The 401st Bombardment Group (H)


Formed on 1 April 1943 at Ephrata Army Air Base , Washington , the 401st Bombardment Group
( Assigned to 8th Air Force ) concisted of four squadrons :

the 612th and 613th , each 8 crews ,
the 614th and 615th , each 7 crews ,
with a total of 60 aircrafts.

By September 1943 the crews were completing their final training
at Great Falls in Montana and by October the 3000-strong Group was
ready to embark for Deenethorpe.

The siting of Deenethorpe airfield was an excellent choice,
as it was 330 feet ( 100 m ) above sea level, with clear approaches to all three runways.

The airfield was build alongside the A427 road between Corby and Oundle, with the parish of Deenethorpe on the north and south side and Upper Benefield to the east.

In August 1942 the planned airfield had been allocated to RAF bomber Command , but in October 1943 it became Station 128 of the USAAF

Deenethorpe officially opened for operations on Wednesday 24 November 1943 at 08:00hrs.
Next morning a mission was briefed and then cancelled.
At 05:00hrs on Friday 26 November , a mission to Bremen was flown, 19 aircrafts , led by Col. Bowman.

The tail code of the B-17`s from the 401st was triangle - S

The 401st Bomb Group consisted of the following operational squadrons flying B-17s :

612th Bomb Squadron (SC)            613th Bomb Squadron (IN)            614th Bomb Squadron (IW)             615th Bomb Squadron (IY)

The 401st BG operated chiefly against strategic targets:

submarine facilities
bombing industries
marshalling yards
missile sites
and airfields.

Beginning in October 1944 ,
they were more concentrated on oil reserves.

At the end of the war the group had flown 254 combat missions from Deenethorpe airfield.

                                                             - The 401st flew  10 missions in 1943
                                                                                        178 missions in 1944
                                                                                          66 missions in 1945.

       - Best bombing accuracy record among B-17 groups in the Eighth Air Force
                                                             - Aircraft lost on operational missions : 94

                                                             - First group in the ETO to complete 100 combat missions in 7 months

                                                             - Enemy aircraft claimed ( confirmed ) : 193

                                                             - Aircraft returning with battle damage : 1,872

                                                             - Total battle casualties ( KIA, MIA, wounded ) : 1,078

                                                             - Rounds of ammunition fired : 916,920

                                                             - Tons of bombs dropped ( all targets ) : 17,784

On 20 April 1945 the 401st flew its 254th and last mission, targeting Brandenberg.

More information can be found on the forum of the 401st BG

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