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461st Bomb Group

Group

The group was constituted in May 1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group and activated on 1 July at Wendover Field, Utah.[1] It trained under II Bomber Command at several airfields in Utah, Idaho, and California, with group elements undergoing combat simulation training at the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics in Florida.

The 461st deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in February 1944, the air echelon flying B-24's via the South Atlantic transport route, stopping in North Africa before joining the ground echelon in Italy.[1] It was assigned to the 49th Bombardment Wing of Fifteenth Air Force at Torretto Airfield, Italy, in late February.

The group began combat operations in April, engaging in long range strategic bombardment operations of Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe. It engaged chiefly in bombardment of communications, industries, and other strategic objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.[1] It supported Fifteenth AF's counter-air operations by bombing enemy airdromes and aircraft centers, receiving a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on 13 April 1944 when the group battled its way through enemy defenses to attack an aircraft components plant in Budapest.[1] The 461st BG conducted Oil Campaign of World War II operations against Brux, Blechhammer, Moosbierbaum, Vienna, and Ploiești; receiving a second DUC for a July 1944 bombing of Ploiești despite flak, clouds, smoke, and fighters. Also operated in support of ground forces and flew some interdictory missions.[1]

It hit artillery positions in support of the invasion of Southern France in August 1944 and flew supply missions to France in September. The group aided the Allied offensive in Italy in April 1945 by attacking gun emplacements and troop concentrations. After the German Capitulation, the 461st dropped supplies to prisoner-of-war camps in Austria during May 1945.[1] During its operations in the Mediterranean, the group suffered 108 aircraft lost in combat, and was credited with the destruction of 129 enemy aircraft.[2] It dropped over 13,000 tons of bombs in over 46,000 hours of combat flying.[2]

The group was alerted for redeployment to the Pacific Theater in June 1945 and was programmed for Very Heavy bomber training with B-29 Superfortresses. The unit returned to the United States in July; many personnel being demobilized upon arrival. A small cadre formed at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota and unit was awaiting new personnel and aircraft when the Japanese capitulation ended the Pacific War in August. The group was inactivated on 18 August.

Structure

Part of
  • 15th Air Force

    15th Air Force


    The Fifteenth Air Force was one of two Strategic Air forces in Europe, along with the Eighth Air Force. ...

Encompassing
  • 764th Bomb Squadron

    764th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established in mid-1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber squadron, it trained under the Second Air Force. The unit deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in February 1944, being assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force in Southern Italy. ...

  • 765th Bomb Squadron

    765th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established in mid-1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron; trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in February 1944, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in Southern Italy. ...

  • 766th Bomb Squadron

    766th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established in mid-1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron; trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in February 1944, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in Southern Italy. ...

  • 767th Bomb Squadron

    767th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established in mid-1943 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron; trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in February 1944, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in Southern Italy. ...

Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Stations

Station Location Date
Based Torretto 20 February 1944 – July 1945

Connections

People

  • Abraham Abramson

    Military | Sergeant | Waist gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 764BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. 9 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 42-52025; Mauled by fighters, #3 engine on fire, oxygen system shot out, A/C abandoned. Hit fatally by 20mm cannon shell. Killed in Action ...

  • Albert Arrotta

    Military | Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. Hailey crew. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 44-41158; hit by fighters, aflame and with three engines out, crashed Olomouc, Czech. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 10650 ...

  • Palmer Arrowood

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. Hailey crew. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 44-41158; hit by fighters, aflame and with three engines out, crashed Olomouc, Czech. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 10650 ...

  • John Barks

    Military | Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. Nick Sidovar crew. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 42-95304; hit by fighters and with one engine shut down, but unable to feather it, last contacted over Bratislavia, Czech via radio. Prisoner...

  • Valden Barnson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 765BS, 461BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 42-50953 'Flying Finger'; A/C downed by fighters. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10677 Awards: AM, PH.

  • Gordon Behling

    Military | Flight Officer | Bombardier | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 561BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechammer mission in B-24 42-51319 'Welcome Wagon'; A/C mauled by fighters, baled out. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 10651 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Guy Bosso

    Military | Sergeant | Waist gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. Chas Lang crew. 12 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechammer in B-24 42-51322 17-Dec-44; lagging behind formation, set upon by Fw190, #3 engine set aflame, A/C exploded. Baled out into Danube. RTD MACR...

  • David Brewer

    Military | Corporal | Nose turret gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 764BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. 11 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 42-52025; Mauled by fighters, #3 engine on fire, oxygen sytem shot out, A/C abandoned. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 10680 Awards: PH.

  • Edwin Burkhardt

    Military | Corporal | Nose gunner | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 764BS, 461BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Odertal oil refinery in B-24 42-51324; Mechanical issues forced A/C to drop out of formation, subsequently mauled by fighters, A/C abandoned. Baled out, and with assistance from Czech...

  • Frederick Capalbo

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 461st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 767BS, 561BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechammer mission in B-24 42-51319 'Welcome Wagon'; A/C mauled by fighters, baled out. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 10651 Awards: AM, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

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Aircraft

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation - 13 April 1944 - Budapest
Distinguished Unit Citation - 15 July 1944 - Ploesti

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 November 2016 01:11:12 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, nicknames, motto, citations, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations, stations and media associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/461st_Operations_Group

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