Mission#64 January 11, 1944 – Target: Halberstadt and Brunswick. The loss of Lt. Victor L. Vogel, 352nd Fighter Squadron.

Date: Jan 11, 44

Dispatched: 58 Aborts: 4

Mission: Penetration support to 2nd AFT, 300 B-17’s (3rd Div)

Field Order: 216

Time Up/Down: 10:10 hrs 13:35 hrs Leader: Major Beckham

Target: Halberstadt and Brunswick

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

Group started to pass miscellaneous groups of bombers, identified as 3rd Division, at the English coast at 10:35 hrs, 5 minutes after setting course. Bombers were at 12-14,000ft. Passed bombers along the route until approximate vicinity of Zuider Zee, where the lead box met at 11:05 hrs, 25,000ft. Proceeded with bombers reaching Dummer Lake at 11:36 hrs where fake recall was given. Actually left B-17s at 11:45 hrs at Hess Oldendorf. When passing Lingen on way out saw six Groups approx 140 bombers, lead Groups B-24s heading west. These bombers were escorted from 12:05 hrs until 12:20 hrs almost to the Dutch coast. S E Lingen single P-38 seen in a steep dive, but seemed under control. At 12:05 hrs NW Lingen 8 B-24s sighted by Roughman Yellow flight being attacked by 6-8 Me109s. Two B-24s seen to go down. When Yellow flight arrived E/A immediately dove and evaded. When flight went back up, e/a positioned for another attack. This was also broken up. E/A would not engage and finally left. Two pilots report seeing bomb bursts in the distance believed to be Forstenau. Two rockets leaving parallel gray smoke trails to 26-27,000ft seen approx vicinity of Almelo. Meagre flak at U/I points along route. R/T air to air poor except Goldsmith 2-1 which was very good. Parker good – whine more severe than usual. 1st Lt. Victor L. Vogel, 352nd MIA. No HQ pilots [participated].

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:18 hrs. T/D 13:30 hrs. Total flight time. 3:12 hrs. Squadron picked up bombers off English coast and escorted them to the vicinity of Dummer Lake. Several orbits were made over bombers on course in. L/F off Ijmuiden at 11:00 hrs at 25,000ft. Out enemy coast N of Amsterdam at 12:35 hrs. Weather did not permit visual. Check points used. Meagre flak was observed in Henglo-Enschede area. Also two twin rockets seen in same area 26,000ft. Capt Fortier and Lt Sullivan saw bombing of target of opportunity at Furstenau. Weather 10/10 clouds.

Col Glenn E. Duncan* (Sqdn 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

*I have made the assumption that Col. Duncan aborted and Capt. Pidduck took over.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:10 hrs. T/D 13:35 hrs. Total flight time 3:25 hrs. Route: Landfall over Ijmuiden, R/V made and bombers escorted to Stadthagen area. Came out of enemy territory north of Amsterdam. Squadron took off Metfield, making landfall at Ijmuiden at 11:00 hrs, 25,000ft (approximate because of solid overcast). Proceeded on course. Bombers were late so orbited just after crossing Zuider Zee (estimated) and R/V made at 11:10 hrs. Escorted them as far as Stadthagen area. Crossed out enemy coast north of Amsterdam at 12:35 hrs, 22,000ft. 6-8 unidentified A/C flying west parallel to Squadron, Emden area, were seen by one flight as Squadron on way out. 8 B-24s seen at Zwolle area, 22,000ft, on way out. 6-8 Me109s seen to make attacks on bombers, from five and six o’clock. One B-24 seen to peel off, head down and burst into flame. No chutes seen. One other bomber, with one engine out, left formation and went into clouds. One flight of Squadron dove down, succeeding in breaking up attacks. When flight went back up, E/A again positioned themselves for attack. This was also broken up. E/A would not engage and finally left. Smoke screen over Bremen. Red rocket fire seen near Rheine at 22,000ft. Radio generally good. Could hear both Parker and Boyhood. Overcast west of Emden-Rheine line, clear east of there. Major Hopkins, Capt. Casto and Capt. Fellor of the 361st Group participated in this mission.

Major Walter C Beckham (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
Major Wallace Hopkins YJ-L
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
F/O Cletus Peterson YK-K
1st Lt William R. Burkett (Flt Ldr) YJ-Z 42-22469
1st Lt Francis N. King YJ-P 42-7972
1st Lt David C. Kenney YJ-D
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman (Flt Ldr) YJ-N
Capt C H Feller YJ-T
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-E
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
Capt Dayton C. Casto E2-E
1st Lt George N. Ahles YJ-A 42-8380
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-W
1st Lt William J. Maguire (Flt Ldr) YJ-M
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert YJ-U
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan (Spare) YJ-Y
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell (Spare) YJ-V

