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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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  • Clement Badeau

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer / Top Turret | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Underwood crew member, B-24 Liberator 41-11921 'Northern Star' 'Doc', flew on the 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid. The aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned safely to Benghazi, Libya despite being intercepted...

  • 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
    Pilot B-24 41-11896 flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • Jesse Bowling

    Military | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Jesse C Bowling named his aircraft Ruth Please! after his wife Ruth. Bowling was shot down on 19 February 1945 on a mission over Vienna. Bowling managed to land the aircraft in Zadar.

  • Isaac Canetti

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group

  • Joe Chavez

    Military | Sergeant | Radio OPerator / Gunner | 98th Bomb Group

  • Robert Courtney

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 42-40364 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'; shot down near the Yugoslavia/Bulgaria border by enemy fighters during withdrawal from the target. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR...

  • William De Busk

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid, part of crew on B-24 'Four Eyes' 42-40655. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 174 Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), PH.

  • Robert Elliot

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid, part of crew on B-24 'Four Eyes' 42-40655. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 174 Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), PH.

  • Francis Fox

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received Air Medal with 12 OAC on 15 July 1944 per General Order 1855

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

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named, 'THE PINK ELEPHANT', SN #42-40364, flown by Capt. James A. Gunn and was the second B-24D, also named, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group - "The Pyramiders", and the 343rd Bomb Squadron. The...

  • 41-11840 'The Witch'

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

  • 42-40655 'Four Eyes' 'Damfino'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 343BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed To Return - 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid, Shot down by enemy fighters, lost near the target. 10 KIA MACR 174

  • 41-11761 'The Squaw'

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator #4111761 'The Squaw' flew on the 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, recovering to Cyprus, piloted by Royden L Lebrecht. On completion of its tour, returned to Fort Worth, TX, USA for a war bond tour.

  • 42-40082 'Prince Charming'

    B-24 Liberator
    Flew on the 1 Aug 43 low level Ploesti mission, flown by Thomas W Bennett, turned back early in the vicinity of Corfu and did not reach the target area. ...

  • 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
    According to, 1st Lt Sam R. Oglesby Jr ferried "Edna Elizabeth" overseas. Oglesby was its pilot on 13 of the 23 it flew, including its last one, on 20 October 1942, to Tobruk, Lybia (see http:/...

  • 42-51161 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, SN # 41-11913, flown by Capt. Rollo Lawrence (KIA over Reggio Di Calabria, Italy), was the original 343rd Bomb Squadron B-24D, named, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', after the Walt Disney Characters. The aircraft's nose art depicted the...




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