The 449th was base at Grottaglie field in southern Italy, located just east of the city of Taranto on the “heel” of the Italian boot. Grottaglie field had been a major base of the Italian Air Force and had been attacked multiple times by heavy bomb groups from the Twelfth Air Force in 1943. When the first element of the 449th Bomb Group’s air echelon arrived in late December they found a bombed out base in very poor condition. Much effort was spent making the base habitable.
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