The 457thBombardment Group (Heavy) was constituted on May 19, 1943 and activated on July 1, 1943. The group trained for combat with B-17s and moved to England in January through February 1944 where it was assigned to the Eighth Air Force. The group flew its first mission on February 21, 1944 during Big Week, taking part in the concentrated attacks of heavy bombers on the German aircraft industry.
Until June 1944, the 457thengaged primarily in the bombardment of strategic targets, such as ball-bearing plants, aircraft factories, and oil refineries in Germany. It bombed targets in France during the first week of June 1944 in preparation for the Normandy invasion, and attacked coastal defenses along the Cherbourg peninsula on D-Day. The group also struck airfields, railroads, fuel depots, and other interdictory targets behind the invasion beaches throughout the remainder of the month.
The 457thBG resumed the bombardment of strategic objectives in July 1944 and engaged chiefly in such operations until April 1945. The group sometimes flew support and interdictory missions, such as aiding the advance of ground forces during the Saint-Lo breakthrough in July 1944 and the landing of British I Airborne Division during the airborne attack on Holland in September 1944.
The group also participated in the Battle of the Bulge during December 1944 through January 1945 and the assault across the Rhine in March 1945. The 457thflew its last combat mission on April 20, 1945 and transported prisoners of war from Austria to France after V-E Day. The group returned to the United States in June 1945 and was inactivated on August 28, 1945.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.