Mission#84 February 24, 1944 – Target: Gotha.

Date: Feb 24, 44

Dispatched: 49           Abort: 4

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 180 B-24s

Field Order: 250 Target: Gotha

Time Up/Down: 10:59 hrs     14:20 hrs

Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman (A), Lt Col Duncan (B)

Claims Air: 05-00-01Claims Ground: 00-00-01 Lost/Damaged: 00-03

A & B Groups L/F north of Ijmuiden 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with 1st TF B-24s north of Lingen 12:15 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft, good formation. Left bombers 12:50 hrs NW Gottinger. Vicinity of Steinhuder Lake, White flight of “B” Group engaged 8 Fw190s destroying 5. “B” Group L/F out south Egmond 13:20 hrs from deck to 23,000ft. One pilot returning on deck observed four T/E E/A on airdrome, believed to be Enschede, strafed same, damaging one T/E A/C. Crossing Zuider Zee this pilot fired upon by armed M/V (approx. 4-5,000 tons). This M/V strafed, many strikes seen on ship. “A” Group L/F out north of Hague 13:50 hrs, 12,000ft. E/A attacking bombers with 20mm Hoxter area, engaged and dispersed, but made no claims. One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames vicinity Hardenberg, one chute observed. One S/E A/C thought to be P-47 seen headed down trailing smoke vicinity Newenhaus. Several E/A seen engaged by 56th Group vicinity Dummer Lake, two seen destroyed. One B-17 white triangle, but with red circle around star seen on deck Schipol airdrome, appearing to land. The E/A increased throttle and made for Channel when one of our A/C investigated it, later turned in land when we passed it. Airfield at Munster appeared deserted. Airfield vicinity Deelen seen smoking as if recently bombed. Boat seen burning off Egmond. Moderate flak Osnabruck. Lt Col. Duncan, Lt Col. Rimerman and Capt. Stafford of Group HQ participated.

Combat Results

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan

1 T/E E/A damaged (ground) Lt Col. Duncan

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Walsh (350th)

2 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Stearns (350th)

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Rowan (350th)

1 Fw190 damaged Lt. Poindexter (352nd)

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:57 hrs. T/D 14:04 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. L/F in N of Ijmuiden 11:46 hrs, 22,000ft. R/V B-24s and B-17s tail end of. Area of Furstenau, 12:27 hrs, 31,000ft. Good. P-51, P-47, P-38. 8 190s SE of Dummer Lake 7-15,000ft. Left bombers 20 miles SE Dummer Lake 12:50 hrs, 31,000ft. Left coast S Egmond 13:20 hrs, 23,000ft. Heavy accurate Osnabruck. R/T normal. Boat burning of Egmond. Very good weather.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Flt Ldr) LH-T 42-74665
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

Lt Col Duncan leading “B” Group [single belly tank] in White flight of the Squadron was awarded an Fw190 destroyed, a Ju88 damaged and also a boat damaged. During the intense fight with a skilful enemy his aircraft was hit in the wing by a 20mm round after which Duncan headed out and made an emergency landing back at Metfield.

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse's LH-T "Fatty Patty II" (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a "man-sized" hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary which made the landing a "little rough".

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse’s LH-T “Fatty Patty II” (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a “man-sized” hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary that made the landing a “little rough”.

Duncan’s wing man, 1st Lt Richard A Stearns, claimed two Fw190s destroyed:

We started a bounce on eight Fw190s (approx 12.45 hrs in the vicinity of Obernkirchen) that were below and off to the left of a box of B-24s. On going down we discovered that there were some P-47s from another Group, also mixing it up with the 190s and our first bounce was broken up by them cutting in front of us. We pulled up into a left climbing turn, and as we did I looked back and saw a 190 on my tail – at the same time feeling hits on my plane. I broke left – the altitude was around 15000ft – and started a roll down with everything in the corner. I gave my flight leader a call and told him I wasn’t with him anymore and continued to roll down. About 8000ft I leveled off and saw I had lost him. The 190s were still pretty thick, so I picked one out and started my attack. I came in almost dead astern, with a little deflection, and gave him a short burst from 300 yards, observing strikes along the wings and around the engine. I closed to 175 yards at which time the 190 went into a steep left climbing turn and I saw more strikes on his right wing. We had dropped down to about 1500ft, or less, when the e/a started for the ground on its back. Just before it hit, the canopy flew off and the pilot shot out and his chute opened. The plane hit the ground and exploded.

After breaking off my first combat and being alone, I started climbing and was around 3- 4000ft when two more Fw190s jumped me. I broke into them and we started a Luftberry that lasted several minutes. One e/a would pull out to the side, and as I would turn with the other one, he’d come at a quarter head on attack. We traded head on attacks quite a few times and it was on one of these that I downed another e/a. I opened fire with a short burst at about 350 yards, and saw strikes around the engine and on his left wing. By this time we were down to 1500ft. The e/a flipped over on his back and hit the ground in almost a vertical dive and exploded. I didn’t see the pilot get out. I made one more turn with the e/a that was left and then hit the deck. He followed me down, and we were both going balls out on the tree tops. The range was too great for him to get any hits on me – about 1000 to 1200 yards and with water injection I soon out distanced him. When the e/a was out of sight I climbed to 10000ft and came out alone.

Flying second element lead in Basement White flight was 1st Lt. Francis T. Walsh who was also able to destroy an Fw190:

The Colonel spotted about 8 Fw190s that had just attacked the bombers and were queuing up again below the ‘big friends’ for another attack. We bounced these e/a from 23000ft, and contact was made at approximately 15000ft, vicinity of Steinhuder Lake. I had a deflection shot at one of these red nosed 190s but observed no hits. Then I closed to dead astern, fired a short burst that hit the Jerry on the left wing root. The whole left wing broke off in pieces that flew back at me. The action was accompanied by a burst of flame. The last I saw of the Fw190, the ship was disintegrating. Combat took place from 15 to 7000ft. My wing man Lt. Rowan, after I started zooming back up, saw a Fw190 trying to get on my tail. He shot the jerry off and observed him spinning down. It was a very good piece of team work on the part of my wing man.

1st Lt. Chauncey Rowan reported the destruction of White flight’s fifth Fw190:

I observed Lt. Walsh firing at a Red nosed Fw190 down to about 7000ft or less, he was dead astern of the Fw190. He fired, and the e/a promptly blew up. Lt. Walsh then pulled up in a steep climb. I followed about 3 – 400 yards behind him. Immediately after pulling up, an Fw 190 pulled straight up between Lt. Walsh and me, attempting to attack my element leader. The e/a presented a target with about 30 to 40 degree deflection. I pulled the sight thru his line of flight and led him. At times he was obscured from vision by the engine of my plane. He was 200 yards or less from me. I observed strikes near and on his cockpit. He then spun to the left smoking as he went down. The altitude was about 9000ft and I did not see the e/a recover from his spin after observing 6 or 7 turns. This e/a was firing at Lt. Walsh and radio chatter prohibited me from advising Lt. Walsh that he was in danger.

351st: Lt Col Rimerman [“A” Group with wing tanks]. T/U 10:51 hrs. T/D 14:25 hrs. Total flight time 03:34 hrs. Route: In at Ijmuiden, R/V with bombers, over Hanover, out at Noordwijerhout. Ijmuiden at 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with B-24s. Some boxes close and some boxes loose. 56th Group [and] P-51s [seen]. South of Hanover at 12:48 hrs. At Noordwijerhout at 13:49 hrs, 21,000ft. Remarks: One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames in Hardenbergh area. One S/E plane seen headed down trailing smoke in Neuenhaus area – thought to be P-47.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (A Gp Ldr) YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-D
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-W
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley TJ-R
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-N
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger (352nd) YJ-T
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-F
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G

Flying with “B” Group:

2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong (B Gp) YJ-V

352nd: Capt Hoey [“A” Group]. T/U 10:58 hrs. T/D 14:03 hrs. Total flight time 03:05 hrs. Penetration Support. L/F in north of Ijmuiden, A Group at 11:46 hrs, 22,000 ft and B Group at 25,000 ft at 11:48 hrs. R/V with the B-24s after passing over various B-17s, near an area east of Lingen at 12:30 hrs at 30,000ft for B Group and about 22,000ft for A Group. Bombers were flying fairly good formation within wings but B-24s were mixed with 17 CWs. Observed other P-47s, P-51s and P-38s. Many bandits seen in the area of Neuenhous. No combat. Engagements were made in Hoxter area but no claims. These E/A were Me109s and Fw190s, flying at about 20,000ft. Group left bombers at 12:48 hrs, 26,00ft near Holzminden. A Group stayed with them until 13:03 hrs and left near Northiem. B Group left coast north of Hague at 13:25 hrs at 24,000ft. A Group L/F out at 13:48 hrs over Noordwijk aan Zee. Moderate, light, accurate flak from Schipol area at 4,000ft. An airfield believed to be 8 miles west of Appeldoorn was seen smoking as if it had been bombed sometime today. “A” and “C” Channels good. Four medium sized ships seen coming out of river near Noordwal, proceeding north along enemy coast. One aborting B-17 escorted to England by an E/R from this Squadron [likely Corrigan]. One B-17 seen to blow up about 10 miles east of Lingen and one chute observed from it. Our A/C that encountered E/A today found that they were having considerable trouble trying to out-turn and out-climb E/A. Also two could not catch E/A in dive. One B-17 with white triangle, but red circle around star, seen on deck over Schipol airfield as if approaching to land there. The A/C increased throttle and made for Channel as one of our A/C investigated it. It then turned back inland as our A/C passed it. Several sets of towers, in twos, believed to be radio or radar towers seen on beach from Nordwijk aan Zee to Zandvoort. Rounds fired Poindexter 395, Marchant 616, Hoey 73, Gonnam 200.

