The 452nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was constituted on May 14, 1943 and activated on June 1, 1943. The group trained with B-17s and moved to England in December 1943 through January 1944 where it was assigned to the Eighth Air Force. The group entered combat on February 5, 1944 with an attack against aircraft assembly plants at Brunswick.
Throughout combat, the 452ndengaged primarily in the bombardment of strategic targets, including marshalling yards at Frankfurt, aircraft assembly plants at Regensburg, aircraft component works at Kassel, the ball-bearing industry at Schweinfurt, a synthetic rubber plant at Hannover, and oil installations at Bohlen. 1stLt. Donald J Gott and 2ndLt. William E Metzger Jr were each awarded the Medal of Honor for remaining with their aircraft (which was crippled during a mission over Germany on November 9, 1944) in an attempt to save a wounded crew member who was unable to bail out. The men were killed when the B-17 exploded in mid-air. In addition to strategic missions, the 452ndsupported ground forces and carried out interdictory operations.
The group helped prepare for the invasion of Normandy by hitting airfields, V-weapon sites, bridges, and other objectives in France. The 452ndstruck coastal defenses on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The group bombed enemy positions in support of the breakthrough at Saint-Lo in July and the offensive against Brest in August and September. Later in September, the group assisted the airborne attack on Holland and also hit enemy communications in and near the combat zone during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 through January 1945. The 452ndbombed an airfield in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for action on April 7, 1945 when, despite vigorous fighter attacks and heavy flak, it accurately bombed a jet-fighter base at Kaltenkirchen. The 452ndflew its last combat mission of World War II on April 21, striking marshalling yards at Ingolstadt. The group returned to the United States in August and was inactivated on August 28, 1945.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.