Constituted as 449th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 Apr 1943. Activated on 1 May 1943. Prepared for combat with B-24's. Moved to Italy, Dec 1943-Jan 1944, and assigned to Fifteenth AF. Operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization, attacking such targets as oil refineries, communications centers, aircraft factories, and industrial areas in Italy, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece. Received a DUC for a mission on 4 Apr 1944 when the group, flying without escort, raided marshalling yards in Bucharest; although heavily outnumbered by German fighters, the group succeeded not only in bombing the target but also in destroying many of the enemy interceptors. Received another DUC for action on 9 Jul 1944 when the group flew through heavy smoke and intense enemy fire to attack an oil refinery at Ploesti. Other operations of the group included bombing gun emplacements in southern France in preparation for the invasion in Aug 1944, and attacking troop concentrations, bridges, and viaducts in Apr 1945 to assist Allied forces in northern Italy. Returned to the US in May 1945. Redesignated 449th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Trained with B-17, B-25, and B-29 aircraft. Assigned to Strategic Air Command on 21 Mar 1946. Inactivated on 4 Aug 1946.
Squadrons. 716th: 1943-1946. 717th: 1943-1946. 718th: 1943-1946. 719th: (later 46th): 1943-1946.
Stations. Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 1 May 1943; Alamagordo AAFld, NM, 5 Jul 1943; Bruning AAFld, Neb, 12 Sea Dec 1943; Grottaglie, Italy, c. 4 Jan 1944-16 May 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 29 May 1945; Dalhart AAFld, Tex, 24 Jul 1945; Grand Island AAFld, Neb, 8 Sep 1945-4 Aug 1946.
Commanders. Col A J Kerwin Malone, 1 May 1943; Col Darr H Alkire, 30 Jul 1943; Col Thomas J Gent Jr, 3 Feb 1944; Col Jack L Randolph, Oct 1944-c. Jun 1945; Capt Charles K Howell, c. Jul 1945; Maj Walter W Cross, 31 Jul 1945; Lt Col Leon Stann, 6 Aug 1945; Col William H Hanson, 15 Aug 1945; Col Richard M Montgomery, 16 Sep 1945-4 Aug 1946.
Campaigns. American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Bucharest, Rumania, 4 Apr 1944; Ploesti, Rumania, 9 Jul 1944.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986