463rd Bomb Group

Group

Object Number - UPL 14821 - 463rd Bombardment Group "Swoose" , 773rd Bombardment Squadron (leather patches) See my Facebook page for info "WW2 Leather Sqd/Group Patches"

The 463rd BG entered combat on March 30, 1944. The target was the airdrome at Imoski, Yugoslavia. Thirty-nine planes dropped 117 tons of bombs from 20,000 feet. Although slight flak was encountered, all planes returned safely. The group flew a total of 156 missions in 1944 primarily against targets in Italy, Germany, Austria, Romania, Yugoslavia and Greece.

The Group’s first Unit Citation was awarded after the May 18, 1944 mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Exceedingly bad weather and poor visibility caused the Air Force to send out a recall signal which was received by all bombs groups participating in the raid except the 463rd. As a result, the formation of 35 planes from the 463rd made the run on Ploesti alone. Taking advantage of the situation approximately 150 of Goering’s Yellow Nose fighters attacked. In the ensuing battle, six of the Group’s planes were lost to flak and fighters. The gunners of the 463rd claimed seventeen definites and thirty-two probables. In the nick of time, a large force of P-38s appeared and drove off the Luftwaffe saving the formation from even more losses.

During mid-1944, the 463rd BG aircraft attacked lines of communication in the campaign to liberate Rome. Then in August 1944 it participated in the invasion of southern France by striking many targets, including bridges and gun positions.

March 1945 marked the beginning of the group’s second year in combat. Fittingly, it was also the month in which the 463rd was awarded its second Unit Citation for its role in the March 24 raid on the Daimler-Benz tank works in Berlin. The 5th Wing of the 15th AAF led by thirty-one planes from the 463rd BG, flew the longest (1,800 miles roundtrip) escorted heavy bombardment mission in the history of the European Theatre of Operations. En route to the target, the formation encountered intense opposition from anti-aircraft batteries as well as cannon and rocket fire from fifteen enemy jet-propelled fighters. Despite the confusion caused by this unexpected barrage and the resulting loss of aircraft, the group reformed and continued to the target for what was reported as an exceptionally successful bombing run.

The 26th of April 1945 was the 222nd, and final, combat mission flown by the 463rd BG. Final statistics for the Group’s operations were:

Total Sorties 6,966

Combat Hours 45,764

Bomb Tonnage Dropped 16,868

Enemy Planes Destroyed 80

Probably Destroyed 44

Damaged 8

463rd Planes Lost In Combat 106

Awards for the 463rd not only the two Unit Citations described above but also 22 Silver Stars; 313 DFC’s; 303 Purple Hearts; 2,196 Air Medals; 4 Legion of Merits; 6 Soldier’s Medals; and 42 Bronze Stars.

Commanding Officers

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Group Commander - Pilot

Connections

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Unit stations

Station Location Date

Based

Celone 1944-03-09 - 1945-09-25

Encompassing

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 773rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 34391232
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade)
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 773rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 34355687
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 773rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32714833
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 773rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35896241
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball turret gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 772nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 34787319
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 774th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 775th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Joker
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 774th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 463rd Bomb Group 774th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 341st Bomb Squadron 463rd Bomb Group 772nd Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date15 Nov 2016 03:00:07
Contributor466thHistorian
Date14 Nov 2016 01:49:24
Contributor466thHistorian
Sources

463rd BG website

Date13 Nov 2016 01:55:40
Contributor466thHistorian

463rd Bomb Group: Gallery (26 items)