Capt Charles J. Hoey (A Sqdn Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-F
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr) SX-U
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-K
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-M
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Q
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan (Spare) SX-W

As the enemy aircraft broke for the deck, 1st Lt. James Poindexter, flying element lead in Green flight, claimed an Fw190 damaged:

My flight leader called and instructed me to take #3 in the e/a flight. I followed him down to about 2000ft and then began dogfighting. He had taken violent evasive action all the way down. My wing man and I could turn with him but I could not get more than two rings of deflection for firing. I fired about five short bursts during the turning but observed no strikes. This Fw190 outclimbed us and headed further inland. I thought it wise to break off the attack and return to base.

Slybird Black flight, led by 1st Lt. Jesse Gonnam, also defended the bombers:

After leaving the bombers and an engagement with two e/a, during which I was top cover, a single Me109 came in at two o’clock. I turned and fired a short burst but wasn’t head on enough to hit him. We broke down and to the left and one of my flight, Lt. Marchant, chased him down a short distance but could not close, so rejoined and we came on home.

“B” Squadron: Major Bailey. T/U 10:54. T/D14:30. Total flight time 03:05 hrs.

Major William B. Bailey (B Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-?
Capt Thomas J. Forkin SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-O 42-22470
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-R
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z

Group Damaged/Aborts/ERTNs:

42-   7910 ABT prop out SX-J
42- 22470 ABT belly tank SX-O Lt. Corrigan flying.
42-   8623 ABT prop out LH-F
42-   8661 ABT windshield LH-?
42- 74647 BD Cat A LH-U
42- 74665 BD Cat B LH-T Lt Col Duncan flying.
42- 75157 BD Cat AC LH-Y

 

 

 

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Mission#83 February 22, 1944 – Target: Aircraft Plants Bernberg. The Loss of Major Walter C. Beckham, Lt. Joseph E. Wood, Lt. Don M. Hurlburt, Lt. Edison G. Stiff and Capt. Keith A. Orsinger.

Date: Feb 22, 44

Dispatched: 50 Aborts: 5

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 300 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 247 Leader: Lt Col. Duncan

Time Up/Down: 13:16 hrs     16:15 hrs

Target: Aircraft Plants at Bernberg, Oschersleben, Aschersleben, Halberstadt.

Claims Air: 04-00-00 Claims Ground: 03-00-02 Lost/Damaged: 05-03

Landfall over Schouwen Islands, 25,000ft. Flew on course R/Ving with 17 bombers 1st Div at 14:44 hrs and two Groups of B-17s in the rear at 15:03 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft. 50+ T/E A/C on A/D 4 miles northeast of Bonn attacked by 351st Squadron, two destroyed, two probably destroyed. One larger hanger left ablaze, ground installations strafed. Major Beckham heard to say that he had six A/C in line for attack. After pulling up from this attack, he later informed his wing man that his engine was on fire and that he was forced to bail out. Two locos attacked in Germany, strikes seen on boiler. 10 miles SE of Antwerp, one Fw190 destroyed, seen to crash. In the vicinity of Diest Schaffen one Ju88 destroyed taking off from A/D. Antwerp A/D one FW190 destroyed on the ground. 8 miles south east of Munchen Gladbach 2 Me109s destroyed. Lt. Stiff received direct hit by flak 28,000ft on way in over Antwerp. Plane seen to hit ground – no parachute seen. Coming out on the deck Lt. Wood and Lt. Hurlburt hit by flak – one A/C seen smoking, the other’s engine on fire. Both turned inland. Just after R/V Capt. Orsinger was last seen in a spin possibly from E/A. Intense flak from Antwerp and Kohn. One B-17 and one P-47 seen hit by flak and go down at Kohn. No chutes seen. One B-17 20 miles off enemy coast at Haamsteede trailing smoke. Lt Col. Duncan, Capt. Charles L. Stafford and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

Missing:

Major Beckham 351st FS

Capt. Orsinger 366th FG (reason unknown)

Lt. Wood 351st FS

Lt. Hurlburt 351st FS

Lt. Stiff 352nd FS

Claims:

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan

1 T/E A/C destroyed (ground) shared by Lt Col Duncan and Major Holt

1 Fw190 destroyed (ground) Lt. Compton

1 Ju88 destroyed Lt. Compton

2 Fw190s probably destroyed (ground) shared by Major Beckham, Lt. Compton, Emory and Perpente.

2 Me109s destroyed Lt. Poindexter

1 Fw190 destroyed (ground) Lt. Newman

350th: Capt Newhart. T/U 13:15 hrs. T/D 16:21 hrs. Total flying time 03:06 hrs. L/F in at Walcheren, 14:04 hrs, 27,000ft. Close. P-47s, No e/a. Left bombers 15:12 hrs, 19,000ft. Flak Antwerp heavy, accurate. R/T normal. 7/10 coverage south and east of Ruhr. Solid overcast over western part of continent.

Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt Barnhart (366th FG)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
Lt McGuire (366th FG)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Tom Lorance
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

351st: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 13:10 hrs. T/D 16:35 hrs. Total flying time 03:25 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, over Aachen, out at Walcheren Island. Walcheren Island at 14:03 hrs at 26,000ft. 2 Combat Wings of B-17S with Triangular markings, east of Cologne at 14:45 hrs, 22,000ft. 1 Group P-47s seen over Bruxelles at 14:50 hrs. Ju88s and Fw190s on airdrome east of Aachen. Left bombers in Aachen area. Left coast at Walcheren Islands at 15:55 hrs, zero altitude. Intense and accurate for altitude flak over Antwerp. Ground defenses on airdrome just east of Aachen very intense and accurate. Channel C contact good. Remarks: Major Beckham was last seen after making attack on six enemy aircraft lined up on the airdrome at Bonn. He called his wingman, Lt. Perpente, that he had to bail out and for him to take the Squadron home. His [Perpente's] plane evidently not seriously hit. Lt. Hurlburt and Lt. Wood were also hit by ground installations coming out on the deck over Walcheren Islands. Both planes made a right turning evidently heading inland. Lt Wood’s plane had a small fire at the right wing root. Lt. Hurlburt’s plane seen to emit a trail of black smoke. Two damaged by flak (cat unknown). One late return also damaged. Three MIA Major Beckham, Lt. Wood and Lt. Hurlburt. One Ju88 destroyed by Lt. Compton on airdrome Diest-Schaffen. One Fw190 destroyed and two Fw190s probably destroyed by Lt. Compton. Others sharing in the two probable Fw190s are Major Beckham, Lt. Perpente and Lt. Emory [likely not counted as a credit]. One Ju88 destroyed by Major Holt and shared with Col. Duncan. Two locomotives (Germany) damaged by Major Holt. Hanger and ground installations damaged by Lt. Stanley and Lt. Treitz and Lt. Peterson.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) LH-X 42-8634
Major Holt (366th FG) YJ-H 42-75189
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-T 42-75842
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
Lt Kerr (366th FG) YJ-F
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y 42-75856
Major Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr) YJ-X 42-75226
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Frank N. Emory YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P 42-75149
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-S 42-75647
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-B
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H 42-75653
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M 42-75114
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite (Relay) YJ-N
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Relay) YJ-L

Between 15.15 hrs and 15.55 hrs Lt Col. Duncan led the attack on 50 + twin engine aircraft. Duncan was awarded the Ju88 he attacked on the airfield and an additional Fw190. He was also credited a hanger damaged and two locomotives also damaged, shared with Major Holt [366th FG] who followed close behind:

I was Roughman White 2 with Lt Col. Duncan leading the Group. Just after R/V with the bombers, Col Duncan called for an attack on an airfield in the vicinity of Bonn. We dove from approximately 21,000ft in tight spirals to an area just east of the airdrome where we started our strafing run on the target towards the west.

As we approached the field Col. Duncan fired on a twin engine aircraft starting a fire. Selecting the same target, I fired at it also noticing a definite flare up as if another gas tank had been pierced with a resulting explosion.

We levelled off and experienced violent and accurate flak bursts all around us, discovering later that we had received a number of hits due to flak shrapnel [Flying a/c 42-75189 Holt was not awarded a share of Duncan’s t/e].

Proceeding on at ground level we next encountered a train NE and just a few miles from the field, both firing on the locomotive. We both got strikes on the engine, claiming damage. After this encounter we became separated and while apart I fired on a second locomotive in the same vicinity but farther on toward the NE, about 5 minutes after the first locomotive encounter. I saw strikes on the boiler, claiming damage.

