Mission#68 January 23, 1944 – Target: Frankfurt, 350th Fighter Squadron Claims 05-00-01.

Date: Jan 24, 44

Dispatched: 58 Aborts: 3      Mission: Area support to 1, 2 & 3 ATF’s

Field Order: 222

Time Up/Down: 10:29 hrs     14:04 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Duncan

Target: Frankfurt (bombers recalled)

Claims Air: 05-00-01 Claims Ground: 01-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-03

Group made L/F at Knocke 11:08 hrs, 20,000ft. No bombers seen in enemy territory [Lt Col Duncan decided to take the Group on a sweep deep into Germany]. Many friendly fighters observed. Out enemy coast vicinity of Ostend at approximately 13:30 hrs from deck to 12,000ft. White and Blue flight of lead Squadron attacked five Me110s at 5000ft vicinity of Tirlemont. Five destroyed (radar equipped observer on these aircraft). These flights split up three planes attacking one Me109 taxiing at Tirlemont Gossomcourt Airfield. After destroying this E/A, three Fw190s bounced the flight which evaded by diving to the deck. One Fw190 pursued for a considerable distance firing continuously. The E/A was turned into and damaged by one flight. It is interesting to note that these P-47s pulled away from the Fw190. Lt Col. Duncan, Capt. Stafford, Capt. Rose, Lt. Thistlethwaite and Lt. Herfurth of HQ participated.

Claims:

2 Me110s destroyed Lt Col. Duncan.

1 Me110 destroyed Capt. Newhart.

1 Me109 destroyed Capt. Newhart.

1 Me110 destroyed Lt. Furness

1 Me110 destroyed (shared) Capt. Dinse and Lt. Stearns.

1 Fw190 damaged Lt. Zolner.

350th: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 10:27 hrs. T/D 14:06 hrs. Total flight time 3:39 hrs. L/F in Knocke 11:08 hrs, 22,000ft. Bomber formation close 3 CW to south as Group was halfway in. Me110 at Hannut 5000ft. Left bombers between Dunkirk and Ostend, 13:35, 15,000ft. Flak: Heavy vicinity Ghent accurate. R/T normal.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Gp Ldr) LH-X 42-8634
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
2nd Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt William J. Price
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt John Sullivan
2nd Lt Carl W. Mueller P55
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
Capt Wilford F. Hurst

The area support mission was extremely successful for the Squadron. Lt Col. Duncan dove on two Me110’s that were flying 10000ft below his flight at 5000ft claiming two. His wing man, 1st Lt John ‘Lil Joe’ Furness saw him destroy one aircraft and then got one himself:

We started immediately after them and arriving closer we found there was a flight of 4 and one single. The flight of four was headed westerly, and by violent skidding and a slow roll, Col Duncan managed to slow down enough to get behind one which burst into a huge flame at once.

Two of the remaining 110’s did a wing over 180 degrees to the right. I fired at the second one as I followed him thru his manoeuvre and somehow finished directly on his tail at about 200 yards range. I closed my throttle and commenced a long burst. I saw incendiary flashes on the cockpit and all along the right wing. Pieces flew off, one of which I recognised as the right wing tip. This e/a seemed to quit evasive action as we went into a light stratus cloud in a slight dive. I was so close I could fire at him in this cloud. I remember wondering if the gunner was firing back, and noticed the canopy was tight closed. The right engine had been smoking some time and seemed to cough flames once we broke out of the bottom of the cloud at about 2000ft in almost a vertical dive. This was my first idea of our altitude, and I blacked out completely in pulling out. I shot back into the cloud and needed several seconds to find which way was home. I didn’t see my 110 crash, but I’m certain he augured in.

Number three in the flight, 1st Lt. Wayne K. Blickenstaff, also fired on one of the enemy aircraft, but was unable to get proper deflection, almost blacking out trying to follow the aircraft in tight turn, and was forced to break off the engagement.

