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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