Introduction: What is the Four-Five-Ninth?

The true story of the 459th Bombardment Group during World War II

This document is about the 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy), a group of about 2000 servicemen (~400 officers, ~1600 enlisted men) within the 304th Bomb Wing serving under the 15th Army Air Force, based in and flying from the boot heel of Italy in World War II.

The 459th consisted of 5 groups: Headquarters (Hq) and four Squadrons:

  • 756th
  • 757th
  • 758th
  • 759th

Each of the squadrons consisted of about 100 officers and 400 enlisted men. Each squadron had a group of planes and air crew members (the “air echelon”), as well as a group of ground crew and support servicemen (the “ground echelon”).

This is not a work of fiction. It is not historical fiction.

With the exception of the overview pages I have written, this material was transcribed directly from (AFHRA) Compact Disc #B0607, which is a scan of microfiche reel B0607, pages 675 – 2009. This material was sent to me by Archangelo “Archie” DiFante on 26 APR 2018. This source is the official US record of the 459th, most of which was declassified in 1958, imaged to microfiche format on 11 APR 1973, and scanned to digital form as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. I am deeply grateful to the AFHRA, the US Army Air Corps, and the men and women who so bravely served on our behalf in that conflict.

I have tried using several approaches at Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert some of the AFHRA documents to searchable form, but all my efforts have failed, and so have had to manually transcribe the narratives you see here. I have done my best to faithfully represent the format in which they were originally written.

I am learning to build a web page, research, organize, transcribe and comment on historical narratives, all at the same time. All mistakes in transcription, poor organization, or poor commentary are entirely my own. Please post and let me know about it. But please also be gentle in doing so!

Other Sources

Back to 459th