Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mission#55 December 20, 1943 – Target: Bremen and 2nd Lt. Glenn C. Callans 352nd Fighter Squadron Mid Air Collision

Date: Dec 20, 43

Dispatched: 52 Aborts: 2

Mission: Penetration support to 2nd ATF (180 B-17’s 3rd Div & 180 B-24’s, 2nd Div)

Field Order: 204 Target: Bremen Leader: Lt Col. Duncan            

Time Up/Down: 10:30 hrs 13:25 hrs

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

Made L/F at 11:23 hrs north of Alkmaar. Informed that bombers were 5 minutes late. Contrails seen to north so Group leader flew course of 30 degrees to Den Helder passing over box of B-17s, then headed west and picked up rear end of B-24s over North Sea at 11:28 hrs. 352nd on left, 350th on top and 351st on the right with bombers at 26,000ft to 27,000ft. Flew with bombers to Delmenhorst leaving them at 12:05 hrs making wide left turn over Rastede, Emden, Workum, out Kijduin at 12:45 hrs, 26,000ft. P-51s were seen near Garrel. In the vicinity of Rastede 3 E/A were seen and one Fw190, with belly tank and two bulges under wings which could have been rocket guns or gun housings for 20mm, was attacking a B17 straggler at 18,000ft. The E/A was engaged and destroyed in this same area. Lt. Stiff probably destroyed one Fw190 north of Rastede. One B-17 fell out of formation to the right in a flat spin and was later seen to explode – 4 chutes seen. About 35 miles west of Kijduin a B-17 exploded at approx 11:15 hrs at 23,000ft, possibly a collision with friendly fighters [This was likely Capt. P H Hyde of 361st FS, 356th FG – MACR1540 says it was a B-24]. Small contrails seen above B-17s of the 1st TF leaving target area but Group unable to investigate due to having reached limit of endurance. Flak intense over target area. Ineffective smoke screen over Bremen and Emden but effective during smoke screen at Leer. 12 bursts fired from ground leaving trail of grayish smoke at our altitude seen in target area. Small boats seen in southern part of Zuider Zee. Lt Col. Duncan, Lt. Herfurth and Capt. Stafford of Group participated.

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan.

1 Fw190 probably destroyed Lt. Stiff.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:30 hrs. T/D 13:20 hrs. Total flight time 2:50 hrs. Squadron entered enemy coast N of course, at about 11:30 hrs, 23,000ft. R/V was made at same time. Escort to w of target where left turn was made and proceeded out making L/F at Egmond at 12:30 hrs. Twelve small boasts seen in Zuider Zee. One B-24 and P-47 seen to crash (mid air) 40 miles west of Kijduin. Two parachutes seen. No e/a encountered. Weather: Cirrus at 18-19,000ft to 23,000ft thin over Channel. Cumulus over continent 4-6/10. Contrails persistent at 24,000ft. R/T slight jamming.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John L. Devane
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:20 hrs. T/D 13:40 hrs. Total flight time 3:20 hrs [another source states T/U 10:22 hrs and T/D 13:50 hrs]. Route: In Schagen, R/V back out at sea escorted to Friesoythe, out Anjum Island.  Squadron made landfall just north of Alkmaar at 11:24 hrs, 26,500ft. Just after landfall Squadron made a 180 degree left turn heading back out to sea to pick up bombers who were five minutes late. R/V made at 11:28 hrs SW of Texel Island. Squadron took up escort position on left of bombers at 29-20,000ft. During time after landfall and R/V Squadron became separated by flights due to spread out formation of bombers. Yellow flight proceeded ahead, and to the front of the B-24s. Made left orbit at Oldenburg, where 1st Task Force was seen leaving the target area which was covered by large columns of smoke. No escort was seen round this task force which was being attacked by Me109s and Fw190s. Four parachutes seen to open from a B-17 in the Oldenburg area which exploded after making two lazy left turns. Yellow flight left coast just south of Alkmaar. Red and Blue flights stayed behind and to the left of the B-24s on course as far as Friesoythe area where 180 degree left turn was made leaving the coast just north of Haarlem. P-51s made R/V just before Red and Blue flights left the B-24s. White flight proceeded on course as planned, leaving the bombers also in the Friesoythe area. Made a 90 degree left turn, leaving the enemy coast at Anjum. No E/A seen except those reported by Yellow leader. Bomber and P-47 seen to explode about 20 miles west of Texel Island. R/T same as on previous mission.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt David C. Kenney
Capt Charles L. Stafford
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
F/O Joseph E. Wood
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter
1st Lt William J. Maguire
Capt Vic L. Byers
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert

352nd: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 10:30 hrs. T/D 13:39 hrs. Total flight time 3:09 hrs. Squadron took off at 10:31 hrs as lead Squadron of the Group. Set course at approximately 10:54 hrs at 12,000ft. Proceeded over Channel and at 11:15 hrs a P-47 flew into an aircraft believed to have been a Fort and the latter exploded, two chutes were seen to have opened. Bombers were called in to be five minutes late. At land fall group made left hand turn, proceeded north and made another left turn. Joined up with bombers and made a 180 degree turn at approximately 11:33 hrs. “S’d” over bombers and followed them to the vicinity of the target. Lt. Callans became separated from the rest of the Squadron flying through the clouds over the North Sea was headed east at 27,000ft when he saw six P-47s flying in the opposite direction in the vicinity of the east coast of the Zuider Zee. He pulled sharply to the left but his right wing struck the other aircraft, he then circled twice over the area but could not find any trace of the other plane so proceeded towards the target. Meager light, inaccurate flak was shot up from the vicinity of Middenmeer, it was low and in front of us. The P-51s came in to R/V near Garrel. We left the Second Task Force at 12:02 hrs and made left hand turn at Ganderkesee. We saw attacks being made on the B-17s of the First Task Force but were too low on gas to offer the bombers any help then. Target area was observed to be smoking badly. Two single engine E/A were attacking the Forts over Varel and Lt Col. Duncan shot down one of these. Dense smoke screen was seen at Wilhelmshaven where we turned west. Lt. Corrigan saw a B-17 crash into the ground in the vicinity of Westerstede; four white chutes were seen to open. Emden was covered by an ineffective smoke screen but intense, heavy flak was shot up at us from there, it was accurate for altitude and position. An A/C was seen to explode near Makkum, no chutes were observed. 3 P-47s were seen circling an area about mid-Channel. Down at base at 13:39 hrs. P-47 marked UN-I joined Lt. Marchant just west of Emden and he escorted this damaged plane back to Halesworth. This plane had large flak or 20mm holes in the right wing and left rear canopy. At the target area intense, heavy flak was fired at the bombers. Among it was seen about 12 bursts of telephone pole flak, they bursted [sic] at about 28,000ft. Weather-overcast of altostratus base 18,000 tops at 23,000 ft extending from mid-Channel to enemy coast. Scattered altocumulus over Continent. R/T air to air good, contact with bombers on “C” channel exceptionally good. 13 a/c down at Metfield 13:39 hrs, 1 down at a field near Bodney and 1 down at Seething.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff
1st Lt William F. Streit
2nd Lt Russell E. Moriarty
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Herman Herfurth
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt William S. Marchant
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Glenn C. Callans SX-? 42-7900

