The 458th Bombardment Group was a B-24 unit that served with the Eighth Air Force, taking part in the strategic bombing campaign as well D-Day and the Normandy campaign, the battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine.
The group's first missions came on 24 and 25 February 1944 when it flew diversionary attacks that were designed to pull German fighters away from other bombardment groups. It became bombing operations on 2 March 1944 and remained in combat until its final mission of 25 April 1945.
The group's main function was to take part in the strategic bombing campaign. Amongst the many targets it hit were aircraft factories at Oschersleben, Brandenburg and Madgeburg, oil and fuel facilities at Hamburg and Dulmen and transport links at Brunswick, Hamm and Minden.
The group also flew a number of tactical missions. In the build-up to D-Day it attacked gun batteries, V-Weapon sites and airfields. On D-Day it attacked German coastal defences then switched to attacks on bridges and roads to help isolate the battlefield.
In July the group took part in the attack that preceded the American breakthrough at St. Lo. As the Allied advance gathered speed the biggest problem became fuel and in September the group was withdrawn from bombing missions and used to transport fuel to airfields in France.
During the Battle of the Bulge the group attacked German transport links. In March it attacked Luftwaffe airfields to assist with the crossing of the Rhine.
The group flew its last combat mission of 25 April 1945. It returned to the US in June-July 1945 and was redesignated as a Very Heavy bombardment group. The group began to train with the B-29 but was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
July 1943 onwards: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|29 May 1943||Constituted as 458th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 July 1943||Activated|
|Jan-Feb 1944||To UK and Eighth Air Force|
|24-25 February 1944||First combat missions|
|2 March 1944||First bombing mission|
|25 April 1945||Last combat mission|
|June-July 1945||To United States|
|August 1945||Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)|
|17 October 1945||Inactivated|
Lt. Coll Robert F Hardy:
28 Jul 1943
Col James H Isbell: 16 Dec 1943
Col Allen F Herzberg: 10 Mar 1945
Capt Patrick Hays: 13 Aug 1945
Maj Bernard Carlos: 17 Aug 1945
Maj V R Woodward: 22 Aug 1945
Lt Col Wilmer C Hardesty: 3 Sep-17 Oct 1945,
Wendover Field, Utah: 1 Jul
Gowen Field, Idaho: 28 Jul 1943
Kearns, Utah: 11 Sep 1943
Wendover Field, Utah: 15 Sep 1943
Tonopah AAFld, Nev: 31 Oct-29 Dec 1943
Horsham St Faith, England: Jan 1944-14 Jun 1945
Sioux Falls AAFld, SD: 12 Jul 1945
Walker AAFld, Kan: 25 Jul 1945
March Field, Calif: 21 Aug-17 Oct 1945.
752nd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
753rd Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
754th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
755th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-45
1944-1945: 96th Bombardment Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force