458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Hauser Crew - Assigned June 3, 1944

Standing: Charles Hauser - P, John Ewing - CP, Curt Clump - N, Len Wainick - B, Jack Harris - E
Kneeling: Morris Spiegler - BTG, Ed Chinchar - RO, Ralph Hitch - TG, George Rhinehart - WG, Robert Appler - WG

(Photo: Curt Clump)

Hauser Crew Completed Tour

Rank Full Name Serial # Pos Date Status Comments
2Lt Charles J Hauser 01995895 Pilot Oct-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
2Lt John R Ewing 01996106 Co-Pilot 23-Oct-44 CT Transferred to 752BS
1Lt Curtis W Clump 0713127 Navigator Oct-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
2Lt Leonard H Wainick 0697789 Bombardier Sep-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
S/Sgt Edward W Chinchar  12147651 Radio Operator  Oct-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI 
T/Sgt Jack W Harris 39274824 Flight Engineer Oct-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
S/Sgt Robert H Appler 33563697 Flight Engineer Sep-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
S/Sgt George C Rhinehart 34604667 Flight Engineer Sep-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
S/Sgt Morris Spiegler 6981216 Aerial Gunner Oct-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI
S/Sgt Ralph E Hitch 39203916 Flight Engineer Sep-44 CT Tour Complete - Return to ZOI

Charles Hauser and crew arrived in theater at the end of May 1944. They came to Horsham St Faith on June 3rd, and were assigned to the755BS.  Two of the crew members, navigator Curtis Clump and gunner Ralph Hitch, both flew on D-Day, only a few days after their arrival.  Clump flew with Sam Gibson’s crew and Hitch flew with the crew of Dudley McAardle, who had flown their first mission only the day before.

The Hauser Crew’s first mission was on June 12, 1944 to an airfield near Evreux/Fauville, France. Formation plans have them flying an original 755BS ship, Last Card Louie on its 30th trip over the Continent, and according to bombardier Len Wainick’s notes, they carried 24 x 250lb bombs. The crew flew a total of nine missions in June, including one to Berlin on the 21st.

During July, the crew flew a total of 12 missions, flying three days in a row between the 6th and 8th, and later in the month they had another busy week with four missions in a row between July 16-18. During July, and for most of their missions in August and September, the crew flew B-24H-25-DT 42-51179 J3 P named Dusty’s Double Trouble. Out of their 31 missions, the crew flew this aircraft on 16 of them.

The crew were forced to abort only once during their combat tour.  On the August 12 mission to the airfield near Mourmelon, France, they experienced engine trouble and turned back.  The “Aircraft Not Attacking Report” notes, “42-51179  Not pathfinder, No sortie. Returned bomb. Pilot reported #3 engine out, #3 mixture stuck, requested check of amps on #3. Inspection revealed two rubber couplings blown out. Intercooler was broken and buckled. Both mags operate intermittently. The engine requires new mags and new intercooler”.

A combat crew was usually given a break about half-way through their combat tour. Officers and enlisted men would be given a week’s leave at a rest home, or “Flak House”. Hauser’s crew appears to not have been afforded this particular amenity, as their mission list shows, the only break the crew had longer than 7 days between missions came at the end of their tour, between August 25 and September 6.

Most of the crew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in mid-September and a couple of weeks later they were sent to a replacement depot for return to the States.  It appears that co-pilot John Ewing remained with the group after his crew completed their tour.  He was awarded the DFC (for completed combat tour) on October 15, 1944.  He was transferred to the 752BS a few days later and went on Rest Home Leave on November 6, 1944.  It is unknown if he flew further combat missions after his first tour was complete.


Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
12-Jun-44 EVREUX/FAUVILLE 64 1 42-52441 I J3 30 LAST CARD LOUIE  
17-Jun-44 TOURS 68 2 42-52441 I J3 33 LAST CARD LOUIE  
18-Jun-44 WATTEN 70 3 42-51097 T J3 21 UNKNOWN 022 MSN#2
19-Jun-44 REGNAUVILLE 71 4 42-7516 K J3 16 GATOR MSN #1
20-Jun-44 OSTERMOOR 73 5 42-95008 R J3 15 UNKNOWN 035 MSN #1 D-CHNL
21-Jun-44 BERLIN 75 6 42-51110 P 7V 15 TOP O' THE MARK  
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 7 42-95050 J 7V 21 GAS HOUSE MOUSE TGT #8 BLANE-PIGNOT-FERNE
24-Jun-44 ST OMER 79 8 41-28735 V J3 28 UNKNOWN 005 MSN #3
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 9 42-95183 U J3 15 BRINEY MARLIN  
06-Jul-44 KIEL 85 10 42-52441 I J3 36 LAST CARD LOUIE  
07-Jul-44 LUTZKENDORF 86 11 42-51179 P J3 15 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
08-Jul-44 ANIZY, FRANCE 87 12 42-95120 M J3 20 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
11-Jul-44 MUNICH 88 13 42-52441 I J3 39 LAST CARD LOUIE  
16-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN 91 14 42-51179 P J3 16 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
17-Jul-44 3 NO BALLS 92 15 42-51179 P J3 17 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
18-Jul-44 TROARN 93 16 42-51179 P J3 18 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
19-Jul-44 KEMPTEN 94 17 42-51179 P J3 19 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
21-Jul-44 MUNICH 96 18 42-51179 P J3 21 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
24-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA 97 19 42-51179 P J3 22 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
25-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA "B" 98 20 42-51179 P J3 23 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
31-Jul-44 LUDWIGSHAFEN 99 21 42-51179 P J3 24 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
01-Aug-44 T.O.s FRANCE 100 22 42-51179 P J3 25 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
03-Aug-44 2 NO BALLS 102 23 42-51179 P J3 27 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
05-Aug-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 105 24 42-7516 K J3 24 GATOR  
08-Aug-44 CLASTRES 108 25 42-51179 P J3 29 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
11-Aug-44 STRASBOURG 110 26 42-51179 P J3 30 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
18-Aug-44 WOIPPY 116 27 42-52441 I J3 48 LAST CARD LOUIE LAND ON CONTINENT
26-Aug-44 DULMEN 120 28 42-51179 P J3 32 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
05-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 122 29 42-51179 P J3 34 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
11-Sep-44 MAGDEBURG 126 31 42-95183 U J3 42 BRINEY MARLIN

2Lt Len Wainick - Bombardier

2Lt Leonard H. Wainick related these stories about his crew

On our last practice mission [before leaving the States] - we were doing a night camera bombing job over L.A. from our base in Tucson I got a tap on my shoulder.  There was our hero, Sgt Jack Harris, with his parachute on.  I asked him where he was going and he said: "I live right down there and I am going home. Good-bye!"  I almost believed him.  That was the type of HEP guy he was.


The morning of our 24th mission, Sgt Rhinehart, a waist gunner, came over to each member of the crew as we were waiting to climb into our plane.  The mission of that day was Brunswick, Germany, a relativity tough target.  Rhinehart was from North Carolina and a bit of a preacher type.  He shook our hands and said, "Goodbye" - or words to that effect.  When asked why he said that, he replied, "I had a dream.  We are going to go down today over the target".  Needless to say that there werre 10 very scared kids riding in that airplane.  As it was, it did not happen.  Must have been the moonshine he made that gave him the vision.


When we went on our 48 hour pass, Jack was a Hollywood smart guy.  Sgts run the army and he took care of his Lt.  He always insisted that we get a room on the 4th floor of the Strand Palace Hotel...this he got from other Sgts.  Had to be in our rooms by 11 PM. The British MP's would raid the hotel as having a woman other than your wife in a room was a breech of their moral code - war or no war.
You would get a rap on the door and a Brit MP would insist you open up.  They would check your room carefully - even under the bed - and leave satisfied you weren't stashing a gal somewhere.  If a female got caught, she had to show them some I.D. to prove why they were in civilian clothes.  Many females registered as prostitutes to avoid army service.
Jack would go out in the stairwell.  Females were scampering down the steps to avoid the MPs.  He would gather quite a few of them, steer them to our room by telling them they were safe as we had been checked by the MPs.  After he had his group of females in our room, he had a nose to sniff out the most willing and cheapest.  He made our deal and we had a great balance of the evening.  We did this 5X as we had 5/48 hour passes in our time in the UK.  Only a Los Angeles wolf-type could accomplish this. We always got a good pricing because they were happy not to have been caught.  C'est la Guerre


