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743rd Bomb 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. Moved to Virginia where the group flew long-range convoy escort missions over the Mid-Atlantic, October–November 1943 while station in Italy was being constructed.

Deployed to Southern Italy in January 1944; entered combat in January 1944, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force. Engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, bombing railroad marshalling yards, oil refineries, airdrome installations, heavy industry, and other strategic objectives.

In addition to strategic missions in the Balkans, the group bombed troop concentrations, bridges, marshalling yards, and airdromes during the fall of 1944 to hamper the enemy’s withdrawal from the region. The group also supported ground forces at Anzio and Cassino in March 1944; knocked out gun positions in preparation for the invasion of Southern France in August 1944; and assisted the final Allied drive through Italy in April 1945 by hitting such targets as bridges, gun positions, and troop concentrations.

Remained in Italy after the German Capitulation in May, although unit personnel were demobilized throughout the summer of 1945. Group was inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.

Reactivated in the Air Force Reserve in 1947 with B-29 Superfortresses. Trained at Sheppard-Kell Municipal Airport, Texas. Inactivated in 1949 due to budget


Part of
  • 455th Bomb Group

    455th Bomb 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...

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  • William Arnold

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot
    "Turbo-Culosis" (Airplane. No. 879) ...

  • Earl Brawninger

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 455th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 743BS, 455BG, 15AF USAAF. Force landed in Romania in B-24 42-64500 after mechanical difficulties 11-Jun-44; released after Romania capitulated in Aug-44. Prisoner of War (POW) Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Kleeman

    Military | Sergeant | Waist gunner | 455th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 743BS, 455BG, 15AF USAAF. 7 x combat missions. Baled out into the Danube river. Killed in Action (KIA). Awards: AM (OLC), PH.

  • Ernest Lewis

    Military | Sergeant | Waist gunner | 455th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 743BS, 455BG, 15 AF USAAF. Prisoner of War (POW). Romania capitulated in Aug-44, freeing the crew, killed by bomb fragment in Luftwaffe revenge raid. Killed in Service (KIS). Awards: POW, PH.


  • 42-64500 Dazzlin' Dutchess and the Ten Dukes

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 743BS, 455BG, 15AF USAAF. Departed the US for Italy on 22-Dec-43. Failed to Return (FTR) mission. Left formation en route to target on reciprocal heading after crew reported serious fuel leak. Crashed Piatra, Rumania 11-Jun-44. 9 POW 1 KIA....

  • 44-10560

    B-24 Liberator




Date Contributor Update
07 November 2016 01:55:36 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations and media associations