WE WENT TO WAR
A Detailed History of the 380th Bombardment Group (H) in World War II
|PART I -- Roster of the 380th Bomb Group|
|PART II -- Roster of the Flight Crews|
|Missing Crews Listing|
|PART IV -- A Listing of MOS/SSNs||
|380th Aircraft Types|
|PART V -- The Planes We Flew: Australia/New Guinea Campaign||
About the Authors
Abbreviated Roster Listing, All
|PART VI -- The Planes We Flew: Philippines Campaign||
PART VII -- The Ground Staff of the 380th Bomb Group (H)
PART X -- The Background of Our
Service, Why We Were in the Southwest Pacific Area: A Review
The members of the 380th Bomb Group Association, the veterans reunion group of those who served with the 380th Bombardment Group (Heavy), like their compatriots in all of the other American combat units who took part in World War II, are anxious that the history of their unit during that period be preserved for their families and, indeed, for all future generations. This would include records of all those who served with details of that service, of all of the aircraft they flew and the details of the history of that aircraft, and of all the missions which the unit flew against our enemy, again with all important details.
Most of the major units of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), which served in World War II, have been memorialized to some degree in the form of narrative works published as books describing the most notable exploits of an individual, an air crew, a squadron, a group, or even a whole air force. As noted, they have usually concentrated on the most noteworthy or glamorous topics because of limitations on publishing space, the author's available time and resources, and, frankly, potential sales appeal.
The 380th Bombardment Group (Heavy) has been fortunate in that three separate such volumes have already been published on this unit. These are:
1. The Flying Circus - 380th Bomb Group, by James E. Fain, Jr., Howard L. Bergman, Grant C. Cannon and Julian A. Riser, Intelligence Officers of the 380th Bomb Group, Commanday-Roth Co., New York, NY, 1946, 190 pp. Reprinted 1988.
2. King of the Heavies - 380th Bomb Group, 1942-1945, by Glenn R. Horton, Jr., and Gary L. Horton. Library of Congress Card Number 83-90348. Privately published, 1983, 184 pp.
3. The Best in the Southwest - The 380th Bomb Group in World War II, by Glenn R. Horton, Jr., Library of Congress Card Number 95-079703, ISBN 0-9645959-0-7. Mosie Publications, Savage, MN, 1995, 513 pp.
In fact, the third one, The Best in the Southwest, has been widely acclaimed as the best of this type of historical narrative in print today. For these, the veterans of the 380th are eternally grateful.
However, again due to the limitations noted above, these works cannot provide the detail needed for every veteran of a particular unit to "find himself" because of the lack of overall detail in the descriptions. This is particularly heartfelt by families and friends of this veteran in attempting to reconstruct his war service after he is no longer available to answer their questions.
The veterans' organizations of many of these units have realized that they could not be satisfied with only these no matter how good they might be individually. They have recognized the need of complete wartime rosters, of complete histories of the service of each aircraft assigned to the unit, and a similar list of all the combat missions in which the unit was engaged, etc., sufficient enough for those so concerned to "find the place of an individual loved one," in the operations of the unit.
Along with the others, the 380th Bomb Group Association has set out to rectify this need for the 380th personnel who served in World War II, to the extent that presently available official records, memorabilia, and individuals' own memories will permit. We have divided our project into ten parts as follows because of its otherwise overwhelming size:
Part I -- A WWII Wartime Roster of the 380th Bomb Group (H)
Part II -- A Roster of the Flight Crews of the 380th Bomb Group (H)
Part III -- Our Brothers-at-Arms. Members of the RAAF
Liberator Squadrons of Australia
Who Served Directly With the 380th Bomb Group
Part IV -- A Listing of MOS/SSNs (Military
Occupational Specialties/Service Specialty Numbers) Which
Personnel of an Isolated Heavy Bombardment Group Would Probably
Need During WWII
Part V -- The Planes We Flew: Australia/New Guinea Campaign
Part VI -- The Planes We Flew: Philippines Campaign
Part VII -- Keeping Them Flying, The Ground Staff of the 380th Bomb
Part VIII -- The Missions We Flew: Australia/New Guinea Campaign -- Manuscript
Draft Completed --
Part IX -- The Missions We Flew: Philippines Campaign -- Manuscript Draft Completed --
|PART X -- The Background of Our Service, Why We Were in the Southwest Pacific Area: A Review|
|PART XI -- Our Opposition: The Japanese Flying Units in the Southwest Pacific|
The purposes of each Part are laid out in the Introductions of each in turn.
It is hoped that this collection can be made widely available and will indeed fulfill the above expressed need for the reference by the veterans themselves, their families and friends, and indeed any researcher so motivated.
The basic unit of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II was the Group. Groups were built around the operational use of a specific type of airplane. In the case of the 380th, this was the B-24 Liberator Bomber. These planes were used in a particular class of mission suited to their capabilities. Again, in our case this was heavy bombardment associated with a large fraction of reconnaissance missions.
The 380th was assigned to the South West Pacific War Area because of the long-range capabilities of the Liberator and the need for its services there at that point in the war (Spring 1943). It served under the Fifth Bomber Command, 5th Air Force, Far East Air Forces, USAAF.
The 380th was assigned a unique mission, the strategic bombardment coverage of the whole of the Western half of the South West Pacific Area. This comprised the whole of the East Indies including Dutch New Guinea within range of our bombers. In other words, they were holding the left flank of the Allied effort in the South West Pacific Area during the 1943-44 period. When needed, the 380th joined their compatriot groups of the 5th Air Force in New Guinea for short periods such as during the several invasion campaigns that occurred there in 1943-44.
To accomplish this mission, the Group was placed under the operational control of the Royal Australian Air Force based in the Northwest Territory of Australia. As such they served the longest of any American unit under the direct operational control of an Allied Country. This service lasted from May 1943 to February 1945 when the Group again rejoined their American comrades in the Philippines as the war zone moved to that area of the Pacific.
In preparation for that move, the 380th carried out another unique mission, that of training our Australian replacements to fly and fight the Liberator so they might take over the East Indian mission that the 380th was then leaving.
We have tried as best we could to make this
record as complete and accurate in its compilation as possible, but
always errors in omission or commission will occur, either our
fault or because of blanks in the available records. Therefore, we
hope you will let us know of any such errors.
For a list of the errors found to date on parts 1-IV, please
for errors found to date on parts V-VI, please
For a list of the errors found to date on parts 1-IV, please click here; for errors found to date on parts V-VI, please click here.
Every attempt has been made to get permission to use photographs, drawings, information, etc., when the sources were known. If copyrighted material appears here, please let us know so permission can be requested and credit given.
If you have any photos, corrections, or other information to add to this history, please send email to Barbara Gotham at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Comment Form.
WE WENT TO WAR: A WWII Wartime Roster of the 380th Bombardment Group (H) by Theodore J. Williams, Barbara J. Gotham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at 380th.org.
Editors, History Project
Theodore J. Williams (deceased 4/27/2013)
Last updated: 13 August 2015