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Unit History Summary

Constituted as 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Oct 1942. Activated on 3 Nov 1942. Used B-17's in preparing for duty overseas. Moved to England, May-Jun 1943, and assigned to Eighth AF. Served in combat from Jun 1943 to Apr 1945, operating chiefly against strategic objectives on the Continent. Specific targets included an aircraft assembly plant at Villacoublay, an airdrome at Amiens, locks at St Nazaire, an aircraft engine factory at Le Mans, nitrate works in Norway, aircraft plants in Brussels, industrial areas of Munster, U-boat yards at Kiel, marshalling yards at Offenberg, aircraft factories at Kassel, aircraft assembly plants at Leipzig, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, and ball-bearing works at Shweinfurt. Received a DUC for performance on 8 Oct 1943 when shipyards at Bremen were bombed accurately in spite of persistent enemy fighter attacks and heavy flak. Received second DUC for similar action on 11 Jan 1944 during a mission against aircraft factories in central Germany. Participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against enemy aircraft factories during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Often supported ground troops and attacked targets of interdiction when not engaged in strategic bombardment. Supported the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944 by bombing bridges and airfields near the beachhead. Attacked enemy positions in advance of ground forces at St Lo in Jul 1944. Assisted the airborne assault on Holland in Sep. Struck airfields and communications near the battle zone during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Supported the Allied crossing of the Rhine in Mar 1945 and then operated against communications and transportation in the final push through Germany. Returned to the US, Jun-Jul 1945. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.

Redesignated 381st Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 24 Jul 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.

Total credited sorties, 9,035.  Bomb tonnage 22,159 including 24 tons of leaflets.

Command Organization

The  381st BG was assigned to the 1st Combat Wing along with the 91st BG, the 351st BG (lost Dec 1943), and the 398th BG (gained April 1944).  The 1st Combat Wing became the 1st Air Division, of the Eighth Air Force, later U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF).  381st BG was based at Ridgewell, England, designated Station 167

381st Bombardment Group (Heavy)

Squadrons; 532, 533, 534, 535

432nd Air Service Group (formed April 1945)

Commands absorbed by the 432nd ASG:

448th Sub-Depot

7th Station Complement

1207th Quartermaster Company

2021st Fire Platoon, EAFFP

1142nd Military Police Company (AVN)

1775th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance

242nd Medical Dispensary (AVN)

Not absorbed:

Detachment "A", 881st Chemical Company (AO)

Other elements at Ridgewell:

1050th Sig (Signals Support Maintenance Company)

18th Weather Squadron

2003rd Fire (Platoon)

2965th Finance Detachment

630th Service Squadron

312th Service Group

82nd Service Group cadre

858th Air Engineering Squadron 

682nd Air Material Squadron


The 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) and its associated commands have a very rich history.

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Published work; Books, Electronic, Video

Ridgewell Museum and Memorial


Personal Stories of 381st Veterans