Lt Col Duncan who scored an Fw190 destroyed reported:

I was leading the Group, flying with the 352nd Squadron. As we came to the target area our limit of endurance was reached and a wide sweeping left turn was made so as to take us passed the 1st ATF. As we were overtaking the B17’s a couple of stragglers were seen in trouble flying at about 20000ft. A couple of Fw190’s were seen picking on one of these 17’s. I called for top cover to keep a wary eye while a few of us spiraled down from 28000ft and engaged the Fw’s. Capt Hoey approached one Fw but the jerry half rolled to the deck. I came in behind another Fw as he was positioning himself on the straggling B17. As I came in range the Fw’s made a turn to the right trying to evade. I opened fire at approximately 350 yards with about  one and one eighth ring deflection. I closed on down to about 150 yards when I saw strikes on the right side of the airplane and canopy. At this time the e/a started to roll over so I rolled with him continuing to fire. I pulled up enough to miss the Fw and saw a belly tank and a rocket gun under each wing. I looked down and saw the e/a going down vertically.

Duncan’s wing man, 2nd Lt Edison G Stiff, was credited with an Fw190 probable:

As White #2 in Wakeford lead Squadron I started to follow Colonel Duncan in his dive on the e/a. I looked back and thought I saw an e/a on my tail. I broke and evaded this aircraft. I then saw a Fort in trouble and as I flew toward it I saw a parachute which seemed to be silver color. The Fort was then spinning down. At this moment I looked in the distance and saw an Fw190 attacking a returning B24. I attacked out of the Sun and started firing at about 6 to 700 yards in a turn. I closed to line astern very rapidly and saw strikes on the wing and fuselage.

The Fw190 was evading very violently and turned over and dived down. I followed and saw strikes as I fired again. He pulled up and I closed, still firing, to within 10 feet of the e/a, swerving violently to avoid collision.

As I passed him I could see the pilot sitting very still not moving or looking around. I then broke down to prevent an attack on my aircraft. As I pulled out I saw the e/a in a gradual turning dive seemingly uncontrolled. There was at this time a column of grayish smoke trailing behind him. I was very low by this time so I hit the deck and came home at 0 feet. I fired at a row of e/a parked on an airfield several miles east of the Zuider Zee. I passed up firing on several boats, locks in canals and trains on the way out. 

Group Aborts/Early Returns/Battle Damage:

42-22469 ABT oil leak YJ-Z
42-8005 ABT belly tank wouldn’t draw LH-?
42-7900 Mid Air  Collision BD Cat A SX-? Lt. Callans

Question time:

The mission for December 20, 1943 has a number of interesting and tragic events that I would certainly like to follow up. The collision witnessed by members of the Group was likely to be that of Capt. Paul H. Hyde of the 361st FS, 356th FG with a B-24. I am looking for confirmation that this was the collision and the details of the B-24 involved.

Some further questions that it shouldn’t be too hard to answer for the experts out there – it would be nice to know further details on the pilot and circumstances of UN-I of the 63rd FS, 56th FG escorted home by Lt. Marchant. It would also be helpful to know the identity of the aircraft Lt. Callans collided with and the fate of its pilot.

Over to you…

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Mission#54 December 13, 1943 – Target: Bremen

Date: Dec 13, 43

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 6 Mission: Target support to 3 CW’s, 180 B-17’s

Field Order: 199 Target: Bremen

Time Up/Down: 10:25 hrs 13:17 hrs Leader: Major Rimerman

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

Made L/F at Den Helder 11:22 hrs, 27,000ft. Proceeded on course and 25 miles east of Leeuwarden. Heavy overcast made exact locations unknown. When approx south of Emden bombers seen on course at 11 o’clock. When approx south of Wilhelmshaven bombers had turned and seen on a southerly course. Group leader turned right on an intersecting course and R/V with 2nd box of the Combat Wing at 12:00 hrs just north of the target. Stayed with the bombers until 12:20 hrs. Out enemy coast at Alkmaar at 23,000ft, 12.26 hrs. Contrails to the south of the target and Wilhelmshaven proved to be P-47s coming in. At 12:20 hrs another Group of P-47s seen coming in. Some pilots observed bombs being dropped but due to overcast results could not be seen. Other pilots also observed bombs dropped at 12:05 hrs on a westerly course. No e/a seen. Two rounds of 3 bursts of blue gray smoke seen in arc pattern at approx 30,000ft in target area. Moderate flak at target directed mainly at bombers. One B-17 seen to peel out of first formation heading east after the target. Another seen to leave formation five minutes after leaving target. Contact made with 4th Group on “C” Channel but unable to contact the bombers. Radio whine as usual but transmission and reception good. Capt. Rose, Major Rimerman, Capt. Stafford and Lt. Herfurth [not on flight plan] of Group participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:30 hrs. T/D 13:15 hrs. Total flight time 2:45 hrs. Scheduled course: L/F at 11:23, 27,000ft to Emden at 11:39, 30,000ft, to R/V IP at 11:54 to Bremen (target) at 12:05 to Syke at 12:07 to L/F out at 12:38 to home at 13:02. Capt Pidduck led Squadron with Capt Newhart leading second section. Capt Pidduck returned early because of mechanical failure leaving Capt Newhart as Squadron leader. R/V made with bombers at 12:00. Squadron took up position on right side of bomber formation. B-17s dropped bombs about 12:05 on westerly course. Overcast prevented observing bombing results. One B-17 was seen to fly out of formation, but all engines were going and no smoke was seen. One wheel was down. No e/a were seen. Flak: Few heavy bursts vicinity of Groningen on course in directed at fighters but was low and accurate. Weather: Ground visible Zuider Zee area but overcast vicinity target.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt William W. Odom
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo

351st: Major Rimerman. T/U 10:15 hrs. T/D 13:00 hrs. Total flight time 2:45 hrs. Route: In Den Helder-Emden to R/V North of target-Bremen-out at Egmond. Squadron made landfall at Den Helder 11:21 hrs at 26,000ft. Proceeded on course, but due to solid overcast from Groningen on, check points could not be seen. As Squadron estimated R/V, bombers were sighted leading south. R/V was made at 12:08 hrs. One of the bombers was seen ahead making a right turn, evidently having made their bomb run. Left bombers at 12:20 hrs, after another group of P-47s, which came from the south, joined the bombers. As Squadron neared the Zuider Zee one box of bombers was seen at 3 o’clock. Also, while crossing the Zuider Zee 3 B-17s were seen, also at 3 o’clock flying in formation. Squadron left the coast at 12:35 hrs at 23,000ft. No E/A were seen. On route in and out 11:20 hrs a terrific high whining noise was experienced on R/T. Also at 12:29 hrs on return route the same noise was heard. R/T same as usual throughout the rest of the mission.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn & Gp Ldr)
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell
Major Walter C. Beckham
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
Capt Jack R. Walsh
F/O Joseph E. Wood
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
Capt Vic L. Byers
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
Capt Charles L. Stafford