After joining up again on the deck, Col. Duncan called my attention to a single engine a/c far off at about 500ft and proceeding across our course from the right. We flew on until the ship was well off to our left, when we turned in behind it and boosted up to full power to catch it. It proved to be an Fw190 and Col. Duncan fired. I noticed its wheels half dropped after observing strikes by Colonel Duncan. When he pulled up I fired on the e/a, then it started to dive into the ground. I continued to fire on it until I had to pull up. Looking back I saw it had crashed into the ground.

We continued on at approximately 310 degrees still at ground level. We passed over the coast without difficulty from flak or ground artillery. After staying close to the water for approximately 5 minutes, we pulled up into a climb. At about 8000ft we noticed a B-17 flying close to the water, also noticing that all four engines were operating, assuming the bomber to be all right. Having spiralled down to investigate, we climbed back up and proceeded on home. The bomber was sighted 30 to 40 miles SE of friendly coastline at Orfordness.

Major Holt of the 366th FG picked up some damage in YJ-H (a/c 42-75189) February 22, 1944. (353rd FG Archive)

Major Holt of the 366th FG picked up some damage in YJ-H (a/c 42-75189) February 22, 1944. (353rd FG Archive)

Following closely down onto the airfield were Roughman Blue Flight led by Major Beckham. His wing man, 1st Lt. George F. Perpente, described what happened next:

I was flying Roughman Blue 2 on Major Beckham’s wing. After making R/V with the bombers, Lt Col Duncan leading White flight, made a strafing attack on an airdrome just east of Bonn, Germany. Shortly afterward Major Beckham called and asked if it was all right to bring his section down. After getting no answer we started down from about 14000ft. We got down to about 7000ft and made an orbit. Major Beckham called and said he had some all lined up and let’s go. Then we rolled out of the turn and went down.

I saw him firing and getting strikes on some planes on the ground, and then I started to fire at them.Between following Major Beckham and trying to watch the ground I did not notice the exactness of my firing, but Emory flying Blue 3 says he did see hits on the planes. As I flew over the field I saw ahanger burning pretty badly.

They were shooting everything they could find at us. Tracers, bullets and flak were coming from every direction at us. Major Beckham then started a slight climbing turn to the right. I started to pull up with him, but he told me to stay low. I kept turning with him down low. He said for me to take a course of 310 degrees and go on home as he was going to have to bail out. I stayed with him a while longer. A little black smoke was coming out the rear of his ship, but did not seem to be on fire. Then he kept heading for a wooded area and was about 1000ft high. He called me again to go home, and at that point I left. Then I noticed that Lt Peterson, who was flying Blue 4, was right with me. We then pulled up into the clouds at 3000ft, but they only lasted a few minutes so we hit the deck and came home all the way there. Once we left the target no more flak was shot at us.

Major Walter C. Beckham (0-430771) was Commanding Officer of the 351st Fighter Squadron when he was brough down by flak February 22, 1944. He spent the rest of the was as a POW in Stalag Luft III (353rd FG Archive).

Major Walter C. Beckham (0-430771) was Commanding Officer of the 351st Fighter Squadron when he was brought down by flak February 22, 1944. He spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III (353rd FG Archive).

 

Beckham's Mission and Award Record (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham’s Mission and Award Record. Click for larger view (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham had been hit by long-range flak during his dive and, after bailing out, was immediately captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III and Nuremberg Langwasser 49-11.

In May of 1985 Beckham was given a flight in a P-47 painted up to represent his aircraft. He "wasn't too scared" of being back in a Thunderbolt after 40 years (353rd FG Archive).

In May of 1985 Beckham was given a flight in a P-47 painted up to represent his aircraft. He “wasn’t too scared” of being back in a Thunderbolt after 40 years (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham back in the cockpit of a P-47 in May 1985 (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham back in the cockpit of a P-47 in May 1985 (353rd FG Archive).

I was given the following two-page write-up by a member of Beckham's extended family. I've never been able to trace the source, so if anyone can let me know I'd be most grateful. I have some further stunning photos of Beckham after his capture and the wreck of his plane from the Bundesarchiv - sadly their copywright prevents me from posting them.

I was given the following two-page write-up by a member of Beckham’s extended family. I’ve never been able to trace the source, so if anyone can let me know I’d be most grateful. I also have some further stunning photos of Beckham after his capture and the wreck of his plane from the Bundesarchiv – sadly their copyright prevents me from posting them on the blog.

[Back to the mission] Following close behind Beckham’s flight was 1st Lt. Gordon B. Compton leading Roughman Yellow Flight:

Major Beckham made an attack on the airdrome. He said over the radio that he had six Fw190s lined up. I could not see these e/a but followed Major Beckham down anyway and fired in the same general area that he was firing at. As I closed I saw three Fw190s parked close together. I strafed and saw hits on all three, and saw one burst into flames. I pulled up off the target, turning about 90 degrees to the left, and heard Major Beckham say that he’d been hit, was on fire, and for everyone to get out.

I was about 500 ft high at this time and saw tracers coming from every direction, also flak was bursting uncomfortably close, so I hit the deck. I was now far enough south of Bonn to be able to take up a course in the general direction of home and just miss the suburbs of the town. Checking up on my flight, I found everyone present, (Lt. J. E. Wood, Lt. R. D. Stanley and Lt. D. M. Hurlburt, in that order) and that I had been joined by Lt. J. G. Treitz from Roughman Red flight.

We continued out on the deck, being shot at occasionally by ground defense, and shooting targets which got in our way. As we approached Diest Schaffen airfield from the Southeast I saw a Ju88 break out above the horizon, Northwest of the town. Apparently it had just taken off. I continued on a course that was taking us south of the town. The Ju88 flew right out in front of us at about 100ft. I then fired a short burst at the e/a allowing for 15 to 20 degrees deflection at 400 yards, saw no results, so I turned dead astern and at 150 to 200 yards fired three bursts. The first burst started the left engine smoking and small pieces began to fly off. The second burst did the same thing to the right engine. The third burst struck the tail section. There was a loss of speed in the Ju88 and I overshot to the right, noticing that the prop had stopped and that the plane had started down. I glanced up at my mirror and saw a sheet of flame as the e/a hit the ground. We then continued out, breaking landfall over Noord Bevenland Island.

Compton was awarded an Fw190 destroyed on the ground and also claimed the Ju88. Stanley and Treitz were also awarded a share with Peterson in a hanger destroyed. 1st Lt. John G. Treitz had originally been Roughman Red 3:

I was flying in Capt Byer’s flight. My Wing man had returned early because his radio was out (Lt Milligan), and the spare that filled in also returned because his belly tank would not release. After R/V with the bombers our flight followed Lt Col. Duncan’s flight down to strafe the airdrome. I lost sight of my flight so tacked on to Roughman Yellow flight and went down and strafed installations. From then on out we were on the deck, approximately 325 degrees. Flak over Bonn was intense and accurate down low.

The five of us were spread out line abreast. A Ju88 flew directly across our path after taking off. Lt Compton leading the flight pulled directly behind it and really clobbered it at close range. Pieces flew off it, smoke and flames poured out from the fuselage and left engine. Lt. Wood pulled up, and it looked like he gave it a short burst. When he passed it I pulled up and threw a few slugs at it too. The Ju88 crashed into the ground, splattering pieces and a ball of flame all over. No one could have survived.

Farther on a ground gun fired at us and I fired at it. As we were approaching the coast we were drawing fire from the guns there to, so I fired right back. As I passed over one of these guns I could see the gunner sitting beside his gun, which was pointed out to sea directly on our course. I got right down on the beach and water to give them as hard a target as possible.

Yellow flight, desperately trying to get home, were subjected to an intense barrage of flak from the shore battery. 1st Lt Compton described the further tragedy that was to strike the 351st that day:

Ground opposition was negligible (on way out) until we made landfall over Nord Bevenland. It was then that I passed directly over a battery of machine and flak guns concealed and camouflaged on the inside of the beach among what can best be described as sand dunes.

The guns operated by men in sand coloured clothing, opened up on us and Lt. Wood on my right wing said he had been hit. He pulled away from me leaving a trail of black smoke, altitude about 50 feet, and turned back toward land. Lt. Hurlburt, also on my right, was hit and turned back with Lt. Wood. I did not see Lt. Hurlburt and he did not call on the radio.

The guns continued firing until we were two or three miles out to sea, and we stayed right down on the water, until the firing ceased.

1st Lt. Don M. Hurlburt (0-794951) of Portville, New York lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive)

1st Lt. Don M. Hurlburt (0-794951) of Portville, New York lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive)

Lt. Hurlburt's Mission and Award Record (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Hurlburt’s Mission and Award Record. Hurlburt flew as Roughman 64 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. John Treitz, down as far as he could go, also heard the call:

We were coming out the coast on the deck at Nord Bevenland Island. Lt Wood was flying to my left and a little in front of me. Someone reported on the R/T that they were hit, at which time I saw a small fire on the wing root of Lt. Wood’s ship. He pulled across in front of me and to my right towards Lt. Hurlburt’s ship, who was flying slightly off my right. It was then that I saw Lt. Hurlburt’s ship smoking badly, evidently hit by flak.

