RAF Shipdham (USAAF 115), Norfolk, England
44th Bombardment Group, Heavy Details
Constituted as 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Trained with B-24's. Became an operational training unit in Feb 1942. Also served on antisubmarine duty. In Jul 1942 began intensive preparations for combat. Moved to England, Aug-Oct 1942, for service with Eighth AF. Operations consisted primarily of assaults against strategic targets in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy Rumania, Austria, Poland, and Sicily. Pounded submarine installations, industrial establishments, airfields, harbors, shipyards, and other objectives in France and Germany, Nov 1942-Jun 1943. Received a DUC for an extremely hazardous mission against naval installations at Kiel on 14 May 1943: with its B-24's carrying incendiaries to be dropped after three B-17 groups had released high explosive bombs, the 44th flew in the wake of the main formation; thus the B-24's were particularly vulnerable because they had no protection from fire power of the main force, and this vulnerability increased when the group had to open its own formation for the attack; but the 44th blanketed the target with incendiaries in spite of the concentrated flak and continuous interceptor attacks it encountered. Late in Jun 1943 a large detachment moved to North Africa to help facilitate the invasion of Sicily by bombing airfields and marshalling yards in Italy. The detachment also participated in the famous low-level raid on the Ploesti oil fields on 1 Aug 1943.
Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Distinguished Unit Citations: Kiel, Germany, 14 May 1943; Ploesti, Rumania, 1 Aug 1943.