Mission#71 January 30, 1944 – Target: Brunswick. Victories for Major Beckham, Lt. Tanner, Lt. Jordan and Lt. Newman.

Date: Jan 30, 44

Dispatched: 39 Aborts: 6

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 1st ATF 360 B-17’s (1st Div)

Field Order: 227

Time Up/Down: 10:29 hrs 14:04 hrs.

Target: Brunswick Leader: Major Rimerman (then Major Beckham)

Claims Air: 03-02-01 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

Group made landfall 12:01 hrs, 23,000ft north of Ijmuiden. Leader forced to leave Group 12:25 hrs approx vicinity of Lingen due to radio failure. Major Beckham took over. R/V from south at 12:35 hrs with 1st TF of bombers who were flying in very good formation. P-47s and P-51s seen in vicinity. Escorted bombers along W/D route leaving only for encounters until 5 minutes after passing out enemy coast at Egmond at 13:42hrs, 18,000ft. Four Me110s who were about to attack a lone bomber from rear were attacked by Red flight of the 350th probably destroying two. At the same time P-51s cut in and engaged nos 3 and 4 E/A. Two Ju88s flying southeast not molesting bombers were attacked by Red and Yellow flights of the 352nd Squadron, one destroyed and one probably destroyed. Several Me109s making unusually steep diving attacks on bombers were engaged by White flight of 350th Squadron. E/A dispersed, one E/A destroyed. Group orbited above as cover during these encounters. Two Fw190s were seen flying NE of Zuider Zee at 24,000ft, one destroyed. Major Rimerman returning early escorted [a] straggling Fort to enemy coast. B-24 ditched just off the Hague. Emergency IFF put on. Additional information was relayed by controller upon return. Contact on “C” channel Goldsmith 1-3 and 1-4 good. Capt. Rose, Lt. Herfurth, Lt. Thistlethwaite [of Group HQ] participated.

1Me109 destroyed Major Beckham (351)

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Tanner (350)

1 Ju88 destroyed (shared) Lt. Jordan and Lt. Newman (352)

1 Me110 probably destroyed Lt. Chetwood (350)

1 Me110 probably destroyed Lt. Walsh (350)

1 Ju88 damaged Lt. Streit (352)

350th: Major Rimerman (then Major Beckham). T/U 11:18 hrs. T/D 14:25 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. L/F in on course 12:01hrs, 22-23,000ft. R/V on course 12:38 hrs, 27,000ft. Close P-51 and P-47. Combat 4 Me110 at R/V. Left bombers Egmond 13:30 hrs, 22,000ft, left coast N of Egmond 13:30 hrs, 23,000ft. Heavy, meagre [flak] Ijmuiden.

Major Ben Rimerman (Gp Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt John Sullivan
Major Walter C. Beckham of De Funiak Springs, Florida and CO of the 351st Fighter Squadron claimed his 14th confirmed victory.

Major Walter C. Beckham of DeFuniak Springs, Florida and CO of the 351st Fighter Squadron claimed his 14th confirmed victory.

At approximately 13:26 hrs, Major Beckham, now flying as Pipeful White leader, was able to destroy an Me109:

I observed, from 19,000ft, several fighters diving steeply through a bomber formation at our four o’clock. I turned sharply toward them and identified them as Me109’s. They obviously saw us and began gentle evasive turns.

My number #2 (Capt. John B. Rose Jr.) and I chased one for a minute or so at full power using my water injection. He could have easily evaded by diving sharply into the cloud layer below. Instead, he dived shallowly turning to the right at first and then to the left. I fired several short bursts from well over 500 yards range and over a ring of deflection. I fired from these excessive ranges because I felt he would flip over and dive into the clouds before we could close in. He did not, and as I closed in from astern I got strikes, pieces, and smoke so heavy that I could not see the e/a through it. I had closed the throttle but was still overshooting.

I pulled up violently and barrel rolled, watching him from the top of the barrel roll on around. This roll put me in firing position again and I got more strikes and pieces. My No 2, Capt. Rose, and I watched him enter the cloud layer at 5,000ft in an almost vertical dive at over 400mph. Large pieces continued coming off after I stopped firing and until he disappeared.

I think the barrel roll is a particular valuable manoeuvre with which to resume the astern position on a target that has been over run. An unidentified flight of P-47’s attacked one more of the Me109’s with unobserved results.

Some informed guesswork based on the caption attached to this series of gun camera shots tells me it's the Me109 Beckham shot down on January 30, 1944.

Some informed guesswork based on the caption attached to this series of gun camera shots tells me it’s probably the Me109 Beckham shot down on January 30, 1944.

Major Beckham’s wing man, Capt. Rose, reported:

In the vicinity of North Deventer Major Beckham spotted two grey Me109s below us, and went down on the leading plane. Shortly after he started firing I noticed smoke pouring from the Jerrie [sic] plane. He continued firing until the plane dove vertically through a solid cloud layer at about 6,000ft. As the plane entered the cloud, I noticed many large pieces streaming back. In my opinion the plane was destroyed, as I doubt very much he could have pulled out after losing so many large pieces of his aircraft.

Major Beckham with his crew chief on YJ-X, Sgt Henry Bush.

Major Beckham with his crew chief on YJ-X – S/Sgt Henry Bush of Easley, South Carolina.

Flying Pipeful White # 3 that day was 1st Lt. Bill Tanner, who destroyed an Fw190:

Just before we left the bombers my engine started cutting up. My wing man and I could not keep up with Major Beckham so we dropped behind over the Zuider Zee. There was a clear spot and from 20,000ft I saw two aircraft heading Northeast (both Fw190’s with belly tanks). I waited till I got directly in the Sun and split S’d on the number two man’s tail. I closed to about 300 yards and opened fire. I saw several strikes on the left wing and wing root. When the left wing exploded and flames were coming out. The e/a did an attempted half roll and fell like a falling leaf into the clouds where just before we entered the whole left wing broke off. I could not follow the other e/a because my engine had quit, so I ducked in the cloud level and nursed it going again’.

