The 463rd Bombardment Group was a B-17 unit that served with the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, taking part in the strategic bombing campaign as well as supporting the ground troops in Italy and the south of France.
The group was activated on 1 August 1943 and trained with the B-17. In February-March 1944 the group moved to Italy, where it became a rare example of a B-17 group serving with the Fifteenth Air Force, where B-24s were more common. The 463rd was one of three heavy bombardment groups to become operational in March 1944, and the only B-17 group of the three.
The group flew its first combat mission on 30 March 1944 and spent most of its time engaged in strategic bombing operations, ranging across most of southern and eastern Europe. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first was for an attack on Ploesti on 18 May 1944 when the group pressed on despite bad weather that had forced other groups back. The second was for an attack on tank factories at Berlin on 24 March 1945.
The group also took part in a number of tactical missions.
In May and June 1944 it attacked bridges as part of a wider campaign against German transport links during the final successful attack on Rome
In August 1944 it attacked bridges, gun positions and other targets in the south of France in support of Operation Dragoon.
The group was also used to attack transport links and airfields in the Balkans to support the advancing Red Army.
In March and April 1945 the group attacked transport targets in northern Italy during the final victorious Allied campaign in the country.
After the end of the war the group was used to fly US personnel from Italy to Casablanca, the first stage on their trip back to the United States. The group was inactivated in Italy on 25 September 1945.
August 1943-September 1945: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
|19 May 1943||Constituted as 463rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 August 1943||Activated|
|Feb-March 1944||To Italy and Fifteenth Air Force|
|30 March 1944||Combat Debut|
|25 September 1945||Inactivated|
Lt. Col Elmer H Stambaugh: 9 Aug 1943
Col Frank A Kurtz: 27 Aug 1943
Col George W McGregor: 11 Sep 1944
Col Ephraim M Hampton: Apr-c. Sep 1945.
Geiger Field, Wash: 1 Aug
Rapid City AAB, SD: Aug 1943
MacDill Field, Fla: 5 Nov 1943
Lakeland AAFld, Fla: 3 Jan-2 Feb 1944
Celone Airfield, Italy: 9 Mar 1944-25 Sep 1945
772d Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
773d Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
774th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
775th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
1944-45: 5th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force