Monthly Archives: September 2014

352nd Fighter Squadron Mustang Update

Mike Martorella has been in touch with some interesting additional photos he found in his father’s album. You will recall from my previous post that Lt. Michael J. Martorella flew with the 352nd FS at Raydon between November 1944 and the end of the war. So here are the photos and further information with many thanks to Mike for sharing this new material



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Filed under 352nd Fighter Squadron

Mission#89 March 6, 1944 – Target: Berlin. The Loss of 1st Lt. Robert N. Ireland, 350th Fighter Squadron.

Date: Mar 6, 44

Dispatched: 34 Aborts: 3

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 240 B-17s (3rd Div)

Field Order: 262 Target: Berlin

Time Up/Down: 10:33 hrs     13:43 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Duncan

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

L/F in north of Ijmuiden 23,000ft, 11:21 hrs. R/V 3rd Div B-17s vicinity Dummer Lake 11:53 hrs. Bombers 18-24,000ft. Wings in good formation but spread out. Left bombers 12:25hrs, approx vicinity Gifhorn. L/F out north Ijmuiden 14,000ft, 13:00 hrs. As Group approached lead units vicinity Steinhuder Lake, 8-12 Fw190s made head on attacks from above thru the bomber formation. 3 destroyed. Combats from 19,000ft to 1000ft. 3 B-17s seen to go down in this area. About 10 chutes seen. One B-17 coming back 8-10,000ft escorted to enemy coast. Convoy of 16 ships preceded by 9 smaller ships headed 60 degrees along West Frisian Island. Fix given to controller by pilot. Fighter/bomber intercom good.

Lt. Ireland (350th FS) seriously injured at landing (died).

Two FW190s destroyed Col. Duncan.

One Fw190 shared destroyed Capt. Byers and Lt. Terzian (351st FS).

350th: [As the Squadron were converting to P-47D-15s only two pilots, Lts. Ireland and Dawson, flew with the 351st. The Intelligence officer submitted the following] T/U 10:33 hrs. T/D 13:43 hrs. Total flight time 03:10 hrs. L/F N or Ijmuiden, 11:20, 24,000ft. R/V 3rd Div at Dummer Lake, 11:53, 25,000ft. Good formation. P-47s, 51, 38. 12-15 Me109, Fw190, Steinhuder Lake, 7000ft. Left bombers NE of Hanover, 12:25, 25,000ft. Left coast N of Ijmuiden 13:00, 14,000ft. No flak.

351st: Major Christian. T/U 10:28 hrs. T/D 13:50 hrs. Total flight time 03:22 hrs. Route: In north of Ijmuiden – over Hanover – out north of Ijmuiden. Penetration support. One P-47 crashed landed near field due to enemy action (Pilot Lt. Ireland from 350th Squadron). Plane CAT E. Pilot wounded extent unknown. One Fw190 destroyed shared by Capt. Byers and Lt. Terzian. [L/F in] North of Ijmuiden at 11:20 hrs at 24,000ft. 3rd Division near Dummer Lake at 11:53 hrs at 25,000ft. B-17s close formation. Combat Wings good though somewhat spread out. B-24s flying loose formation. P-47s, P-38s and P-51s [see]. 12-15 E/A Me109s and Fw190s with Me109s predominating at Steinhuder Lake at 1000ft. [Left bombers] Northeast of Hanover at 12:25 hrs at 25,000ft. [L/F out] North of Ijmuiden at 13:00 hrs at 14-15,000ft. Remarks: Two B-17s seen going down in vicinity between Dummer Lake and Steinhuder Lake. Three white and one brown chutes seen to open. Germans heard on R/T.

Major Shannon Christian (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-H
2nd Lt William J. Weaver YJ-I
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson (350th) YJ-F
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-N
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-J
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-W
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-P
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland (350th) YJ-U 42-22771
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
2nd Lt George F. Perpente (Spare) YJ-G
1st Lt John Sullivan (Relay 350th) YJ-S

As the Squadron made R/V Capt. Vic Byers took Red flight to attack a lone Fw190:

We made R/V with the bombers at 1200, slightly past our briefed time. Various and sundry e/a were seen in the first box of our ‘Big Friends’. I spotted two Me109s that had just come down through them, and I peeled off in pursuit. At 20000 ft a flight of four P-47s cut me out, so I pulled in for cover.

While watching them going down, I spotted a single Fw190 very low and evidently going home. After calling my Squadron Leader, I peeled off and positioned my flight for the kill. He was probably flying instruments, because he flew straight and level while we crawled up on his tail. I was about 500 yards behind and dead astern when he went through a small cloud and came out on the other side, still fat, dumb, and happy. I gave him a short burst and hit his left wing and then moved over and fired a 2 or 3 second burst. There were hits all around the cockpit and he started in a gentle dive. I pulled up then to keep from running into him and my wing man pulled into position.

Byers’ wing man, 1st Lt. Jack Terzian, then closed in to share the claim:

Capt. Byers pulled up sharply to the left. I throttled way back and moved into position. The e/a made a gentle climbing turn to the left. At about 300 yards and a ring of deflection, I gave him a short burst, observing no hits. Closing in at the same deflection, I gave him a long burst, observing strikes about the cockpit, and then the e/a burst into flames – very pretty!

1st Lt. Robert N. Ireland also chased some e/a down to the deck and was himself badly shot up. Ireland opted to nurse his shattered aircraft home to Metfield and as he came in to land he deployed flaps not realising that they had been damaged in the fight. Only one flap came down causing his aircraft to flip over and crash. Lt Ireland was found away from the wreckage still strapped to his seat but unconscious. Medics took him to the 65th General Hospital, but nothing could be done for him and he died of his injuries the following day having never regained consciousness.

The lost of Lt. Ireland hit his comrades hard and the Group Historian, Capt. Ernest P. MacGregor, wrote in tribute:

He will always be remembered by his comrades for his ability as a pilot, his cheerful outlook on life and his happy hours spent at the piano in the Officer’s Club improvising popular tunes for his friends. In the last regard he was quite entertaining. The piano has been silent since.

[The 65th General Hospital at Botesdale, Suffolk was staffed almost entirely by members of the famous Duke University Hospital. You can read more about it HERE and HERE.

352nd: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 10:26 hrs. T/D 13:56 hrs. Total flight time 03:30 hrs. Penetration support 2nd ATF, 3rd Div. L/F in N of Amsterdam at 11:20 hrs at 23-24,000ft. R/V with 3 Div of bombers N of Dummer Lake at 11:55 hrs or 12:00 hrs at 26,000ft. B-17 formation – fair. B-24s terribly strung out. Observed other P-47S AND p-38s. No P-51s seen. In vicinity of Nienburg many E/A seen, including several Me109s and Fw190s and 1 Me110 was observed. These E/A were making violent attacks on bombers and getting good results. Engagements with E/A took place in this vicinity with Col. Duncan destroying 2 Fw190s. Lts Jordan and Armstrong fired at 109s but are making no claims. 3 Forts in all were seen to go down, 3 chutes from 1, 4 from the second and 6 from the third. Left bombers in vicinity of Celle at about 12:25 hrs. