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 Distinguished Unit Citations Awarded to the 91st Bomb Group

Distinguished Unit Citation for Mission to Hamm, Germany, 4 March 43. 
As authored by Executive Order 9396 (sect. I, WD Bul. 22, 1943), superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul. 11, 1942), citations of the following unit is the general order indicated are confirmed under the provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943m in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citations read as follows:

The 1st Bombardment Division (H) is cited for extraordinary heroism, determination, and esprit de corps in action against the enemy on 4 March 1943. On this date, the 91st Bombardment Group (H) took off from home base in England, as scheduled, to attack the railroad marshalling yards located at Hamm, Germany, in one of the first operations conducted by heavy bombardment units against targets with German. This unit departed the English coast on course and a few miles out over the English Channel encountered thick haze, high cloud, and icing conditions reducing visibility to less than 1,000 yards. Weather conditions continued to deteriorate to such an extent that only the determination and skill of each pilot in maintaining formation was responsible for the negotiation of the flight across the English Channel.

Three other bombardment groups comprising the force engaged in this military operation were forced to abandon the mission because of the adverse weather encountered. Over enemy-occupied Holland, weather conditions improved and the 91st Bombardment Group (H), consisting of sixteen B17 aircraft, continued on toward the assigned objective Vigorous attacks by enemy fighters began almost immediately. In the face of vicious opposition from an estimated 60 to 75 fighter airplanes of the German Air Force, this unit demonstrated the utmost courage and determination, fighting doggedly to maintain course and position en route to the target. Although four B-17 aircraft were lost to enemy action and heavy anti-aircraft fire was met from enemy ground installations, the 91st Bombardment Group (H) successfully reached the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. In the face of opposition from enemy ground defenses, this unit tenaciously maintained the bomb run and bombs were dropped, inflicting extensive damage on the German installations. The 12 surviving aircraft, having successfully completed their primary assignment and having destroyed 13 enemy fighters probably destroyed 3, and damaged 4, continued to maintain formation integrity and completed the return flight to home base.
The conspicuous courage and esprit de corps exhibited by the 91st Bombardment Group (H) in the face of extremely adverse weather conditions and opposition from the enemy, which resulted in casualties consisting of 1 killed, 5 seriously wounded, and 40 missing in action, were responsible for the successful bombardment of one of the first high priority objectives assigned to bombardment forces in the European Theater of Operations. The actions of this unit reflect the highest credit on the 91st Bombardment Group (H) and the armed forces of the United States. General Orders 513, Headquarters 1st Air Division, 15 August 1945, as approved by the Commanding General. European Theater.

This was not awarded until after the war, when it was recognized that this mission saved the concept of daylight bombing.

Distinguished Unit Citation for Mission to Oschersleben, Germany, 11 January 44. XI--BATTLE HONORS.-1- As authorized by Executive Order No. 9396 (sec. I, Bull. 22, WD 1943); superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (sec.III, Bull. 11,WD, 1942). Citation of the following unit by the Commanding General, Eight Air Force, in General Orders, No-355t 11 May 1944, under provisions of section IX, Circular No- 333, War Department, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction, is confirmed. The citation reads as follows:
The 1st Bombardment Division (H), is cited for extraordinary heroism, determination, and esprit de corps in action against the enemy on 11 January 1944. On this occasion the 1st Bombardment Division led the entire Eighth Air Force penetration into central Germany to attack vital aircraft factories. After assembly was accomplished and the formation was proceeding toward Germany, adverse weather was encountered which prevented effective fighter cover from reaching the 1st Bombardment Division. Taking full advantage of the relative vulnerability of the lead division, the enemy concentrated powerful forces against it. The scale of the enemy attack is graphically indicated by the fact that 400 encounters with enemy aircraft were recorded by; units of the 1st Bombardment Division. The gunners met these attacks with accurate fire, and the division continued toward the targets as briefed where bombs were dropped with excellent results. On the return trip the enemy continued to concentrate his efforts on the 1st Bombardment Division. Figures of enemy aircraft claimed by our gunners indicate that the heroism of this division inflicted heavy losses on the enemy in the air as well as on the ground. Two hundred and ten (210) enemy aircraft, the largest number ever claimed by any division of the Eighth Air Force for any one mission were confirmed as destroyed, 43 probably destroyed and 84 damaged. The division lost 42 heavy bombers and many of those which returned were heavy damaged. Four hundred and thirty (430) officers and enlisted men failed to return, 2 were killed, and 32 others wounded. The extraordinary heroism and tenacious fighting spirit demonstrated by the 1st Bombardment Division in accomplishing its assigned task under exceptionally difficult conditions reflect highest credit on this organization, the Army Air Forces, and the armed forces of the United States.
By order of the Secretary of War:
G. C. Marshall, Chief of Staff