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:28 hrs. T/D 13:07 hrs. Total flight time 2:39 hrs. Squadron made landfall about 10 miles south of De Kooy at 11:22 hrs, as planned, at 29,000ft. R/V with second box of bombers over target at 11:58 hrs, seven minutes ahead of target time. Bombers were flying a spread out formation. Some pilots observed bombs being dropped but no results could be seen due to overcast. No E/A were seen at any time during the mission. Bombers were flying at 28-30,000ft and we were at 34-36,000ft. Left bombers at 12:18 hrs, making landfall at 12:34. 2 clusters of 3 each telephone pole rocket flak fired over target into bomber formation. Meager to moderate, inaccurate flak fired at us from Groningen and Emden, and from Bremen at the bombers. One straggler from 1st box of B-17s seen diving and pulled out in low cloud headed west. Overcast of strato-cumulus, tops at 3-5,000ft, eastward of Zuider Zee. Cirro-stratus overcast at 25,000ft with persistent contrails at bomber level.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q 42-8376
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-L 42-22458
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans
1st Lt William F. Streit
2nd Lt Russell E. Moriarty
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Spare)
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Spare)

Group Aborts/Early Returns:

42-7910 ABT radio reception not good SX-J Lt. Vogel
42-8376 ABT oxygen system SX-Q Lt. Kipfer
42-22458 ABT glass elbow broken SX-L Lt. Keywan
42-8385 ABT cutting out at altitude YJ-M
42-8373 ABT belly tank pressure down LH-? Possibly Capt. Pidduck’s a/c
42-8392 ABT   prop out LH-?

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Mission#53 December 11, 1943 – Target: Emden

Date: Dec 11, 43

Dispatched: 48 Abort: 2 Mission: Target support to 240 B-17’s (1st Div)  Field Order: 198

Time Up/Down: 11:00 hrs 14:26 hrs Leader: Lt Col Duncan Target: Emden

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

Group crossed over the North Sea, advised by controller [that the] bombers were 30 minutes late, then later notified that they were 23 minutes late. Bombers sighted 30 minutes before actual contact. R/V with the bombers at 12:40 hrs. Proceeded with the bombers making right turn off Helgoland to Emden, left bombers at 13:07 hrs with other Group seen coming in. Out Den Helder 13:25 hrs at 25,000ft. Bombing appeared to be very well concentrated in target area. Effective smoke screen over Emden. Moderate and inaccurate flak from Aurich, barrage type from Emden. Combat Wing formation of bombers looked good. 20+ bogies seen far to the east of Emden but never came close enough for identification. One B-17 straggler seen at Stadskanaal unmolested. One B-17 seen coming out over North Sea when Group going in. One parachute seen to open just north of Emden. Contact with Goldsmith 2-3 very good up to IP. Radio whine intense but reception good. Lt Col. Duncan and Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group participated.

350th: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 11:05 hrs. T/D 14:15 hrs. Total flight time 3:10 hrs. Scheduled course: L/F at 12:03, 30,000ft to Anjum at 12:17 to R/V with B-17s (Essen at 12:32 to Emden at 12:38 to Nieweschans at 12:42 to Hoogesand at 12:45 to home at 13:19). R/V with B-17s made about 13:00 just north of Nordeney Island. Bombing results observed. Emden harbour area saturated. One parachute was seen to go down. No e/a encountered. Lt. Blickenstaff sighted 30 plus e/a far to the east of Emden. They were too far off to bounce or constitute a threat to bombers. Flak north to northeast of Emden medium to intense directed at bombers. Weather: Clear in target area and to north and northeast of target. Overcast with holes on route out. Capt. Hurst landed Red Flight at Docking.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:50 hrs. T/D 14:00 hrs. Total flight time 3:10 hrs. Squadron took from home base [Route: In Texel Island-Anjum to R/V Essen-Emden-out Den Helder] and shortly after setting course call was received from Parker that bombers would be 30 minutes late. Squadron throttled back and proceeded on course, Bombers were seen at 12:12 hrs, north of planned course. Course altered making R/V north of Ameland Island at 12:42 hrs. One B-17 seen turning back shortly after R/V. Bombers were flying in good formation which made escort comparatively easier than on previous missions. In general bombing results looked very good. Large explosions seen right in center of target. Left bombers at 13:10 hrs. Out the coast at 13:25 hrs at Haarlem at 29,000ft. No e/a were seen. R/T interference normal. Four planes landed at Downham Market. One pilot (Lt. Toppel) ground looped. No damage.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
1st Lt William J. Maguire
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt George N. Ahles
Capt Vic L. Byers
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 11:06 hrs. T/D 14:25 hrs. Total flight time 3:19 hrs. Squadron up Metfield at 11:06 hrs. Was proceeding on planned course when Parker called at 11:40 hrs saying “Big Friends were 30 minutes late.” C Channel reported call from bombers that they were only 23 minutes late. Group leader proceeded to bear left and throttled back in order to slow up and meet bombers on time. One group of fighters were seen to our right proceeding on original course. It is believed that they did not R/V. Our Group made R/V and turned right at approx 54 degrees-7 degree E and continued to target. Meagre, inaccurate, heavy flak shot at us from Langeoog. Target was covered by very dense smoke screen. Moderate, heavy, accurate flak was seen fired at the bombers from the target area. No casualties observed. Left bombers after target at which time another group R/V’d with them. We continued out over Gronningen. Meagre, heavy flak, accurate for altitude (30,000 feet) but behind, was fired at one of our flights from Leewarden. Squadron landed at base 14:25. Boxes of bombers were too scattered for good coverage. Bombing believed to have been successful, as bombs were seen to drop right in the target area. No E/A seen. Weather: Target area clear. North Sea about 4/10 cumulus. 10/10 over Channel and Zuider Zee, building from 6000 to 14,000ft. Middle layer of cloud at 15,000ft at south end of Zuider Zee. R/T fair. Parker very weak although our ground station came in very clear.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt William F. Streit
2nd Lt Russell E. Moriarty
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel

Group Aborts/Early Returns:

42-8674 ABT   anoxid gasket YJ-K
42-8375 ABT oil   leak YJ-D

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Mission#52 December 5, 1943 – Target: Paris

Date: Dec 5, 43

Dispatched: 50 Aborts: 4 Mission: Target support to 80 B-17’s (1st Div)  Field Order: 196