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:14 hrs. T/D 13:19 hrs. Total flight time 3:05 hrs. Squadron up Metfield. Group set course on time and climbed through the overcast. Out over the North Sea one CW of bombers was seen to turn and come back. We believe we made L/F on course, on time. Sky was 10/10 overcast. Group drew two bursts of meager, heavy accurate flak, believed to be from Amsterdam. Reached R/V point but did not see bombers. Proceeded on course, made one left orbit and then another left orbit. Withdrew at 11:45 hrs. Believed we flew N of planned course on way out and over vicinity of Meppel we passed over one CW of bombers. 11 Bogies were seen passing under us going east at 20,000ft. Six more bursts of meager, heavy inaccurate flak were shot at us believed at landfall out. Over North Sea and at approximately 12:35 one P-47 was observed going straight in. It is believed he was out of oxygen. Squadron down at base at 13:19 hrs. Additional flak, meager, heavy, inaccurate from Osnabruck area. 10/10 overcast over entire route. One big hole E of R/V point, but it was such that vertical visibility was poor. Contrails from 15,000ft. R/T – “A” channel poor, “C” channel contact with Goldsmith 2-1 was good, 2-2 and 2-3 was fair. Did not contact 2-4. Our Squadron furnished a relay who flew over enemy coast from Nordwijerhoot to Ostend. He drew meager, heavy, accurate flak all along his route over the enemy coast. Route: Landfall, Alt, R/V Drummond, W/D, landfall out, home.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-E
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam SX-U
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-O
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
1st Lt Victor L. Vogel W36 SX-F 42-7904
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr) SX-S
Capt Smith SX-C
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt. Duncan SX-Q
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Y
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-T
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr) SX-H
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-X
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (relay) E9-D

Returning over the North Sea, the Squadron suffered another tragic loss. 1st Lt Victor L. Vogel, from Sterling, Kansas, appeared to suffer an oxygen fault or became disorientated. 1st Lt. Robert P. Geurtz was his element lead in Red flight:

We were on our way home and I would say mid Channel. The time was approximately 12.30 or 12.35, our altitude was about 25000ft. The visibility was 250 to 500 yards. Lt. Vogel called to our leader and asked ‘Can’t we go below this stuff ?’ Our leader did not hear him and there was no reply. In a minute or so I looked back at my wing man and saw him make a shallow diving turn 180 degrees to us. I called and asked if he was OK. I received no answer. This was the last I saw of Lt. Vogel.

Capt Smith, flying Wakeford Blue #2, also reported seeing a P-47:

Diving out of the overcast above us. We were at 9,000ft. The P-47 was at about 9 o’clock and he disappeared into an overcast below which was about 4,000 to 5,000ft high. I did not notice him make any attempt to pull out.

Lt Vogel, flying Cliff Armstrong’s SX-F “8 Gun Melody” (P-47D-1 a/c 42-7904) was declared overdue and a search party of 16 aircraft from the Squadron, led by Capt Robertson, set out. They flew from 14.15 hrs to 16.00 hrs, line abreast, 100 yards apart, at 1000ft over the search area but could find nothing. The water was calm and visibility was good but, in the words of Capt Robertson ‘We observed nothing pertaining to Lt Vogel or aircraft SX-F.’

A well-known photo of Lt. Cliff Armstrong about to climb into his aircraft  SX-F "8 Gun Melody" (a/c P-47D-1-RE 42-7904). Lt. Vogel was lost flying this aircraft.

A well-known photo of Lt. Cliff Armstrong about to climb into his aircraft SX-F “8 Gun Melody” (a/c P-47D-1-RE 42-7904). Lt. Vogel was lost flying this aircraft.

In August 2002 I received an email from Nelson Russell, the great-nephew of Victor Vogel, attaching some scanned photos and giving the following information about his uncle:

Thank you for your response to my query regarding my great-uncle. Although I never met him I often heard stories of him from my father and grandparents almost always accompanied by tears. You have filled in some details that I found fascinating regarding his final mission. Unfortunately my father and grandparents all passed away without knowing the tragic details of his death. I hope to someday track down all of his military history to better know this man.

 

The Vogel family circa 1921-22. Victor Vogel is on his father's knee (Nelson Russell).

The Vogel family circa 1921-22. Victor Vogel is on his father’s knee (Nelson Russell).

I have some information as to his history before joining the Air Corps. He was born Victor Leon Vogel on November 6, 1919 the 10th and youngest child of Charles Vogel and Emma Pepperdine Clark. His mother Emma was born at St. Peter at Gowt, Fiskerton, Lincolnshire, England. His grandfather was Judge Ansell Clarke of Sterling, Kansas. Victor was raised on a small family farm in Sterling. He attended Duke University before joining the Air Corps, but did not graduate. He was a bit of an all rounder and a quite the ladies man as I have heard.

 

Lt. Vogel was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart. He is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Military Cemetery. You can find more information HERE.

Group Aborts/ERTNS/Losses:

42- 22469 ERTN   oil leak YJ-Z Lt.   Burkett flying
42- 7972 ERTN   oil leak YJ-P Lt.   King flying
42- 8380 ERTN pilot   illness YJ-A Lt.   Ahles flying
42-7940 ERTN   belly tank LH-M
42-7904 MIA SX-F Lt.Vogel   Flying
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1 Comment

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One response to “Mission#64 January 11, 1944 – Target: Halberstadt and Brunswick. The loss of Lt. Victor L. Vogel, 352nd Fighter Squadron.

  1. Thank you once again for a fabulous history lesson. Loved the added information provided by Lt. Vogel’s great nephew.

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