458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Hartswick Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - December 21, 1944

Standing: Richard Hartswick - P, Donald Montgomery - CP, Robert Clarkson - N, Fred Massaro - B
Kneeling: William Freeman - E, James Smith - RO, Charles Garten - G, William Isinger - NTG, James Flood - G/Togglier, Frank McCrory - TG

(Photo: Jim Hartswick)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

HartswickCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status   Comments
1Lt Richard W Hartswick 0721064 Pilot 01-May-45 FEH Leave
1Lt Donald A Montgomery  0834853 Co-pilot/Pilot 06-May-45 FEH Landing Accident Night Transition 
2Lt Robert L Clarkson, Jr 02015188 Navigator 01-May-45 FEH Leave
F/O Fred A Massaro T-7055 Bombardier 21-Dec-44 UNK Assigned from 70RD
T/Sgt James L Smith 39140154 Radio Operator 15-May-45 FEH Promoted to T/Sgt
T/Sgt William C Freeman 34777786 Flight Engineer 15-May-45 FEH Promoted to T/Sgt
Sgt James E Flood 36461572 Armorer-Gunner  Feb-45 FEH Awards - Air Medal
S/Sgt  Charles H Garton 18191550 Aerial Gunner 29-Apr-45 FEH Reclassified - Flight Engineer
S/Sgt William F B Isinger 33809411 Aerial Gunner 29-Apr-45 FEH Reclassified - Armorer Gunner
S/Sgt Frank A McCrory 34927820 Aerial Gunner 14-May-45 FEH Reclassified - Armorer Gunner

Lt Richard Hartwick's crew was assigned to the 753rd Squadron on December 21, 1944.  On January 16, 1945, the crew, with Instructor Pilot 2Lt James Goodgame [co-pilot on Lt Edward Sealy Crew], flew their first mission to Magdeburg, Germany from which they were lucky to have returned. [Jim Hartswick (Richard's son) related that James Goodgame was the reason that his father and crew came back alive from this first mission.  "They were flying on the extreme right of the formation when the flak started and Goodgame taps my dad on the arm and said, 'I’ve got it'.  He side slipped the plane way right and then there was a flak burst right where the plane had just been.  He side slipped the plane back into formation and said, 'You’ve got it'.  Dad found out that if you paid attention, that you could see when the flak gunners were adjusting their guns because they shot behind you and then just advanced the gun farther and farther ahead until they were inside the formation.  I owe Mr. Goodgame my life.]


There is no explanation for the 13-day gap between their first mission and their second flown on January 29th.  Beginning on February 3rd, the crew’s next four missions would be flown to Magdeburg; twice to the Rohensee oil refinery and twice to the marshaling yards.  By the end of the month they would have completed eight missions, not yet 1/3 of the way to completing their required 35.


The bulk of the crew’s combat flying would be done over the next two months, flying eight missions in March and nine in April; their last on the 20th to bomb the railroad bridge near Zwiesel, Germany.  While flying a total of 13 different aircraft, it appears that the crew had found a “regular” on their last five missions.  B-24JAZ-140 CO 42-110163 J4 M Time’s A Wastin’ was originally with the 492nd BG and was transferred to the 458th in May or June 1944, going to the 753rd SQ (J4).  This aircraft’s first mission with the group was flown on D-Day and by the time the war was over there were symbols for 86 missions painted on the nose.  In June 1945, Hartswick and members of the crew, along with several ground men, were assigned to ferry Time’s A Wastin’ back to the States.


At some point around the beginning of March 1945, Donald A. Montgomery, the crew’s co-pilot was chosen to command his own crew – quite unusual given that he had only flown about ten missions or so with Hartswick.  Nevertheless, group records show that he started flying as first pilot on March 8, 1945 and completed 17 missions by April 25, 1945.  The members of his crew are not known for certain, but an incident during May could provide a clue.  On May 6, 1945, with the war all but over, training still continued at Horsham.  Montgomery was practicing night landings when, on the third landing, the left main gear collapsed and the aircraft went off the runway grinding to a halt with the wing scraping the ground.  The crew were unhurt.


According to the accident report, the men on board with Montgomery were instructor pilot  2Lt William E. Sloan and five other crew members consisting of 2Lt Fred F Jeffers (QD, P), 2Lt Hugh R. Maxon (N), S/Sgt Joseph A. Driggs (E), Sgt Charles G Neely (G) and Sgt Willard A. Rodermel (G). All but Sloan and Maxon had been assigned in December 1944 on Captain James Gardner’s crew.   Captain Gardner had been moved up to 753rd Squadron HQ and flew several missions as a command pilot.  It is possible that Montgomery took over members of this crew as his own in March 1945.  Sloan had arrived in mid-February as a pilot with his own crew and Maxon at the beginning of March.