They both turned to the right together just as we were leaving the coast when I saw the last of them. Their heading when I last saw them was about 40 degrees, only 50 feet off the ground. I did not watch them any longer because I was concentrating on staying as close to the water as possible. We were fired at well out to sea, flak bursting all around us which was very accurate [MACR 2671 and 2673 refer].

2nd Lt. Joseph E. Wood (0-2044973) of Miami, Florida lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

2nd Lt. Joseph E. Wood (0-2044973) of Miami, Florida lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Wood's Mission and Awards Record (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Wood’s Mission and Awards Record. Wood flew as Roughman 62 (353rd FG Archive).

The Missing Air Crew Report Map showing the route when Hurlburt and Wood were last seen (353rd FG Archive).

The Missing Air Crew Report Map showing the route when Hurlburt and Wood were last seen (353rd FG Archive).

Lts Wood and Hurlburt are memorialised on the Tablets of the Missing in the Netherlands American Military Cemetery. Further information can be found HERE.

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:13 hrs. T/D 16:15 hrs. Total flying time 03:02 hrs. Made L/F south of course over Walcheren Islands at 14:02 hrs, 25,000ft. Our B-24s aborted and we proceeded on to our intended R/V point, and at approx. 15:00 hrs picked up one box of B-17s who flew over Bonn. We made a turn and picked up B-17s who flew over Kohn. Bomber formation and task force was good. Observed other P-47 group flying below us. Six Me109s engaged near Erkelenz, Germany at about 15:10 hrs. Two were destroyed by Lt. Poindexter and the other four believed to have been the ones who destroyed Capt. Orsinger’s plane; he was not seen to have bailed out. Lt. Newman destroyed his 190 on ground at Antwerp A/D. Left bombers near Venlo area at approx 15:00 hrs. Left coast over Haamsteede at 20,000ft at 15:45 hrs. Intense heavy accurate, repeat accurate, flak from Antwerp. This is the reason for Lt. Stiff’s NYR. Intense, heavy flak from Kohn. One unidentified P-47 seen to go down, also one B-17. “A” channel good “C” channel poor contact. Small boats seen in the harbor at Willenstad. Weather off continent clear to 5/10ths over route. Tops around 6,000ft. Note: original target was not bombed but we picked up B-17s who flew over Bonn and bombed targets of opportunity in the Ruhr. Lt. Burlingame and Capt. Juntilla circled to observe Lt. Stiff’s plane which was hit by flak and were unable to join up then. Capt. Orsinger and Lt. Stiff not yet returned. 2 Me109s destroyed by Lt. Poindexter and 1 Fw190 destroyed by Lt. Newman (ground).

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-G
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-B
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt Lusby SX-V
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-F
Capt Keith A. Orsinger MIA SX-X 42-75140
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-O
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K 42-75608?
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-Z 42-75683
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff MIA SX-L
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-U

The 352nd also had a disastrous day which started as they crossed over the enemy coast. At approximately 14.15 hrs, 7km north of Antwerpen, 1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff was lost to a direct burst of flak. 1st Lt. Gordon S. Burlingame reported what happened:

I was flying Wakeford Yellow 3 with Lt Stiff as my wing man. In the near vicinity of Antwerp, Belgium, we encountered some flak, and a group left turn was called to evade it. Our flight and Wakeford Blue flight were the last to come through the area and received a very accurate barrage at 28000ft. We were taking violent evasive action, including turns and altitude changes, when I saw Lt. Stiff receive a direct hit. His ship threw out clouds of flame and he spun down, burning all the way. I lost sight of him while making another turn. I did not see him get out or see a parachute.

1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff (0-792077) of Hackettstown, New Jersey flew as Wakeford 56 in the 352nd FS. He was killed in action by flak February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff (0-792077) of Hackettstown, New Jersey flew as Wakeford 56 in the 352nd FS. He was killed in action by flak February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

Leading Yellow flight was Capt. Wilbert Juntilla:

He pulled straight up and burst into flames. He stalled and went into a spin still flaming badly. I called him but received no answer. I then watched him until the ship hit the ground. I saw no parachute, so I assume he went in with his ship [MACR 2672 refers].

Lt. Stiff is buried in the Ardennes American Military Cemetery and further information can be found HERE.

The rest of the Squadron continued and picked up a box of 1st Div B-17s around 15.00 hrs. The Squadron then made a left turn and picked up another group of bombers flying to Koln. About 10 minutes later, near Ecklenz, Germany six Me109s were encountered, with 1st Lt. James N. Poindexter accounted for two of them making him an ace:

We were escorting bombers on withdrawal from Koln. I called in two 109s at three o’clock low to my flight leader [Capt. Robertson] and he began an attack. I opened fire on the wing man of an element of e/a’s at about 350 yards and 30 degrees deflection as he was beginning an attack on the bombers. I observed no strikes on this burst so I closed to approximately 300 yards dead astern in a shallow dive and opened fire again. I observed many strikes on the wing roots and fuselage. A huge piece fell off the wing root and the canopy was blown off. The e/a burst into flame and grey smoke, then exploded in many pieces.

I then began an attack on the leader who had just shot down a Fortress in his only pass at the formation. This aircraft, an Me109, had the designation N7-5 in red letters on the fuselage. My opening fire was too great a range and deflection, however I closed very rapidly to dead astern and point blank range, firing short bursts. I observed only one huge flash or explosion in the left wing root and wing. I pulled up, almost hitting the e/a, and half rolled. His entire left wing blew off at the wheel fairings. I assumed this to be caused by the e/a’s ammunition exploding. The entire fuselage then caught on fire and the e/a tumbled and spun to the ground and crashed. My ship became half covered with oil from the debris of the e/a.

The other Me109s seen at the same time as Poindexter’s were believed responsible for the Squadron’s second loss of the day. Capt. Keith A. Orsinger, on attachment from the 366th Fighter Group, was last seen in a spin, possibly from enemy aircraft fire. I have no further information on Capt. Orsinger and there appears to be no MACR record available. His body does appear to have been returned to the US for burial around 1950. I would welcome any further clarification on his story.

On the way home from the mission 1st Lt. Robert A. Newman claimed an Fw190 destroyed on the ground, when Wakeford Red flight attacked an airfield:

I was flying Red 3 and my flight was coming out alone. I saw an e/a on the airdrome below, and as Red 2 was low on gas, just #4 [1st Lt. Richard V. Keywan] and I went down.

I made a large diving circle south of the drome and came in at ground level. I hopped a hanger and lined up on the e/a. I got very good strikes on the e/a, from wing tips to fuselage and a good concentration of hits in the engine and accessory section. I believe the e/a was starting to burn as I passed over it. I didn’t have a chance for a second pass. I believe the 190 was a new airplane as it was a silver colour. I fired 600 rounds, and except for a split second burst at a hanger, it was all on the e/a. The results were very good. I drew ineffective small arms fire from the airdrome but only had one small hit in my plane from it.

Group Lost/Damaged/ERTN:

42-75856 ABT radio out YJ-Y Lt. Milligan flying.
42-75114 ABT belly tank wouldn’t draw YJ-M Lt. Maguire flying.
42-75707 ABT turbo inoperative SX-A
42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J
42-75683 ERTN escort SX-Z
42-75608 ERTN no manifold pressure SX-? SX-K by 9/7/44
42-75065 MIA SX-L Lt. Stiff flying.
42-75226 MIA YJ-X Major Beckham flying.
42-75140 MIA SX-X Capt. Orsinger flying.
42-75647 MIA YJ-S Lt. Wood flying.
42-75653 MIA YJ-H Lt. Hurlburt flying.
42-8634 BD Cat AC LH-X Lt Col. Duncan flying.
42-75281 BD Cat AC Unknown*
42-75850 BD Cat A YJ-A Capt. Stafford flying.
42-75149 BD Cat A YJ-P F/O Peterson flying.
42-75842 BD Cat A YJ-T Lt. Mincik flying.
42-75189 BD Cat AC YJ-H Major Holt flying.

*Hopefully to confirm later.

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Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens of the 352nd Fighter Squadron and SX-L

Some further information has come in on 1st Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens that I would like to share with you. Holly Owens from Quinton, New Jersey was one of a batch of five early replacements who joined the 352nd Fighter Squadron on September 14, 1943. Sadly, he does not show up in Squadron records much other than on the flight schedules for his 59 recorded missions. He flew his first mission on October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944. There is a bit of a mystery after he left the Squadron for the Zone of the Interior on May 12, 1944. Squadron records indicate he intended to return for another tour, but he does not appear to have done so. The assumption therefore is that he must have been posted to another unit elsewhere.