Tanner’s wing man, 2nd Lt. Chauncey Rowan, gave escort his leader and fired on the second Fw190 from 600 yards as he was entering a cloud but observed no hits. Chauncy later recounted the following:

I had the chance to fly with William “Wild Bill” Tanner. Bill was one of the best pilots I have known. One day he asked me to escort him home with the excuse that his engine was not running right, and I did. Just the two of us, my plane above his, with him between me and the Sun. Two Fw190s were below us, but Bill’s plane blocked my view of them, and as Bill slowly descended I thought that he had more engine trouble, so I called him repeatedly, with no answer from him. I increased my speed and dove to get closer to Bill, thinking that he had radio problems to. I then spotted the two 190s as Bill fired his guns and blew off the right wing of the lead 190. I quickly got the wing man 190 in my gunsight, but as I was ready to shoot, Bill moved in line with me and the 190. I held fire and Bill followed the 190 as it quickly turned left and downward, but Bill could not catch him. I later confronted Bill with purposely deceiving me, so that he could get both “kills”. He did not deny it. A year or so later I was in a movie theatre in San Antonio, Texas and saw a newsreel of the plane being blown apart by Bill.

Flying Pipeful Red three, Capt. Dinse’s flight, was 1st Lt. Francis T. Walsh who claimed an Me110 destroyed:

Immediately after R/V with the bomber, Pipeful Red leader spied 4+ twin engine e/a flying parallel and to the left of the bomber formation. We bounced these e/a from 27,000ft, and were just getting lined up on their tails when some P-51’s came swooping in. Capt. Dinse and his wing man had to pull up to avoid tangling with them. I was closing rapidly on the tail of the Me110 I had picked on and observed strikes all over the e/a before I had to pull up to avoid running into him. My rate of closure was very great, as we had dove 12,000ft down to the e/a. I did not observe what happened to the 110 after I pulled up.

Walsh’s wing man, 2nd Lt. Kenneth Chetwood, was awarded an Me110 as a probable:

I later saw the Me110 come out of a cloud. Lt. Walsh my #1, took the #2 man and I took the #1 man. They were in a sharp bank to the right which made us overrun, and I zoomed straight up and came back on his tail. He was then turning to the left. I was about 300 yards behind. I fired at about 15 degrees deflection and observed many strikes on the left engine and cockpit all the time I was firing. He then disappeared into the overcast at 6,000ft. He seemed to be going into a spiral and to be out of control. I called Walsh that I was not with him and climbed back up and rejoined him.

351st: Major Beckham (then Lt. Emory). T/U 11:20 hrs. T/D 14:27 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. Withdrawal support. Two aborts one radio, one belly tank. One Me109 destroyed by Major Beckham. [L/F in] Egmond at 12:01 hrs at 26,000 ft. Lead box of first task force. Good close bomber formation. P-47s seen going in as Squadron going out. [L/F out] Ijmuiden. [The Squadron was only able to put up seven aircraft due to the ongoing conversion to P-47d-15s].

Major Walter C. Beckham (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-L
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-W
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-P
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-R
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-G 42-75688
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-I

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U11:18 hrs. T/D 14:10 hrs. Total flight time02:52 hrs. [L/F in] Believed S of course on time at 23,000 ft. [R/V] Siedenburg area, on time at 28,000ft to 30,000ft, with units of 2nd ATF and 3rd ATF. B-17s were flying good close formation. P-38s and P-51s observed escorting bombers from time of our R/V to well after leaving enemy coast. 2 Ju88s flying at 12,000 to 14,000ft were attacked by Red and Yellow flights. Lts. Jordan and Newman destroying one and Lt. Streit probably destroying the other. Portions of the Squadron remained with the bombers until five minutes past landfall out. [L/F out] approx 13:40 hrs, Egmond at 23,000ft. Moderate heavy flak, accurate for altitude on the way in believed to have come from Amsterdam. 2 ASR launches and Walrus type ship seen in the middle of the North Sea on the way back. 10/10 overcast over continent, tops 6,000ft with an opening on the Northern part of the Zuider Zee.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-N
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-O
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-?
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SC-C
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr) SX-U
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-T
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Y
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-G
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-D
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry (Flt Ldr) SX-E
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-Z
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-Q
1st Lt Herman Herfurth (Spare) ?

[Lts. Jordan, Newman and Streit’s combat reports are not available in Squadron records. If anyone has a copy then please do add them to the post as a comment or email me].

Group Abort/ERTN/Damaged:

42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J Lt. Schillinger flying.
42-75114 ABT radio out YJ-M
42-75688 ABT cylinder/temp gauge YJ-G
42-75050 ABT belly tank YJ-? Possibly YJ-I
42-7903 ABT engine/aux tank LH-?
42-8001 ABT radio out LH-V Likely Major Rimerman

 

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Missions

2 responses to “Mission#71 January 30, 1944 – Target: Brunswick. Victories for Major Beckham, Lt. Tanner, Lt. Jordan and Lt. Newman.

  1. Although I don’t understand all the language in the flying records, I so enjoy reading your posts. Love seeing my Daddy’s name (Jack Terzian) and those whom he called friends for a lifetime. Thank you for all the work you put into this blog. History made alive!

    • Thanks Toni- glad you are enjoying them. You raise a good point- these are military reports and do have a lot of jargon. I’ll try and do a key to understanding the terms for those wanting to understand them a bit more.

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