INTRODUCTION TO 391st BOMB GROUP MISSION RECORDS

The official 391st Bomb Group paper records were photographed and transferred to Microfiche in 1973 at Maxwell Air Force Base. In 2018, the Army Air Force Historical Association copied the Microfiche records into digital images and very kindly made these available to interested parties. In October 2018, I was fortunate to receive copies of these from Brian Gibbons.

When first looking at the records it was apparent that some had degraded badly ! Perhaps the inks had faded over time, or perhaps pencil had been used instead of ink. It's also possible that some photographs were over or under exposed. As a result, some pages were partially or totally unreadable ! However, by using image editing software to enhance the image, some details became visible.

Recording the data from these records is a monumental task. It is extremely time consuming and involves a great deal of typing. There have been times when my fingers, neck, and shoulders have ached. My wife has tolerated the countless hours that I have spent in front of my computer and it is much appreciated by me. My sincerest hope is that this information will be of use to those searching for details of their relative or friends service with the 391st Bomb Group, and as a tribute to their contribution towards the allied victory in the second World War.

Great care has been taken to record the data and, where possible, cross-reference and analyze it to check its validity. Many inconsistencies have been found and, where possible, I have endeavoured to correct these only where there is supporting evidence elsewhere. However, some errors remain. If you spot any, I may already know about it; but please let me know anyway.

The records come in "reels", with each reel containing around 1600 images. The first reel contains records for the group's first 17 missions. Each mission comprises various types of documentation, the most useful are:

You may notice that the mission targets and dates from the Group records for the first 6 missions (shown in the load lists) differs from those on the original website. I currently have no explanation for this, so any help in resolving this would be appreciated.

Army Serial Numbers (ASN) for personnel have been obtained from the original website, Group records (Medal Awards), Special Orders, and (for Enlisted Men) the NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records. Where the ASN for an individual has not been found, an arbitrary identifier (e.g. LL1234) has been allocated until the ASN is found. A number of crews from the 322, 323, 386, and 387 Bomb Groups were temporarily attached to the 391 Bomb Group to initially help it gain combat experience. In some cases, the ASN for these personnel has been found. In other cases, I have identified the group and squadron that an individual was detached from and have set their ASN to an arbitrary identifier containing their group and squadron e.g. x322x449x001.

The "INTRODUCTION TO TAXI SHEETS" page on this website contains an explanation of their purpose and additional information.