Mission#41 November 5, 1943 – Target: Gelsenkirchen. The loss of Capt Orville A. Kinkade, Lt. Benedict E. Kraft and Lt. Robert L. Newman

Date: Nov 5, 43

Dispatched: 50 Aborts: 1*

Mission: General support to 1st, 2nd & 3rd TF (3rd Div) 180 B-17’s. Field Order: 170

Time Up/Down: 12:00 hrs 14:51 hrs Leader: Major Duncan

Target: Gelsenkirchen

Claims Air: 05-03-06 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 03-01

When Group arrived at R/V point at 13.16 hrs some of the bombers were apparently 5 to 7 minutes early, were seen leaving the target to the right. Two rear boxes of bombers were at R/V point. Major Duncan with 352nd made a right turn to take up escort position with the first box while the 350th and 351st escorted the rear box of bombers. 352nd stayed with the first box until mid Channel while the 350th left them at Geertruidinbert at14:00 hrs and the 351st leaving the bombers at Schouwen Islands at 14:10 hrs, 28,000ft. In the target area 20+ Me109s were coming from the east at 28,000ft flying in P-47 formation with one flight stacked higher than the rest about to attack the bombers. 352nd FS positioned to attack the top flight who immediately took evasive action. Some of the a/c had belly tanks. It is interesting to note that e/a waggled their wings evidently attempting to identify themselves as friendly a/c. South of the target three more flights of Me109s attempted to attack the bombers but were dispersed by the 352nd FS claiming one destroyed and one damaged. 351st encountered 50+ e/a in the target area and many more about 25 miles SW of the target and during the following engagements two e/a were destroyed, two probably destroyed and two damaged. Capt. Beckham shares a destroyed Me410 with an u/i P47 because it was firing on the e/a at the same time. 25-30 e/a flying in flights of 4 or 5 a/c were encountered by the 350th in the vicinity of Gelden resulting in two destroyed, one probably destroyed and two damaged. Opinion of the pilots is that enemy reaction today was heavier than seen for some time. Intense flak and smoke screens seen in target area. One B-17 observed on fire in the vicinity of Goes and 4 chutes seen. Radio was extremely intense.

Lt. Newman, 350th FS, Capt. Kinkade and Lt. Kraft 351st Missing in Action

350th Fighter Squadron

1 Me210 destroyed Lt. Price

1 Me210 destroyed Lt. Stearns

1 Fw190 probably destroyed Lt. Hurst

2 Fw190s damaged Major Rimerman

351st Fighter Squadron

1 Me109 destroyed Capt. Kinkade

1 Me410 destroyed Capt. Beckham

1 Fw190 probably destroyed Capt. Beckham

1 Me109 probably destroyed Lt. Peterson

1 Me109 damaged Lt. Emory

1 Me210 damaged Lt. Emory

352nd Fighter Squadron

1 Me109 damaged Major Glenn E. Duncan (Gp HQ flying with Sqdn)

1 Fw190 damaged Capt. Raynor E. Robertson

1 Me109 destroyed Lt. Leroy W. Ista

350th: Major Rimerman. T/U 12:05 hrs. T/D 14:50 hrs. Total flight time 2:45 hrs. L/F was made on course. Escort position was assumed just as bombers were coming off bombing run at 34,000ft. Bombers were at 27,000ft to 31,000ft. Flights of E/A were sighted coming in at about 27,000ft vicinity of Geldern. Major Rimerman made two attacks by diving zooming on flights of 4 or 5 Fw190s in each flight. In the first attack the Fw190 broke sharply after Major Rimerman had scored strikes. The second attack caused another Fw190 to split ‘s’. Good hits were observed on this Fw190. Major Rimerman claims 2 Fw190s damaged. Lt. Newman flying White 3 was lost from Major Rimerman’s flight on first attack. Lt. Furness, Newman’s wingman, reports that he and Newman went after flight of Fw190s as Major Rimerman delivered attack, zoomed, then started down again. Lt. Furness turned in evasive action when something was reported on his tail. The last he saw of Lt Newman was in a dive apparently after an E/A. No calls were heard. Lt. Hurst’s flight bounced E/A in same vicinity. Lt. Hurst scored hits on one Fw190 claiming a probable destroyed. Lt. Price attacked and destroyed an Me210 delivering attack at about 22,000ft. Lt. Stearns also destroyed an Me210. During attacks Lt. Hurst found a lone B17 at about 27,000ft being attacked by two Fw190s. He was unable to turn into leading Fw190. The second Fw190 was seen to go down firing at an unidentified P-47. Lt. Stearns sustained battle damage. Lt Newman NYR. Flak vicinity of target intense barrage type. Weather over enemy territory: visibility excellent except for slight ground haze. Five pilots fired guns: Major Rimerman, Lt. Hurst, Lt. Price, Lt. Stearns, Lt. Tanner (Lt Tanner makes no claims).

