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   340th Bombardment Group History
Last Update: 12-November-2013

title.jpg (33428 bytes)340th BG Patch

340th BG
Squadron Insignia
486th Insignia

487th Insignia

488th Insignia 489th Insignia
486th B.S.
487th B.S.
488th B.S.
489th B.S.
Click on the squadron insignia above for links to digitized squadron histories

Click here to access the War Diary of the 340th Bombardment Group

The 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) 1942/1945
12th Army Air Force


The 340th bomb group of B-25 Mitchell bombers flew its last bombing mission in Europe April 26, slightly more than 25 months after it went into action in Tunisia supporting the British Eighth army in the assault on the Mareth Line.

Commanded by Col. Willis F. Chapman, San Antonio, Texas, in the last half of its combat history - from March 15, 1944, to the German surrender - the group specialized largely in two types of bombing, close support and "bridge-busting".

Though it was one of the last medium bomb groups to enter the Tunisian campaign it had chalked up the highest "bomb tonnage dropped" mark for medium bomber units in the theater by war's end.

Twice the group was cited by the War Department as a Distinguished Unit, first for remarkably effective close support bombing for the British Eighth army in Tunisia and the Eighth and American Seventh in Sicily. The second citation came a year later for sinking the enemy cruiser Taranto in La Spezia harbor, Sept. 23, 1944.

In the course of its 898 combat missions the 340th group attacked targets in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia, Greece, southern France and Austria. Some of its most effective operations, however, were in themselves campaigns - notably the 'Operation Strangle'; the softening-up of southern France before August 15th "D" day; the Battle of the Brenner", and the final blitz in the Po Valley beginning April 8.

Operation Strangle, lasting from late January, 1944, to the end of May, 1944, was a throttling of German communications in central and north Italy, forcing the Germans to abandon Rome and retreat northwards through Italy. In this operation the 340th bombed repeatedly road and rail bridges, viaducts and tunnels, and created road blocks. At the same time it was giving much-needed help to the Anzio beachhead troops.

The group's operations in the Battle of the Brenner railway was almost identically the same sort of campaign, this time the object being to pinch off supplies from the Germans in their then near-impregnable Gothic line. Besides chopping up this fanatically defended railroad artery from the Reich to the Po valley, the campaign served to lock the enemy up in Italy where in April, 1945, he was forced to surrender or die.

In this final Allied offensive in Italy the 340th group flew more missions than any other medium bomber unit, and scored telling blows on German troop concentrations, strong points, and bridges and ferry crossings.

Throughout its entire combat history the 340th maintained a bombing accuracy record that grew progressively better as each new Mediterranean campaign unfolded. Largely responsible for this result was the intensive training-during combat program instituted by Col. Chapman in March, 1944, and carried through until the end of the war.

Two previous 340th group commanders were shot down in action while leading the unit. The first commanding officer, Col. William C. Mills of Mooresville, N.C., has been missing since an attack on Furnay, Tunisia, May 6, 1943. Another commander, Col. Charles D. Jones, Jackson, Miss., was shot down March 10, 1944, in an attack on the Littorio (Rome) marshalling yards. A prisoner of war in Italy, Germany and Poland, Col. Jones was liberated by advancing American troops in the last days of the war.
Courtesy Nick Loveless 486 BS

For additional information and documentation,
visit Hymie Setzer's (340th, 487th) Tribute page
and Victor Ramirez's (340th, 488th) Tribute page

      "Memories of war are tenacious.. .they never, never let you go" *


340th BG
Squadron Insignia
486th Insignia

487th Insignia

488th Insignia 489th Insignia
486th B.S.
487th B.S.
488th B.S.
489th B.S.
Click on the squadron insignia above for links to digitized squadron histories