The 459th 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 ground troops in Italy and the south of France.
The group was activated on 1 July 1943 and trained with the B-24. It moved to Italy in January-February 1944 and was one of three heavy bombardment groups to become operation in March 1944.
The group's main role was to take part in the strategic bombing campaign, hitting targets across most of Europe from France to Poland and across the Balkans. The group received one Distinguished Unit Citation for a raid on an aircraft assembly plant at Bad Voslau on 23 April 1944 when it led the 304th Wing through heavy flak and frequent fighter attacks.
The group also flew a number of tactical missions.
On 28 March 1944 the group took part in the Fifteenth Air Force's first '1000 ton' raid, an attack on marshalling yards in northern Italy that was part of Operation Strangle, the wider effort to isolate the German front line.
On 14 May 1944 the group was one of four to attack Piacenza and Reggio Emilia airfields as part of a campaign to reduce the already limited level of Luftwaffe activity.
In August 1944 the group took part the bombardment of German defences in the south of France in advance of Operation Dragoon.
In April 1945, during the final Allied offensive in northern Italy the group attacked transport links.
The group returned to the United States in August 1945 and was inactivated on 28 August. It entered the reserve and was re-activated for a spell in 1947-51.
July 1943-August 1945: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|19 May 1943||Constituted as 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 July 1943||Activated|
|Jan-Feb 1944||To Italy and Fifteenth Air Force|
|May 1944||Combat debut|
|April 1945||Combat ends|
|August 1945||To US|
|28 August 1945||Inactivated|
Col Marden M Munn: 28
Col Henry K Mooney: 13 Aug 1944
Lt Col William R Boutz: 19 May 1945
Lt Col J C Bailey: 30 May 1945- unkn.
Alamogordo AAFld, NM:
1 Jul 1943
Kearns, Utah: c. 31 Aug 1943
Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz: c. 20 Sep 1943
Westover Field, Mass: c. 1 Nov 1943-2 Jan 1944
Giulia Airfield, Italy: Feb 1944-July 1945
Sioux Falls AAFld, SD: c. 16-28 Aug 1945.
756th Bombardment Squadron:
757th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
758th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945
759th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1945;
1944-45: 304th Bombardment Wing; Fifteenth Air Force