Mission#80 February 14, 1944 – Target: Thunder Bombing Gilze Rijen Airfield.

Date: Feb 14, 44

Dispatched: 48 Aborts: 0

Mission: Thunder Bombing    Field Order: Wg 46 (ref FC FO 243)

Time Up/Down: 09:32 hrs     11:14 hrs Leader: Major Beckham

Target: Gilze Rijen

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

L/F in Westhoofd 18,000ft, 10:05 hrs. Proceeded on course to Eindhoven but due to target completely overcast, Gilze Rijen selected as secondary target. Many craters seen here from previous bombing. 47x500GP fused 1/10 sec nose, 1/100 sec tail and 7x30x20lb fragmentation clusters fused instantaneous dropped. 3x500GP brought back due to failure of release mechanism. One Squadron dived vertically, two Squadrons on angle starting 18,000ft, pulling out 13/6,000ft. Bomb run first Squadron SE to NW, two Squadrons NE to SE. 14/16 bursts seen on airfield. 5/6 bursts seen in NE dispersal area. Several bursts seen in SE dispersal, including one large smoke ring in SW area. Meager flak, encountered after dive, accurate for height, inaccurate for direction. One T/E A/C possibly a Ju88, seen going inland as we turned out. Out enemy coast at Westhoofd 10:38 hrs, 18,000ft. Parker not heard inside enemy coast. 1st Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

350th: Capt Newhart. T/U 09:31 hrs. T/D 11:22 hrs. Total flight time 01:51 hrs. L/F Westhoofd 10:05 hrs, 18,000ft. One T/E A/C seen heading out from target Ju88. L/f out Westhoofd 10:37 hrs, 17,500ft. No flak. Many hits in field area and dispersals. Slybird weak, Parker strong. Perfect visibility 9x500lb GP nose delay tail 1/25 sec, 7 frag clusters. All bombs arrived and dropped. Glide bombing employed by Squadron from 18,000ft out at 10,000ft.

Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt William F. Tanner
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Charles O. Durant

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 09:25 hrs. T/D 11:25 hrs. Total flight time 02:00 hrs. Route: In at Westhoofd [10:05 hrs, 21,000ft], over Gilze Rijen, out at Westhoofd [10:39 hrs]. Vertically dived bombed Gilze Rijen airdrome beginning at 18,000ft and pulling out at 12,000ft, with 24 500 pound GP bombs. One plane returned to base with two bombs. Several hits observed in dispersal areas, four to six hits on runway and surrounding area. One building received a direct hit and caught fire.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Frank N. Emory YJ-E
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Y
Col Henry R. Spicer* (66th FW) YJ-H
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-W
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley (Spare) YJ-B
1st Lt William R. Burkett (Relay) YJ-A
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt (Relay) YJ-U

*Col Spicer of 66th Wing flew on this mission.

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 09:31 hrs. T/D 11:10 hrs. Total flight time 01:39 hrs. Course: R/V, Westhoofd, Eindhoven, Home. Original target Eindhoven. Target bombed: Gilze-Rijen. Group made landfall over Westhoofd at 10:05 hrs at 19,000ft. Continued on course and group leader called in to bomb Gilze Rijen instead of planned target. Just beyond Gilze Rijen leader called left hand turn and our Squadron bombed the airdrome from East to West. One flight aimed at flak positions on northwest part of the field. The wind had very little effect on the bombing and this flight overshot. Flights bombed from 10-6,000ft. Landfall out Westhoofd, 15,000ft at 10:38 hrs. Following results were seen on the airdrome: Eight or ten in NE quadrant. Six in NW quadrant, several in SE and one large pillar of smoke from SW quadrant. Bombs observed to burst outside the airdrome included two to the north, one large explosion in the woods to the east and one direct hit on the highway to the south of the target. R/T was fair. Overcast conditions prevailed over part of the North Sea and beyond the Gilze Rijen area. Large break in the overcast permitted the bombing of Gilze Rijen. Our intended target, Eindhoven, was covered with overcast around 6,000ft.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-S
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-Z
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-R
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam SX-U
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-X
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-F
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-B
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-G
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Q
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V

Group Aborts/ERTNs

None reported.

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