Time Up/Down: 10:17 hrs 13:01 hrs Leader: Major Bailey Target: Paris

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

Group made landfall at Cap Griz Nez at 26,000ft at 11:01 hrs directly behind the 56th Group. Saw four boxes of bombers (20 each box) in Channel to the right. R/V made at 11:28 hrs proceeding on course with bombers above solid overcast until 12:00 hrs when 352nd and 356th Groups came in. Out enemy coast at Cayeux at 12:09 hrs, 28,000ft. No stragglers seen. Able to contact Kenton 2-2. No bombing seen. No e/a seen. On course from what is believed to be vicinity of Bellville to target, one S/E A/C was seen going down in flames. Unable to read controller after mid Channel. Buzz saw whine interfered with transmission throughout mission. Lt. Thistlethwaite and Capt. Rose HQ participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:17 hrs. T/D 12:55 hrs. Total flight time 2:38 hrs. Squadron entered enemy coast on course at 27,000ft at 11:10 hrs. Proceeded on course to Port St Maxence where R/V was made about 10 mins later at 28,000ft. Followed course to Meaux Villenay where rear box swept west over Paris. Lead box south west over city. Squadron followed rear box over Paris. Both sections of bombers rejoined at Rambouillet, where we left the bombers. Followed course out east of Cayeux. Left turn out of Straits of Dover and then dive north to base. No e/a. No bombers in trouble. Very light flak out over Cayeux inaccurate. Weather over Channel in and out clear. Continent – solid overcast over target. Contrails from 27,000ft Horizontal visibility good, vertical poor. R/T fighter to fighter poor, steady hum and whine, reception rather weak.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns

351st: Capt Lefebre. T/U 10:10 hrs. T/D 12:55 hrs. Total flight time 2:45 hrs. Squadron took off at Metfield, made landfall at Sangatte at 11:07 hrs, altitude 27,500ft. Proceeded on course to Abbeville where Group leader made an orbit previous to making R/V. Squadron instead of making orbit swung off course to the right and then back into position. R/V was made slightly behind schedule at 11:30 hrs and altitude at the time being 33,000ft. A P-51 group was seen heading north over Amiens after R/V. Squadron took up position as top cover, escorting the bombers to 352nd and 356th R/V. Left bombers at 12:00 hrs, leaving coast at Berck at 12:13 hrs at 27,000ft. No E/A seen at any time. After leaving target area, bombers were seen flying in 4 distinct boxes. No stragglers were seen. R/T remained the same as on previous mission.

Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
Major Shannon Christian*
Capt Jack R. Walsh
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
1st Lt William J. Maguire
1st Lt Francis N. King
1st Lt Frank N. Emory
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards
2nd Lt George F. Perpente
F/O Cletus Peterson

*Returned to Squadron from Wing HQ for mission

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:16 hrs. T/D 12:47 hrs. Total flight time 2:31 hrs. Squadron took off as the lead squadron in the Group with Major Bailey as group leader. Squadron crossed the continental coast at 26,000 ft over cape Gris Nez, 3 minutes later than schedule. Proceeded on course to Grandvillers making a sweep to the left in order to R/V with the bombers in the correct place at the correct time. Made left hand turn to Port St Maxe, made right turn and proceeded to Belleville. On the course from Belleville to target, one single engine A/C was seen going down in flames. Made right turn at Breligny and one A/C believed to be an Me109 was seen circling over target area at about 14,000ft; it was making no attempt to attack. 352nd and 356th Gps were seen coming in to R/V at Rambouillet and we made a right hand turn and left the bombers at that point. The bombers were not observed to have dropped their bombs. Proceeded out and left the enemy coast over Le Touquet. Crossed English coast over North Foreland and landed at base at 12:47 hrs. Bombers were well covered over entire route and all fighter support seemed to R/V on time. Bombers were a little more scattered than expected. Three or four bursts of heavy, inaccurate flak was shot up at one flight of our Squadron from Boulogne; it burst at about 27,000ft. Horizontal visibility excellent, an overcast covered the continental coast and target area restricting vertical visibility, the top of this overcast was believed to have been around 12,000ft. Upon returning to base, the field was covered with an overcast, tops around 1,100 ft. R/T air to air communication good. Controller poor. “C” channel was good part of the time.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn & Gp Ldr)
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Abort) SX-E 42-22466
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (FLt Ldr)
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (FLt Ldr)
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel (Abort) SX-J 42-7910
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (FLt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz (Spare)
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer (Spare)

Group Aborts/Early Returns:

42-8380 ABT   belly tank release froze YJ-A
42-7903 ABT   tach out LH-?
42-7910 ABT   tach out SX-J Lt.   Vogel
42-22466 ABT   belly tank fuel pressure SX-E Lt.   Sperry

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Mission#51 December 4, 1943 – Target: Gilze-Rijen Airfield

Date: Dec 4, 43

Dispatched: 45 Aborts: 2 Mission: Thunder Bombing Field Order: 195

Time Up/Down: 13:52 hrs 15:50 hrs Leader: Major Rimerman

Target: Gilze Rijen

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

Group crossed enemy coast at Haamstede 14:47 hrs, 25,000ft (R/V with 56th Group). Flew on course to point north of Woensdrecht, 24,000ft, south of Breda 22,000ft, IP 18,000ft, Gilze Rijen Airfield, 10 miles north of the target. Coming out over Overflakke Island, 15:11 hrs, 14,000ft. Bombing dive began 16-18,000ft with 16 a/c of the 351st FS carrying a 500lb GP fused 1/10 sec nose, 1/100 sec tail. Pull out varied from 6 to 10,000ft angle of dive varying from 55 to 75 degrees. No flak was seen prior to bombing. 18 bursts seemed to be concentrated in the northwest dispersal area of the airfield, with 3 to 5 bursts in the vicinity of the runways, color of bursts varied from brownish to grayish-white. No flames observed. One T/E A/C seen intersection of runway. One T/E plane seen circling the field. Top [cover] provided by the 56th Group excellent. As Group was leaving target area, two pilots of the close escort reported seeing smoke possibly from fires coming from northwest dispersal area. One pilot unable to release bomb over target area and it was jettisoned in channel. R/T reception fairly good. Major Rimerman and Capt. Stafford of Group participated. One bomb was jettisoned in the Channel.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 13:50 hrs. T/D 15:45 hrs. Total flight time 1:55 hrs. Squadron made L/F over Haamstede on time at 25,000ft. R/V with fighters perfect. Followed course with 56th Fighter Group as top cover which was excellent. Bombing results good, numerous hits observed at point and sides of runway intersection. Very meagre flak over target inaccurate. Plan A followed. German used on Channel C at about 14:55. No shipping R/T good. Weather: Cloud 4/10 low cumulus over Dutch Islands. Same over target area. Visibility horizontally very good, slight haze. Vertical visibility good. Contrails at 25,000ft non persistent.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John L. Devane
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt John Sullivan

