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Home » My Dad - Ed Farrar » WWII » Eighth Air Force » 384th Bomb Group » 384th BG Aircraft » Eighth Air Force Bomber Tail Markings – Bomb Group Codes

Eighth Air Force Bomber Tail Markings – Bomb Group Codes

World War II Bombardment Group aircraft of the Mighty Eighth Army Air Forces were distinguished by multiple markings on the aircraft. For example, tail markings included Group codes made up of symbols and letters designating the Bomb Division and Bomb Group, and aircraft serial number. The fuselage markings designated squadron codes and identification letters and included changing national insignias over time.

This article will take a look at tail markings, specifically the Bombardment Group Codes. Other aircraft markings will be covered in subsequent articles.

Three Bombardment Divisions, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, made up the Mighty Eighth Air Force based in England. Each Bombardment Division used a different symbol, a triangle for the 1st, a circle for the 2nd, and a square for the 3rd. Each Bombardment Group of each division used a letter placed within the division’s symbol to signify their Group.

The Bomb Group “Codes,” the combinations of symbols and letters are outlined below in the following chart and lists.

USAAF 8th Air Force Bomber Bases (Heavy) in England During WWII
Photo courtesy of the 100th Bomb Group Historical Association and Airfield Museum at Thorpe Abbotts

1st Bomb Division Tail Symbols and Letters

The 1st Bombardment Division, headquartered at Brampton Grange, Huntindonshire, UK, was represented by the Triangle symbol. Each group within the 1st Bombardment Division displayed a different letter placed within the triangle symbol.

Triangle A

  • 91st BG (Bombardment Group), 1st CBW (Combat Bombardment Wing)
  • Based in Bassingbourn, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle B

  • 92nd BG, 40th CBW
  • Based in Podington, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle C

  • 303rd BG, 41st CBW
  • Based in Molesworth, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle G

  • 305th BG, 40th CBW
  • Based in Chelveston, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle H

  • 306th BG, 40th CBW
  • Based in Thurleigh, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle J

  • 351st BG, 94th CBW
  • Based in Polebrook, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle K

  • 379th BG, 41st CBW
  • Based in Kimbolton, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle L

  • 381st BG, 1st CBW
  • Based in Ridgewell, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle P

  • 384th BG, 41st CBW
  • Based in Grafton Underwood, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle S

  • 401st BG, 94th CBW
  • Based in Deenethorpe, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle U

  • 457th BG, 94th CBW
  • Based in Glatton, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle W

  • 398th BG, 1st CBW
  • Based in Nuthampstead, UK
  • B-17 Group

Triangle (no letter)

  • 482nd BG, Pathfinder Group
  • Based in Alconbury, UK
  • B-17 / B-24 Group

2nd Bomb Division Tail Symbols and Letters

The 2nd Bombardment Division, headquartered at Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, UK, was represented by the Circle symbol. Each group within the 2nd Bombardment Division displayed a different letter placed within the circle symbol.

Circle A

  • 44th BG, 14th CBW
  • Based in Shipdham, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle B

  • 93rd BG, 20th CBW
  • Based in Hardwick, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle C

  • 389th BG, 2nd CBW
  • Based in Hethel, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle D

  • 392nd BG, 14th CBW
  • Based in Wendling, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle F

  • 445th BG, 2nd CBW
  • Based in Tibenham, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle H

  • 446th BG, 20th CBW
  • Based in Bungay, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle I

  • 448th BG, 20th CBW
  • Based in Seething, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle J

  • 453rd BG, 2nd CBW
  • Based in Old Buckenham, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle K

  • 458th BG, 96th CBW
  • Based in Horsham St. Faith, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle L

  • 466th BG, 96th CBW
  • Based in Attlebridge, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle P

  • 467th BG, 96th CBW
  • Based in Rackheath, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle U

  • 492nd BG, 14th CBW
  • Based in North Pickenham, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle W

  • 489th BG, 95th CBW
  • Based in Halesworth, UK
  • B-24 Group

Circle Z

  • 491st BG, 95th CBW
  • Based in Metfield, UK
  • B-24 Group

3rd Bomb Division Tail Symbols and Letters

The 3rd Bombardment Division, headquartered at Elveden Hall, Suffolk, UK, was represented by the Square symbol. Each group within the 3rd Bombardment Division displayed a different letter placed within the square symbol.

Square A

  • 94th BG, 4th CBW
  • Based in Bury St. Edmunds, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square B

  • 95th BG, 13th CBW
  • Based in Horham, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square C

  • 96th BG, 45th CBW
  • Based in Snetterton Heath, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square D

  • 100th BG, 13th CBW
  • Based in Thorpe Abbotts, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square G

  • 385th BG, 4th CBW
  • Based in Great Ashfield, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square H

  • 388th BG, 45th CBW
  • Based in Knettishall, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square J

  • 390th BG, 13th CBW
  • Based in Framlingham, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square K

  • 447th BG, 4th CBW
  • Based in Rattlesden, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square L

  • 452nd BG, 45th CBW
  • Based in Deopham Green, UK
  • B-17 Group

Square O

  • 486th BG, 92nd CBW
  • Based in Sudbury, UK
  • B-24 (B-17s were Square W) Group

Square P

  • 487th BG, 92nd CBW
  • Based in Lavenham, UK
  • B-24 / B-17 Group

Square S

  • 34th BG, 93rd CBW
  • Based in Mendlesham, UK
  • B-24 / B-17 Group

Square T

  • 490th BG, 93rd CBW
  • Based in Eye, UK
  • B-24 / B-17 Group

Square W

  • 486th BG, 92nd CBW
  • Based in Sudbury, UK
  • B-17 (B-24s were Square O) Group

Square X

  • 493th BG, 93rd CBW
  • Based in Debach, UK
  • B-24 / B-17 Group

Square Z

  • HQ 3rd BD

Square =

  • Unknown, seen in the 486th BG

384th Bomb Group Symbol

As the 384th Bombardment Group, of which my father was a waist gunner in WWII, was part of the 1st Bomb Division and was assigned the letter “P,” their symbol was the Triangle P.

Photo courtesy of

The Triangle P appeared on the tail of all 384th Bomb Group B-17’s, like 42-107121 KENTUCKY COLONEL (aka HELENA II) and 43-38062 PLEASURE BENT here,

Photo courtesy of

Future articles will explain additional aircraft markings of the Eighth Air Force’s bombers of WWII…


For more information about the aircraft markings used by the 8th AAF in WWII, please see,

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023


  1. As always, very informative. I did not know that the triangle-P indicated Grafton-Underwood, where my father was based.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent information and so useful! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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