On August 18th, 1944 we flew a morning mission to bomb an aircraft factory in Metz, which was on the German/French border. It was a squadron effort of 12 planes. It was a beautiful, clear day and we had no problem in locating the target.  Right after "Bombs Away" there were four bursts of flak.  One took out our left inboard engine and another took out our right inboard engine.
We dropped out of the formation and attempted to return to base alone.  The engineer said we were losing too much fuel and could not make it across the channel.  We were getting ready to abandon the aircraft when my Navigator, Curt Clump, said we could make one of the fighter strips in Normandy and land.
We found one, I believe it was A-7, and prepared to land.  We made a successful landing and taxied to the end of the runway.  Instead of military personnel coming out to us, we were met by a very famous group of musicians who were touring France at that time. They were none other than -- Spike Jones and His City Slickers. The airbase was one used by a P-47 group.
The engines had to be replaced.  Both the P-47 and the B-24 used the same type of aircraft engines.  To save the B-24, the engineer and a crew supplied by the P-47 crew chiefs put their engines on our plane.  I think they were Pratt-Whitney’s. They had an extra supply plus they had a few planes they used to cannibalize to keep others flying. The engines fit perfectly into the nacelles, and that’s what they did. It took eight days to transfer two P-47 engines to our plane.  While repairs were being made we went along with the band who played at various air bases and some support bases and we had a great time with them.  My special contact was with Del Courtney, who made famous the song about Hitler's moustache.  After repairs were made, we returned to base and I found that all the cigarettes I had saved in my footlocker were gone.  A very close pal from college days was in the 467th.  When he heard we did not return he came to get those cigarettes.  After the war he married my cousin--but I always made him pay for his theft every time we met for years after. Not every war story was tragic.

A further addendum to our eight day "vacation" in France.  We toured around the area one day and found a French farmhouse.  It was owned by a French woman.  Her name was Mme. Odette Pagney.  I still remember her to this day.   She gave us some DAY OLD Calvados that put my co-pilot on the ground.  She was a member of the French Underground and was about 40 years old.  She turned her back to us, took off her blouse, and showed us her back.  It was unbelievably scarred.  The Gestapo wanted her to reveal names of her associates, and she denied being involved.  They whipped her back and rubbed salt water into the wounds to make her talk--and she never did. I can never forget this brave woman with those brutal welts.

The 458th Bomb Group's assigned primary target for August 18, 1944 was actually an "Aero Works Factory" near Woippy, France. According to the 2nd Bombardment Division Tactical Bombing Report for this date, "One Squadron of the 458th Group attacked an A/F south of Metz as a target of opportunity when the lead and deputy lead collided on the bomb run into the primary. As a result of the collision the formation was scattered and was headed away from the target. It was not possible to make a second run so the A/F south of Metz was attacked."

