned to AAF Station 170, Wethersfield, England and remained with the 416th Bomb Group.


1179th Quartermaster Service Company Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0381 and B0800)

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1781st Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company (Aviation)
(4th Service Group)



On 1 November 1942 the 1781st Medium Maintenance Company Avn (Q) was Activated at Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus, Ohio, per General Order (GO) No. 15, HQ Air Service Command, Patterson Field, Ohio. The Unit was subsequently redesignated the 1781st Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company (Aviation) per GO 18, HQ Fairfield Air Depot Area Control Command, Patterson Field, Fairfield, Ohio.

This Unit had 4 main sections of responsibility --
- Supply Section: Operation of a Base Ordnance Supply for all ordnance equipment and supplies, Maintaining an exchange department and Managing requisitions.
- Armament Section: Maintenance and Repair for all Weapons of the station and aircraft.
- Ammunition Section: Maintenance of ammunition dump and storage of ammuntions, Supplying all organizations of the station will all needed ammuntion.
- Automotive Section: Inspection and Maintenance of all vehicles of the station, assembling Ordnance equipment.


1781st Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company (Aviation) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0355 and B0800)


Additional Resources for 1781st Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company (Aviation):
WW2Buddies - Soldiers of the 1781st and 1782nd Ordnance Units
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2250th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation) (Less Detachment "A")
(4th Service Group)

On 11 May 1944 the entire organization of the 2225th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation) transferred to the 2250th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation). Strength of this Unit was 4 Officers and 100 Enlisted Men.

The 2250th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation) (Less Detachment "A") efficiently and speedily serviced the the 416th Bomb Group with the transportation of ammuntion, personnel, food and fuel. Detachment "A" performed the same for the 409th Bomb Group.


2250th Quartermaster Truck Company (Aviation) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reels A0393 and B0800)

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21st Weather Squadron, Detachment "MM"

The 21st Weather Squadron was the first entirely mobile weather squadron ever activated and placed in operation. The Squadron was activated in accordance with request and information contained in TWX Cable No 8092, dated March 21st, 1943 and cable No. 965, dated March 27th, 1943, from the CGETO. It is recommended that this Squadron be activated at Weatover Field, Mass. May, 1943, to arrive overseas in July.

On 17 Janyary 1944, Detachment "MM" of the 21st Weather Squadron was Atcivated and assigned to AAF Station 170, Wethersfield, Essex, England, home of the 416th Bomb Group. This Detachment remained with the 416th through the end of the European War.


21st Weather Squadron Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel B0023)

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40th Mobile Communications Squadron, Detachment "MM"

The 40th Mobile Communications Squadron was activated by GO 53, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Eastern Defence Command, First Air Force, dated 4 June 1943; AG 322 (5-7-43) OB-I-AFRPG-M, 22 May 1943, Subject, "Constitution and Activation of 40th Mobile Communications Squadron", activation effective 10 May 1943, at Bradley Field, Connecticut.

The Primary function of this Squadron was to furnish radio communications for the 21st Weather Squadron, Detachment "MM", along with telephone service with a manual switchboard and interbase communications by radio and/or landline connections for various Army Ground and Air Force units. Most of their equipment could be dismantled and carried with them when relocating from one place to another.

Initial ETO Headquarters of the 40th Mobile Communications Squadron was Sunninghill Park, Ascot, Berkshire, England. The 40th had seventy Detachments assigned to the various Fighter, Bomber and Troop Carrier Groups, Command and Wing HQs, as well as Ground Force Units. Detachment "MM" was assigned to the 416th Bomb Group.


Chart showing organizations to which each of the Detachments was assigned as of D-Day
Detachment "MM" was assigned to the 416th Bomb Group


40th Mobile Communications Squadron Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A3144)

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79th Station Complement Squadron (Special)

The 79th Station Complement Squadron (Special) (SP) was activated per Par 1, General Order No. 45, Air Base Area Command, MacDill Field, Florida, dated 1 June 1943. 1Lt Arthur E. Cole assumed command on the 29th of June, 1943.

