Skip to main content
Edit entry 

455th Bomb Group

Group

The group was activated July 1943 with four essentially stand-alone bomb squadrons: 740th, 741st, 742nd, and 743rd. After a somewhat nomadic training regimen with dilapidated equipment, the pieces of the group came together at Langley, VA in October 1943. They were issued G and H models of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.

They departed Langley in December 1943 and flew to Tunisia by way of Brazil, arriving in January 1944. They remained in Tunisia until completion of their airfield at San Giovanni, Italy, about five miles west of Cerignola and 20 miles southwest of Foggia. The group moved to San Giovanni in February 1944 and flew its first combat mission (Anzio) on 16 February 1943 as part of the 304th Bomb Wing, Fifteenth Air Force. The group flew its last mission (Linz, Austria) 15 months later on 25 April 1945. The mission scheduled for the following day was cancelled and the group began preparations to return home. Probably no one was sorry.

The group had only two commanders during combat operations. Col. Kenneth A. Cool commanded from July 1943-September 1944. Col. William I. Snowden then commanded until May 1945. Both survived the war but both are now deceased.

The 455th flew 252 combat missions over France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and the Balkans. They dropped 13, 249 tons of munitions with the following approximate targeting breakout

Authorized personnel strength was over 4,000 personnel. The group lost 118 aircraft, 31 directly to fighters, 36 directly to flak, and 51 from all other causes combined. The figure for combined causes includes causes such as collisions, ditchings, and crashes attributable to fighter or flak damage. As time passed, the fighter opposition decreased but the Germans concentrated their anti-aircraft guns around the fewer remaining targets, so the threat from flak remained intense. They suffered 147 KIA, 268 MIA, 179 POW, and 169 wounded in action. On the other hand, the group is credited with 119 enemy aircraft destroyed and another 78 probables. Only about 40% of the original crews returned.

Most members would probably agree on the two toughest missions. The Group hit the ball bearing plant at Steyer, Austria on 2 April 1944. They lost 4 of 40 aircraft—40 comrades. In addition to successful target damage, they were credited with 27 enemy aircraft destroyed and 17 probables. It was their first heavy loss in two months of combat. The other consensus mission was the Moosbierbaum oil refinery at Vienna, Austria on 26 June 1944. Thirty-six planes took off with only 26 returning. Six of the ten losses were from a single squadron. Several of those crews were on their 50th mission.

The 455th BG received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 2 April 1944 when the group contributed to Fifteenth AF’s campaign against enemy industry by attacking a ball-bearing plant at Steyr. They lost 4 of 40 aircraft—40 comrades. In addition to successful target damage, they were credited with 27 enemy aircraft destroyed and 17 probables. It was their first heavy loss in two months of combat.

Although meeting severe fighter opposition and losing several of its bombers on 26 June 1944, the group proceeded to attack an oil refinery at Moosbierbaum, receiving another DUC for this performance. Thirty-six planes took off with only 26 returning. Six of the ten losses were from a single squadron. Several of those crews were on their 50th mission.

Structure

Part of
Encompassing
  • 742nd Bomb Squadron
  • 740th Bomb Squadron
  • 741st Bomb Squadron

    741st Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment unit in mid-1943; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in November 1943....

  • 743rd Bomb Squadron

    743rd Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment unit in mid-1943; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in November 1943....

Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Stations

Station Location Date
Based San Giovanni Airfield 15 January 1944 – 9 September 1945

Connections

People

  • Arthur Amborski

    Military | Sergeant | 455th Bomb Group
    Arthur E. “Art” Amborski was born in Buffalo, New York. ...

  • Alfred Asch

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 455th Bomb Group
    Flew in WW II, Korea. Served from Sept 1941 to April 1968. 18-November-1942, while serving as Pilot on B-24D 41-23745 "Katy Bug' sustained a collision with a tree when engine failure resulted in a crash landing at Little Stukeley, 4 crew members killed...

  • Tom Bell

    Military | First Lieutenant | bombardier | 455th Bomb Group

  • Thomas Boyd

    Military | Tail Gunner | 455th Bomb Group
    Flew as a tail gunner with the 741st Bomb Squadron of the 445th Bomb Group. ...

  • William Delaney

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 455th Bomb Group
    Captured and held by German forces in Stalag Luft 4

  • Robert Owen

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 355th Fighter Group
    Member of White crew

  • Willis Pardoe

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 455th Bomb Group

Aircraft

Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation - 2 April 1944 - Steyr, Austria
Distinguished Unit Citation - 16 June 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2016 02:12:42 466thHistorian Changes to citations
Sources

http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/455th_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2016 01:47:32 466thHistorian Changes to nicknames, description, aircraft types, unit part of associations, unit encompassing associations and stations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/455th_Air_Expeditionary_Wing

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:38:56 rossingtonj Changes to type
Sources

Type added.

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2015 14:19:13 general ira snapsorter Changes to air forces
Sources

Connected 15th AF

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:45 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Share