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…


Filed under 352nd Fighter Squadron, Missions

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

  1. Rick Peck

    Capt. Paul H. Hyde wingman said the B-24 banked sharply hitting Hyde’s P-47 with the B-24 wing torn off between the motors.Lt. Callans may have collided with either one or parts from them.
    The 356 FG book has the account written by the wingman – they collided hard.
    As for UN-I that was F/o Walter R Frederick 63rd FS .
    This was his regular P-47D.Photo link here:
    Frederick flew 85 missions with the 63rd FS but was KIA with the 507 FG over Japan.

    • Thanks for this – I have the MACR for Capt Hyde but didn’t put up details as I want to keep the 353 focus. Maybe someone should start a 356th blog?
      Full credit also to Peter Randall’s Littlefriends website also for the UN-I info. Peter has over the years put in thousands of hours work to create an unparalleled research resource on the heritage of 8th FC. This is another of the many occasions we are in his debt.
      I’m less sure about the Callans collision – reads like a completely separate incident to me?

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