U.S. Army Air Forces
Basic Organizational Concepts
World War II

(Slightly updated 25 March 2014)

Organization of Echelons

Air Division:

3 to 5 Combat Wings (9 to 15 groups) – Used mainly in the European Theater, apparently.

Combat Wing:

3 x Groups – The basic tactical unit of the USAAF. B-36 Wings would have deployed with just two groups.

Group:

4 x Squadrons – The basic operational unit of the USAAF. Usually based at a single airfield.

Organization of Groups

NOTE: All groups operate with 50% reserves; thus a B-29 Bomb Group (VH), with 28 UE would actually have 42 aircraft.

Very Very Heavy Bombardment Group (Original Plan): 3 Squadrons, each with 6 aircraft for a total of 18 B-36s
Very Very Heavy Bombardment Group (Late 1948 Plan): 3 Squadrons, each with 10 aircraft for a total of 30 B-36s

Very Heavy Bombardment Group (1943): 4 squadrons, each with 7 aircraft for a total of 28. (2 crews per UE aircraft)
Very Heavy Bombardment Group (1944): 3 squadrons, each with 10 aircraft for a total of 30. (1.7 crews per UE aircraft)

Heavy Bombardment Group: 4 Squadrons, each with 12 aircraft for a total of 48.

Medium Bombardment Group: 4 Squadrons, each with 13 aircraft plus HQ element of 5 planes for a total of 57.

Light Bombardment Group: 4 Squadrons, each with 13 aircraft plus HQ element of 5 planes for a total of 57.

Fighter Group: 3 squadrons, each with 25 aircraft for a total of 75.

Troop Carrier Group: 4 Squadrons, each with between 13 planes, for a total of 52.