44th Bomb Group (Heavy)

Shipdam, England

The 44th BG Flying 8ball

(Flying 8-ball photo courtesy of B-24 Liberator Units of the Eighth Air Force by Robert F. Dorr)


When formed, the 44th BG had been the first Liberator combat group in the Army Air Forces.
  Their British service commenced on September 1942 at Cheddington, Herts, moving within a very short time to Shipdham in Norfolk, starting on 10th October 1942.
  The group's squadrons were the 66th BS, 67th BS, 68th BS, and the 506th BS.
  The flight and ground crews of the Flying Eightballs together with the 93rd Bombardment Group at Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, were the first to introduce the Liberator to the enemy and flew their first combat mission on 7th November 1942 about four weeks after the 93rd's initial raid. The 44th went on to complete a total of 343 missions including 18 on detachments to North Africa.  
During the 44th's long combat career, records show 18,980 tons of bombs dropped. The group lost 192 Liberators and claimed 330 enemy aircraft destroyed, 74 probables and 69 damaged.
The Eightballs were on two occasions awarded Distinguished Unit Citations, for the Kiel mission on the 14th May and for the low level mission against the Ploesti oil fields on the 1st August 1943. The Group Commander at the time, Colonel Leon W. Johnson was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor for his leadership on the Ploesti attack.
The 44th Bombardment Group Flew its final mission on 25th April 1945. *
* Liberator Album - B-24s of the 2nd Air Division USAAF by Mike Bailey with Tony North
44th BG maintenance stand
Captain Lipper, Ralph I. (necktie in engine) on a B-24 hardstand - Shipdam, UK.
Much internet information about the 44th Bomb Group has been lost or replaced. The following sites are no longer available:

44th Bomb Group Veterans Association website:
44th Bomb Group
Roll of Honor and Casualties

The Military History Group

Here is one currently reliable internet resources about the 44th Bomb Group:

8th Air Force/44thbg



No story of the early 44th Bomb Group can be told without the "Black Sunday" chapter.
Read about the raid on Ploesti, Romania Sunday, August 1, 1943.


in this site
Ralph Lipper B-24 Liberator Don Pierce
Flying 8-balls Mighty 8th AF Sky Scorpions
random photos-a the air crews 389th BG aircraft
random photos-b Ploesti, Romania Ole Irish
lifestyle hazards Aviator's diary waist gunner
sources / books / links U.S. before the war 389th BG stories
this site home page contact 389th BG web site