The 455th Bombardment Group was a B-24 group that served with the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, taking part in the strategic bombing campaign and supporting the fighting in Italy and the south of France.
The group was one of six B-24 groups that were originally expected to reach Italy by December 1943. It actually arrived in January-February 1944 and entered combat in February. Its main role was strategic bombing and it attacked targets across the Balkans and in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austrian and even Poland.
The group also flew a limited number of missions alongside the tactical air forces, supporting the fighting on the ground.
On 28 March 1944 the group took part in the Fifteenth Air Force's first '1000 ton' raid, an attack on marshalling yards in northern Italy that was part of Operation Strangle, the wider effort to isolate the German front line. In the same month it also took part in operations to support the troop fighting at Anzio and at Cassino.
In August 1944 the group attacked German gun positions in advance of Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France.
In the autumn of 1944 the group attacked transport links across the Balkans to delay German troops attempting to withdraw in front of the advancing Soviets.
In April 1944 the group attacked transport links, gun positions and troop concentrations during the final Allied campaign in the north of Italy.
The group received two distinguished unit citations. The first was given for an attack on the ball-bearing plat at Steyr in 2 April 1944. The second was for an attack on the oil refinery at Moosbierbaum on 26 June 1944 carried out against heavy fighter opposition.
The group was inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.
June 1943-: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|14 May 1943||Constituted as 455th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 June 1943||Activated|
|Jan-Feb 1944||To Italy and Fifteeth Air Force|
|Feb 1944||Combat debut|
|April 1945||Combat ends|
|9 September 1945||Inactivated in Italy|
Col Kenneth A Cool: c.
Col William L Snowden: c. 26 Sep 1944
Lt Col William R Boutz: May 1945
Maj Jerome Hoss: Jul 1945-unkn
Alamogordo AAFld, NM: 1
Kearns, Utah: c. 6 Sep 1943
Langley Field, Va: c. 5 Oct-2 Dec 1943
San Giovanni, Italy: 15 Jan 1944-9 Sep 1945.
740th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
741st Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
742nd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
743rd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
1944-45: 304th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force