319th Bombardment Group

319bg.org is a project of the Army Air Corps Library and Museum. Volunteers are transcribing servicemen names and their awards from General Orders that we are publishing on this website for enthusiasts, families and researchers of genealogy and World War II history. The names on this honor roll of men assigned to the 319th Bombardment Group is not a complete list of all who served with the 319th, however, we are attempting to locate as many documents that have survived as possible. Sources of material include the US National Archives, Air Force Historical Research Agency and the records donated by individual servicemen and their families. We hope you will find this information useful and enjoyable. We are accepting volunteers help in this very large World War II project as we preserve this history and honor service.

319th Bombardment Group History

Constituted as 319th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 June 1942 and activated on 26 June. Trained with B-26's then moved via England to the Mediterranean theater, August-November 1942, with part of the group landing at Arzeu beach during the invasion of North Africa on 8 November. Operated with Twelfth AF until Jan 1945, except for a brief assignment to Fifteenth, November 1943-Jan 1944. Began combat in November 1942, attacking airdromes, harbors, rail facilities, and other targets in Tunisia until February 1943. Also struck enemy shipping to prevent supplies and reinforcements from reaching the enemy in North Africa.

After a period of reorganization and training, Feb-Jun 1943, the group resumed combat and participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and the campaign for Sicily. Directed most of its attacks against targets in Italy after the fall of Sicily in Aug 1943.

The 319th attacked bridges, airdromes, marshalling yards, viaducts, gun sites, defense positions, and other objectives. They supported forces at Salerno in Sep 1943 and at Anzio and Cassino during Jan-Mar 1944. Carried out interdictory operations in central Italy to aid the advance to Rome, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation ("DUC") for a mission on 3 March 1944 when the group, carefully avoiding religious and cultural monuments, bombed rail facilities in the capital. Received another DUC for striking marshalling yards in Florence on 11 Mar 1944 to disrupt rail communications between that city and Rome.

They received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for action in preparation for and in support of the Allied offensive in Italy, Apr-Jun 1944. From July to December 1944, bombed bridges in the Po Valley, supported the invasion of Southern France, hit targets in northern Italy, and flew some missions to Yugoslavia, converting in the meantime, in November, to B-25 aircraft.

Returned to the U.S. in Jan 1945. Redesignated 319th Bombardment Group (Light) in February. Trained with A-26 aircraft. Moved to Okinawa, April-Jul 1945, and assigned to Seventh AF. Flew missions to Japan and China, attacking airdromes, shipping, marshalling yards, industrial centers, and other objectives. Returned to the U.S., November-December 1945 and inactivated on 18 Dec. 1945.

D.U.C.

HEADQUARTERS TWELFTH AIR FORCE
14 April 1944

GENERAL ORDERS: 44

Citation of Unit

2. Under the provisions of War Department Circular 333, 22 December 1943, and Circular 26, Hq NATOUSA, 6 March 1944, the 319th Bombardment Group (M) is cited as indicated below:

The 319th Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy. Repeatedly demonstrating superior achievement in precision bombing during critical periods in the Italian campaign, the 319th Bombardment Group was in a large measure responsible for the complete interdiction of rail communication between Florence and Rome which resulted from a supreme effort by our medium bombers. On 11 March 1944, the 319th Bombardment Group distinguished itself by conspicuous battle action when its group formation of twenty-five B-26's excelled others on the same mission by dropping ninety-six 1000 pound bombs with pin-point accuracy on the main marshalling yards at Florence. Of the two hundred and fifty units of rolling stock in the yards, approximately fifty were damaged or derailed. Thirty locomotives in the repair yards were destroyed or damaged. All tracks in the target area were cut and a concentration of craters in the south half of the area completely isolated the Central Station. Heavy damage was inflicted upon buildings of a chemical works, upon repair sheds and warehouses. A string of bombs fell in the Old Fort where sixty motor vehicles had been parked and several adjoining buildings w6re destroyed. Photographic reconnaissance on 16 March confirmed that all the through lines still were cut at many points and that the yards were impassible. Realizing that the carrying of a maximum bomb load on a mission of maximum range, involving a hazardous overwater route under adverse weather conditions, demanded flawless mechanical performance, the ground personnel displayed untiring zeal and devotion to duty in preparing and servicing their aircraft. Despite errorless navigation, two of the bombers were forced to land at friendly airdromes to refuel. All others reached the home base safely. The success of this mission, which struck such a devastating blow to the enemy, exemplifies the highest type of leadership, team work and flying skill and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Military Service of the United States.

By command of Major General CANNON:

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