 

1st Lt. Hildreth R. "Holly" Owens (0-800031) from Quiton, New Jersey flew his first mission October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens (0-800031) from Quiton, New Jersey flew his first mission October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

There are two occasions Holly Owens does appear in the records. The first is at Metfield November 12, 1943 when he was taxiing SX-K (a/c 42-8414).He nosed over the aircraft when a Command Car driven by Lt. Murphy headed towards him and he had to make an emergency use of the brakes. The other occasion is April 8, 1944 when, as wing man to Capt. Hoey, he attacked a gun battery:

We went down to strafe an airdrome but missed it and came just up the north side of it. I shot at one small building about 500 yards off the perimeter track, hopped over some small trees, and saw a gun battery with about 50 guns which I think were 50 mm. It was too late to strafe them all but directly in my sights was one, manned by four men. They were turning the gun so as to shoot at us as we flew away. I gave them about a three second burst and saw many strikes and a lot of dust created by my bullets. I then stayed low for a few seconds and saw a large building slightly to my left and gave it a two second burst.

P-47D-11-RE SX-L in the hands of Holly Owens was named "Pa Ma Rod" after his father, mother and youngest brother Rodney (Valerie Owens).

P-47D-11-RE SX-L in the hands of Holly Owens was named “Pa Ma Rod” after his father, mother and youngest brother Rodney (Valerie Owens-Weigel).

The other side of P-47D-11-RE SX-L was named "Miss Texas" because one of the ground crew hailed from the State. Left to right are Cpl. Erwin G. Wolf, Lt. Hildreth "Holly" Owens and S/Sgt William F. Jopke. Possibly missing from the photo is the other crew member S/Sgt Kermit M. Knutson (Valerie Owens).

The other side of P-47D-11-RE SX-L was named “Miss Texas” because one of the ground crew hailed from the State. Left to right are Cpl. Erwin G. Wolf, Lt. Hildreth “Holly” Owens and S/Sgt William F. Jopke. Possibly missing from the photo is the other crew member S/Sgt Kermit M. Knutson (Valerie Owens-Weigel).

Of the four other pilots Owens joined the Squadron with, Lt. Hajosy was killed in an accident September 18, 1943, Lt. Moriarty was shot down and became a POW December 30, 1943 and Lt. Keywan was killed in action June 12, 1944. Owens and his best friend Joe Schillinger were the only ones to complete their tours – Owens was later best man at Schillinger’s wedding. Holly Owens passed away in 1981 following a battle with cancer. The following post is made with thanks to Holly’s daughter Valerie Owens-Weigel who was named so because her father heard the popular name while he was in England. Valerie has also kindly provided the photos of SX-L under her father’s ownership.

 

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Glenn E. Stapp, 351st Fighter Squadron 1922-2014

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Glenn E. Stapp on May 11, 2014 aged 92. Glenn Stapp was a P-51 pilot with the 351st Fighter Squadron and flew five combat missions in April of 1945. My thoughts are with his daughter Kathleen, who kindly passed on the sad news, and the rest of his loved ones at this time.

F/O Glenn E. Stapp (left) of the 351st FS with Lt. William A. Manahan (right) of the 350th FS.

F/O Glenn E. Stapp (left) of the 351st FS with Lt. William A. Manahan (right) of the 350th FS.

 

F/O Stapp's comabt mission record.

F/O Stapp’s comabt mission record.

Glenn E. Stapp 1922-2014 (353rd FG Archive).

Glenn E. Stapp 1922-2014 (353rd FG Archive).

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Mission#82 February 21, 1944 – Target: Gutersloh (GAF Control).

Date: Feb 21, 44

Dispatched: 50 Aborts: 3

Mission: Target support to 2nd ATF, 120 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 246 Target: Gutersloh (GAF Control)

Time Up/Down: 13:16 hrs     16:03 hrs Leader: Major Bailey

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

L/F in Katwijkat 14:05 hrs, 25,000ft. Sighted bombers at 14:29hrs. R/V with three CWs 1st Div approx 14:35 hrs; bomber formation good. Exact location unknown. Escorted bombers almost to English coast. L/F out north of Egmond 15:35 hrs, 22,000ft. Many friendly fighters seen. Large orange explosion with black smoke vicinity of Osnabruck. No bombers seen in area. Bombs were dropped on Osnabruck, Lingen and either Coevorden or Hardenberg. Moderate flak Munster accurate for height. At Zuider Zee 4 Me109s were bounced by another Group. One Me109 believed destroyed. Reception from Parker good halfway from enemy coast to R/V point. Capt. Charles Stafford, Capt. John Rose and 1st Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 13:10 hrs. T/D 16:20 hrs. Total flight time 03:10 hrs. L/F on course 14:03 hrs, 25, 000ft. R/V n of course 14:40 hrs, 28,000ft. P-38, P-51. No e/a. Left bombers Zuider Zee 15:15 hrs. Left coast 15:24 hrs, 23,000ft. Flak negligible. Bombing concentrated hits on town, probably Lingen. R/T normal. Edge of overcast ran east and west making enemy territory visible to north of course in Zuider Zee area and to the east of Zuider Zee. 10/10 overcast along course and to the south.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt Barnhart* (366th FG)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
Lt McGuire* (366th FG)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt Tom Lorance

*Capt Barnhart and Lt McGuire of the 366th FG flew for combat familiarisation.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 13:13 hrs. T/D 16:20 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. Route: In north of Hague, R/V at Triangle Division (place unknown), out at Egmond. Withdrawal support. North of Hague at 14:03 hrs, 25,000ft. R/V with triangle Division at 14:40 hrs place unknown. Good bomber formation. P-38s and several of the 56th Group observed. Left bombers near enemy coast. [L/F out] Egmond at 15:31 hrs at 22,000ft. Effectively hit target (not identified). Remarks: 4 Me109s bounced by P-47s over Zuider Zee. 1 Me109 destroyed. New charge in radios effectively cut out interference. Many pilots prefer new high altitude fighter map used for the first time today.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
Major Holt* YJ-H
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-A
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-T
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
Lt Kerr* YJ-I
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-B
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-N
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-Z
1st Lt Robert S. Hart LH-Y
F/O Cletus Peterson (Not dispatched) YJ-P

*Major Holt and Lt. Kerr of the 366th flew with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 13:10 hrs. T/D 16:22 hrs. Total flight time 03:12 hrs. Withdrawal support to First Division of B-17s, two Combat Wings of Second Task Force. L/F in on course at 14:05 hrs, 21-22,000ft. Sighted bombers at 14:29 hrs and took up escort of 3 CWs in the vicinity of target at 14:35 hrs at 20-22,000ft. Bomber formation good – very few stragglers. P-38′s and P-47′s seen. Bombers were all along route on withdrawal and cover was given all the way to base. Left coast N of Egmond at 15:25 hrs at 20,000ft and made right-hand orbit and at 15:32 hrs made second L/F out at 23,000ft. Heavy, accurate flak, accurate to height and position at Munster with white puffs above and bunches of black puffs below. Observed at Munster; one huge fire seen at Osnabruck, Lingen; and concentration of bombs SE corner of Coevorden, Holland. Parker very good. Peculiar chatter on “A” channel. Apparently controller had transmitter open and conversation from controller’s room picked up. Tugs and barges sighted in Zuider Zee. Solid overcast S of briefed course but clear N of course. Horizontal and vertical visibility good.

Major William B. Bailey (Gp and Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-S
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-A
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Flt Ldr) SX-F 42-75622
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Y 42-22465
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-J
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
Capt Orsinger SX-O
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-U
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt Lusby SX-V
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-X
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z

*Capt Orsinger and Lt Lusby of the 366th flew with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

Group Aborts/ERTNs

42-22465 ABT oil leak SX-Y Lt. Marchant flying.
42-75622 ABT oxygen leaked out SX-F Lt. Sperry flying.
42-75271 ABT/ERTN belly tank SX-G* Not listed.

*There is no record of SX-G on the flight plan or Control Tower Log for this mission. It probably failed early and was scrubbed from the mission by the Squadron, but still made it into Group records which note three aborts.

 

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Mission#81 February 20, 1944 – Target: Leipzig, “Big Week” Begins.