351st: Major Rimerman. T/U 13:52 hrs. T/D 15:44 hrs. Total flight time 1:52 hrs.  Squadron took off Metfield. Made landfall at Haamstede at 14:47 hrs, 25,000ft. Continued on course, making left turn onto bombing run at 14:59 hrs, and another left turn on pull onto course home. Left coast at 28,000ft. Bombing dive began at 18-20,000ft; angle approximately 50-60 degrees. Pull out varied from 8-10,000ft, speed about 400mph when releasing bombs. Some pilots zoomed up to 21-22,000ft, others made climbing turn. No flak seen prior to bombing. 10-15 bursts from 1-2 guns observed to right. Accurate for height, about 12-14,000ft, but inaccurate for direction, probably due to the left turn on the pull out. One twin engine plane seen circling the field. Another twin engine plane seen on runway intersection. Some bombs seen to explode to left of dispersal. Large plume of black smoke seen to rise to about 3,000ft. White smoke seen to drift from the north to the south across field after bombing. Bombs used, 500lb GP 1/10 sec nose fuse, 1/100 sec tail. One pilot, Capt Stafford, jettisoned bomb in Channel.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn & Gp Ldr)
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
Capt Charles L. Stafford
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt George F. Perpente
1st Lt Frank N. Emory
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards
Capt Jack R. Walsh (Flt Ldr)
F/O Joseph E. Wood
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert

352nd: Capt Hoey. T/U 13:57 hrs. T/D 15:43 hrs. Total flight time 1:46 hrs. Squadron took off with Capt. Hoey leading due to the inability of Major Bailey to take off. Made landfall at Haamstede about 1 minute later than planned. Very small amounts of flak were seen, believed to have been shot up from Brielle. Proceeded along direct to Woensdrecht and made left hand turn. Began violent S’ing over route to target. Squadron leader called for left hand orbit over target. After a 270 degree turn was made Squadron proceeded on homeward course. Squadron left coast at Haamstede and landed at base 15:43 hrs. Squadron observed bomb results as follows: 2 hits in extreme northern part of #7 area; 2 hits in #1 area; 2 or 3 hits near tip of the a[rea?]; 3 hits just to the north of the road at the north of the field; smoke seen coming from 2 hits in the #1 area. Thin haze layer covered the continental coast and target area restricting visibility. Meager, heavy inaccurate flak was observed over the target area after bombs away. There was about 20 bursts at 18,000ft. No e/a were seen or encountered. R/T reception fair.

Capt Charles J. Hoey (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-K 42-8414
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff

At 16:15 hrs SX-K, piloted by Lt. Kipfer, was landing from the mission and blew a tyre causing it to nose over.

Group Aborts/Early Returns/Damaged:

42-22762 ABT engine failure ?
42-8396 ABT canopy frosted SX-T
42-8414 Landing accident Cat A SX-K Lt.   Kipfer

 

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Mission#50 December 1, 1943 – Target: Solingen. Crash – Lt. Joseph Rosenberg, 350th Fighter Squadron.

Date: Dec 1, 43

Dispatched: 48 Aborts: 6

Mission: Target support to 1st BD 120 B-17’s & 2nd BD B-24’s.

Field Order: 194 Time Up/Down: 10:28 hrs     13:42 hrs

Leader: Major Rimerman Target: Solingen

Claims Air: 03-01-02 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-07

Group was advised after leaving the English coast that bombers were 16 minutes late. Group continued on reduced power setting hoping to lose time and save gas. L/F made at just north of Overflake Island, 25,000ft, 11:22 hrs. P-47 group seen ahead. Flew course south of Eindhoven, Maeseyck, south of Cologne, Hamm, Munchen-Gladbach out Flushing, 22,000ft, approx 13:03 hrs. At point believed to be south of Cologne bombers seen ahead flying in a northerly course. R/V made approximately in the vicinity of Hamm, 12:00 hrs, bombers at 25-27,000ft. 352nd on the right, 350th on the top and the 351st on the left. At this time the Group leader received a call from lead bombers that they were being attacked, so Group leader went under the bombers and along formation to the front. No attacks observed on this division at that time. Group then made turn and came back through the middle of formation and went thru what was believed to be the target because heavy flak was intense and accurate for altitude. At 12:15 hrs Group observed P-47[s] coming in, contact was attempted but unsuccessful at that time. At 12:15 hrs over the target received a call from B-24S that e/a were making attacks from the rear. Group leader tried to contact Hadfield but unsuccessful, so Group leader took White flight and went back just in time to see 20+ Me110s, Me210s astern and above firing rockets from 800-1000 yards. 10+ Fw190s apparently top cover attacked this flight. One Me210 destroyed (shared with B-24) as flight took evasive action. 3 Fw190s about to make an attack on the bombers in target area at 12:05 hrs broken up and in resulting engagements two Fw190s were destroyed by Capt. Beckham. Near Maastricht one B-17 straggler being attacked by 3 e/a was picked up by one flight and escorted out. Stayed with bombers until 12:35 hrs leaving them approximately 15 miles west of Munchen Gladbach. First two boxes of bombers were in good formation, remainder was strung back so far that only one flight of P-47s able to be with each formation. Some bombs were dropped at 12:05 hrs, no results observed. Radio interference not as severe as usual, however, a mid-Channel intense sound similar to that of a saw mill which lasted for five minutes. Enemy tactics: In target area 350th Yellow flight turned into 10+ Me210s who had two or three flights of single engine a/c as top cover. This flight had to evade engagements when outnumbered. 18+ single engine e/a patrolling Dutch coast 15,000ft on route out apparently attempting to entice our fights to engage or to attack stragglers. 12 barges seen in Westerschelde near Antwerp. 10 Ship convoy reported off the coast of Dunkirk by relay pilot. Lt. Thistlethwaite, Capt. Rose, Major Rimerman of Group HQ participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:20 hrs. T/D 13:10 hrs. Total flight time 2:50 hrs. Squadron entered coast north of Westhhofd on time at 28,000ft. R/V with bombers in vicinity of Steekheid. Bombers about 16 minutes late 10:24 hrs. Escorted bombers till 12:12 hrs. Sighted about 15 e/a vicinity of Koln flying parallel course in opposite direction of bombers. About 40 e/a, Me109 & 210 seen converging on lone B-24. Ship blew up and one chute seen. Lt. Ireland and wingman broke up attack concentrating on 4 190s – claiming one probable by Lt. Ireland. Heavy accurate flak as to altitude near Koln. 352nd Group called in that they were coming in just as we were leaving the bombers. Weather: Low cumulus over Channel – some cirrus. Persistent contrails from 24,000ft up. Cirrus at 24,000ft over continent very thin. Visibility – horizontal unlimited, vertical good.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr) LH-U 42-74647
2nd Lt Joseph Rosenberg LH-Y 42-8697
1st Lt John L. Devane
1st Lt John Zolner LH-X 42-8634
Major Ben Rimerman

Blue and Yellow flight encountered 30 + Me109’s at 30000ft in the vicinity of the target. They were escorting Me210s and 110s equipped with rockets. 1st Lt. Wayne K. Blickenstaff was awarded an Me109 damaged:

Lt Zolner (my no 4) called a break. I decided the only thing to do was take one crack and get out, as we were passed our withdrawal time. I got on the tail of a Me109 and was closing when he started a turn to the right. The turn tightened up and I was almost stalling, giving him a couple of rings deflection and a short burst in which I saw strikes on his right wing. He rolled over and went down and I pulled up.

