Mission#85 February 25, 1944 – Target: Regensburg

Date: Feb 25, 44

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 4

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 360 B-17s (3rd Div) Field Order: 251

Time Up/Down: 13:36 hrs (A) 14:00 hrs (B) 17:00 hrs (A) 17:00 hrs (B)

Target: Regensburg

Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman (A), Major Bailey (B)

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

“A” Group:

L/F in Walcheren 14:18 hrs, 21,000ft. Proceeded on course and in [the] vicinity city of Luxembourg saw two CWs east to approx. 20 miles north of Saarbrucken. R/V with First Division B-17s at 15:10 hrs and one small box of Third Division B-17s and several boxes of B-24S. Individual CWs in good formation. Left bombers 15:55 hrs, approx. 10 miles south of Sedan. No e/a seen. Out Nieuport 16:25 hrs, 15,000ft. No bombers seen in trouble. Two pilots returning early strafed A/D at Charleroi Gosselies, probably destroying a Do217 and damaging a Ju88. Lt Col. Rimerman and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

351st: Lt Col. Rimerman. T/U 13:33 hrs. T/D 17:10 hrs. Total flight time 03:37 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, over St. Quentin, out at Cape Gris Nez. 16 P-47s (A Group). 1 P-47 (B Group). Three aborts – two belly tanks and one radio. Walcheren Island at 14:25 hrs at 21,000ft. All units along bomber withdrawal route at 15:14 hrs at 22,000ft. P-47s and P-38s [seen]. [Left bombers] East of St. Quentin at 15:55 hrs at 22,000ft. [L/F out Cap Gris Nez at 16:30 hrs at 22,000ft. [Three 350th pilots flew with the Squadron].

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (A Gp Ldr) YJ-N
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-T
1st Lt Tom Lorance (350th) YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G 42-75688
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-H
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B 42-75457
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-W
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R 42-75507
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood (350th) YJ-F
2nd Lt William J. Weaver (Relay) YJ-U

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:35 hrs. T/D 17:10 hrs. Total flight time 03:35 hrs. L/F in south of Walcheren Island at 14:22 hrs, 24,000ft. R/V’d with B-17s of the First and Third Division. B-24’s were also seen. Bomber formation good. P-47s, 38s and 51s [seen]. No aerial combat. Yellow 2 and 3 dove at a Me110 which was in the center of Luxembourg A/D. The nose of the E/A was enveloped in flame, burning badly when they pulled up. After climbing back to 16,000ft, E/A were sighted on the runway at Charleroi Gosselies. (Many bomb craters were observed on the A/F). A low level attack was made and Yellow 2 got hits on what is believed to be a Do217 and Yellow 3 on what he believes to be a Ju88. Left bombers SW of Charleville Mezieres at 15:50 hrs at 20,000ft. L/F out S of Ostend at 16:23 hrs, 17,000ft. 9/10ths overcast over North Sea, 10/10ths inland for approx. 10 miles, decreasing to 3/10ths further in on the Continent.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (A Group) SX-H
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-K
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-A
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V

1st Lt. William Marchant, flying Slybird Yellow 2, was awarded an Me110 destroyed, shared with Lt Streit and a further Do217 damaged:

After leaving the bombers east of Luxembourg, Yellow 3 and I sighted what we believe was Luxembourg airfield. We went down from 25000ft and saw e/a on the airfield when we were about 12000ft. We made a turn and came out of the Sun in about a 60 degree dive. I led the attack with Yellow three following, opening up at about 1000 yards, closing to about 200, and saw the e/a explode. Bright red flames enveloped the nose and cockpit. We pulled up abruptly in a chandelle to the left rather than go straight across the airfield. Ground defences were surprised upon the initial attack but fired accurately when we pulled up.

