Mission#65 January 14, 1944 – Target: Crossbow Area Patrol Pas des Calais

Date: Jan 14, 44

Dispatched: 58 Aborts: 1

Mission: Plan Eye Que – Patrol Area ‘E’ Field Order: 217

Time Up/Down: 13:55 hrs     17:04 hrs Leader: Capt Pidduck

Target: Crossbow targets

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

Group arrived at Albert, 14:56 hrs, 25,000ft. Dropped to assigned altitudes patrolling area “E” in figure 8 pattern leaving 15:55 hrs. One Fw190 landing at Rosiers en Santerre. A/D attacked by two flights of the 351st Squadron. No HQ pilots participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 14:05 hrs. T/D 17:05 hrs. Total flight time 3:00 hrs. Time in 14:45 at 25,000ft Gravelines. Time out 17:10 at 18,000ft at Cayeux. Area patrol was assumed on time. 8 ships of the 351 were observed to make a pass at an e/a  which appeared to be taxiing on a grass field containing 1 runway. Concentrated fire bursts were observed striking the ground around the e/a. Flak: About 20 heavy bursts directed at Squadron vicinity of St Omer. Accurate as to altitude and course but behind the Squadron. Heavy flak was seen coming up from the vicinity Hasdin, directed at bombers. No bombers seen to be in trouble. Weather: Horizontal visibility excellent. Ground haze, limited vertical visibility.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Robert E. Fortier
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
Lt Screws* (361st FG)
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
Lt Downey* (361st FG)
1st Lt John L. Devane
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

*Lt Screws and Lt Dewey from the 361st flew on this mission.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 13:50 hrs. T/D 16:50 hrs. Total flying time 3:00 hrs.  Route: Entered enemy territory over Gravelines and proceeded to patrol area. After patrolling, we left coast at Cayeux. Squadron made landfall at Gravelines at 14:43 hrs, 24,000ft. Proceeded on course to designated patrol area. Left at 15:55 hrs, out coast at Cayeaux at 18,000ft at 16;05 hrs. One Fw190 seen landing on airdrome just SE of Chaulines. Major Beckham called line astern to White flight and Red flight, going down for an attack. Several buildings SE of the field, control tower and gun emplacements were also hit. One bogie seen by Major Beckham about 20 miles south of our area, and after taking White and Red flight over to identify plane , it was a P-47 with letters CQ-H. One Fw190 damaged (on ground); 6 pilots fired, claim being shared by Major Beckham, Lt. Duncan, Capt. Stafford, Lt. Milligan, Capt. Byers and Lt. Burkett.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
Lt A. C. Duncan* (361st FG) YJ-K
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-U
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-L
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-S
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman (Flt Ldr) YJ-N
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
Lt M. H. Johnson* (361st FG) YJ-D
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-W
2nd Lt Irving Toppel (Spare) YJ-I

*Lt A C Duncan and Lt M H Johnson of the 375th Squadron, 361st Fighter Group flew with the Squadron.

The Fw190 landing at Rosieres en Santerre airdrome was attacked and Major Beckham, Lt. Duncan, Capt. Stafford, Lt. Milligan, Capt. Byers and Lt. Burkett all shared in the damaged credit awarded. Major Beckham led the attack in line astern formation:

While patrolling our sector at 19,000ft, we observed a plane landing into the north east on Rosiere airdrome. While positioning ourselves up Sun of this plane it turned around, taxied back to the intersection, down the south east end of the SW-NW runway and made a left turn onto the perimeter track.

Roughman White and Red flights (8 planes) half rolled from about 18,000ft and dived down in a string. When I was in firing position the plane was at the edge of the building area on the south east side of the drome.

I could now identify it as a Fw190. I fired 829 rounds of all British incendiary type ammunition, getting strikes on and around the 190. Range was great, because the speed and angle of dive required that a pullout be started early.

Small calibre fire came up from this building area on the South east side of the field, striking none of the eight planes. Two of the pilots were unable to see the plane which was pretty well covered by dust and/or smoke, in time to fire.

He stopped taxiing after the first strikes. The number of bullets fired at him and the number of strikes seen would seem to indicate a lethal effect, but it was impossible to see just what the results were.

Was interested to note that as I pulled out of this dive both my wings were completely obscured by a whitish grey vapour. This cleared off instantly, leaving both wings wet.

352nd: Capt. Robertson. T/U 14:01 hrs. T/D 16:58 hrs. Total flight time 2:57 hrs. Destination: Pas des Calais area. Course: Alt [?], landfall, Albert, Resiel, Muriel, home. Made landfall in on time at 14:44 hrs and reached vicinity of Albert at 14:56 hrs where one circuit was made and the Squadron dropped down to 20,000ft. Patrolled prescribed area and started out at 15:55 hrs, leaving the French coast north of Cayeux. Moderate, very accurate heavy flak from St. Omer. Approx 30 columns of smoke rising from the ground were seen in the withdrawal area. No bombers or E/A were seen at any time during the mission. Vertical and horizontal visibility excellent, less than 1/10th scattered clouds over enemy territory. Air to air and air to ground R/T excellent.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-O
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam SX-U
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-G
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-X
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Y
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Z
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
Lt. Woodward* (361st FG) SX-R
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Flt Ldr) SX-E
Lt. Noble* (361st FG) SX-P
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-J
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr) SX-H
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-B 42-8446

*Lt. Woodward and Lt. Noble of the 361st FG flying with the Squadron.

Group Aborts:

42-8446* ERTN   engine cut out SX-B Lt.   Cles flying


*This abort confirms the serial number of Bill Bailey’s third SX-B – it is, however, a rather complicated story that I hope to detail in a later post after some further clarifications.

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