Mission#84 February 24, 1944 – Target: Gotha.

Date: Feb 24, 44

Dispatched: 49           Abort: 4

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 180 B-24s

Field Order: 250 Target: Gotha

Time Up/Down: 10:59 hrs     14:20 hrs

Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman (A), Lt Col Duncan (B)

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

A & B Groups L/F north of Ijmuiden 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with 1st TF B-24s north of Lingen 12:15 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft, good formation. Left bombers 12:50 hrs NW Gottinger. Vicinity of Steinhuder Lake, White flight of “B” Group engaged 8 Fw190s destroying 5. “B” Group L/F out south Egmond 13:20 hrs from deck to 23,000ft. One pilot returning on deck observed four T/E E/A on airdrome, believed to be Enschede, strafed same, damaging one T/E A/C. Crossing Zuider Zee this pilot fired upon by armed M/V (approx. 4-5,000 tons). This M/V strafed, many strikes seen on ship. “A” Group L/F out north of Hague 13:50 hrs, 12,000ft. E/A attacking bombers with 20mm Hoxter area, engaged and dispersed, but made no claims. One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames vicinity Hardenberg, one chute observed. One S/E A/C thought to be P-47 seen headed down trailing smoke vicinity Newenhaus. Several E/A seen engaged by 56th Group vicinity Dummer Lake, two seen destroyed. One B-17 white triangle, but with red circle around star seen on deck Schipol airdrome, appearing to land. The E/A increased throttle and made for Channel when one of our A/C investigated it, later turned in land when we passed it. Airfield at Munster appeared deserted. Airfield vicinity Deelen seen smoking as if recently bombed. Boat seen burning off Egmond. Moderate flak Osnabruck. Lt Col. Duncan, Lt Col. Rimerman and Capt. Stafford of Group HQ participated.

Combat Results

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan

1 T/E E/A damaged (ground) Lt Col. Duncan

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Walsh (350th)

2 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Stearns (350th)

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Rowan (350th)

1 Fw190 damaged Lt. Poindexter (352nd)

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:57 hrs. T/D 14:04 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. L/F in N of Ijmuiden 11:46 hrs, 22,000ft. R/V B-24s and B-17s tail end of. Area of Furstenau, 12:27 hrs, 31,000ft. Good. P-51, P-47, P-38. 8 190s SE of Dummer Lake 7-15,000ft. Left bombers 20 miles SE Dummer Lake 12:50 hrs, 31,000ft. Left coast S Egmond 13:20 hrs, 23,000ft. Heavy accurate Osnabruck. R/T normal. Boat burning of Egmond. Very good weather.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Flt Ldr) LH-T 42-74665
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

Lt Col Duncan leading “B” Group [single belly tank] in White flight of the Squadron was awarded an Fw190 destroyed, a Ju88 damaged and also a boat damaged. During the intense fight with a skilful enemy his aircraft was hit in the wing by a 20mm round after which Duncan headed out and made an emergency landing back at Metfield.

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse's LH-T "Fatty Patty II" (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a "man-sized" hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary which made the landing a "little rough".

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse’s LH-T “Fatty Patty II” (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a “man-sized” hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary that made the landing a “little rough”.

Duncan’s wing man, 1st Lt Richard A Stearns, claimed two Fw190s destroyed:

We started a bounce on eight Fw190s (approx 12.45 hrs in the vicinity of Obernkirchen) that were below and off to the left of a box of B-24s. On going down we discovered that there were some P-47s from another Group, also mixing it up with the 190s and our first bounce was broken up by them cutting in front of us. We pulled up into a left climbing turn, and as we did I looked back and saw a 190 on my tail – at the same time feeling hits on my plane. I broke left – the altitude was around 15000ft – and started a roll down with everything in the corner. I gave my flight leader a call and told him I wasn’t with him anymore and continued to roll down. About 8000ft I leveled off and saw I had lost him. The 190s were still pretty thick, so I picked one out and started my attack. I came in almost dead astern, with a little deflection, and gave him a short burst from 300 yards, observing strikes along the wings and around the engine. I closed to 175 yards at which time the 190 went into a steep left climbing turn and I saw more strikes on his right wing. We had dropped down to about 1500ft, or less, when the e/a started for the ground on its back. Just before it hit, the canopy flew off and the pilot shot out and his chute opened. The plane hit the ground and exploded.

After breaking off my first combat and being alone, I started climbing and was around 3- 4000ft when two more Fw190s jumped me. I broke into them and we started a Luftberry that lasted several minutes. One e/a would pull out to the side, and as I would turn with the other one, he’d come at a quarter head on attack. We traded head on attacks quite a few times and it was on one of these that I downed another e/a. I opened fire with a short burst at about 350 yards, and saw strikes around the engine and on his left wing. By this time we were down to 1500ft. The e/a flipped over on his back and hit the ground in almost a vertical dive and exploded. I didn’t see the pilot get out. I made one more turn with the e/a that was left and then hit the deck. He followed me down, and we were both going balls out on the tree tops. The range was too great for him to get any hits on me – about 1000 to 1200 yards and with water injection I soon out distanced him. When the e/a was out of sight I climbed to 10000ft and came out alone.

Flying second element lead in Basement White flight was 1st Lt. Francis T. Walsh who was also able to destroy an Fw190:

The Colonel spotted about 8 Fw190s that had just attacked the bombers and were queuing up again below the ‘big friends’ for another attack. We bounced these e/a from 23000ft, and contact was made at approximately 15000ft, vicinity of Steinhuder Lake. I had a deflection shot at one of these red nosed 190s but observed no hits. Then I closed to dead astern, fired a short burst that hit the Jerry on the left wing root. The whole left wing broke off in pieces that flew back at me. The action was accompanied by a burst of flame. The last I saw of the Fw190, the ship was disintegrating. Combat took place from 15 to 7000ft. My wing man Lt. Rowan, after I started zooming back up, saw a Fw190 trying to get on my tail. He shot the jerry off and observed him spinning down. It was a very good piece of team work on the part of my wing man.

