390th Bomb Group
Squadrons of the 390th Bomb Group
Air Ministry surveyed the land between Parham and Great Glenham in January
1942, requisition papers being served to the landowners in February of
the same year. Work started in May 1942 and the first concrete being laid
in June. Two contractors were involved, Constable and Hart and Haymills
Ltd. Labour was of significant importance, but was in very short supply
and not always of the standard builders would have wished, but as the
saying went " Don't you know there's a war on?"
during World War Two
was a dominant factor, but before construction could begin the area had
to be cleared of nearly eight miles of hedgerows and 1500 trees, first
the trees were cut down and then the roots blown up. It was also necessary
to dig a large reservoir that was supplied from the river Ore to hold
water needed to mix the vast amounts of concrete needed for the project.
Hardcore, of which there was never enough, was obtained from any source,
bricks and rubble from bombed buildings in London and Birmingham and other
towns provided a large ammount together with tons of shingle from nearby
and day trains and lorries carried these essential elements to the local
station and along what had been quiet country roads and lanes, cement
at that time was carried in sacks that were delivered to the site, emptied
then returned for filling, on site a major form of transport was the horse
airfield was built to a specification known as a class "A" standard
operational airfield, this involved 3 intersecting runways 60 degrees
to each other all 150 feet wide, two of these being 4400 feet long and
the main runway was 6400 feet long, the perimeter track was 50 feet wide
and would circumscribe the entire flying area and was 3.25 miles in length.
airfield was designed to accommodate 1500 personnel but eventually had
over 3000, the design necessitated the building of dispersed living quarters,
communal sites, recreational, training and storage facilities, as well
as basic utilities such as water, sewerage disposal plant, electricity
of the flying area had been completed by November 1942 and had already
been allocated to the United States Army Airforce and was officially transferred
to the 8th Army Airforce on August 15th 1943.
Used and Utilities laid
square yards of concrete, 4,500,000 bricks, 32,000 square yards of tarmac,
20 miles of drains, 6 miles of water mains, 4 miles of sewers, 10 miles
of roads, which was 20 feet wide, roads, paths and runways totalled in
excess of 35 miles and 10 miles of electrical conduit. The total cost
was £1,000,000 or $4,000,000 U.S (at the 1943 exchange rate)
Bomb Group Early History
26 January 1943, the 390th Bombardment Group (H) was activated on General
Order 14, issued by Headquarters second Air Force, Fort George Wright,
Washington. Formation did not begin until late February 1943. Training
at Geiger until 6 June 1943 when the Group moved to Great Falls AAB, Montana.
The aircraft went overseas on the 4th of July 1943 taking the northern
ferry route from Iceland to Prestwick, where the first aircraft arrived
on the 13th of July 1943. The ground unit left for Camp Shanks, NY on
the 4th of July 1943 and sailed on the USS James Parker on the 17th of
July 1943, and they arrived in liverpool on the 27th of July 1943. Prepared
for combat with B-17's and assigned to Eighth AF. Operated chiefly against
strategic objectives, flying many missions with the aid of pathfinders.
Began combat on 12 Aug 1943. The first mission was on the 12th August
1943 and involved all four squadrons.
17 1943 attacked the Messerschmitt aircraft complex at Regensburg and
received a DUC for the mission. Received another DUC for a mission on
14 Oct 1943 when the group braved unrelenting assaults by enemy fighters
to bomb the antifriction-bearing plants at Schweinfurt. Participating
in the intensive Allied assault on the German aircraft industry during
Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944, the organization bombed aircraft factories,
instrument plants, and air parks. Other strategic missions included
attacks on marshalling yards at Frankfurt, bridges at Cologne, oil facilities
at Zeitz, factories at Mannheim, naval installations at Bremen, and
synthetic oil refineries at Merseburg. Sometimes flew interdictory and
support missions. Bombed the coast near Caen fifteen minutes before
the landings in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944. Attacked enemy artillery in
support of ground forces during the breakthrough at St Lo in July. Cut
German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944 - Jan 1945.
Hit airfields in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in
Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 20 Apr 1945. Dropped food supplies
to the Dutch during the week prior to V-E Day.
390th Bomb Group Commanders
11th 1945 the 390th arrived in New York Harbor. After a months leave
the Group reassembled at Sioux Falls S.D, but never reorganized as a
unit. The 390th Bombardment Group was deactivated on August 28, 1945.
Mission: 12 Aug 1943
Last Mission: 20 Apr 1945
Total Sorties: 8,725
Total Bomb Tonnage: 19,059 Tons
Aircraft Losses by the Group:
Missing in Action 146
Operational Salvage* 30
Non-operational Salvage 10
Total B-17s lost 186
* this figures includes 18 written off in the UK & 12 abandoned on the Continent in friendly territory
17 August 1943: Regensburg (all 4BW groups)
14 October 1943: Schweinfurt
Highest claims of enemy aircraft destroyed by bomb group on one mission
on the date of 10 October 1943.
Hewitt Dunn of the 390th BG the only man to fly 100 mission
Redeployed States in June/August 1945. the aircraft left from Framlingham
on the 25th and 26th of June 1945. the ground unit sailed from Greenock
on the Queen Elizabeth on the 5th of August 1945 and arrived in New York
on the 11th of August 1945. The group was established at Sioux Falls AAFd
South Dakota and inactivated there on the 28th of August 1945. The unit
was reactivated as a Titan missile wing in 1962 with its headquarters
at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizonia.