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15th Bombardment Squadron (Light)

Aircraft:DB-7, A-20
Group Emblem:
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Wing:3rd Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:VIII Air Service Command
Airfield(s)
Squadrons:
Tail Marking:
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Details:The squadron was initially activated as part of the 27th Bombardment Group (Light) at Barksdale Field, Louisiana in 1940. Was reassigned to V Air Support Command in late 1941 and stationed at Fort Dix Army Airfield, New Jersey. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the unit as assigned to flying antisubmarine patrols over the New York and New Jersey coasts. Reassigned to Lawson Field, Georgia and manned in May 1942 by personnel of its original unit, (inactivated 27th Bombardment Group (Light)) who had fought in the Philippines Campaign (1941–42) and Dutch East Indies and New Guinea Campaigns. The squadron was reassigned to Eighth Air Force, arriving at RAF Grafton Underwood on 12 May, then to RAF Molesworth on 9 June. Under Eighth Air Force the airmen were organized as the 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light) and equipped with the British Boston III light bomber, receiving their aircraft from No. 226 Squadron RAF.

After a few weeks of familiarization training with the new aircraft, on July 4, 1942, six American crews from the 15th Bomb Squadron joined with six RAF crews from RAF Swanton Morley for a low-level attack on Luftwaffe airfields in the Netherlands, becoming the first USAAF unit to bomb targets in Europe. The 4th of July raid had been specifically ordered by General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold and approved by President Roosevelt. Arnold believed that the 4th of July would be an ideal day for the USAAF to open its strategic bombing campaign against the Nazis, but General Carl Spaatz did not have any of his heavy Eighth Air Force bomb groups ready for operational missions. Two of the 15th's planes did not return from the mission, along with one RAF aircraft. The squadron commander, Capt. Charles Kegelman, plane was shot up badly and almost did not return.

Spaatz considered the mission a "stunt" triggered by pressure in the American press who believed the people of both the United States and Great Britain needed a psychological boost. However, Kegleman was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and its British equivalent for his valor on that Fourth of July mission—the first Eighth Air Force airman to receive the nation's second highest combat decoration.

The 15th flew most of its missions from Molesworth in its British Bostons, and did not receive USAAF Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft until 5 September. The squadron was transferred to RAF Podington on 15 September where it flew a few missions before being transferred to Twelfth Air Force for support of Allied landings in North Africa on 15 October. In North Africa, the squadron was assigned to the Northwest African Training Command where its combat veterans provided advanced training in ground air support with A-20s and later A-36 Apaches at several airfields throughout 1943. It was inactivated at Médiouna Airfield, Algeria on 1 October 1943 and its crews and aircraft were absorbed into the 47th Bombardment Group.

During its period of existence, the 15th Bombardment Squadron had earned a unique but sometimes forgotten place in Air Force history.

Accident Reports:Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group: 21

Missions

Click on the date to see mission details

#DATENAMETARGETSA/C LOST
1July 02, 1942Mission 1Attack with RAF on Dutch airfields2
2July 04, 1942VIII BCDutch airfields2
3July 12, 1942VIII BCAirfield in France
4September 05, 1942VIII BC 9Port and Rail targets in France
5September 06, 1942VIII BC 10Airfields in France
6October 02, 1942VIII BC 13Airfields and aircraft industry in France;
TOTAL AIRCRAFT LOST:4

Non-Combat Related Accidents

#DATEREPORT
11942-07-20Aircraft: DB-7 (#AL-409).
Organization: 15BS / 27BG of Molesworth, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Grim, Raymond K.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Molesworth, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
21942-08-26Aircraft: DB-7B (#AL-452).
Organization: 15BS / 27BG of Molesworth, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Grim, Raymond K.
Notes: take off accident with resulting ground loop.
Location: Molesworth, Cambridgeshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
31943-11-26Aircraft: B-24H (#42-7713).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Ferguson, William F.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: East Wretham, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
41944-01-01Aircraft: B-17G (#42-37928).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: .
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Little Staughton/Sta 127 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
51944-01-01Aircraft: B-17G (#42-40002).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Lewis, Clyde A.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Little Staughton/Sta 127 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
61944-01-27Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31414).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Van Sycle, Leon C.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
71944-02-25Aircraft: B-24H (#41-29235).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Swayze, Jack (NMI).
Notes: forced landing out of gas.
Location: Chipping Ongar, Essex England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
81944-07-13Aircraft: B-24 (#42-63891*).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Sheldon, Gail A.
Notes: mid air collision.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
91944-08-24Aircraft: B-17G (#43-37551).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Charleville, Denver R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
101944-09-02Aircraft: B-17G (#44-6310).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Stegeman, Charles W.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
111944-09-02Aircraft: B-17G (#42-31485).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
121944-09-21Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50469).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Horton, Malcus S III.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
131944-10-24Aircraft: B-24 (#42-95055).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: [ground crew].
Notes: ground accident fire.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 5
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
141944-11-05Aircraft: B-17G (#42-102674).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Grimm, William F.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Great Dunmow/Sta 164 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
151944-12-07Aircraft: B-24J (#42-50457).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Szudarek, Severyn G.
Notes: killed in crashed on take off.
Location: Seething/ 4mi from S146 England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
161945-01-22Aircraft: B-17G (#43-38125).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Deen, Robert M.
Notes: crash landing.
Location: RAF Saltby/ 3mi SE England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
171945-02-08Aircraft: B-17G (#44-8371).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: [parked aircraft].
Notes: ground accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage):
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
181945-02-18Aircraft: B-17G (#42-97636).
Organization: 615BS / 401BG of Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire.
Pilot: Campbell, Paul E.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
191945-03-15Aircraft: B-24H (#42-50326).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Hahner, Frederick J.
Notes: taxiing accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
201945-04-17Aircraft: B-24M (#44-50572).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Torrance, Douglas W.
Notes: killed in a take off accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/
211945-05-05Aircraft: B-24J (#42-110066).
Organization: 715BS / 448BG of Seething, Norfolk.
Pilot: Rigel, Horace R.
Notes: landing accident.
Location: Seething, Norfolk England.
Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 3
source: Aviation Archaeology http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

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