The 450th Bombardment Group was a B-24 unit that served with the Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, taking part in the strategic bombing campaign during 1944 and 1945.
The group was activated on 1 May 1943 and trained with the B-24 Liberator. It moved to Italy in December 1943, and joined the Fifteenth Air Force in January 1944 as part of a major buildup of heavy bomber strength in Italy. It spent most of the rest of the war attacking strategic targets across southern Europe, with operations ranging from the Balkans to Germany and across to France.
The group took part in the Big Week attacks on the German aircraft industry (20-25 February 1944), and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for an attack on the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg on 24 February. It received a second DUC for an attack on marshalling yards at Ploesti on 5 April 1944 when it overcame heavy German fighter defences.
The group flew a number of more tactical missions. The group supported the landings at Anzio, attacking the German airfield at Istres/ Le Tube in January 1944 and taking part in a large attack on the airfields at Viterbo, Tarquinia and Orvieto in February.
In the summer of 1944 it helped support Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of the south of France. It was used to support the Allied troops fighting in Italy and the Soviet troops advancing across the Balkans.
The group took part in Operation Strangle, the effort to isolate the German front line in Italy. In March 1944, during this operation, it took part in the first 'thousand-ton' raid to be carried out by the Fifteenth Air Force. On 17 May, during the advance on Rome, the group took part in a large attack on the harbours at Piombion, San Stefano and Porto Ferrairo (on Elba).
The group returned to the US in May 1945. It was redesignated as the 450th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and di some training with the B-29 before it was inactivated on 15 October 1945.
May 1943-May 1945: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
May-October 1945: Boeing B-29 Superfortress
|6 April 1943||Constituted as 450th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 May 1943||Activated|
|December 1943||Arrived in Italy, joined Fifteenth Air Force|
|January 1944||Combat debut|
|April 1945||Combat ends|
|May 1945||To US|
|Redesignated 450th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)|
|15 October 1945||Inactivated|
Col John S Mills: 12 Jun
Col Robert R Gideon: 7 Jul 1944
Col Ellsworth R Jacoby: 17 Nov 1944- 1945.
Gowen Field, Idaho: 1 May
Clovis AAB, NM: c. 21 May 1943
Alamogordo AAFld, NM: c. 8 Jul-20 Nov 1943
Manduria, Italy: 20 Dec 1943-12 May 1945
Harvard AAFld, Neb: c. 26 Jul-15 Oct 1945
720th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
721st Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
722nd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
723rd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
1944-1945; 47th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force (Italy)