Back to
Normandy American Cemetery Welcome Screen

453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 453rdBombardment Group (Heavy) was constituted on May 14, 1943 and activated on June 1, 1943. The group trained with B-24s and moved to England in December 1943 through January 1944 where it was assigned to the Eighth Air Force.  The group began combat on February 5, 1944 with an attack against an airfield at Tours.

Lt. Col. James M. Stewart, Group Operations Officer, interrogates crew of the 453rd Bombardment Group after returning to their English base from a mission over enemy territory, c. 1944-1945.

Throughout combat, the 453rdserved chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization. Its targets included a fuel depot at Dulmen, marshalling yards at Paderborn, aircraft assembly plants at Gotha, railroad centers at Hamm, an ordnance depot at Glinde, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, chemical works at Leverkusen, an airfield at Neumunster, a canal at Minden, and a railroad viaduct at Altenbeken. The group also took part in the concentrated attack against the German aircraft industry during Big Week (February 20-25, 1944).

Consolidated B-24s of the 453rd Bombardment Group fly over the burning targets at Karsruhe, Germany, after dropping their bombs on enemy installations, September 5, 1944.

Besides strategic operations, the 453rdengaged in support and interdictory missions. It bombed V-weapon sites, airfields, and gun batteries in France prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. On June 6, the group hit shore installations between Le Havre and Cherbourg and other enemy positions farther inland.  It also attacked enemy troops in support of the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lo in July and bombed German communications during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 through January 1945.

Two combat crew members of the 453rd Bombardment Group are surrounded by British youths after returning to their base in Old Buckenham, England from a mission over enemy territory on February 21, 1944.
Members of the 453rd Bombardment Group stand at attention during an inspection in Old Buckenham, England, c. 1944-1945.

The group ferried cargo on two occasions: it hauled gasoline, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944 and also dropped ammunition, food, and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. The 453rd flew its last combat mission in April. The group returned to the United States in May and was inactivated on September 12, 1945.

Consolidated B-24s of the 453rd Bombardment Group fly over Magdenburg, Germany on February 15, 1945.

Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.