Date: Feb 20, 44

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 0

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 420 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 245 Target: Leipzig

Time Up/Down: 10:54 hrs     13:36 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman

Claims Air: 00-00-00Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

L/F 11:40 hrs, Ijmuiden, 25,000ft. R/V lead box 1st Div bombers 12:04 hrs, 20,000ft Bippen. Stayed with bombers until 12:27 hrs leaving them 15 miles east of Dummer Lake, 5 minutes after 56th had R/Vd. L/F out of the Hague 20,000ft, 13:03 hrs. Moderate flak Osnabruck. No E/A seen. Nothing of interest to report. Lt Col. Rimerman, Capt. Charles J. Hoey and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

350th: Lt Col. Rimerman. T/U 10:48 hrs. T/D 13:45 hrs. Total flight time 02:57 hrs. L/F in on course 11:39 hrs, 24,000ft. R/V bombers rear box and then moved up 11:50 hrs, 25,000ft. Good. P-47s, 38, 51. No e/a. Left bombers E of Dummer Lake 12:25 hrs, 26,000ft. Left coast Noordwijerhout, 13:02 hrs, 20,000ft. Heavy, accurate Osnabruck area. R/T good. Broken stratus 6/10 overcast s of course.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
Capt Barnhart* (366th FG)
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Tom Lorance

*Capt. Barnhart of the 366th Group flew as wing man to flight leader in Red flight for combat familiarisation.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:49 hrs. T/D 13:37 hrs. Total flight time 02:48 hrs. Route: In South of Egmond, R/V with bombers north of Lingen, out at Noordwijerhout. Penetration support. South of Egmond at 11:39 hrs at 25,000ft. Triangle [1st Div], North of Lingen at 12:05 hrs at 27,000ft. B-17s good close formation. B-24s very good. P-47s. Two P-38s returning, one had a feathered prop. [Left bombers] Southwest of Dummer Lake, at 12:24 hrs at 20,000ft.[L/F out] Nordwijerhout at 13:03 hrs at 21,000ft. Channel “C” very good. Remarks: 19 B-17s with triangle markings [1st Div] seen returning at 11:10 hrs. Periodically bombers seen aborting along the bomber route.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
Major Holt (366th FG) YJ-H
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-A
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
Lt Kerr (366th FG) YJ-I
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-Z
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
Capt Vic L. Byers YJ-V
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik (Relay) YJ-U
2nd Lt John G. Treitz (Spare) YJ-B
F/O Joseph E. Wood (Spare) YJ-T

*Major Holt and Lt. Kerr from the 366th flew with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:52 hrs. T/D 13:30 hrs. Total flight time 02:38 hrs. Penetration support to First Division B-17s, 1st Task Force. L/F in south of Zandvoort at 11:41 hrs at 24,500ft. R/V vicinity of Lingen as briefed at 28,000ft. Boxes good but combat wings strung out. Two other 47 groups observed, a few 51s and 38s. Two unidentified A/C NE Osnabruck at 4-5,000ft. Left bombers at Herford at 12:25 hrs at 29,000ft. Left coast at Noordwijk am Zee at 12:59 hrs at 28,000ft. R/T constant jamming. Could not hear controller. “C” channel was good. Scattered clouds, tops around 4-5,000ft prevailed over our course. Area south of course was completely overcast and our route later became overcast. Clouds over Channel about 9/10ths, England overcast. Contrails began at about 24,100ft. One A/C with call numerals (39) was heard calling for landing instructions on our channel while we were still over enemy territory. His Squadron call sign was not very audible but it was not one of ours.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-S
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-O
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt Lusby* (366th FG) SX-X
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
Capt Orsinger* (366th FG) SX-G
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry SX-U
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-Q
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-J
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-Z
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F

*Capt Orsinger and Lt Lusby of the 366th FG with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

Group Aborts/ERTNs

None reported.

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Mission#80 February 14, 1944 – Target: Thunder Bombing Gilze Rijen Airfield.

Date: Feb 14, 44

Dispatched: 48 Aborts: 0

Mission: Thunder Bombing    Field Order: Wg 46 (ref FC FO 243)

Time Up/Down: 09:32 hrs     11:14 hrs Leader: Major Beckham

Target: Gilze Rijen

Claims Air: 00-00-00Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

L/F in Westhoofd 18,000ft, 10:05 hrs. Proceeded on course to Eindhoven but due to target completely overcast, Gilze Rijen selected as secondary target. Many craters seen here from previous bombing. 47x500GP fused 1/10 sec nose, 1/100 sec tail and 7x30x20lb fragmentation clusters fused instantaneous dropped. 3x500GP brought back due to failure of release mechanism. One Squadron dived vertically, two Squadrons on angle starting 18,000ft, pulling out 13/6,000ft. Bomb run first Squadron SE to NW, two Squadrons NE to SE. 14/16 bursts seen on airfield. 5/6 bursts seen in NE dispersal area. Several bursts seen in SE dispersal, including one large smoke ring in SW area. Meager flak, encountered after dive, accurate for height, inaccurate for direction. One T/E A/C possibly a Ju88, seen going inland as we turned out. Out enemy coast at Westhoofd 10:38 hrs, 18,000ft. Parker not heard inside enemy coast. 1st Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

350th: Capt Newhart. T/U 09:31 hrs. T/D 11:22 hrs. Total flight time 01:51 hrs. L/F Westhoofd 10:05 hrs, 18,000ft. One T/E A/C seen heading out from target Ju88. L/f out Westhoofd 10:37 hrs, 17,500ft. No flak. Many hits in field area and dispersals. Slybird weak, Parker strong. Perfect visibility 9x500lb GP nose delay tail 1/25 sec, 7 frag clusters. All bombs arrived and dropped. Glide bombing employed by Squadron from 18,000ft out at 10,000ft.

Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt William F. Tanner
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Charles O. Durant

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 09:25 hrs. T/D 11:25 hrs. Total flight time 02:00 hrs. Route: In at Westhoofd [10:05 hrs, 21,000ft], over Gilze Rijen, out at Westhoofd [10:39 hrs]. Vertically dived bombed Gilze Rijen airdrome beginning at 18,000ft and pulling out at 12,000ft, with 24 500 pound GP bombs. One plane returned to base with two bombs. Several hits observed in dispersal areas, four to six hits on runway and surrounding area. One building received a direct hit and caught fire.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Frank N. Emory YJ-E
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Y
Col Henry R. Spicer* (66th FW) YJ-H
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-W
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley (Spare) YJ-B
1st Lt William R. Burkett (Relay) YJ-A
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt (Relay) YJ-U

*Col Spicer of 66th Wing flew on this mission.

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 09:31 hrs. T/D 11:10 hrs. Total flight time 01:39 hrs. Course: R/V, Westhoofd, Eindhoven, Home. Original target Eindhoven. Target bombed: Gilze-Rijen. Group made landfall over Westhoofd at 10:05 hrs at 19,000ft. Continued on course and group leader called in to bomb Gilze Rijen instead of planned target. Just beyond Gilze Rijen leader called left hand turn and our Squadron bombed the airdrome from East to West. One flight aimed at flak positions on northwest part of the field. The wind had very little effect on the bombing and this flight overshot. Flights bombed from 10-6,000ft. Landfall out Westhoofd, 15,000ft at 10:38 hrs. Following results were seen on the airdrome: Eight or ten in NE quadrant. Six in NW quadrant, several in SE and one large pillar of smoke from SW quadrant. Bombs observed to burst outside the airdrome included two to the north, one large explosion in the woods to the east and one direct hit on the highway to the south of the target. R/T was fair. Overcast conditions prevailed over part of the North Sea and beyond the Gilze Rijen area. Large break in the overcast permitted the bombing of Gilze Rijen. Our intended target, Eindhoven, was covered with overcast around 6,000ft.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-S
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-Z
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-R
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam SX-U
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-X
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-F
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-B
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-G
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Q
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V

Group Aborts/ERTNs

None reported.

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A Brief History of SX-Z of the 352nd Fighter Squadron.

There is a close link through the penultimate P-51 Mustang SX-L to the SX-Z code in the Squadron so I thought it would make sense to cover that code next. Just to reiterate that in these histories I only write what I can confirm through photographic evidence in the 353rd FG archive, photographs published in books (I will always provide a reference in this case) and other documentary evidence. As the first SX-Z demonstrates, even the documentary evidence can be wrong sometimes and so I try, where possible, to confirm names, serials and pilots from several sources. These include, missing aircrew reports, individual aircraft record cards and various Squadron/Group reports available in the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB (I was last there in January and they are just great people!). There are also substantial Group records in the National Archives in Washington which I last visited in June 2013. I only use online sources as a way to highlight where any questions could exist as I do not wish to appear to claim credit for the hard work of others in collecting data or to dilute any original material they might have assembled. Neither do I wish to repeat data I cannot verify myself. This seems to me a pragmatic approach to achieving accuracy and hopefully contributes to a wider knowledge on the Group’s aircraft. With that in mind, here is my brief history of SX-Z with thanks, as always, to Ash Gant for his efforts.

A/C 42-7905 P-47D-1-RE. This olive drab razorback has caused some problems and required a bit of checking. MACR 541 detailing the loss of F/O Earl W. Perry on September 6, 1943 was incorrect in recording the aircraft number as 42-7901 as this aircraft was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group (as WD-G detailed in a Combat Report July 30, 1943) at least between July 1943 and February 1944. The Cumulative Loss Listing, Individual Aircraft Record Card and abort records all confirm that Perry was actually lost in 42-7905. I do not think that this was Perry’s assigned aircraft as I have a letter from Sgt. Welbourn, the Crew Chief, stating that his aircraft was SX-N. It might be that the “N” was put on its side in his memory over the passage of time, but I cannot be any more conclusive than this pending any further photographs or evidence being found.

A/C 42-22762 P-47D-4-RA. This olive drab razorback was presumably a replacement for the first SX-Z lost with F/O Perry and was flying with the Squadron from at least December 4, 1943. It was flown regularly by Lt. Harry H. Dustin but we have no confirmation of any name he gave the aircraft. At some point, probably mid to late February when D-15s came into the Squadron, the aircraft was transferred to the 56th Fighter Group. Combat reports from that Group (March 8 and April 15, 1944) confirm it flew as UN-S with the 63rd Fighter Squadron. The aircraft was then transferred to the 390th Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force. It was lost July 26, 1944 with Lt. Robert L. Ackerly who became a POW (MACR 7482 refers).

