Mission#40 November 3, 1943 – Target: Wilhelmshaven

Date: Nov 3, 43

Dispatched: 51 Aborts: 6

Mission: General support to 240 B-17’s Field Order: 168

Time Up/Down: 11:54 hrs 15:02 hrs Leader: Lt Col. McCollom

Target: Wilhelmshaven

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

Made R/V with bombers at 13:01 hrs in the vicinity of Groningen at 27,000ft. Bombers at 22 to 24,000ft considerably spread out. 356 Group with bombers almost to IP. Flares seen and bombs dropped at about13:25 hrs. Stayed with bombers as planned leaving them just beyond East Frisian Island at 13:40 hrs. Our Group divided into four 12 ship Squadrons. Two Squadrons supporting the first two wings. Two Squadrons supporting rear two wings. This appeared successful but four wings of B-17s seen to be too many for one Group to support because of area involved. Bombing results unobserved because of solid overcast in target area. Ten t/e e/a coming from the East attempted to bounce the rear end of the second box of bombers in the target area at 23,000ft. They were intercepted by white flight of the 352nd FS, five being destroyed, other[s] dove away. Two Me109s engaged in target area at 27,000ft resulting in one damaged. Fifteen + Fw190s flying in formation from 3 o’clock at 23,000ft positioning to attack bombers. One element of the 351st FS headed into them and they immediately split S’d and headed down. Both fired short bursts, but made no claims. One B-17 from first box seen going down smoking in target area. Two large vessels protected by four smaller ships possibly Sperbrechers [?] seen entering Zuider Zee in channel off Texel Island. Pilot returning early reported seeing ten e/e e/a orbiting over this convoy approaching Den Helder from the south. Moderately heavy flak over target. High whistling screech on Channel A. Usual whine on Channel C. Contact made with bombers satisfactory. Capt. Rose and Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

351st Fighter Squadron

1 Me109 damaged Lt. Stump

352nd Fighter Squadron

1Me110 destroyed Lt. Poindexter

1Me210 destroyed Lt. Poindexter

1 Me110 destroyed Lt. Newman

1 Me110 destroyed Lt. Morrison

1 Me110 destroyed Lt. Juntilla

350th: Major Rimerman. T/U 11:52 hrs. T/D 15:00 hrs. Total flight time 3:08 hrs. Squadron led by Major Rimerman on course on time. R/V made with rear box of bombers and escort position was taken up on left side. About 10 minutes before Sqdn was ready to leave bombers one B-17 was seen straggling. One Me109 positioned itself for an attack on the straggler from 15,000ft or 16,000ft. Lt. Odom called to the Squadron leader but was not in position to deliver attack. Lt. Sullivan sighted one B-17 explode in the vicinity of the target. Lt. Devane filling in one of Wakeford flights followed flight down in attack on Me110S. He observed one Me110 go down burning as a result of attack by a P47. Flak of medium intensity vicinity of the target. Weather overcast prevented ground observations. Target Wilhelmshaven, Germany FO 168.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Robert L. Newman
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt John Zolner
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt William W. Odom (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt John L. Devane
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller

351st: Major Christian. T/U 11:45 hrs. T/D 14:50 hrs. Total flight time 3:05 hrs. Route: In S of Den Helder, R/V at Winschoten, escort of Wilhelmshaven and out at Texel Island.

Major Shannon Christian
1st Lt George N. Ahles
Capt Walter C. Beckham
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
2nd Lt John G. Treitz
Lt Col Loren G. McCollom
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
F/O Cletus Peterson
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley

The Squadron were covering the right hand side of the leading box, when three or four minutes before the bombs were dropped about 15 to 20 coal black Fw190’s, in flights of four, line abreast came in toward the bombers. The Squadron were at 27000ft and turned into them causing them to break off their attack, evading violently.White flight dove on two Me109’s south west of Wilhelmshaven and 1st Lt. George N. Ahles, the number 3 man, was able to fire a short burst at the 109 after entering a ‘Lufberry’ [a defensive horizontal circle involving multiple aircraft that makes it very difficult to attack without being exposed to return fire]. He positioned himself on the 109’s tail but the range was too extreme to register hits. His wing man, 2nd Lt. Hassell D. Stump, had slightly better luck when he claimed a damaged:

I called to my element leader to break into them and the four of us got into a Luftberry to the left. We had a slight advantage of height but neither we, nor the enemy could get any advantage on the other. Finally Lt Ahles told me to continue to the left and he would go to the right. As he did, one of the 109’s started a dive. I watched him, as well as the other one, who continued the Luftberry with me. Just as my element leader got into position to fire, he started to zoom back and get on Lt Ahles tail. But before he could get a lead I had pulled in at about 30 degrees deflection and gave him a short burst, immediately noticing strikes on the tail section. He broke away from the attack on Lt Ahles, so I continued to follow him and as I fired again, two guns on the right refused to fire causing my plane to yaw and pulling my sight off target, so I ceased firing and corrected my aim. This time all guns on the right had ceased firing and one on the left, but I jammed in the rudder and continued firing, closing from 40 to 50 yards at which time I pulled up and to the right to avoid collision. As I pulled up he disappeared under my wing, so I rolled back to the left and saw him split ‘S’ and head straight down. I thought it useless to follow him with only a couple of guns, so I zoomed back to 20000ft.