1st Lt. Chauncey Rowan reported the destruction of White flight’s fifth Fw190:

I observed Lt. Walsh firing at a Red nosed Fw190 down to about 7000ft or less, he was dead astern of the Fw190. He fired, and the e/a promptly blew up. Lt. Walsh then pulled up in a steep climb. I followed about 3 – 400 yards behind him. Immediately after pulling up, an Fw 190 pulled straight up between Lt. Walsh and me, attempting to attack my element leader. The e/a presented a target with about 30 to 40 degree deflection. I pulled the sight thru his line of flight and led him. At times he was obscured from vision by the engine of my plane. He was 200 yards or less from me. I observed strikes near and on his cockpit. He then spun to the left smoking as he went down. The altitude was about 9000ft and I did not see the e/a recover from his spin after observing 6 or 7 turns. This e/a was firing at Lt. Walsh and radio chatter prohibited me from advising Lt. Walsh that he was in danger.

351st: Lt Col Rimerman [“A” Group with wing tanks]. T/U 10:51 hrs. T/D 14:25 hrs. Total flight time 03:34 hrs. Route: In at Ijmuiden, R/V with bombers, over Hanover, out at Noordwijerhout. Ijmuiden at 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with B-24s. Some boxes close and some boxes loose. 56th Group [and] P-51s [seen]. South of Hanover at 12:48 hrs. At Noordwijerhout at 13:49 hrs, 21,000ft. Remarks: One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames in Hardenbergh area. One S/E plane seen headed down trailing smoke in Neuenhaus area – thought to be P-47.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (A Gp Ldr) YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-D
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-W
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley TJ-R
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-N
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger (352nd) YJ-T
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-F
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G

Flying with “B” Group:

2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong (B Gp) YJ-V

352nd: Capt Hoey [“A” Group]. T/U 10:58 hrs. T/D 14:03 hrs. Total flight time 03:05 hrs. Penetration Support. L/F in north of Ijmuiden, A Group at 11:46 hrs, 22,000 ft and B Group at 25,000 ft at 11:48 hrs. R/V with the B-24s after passing over various B-17s, near an area east of Lingen at 12:30 hrs at 30,000ft for B Group and about 22,000ft for A Group. Bombers were flying fairly good formation within wings but B-24s were mixed with 17 CWs. Observed other P-47s, P-51s and P-38s. Many bandits seen in the area of Neuenhous. No combat. Engagements were made in Hoxter area but no claims. These E/A were Me109s and Fw190s, flying at about 20,000ft. Group left bombers at 12:48 hrs, 26,00ft near Holzminden. A Group stayed with them until 13:03 hrs and left near Northiem. B Group left coast north of Hague at 13:25 hrs at 24,000ft. A Group L/F out at 13:48 hrs over Noordwijk aan Zee. Moderate, light, accurate flak from Schipol area at 4,000ft. An airfield believed to be 8 miles west of Appeldoorn was seen smoking as if it had been bombed sometime today. “A” and “C” Channels good. Four medium sized ships seen coming out of river near Noordwal, proceeding north along enemy coast. One aborting B-17 escorted to England by an E/R from this Squadron [likely Corrigan]. One B-17 seen to blow up about 10 miles east of Lingen and one chute observed from it. Our A/C that encountered E/A today found that they were having considerable trouble trying to out-turn and out-climb E/A. Also two could not catch E/A in dive. One B-17 with white triangle, but red circle around star, seen on deck over Schipol airfield as if approaching to land there. The A/C increased throttle and made for Channel as one of our A/C investigated it. It then turned back inland as our A/C passed it. Several sets of towers, in twos, believed to be radio or radar towers seen on beach from Nordwijk aan Zee to Zandvoort. Rounds fired Poindexter 395, Marchant 616, Hoey 73, Gonnam 200.

Capt Charles J. Hoey (A Sqdn Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-F
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr) SX-U
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-K
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-M
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Q
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan (Spare) SX-W

As the enemy aircraft broke for the deck, 1st Lt. James Poindexter, flying element lead in Green flight, claimed an Fw190 damaged:

My flight leader called and instructed me to take #3 in the e/a flight. I followed him down to about 2000ft and then began dogfighting. He had taken violent evasive action all the way down. My wing man and I could turn with him but I could not get more than two rings of deflection for firing. I fired about five short bursts during the turning but observed no strikes. This Fw190 outclimbed us and headed further inland. I thought it wise to break off the attack and return to base.

Slybird Black flight, led by 1st Lt. Jesse Gonnam, also defended the bombers:

After leaving the bombers and an engagement with two e/a, during which I was top cover, a single Me109 came in at two o’clock. I turned and fired a short burst but wasn’t head on enough to hit him. We broke down and to the left and one of my flight, Lt. Marchant, chased him down a short distance but could not close, so rejoined and we came on home.

“B” Squadron: Major Bailey. T/U 10:54. T/D14:30. Total flight time 03:05 hrs.

Major William B. Bailey (B Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-?
Capt Thomas J. Forkin SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-O 42-22470
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-R
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z

Group Damaged/Aborts/ERTNs:

42-   7910 ABT prop out SX-J
42- 22470 ABT belly tank SX-O Lt. Corrigan flying.
42-   8623 ABT prop out LH-F
42-   8661 ABT windshield LH-?
42- 74647 BD Cat A LH-U
42- 74665 BD Cat B LH-T Lt Col Duncan flying.
42- 75157 BD Cat AC LH-Y




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