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Robert L. Newman LH-J 42-7907
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns (a/c BD) LH-Z 42-8480
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
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 Charles O. Durant
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo

Major Rimerman led the attack that day and claimed two Fw190’s damaged:

My wing man, Lt Dawson, and I bounced the leading flight, attacking on the right of the line. As we closed, the Fw190 I was lining up on started to waggle his wings, as I started to fire from about 400 yards, he immediately  flicked over and split ‘S’d down. I turned left to get on the next one but he too was breaking down and left. The e/a on the far left of the flight had at this time turned right, and was shooting at us from 90 degrees as we zoomed back into the Sun. I observed a few non valuable strikes on the e/a’s left wing as he flicked over. All the e/a in this flight appeared to have scattered and gone down as we could not find them above

After the first combat, I was flying again at 27000ft. We observed 4 to 5 Fw190’s making a line abreast attack on a straggling B17 at about 29000ft. We dove down and closed to about 400 yards and I started firing while the Fw’s appeared just out of range of the B17. I observed good strikes and flashes on the left wing root of the e/a I attacked. This Fw190 went down in a steep spiral to the right as we recovered from the dive and pulled back up from the bomber formation. The flight of e/a attacking the straggler had scattered and disappeared.

It was during the second attack that 1st Lt. Robert Lee Newman was lost. Called ‘Moose’ because of his large size, the likable pilot was flying the number three position in the lead flight. He was listed as missing in action though nobody really saw what happened. His wing man, 1st Lt. Joseph Furness, reported on his possible fate:

Lt. Newman broke up the middle formation of enemy aircraft. We then both zoomed up from 20 to 24000ft. We started to head in the general direction of our Squadron leader, when Lt. Newman started diving again. I noticed an Fw190 in my mirror at 7 o’clock. I called Lt. Newman on the R/T and when he did not answer or make any attempt to turn, I turned into the e/a who immediately headed towards the deck when I positioned myself above him. The last time I saw Lt. Newman was in the dive as he was heading for the edge of the flak defences of Dusseldorf. I went down looking for my element leader, making several large sweeps over the area, but was unable to locate him.

Lt. Newman held the Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster and was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. He is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium. Further details can be searched for HERE.

This was not the end of the action for the 350th that day. Red flight, led by 1st Lt. Wilford F. Hurst, saw enemy aircraft at the rear of the bombers as they turned off the target. Hurst dove down with his flight and was credited an Fw190 damaged:

I came down on them from behind and was getting in range when the planes, 4 Fw190’s, saw us. The leader rolled over and he was followed by his #2 and #3 man. I was able to begin firing at the #4 at 250 yards before he rolled. I gave him a long burst, but could feel that all my guns were not firing. I continued the burst as he rolled over on his back. I observed a few strikes on his canopy. The Fw shuddered and started down as if out of control. I last saw him going straight down. I had to break off as two more flights of Fw190’s were in a position to bounce us. I zoomed back up to 27000ft.

I saw 4 twin engined ships below, at about 20000ft, at 2 o’clock. I called my flight, which was still together after the previous attack, for a bounce. I came down behind the e/a which we determined later to be Me210’s. I closed immediately on the 4th e/a. I began firing at 250 yards and closed to 150 yards without observing any strikes.