The 79th arrived at Station 358, Earls Colne, Essex, England in November, 1943 with the 323rd Bomb Group (M) and later transferred to Station 170, Wethersfield, England on the 8th of January 1944 to help prepare the new base for the arrival of the 416th Bomb Group on February 2, 1944. They remained with the 416th BG until the end of the European conflict.

As noted in the December, 1944 79th Station Complement Squadron (Special) Monthly history - "The 416th has a superior record on their missions, and we feel that the 79th has helped in this accomplishment. If we have helped in the achievement of better field conditions, better bombing, better cooperation and better teamwork in relation to combat efficiency of flying personnel, we feel that our mission overseas has not been in vain."


79th Station Complement Squadron (Special) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A0932)

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199th Medical Dispensary (Aviation) (RS)

199th Medical Dispensary (Aviation) (RS) was Activated in the United Kingdom, 31 January 1944, per General Order #24, Hq., Ninth Air Force, dated 31 January 1944, and was attached to the 416th Bomb Group (L) at AAF Station 170, Wethersfield, Essex, England for Quarters, Rations and Administration. The strength of this Unit as of 31 May 1944 was 2 Officers and 13 Enlisted Men.

Upon arrival at Wethersfield, this Unit found that the Station Sick Quarters was operated by 416th BG HQ Sq. and Sq. Bomb Group personnel, with the WAAF wind of this Sick Quarters being operated by medical personnel of the 4th Service Group. About 20 May, the 199th Medical Dispensary, (Avn), took over operations of Station Sick Quarters on this field, when all Bomb Squadrons set up Squadron Aid Stations in their respective areas.


199th Medical Dispensary (Aviation) (RS) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A0318)

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1297th Military Police Company (Aviation) (Headquarters Detachment)

The 1297th Military Police Company (Aviation) was activated 10 August 1943, at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, by General Order No. 9, Headquarters 1st MPTCA, Camp Ripley, Minnesota. After arrival in the ETO, on 29 January 1944 the Company was split into two detachments, of 50 Enlisted Men and 2 Officers each. Headquarters Detachment was stationed at AAF Station 170, Wethersfield, Essex, England and remained with the 416th Bomb Group. Detachment "A" was stationed at AAF Station 165, Saffron-Walden, England (409th BG).

The 1297th ably performed their many Military Police duties and tasks such as motorcycle patrol and sucurity for the station, motorcycle escort for many truck convoys, standing guard over aircraft crashes as well as prisoners, patrolling events such as dances and parties, acting as guides and guards for important visitors, even capturing two German Aviators.

The Monthly History for the 1297th Military Police Company (Aviation) shows that at various times several members of 416th Bomb Squadrons and other Support Units were attached to the 1297th for rations, quarters and duty, inicating a high degree of cooperation between the Bomb Group and Supporting Units.


1297th Military Police Company (Aviation) Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A0338)

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2055th Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon

On the 5th of July 1943 under T/O&E 5-336, dated 12 May 1943, and General Order # 256 Hqs. Third Air Force, Tampa Florida, dated 3 July 1943, the 2055th Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon was activated at Harding Field, Baton Rouge, La. After arriving in the ETO, the Unit was attached to the 416th Bomb Group on 5 February 1944 at Wethersfield, Essex, England and remained with the 416th through the end of the European War.

This Unit provided all fire fighting duties and equipment for the station, had crash crews stationed on the flight line for every operational mission and training flying in preparation for any crashes, attended and took care of any plane crashes or other fires that occurred at the station.


2055th Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon Monthly History (PDF)
(extracted from AFHRA Microfilm/PDF Reel A0300)

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American Red Cross

Mr. Sigvart L. Rugland was attached to the 416th Bomb Group as American Red Cross Field Director in December, 1943 and was later joined by Red Cross volunteers Miss Margaret "Babs" Cebrian, Aero Club Director, Mrs. Florence Jekyll, Managress and Miss Jean Fitzsimmons, Staff Assistant.