Pipeful Red flight added to score with its leader, Capt. Charles W. Dinse sharing an Me110 destroyed:

At the same time Col. Duncan started his attack on 4 Me110’s, my wing man, Lt. Winder, reported one twin engine ship flying directly beneath me. I tipped up on a wing, saw the e/a and immediately started down, calling my flight to follow. I opened fire at about 800 yards and held my burst until breaking off at about 20 yards. I observed numerous strikes on the fuselage and wings. Large pieces came off of the right engine. The a/c was on fire when I broke off the attack.

2nd Lt. Richard A. Stearns then closed in to finish the attack and share the Me110 victory:

As Capt Dinse made a pass at this e/a, pieces started falling off and pretty soon the left engine caught fire. By this time I had closed to firing range and gave him a burst from about 200 yards and saw strikes around both engines and along the cockpit. I broke off around 75 yards. The e/a was trailing very black smoke and continued to move or less glide down in a straight line, when just before reaching the cloud layer, which was around 2000ft, it seemed to roll on is back and went into the clouds going straight down.

Capt Newhart in Blue flight was also able to destroy an Me110

I was on the left, slightly above Col Duncan who was leading our Squadron. We were coming out from patrolling our assigned area, and had dropped down to 16000ft to go under a cirrus layer. Lt Furness (Pipeful White #2) reported bogies below at about 5000ft. Col Duncan led his flight down on a bounce and I followed giving him cover. Col Duncan had shot his first one down, and was in close range on the second and firing, but this I didn’t know for I was coming in for about a 35 degree deflection shot on the same one and my wing blocked my view of him. I had just given a very short burst from about 300 yards when my #3, Lt Price yelled for me to break. I did this and Col Duncan passed right under my wing, and I saw the e/a go down in flames.

I saw another Me110 off to my right and below so I tried to slow down behind it. I finally managed to slow down and got about 10 to 15 degrees deflection shot and then to astern, opening fire from about 275 to 250 yards. I saw hits in the cockpit evidently killing the pilot. The plane dove straight ahead and into a woods. By now I was close to the ground and the e/a too, so I pulled up and did a sharp left turn and came in and gave a burst after he had stopped crashing through the woods, breaking up.

Lt Col. Duncan who reported what happened next:

About this time we came on Tirlemont/Gossoncourt airfield where we saw an e/a landing. Gosh, what I wouldn’t have given for a bit of ammunition and another tank of gas. Capt Newhart, seeing an Me109 landing, went down and shot him up (taxiing on the ground). I will confirm a destroyed for him. It was nice shooting. At the same time that Capt Newhart went down I saw three Fw190’s circling to the west of the drome at about 2000ft. As Lt Zolner and I turned, I called Lt Zolner and Newhart to come on and we would be getting out. I watched in the mirror for possible pursuit of the Fw’s and finally saw one chasing Newhart. I called for full throttle and a dive for the deck. The Fw was firing explosive ammunition, but he was out of range and they were bursting about 300 yards to the rear of Newhart.

It is interesting to note that we were pulling ‘balls out’ and indicating about 350 mph and easily outdistanced the Fw. As soon as I thought that we had lost him completely I called for Lt Zolner and Newhart to pull down to 2000 revs and 35 inches of mercury. We went along this way for about five minutes and were just beginning to pass over a town when the Fw caught up with us and began shooting at me this time. I took immediate violent evasive action. Lt Zolner, being on my left at this time, turned into the Fw and shot. The Fw turned left, and Zolner came out on his tail. Lt Zolner managed to damage the Fw (not confirmed) then came on with Newhart and me. By this time the gas problem was really getting touchy. All that combat and chasing was no help in the conservation of gas.

We were now pulling 30 inches of mercury and 1400 rpm and were below the trees. In fact, Lt Zolner took the side branches of one tree without much damage to the ship. We knew that this low flying was a breach of flying regulations, and also we were tied down by orders not to shoot at anything in occupied territory, even flak towers. So this was our only hope against the flak that was kicking up dust all around us. We went across the centre of Brussels, Ghent and Ostend as turning away from our course to go around the towers meant using more gas.