Hurst made no claim for the Me210, thinking his wing man had closed in and shot down this aircraft. The enemy flight of four however had split with two aircraft breaking to the right and left. The remaining two proceeded straight ahead. Hurst was awarded a probable for the right hand aircraft and his wing man, 2nd Lt. Richard A Stearns, closed to destroy the second aircraft:

I concentrated my attack on the left aircraft. I closed until the range was about 250 yards and then gave a short burst, observing strikes on the right wing. I closed further to about 200 yards giving about a two second burst, observing more strikes and also seeing the canopy fly off. The right engine burst into flames and left a thin stream of white smoke. The e/a went into a vertical dive from about 23000ft, and I saw it go all the way down, hit the ground and explode.

After leaving my first combat and proceeding on my way out alone, I sighted an Me210 at my level, 25000ft. The e/a was a good thousand yards ahead of me. I started to turn into him, and gave several short bursts but saw no strikes. As the e/a started to turn inland I broke off combat and resumed my course.

1st Lt. Bill Price was in the number 3 position and also claimed a 210 destroyed:

The aircraft was in a tight turn to the left evading my flight leader. I was flying #3 position and found myself just above and behind the Me210 as he rolled out of his turn. My #1 and #2 men were attacking two other ships in the flight of Me210’s, so I dove onto the tail of the Me210 below me as he rolled out of his turn, and I opened fire at about 500 yards. I saw no hits in the first burst, so I fired a second burst after closing to about 250 yards. This burst produced many hits on the fuselage and wing root, and the ship started smoking. As I broke left up over the Me210, I could see flames and smoke coming out of it. My wing man, Lt Tanner, saw the ship going down in flames and crash.


351st: Major Christian. T/U 11:52 hrs. T/D 14:52 hrs. Total flight time 3:00 hrs. Route: In north of the Hague. R/V at Borken, escort to Gilsenkirchen, out at Texel Island.

Major Shannon Christian (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field
2nd Lt George F. Perpente
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
Capt Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Benedict E Kraft YJ-Q 42-8428
1st Lt David C. Kenney
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
Capt Orville A. Kinkade (Flt Ldr) YJ-K 42-6583
F/O Cletus Peterson
1st Lt Frank N. Emory
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt John G. Treitz

The 351st encountered 50 + enemy aircraft in the target area and a series of fierce dogfights took place. Yellow flight, led by Capt. Kinkade, was in position above and to the left of the first box of bombers. His wing man, Lt. Peterson, saw a flight of 3 Me109’s:

We immediately bounced them at 24,000ft. In the meantime Lt. Emory and Lt. Edwards (second element) left us to attack another flight leaving Kinkade and I to bounce the 3 Me109’s. The 109’s were flying a wide ‘V’ formation so Kinkade took the one on the left and I took the one on the right, leaving the leader to take his alternate action. We attacked from out of the Sun and I slipped to the outside of the turn and dropped a bit behind. Kinkade closed in fast and I was a bit slow in closing in. I opened up from about 425 yards and closed to 325 yards. I saw smoke coming out of the right wing of the 109 after I fired three short bursts.

When the leader saw his flight bounced he immediately took evasive action by rolling over and going down. The 109 I was shooting at followed his leader and went down. We didn’t follow them because we thought they would hit the deck and we wouldn’t be of any use as protection to the bombers. Instead the Me109 rolled out at 18,000ft. When Capt. Kinkade saw this he decided to bounce them again, so we attacked them from out of the Sun. One of the Me109’s must have continued down as there were only two when we bounced them a second time. Capt. Kinkade took the 109 on the left again and I took the one on the right. The one I bounced dove straight down and Capt. Kinkade broke away in a diving turn to the left. I decided that I wouldn’t be able to catch mine so followed Kinkade providing cover for him. He was following his 109 down shooting all the time. The Me109 was hit pretty bad as there was a terrific amount of smoke coming from it. About 12,000ft I observed three bogies coming down on us so I broke into them. They broke up and continued to head on down. I called Kinkade on the R/T but received no answer from him. The last I saw of him was when he was on the tail of the Me109 which was smoking badly and going down. He never returned. His victory was confirmed and that brought his total to three destroyed and two damaged. I hope he is a PW or trying to get back here.

