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422 BS 305 BG 8 AF


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  • 422 BS 305 BG 8 AF
THE 305th BOMB GROUP

Activated 1 March 1942 at Salt Lake City AB, Utah. They trained there until the 2nd of March 1943. Then moved to Geiger Field, Washington on 11 June 1942 Intensive training at Muroc Lake AB, California from the 29t June to 20th August 1942. The ground unit went by train to at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The ground unit sailed on the Queen Mary on the 5th September 1942, and disembarked from Greenock on the 12th of September 1942. the Aircraft assembled at Syracuse, New York and spent six weeks in advance flight training. They received new B-17F bombers, and left for the United Kingdom in October 1942 via the presque Isle, and Gander to Prestwick.

Claims to Fame

Under Col. LeMay the Group pioneered many formations and bombing procedures that became Standard Operating Procedures in the 8th AAF The 422nd Bomb Squadron undertook the first night attacks by the 8th AF Suffered heaviest loss of the 14th October 1943 Schweinfurt mission, and for this reason was given the Nazi flag found flying in the city when it was captured by the US troops Subsequent History Between 20-27 July 1945 the Group moved to

St. Trond, Belgium, where it conducted photo-mapping flights which was called Project: Casey Jones over Europe and North Africa. On the 15th December 1945 moved to Lechfeld, Germany which they had bombed on the 18th March 1944. The 364th Bomb Squadron was inactivated on the 1st of July 1946. The 423 Bomb Squadron of the 306th Bomb Group was attached to the Group after this date but by the end of October 1946 the Group ceased all operations. Officially the unit was inactivated on the 25th of December 1946. On the Continent came under the 9th Air Force and on the 15th of November 1945 under USAFE. The unit was reactivated in 1951 as a Strategic Air Command B-29 unit and as the 305th Bomb Wing and converted to B-47s in 1953. Then became one of the USAF's two B-58 Hustler units.

Col. LeMay and the 305th Bombardment Group 1.
"An assignment to hell" The United Press correspondent, Walter Cronkite, reported that above 20,000 feet he and his colleagues could no longer make notes; the cold actually froze the lead of the pencils. Cronkite summed up the bomber mission as "an assignment to hell-a hell 20,000 feet above the earth." .

   2. New survival tactics As aids to survival, the Eighth Air Force kept devising new equipment and tactics. The crewmen were given new "vests" to protect them from flak. Made of overlapping two - inch - square steel plates on top of heavy canvas, the flak vest proved to be so effective that one bombardier survived unhurt when a 20mm cannon shell exploded only two feet away from his chest. Another innovation that was gradually replacing the crews' leather and fleece - lined clothing was the electric flying suit; it could be plugged in at air receptacles inside the bomber.

  3. "Iron Ass" LeMay The new tactics that were worked out had two principal aims: to increase bombing precision and to make the massed bomber formations more invulnerable to Luftwaffe attack. Some of the methods were devised by an irascible, cigar - chomping 36 - year - old Ohioan, Colonel Curtis E. LeMay, who commanded the 305th Bombardment Group. LeMay was such a slave driver that his men called him "Iron Ass." In their dispatches home, American correspondents softened the term to "Iron Pants, " only to earn LeMay's scornful charge that they feared "offending some delicate old - maid type readers."

  4. The "combat box" LeMay was never to curb his notorious penchant for plain speaking, but in the winter of 1943 he was better known for two tactical innovations. The first was the flying formation known as the "combat box." In contrast to the loose bomber stream used in the British night missions, the Americans' choice of a daylight strategy had required their planes to be tightly bunched for effective defense against attack. LeMay's combat box further strengthened the defense. It consisted of as many as 21 planes staggered vertically and horizontally in such a way that the bombers' guns provided maximum firepower all around, and especially against head - on attacks. On large raids, three of these boxes were formed into a combat wing, with one box in the lead and the others stacked 1,000 feet above and below it.

  5. The lead crew LeMay's second innovation, designed to increase bombing accuracy, was to place his most proficient crews in the lead planes of the combat boxes. All the planes in the box dropped their bombs simultaneously-but only at the signal of the lead crew. The result, at least in theory, was a closely packed pattern of hits on the target.

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