During World War II, the 416th Bombardment Group (L)
was composed of 416th Headquarters and four Bombardment Squadrons (L),
the 668th (5H), 669th (2A), 670th (F6) and 671st (5C); and was under
the operational control of the IX Bomber Command, 97th Combat
Bombardment Wing of the 9th Air Force.
The 416th Bombardment Group (L) and its Squadrons were Activated February 5, 1943, without personnel, at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma by authority of General Orders #3, dated 4 February 1943, Headquarters Army Air base, Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma. These orders identified the source of the cadre as the 46th Bombardment Group.
The members of the "Famous 416th" greatly distinguished themselves in their 14
months of combat operations in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO).
The Group had many "Firsts". They were the First A-20 Havoc Group in
the ETO, flew the First A-20 mission ever to bomb Germany,
the First Group in the world to completely convert to the new A-26 Invader
and the First 9th Air Force Bomb Group to fly missions in
Czechoslovakia as well as Austria.
They fought in seven Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy;
Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; and Air
Combat European-African-Middle Eastern (EAME) Theater, and received
many Letters of
Commendation. On July 25, 1945, they were awarded the Distinguished Unit
Citation for their critical part in trapping German forces in the
Falaise Gap between August 6-9, 1944.
Along with these Group honors, many 416th Officers and Enlisted Men
received individual awards and medals, including the Distinguished
Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying
Cross, Soldiers' Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Motor
Vehicle Driver's Badge, Motor Vehicle Mechanic's Badge, many Oak Leaf
Clusters and the French Croix de guerre.
Prior to D-Day, the 416th was instrumental in the preparation for the
invasion of Europe and mostly targeted German Coastal Defenses, NOBALL
V-1 Launch Sites, Airfields and Marshalling Yards. The 416th flew two
missions on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. After the Allied Expeditionary
Forces secured their beachhead and began the drive to Germany, the
Group's primary role became one of tactical support for the advancing
ground troops, destroying enemy Transportation Infrastructure
(Railroad/Highway Bridges and Junctions, Marshalling Yards),
Communication Centers, Ordnance and Fuel Storage Depots, Strong Points,
among other important targets.
The 416th BG flew a total of 285 Combat Missions during their Operational
Period of March 3, 1944 through May 3, 1945.
No bomb group can perform their duties without critical support units.
Units that provided vital Support Services to the 416th BG during their combat months included:
"Little Friends" Fighter Escort during combat missions
was 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 2nd
Tactical Air Force and U.S. 8th Air Force.
On the numerous missions when the weather prohibited visual bombing,
Martin B-26 Marauder Pathfinder Force (PFF) Aircraft from the 1st Pathfinder Squadron (Provisional), 9th Bombardment Division which were specially equipped with early radar navigation systems "Oboe" and later "SHORAN" led the bomb runs.
The Official 416th Bombardment Group (L) Historical summaries have been
transcribed from USAF Archives and are available by year -
See also a summary
of Group information, including the Intelligence Department Operational
Record statistics; Colonel Aylesworth's description of the Group's conversion to
A-26 Invaders; along with some examples of official orders related to 416th Bomb Group
activity from 1943, 1944 and 1945.
Click on logos below
for 9th Air Force and individual Squadron histories.
9th Air Force
416th Bomb Group Informal Insignia and Motto
668th Bomb Sq. /
669th Bomb Sq. /
670th Bomb Sq. /
671st Bomb Sq.