8th Air Force B-17 and B-24 Unit Markings in WW-II

Eight Air Force Tail Identification Markings arranged by Group.

Links within the tables take you to their official web sites on the net. Clicking on the link opens up a new browser window when doing so.

Bomber assembly areas showing splasher beacons and base locations in East Anglia.

First Division - B-17s

Constituted as the 1st Bombardment Division on 30 August 1943 the unit was formally activated at Brampton Grange, Huntingdon on 13 September 1943. It was redesignated 1st Air Division in December 1944. It had a total of forty-eight heavy bomber squadrons flying B-17s, with four squadrons in each bombardment group; groups were based at Bassingbourn, Ridgewell, Nuthamstead, Podington, Chelveston, Thurleigh, Molesworth, Kimbolten, Grafton Underwood, Polebrook, Deenethorpe and Glatton.

1st Combat Wing 40th Combat Wing 41st Combat Wing 94th Combat Wing
91st Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Bassingbourn
92nd Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Podington
303rd Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Molesworth
351st Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Polebrook
381st Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Ridgewell
306th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Thurielgh
379th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Kimbolton
401st Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Deenthorpe

398th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Nuthampstead
305th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Chelveston
384th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Grafton Underwood
Grafton Underwood

457th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Glatton

SECOND DIVISION (B-24s, some were converted from B-17s)

44th Bomb Group Shipham 93rd Bomb Group Hardwich 389th Bomb Group Hethel 392nd Bomb Group Wendling
445th Bomb Group Tibenham 446th Bomb Group Bungay

448th Bomb Group
Seething; Station 146

453rd Bomb Group Old Buckenham
458th Bomb Group Horsham St. Faith 466th Bomb Group Attlebridge 467th Bomb Group Glatton 489th Bomb Group
491st Bomb Group Metfield 492nd / 801St Bomb 492nd Bomb Group Unit MarkingGroup North Pickenham  


34th BG (Converted to B-17s, 3rd Div 93rd Combat Wing)      


45th Combat Wing 13th Combat Wing 4th Combat Wing 93rd Combat Wing
96th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Shetterton
Shetterton Heath
95th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Horham
94th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Bury St. Edmonds
Bury St. Edmonds
385th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Great Ashfleld
Great Ashfleld
388th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Knettishal
100th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Thorpe Abbotts
Thorpe Abbotts
447th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Rattlesden
34th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Mendelsham
452nd Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Deopham Green
Deopham Green
390th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Framlingham
486th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Sudbury

490th Bomb Group Eye

Aircraft ID Code

487th Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Lavenham
493rd Bomb Group
B-17 unit marking for Debach


Fighter Units

There were numerous designations of the fighter units during the war. Originally it was the 8th Fighter Command, then it was later reorganized and each bomber division was assigned specific fighter squadrons to them. However, operationally they could be assigned anywhere as an escort. In additional, RAF fighters, the 9th Tactical Air Force fighters, would be assigned escort missions to the bombers whenever needed.

Fighter Units in the 8th Air Force
4th Fighter Group 357th Fighter Group 365th Fighter Group

"Our two countries, parted long ago by war, were brought together again by war in a unity and under-standing such as we had never known."

"Through long years of endeavor and endurance we shared all things, and though we lost so much we found a lasting friendship. We shall never forget those gallant American soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought with us, some in our own ranks, count-less others from our shores."

"To those who did not return the best memorial is the fellowship of our two countries, which by their valour they created and by their sacrifice they have preserved."

Former Markings

The 486th and 487th, former B-24 groups from the 92nd Combat Wing, joined the 94th and 447th to form the 4th Combat Wing after converting to B-17's In mid-1944. The 34th, 490th, and 493rd also converted to B-17's in mid-1944 to form the 93rd Combat Wing. They were joined by the B-17 385th in early 1945.

B-17 unit marking for AlconburyThe 482nd Bomb Group flew some missions In both B-17's and B-24's, but was essentially a training and experimental bombing unit at Alconbury.

Group markings came from the newsletter of the 398th BG.

Eventually I will convert these into color.

The "Hard Luck" Outfit

The "Hard Luck Group" in the 8th Air Force was the 492nd BG. The 492nd flew 67 missions and lost 55 Liberators.

On June 20, 1944 it lost 14 B-24s on that day alone!

In August, 1944 the 492nd was disbanded due to excessive losses.

This came from rick Centore whose dad was on one of the B-24s lost on June 20. His dad spent the rest of the war as a POW.


One of the problems of lossing so many a/c at one time is that the replacement pilots have no experience thus they cannot fly formations as tight as required when flying into Germany and thus makes it even easier for them to be shot down by enemy fighters.

Miscelaneous Units Attached to the 8th Air Force

CarpetBaggers aka 801 & 492 BG, was The American unit that flew spies - both British & U.S.A. OSS agents - using B-26s, B-17s, B-24s, Lysanders plus others, into and out of Europe. They took on the designation of 492nd Bomb Group after August 13 of 1944 when the daylight bombing version of 492 BG was disbanded.

Burtonwood - The massive repair depot created to support aircraft.

B-26 Marauders

The medium bombers all started out as part of the 8th Bomber Command, then after reorganization in September / October 1943 all the mediums were transferred into the 9th.

Pvt Benjamin Leroy Vaughan's site about B-26s lists all the serial numbers of them.