Later as I was coming out at about 8000ft between 8/10 cloud cover above and solid overcast below I saw an Me110 going down from about 10,000ft. As I was watching it, the left wing fell off and then the whole thing fell apart in small pieces’

1st Lt. Charles O. Durant, flying Pipeful Blue 2 was awarded an Me110 damaged after assessment of his gun camera film:

Blue and yellow flights were turning into 15 Me210’s flying in a ‘V’ formation escorted by Me109’s. During the turn, I looked around for Blue three and four, and couldn’t see them. During this time I lost Blue one in the Sun, so I found myself alone. I saw a Me110 at about two o’clock low, so I went in for an attack. I took a short burst from about 250 yards, but saw I was closing too fast. I started a slight turn to the right to cut down my closing speed to come in for another attack. I saw tracers low and out from my right wing. I pulled up and tightened my turn. About half a turn, a lone P-47 came down and the enemy fighter broke away.

1st Lt Robert N. Ireland leading the second element of Blue flight was able to claim an Fw190 probably destroyed:

About 20 + Me210’s were coming in from 4 o’clock to attack the bombers at their altitude. They were escorted by Me109’s and Fw190’s. We turned right into the formation of Me210’s. Before we completed our turn they had swept passed us and we were below their fighter cover. I lost sight of the number two man of our flight in the Sun when the enemy fighters came diving in head on at us. After breaking through them, turning tightly to the left I saw a B24 being attacked by Me210’s and Fw190’s. I dove into the attacking planes with my wing man, Lt Mueller, behind me and positioned myself astern with a flight of Fw190’s. We followed them around through violent evasive action in which these Fw190’s left the Fw190 I was chasing. The Fw190 I was attacking carried a belly tank. I fired several good bursts at varying ranges and deflection during the evasive action and finally closed to 150 yards and got in another good burst. I pushed over to keep him in my sights and a large piece flew off and smoke came out. We zoomed back up a few thousand feet and set course for home.

Back at Metfield 2nd Lt Joseph Rosenberg crashed Thunderbolt LH-Y (a/c 42-8697) as he landed. Rosenberg ran out of gas, according to Bill Price, and forgot to switch to another tank causing his engine to cut out. Rosenberg suffered injuries to his nose from the impact and unfortunately two work horses in the field at the time were killed [I have been unable to locate any crash report or investigation of any kind for the incident].

351st: Capt Beckham. T/U 10:28 hrs. T/D 14:05 hrs. Total flight time 3:45 hrs. Squadron took off Metfield. Made landfall over Schouwen Island, 11:25 hrs, 26,000ft. Proceeded slightly south of course, making R/V with bombers at 12:16 hrs, leaving coast near Ostende at 12:55 hrs. Flight led by Lt. Byers picked up a B-17 straggler (right inboard engine feathered) near Maestricht, before R/V with bombers and escorted it out. 3 e/a seen to be making attacks on this bomber before Lt. Byers arrived. Capt. Beckham and his wingman broke up an attack on the bombers by 3 Fw190s, claiming 2 Fw190s destroyed by Capt. Beckham. Engagement occurred just after R/V with bombers. R/T at 11:[??] hrs and 16,000ft, a loud “sawmill” buzzing on channel A, disrupting transmission.

Capt Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
F/O Cletus Peterson

YJ-H

42-8379

2nd Lt Herbert K. Field
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
2nd Lt John G. Treitz
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt George F. Perpente
1st Lt Frank N. Emory
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards
1st Lt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr)
F/O Joseph E. Wood
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
2nd Lt Jack Terzian

Capt. Beckham in the lead flight claimed a two Fw190’s destroyed:

On rendezvousing with the bombers at 12:00 hrs about 5 minutes before they bombed I observed three Fw190’s below at about 20,000ft approaching a lone bomber. F/O Peterson, my number 2 and I dived down attacking them from the rear. We were able to catch one of them before they made any attacks, starting firing at fairly long range, probably 600 yards. Continued firing as we closed seeing constant flashes from strikes. The 190 was on fire as I passed.

The other two apparently were unaware of our attack for they were attacking the lone Fort from his right side and circling around to come in again from the same side. They had each made one attack and one of them was circling around for another one. I was able to close on one of the 190’s from directly out of the Sun. I held fire until I was about 200 yards away and dead astern, then fired and continued firing until I overshot, observing flashes all up and down the plane most of the time. As I passed I could see he was burning so badly that flame extended from the rear of the engine all the way back to the tail on the left hand side.

I was using a load of all incendiary ammunition. Although I did not notice pieces coming off as is customary with AP, both planes catching fire so easily seems to indicate that incendiary is fully as potent, if not more so, than the previous combination.

This action took place at about 18,000ft. I could not locate the third Fw190 so started regaining altitude noting that the bombers were dropping their bombs at this time 12.05 hrs. About a minute later when Peterson and I were at 27,000ft and starting to withdraw, three Me109’s came in from our left and slightly above. We went into a Luftberry [sic] circle with them.

After a few seconds, during which we were about holding our own, several other Me109’s showed up. Two of the first three 109’s were near enough to F/O Peterson to fire. There were no other 47’s in the immediate vicinity so I thought we should terminate the engagement. I called Peterson, instructing him to go straight down for the cloud deck and weave on his way. He received the message OK, acknowledging the call. We both entered the cloud layer and flew home in it.

Just before reaching the coast I came out into one of the little open spaces that had been giving me trouble and saw 18 or 20 Fw190’s about six or seven thousand feet above flying eastward. Several of their wings turned up sideways, so I used full power nosing down from the 8,000ft of altitude that I had, going under another lower cloud layer. Arrived at the coast (I believe south east of Knocke) out of this dive and emptied the remaining ammunition at scattered coastal installations.

F/O ‘Pete’ Peterson had a narrow escape. The attackers managed to strike his wing with a 20mm shell knocking out his airspeed indicator and wing brace. He landed at another field which probably explains why Wing records initially indicated him as MIA.

