The group was constituted as 449th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 April 1943 and activated on 1 May at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona. its original components were the 716th, 717th, 718th, and 719th Bombardment Squadrons.
It was assigned to II Bomber Command for combat training with B-24 Liberators. The first morning report was issued on 27 May 1943and listed as 52 officers and 33 enlisted men available for duty. Over the next seven months the Group steadily increased to full strength as the training program progressed. In July 1943 the group moved to Alamogordo Army Airfield, New Mexico where second phase training was performed. In September the group again relocated, this time to Bruning Army Air Field, Nebraska. The move to Bruning was completed on 18 September 1943. At that time the 449th consisted of a total complement of 184 officers and 1,203 enlisted men. At Bruning the group received its new operational Consolidated B-24 Liberators.
By December 1943, training was complete and the 449th was ordered overseas to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Each crew flew its aircraft overseas by the South Atlantic Transport Route which took them to Morrison Field, Florida, then to Puerto Rico and Brazil. The Atlantic crossing was made from Brazil to Dakar, French West Africa. From Dakar the planes flew north to Tunis by way of Marrakech. From Tunis they flew to their forward operating base at Grottaglie Airfield near Taranto, Italy. The 449th was assigned to the 47th Bombardment Wing of the Fifteenth Air Force.
718th Bomb Squadron B-24J 42-64362 in flight over Europe, 1944
The group 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.
The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on 4 April 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 July 1944 when the group flew through heavy smoke and intense enemy fire to attack an oil refinery at Ploiești. Other operations of the group included bombing gun emplacements in southern France in preparation for the invasion in August 1944, and attacking troop concentrations, bridges, and viaducts in April 1945 to assist Allied forces in northern Italy.
The group was ordered back to the United States during May after the German capitulation. The 449th was redesignated a Very Heavy bombardment group and was programmed for very long range strategic bombardment operations against the Japanese Home Islands using B-29 Superfortresses. Many personnel were demobilized upon arrival at the port of embarkation; a small cadre of key personnel was formed and the group was then established at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota in late May where the group was reformed with new personnel.
After a period of organization, the group moved to Dalhart Army Air Field, Texas, where initial training was conducted with former II Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortress; B-25 Mitchells and some B-29s. As the group was so far along in training, it moved to Grand Island Army Air Field, Nebraska in September where it became a regular unit of Continental Air Forces, receiving some of the last new B-29 aircraft manufactured by Boeing. In November, its 719th squadron was converted to a reconnaissance unit and redesignated the 46th Reconnaissance Squadron, Very Long Range (Photographic-Weather).
On 21 March 1946, the 449th Bombardment Group became one of the initial ten B-29 groups assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC). The group was inactivated on 4 August 1946 and its personnel, mission, and equipment were reassigned to the 28th Bombardment Group.
4 January 1944
The port area of Kiel, Germany and the railroad marshalling yards at Munster, Germany are the Primary targets of this Mission which is organised as two elements: one going to Kiel and the other to Munster. Roger A. Freeman begins to designate aircraft...
|Based||Grottaglie Airfield||4 January 1944 – 16 May 1945|
Military | Colonel | Pilot | 100th Bomb Group
14 November 1942 to 26 March 1943 XFR First Commanding Officer of the 100th BG. He was relieved of his command with the 100th for alleged incompetence due to statements he made and sent to the 449th BG in Italy. He flew 11 combat missions, on his 12th...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 449th Bomb Group
Flew 29 Missions on 'Fuddy-Duddy'
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 14th Fighter Group
B-17 pilot in 718th Bomb Squadron, 449th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force, transferred to 14th Fighter Group in May 1944.
Military | Sergeant | Armament Gunner | 449th Bomb Group
Flew on A-26 Invader (2-AK, serial number 43-22312) "El Lobo"
B-24D Liberator #41-23724 "Doodlebug" from the 512th BS, 376th BG, 9th AF. Originally assigned to 409th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF she was badly damaged in a crash landing due to battle damage on Jan 15, 43. They repaired her and transferred her to the 512th...
Distinguished Unit Citations:
4 April 1944 - Bucharest, Romania
9 July 1944 - Ploesti, Romania
|02 November 2016 23:39:59||466thHistorian||Changes to stations|
|02 November 2016 23:37:11||466thHistorian||Changes to stations|
|02 November 2016 23:15:29||466thHistorian||Changes to type, nicknames, citations, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations and media associations|
|27 September 2014 18:42:45||AAM||AAM ingest|
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia