446th Bombardment Group Museum
20th Combat Wing
2nd Air Division, 8th U.S.A.A.F.
Station 125, Flixton, England
The "Bungay Buckaroos"
Motto: Voler Venger Vaincre (Fly Avenge Vanquish)
The 446th B.G. Museum
The 446th Bombardment Group Museum is housed in a World War Two Nissen hut, erected to house the displays of uniforms, medals and badges worn and donated by members of the 446th B.G. who served at Flixton. Other artifacts on display include photographic displays of aircraft, both in the air and on the ground around the base, engines, a B24 rear gun turret, wheel and oleo, 50 calibre machine guns and items found on the base in the 90s. Also in this building are collections dedicated to the 56th Fighter Group and to the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron, who were both based at Halesworth and flew P47 Thunderbolts.
The 446th B.G. Memorial at Flixton
This memorial (above) is dedicated to the memory of the 456 airmen killed in action and to those serving at Flixton from 1943 - 1945, unveiled by Bill Davenport, President of the 446th. Bomb Group Association in 1993 during a Group reunion. It comprises a three blade Hamilton Standard propeller, of the type used by Liberators. It features a superb cast bronze plaque featuring a Liberator and Eighth Air Force badge which reads:
"To the memory of all those who gave their lives or served with the 446th Bomb Group based at Flixton, Bungay, 1943 - 1945. 20th Combat Wing, 2nd Air Division".
B24H. 42-7649 JU-G Gerty the Gremlin of 707 Squadron.
"Gerty the Gremlin" (pictured above) was one of the Liberators flown from Flixton by 707 Bombardment Squadron. past President of the 446th B.G. Association, Frank Bigos, was navigator on this aircraft for most of his missions. She was declared war-weary in January 1945 after 70 missions.
The 446th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 1st April 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona. The Group trained at Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado for overseas duty with B-24 Liberators and departed for European Theatre of Operations on October 18th 1943, setting up a permanent base at Station 125, Flixton, in November 1943. The 446th began operations on 16th December 1943 with a raid against Bremen, and flew the last against Salzburg on April 25th 1945. The Group flew a total of 273 missions between those dates, and during that time, they lost 58 aircraft, with 447 men being killed in action. The 446th destroyed 34 enemy aircraft, with 11 probable and 8 damaged, and dropped a total bomb weight of 16,818.95 tons. Over 6000 personnel served at Flixton between November 1943 and August 1945. In this, the year 2002, there are over 1100 members of 446th B.G. Association who hold reunions each year and receive the Quarterly Newsletter "The Beachbell Echo".
Typical of the many acts of heroism performed by 446 BG pilots was that of 2nd Lt Cecil T Miller of the 704th Bomb Sqn on 24 February 1944. His crippled B-24H 42-7574 was returning from Gotha with a badly holed port wing. The crew, with the exception of the pilot, co-pilot and navigator, baled out over Flixton. These three headed for the emergency runway at RAF Woodbridge, but whilst circling the airfield all four engines cut due to lack of fuel. Miller ordered the other two to jump, and veered the B-24 away from barracks before it crashed at Hill Farm, Sternfield. Miller died in the crash and was subsequently posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
On 27th April 1944, the increased hours of daylight allowed the Group to fly two missions. B-24H 42-50306 had just cleared the runway when the wind suddenly veered and the pilots lost control. The aircraft crashed near Abbey Farm, Flixton; the bomb load exploded soon afterwards killing the crew of 10.
The Group took part in "Big Week" - the concerted attacks on the German aircraft industry - in late February 1944. One mission was to the Me. 110 plant at Gotha on 24 February when the Bungay group got off lightly with two losses out of a total of 33 sustained by the 2nd Bomb Division. The mission to the Hamm marshalling yards on 22nd April 1944, was postponed until late in the day and caused the 2nd Division groups to return at dusk with navigation lights on. A surprise follow-up by Ju. 88s and Me. 410s of KG 51, which hit the Waveney Valley groups during their let-down for landing, caused chaos in the area. 13 Liberators of the division crashed or crash landed as a result of these intruder's actions and our own anti- aircraft guns which were shooting wildly in the panic. Although Flixton airfield was attacked, no known losses were sustained - the worst hit being Seething where 3 B-24s piled into each other on the runway and two were shot down just before reaching their base.
Photo supplied by Scott Hilliard, 446BG.
B24-H. 41-29125 JU-D Tar Heel Baby, over Portsmouth, D-Day plus 6.
Under field order 328, Bungay’s 446th Group had the distinction of leading the 8th Air Force on the first mission of D-Day, 6th June 1944. Colonel Brogger in "Red Ass" was first to take off at 0200 hours and, following a lengthy assembly, led the formations to hit the Normandy beach defences at H-hour minus 5 (five to six) on that fateful day. This was the first of four missions flown that day by the 20th Combat Wing in support of the landings, and the following weeks saw the 446th employed in mainly tactical missions until the land forces were firmly established in France. Then it was back to the strategic grind with a number of "Crossbow" (V-weapons) targets included. Commencing at the end of August 1944, the group was employed occasionally on "trucking" operations - flying in much-needed supplies to France, and on 18th September, took part in the very low-level supply drops in Holland in support of the airborne forces at Nijmegen. During this mission the group lost 3 B-24s, and 25 of the 36 taking part were damaged. Colonel Brogger was wounded on this trip and subsequently decorated with the Silver Star. Command of the 446th then passed to Colonel TW Crawford who remained CO until 4th April 1945.
The first B-24 to complete 100 missions in the 8th Air Force is believed to be "Ronnie" (41-29144), of the 704th Bomb Sqn, while the 706th and 707th were credited with over 60 consecutive missions without loss. The Group’s tail markings were an ‘H’ in a circle and the assembly ship's, "Fearless Freddie" was painted yellow over all, and later "Fearless Freddie II" was painted orange. Probably the most tragic accident of all occurred on the 13th April 1945, as the 446th BG returned from an attack on Regensberg. Two B-24s, 42-50790 "Litte King II" and 42-51909, a PFF aircraft, collided in mid-air while circling the base, crashing at Mendham near Homersfield with a loss of 21 lives. The 446th Group’s last raid was flown on 25th April 1945, by which time they had clocked up 273 combat missions during which they delivered 16,800 tons of bombs. Total losses amounted to 58 aircraft in action, and 28 due to other operational causes.
European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
Bronze Star ETO ribbon
Northern France Campaign
The 446th B.G. comprised
704, 705, 706 and 707 Bombardment Squadrons.
with the following support Squadrons and Groups;
Detachment "A" 1248th MP Company (Avn)
460th Sub-Depot Class 1
588th Army Postal Unit
2967th Finance Detachment
212th Finance Section
2035th Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon
12114 QM Co. Service Group Avn (RS)
Detachment "A" 885th Chemical Co.
1821st Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co. Avn.
25th Station Complement Squadron (SP)
260th Medical Dispensary Avn. (RS)
378th Air Service Group
Group HQ and HQ Squadron
815th Air Engineering Squadron
639th Material Squadron
Books available relating the history of the 446th Bombardment Group include;
The History of 446th B.G. (1946) Ed Castens
The 446th Revisited (1998) Ed Castens
The History of 446th B.G. (1989) Harold E Jansen
For further information contact email@example.com
446th bomb group association official web site.
2nd air division library.