A/C 42-75683 P-47D-15-RE. This olive drab razorback was possibly swapped with the 56th Fighter Group for the above aircraft as it is listed by them as transferred to the 352nd FS (no date given). The aircraft was flown by Lt. Harry H. Dustin until he was MIA March 16, 1944. The aircraft was then assigned to Lt. William S. Marchant with the name “Big Totsy” though I cannot confirm whether he inherited the name from Dustin or named the aircraft himself. The artwork was of a woman in cowboy boots and a Stetson just by the cockpit. The aircraft was lost with Lt. Francis L. Edwards on May 30, 1944 (MACR 5205 refers).

The repair patches on this P-47 make me think it is the third SX-Z (a/c 42-75683). The pilot was Lt. Harold H. Dustin. Assistant Crew Chief (with the glasses) is Sgt. John W. Nicholson. The other crew member shown is, I believe, the Crew Chief Sgt. Harold H. Gladden. The armourer, Sgt Eugene H. Ploger, does not appear in the photo (353rd FG Archive).

What appears to be a repair patch on this P-47 make me think it is the third SX-Z (a/c 42-75683). The pilot was Lt. Harold H. Dustin. Assistant Crew Chief (with the glasses) is Sgt. John W. Nicholson. The other crew member shown is, I believe, the Crew Chief Sgt. Harold H. Gladden. The armourer, Sgt Eugene H. Ploger, does not appear in the photo (353rd FG Archive).

A/C 42-26549 P-47D-25-RE. This natural metal finish bubbletop was the assigned aircraft of Lt. Edward C. Andrews and named “Eager Eddie” by him. Andrews flew the aircraft on 50 missions between June and the end of August 1944 and it was then inherited by Lt. Harold E. Nance who flew it on missions until the Group converted to Mustangs in October 1944. Nance said of the aircraft “It had Eager Eddie painted on the side when I inherited it…As I went by the name Ed at the time and he [Andrews] had good luck and finished his tour, I left the name on.” Nance never mentioned to me that he ever had the additional name “Nance” on the aircraft (other than presumably the nameplate on the side of the aircraft). Neither does the photographic and documentary evidence available to me suggest this additional name was ever used. The aircraft suffered an abort due to an oil leak on August 11 and then is recorded as being in the hanger for an engine change on August 14, 1944. After that the documentary trail goes cold and we do not know what happened to the aircraft after it left the 352nd Fighter Squadron. There are numerous photos of this aircraft in Cross’s Jonah’s Feet Are Dry (see p. 120 and 210).There is also a photo in Bill Hess, Aces and Wingmen II – Volume II (Usk, 1999), p.122.

An interesting photo showing the fourth SX-Z (a/c 42-26549) in the hands of Lt. Edward C. Andrews (fourth from left). Far right is Sgt Gladden the crew Chief and on Andrew's right is Sgt. Nicholson, his Assistant Crew Chief. The other men are Sgt. Harold L. Gibson (far left) and next to him S/Sgt Florian J. Robosky. Robosky was Crew Chief for SX-T in "C" Flight and Gibson his assistant. You can often spot Gibson in photos because of his distinctive "Gibby" cap.

An interesting photo showing the fourth SX-Z (a/c 42-26549) in the hands of Lt. Edward C. Andrews (fourth from left). Far right is Sgt Gladden the crew Chief and on Andrew’s right is Sgt. Nicholson, his Assistant Crew Chief. The other men are Sgt. Harold L. Gibson (far left) and next to him S/Sgt Florian J. Robosky. Robosky was Crew Chief for SX-T in “C” Flight and Gibson his assistant. You can often spot Gibson in photos because of his distinctive “Gibby” cap.

SX-Z (a/c 42-26549) assigned to Lt. Harold E. Nance. His Crew Chief was S/Sgt Lloyd C. Nelson who had previously been Assistant Crew Chief on SX-Y (353rd FG Archive).

SX-Z (a/c 42-26549) assigned to Lt. Harold E. Nance. His Crew Chief was S/Sgt Lloyd C. Nelson who had previously been Assistant Crew Chief on SX-Y (353rd FG Archive).

A/C 44-14259 P-51D-10-NA. This aircraft was assigned to Lt. Harold E. Nance and named “Poopdeck Pappy” by him. On the origins of the name Nance wrote: “I named Poopdeck Pappy for my father. At the time Popeye’s father appeared in the comic strip and he was called Poopdeck Pappy and I got in the habit of calling my Dad that name.” The aircraft was flown on 25 missions by 13 different pilots (nine of them by Nance). It was destroyed in a crash at Raydon November 26, 1944 when the pilot, Lt. Stephen J. Kritz, attempted an emergency landing after the engine suffered a coolant leak. Nance also commented on this tragic loss: “A new pilot on his first mission [actually his sixth] took my P-51. After take-off his element leader said the cockpit appeared to be filled with fog or smoke and the pilot augured in within sight of the field. I didn’t even know his name.” Nance completed his tour and left the Squadron in early January 1945.

A/C 44-15691 P-51D-15-NA. This aircraft was flown on 36 missions by eight different pilots between December 18, 1944 and March 2, 1945. As 28 of these missions were flown by Lt. Joseph L. Schreiber it seems safe to assume that it was his aircraft and that he was responsible for the name “L’il Shirl.” The aircraft was lost March 2, 1945 when Lt. Schreiber was shot down by enemy fighters and became a POW (MACR 12864 refers).

A/C 44-14805 P-51D-10-NA. The final aircraft to carry this code in the Squadron was the former SX-L transferred to “C” Flight of the 352nd on March 14, 1945 and re-coded to SX-Z. As Lt. Ralph B. Snyder’s aircraft it was flown on 24 missions by 12 different pilots between March 17, 1945 and the end of the war (six by Snyder). We do not have any confirmed evidence of names for the aircraft in Snyder’s hands. I have “lists” from many sources going back some 30 years with references to both “Shirley Dean” and “Brad’s Dad,” but have no photographic confirmation. Interestingly, Ralph Snyder became a well known TV presenter after the war and details of his career can be found HERE. A search of the internet also confirms that he had a son named Brad – so maybe Brad is out there and can confirm the aircraft name? The aircraft was completely lost as SX-Z in the fatal crash of Lt. Donald F. Blaicher on July 12, 1945.

There is no recorded use of the code SX-Z Bar in the Squadron.

The sign above the door says "Best Mechanics in the ETO." Left to right are S/Sgt Lloyd C. Nelson, S/Sgt Harold H. Gladden (educated guess) and S/Sgt Florian J. Robosky - all "C" Flight Crew Chiefs (353rd FG Archive).

The sign above the door says “Best Mechanics in the ETO.” Left to right are S/Sgt Lloyd C. Nelson, S/Sgt Harold H. Gladden (educated guess) and S/Sgt Florian J. Robosky – all “C” Flight Crew Chiefs (353rd FG Archive).

The code SX-Z appears to have been associated with “C” flight throughout the war. The crew for much of that time was S/Sgt. Harold H. Gladden (Crew Chief), Sgt. John W. Nicholson (Assistant Crew Chief) and Sgt. Eugene H. Ploger (Armourer). SX-Y, T and P (at least) were also in “C” flight and it does appear that the crew chiefs at least were sometimes swapped around. As the Nance photo shows S/Sgt Lloyd C. Nelson was his crew chief (he had previously assisted on SX-Y) and 352nd records note the S/Sgt Gladden was given SX-P on September 8, 1944. It is not definitely known therefore who the crew for the later SX-Zs were.

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Mission#79 February 13, 1944 – Target: “NoBalls” Albert Area.

Date: Feb 13, 44

Dispatched: 47 Aborts: 2

Mission: Type 16 Support to 1st, 2nd, 3rd ATFs (B17, B24s)

Field Order: 242 Target: “NoBall” targets Albert area

Time Up/Down: 13:54 hrs     16:47 hrs Leader: Capt. Pidduck

Claims Air: 00-00-01Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-01

L/F Gravelines 14:28 hrs, 21,000ft. [At] St. Pol Group vector to Cambrai area. Controller advised E/A disappeared. Vicinity Le Cateau one Fw190 engaged 15,000ft to 5,000ft [and] probably destroyed [damaged]. North of Albert ten + Fw190s at 26,000ft in distance Group 18-21,000ft. Attempt to engage unsuccessful. E/A dove in steep spiral to deck. L/F out Cayeux 16:00 hrs, 18,000ft. The two interceptors flying at 35,000ft bounced an S/E A/C at 33,000ft which turned out to be a tapered wing Spit. Spit continued towards England after being bounced. 1st Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

[NoBall targets were V Weapon sites and in a Type 16 mission the Group were vectored to possible targets by radar control].

