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343rd Bomb Squadron


Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic crossing from Brazil to Liberia, then transited east across central Africa to Sudan. Lastly the group reformed with the ground echelon which traveled by ship around the Cape of Good Hope, joining with air echelon in British Palestine.

Assigned to the newly formed IX Bomber Command, the squadron operated from airfields in Egypt; Libya and Tunisia supporting the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign. Also staged long-range strategic bombardment of enemy military and industrial targets in Sicily; Italy and the Southern Balkans, including attacking the German-controlled oilfields at Ploiești, Romania.

Reassigned to Fifteenth Air Force in southern Italy; continuing strategic bombardment raids on Occupied France; Southern Germany; Austria and targets in the Balkans. In the summer of 1944, the squadron participated in the invasion of southern France, assisted in the Soviet advance into the Balkans, and supported the partisans and guerrillas in Yugoslavia and neighboring countries.

The squadron returned to the United States in May 1945; being redesignated as a B-29 Superfortress heavy bomb squadron and began training for deployment to the Central Pacific Area and conduct strategic bombardment raids over the Japanese Home Islands. Training continued until the unit was inactivated at the end of July, its equipment and personnel being merged into the other three squadrons of its host group.


Part of
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

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  • Joseph Altemus

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Goddard crew. 10 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Regensburg 22-Feb-44 in B-24 42-73138; fighters / flak, explosion starboard side of fuselage. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 2726 ...

  • Paul Baskis

    Military | Master Sergeant | B-24 Crew Chief | 98th Bomb Group
    Master Sgt. Crew Chief Paul Baskis was assigned to the B-24D Liberator, 41-11761, named, The Squaw. ...

  • Francis Beatty

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Crew member of B-24 41-11921 'Northern Star' 'Doc', flew on the 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid. The aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned safely to Benghazi, Libya despite being intercepted by enemy fighters...

  • Theodore Beaudry

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, the B-24, 42-41007 'Margie A Virgin', was shot up pretty bad, and upon landing somewhere in Europe, caught fire with 6 members of the former DOPEY CREW: Gooden, Perkins, McNeil, Beaudry, Cox, and Cochrane,...

  • Francis Beauregard

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11896.

  • Thomas Bennett

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 491st Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 42-40082.

  • Julian Bleyer

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Pilot B-24 41-11896 flew on 1-Aug-43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • Jesse Bowling

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Jesse C Bowling named his aircraft 'Ruth Please!' after his wife Ruth. Bowling was shot down on 19-Feb-45 on a mission over Vienna. Bowling managed to land the aircraft in Zadar. Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (1 x Battle Star).

  • Russell Burton

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11896,

  • Isaac Canetti

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 15AF USAAF. Flew over 20 combat missions with Bowling crew. Failed to Return (FTR) Landshut, Austria in B-24 42-94992 19-Mar-45; Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 2423 ...

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  • 42-40364 - The Pink Elephant - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, The Pink Elephant, 42-40364, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, "The Pyramiders", and the 343rd Bomb Squadron. First named, The Pink Elephant, 42-40364, was the second B-24D, that was later renamed, Snow White and the Seven...

  • 41-11840 - The Witch

    B-24 Liberator
    The aircraft, 41-11840, named, The Witch, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 343rd Bomb Squadron left. It deployed for duty in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in July, 1942. It's pilot, Lt. Glade Jorgenson, played a...

  • 42-40655 - Four Eyes - Damfino

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D bomber, 42-40655, named, Four Eyes, and, Damfino, flown by Lt. Donald J. Hadcock, was assigned to the 343rd Bombing Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force. ...

  • 41-11921 Northern Star, Doc

    B-24 Liberator
    This aircraft, 41-11921, was originally assigned to the 8th Air Force and the 376th Bomb Group in England, in 1942, and carried the name, Northern Star, and it's corresponding nose art on both sides of the nose. In the spring of 1943, Northern Star was...

  • 41-11761 - The Squaw - Sleepy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11761, was first named, Sleepy, by the men in the 8th Air Force and the 93rd Bomb Group in the U.K. It was, later, renamed, The Squaw, by it's Command Pilot, Lt. Royden LeBrecht, after being transferred to the 9th Air...

  • 42-40082 - Prince Charming

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, Prince Charming, 42-40082, flew on the low level Ploesti mission, flown by Lt. Thomas W. Bennett. Bennet turned back early in the mission, in the vicinity of Corfu, and did not reach the target area. He aborted the mission because his gunner...

  • 41-11896 'Nightmare'

    B-24 Liberator
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, pilot Lt. Col. Julian M. Bleyer, returning safely to Libya. Shot down on 3rd Sep 43 mission to bomb Sulmona, Italy marshaling yards, pilot Herman E Stephens - 7 KIA / 3 POW MACR 463

  • 41-11620 Edna Elizabeth

    B-24 Liberator
    - The B-24D aircraft, 41-11620, Edna Elisabeth, was originally assigned to the British, as Plane BA9 #13a. It was also in the Halpro Group. ...

  • 42-51924 Ruth Please!

    B-24 Liberator
    Ruth Please! was named for Ruth Bowling, wife of its Pilot Jesse C Bowling Sr ...

  • 41-11913 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 41-11913, was the original 9th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, and 343rd Bomb Squadron's, B-24D, named, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, after the Walt Disney movie characters. The aircraft's nose art depicted the Disney princess, Snow White,...

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Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 02:39:56 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, motto, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations and media associations