The 461st 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 the south of France and southern Italy.
The group was activated on 1 July 1943 and moved to Italy early in 1944. The ground echelon moved straight to Italy, but the air echelon traveled via North Africa, where it stopped for a period of training before moving to Italy in February.
The group entered combat in April 1944 and spent most of its time engaged in strategic bombing operations, ranging across much of southern and central Europe and the Balkans. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations for its part in this campaign. The first came on 13 April 1944 during the battle against the German aircraft industry and was won for an attack on an aircraft components factory in Budapest. The second was awarded for an attack on the oil facilities at Ploesti in July 1944.
The group also flew a number of tactical missions.
During the advance on Rome the group was one of ten B-24 groups that took part in a 17 May 1944 attack on the harbours at Piombion, San Stefano and Porto Ferraio on Elba as part of the campaign to prevent supplies from reaching the German front line.
In August 1944 the group helped support the invasion of southern France, and in September it flew supplies to the armies advancing north into France.
In April 1945 the group supported the Allied offensive in the north of France.
In May 1945 the group was used to drop supplies to prisoner-of-war camps in Austria. It returned to the US in July and was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
July 1943-: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|19 May 1943||Constituted as 461st Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 July 1943||Activated|
|Jan-Feb 1944||To Mediterranean|
|April 1944||Entered combat with Fifteenth Air Force|
|July 1945||To US|
|28 August 1945||Inactivated|
Unkn: 1 Jul-12 Aug
Lt Col Willis G Carter: 12 Aug 1943
Col Frederic E Glantzberg: c. 25 Oct 1943
Col Philip R Hawes: 22 Sep 1944
Col Brooks A Lawhon: 20 Dec 1944
Col Craven C Rogers: 16 Apr 1945-unkn
Wendover Field, Utah: 1 Jul
Gowen Field, Idaho: 29 Jul 1943
Kearns, Utah: 11 Sep 1943
Wendover Field, Utah: 30 Sep 1943
Hammer Field, Calif, 30 Oct 1943-Jan 1944
Torretto Airfield, Italy: c. 20 Feb 1944-Jul 1945
Sioux Falls AAFM, SD: 22 Jul-28 Aug 1945
764th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
765th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
766th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
767th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
1944: 55th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force
1944-45: 49th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force