352nd  : Major Rimerman. T/U 10:28 hrs. T/D 13:32 hrs. Total flight time 3:04 hrs. Squadron was flying lead position in group with Major Rimerman leading. Made landfall south of Noordwall at 25,000ft at 11:22 hrs. Continued on course at a reduced power setting as we knew the bombers were to be late. A 47 Group was observed going in ahead of us. It is believed that they did not R/V with bombers. We were south of the target area when we saw the bombers off to the north at 11:55 hrs and we made R/V with the bombers at 12:00 hrs, they were flying at 27,000ft.  We received a call from the bombers that they were being attacked from the rear, the first section of squadron diving underneath of the bombers and the second section flying over the top. No e/a  were observed making attacks. We turned to go back and go over the bombers but heavy flak came between us which was moderate and accurate on the bombers. We observed a P-47 group coming in at 12:15 hrs, believed to be the 352nd Group but we could not contact them. We jitterbugged at 12:15 hrs and at 12:20 Kenton 2 gave us a call that 190s were attacking us. We went back and arrived in time to see 20 plus Me109s plus 110s making a beautiful coordinated attack on the rear box of the 2nd Task Force bombers. 10 plus twin engine E/A firing rockets closed in from astern on the rear box of 24s and white flight dove down to break the attack but before they could come within shooting range five Me190s attacked white flight. White flight turned into the Me109s and when E/A didn’t press the attack white#3, Lt. Newman, closed in on an Me210 which was still attacking the B-24S and got hits which he believed destroyed the 210. At about 12:25 hrs five Me109s were observed attacking a lone B-17 flying westward at about 18,000ft. 2 planes from red flight dove after the E/A which broke away before we could get within shooting range. Left enemy coast at 12:55 hrs in the vicinity of Flushing. 12 barges were seen in the Honte of Westerschelde close to the city of Antwerp. A 10 ship convoy was reported of the coast of Dunkirk by our relay pilot. High cirrus cloud at 30,000ft, middle and low clouds were such that it provided a 9/10 cloud coverage over the target area with tops at about 18,000ft. R/T reception fair, controller was weak. Addition: On the way out 1 P-47 with indiscernible printing where the squadron letters should be was seen flying near the Group of other P-47s marked HV. This plane had other conventional markings

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn and Gp Ldr)
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin (landed at Raydon)
Major William B. Bailey (Flt Ldr) SX-? 42-8531
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens

Over Solingen the Squadron encountered several twin engine aircraft. 1st Lt. Robert A Newman, flying White 3, was able to line up on one close to the bombers:

Our flight went down to attack a bunch of 110’s and 210’s that were attacking the last box of B-24’s. We got within 800 to 1000 yards of them, and then were bounced by about 6 109’s that were cover for the twin engine e/a. We broke into them and then up. The 109’s didn’t press the attack and kept going down, so I took another look at the Libs. There was a lone Me210 going at the rear box, so I called the leader and told him I was going down to have a  try at the 210. The e/a got within range of the Libs before I could fire, and started to fire his rockets. The tail guns of the Libs were firing at him and I saw them get a piece of his right wing. I had closed to about 400 yards by the time the 210 broke off his attack on the Libs – he broke down in a left turn and I followed him down and under the bombers. I fired 3 good bursts and observed strikes on the right wing root and fuselage of the e/a. He then half rolled and headed straight down – then exploded. The e/a was definitely destroyed, and owing to the fact that both the B24 and I contributed to its destruction I believe we should share the claim.

Group Aborts/Early Returns/Damaged:

42-8398 ABT   belly tank wouldn’t draw LH-?
42-8380 ABT   engine cut out YJ-A
42-22459 ERTN   escort YJ-I
42-22462 ABT   radio connectors SX-P
42-8664 ABT   engine cut out SX-?
42-8390 ABT   radio dynamotor burned out SX-I
42-8379 BD [20mm   strike in wing] YJ-H F/O Peterson flying a/c.
42-74647 BD Cat   AC LH-U Lt. Blickenstaff
42-8380 BD Cat   AC YJ-A
42-8531 BD Cat   AC [flak] SX-? Major Bailey flying a/c (formally SX-C).
42-74659 BD Cat   AC ? Possibly Lt. Devane
42-8697 Crash   landing LH-Y Lt.   Rosenberg.
42-8634 BD Cat   A LH-X Lt.   Zolner.

 

 

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Mission#49 November 30, 1943 – Target: Solingen

Date: Nov 30, 43

Dispatched: 47 Aborts: 4 Mission: Target support to 1st Div 300 B-17’s.

Field Order: 193 Target: Solingen

Time Up/Down: 09:58 hrs 12:44 hrs Leader: Major Rimerman

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

Group passed over Schouwen Island on time at 10:52 hrs. Flew on course to point 11:13 hrs, continued five minutes beyond, when no bombers seen left turn was made and northern course flown until 11:22 hrs. Thinking bombers to be late another left turn was made and course 270 degrees flown until 11:30 hrs. Still no bombers seen so Group leader then forced to turn for home. Return to base leaving enemy coast over Schouwen Island out 11:57 hrs, 26,000ft. On way in one combat wing of B-17s picked up in mid Channel who appeared to abort over Dutch Islands. Coming out at 11:30 hrs Group of P-38s passed flying east. At 11:37 hrs, 4 boxes of B-17s coming in paralleling our course to the north. Group of P-47s seen coming in north of Antwerp and another Group just off the Dutch Islands. Both fighter and bomber intercom on C channel inland from enemy coast unsuccessful. No e/a seen. Usual R/T whine. Meagre flak Dutch Islands and at point believed to be Deln. Capt. Stafford, Rose and Major Rimerman of Group participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:05 hrs. T/D 13:00 hrs. Total flight time 2:55 hrs. Squadron met bomber formation about mid Channel. As continental coast was reached, bombers made right turn over Dutch islands and went back. Squadron proceeded on course to Julien flew 7 minutes beyond R/V then flew north for about 5 minutes. Picked up heading and flew course out. No e/a seen. Weather: solid overcast over Channel and continent, 10/10 over target area. Middle and low clouds. Contrails at 22,000ft. Horizontal visibility good. Vertical visibility poor.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John L. Devane
1st Lt John Zolner
2nd Lt Joseph Rosenberg

351st: Major Rimerman. T/U 09:50 hrs. T/D 12:40 hrs Total flight time 2:50 hrs. Route: In at Haamstede – to N of Duren – to Solingen – out over Flakkee Island.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn & Gp Ldr)
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
Capt Charles L. Stafford
F/O Joseph E. Wood
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
1st Lt David C. Kenney
2nd Lt John G. Treitz
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt Vic L. Byers
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
1st Lt William R. Burkett
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert

352nd: Capt. Robertson. T/U T/D Total flight time [** NB times are missing from Squadron records]. Squadron made landfall at Cape Gris Nez at 11:02 hrs. Proceeded on course and made left hand turn over target. One P-47 was observed to be hit by flak causing a large black puff of smoke with flames trailing. Made landfall out at Cape Gris Nez at 11:20 hrs.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
2nd Lt William S. Marchant
1st Lt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt William J. Jordan
1st Lt Robert A. Newman
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh (350th)

Group Aborts/Early Returns:

42-8398 ABT   belly tank wouldn’t draw LH-?
42-7903 ABT   supercharger not working LH-?
42-8478 ABT   stay brace on belly tank broke YJ-Y
42-22483 ABT   belly tank not drawing gas YJ-G

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Mission#48 November 29, 1943 – Target: Bremen

Date: Nov 29, 43

Dispatched: 51 Aborts: 8

Mission: Penetration Support to 3rd Div 180 B-17’s.

