From http://416th.com/671.pdf pp. 143-150
Conversion to A-26 Seen
A few days after the advanced echelon arrived at Station A-55 a
formation of A-26s’ soared out of the blue, and by the time their wheels hit the
runway, word had spread that the 416th Bomb Group was to be trained on the
combined version of the A-20, B-25 and B-26…the A-26. This became a
known fact a short time later when a mobile A-26 training unit moved on the
field, and preparations were made for training both air and ground personnel.
Five A-26 pilots, 6 gunners and two bombardier-navigators were assigned to
the 671st Bomb Squadron, as well as five sleek Invaders.
Each Squadron took one flight off operational status and sent crews to
ground school, after which the flight was checked out on the new ship. Ground
personnel in the meantime took an overall familiarization course. It was found that under this schedule it would take too long a period to check the whole Group out. Therefore, the 670 Bomb Squadron was taken off Operations completely on the second week in October. Bad weather held their program up somewhat, but they finished on October 17th, 1944, and the next morning the 671st switched over to A-26s’ in a before dawn to after dark schedule, intended to fully train the Squadron in three or four days. At this rate the Group would be fully trained by the end of October… and the fulfillment of the aim to transfer the 416th from the outmoded A-20 Havoc to the long ranged, improved A-26 Invader, would be in sight.
Facing almost impossible flying weather, the 416 Bomb Group failed to run a mission from October 17th , 1944 through the end of the month, and up until November 3rd when the Group was taken off operations for conversion to A-26s. Missions came in just about every day, but after everything was set up, each one would be scrubbed before the ships left the ground—and many times before briefing. On the very scarce days when the sky overhead was clear there was heavy cloud coverage in the target area. The Marauder and the other two A-20 groups were able to take off on a few occasions, but the bad weather hindered bombing results considerably.
PFF, which was used to good advantage from England, has not been developed fully on the continent. That is the reason for no Pathfinders being used by this Group during this period. The nearness’ of Allied troops to the target was taken into consideration also. P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs, however, were able to brave the weather, and came through with excellent air support in the battle area.
Meanwhile the 671st , taking advantage of the few passable days, completed their A-26 training on October 30th , 1944. All but the last nine crews to join the Squadron were checked out on the Invader. The pilots of this Squadron who have completed their course will train them in turn.
On November 3rd , 1944 the pilots were alerted for a ferry mission to take A-20Gs back to England and return with A-26s. The next day the formation took off, and the old reliable A-20Gs, which had served the 416th for many months, were on their way to a fate unknown. The boys were weathered in at the English field over the 4th and 5th , but returned on November 6th with the shiny A-26s which correspond to the A-20Gs. Glass nose Invaders were not available at the present time, so the Group retained it’s A-20Js and Ks to lead the flights and boxes.
Bomb Division gave the 416th a three-day stand-down after arrival of the planes in order that thorough acceptance inspections could be made. The 416th will be the first complete group to operate with A-26s, although the outfit, which is training this Group, ran a few missions from England using no more than one box.
Just one month after the 416th had run its last mission, the new A-26 Invaders zoomed into the blue on their first operational mission. It was on October 17th that the 416th Bomb Group ran its last Group of operations for a while, but poor weather curtailed flights since the first of November. Then on November 17th , 1944 Bomb Division called on the 416th to hit a stores depot at Haguenau in conjunction with a grand Allied offensive.