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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