Field Order: 192 Target: Bremen

Time Up/Down: 12:43 hrs 15:30 hrs Leader: Major Duncan

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

Group set course from home base at 13:08 hrs. Due to the 10/10 clouds along the course points of landfall and R/V were are problematical. At the planned R/V the bombers were seen off to the left and a left turn made. Bombers flying a course about 180 degrees magnetic. R/V was made shortly after 13:59 hrs. Bombers were at 28 to 30,000ft. Bomber formation covered an extremely wide area. Escorted the bombers until 14:20 hrs. At 14:07 hrs one B-17 pulled away from lead box of formation and headed back. Just as Group leader was forced to return due to reaching limit of endurance contrails from E/A flying singly and in twos and threes were seen approaching the bombers from the east. White and Red flight of the lead Squadron turned into the nearest gaggle of Me109s and dispersed them. One pilot fired guns but makes no claim. More P-47s were seen making R/V with the bombers. On the way out meagre heavy flak was encountered, accurate for height, inaccurate for direction. Two large bursts of red smoke was seen to go up in front of one flight reaching a height of 34 to 35,000ft. R/T whine intense, but air to air intercom fairly good. Contact with the bombers (Phone box 1-1) successful. Apparently bombers did not standby as further attempts to contact them were futile. Lt. Thistlethwaite [and Major Duncan] participated.

350th: Major Duncan. T/U 12:43 hrs. T/D 15:30 hrs. Total flight time 2:47 hrs.  Course: L/F to Schiermonnikoog to R/V to Strucklingen to home. Major Duncan led Squadron. R/V was made with the bombers at approximately 14:00 hrs over North Sea. Escort position was taken up on left side of B-17s. Just as Squadron left bombers, 3 Me109s with red squares or stripes on fuselage were sighted at 26,000ft flying almost 90 degrees to course of Squadron which was 28,000ft. Capt Hurst, red flight leader, turned his flight to attack but could not turn sharp enough. One of the 3 Me109s immediately split s’d while the other two continued a climbing turn. Before Capt Hurst’s flight could close to a good range the Me109s split s’d for the deck. No guns were fired. Flak: on course out 2 red bursts of marker flak were observed among bursts of flak of medium intensity. Flak low, inaccurate as to course. Weather: solid overcast over enemy territory.

Major Glenn E. Duncan (Sqdn & Gp Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt John Zolner
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
2nd Lt Joseph Rosenberg

Major Duncan reported:

We saw numerous contrails but too far away to go after. As we were about half way out of the continent I saw one lone contrail coming towards us from about eleven o’clock. As I closed head on I saw that it was an Me109. I tried to make a direct head on pass at him but the e/a turned away and down. My only shot was a very short burst at great deflection. The e/a half rolled down into the cloud. He must have thought that we would fall in a trap because he poked his nose back up through the cloud probably hoping to catch one of the P-47’s unawares. As we were waiting for such a tactic and were almost on him he immediately half rolled and we saw no more of him.

351st: Capt Beckham. T/U 12:35 hrs. T/D 15:20 hrs. Total flight time 2:45 hrs. Route: In at Texel Island – to Norden, to Frieseythe – out N of Egmond.

Capt Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
F/O Joseph E. Wood
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
1st Lt David C. Kenney
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt Vic L. Byers
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert

352nd: Unknown. T/U T/D Total flight time

[**NB the flight plan and mission roster are missing from Squadron records. If anyone has details please get in touch]

Group Aborts/Early Returns:

42-7958 ABT   belly tank punctured YJ-V
42-8478 ABT oil   leak YJ-Y
42-7972 ABT   prop coolant YJ-P
42-22464 ABT   belly tank wouldn’t release ?
42-8471 ABT gas   fumes in cockpit SX-S
42-22466 ERTN   escort SX-E
42-[2]8390 ABT   pilot error SX-I
42-7910 ABT   pilot sick SX-J

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Mission#47 November 26, 1943 – Target: Bremen

Date: Nov 26, 43

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 6      Mission: Support 2nd TF (120 B-17’s & 120 B-24’s)

Field Order: 191 Time Up/Down: 10:39 hrs 13:42 hrs

Leader: Major Duncan Target: Bremen

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

Group made landfall at Den Helder at 11:31 hrs, 27,000ft. At 11:50 hrs when Group over Emden, bombers were seen over sea to the north. No bombers at planned R/V point. Group flew on course to coverage with bombers coming from the North. Over Wilhelmshaven flak and contrails seen target area, believed to be first TF on way out. Actual R/V made with first box of bombers at point believed to be Gluckstadt at 12:07 hrs, 29,000ft. Rest of bombers considerably strung out making adequate escort difficult. Flew course with the bombers until 12:14 hrs leaving them just prior to target. On way out Group overtook first TF near Wolvega. P-47 escort plentiful. Left enemy coast at Ijmuiden 12:52 hrs, 22,000ft. Effective smoke screen over Emden. Meagre flak Leeuwarden, Emden, Ijmuiden. One B-17 seen heading northwest vicinity Wesermunde. One B-17 seen under formation heading west vicinity of Heerenveen. One B-17 seen on fire vicinity Assin. Radio whine intense. A 5 or 6 ship convoy seen heading south between Borkum Island and Roodeschool. Capt. Rose and Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated in the mission.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:40 hrs. T/D 13:40 hrs. Total flight time 3:00 hrs. Entered enemy coast 15 miles north of Egmond at 27,000ft. Proceeded over Emden at 12:05. R/V with bombers over Emden. Swept around right of bombers and came right out, due to gas [Shortage]. Flak seen over Emden; poor height. Came out over enemy coast north of Den Helder. No e/a seen. Weather: Middle cloud 3/10 over target. Horizontal visibility good. Vertical fair. Contrails at 32,000ft.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr aborts)
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Tom Lorance
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Flt Ldr and then Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo
1st Lt John L. Devane
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Dewey E. Newhart
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh

351st: Capt Beckham. T/U 10:30 hrs. T/D 13:35 hrs. Total flight time 3:05 hrs. Route: In at Den Helder – to Emden – R/V W of Wesermunde – out at Texel Island.

Capt Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre
1st Lt Frank N. Emory
Major Shannon Christian*
1st Lt William J. Maguire
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt John G. Treitz
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik
2nd Lt George F. Perpente
F/O Cletus Peterson
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt

*Interesting that Major Christian flew the mission as he had left the Squadron to go to Wing HQ November 10, 1943.

352nd: Unknown. T/U T/D Total flight time

[**NB the flight plan and mission roster are missing from Squadron records. If anyone has details please get in touch]

Lts. Streit and Jordan landed at Framlingham and stayed overnight.

Group Aborts/Early Returns

42-8664 ABT oil leak ?
42-7904 ABT engine cut out SX-F
42-8376 ABT oil leak SX-Q
42-8001 ABT gas line broke LH-V
42-8393 ABT prop out LH-Q
42-8478 ABT belly tank wouldn’t release YJ-Y

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