Len Wainick's Mission List

Msn# Date Target Type Bomb Load
1 12-Jun-44 Evereux Fr. Air Field 24 x 250
2 17-Jun-44 Tours, Fr. Air Field 10 x 500
3 18-Jun-44 Watten, Fr, No Ball 4 x 2000
4 19-Jun-44 Regenville, Fr, No Ball 52 x 100
5 20-Jun-44 Ostermoor, Ger Oil Refinery 12 x 500
6 21-Jun-44 Berlin, Ger RR Station 10 x 500
7 23-Jun-44 Coubrohue, Fr No Ball 20 x 250
8 24-Jun-44 Paris,Fr Air Field 12 x 500
9 24-Jun-44 St. Omer, Fr No Ball 20 x 250--2nd mission of day
10 28-Jun-44 Saarbrucken, Ger Marshalling Yds 20 x 250
11 06-Jul-44 Kiel, Ger Admin Bldg 12 x 500
12 07-Jul-44 Liepsig, Ger Oil Refinery 10 x 500
13 11-Jul-44 Munich, Ger Marshalling Yds 40 x 100
14 16-Jul-44 Saarbrucken, Ger Marshalling Yds 12 x 500
15 17-Jul-44 Remaismil, Fr No Ball 24 x 250
16 18-Jul-44 Caen, Fr Front Lines 40 x 100 frags
17 19-Jul-44 Kempten, Ger ME 109 Factory 10 x 500
18 21-Jul-44 Munich, Ger Airplane Factory 10 x 500
19 24-Jul-44 St Lo, Fr Front Lines Weather-no drop
20 25-Jul-44 St Lo, Fr Front Lines 52 x 100
21 31-Jul-44 Mannheim, Ger Chemical Plant 24 x 250
22 01-Aug-44 Rouen, Fr RR Junction 12 x 250 (my 22nd birthday)
23 03-Aug-44 Pas de Calais, Fr No Ball 24 x 250
24 05-Aug-44 Brunswick, Ger ME 109 Factory 12 x 500
25 08-Aug-44 St Quentin, Fr Air Field 52 x 100
26 11-Aug-44 Strasbourg, Fr Marshalling Yds 12 x 500
27 18-Aug-44 Metz, Fr Airplane Factory 10 x 500
28 26-Aug-44 Dulmen, Ger Oil Depot 48 x 100
29 05-Sep-44 Karlsruhe, Ger Marshalling Yds 10 x 500
30 08-Sep-44 Karlsruhe, Ger Abort-Salvo Bombs 6 x 1000
31 11-Sep-44 Magdeburg, Ger Oil Refinery 50 x 100

1Lt Curtis W. Clump - Navigator

We joined the group, having come from Ireland, about June 3, 1944. Even though we were too newly arrived to be assigned a mssion for D-Day, I flew the first mission of the day and one of our gunners flew the third.

All of us finished 30-33 missions by the end of October.The pilots and I flew our first missions with another crew. I completed 31. I recall sitting around somewhere near Liverpool awaiting a ship home, and arriving in time for an early Thanksgiving. It was a short but high anxiety period.

There were two missions that I recall as being out of the ordinary. Both involved engine problems after the bomb run. We fell behind the formation and had to go home alone - once from Mourmelon and later from Metz. On the Metz flight we were flying with three engines functioning, running low on fuel, and were unable to make it back across the Channel so we landed at a fighter strip  near St. Lo. We were there for about six days while Jack Harris, our engineer, and mechanics from the fighter group replaced our unworking engine with one from another B-24 that had been abandoned earlier. We arrived back in Horsham just in time to stop our being reported as missing. While in France for this short period, Spike Jones and his group were stationed at the base for a USO tour group. He and his men were intrigued with a bomber crew and took us around with him as he entertained at near by bases.

The other occassion was also a lone trip back towards England because of engine failure and low fuel. This time we made it back to an RAF bomber base in SE England where we were given tea while repairs were made. During this two hour or so period, every thing that was not bolted down in the plane was neatly "removed" by the Brits. We returned "home" at dusk.
We flew two planes more than any other - Last Card Louie and Briney Marlin.

Hauser's crew was part of the gas hauling venture during the late summer of 1944 as I recall. We would take off in the morning, fly to Lille, empty the tanks and return to base for a fresh load. This load was delivered to France early evening and we stayed over night, sleeping in the plane. This pattern was repeated for a week or so. The planes used were not first line and our squadron leader and crew whose plane lost power crashed on take off. These were low altitude flights and we were warned to be certain that our French coast crossing was at a point of liberated territory because well aimed rifle fire could be fatal with the load of gasoline we were carrying.

[While some of the crew may have flown on a couple of Truckin' Flights, records do not indicate Hauser flying as pilot in charge of the crew.]

755th Squadron Aircraft

B-24H-15-FO 42-52441 J3-I  Last Card Louie, an original 755BS ship, is shown here with 755 Squadron CO Major Don Jamision.

B-24H-25-DT 42-51179 J3-P  Dusty's Double Trouble was flown by Hauser and crew on 16 of their 31 missions

2Lt John R. Ewing - DFC

LtCol Walter Williamson (left) presents 2Lt John Ewing with the Distinguished Flying Cross for the successful completeion of a combat tour.