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 13:47 hrs. T/D 16:50 hrs. Total flight time 03:03 hrs. L/F in Mardy K 14:28 hrs, 20,000ft. Entered patrol area 24,000ft. P-47 Beavais area 12 Fw190s. Left coast Le Touquet 15:55 hrs, 16,000ft. No flak. Broken cumulus 4/10.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
Col Henry R. Spicer* (Observer)
1st Lt John H. Winder
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt John Sullivan
Lt Moraga** (with Spicer?)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt Herman Herfurth
1st Lt Robert S. Hart YJ-U

*Col. Spicer, then of 66th FW, flew as an observer with the Squadron.

** A bit of a mystery – answers?

1st Lt. John A. Sullivan reported an encounter with the enemy at 15.30 hrs in the vicinity of Beauvais and luckily avoided a tragedy:

I was leading Pipeful Yellow flight as top cover for our Squadron. We had gotten just slightly ahead of the lead flight when bandits were reported coming in at 10 o’clock from us. Seeing them, I pushed everything forward and climbed into the sun. Approximately 12 e/a passed under us, flying a very loose formation. I proceeded to go down on the last flight. All e/a went into a tight left spiral going downward. I saw five a/c flying close together and started after them. When one of them broke off I gave him a short burst but stopped immediately when he got further into a turn as it was a P-47. I spoke to this pilot later and found out that he had started to overshoot the Fw190 he was chasing and had broken off. I made the mistake of thinking he was part of their flight. No hits were made on his plane.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 13:53 hrs. T/D 16:55 hrs. Total flight time 03:02 hrs. Area support (Type 16). Route: In at Gravelines and over Cambrai area, out at Quend Plage. Two aborts (one flak damage Cat A and one escort). One Fw190 probably destroyed [damaged] by Major Beckham Cambrai area. Gravelines at 14:28 hrs altitude 20,000ft. Quend Plage 16:01 hrs at 20,000ft.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-A
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton YJ-O
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M 42-75114
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R 42-75507
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Y
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards (Spare) YJ-T
F/O Joseph E. Wood (Spare) YJ-W
1st Lt Robert S. Hart (Spare 350th) YJ-U

Shortly after crossing the coast the aircraft flown by Lt. Stanley in Yellow flight was hit by flak. He returned to Metfield with a damaged aircraft.

Lt. Stanley's aircraft YJ-R (a/c 42-75507) was hit by flak and he was forced to return to Metfield (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Stanley’s aircraft YJ-R (a/c 42-75507) was hit by flak and he was forced to return to Metfield (353rd FG Archive).

In the vicinity of Cambrai at 15.20 hrs Capt Lefebre broke right, into an Fw190 that was firing on a P-47 in the high flight. He fired a short burst forcing the aircraft to break off and corkscrew down. Major Beckham was leading White flight and moved in to damage [claimed as a probable] the 190:

A lone Fw190 with belly tank attached came from our one o’clock position at about 21,000ft. We were at 20,000ft. Roughman Blue flight attacked him first. He turned sharply to the left for about 270 degrees, then dived steeply. After Blue flight broke off their attack I followed him down.

I fired 706 rounds from too great range, observing strikes on the fuselage. He dived under a cloud at about 3000ft. I pulled up over the cloud and tried unsuccessfully to find him for several minutes.

352nd: Capt Hoey. T/U 13:50 hrs. T/D 16:48 hrs. Total flight time 02:58 hrs. Made landfall in over Gravelines at 14:28 hrs, 23,000ft. Proceeded toward Albert and were vectored east by Jensen. Flew near the Cambrai area then south to St. Quentin. 15 plus E/A (109s and 190s) seen near Montdidier area but did not engage. Landfall out made over Pointe Haut-Bane. R/T was poor. Controller was loud at first but later became very weak. England and Continent inland was cloudy. Sky over Channel and enemy coast was clear making horizontal and vertical visibility good. Two planes of our Squadron (Major Bailey and Lt. Jordan) were dispatched to patrol area above our planned route to look out for an E/A that has been seen spotting for the enemy. Our two planes made landfall over Hardelot at 35,000ft at 14:33 hrs. Made landfall out over Gravelines and made several orbits over this area. No E/A were seen by this flight but one Spit VII was seen at 32,000ft. Observed several small boats in the harbor at Boulogne. Flak observed from both St. Omer and Abbeville, no damage seen from it. A large pillar of smoke seen in the Montreuil area. Course: L/F, Albert, L/F out, Home. Target: Watten.

Capt Charles J. Hoey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-U
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-V
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry SX-B
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-N
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-X
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q
2nd Lt William S. Marchant (Spare) SX-H
Major William B. Bailey SX-S
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-R

Group Aborts/ERTNs:

42- 75114 ERTN escort 42-75507 YJ-M Lt. Maguire flying.
42- 75507 ABT loss of power YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42- 75507 BD Cat A YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.

 

 

  

 

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Mission#78 February 11, 1944 – Target: Frankfurt.

Date: Feb 11, 44

Dispatched: 45 Aborts: 4

Mission: Withdrawal support to 1st ATF, 240 B-17’s (1st Div)

Field Order: 240 Target: Frankfurt

Time Up/Down: 11:19 hrs     14:15 hrs Leader: Lt Col Rimerman

Claims Air: 00-00-00Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

L/F in at Knocke 20,000ft, 11:54 hrs. Visual contact with 4th Fighter Group northwest of Brussels, to planned R/V point. Bombers not seen, apparently late. Flew five minutes past R/V point and orbited. Bombers observed 15 to 20 miles S/E. Actual R/V made 12:45 hrs with four combat wings 1st Div B-17s flying in good wing formation 20 to 23,000ft. However, 3rd and 4th CW spread out to the rear. Actual R/V point unknown. Left bombers 13:00 hrs, making L/F out vicinity Ostend 17,000ft, 13:40 hrs. No E/A seen; however, just prior to R/V contrail seen passing over Group going northwest above 35,000ft. No stragglers. Flak observed from general direction of target area. Contact with Upper on “C” channel very good. Jamming of R/T very bad. Lt Col. Rimerman and 1st Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

350th: Capt. Newhart. T/U 11:18 hrs. T/D 14:20 hrs. Total flight time 03:02 hrs. L/F Knocke 11:55 hrs, 22,000ft. R/V on course 15 mins late, 12:45 hrs, 28,000ft. Fair. Spitfires, P-51, P-38, P-47. No e/a. Left bombers on course 12:58 hrs, 28,000ft. Left coast south of course 13:35 hrs, 26,000ft. Scattered heavy bursts at Lille. Normal R/T. Broken overcast permitted ground to be seen in spots.

Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt John Zolner
Capt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt Roland N. McKean

351st: Lt Col Rimerman. T/U 11:13 hrs. T/D 14:17 hrs. Total flight time 03:04 hrs. Withdrawal support. Route: In at Ijmuiden, over Hardenbergh, out at Egmond. Flushing at 11:51 hrs, altitude 22,000ft. [R/V] Place unknown at 12:43 hrs at 22,000ft. Good close formation within wings but wings split in half and widely separated. 4th Group, 2 P-51s and 2 P-38s. Place unknown at 12:58 hrs altitude 22,000ft. [L/F out] Ostend at 13:33 hrs at 20,000ft. Remarks: 40 plus small boats seen in harbor at Ostend. [One pilot in the Squadron, 1st Lt Francis E Edwards, a spare that day, peeled off and shot up an enemy airdrome before returning home. He didn’t see any aircraft but scored hits on a few buildings before returning home].

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-A
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R
Col Henry R. Spicer (Observer)* LH-X
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-L
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
Major Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr) YJ-X
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-W
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik (with 350th) YJ-O
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards (Spare) YJ-T
1st Lt William F. Streit (Relay with 352nd) YJ-H

*Col. Spicer then from 66th Wing flew the Squadron.

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 11:18 hrs. T/D 14:32 hrs. Total flight time 03:14 hrs. Made landfall in over Nieuve at 11:54 hrs. R/Vd with bombers late at about 12:45 hrs near Bad Kreunach [?] at 27,000 ft. Bombers were split into about six bunches. Four we R/Vd with and three were about 20 miles away. All bunches joined together in one task force later. No bombers seen in trouble. P-47s, 51s and 38s. Left bombers near Diekirch at 12:55 hrs or 13:00 hrs, alt. 24,000ft. Landfall out over a point just south of Ostend at 13:39 hrs. Alt. 20,000ft. Intense flak observed over target area. Slight jamming. 4-5/10ths cumulus, building from 5,000ft to 15,000ft. Course: L/F, Alt, R/V, W/D/L/F, Home. [The mission report was amended to state three aborts Lt. Corrigan - belly tank would not release; Lt. Sperry engine cutting out and Lt. Schillinger 9not listed as flying) escort to Lt. Sperry. The original report listed Lt. Callans aborting - prop out].

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-S
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-Q
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Flt Ldr) SX-H
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-W
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-J 42-7910
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-X
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-N
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-U
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-F

Group ERTNs/Aborts:

42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J Lt. Corrigan flying.
42-75608 ABT engine running hot SX-?*
42-8480 ABT radio interference LH-Z
42-8378 ABT excessive manifold pressure LH-R

*SX-K by 9/7/44 but this code is not listed as flying on this mission.

 

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