Likewise it is not known who took over as co-pilot for Montgomery on Hartswick’s crew.  Fred Massaro has related that he, as bombardier, received navigator training and was assigned to another crew.  Unfortunately there is no mention of Massaro in either group or squadron records.  His place was apparently taken by James Flood who became the crew’s togglier.   Massaro is pictured with Hartswick and Clarkson (N) preparing to ferry Time’s A Wastin’ back to the States.


Missions

HartswickMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
16-Jan-45 MAGDEBURG 171 1 42-50449 W J4 35 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY  
29-Jan-45 MUNSTER 175 2 42-50768 Y J4 25 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 3 42-110163 M J4 52 TIME'S A WASTIN  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 4 42-95018 J Z5 74 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 5 44-40285 H J4 58 TABLE STUFF  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 6 41-28980 V J4 23 UNKNOWN 009  
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE 184 7 44-40285 H J4 62 TABLE STUFF  
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 8 44-40277 P J4 39 MISS USED  
05-Mar-45 HARBURG 197 9 42-100408 I J4 47 LADY LUCK / THE BEAST  
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 10 44-10602 E J4 35 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 ACC 42-100408 I J4 -- LADY LUCK / THE BEAST DAMAGED (N GRD EXPLOSION 
15-Mar-45 ZOSSEN 204 11 42-50499 U J3 38 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM 207 12 44-40277 P J4 50 MISS USED  
22-Mar-45 KITZINGEN 210 13 44-40277 P J4 52 MISS USED  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 WTHR 42-50608 W J4 -- FILTHY McNAUGHTY WEATHER SHIP
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 14 42-50555 A J4 32 BABY SHOES  
31-Mar-45  BRUNSWICK 216 15 42-110163 M J4 79 TIME'S A WASTIN  
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 16 42-110163 M J4 80 TIME'S A WASTIN  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 17 42-50912 D J4 32 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 18 42-110141 U J4 54 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 19 41-28980 V J4 36 UNKNOWN 009  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 20 42-110163 M J4 82 TIME'S A WASTIN  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE  225 21 42-110163 M J4 83 TIME'S A WASTIN  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 22 42-110163 M J4 85 TIME'S A WASTIN  
18-Apr-45 PASSAU 228 23 42-110163 M J4 86 TIME'S A WASTIN  
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 42-110163 M J4 -- TIME'S A WASTIN SCRUBBED
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 24 42-110163 M J4 87 TIME'S A WASTIN


Escape Photos

Top Row: Richard Hartswick, Robert Clarkson, Unknown
Middle Row: Donald Montgomery, William Isinger, Fred Massaro
Bottom Row: James Flood, William Freeman, Charles Garten


Courtesy: Jim Hartswick


B-24JAZ-140-CO 42-110163 J4  M  Time's A Wastin'

Safely back from a mission
Standing:
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, William Isinger, James Flood
Kneeling: William Freeman, Unknown officer, Robert Clarkson, Richard Hartswick

(Photo: Jim Hartswick)

Taxiing on the perimeter track

Lt Scott A. Herdti (754BS pilot) and Jim Hartswick


(Courtesy: Jim Hartswick)


May 1945

Above left, the crew is pictured in mid-May 1945, about the time that the Eighth Air Force were running "Trolley Missions". These "missions" allowed ground men to be taken over the continent on an aerial tour of several German cities that the group's had bombed in order to show them how their efforts had contributed to winning the war.  A number of crews also took tours of Cologne, Koblenz, and other German cites on the ground.  The picture on the right shows the Mistel (Mistletoe) Composite flying bomb. The Mistel 3-C (in this case) consisted of a Fw190 A-8 fighter mounted on top of a Ju-88 G-10 bomber. The fighter pilot would fly towards the selected target and release the bomber (packed with explosives), which would continue on to the target on autopilot.  There are a number of photos that appear to show this same configuration of aircraft, but none from this angle, showing the wreckage on other parts of the airfield.  It is unknown if this was part of the pilot's personal collection.   (Courtesy: William Isinger & Jim Hartswick)

June 1945

Standing: Fred Massaro, Robert Clarkson, Richard Hartswick

Click for larger image


(Photo: FOLD3)


September 25, 2007

Collings Foundation B-24 Witchcraft
Jim Hartswick points to his father's name on the bomb bay doors after taking a 30 minute flight