Red Cross volunteers managed the base Aero Club; provided coffee, hot chocolate and donuts to Ground Crews at their work areas and to Combat Crews awaiting Crew Intelligence interogation after each mission; and participated in many social activities and celebrations such as when candy which had been donated by the base soldiers and doughnuts given by the Red Cross were distributed to over 850 French youngsters who were celebrating their first liberated Easter on April 24, 1945.

    
Left: Red Cross Line for java and sinkers, Wethersfield, England, Spring 1944. Red Cross girl standing behind the Jeep is Jean Fitzsimmons.
(T/Sgt Frederick L. Stemler Photo Collection)
Right: Babs Cebrian, American Red Cross volunteer assigned to the 416th, at community center in Finchingfield, England, near Wethersfield
(Captain Francis J. Cachat's 416th Photo Collection)


Additional Resources for American Red Cross:
RedCross.org - World War II and the American Red Cross (PDF)
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Fighter Escort

For protection against German aircraft attacks, Allied Fighter aircraft escorted the 416th BG crews on most of their Combat Missions. The Bomb Group aircraft formation would rendezvous with their "Little Friends" at a specific time and location prior to arrival over enemy held territory as defined in the Mission Field Orders.

Fighter escorts were provided by the U.S. 9th Air Force's 9th (IX), 19th (XIX) and 29th (XXIX) Tactical Air Commands (TAC), as well as from the British RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force and U.S. 8th Air Force VIII Fighter Command.


Mission 82 Field Orders extract with Fighter Escort rendezvous orders.


Additional Resources for Fighter Escort:
LoneSentry.com - "Achtung Jabos! The Story of the IX TAC"
Wikipedia - IX Tactical Air Command
LoneSentry.com - "Fly, Seek, Destroy: The Story of the XIX TAC"
Wikipedia - XIX Tactical Air Command
LoneSentry.com - "Mission Accomplished: The Story of the XXIX TAC"
Wikipedia - XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional)
Wikipedia - RAF Second Tactical Air Force
AmericanAirMuseum.com - VIII Fighter Command
Wikipedia - VIII Fighter Command


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Pathfinder Force (PFF)

Because clouds often partially or totally obscured the Target, numerous Combat Missions were led by Pathfinder Force (PFF) Aircraft. These were Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft from the 1st Pathfinder Squadron (Provisional) , 9th Bombardment Division which were specially equipped with early radar navigation systems "Oboe" and later "SHORAN".

The PFF aircraft would take off with the Group aircraft and lead the formation to the Target. If the weather over the Target was clear enough for visual bombing, the 416th Group Flight Leader Bombardier's would take over and lead the Bomb Runs, but if the weather was too cloudy, the Group aircraft would visually follow the PFF aircraft on the Bomb Run just as they would follow the Flight Lead - when the PFF plane salvoed his bombs, the Group aircraft salvoed theirs.

The first 416th BG Combat Mission lead by PFF aircraft was Mission #82 against a NOBALL target at Middel Straete, France on June 21, 1944 and according to research by Brian Gibbons, Director/Researcher with the B-26 Marauder Historical Society, the PFF aircraft leading 416th Bomb Group Box I was piloted by Capt. J. H. Gilmore, with Lt. G. H. Howe piloting the lead PFF A/C of Box II. Two PFF Aircraft using SHORAN navigation led the Boxes of the final 416th BG mission Mission #285 against an Ammunition Dump at Stod, Czechoslovakia on May 3, 1945. A total of 85 416th BG Combat Missions included PFF aircraft.

Joseph A. Houser, Colonel, USAF (ret) describes a "Pathfinder Mission day": "Since we had to be briefed on our part of the mission before flying to the Group, we had to be up and in our briefing room at least 3 hours before the Group was scheduled to take off. This was dependent on the flying time to the group's base. We then had to attend the Group's briefing, and then present our flight and bombing plan. This made for a long day, especially when the take off was delayed or we had to lead two missions in one day. Getting up at 2 AM was not unusual."


Mission 83 Field Orders extract with PFF orders.

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