Constituted as 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Using B-17's, trained and participated in maneuvers until Dec 1941. Flew patrol missions along the east coast after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Later became part of the defense force for the west coast. Served as a replacement training unit from mid-1942 until the end of 1943, and then began preparing for overseas duty with B-24's. Moved to England in Apr 1944 for operations with Eighth AF.
Entered combat in May 1944. Helped to prepare for the invasion of Normandy by bombing airfields in France and Germany, and supported the landing in Jun by attacking coastal defenses and communications. Continued to take part in the campaign in France by supporting ground forces at St Lo, 24-25 Jul, and by striking V-weapon sites, gun emplacements, and supply lines throughout the summer of 1944. Converted to B-17's and engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic objectives from Oct 1944 to Feb 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Ludwigshafen, Hamm, Osnabruck, and Darmstadt; oil centers in Bielefeld, Merseburg, Hamburg, and Misburg; factories in Berlin, Dalteln, and Hannover; and airfields in Munster, Neumunster, and Frankfurt. During this period the group also supported ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. In Mar 1945, with few industrial targets remaining and with Allied armies advancing across Germany, the 34th turned almost solely to interdicting enemy communications and supporting Allied ground forces. After V-E Day it carried food to flooded areas of Holland and transported prisoners of war from German camps to Allied centers. Returned to the US in the summer of 1945. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
Squadrons. 4th: 1941-1945. 7th: 1941-1945. 18th: 1941-1945. 391st: 1942-1945.
Stations. Langley Field, Va, 15 Jan 1941; Westover Field, Mass, 29 May 1941; Pendleton Field, Ore, c. 27 Jan 1942; Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, c. 13 May 1942; Geiger Field, Wash, 4 Jul 1942; Ephrata, Wash, 1 Dec 1942; Blythe, Calif, 15 Dec 1942-Apr 1944; Mendlesham, England, c. 26 Apr 1944-c. 25 Jul 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, Aug-28 Aug 1945.
Commanders. Maj John W Monahan, 15 Jan 1941; Lt Col Harold D Smith, c. 1 Mar 1941; Maj Ford Lauer, 9 Jan 1942; Col Ralph E Koon, 12 Feb 1942; Maj Irvine A Rendel, 21 Jul 1942; Maj John A Rouse, 24 Feb 1943; Lt Col John E Carmack, 15 Sep 1943; Col Ernest F Wackwitz Jr, c. 5 Jan 1944; Col William E Creer, Sep 1944; Lt Col Eugene B Lebailly, 29 May-c. Aug 1945.
Campaigns. Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Insigne. Shield: Azure, a compass rose or. Motto: Valor To Victory. (Approved 4 Nov 1941.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986
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