Constituted as 458th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943. Activated on 1 Jul 1943. Prepared for combat with B-24's. Moved to England, Jan-Feb 1944, and assigned to Eighth AF. Flew diversionary missions on 24 and 25 Feb 1944 to draw enemy fighters from German targets being attacked by other AAF bombers. Began bombardment on 2 Mar 1944, and afterward operated primarily against strategic objectives in Germany. Hit such targets as the industrial area of Saarbrucken, oil refineries at Hamburg, an airfield at Brunswick, aircraft factories at Oschersleben, a fuel depot at Dulmen, a canal at Minden, aircraft works at Brandenburg, marshalling yards at Hamm, and an aircraft engine plant at Magdeburg. Carried out some interdictory and support operations in addition to the strategic missions. Helped to prepare for the invasion of Normandy by striking gun batteries, V-weapon sites, and airfields in France; hit coastal defenses in support of the assault on 6 Jun 1944; afterward, bombed bridges and highways to prevent the movement of enemy materiel to the beachhead. Attacked enemy troops to aid the Allied breakthrough at St Lo in Jul. Ceased bombardment during Sep 1944 to haul gasoline to airfields in France. Struck transportation lines during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Attacked enemy airfields to assist the Allied assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 25 Apr 1945. Returned to the US, Jun-Jul 1945. Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in Aug 1945. Trained with B-29's. Inactivated on 17 Oct 1945.
Squadrons. 752d: 1943-1945. 753d: 1943-1945. 754th: 1943-1945. 755th: 1943-1945.
Stations. Wendover Field, Utah, 1 Jul 1943; 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.
Commanders. Lt Col 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.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986