451st Bombardment Group

Constituted as 451st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 Apr 1943. Activated on 1 May 1943. Prepared for combat with B-24's. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Nov 1943-Jan 1944, with the air echelon training in Algeria for several weeks before joining the remainder of the group in Italy. Operated with Fifteenth AF, Jan 1944-May 1945, functioning primarily as a strategic bombardment organization. Attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges, and airfields in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece. Received a DUC for each of three missions: to an aircraft factory at Regensburg on 25 Feb 1944, to oil refineries and marshalling yards at Ploesti on 5 Apr 1944, and to an airdrome at Vienna on 23 Aug 1944; although encountering large numbers of enemy fighters and severe antiaircraft fire during each of these missions, the group fought its way through the opposition, destroyed many interceptors, and inflicted serious damage on the assigned targets. At times the group also flew support and interdictory missions. Helped to prepare the way for and participated in the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944. Transported supplies to troops in Italy during Sep 1944. Supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Jun. Inactivated on 26 Sep 1945.

Squadrons. 724th: 1943-1945. 725th: 1943-1945. 726th: 1943-1945. 727th: 1943-1945.

Stations. Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 1 May 1943; Dyersburg AAFld, Tenn, 3 Jun 1943; Wendover Field, Utah, c. 18 Jul 1943; Fairmont AAFld, Neb, 9 Sep-16 Nov 1943; Gioia del Colle, Italy, c. 10 Jan 1944; San Pancrazio, Italy, c. 5 Mar 1944; Castelluccio Airfield, Italy, c. 6 Apr 1944-Jun 1945; Dow Field, Maine, c. 19 Jun-16 Sep 1945.

Commanders. Col Robert E L Eaton, c. 1 May 1943; Col James B Knapp, 19 Sep 1944; Col Leroy L Stefonowicz, Dec 1944; Maj William H McGuire, unkn-16 Sep 1945.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Regensburg, Germany, 25 Feb 1944; Ploesti, Rumania, 5 Apr 1944; Austria, 23 Aug 1944.

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986

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