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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