Brief History of the 398th Bombardment Group
Constituted as 398th Bombardment Group [Heavy] on 15 Feb 1943. Activated on 1 Mar 1943. Prepared for combat with B-17's, but interrupted these activities from Jul to Dec 1943 to train replacement crews for other organizations.
Moved to England in Apr 1944 and assigned to Eighth AF. Entered combat in May 1944, and until V-E Day operated primarily against strategic objectives in Germany, attacking targets such as factories in Berlin, warehouses in Munich, marshalling yards in Saarbrucken, shipping facilities in Kiel, oil refineries in Merseburg, and aircraft plants in Munster.
Temporarily suspended strategic missions to attack coastal defenses and enemy troops on the Cherbourg peninsula during the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944; strike gun positions near Eindhoven in support of the air attack on Holland in Sep 1944; raid power stations, railroads, and bridges during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and attack airfields to aid the Allied assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945.
Flew last combat mission, attacking an airfield in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, on 25 Apr 1945.
Transported liberated prisoners from Germany to France after V-E Day.
Returned to the US, May-Jun 1945. Inactivated on 1 Sep 1945.
- Ephrata AAB, Wash, 1 Mar 1943
- Blythe, Calif, 5 Apr 1943
- Geiger Field, Wash, 29 Apr 1943
- Rapid City AAB, SD, 10 Jun 1943-4 Apr 1944
- Nuthampstead, England, 22 Apr 1944-26 May 1945
- Drew Field, Fla, 3 Jul-1 Sep 1945
- American Theater
- Air Offensive, Europe
- Normandy; Northern France
- Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace
- Central Europe
Activation March 1st, 1943
The 398th Bombardment Group, consisting of Group Headquarters and the 600th, 601st, 602nd, and 603rd Bombardment Squadrons [H] was activated under General Order Number 30, Headquarters, Second Air Force, Fort George Wright, Washington, Section II, Paragraph I, quoted as follows: Pursuant to instructions contained in immediate action, confidential War Department Letter, AG 320.2 [02-12-43] OB-I-AFDPV-M, February 15, 1943, subject: "Constitution and Activation of certain Army Air Force Units", the following units having been constituted and assigned to the Second Air Force, are activated as indicated -
Unit Effective Date of Activation
Headquarters, 398th Bombardment Group [H] March 1, 1943
The initial cadre was formed from the 34th Bombardment Group [H] at the Army Air Base, Blythe, California. Lt. Colonel Frank P. Hunter was assigned as Group Commander. The permanent station of the 398th Bombardment Group [H] is Army Air Base, Ephrata, Washington.
Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, Orlando, Florida April 3rd April 24th, 1943
Under the provision of Special Order, number 88, paragraph 2, Headquarters, Army Air Base, Blythe, California, dated March 29, 1943, a part of the 398th Bombardment Group [H], consisting of 85 officers and enlisted men, with 1st Lt. Jack S. Garland acting as trained commander, left on March 29th for the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, Orlando, Florida, arriving at their destination on April 3rd. Upon completion of the course this part of the cadre under the provisions of the aforementioned Special Order number 88, left Orlando, Florida on April 24th arriving at Geiger Field, Spokane, Washington, on April29, 1943. This was a temporary change of station.
On April 26, 1943, under the provisions of Special Order number 118, paragraph 6, Army Air Base, Blythe, California, dated April 26, 1943 the remaining portion of the cadre, under the command of Major Earl J. Berryhill, left Blythe, California, and arrived at Geiger Field, Spokane, Washington on May 1, 1943. This was a temporary change of station.
On June 20th, 1943, under the provision of Special Order number 169, paragraph 2, Army Air Base, Geiger Field, Washington, dated June 18, 1943, the 398th Bombardment Group [H], moved to Army Air Base, Rapid City, South, Dakota, a temporary change of station. The flight echelon was authorized to travel by motor, air, or rail, and the ground echelon proceeded by rail, arriving June 22, 1943.
On July 8, 1943, on verbal orders from Brigadier General Walter A. Peck, the status of the 398th Bombardment Group [H] became that of an arrested OTU Group. [Overseas Training Unit]
Group Performance Record
"D": Day invasion of Normandy; the breakthrough at Caen and St. Lo; the Eindhoven airborne invasion, the elimination of the Metz fortified area; the penetration across the Rhine River; and the destruction of Fort Royan in the liberation of Bordeaux, France.
The outstanding attack made by the 398th was on Derben, Germany, on April 8, 1945, for which an award of the Presidential Unit Citation is under consideration by higher headquarters.