After I broke into the 109’s I started to climb to gain altitude which I needed badly. There was two flights of enemy planes, one on each side of me. I was worried about them bouncing me but they never did. One flight tried to get in behind me but I kept turning towards them and they didn’t attack. About 22,000ft I saw three 109’s attacking a lone B17 which had an engine on fire and was going down. They were shooting the hell out of the Fortress and it didn’t have a chance. I thought I could try and help but I wouldn’t have been able to get in position in time and the B17 was too far gone to save. I hope the crew made it.

About 25,000ft a lone Fw190 made half a pass at me but I saw him in time and was able to turn toward him and break up his attack. It passed about 25 yards off my wing and I could see the pilot fairly plain. I watched him to see if he would attempt a pass at my tail, but he continued inland.

I climbed to 30,000ft and started for home as I was low on gas. It seemed like it took me years to get to the coast and all I could think about was how I could get out of there. They shot up light flak at me at the Dutch Island but it wasn’t too close. The flak in the Ruhr proved to be much worse. I landed with very little gas and almost kissed the ground. It sure was a long haul and seemed longer than it really was!

Kinkade was captured passed through Dulag Luft then Grosstychow and Dulag 12 as a POW. He survived the war and was credited with a 109 destroyed for the November 5 mission (Peterson’s claim was not confirmed).

1st Lt. Frank Emory, leading the second element, was also credited with an Me109 and an Me210 damaged. Walt Beckham with Blue flight also got into the fight and claimed an Me410 destroyed and Fw190 damaged:

The general area to the right of the bombers, as they turned right and headed home, contained considerable numbers of single engine e/a, those that we came near enough to identify being Fw190’s. We started toward single e/a or pairs several times, that were attacking or flying toward the bombers. Each time the e/a evaded downward and we did not follow.

We attacked eight or ten Fw190’s that were about 25000ft and in the same area. These e/a did not break downward, but split up. A four plane flight of them turning east first and orbiting, the others started off in the opposite direction. My #3 and #4 attacked these latter e/a. My #2 and I attacked the four that turned right. I fired as I closed to short range on one. Got a lot of strikes chiefly on the right side of the fuselage, but could not observe the e/a after overshooting. He had a belly tank centrally mounted.

After breaking of, we continued right turn a few degrees to head west and resume escort position. Made a slight weave to the left and saw a Fw190 closing on the 47 behind me (I did not read his ship letter but feel it must have been Lt Kraft). I called to him to break and turned as steeply as I could to the left. I saw the Fw190 firing, close to short range and over shoot, making strikes on the left side of the 47’s fuselage.

We continued to turn as steeply as possible on the Fw190 and I made at least two 360 degree turns trying to get on each others tail. I could not gain so loosened up the turn going east, tightened it all I could going on around to the west. Was able to get a burst in from head on; am not sure with what effect. I then proceeded west again. The 190 refused to close from head on and broke downward. Was unable to see what the 47 that had been hit did, could get no answer by radio.

I proceeded westward trying to locate the bomber formation. Flew by several twin engine e/a that were very close and nearly the same level (about 25000ft). I could see other P-47’s in the immediate vicinity, so turned slightly and attacked one of the e/a that was on my right. It was a Me410 or 210. Believe that the canopy was more squarely cut than a 210.

I fired a short burst or so from 20 to 40 degrees deflection and opened fire again from astern and about 400 yards. While I was firing, I saw a P-47 from the corner of my eye only a few yards to the left of me firing at the same target. I could see shells kicking out from the underside of his wings. Pulled out to the right to avoid collision and dropped back behind the e/a to fire another burst or so after he had pulled away. Observed strikes when I first fired from astern, and also saw strikes from the other 47’s shooting. When I started firing the second time his right engine was on fire. I could see flames as well as smoke. A man bailed out as I was pulling away and I saw that his chute had opened when I looked back a few minutes later. Also saw another chute a little higher and further back in the vicinity of the e/a’s flight path.

Beckham’s wing man, 2nd Lt. Benedict E Kraft did not evade the Fw190 soon enough and spent the rest of the war as a POW at Stalag Luft I Barth-Vogelsang.

352nd: Major Duncan. T/U 12:00 hrs. T/D 14:46 hrs. Total flight time 2:46 hrs. Squadron made landfall on course at 23,000ft, made R/V with bombers on time. Encountered e/a over target area and destroyed one, damaging another. Made landfall out over Haamstede where one B-17 was seen flying on the deck and being attacked by several e/a. No attempt made to drive off these planes because of low altitude.

