The 456th Bombardment Group was a B-24 group that served with the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, taking part in the strategic bombing campaign as well as supporting the troops 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. In the end it didn't arrive until January 1944 and entered combat in February.
The group's main task was strategic bombing, with industrial and transport targets spread across France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the Balkans.
The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations for its strategic bombing. The first was for an attack on Wiener Neustadt on 10 May 1944 when the group pressed on despite bad weather that forced others to turn back. The second was for an attack on oil facilities at Budapest on 2 July 1944.
The group also flew a number of tactical missions to support the fighting in Italy and the south of France.
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 July and August 1944 the group attacked targets in the south of France in advance of Operation Dragoon.
In April 1945 the group attacked gun positions and transport links during the final Allied campaign in Italy that ended with the first German surrender.
After the end of the war the group was used to fly supplies to bases in northern Italy. It returned to the United States in July 1945. In August it became a Very Heavy bombardment group. but on 17 October 1945 it was inactivated.
June 1943-: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|14 May 1943||Constituted as 456th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 June 1943||Activated|
|Dec 1943-Jan 1944||To Italy|
|February 1944||Began combat with Fifteenth Air Force|
|Late April 1945||Last combat missions|
|July 1945||To US|
|August 1945||Redesignated 456th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)|
|17 October 1945||Inactivated|
Unkn: 1 Jun-14 Jul
Col Thomas W Steed: 14 Jul 1943
Lt Col Joseph G Russell:, 16 Jul 1944
Col Thomas W Steed: Oct 1944
Lt Col Robert C Whipple: c. 19 May 1945-unkn
Col George E Henry: 31 Aug 1945
Col John W White: 4 Sep 1945-unkn.
Wendover Field, Utah: 1 Jun
Gowen Field, Idaho: 14 Jul 1943
Bruning AAFld, Neb: c. 30 Jul 1943
Kearns, Utah: c. 11 Sep 1943
Muroc AAB, Calif: Oct-Dec 1943
Cerignola, Italy: Jan 1944
Stornara, Italy: Jan 1944-July 1945
Sioux Falls AAFld, SD: 1 Aug 1945
Smoky Hill AAFld, Kan: 17 Aug-17 Oct 1945
744th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
745th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
746th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
747th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
1944-45: 304th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force