Padua, Italy Highway Bridge 04/23/1945
Mission # 239 - Red Highway Bridge in Brenner Pass area
At this time in the European WWII arena, the German Army was finally being pushed out of Northern Italy by the combined British 8th and U S 5th Armies advancing north through the Po River Valley and toward the only retreat areas available-- the Brenner Pass and other valley routes leading into still German-occupied Austria.
Highway bridges, like at Padua, were key 15th AF targets to cut off the retreat of German forces trapped up against the formidable Alps Mountains at their back.
Some of these Bridges were in steep walled valleys and gorges and made difficult targets. The lack of German fighter protection aided the Bombers in hitting these local targets, others were in the Po Valley itself.
Mission No.239 Red, aimed at destroying the Padua North Highway Bridge, was one of a series of Bombing Missions the 459 Bomb Group flew in April,1945 against targets to cut off the retreat of the German Army fleeing north from the Po River Valley toward the only retreat routes through the Alps to still occupied Austria. Mission #239 R was close to the final WW II combat missions to be flown by the 459 Bomb Group as the total number of missions flown in this campaign was #242.
"Dog Patch Express" A/C # 44-10626 drops his bombs on Padua Highway Bridge
WWII Mission of the 459th Bombardment Group to Padua, Italy Highway Bridge on 04/23/1945