Major Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer
1st Lt William F. Streit
2nd Lt Russell E. Moriarty
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
Major William B. Bailey (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
1st Lt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt William J. Jordan
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Glenn C. Callans
1st Lt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R 42-8687
2nd Lt William S. Marchant
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan

In the target area 20 + Me109’s were seen coming from the east at 28000ft flying in a P-47 formation, with one flight stacked higher than the rest. As they were about to attack the bombers Major Duncan, leading White flight, led the 352nd to attack the top flight and claimed a 109 damaged:

I was leading the Group on the bomber escort mission to Gelsenkirchen. The bombers were met and the Squadrons took up their escort position. At this time I saw approximately 25 Me109’s flying in flights of four coming toward the bombers from the east. After positioning ourselves in an advantageous spot above and behind the e/a we dove down to break them up. I led my flight on four Me109’s and as they saw us coming broke to try and turn into us. I made various long shots at several Me109’s to scare them more than destroy them because we did not have time to chase them around the sky while the bombers went on by themselves. I made no claims at the time because I was disgusted with my long range shooting. Later I received my film assessment showing visible hits on one Me109. So I reckon that I had better claim an Me109 damaged just for the record sake.

Red Fight covered White flight as they made their attack. The leader, Capt Raynor Robertson, fired at an Fw190 making a 90 degree attack and claimed a damaged after he observed strikes on the aircraft’s wings. His wing man, 1st Lt. Leroy Ista, destroyed a 109:

I fired a short burst at the e/a and flew through our flight and was thrown wide. I pulled up and saw a flight of 5 109’s attempting to bounce the bombers from 9 o’clock. I was about 1,000ft above and 300 yards away so I made a head on attack to break them up. I fired a short burst at the leader. Saw no hits. I didn’t have enough deflection so I pulled around and got on their tails at about 3000 yards. I closed to about 2000 yards and another flight of P-47’s bounced them so I pulled over the top. One 109 pulled out and I got on his tail at about 500 yards. I closed to 300 yards and fired a five second burst from 10 degrees deflection. No hits were visible. Closed to about 200 yards firing as I went. I was then at about 100 yards and slightly below and kept on closing and opened fire at 150 feet, still closing. I fired a 3 second burst which struck fair in the wing section from outside of the canon and all over the center section and all over the bottom of the fuselage. A large flash about 3 feet in diameter appeared about 4 feet forward of the tail. The pilot did a quick roll to the right and I passed over him. He was smoking badly all over the center section and it appeared like ammunition in the right wing was on fire. I pulled up and climbed back up and did a tight climbing turn.

I was alone in the sky then except for one e/a which I tried to get in position to attack. I then observed the e/a I had fired on (a 109) go down trailing a huge column of smoke. He appeared to be doing a slow turn to the left going straight down. The nose came up somewhat, and it went over on its back and went straight down. I did not see an explosion but I did see a large column of black smoke coming from the end  which went to the ground.

As I was climbing to get into position. Three 109’s attempted to bounce me at 26,000ft from 7 o’clock and above. I gave it the gate and climbed into the Sun. They managed to close to about 1000 yards. I think they fired at me but I climbed away from them. I climbed to 36,000ft and tried to rejoin my Group but could not find them, so started home.

Lt. Leroy W. Ista's Me109, November 5, 1943

Lt. Leroy W. Ista’s Me109, November 5, 1943

A close shot of the Me109 credited to Lt. Ista. The photo is undated, but it is assumed to be the same Me109 as Ista was credited with one victory during his time with the 352nd FS.

A close shot of the Me109 credited to Lt. Ista. The photo is undated, but it is assumed to be the same Me109 as Ista was credited with one victory during his time with the 352nd FS.

Group Aborts, Early Returns, Lost and Damaged:

42-8480 BD Cat   A LH-Z Lt. Stearns
42-7907 MIA LH-J Lt. Newman
42-8428 MIA YJ-K Capt. Kinkade
41-6583 MIA YJ-Q Lt. Kraft

*The Control Tower Log also indicates that Lt. Morrison in SX-R (a/c 42-8687) returned early at 12:13 hrs (unknown cause).

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