Mission#43 November 11, 1943 – Target: Munster

Date: Nov 11, 43

Dispatched: 39 Aborts: 7

Mission: Target support to 3rd Div  B-17’s Field Order: 177

Time Up/Down: 12:36 hrs 15:43 hrs Leader: Major Duncan

Target: Munster

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

Group arrived at Egmond at 13:32 hrs, 24,000ft. Bombers were ten minutes late. Group made a left turn over the Zuider Zee picking up the bombers at Egmond at 13:42 hrs. The 352nd Group [Squadron?]were with the lead boxes of the bombers. The 351st FS positioned themselves on the left of the bombers, the 350th on the right of the bombers at 32,000ft, above the cirrus clouds. Group proceeded on planned course to Munster, Senden and Elst where the 350th left them at 14:35 hrs, 23,000ft. The 352nd left the bombers to the SE of Elst while the 351st left the bombers in the vicinity of Nijmegen. Heavy cloud made escort with the bombers difficult. In the vicinity of the target heavy smoke screen visible making bombing results unobserved. In this area 20 to 25 Fw190s in flights of 4 and 5 strung out came up from below at 10 o’clock heading towards the bombers. Major Duncan leading the 351st made repeated attacks on this formation resulting in two Fw190s being destroyed [one by Capt. Beckham]. E/A outnumbered P-47s consequently they were persistent in their engagements with the P-47s. Call was made on R/T for assistance and other P-47S soon arrived. Enemy tactics were for part of the e/a to climb high into the cirrus haze at 25,000ft hoping the P-47s would engage the e/a below. Some of these e/a had belly tanks. In the vicinity of Niemansdorp 15 miles south of Rotterdam 15+ Me109s with red markings on the fuselage made persistent attacks on the bombers at 20,000ft from the lower sides and below. In the engagement that followed Major Duncan destroyed an Me109. No escort for the bombers seen at this level. In the vicinity ofWesthoofd 8 Fw190s, 4 on each side of the bombers, at the same level, would attack by diving below the bombers and pulling up and shooting at a 60 degree angle to the path of the bombers, roll over and break away then zoom hi to level position on the other side to repeat attack. One straggler B-17 flying at 16,000ft under main formation of bombers was seen given excellent escort by 4 U/I P-47s in the vicinity of Hertogenbosch. One B-17 seen on fire, wing came off and spun down 15 miles south of Rotterdam 4 chutes seen to open. One B-17 seen to go down just east of Gurtruidenberg as a result of attacks by e/a. One B-17 straggler was seen being attacked by 3 Fw190s just off Schouwen Islands. Group leader made several attacks alone but makes no claims. Moderate heavy flak over target area. Nine bursts of heavy flak Gilze Rijen. Fighter/fighter and fighter bomber inter communication excellent. Warmsun’s transmission gargled, weak and unreadable. Radio whine intense starting from English coast. No P-38s seen. One Group of P-47s seen in vicinity of Elst.

Headquarters

1 Fw190 destroyed Major Duncan

1 Me109 destroyed Major Duncan

351st FS

1 Fw190 destroyed Capt. Beckham

350th: Major Rimerman. T/U 12:40 hrs. T/D 15:20 hrs. Total flight time 2:40 hrs. Made R/V with 3rd Bomb Div vicinity of Alkmaar, 30,000ft, 13:41 hrs. Continued on planned course, leaving bombers SE of Zuider Zee and out on coast just south of the Hague at 14:50 hrs, 17,000ft. No E/A seen. P-38s not seen. Burst heavy flak, Amsterdam area; accurate height and direction. Fighter-Bomber intercom satisfactory. R/T poor except near enemy coast. No bomb results observed. Weather 6/10 cirrus target are 23,000 ft top 29,000ft. Cumulus 12,000 top. Course: L/F, L/F, Enschode, Munster, Senden, Home. Squadron went back over bombers sometime in target area to investigate bandits reported on R/T but no E/A seen.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt Charles W. Dinse
2nd Lt John H. Winder
Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt William W. Odom
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness

351st: Major Duncan. T/U 12:28 hrs. T/D 15:43 hrs. Total flight time 3:15 hrs. Route: In at Egmund, R/V over Zuider Zee. Escorted to target Munster. Left coast N of Schouwen Island.

Major Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt William J. Maguire
Capt Walter C. Beckham
1st Lt David C. Kenney
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field
2nd Lt George F. Perpente

Duncan was able to destroy an Me109 and Fw190 and damage a further 190 (see p84-85 of Cross’s Jonah’s Feet Are Dry for his account). In his report Duncan mentions that he responded to a call from Lt. Edgar Albert who was under attack. Lt Albert managed to evade his predicament and landed, low on fuel, at Bradwell Bay in a battled damaged aircraft. Capt. Beckham was able to add another Fw190 to his score, leading Red flight:

I was leading Roughman Red flight with Lt G B Compton flying #2, Lt Kenney #3 and Lt Toppel as #4. A few minutes after the bombers had made their bomb run, we saw about 12 or more Fw190’s behind then at about 5 o’clock, I believe they were the same ones which Major Duncan had reported a minute or so before. We were at about 27000ft and they were at about 25000ft.

They were not attacking the bombers but were merely flying towards them. We dropped down the couple of thousand feet altitude advantage which we had and attacked three of them, shooting down one. He still had a belly tank.

I fired from about 250 down to about 40 or 50 yards getting strikes mainly on the fuselage and cockpit area, knocking pieces off his belly tank and other pieces. He tried to evade by skidding; once I fired directly at his nose when he was at least ten or more degrees deflection according to his longitudinal axis. I could tell by the background that he was moving straight away in a skid, and I got strikes. I last saw him go straight down in a vertical dive at what I estimate at 8 to 10000ft. None of the other Fw190’s were seen to attack the bombers.

After receiving the order to return to base, we were flying in front of and to the right hand side of the bombers when we saw a Fw190 coming in on the tail of P-47 that was climbing and turning left. We orbited and were closing on the 190. He obviously saw us for he half rolled and went straight down. We did not follow.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 12:39 hrs. T/D 15:10 hrs. Total flight time 2:31 hrs. Penetration support. Squadron led by Major Bailey made landfall at 13:32 hrs at 28,000ft. Made R/V with bombers ten minutes late. Difficulty in escorting bombers due to 8-9/10 ciro-stratus covergae. Lost bombers shortly after passing target area, Made landfall out over Hague.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Russell E. Moriarty
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin (fill in the 351st FS ?)
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong

Group Aborts/ERTNs/Damaged:

42-22462 ABT   generator regulator stuck SX-P
42-7910 ABT   engine cutting out SX-J
42-22458 ABT   electrical system failure SX-L
42-8380 BD Cat? YJ-A Lt.   Milligan?
42-74736 BD Cat   ? YJ-U Lt.   Albert?
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