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465th Bombardment Group

The 465th Bombardment Group (Heavy) constituted on May 19, 1943 and activated on August 1, 1943. The group prepared for duty overseas with B-24s and moved to the Mediterranean theater in February and April 1944; the air echelon received additional training in Tunisia before joining the ground echelon in Italy where it was assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force.

The camp area of "A" Squadron of the 465th Bomb Group at Pantanella Airfield, Italy. April 28 1944. (National Archives)

The group entered combat on May 5, 1944 and served primarily as a strategic bombardment organization until late in April 1945. It attacked marshalling yards, dock facilities, oil refineries, oil storage plants, aircraft factories, and other objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Balkans. On two different missions—to marshalling yards and an oil refinery at Vienna on July 8, 1944 and to steel plants at Friedrichshafen on August 3, 1944 - the 465th Bombardment Group bombed its targets despite anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for each of these attacks. 

Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 465th Bomb Group after hitting their target in Ferrara, Italy. June 5 1944. (National Archives)

Other operations included bombing troop concentrations and bivouac areas in May 1944 to aid the Partisans in Yugoslavia; attacking enemy troops and supply lines to assist the drive toward Rome in May and June 1944; striking bridges, rail lines, and gun emplacements prior to the invasion of Southern France in August 1944; bombing rail facilities and rolling stock in October 1944 to support the advance of Russian and Rumanian forces in the Balkans; and hitting troops, gun positions, bridges, and supply lines during April 1945 in support of Allied forces in northern Italy. The 465th moved to the Caribbean area in June 1945 where it was assigned to Air Transport Command. The group inactivated in Trinidad on July 31, 1945.

Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 465th Bomb Group after the bombing of Ferrara, Italy. June 5 1944. (National Archives)

Campaigns: American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.