After climbing back to about 16000ft, we sighted e/a on the runways at an airfield, believed to be Charleroi Gosselies (many bomb craters were seen on this field). Yellow three led the attack, going from SW to NE in approximately a 30 degree dive. He picked an e/a on the north side of the airfield and I fired at a twin engine e/a on the south side, believed to be a Do217. I opened fire at about 1000 yards and closed to point blank range, observing many strikes on the wings and fuselage. Pieces of the e/a flew off on all directions. I had trouble pulling up over it because of my high speed. Gun crews were running to their positions. I noticed tracers going past my wing tips as I pulled away from the field. We then came back to base.

Yellow three was 1st Lt. William F. Streit who shared the Me110 destroyed and was awarded a further unidentified twin engine aircraft damaged:

Marchant led the attack, diving down from 12000ft in about a 60 degree dive. Yellow two fired on an Me110 and a large puff of smoke and flame came from it. I came in behind and fired from about 500 yards, closing to about 300. Many strikes were observed. As I pulled up to the left I looked back and saw the e/a burning badly.

We gained altitude to about 16000ft and set course for home again. We spotted another airfield with several e/a dispersed on it. We came down in formation. Each picking a plane, I opened fire at 1000 yards, closing to 300 on a twin engine e/a, which I couldn’t identify, just off the end of the SW to NE runway. I got several strikes on the e/a. This time I stayed on the deck for a ways to avoid the flak and small arms, as it was fairly intense (light) at the first airfield. We then pulled up, gained altitude, and came home.

“B” Group:

L/F north of Ostend 14:47 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft. CWs in good formation. Flew to rear boxes of bombers in approx. Vicinity of Luxembourg escorting bombers until 16:01 hrs, leaving vicinity St. Quentin. Out Berk Sur Mer 16:25 hrs, 20,000ft. RAF Mustangs and Spits observed. Capt. John B. Rose of Group HQ participated.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 14:00 hrs. T/D 17:00 hrs. Total flight time 03:00 hrs. L/F in at 14:47hrs north of Ostend at 22,500ft. R/V’d with B-24S at 15:20hrs near Sedan at 28,000ft. Heard Goldsmith 1-6 call saying they were at Luxembourg. We turned left and proceeded to Luxembourg and R/Vd with B-17s there at 15:30hrs at 28,000ft. Noticed only one small box of Third Division. Bomber formation was good. Very few stragglers. Observed other P-47s, P-51s and Spits. Left bombers near St. Quentin at 18-20,000ft at 16:01hrs. Left coast over Berck sur Mer at 16:25 hrs at 20,000ft. “A” channel good. At approx. 14:45hrs remarks in German or Dutch were heard. “C” channel good but there was too much conversation and they were not identifying themselves properly. [Weather] same as 352nd “A” Squadron.

Major William B. Bailey (B Group) SX-B
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-U
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Y 42-22465
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-R
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-O
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-Q

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 14:00 hrs. T/D 17:04 hrs. Total flight time 03:04 hrs. L/F Ostend 14:50 hrs, 27,000ft. R/V Longayon 15:20 hrs, 23,000ft. Close. P-47, Spitfires. No e/a. Left bombers St Quentin 16:00 hrs, 23,000ft. Left coast Cayeux 16:23 hrs, 23,000ft. Nil flak, R/T normal. Low 6/10 overcast. No middle or high cloud.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
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 Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
Capt John B. Rose YJ-V
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh (Relay)

Group Aborts/ERTNs:

42-75683 ERTN radio was out SX-Z Did not fly.*
42-75507 ABT glass elbow broken YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42-75688 ABT radio out YJ-G Lt. Perpente flying.
42-8623 ERTN escort LH-F Unknown
42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J Lt. Schillinger flying.
42-22465 ERTN escort SX-Y Lt. Dustin flying.
42-8374 ABT couldn’t drop tank SX-D Did not fly.*
42-75457 ABT glass elbow broken YJ-B Lt. Burkett flying

*Aircraft are not listed on Squadron flight plans and so may not have made take-off or form-up.

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