Lt. Zolner’s claimed an Fw190 damaged:

After about ten minutes the e/a caught up to us and again fired at long range. I turned back into him and fired a burst head on without aiming. He made an attempt to meet me but didn’t seem to press his attack. I then pulled around into a sharp wing over and ended up behind him. He made a sharp turn east and was right on the deck. I cut inside of him and gave him a few short bursts, at about 500 yards. I had trouble holding his line of sight because three guns in my right wing had jammed. I didn’t observe my strikes but he did start to smoke badly and wasn’t taking evasive action at all. I had to swing around for home then because my fuel was very low, about 60 gals. I had just set course when I glanced up and saw three e/a, about 400ft above, going south. I put everything to the fire wall and got down as low as possible. I passed under them without being seen, but was so intent on watching them that I hit a tree with my prop. This jarred me a bit but didn’t seem to affect the flying of the ship at all. I then caught up Col Duncan and Capt Newhart. We crossed out at Ostend and I landed at Manston with no gasoline at all.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:33 hrs. T/D 14:03 hrs. Total flight time 3:30 hrs. Route: Entered enemy territory over Knocke. Proceeded along course as planned leaving coast in the vicinity of Ostend. Withdrawal support. Walcheren Island at 11:10 hrs at 25,000ft. Group of P-47s seen neat Bruxelles area on way out. Spitfires south of Bruxelles area seen on way out. NE of Ostende at 13:18 hrs at 12,000ft to 26,000ft. R/T same as usual. 80 plus freighters in and outside harbor at Ostende. About five minutes after leaving English coast two parachutes were seen at 17,000ft. No other planes seen in the vicinity at time. [Lt. Peterson, low on gas, landed his aircraft at the emergency strip at Woodbridge].

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-A 42-8380
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H *
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-K
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-V
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
1st Lt William J. Maguire (Flt Ldr) YJ-M
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-W
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-S
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell YJ-U
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger (352nd) YJ-N
Capt John B. Rose (350th Spotter) YJ-D

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:35 hrs. T/D Total flight time. Area support to 1st, 2nd and 3rd TF. Enemy coast overcast, believed to be on course and on time, altitude 18,000ft. No bombers seen over enemy territory at any time. P-51s seen on the way in and flights of P-47s seen at various times during the mission. Believed Squadron penetrated enemy territory 50 miles further than planned. Ostend approximately 13:30 at 12,000ft. Parker excellent inland, poor along enemy coast. One 4 engine bomber believed to be a B-17 seen crashing into sea about 5 minutes after leaving the English coast. 3 parachute flares observed. 9 to 10/10 overcast over continent. 50-100 barges in Channel at Nieuport and several freighters. Course: Landfall, R/V Offlingen, 50 20 N – 05 40 E, Landfall out, Home. One down Manston [W38 Lt. Armstong returned to Metfield 16:38 hrs.]

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-T
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong W38 SX-C
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-Q 42-75446
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty SX-O
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison DNTO SX-R
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr) SX-S
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-J
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-W
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-N
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam DNTO SX-U 42-8409
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits (Flt Ldr) SX-X
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Y
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger (with 351st) YJ-N

Group Aborts/ERTNs/Damaged/DNTOs:

42-8409 DNTO tire blew out SX-U Lt. Gonnam flying
42-75446 ERTN pilot illness SX-Q Lt. Corrigan flying
42-8380 ERTN gas selector YJ-A Lt. Thistlethwaite flying
42-7958 ERTN push rod oil leak YJ-V*
42-7989 BD Cat A LH-L
42-8634 BD Cat AC LH-X Lt Col. Duncan flying
42-8480 BD Cat AC LH-Z

*This appears to be an error in the records as Capt Stafford is recorded as flying YJ-V and did not abort. Lt. Hunter flying YJ-H did abort for mechanical reasons.

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