The original caption for this publicity photo indicates that 2nd Lt. Hassell D. Stump (0-736405) had just shot down an enemy aircraft. Given that he is seated in a P-47 and his other credited victory was an Me262 damaged December 23, 1944 it seems likely this refers to his damaged claim November 3, 1943. His regular aircraft at this point would have been YJ-K “Squirt” (a/c P-47D-5-RE 42-8674). Stump was from Ocean Park, California and joined the Squadron June 11, 1943. He went on to fly two tours with the Squadron and completed January 8, 1945 having risen to the rank of Capt.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 12:01 hrs. T/D 14:50 hrs. Total flight time 2:49 hrs. Squadron took off with Major Bailey leading but was turned over to Lt. Juntilla when the leader had to return with radio out. Made R/V one minute early. Proceeded without event to target area. 10 twin engine e/a were encountered over the target, four of these being destroyed and one probably destroyed [presumably later confirmed as destroyed according to other records]. One B-17 was seen going down in smoke shortly after passing over target.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) ERTN SX-B 42-8466
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
1st Lt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Russell Moriarty
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
1st Lt John L. Devane (350th FS)

The mission was handed over to 1st Lt. Wilbert Juntilla when Major Bailey’s aircraft experienced radio trouble. Ten twin engined enemy aircraft came in from the east over the target to attack the rear end of the second box of bombers. In the battle that followed five enemy were quickly dispatched boosting morale for the Squadron who had so far failed to achieve a big score. Juntilla was leading White flight and claimed an Me110:

As the first bombers turned away from the target after dropping their bombs, 10 Me110’s and 210’s went in at them from 4 o’clock at about 24000ft. Wakeford Squadron attacked out of the Sun and evidently were not seen by the enemy. I got on the tail of one Me110 and shot two bursts at close range. He suddenly turned downward and I pulled up over him. A piece of the 110 put a dent in the wing of my wing man (2nd Lt Russell E Moriarty). I then turned to make another attack on the rest of the formation but there were none left.

Others in the flight had followed Juntilla and also scored. 1st Lt James N Poindexter, flying number 3 man, was in luck and claimed an Me110 and 210 destroyed:

Our flight attacked them from up Sun and dead astern. I opened fire on the Me 210 at approximately 350 or 400 yards and fired one long burst closing very rapidly. The burst caught him right in the middle causing numerous strikes and flashes. The e/a exploded and burst into flames. I flew through the burning pieces of e/a just after it exploded.

I broke off this attack and began another on an Me110. The first burst brought many strikes in the cockpit and wing root section of the right wing. This burst was about 300 yards, I followed closing rapidly. The e/a burst into smoke and started down at about 22000ft. My second and third bursts missed I think, but the fourth caught him in the centre section. I saw many strikes and a burst of flame and smoke come from the 110. It continued straight down pouring smoke from the centre section.

2nd Lt. Maurice Morrison, flying Poindexter’s wing also scored:

Lt. Juntilla led the flight down and started firing at an e/a that went into a left turn, I then lost him because I followed Lt Poindexter on an Me210 which blew up. I then went under Lt Poindexter and started firing at an Me210 at about 300 yards. Strikes came from the right side of the cockpit and wing root and several large pieces came off. He went into a left spin with fire coming from his right wing a fuselage.

Wakeford Blue flight followed White flight into the attack. 1st Lt. Edward Fogarty, Blue leader, was not able to score any hits but his element lead, 1st Lt. Robert A. Newman completed what was a good day for the 352nd with an Me110:

I turned left and started down, there were about 6 P-47’s going down after them almost abreast. I closed and picked out an Me110. I fired one 30 degree deflection shot at about 300 yards and then came in to line astern and fired until I almost rammed him. I fired 900 rounds of ammunition. I set his engine on fire and pulled over to the side and up as I went passed. I then rolled to go and get another shot and saw him spiraling down. A long trail of flame and smoke was coming from his left engine and wing almost up to the fuselage. We were then down at about 15000ft and I started to go after another, but was called back by the Squadron leader.

Group Aborts, Early Returns and Battle Damage:

42-7972 ERTN   belly tank wouldn’t release YJ-P
41-6528 ERTN   radio out YJ-W
42-22458 ERTN   escort SX-L
42-22466 ERTN no   radio reception SX-E
42-8471 ERTN   oxygen regulator out SX-S
42-8466 ERTN   radio out SX-B Major Bailey

*There are also records that indicate LH-U 42-7988 received some kind of battle damage on this date.

1 Comment

Filed under Missions

One response to “Mission#40 November 3, 1943 – Target: Wilhelmshaven

  1. David Mccloskey

    Love the encounter reports!!

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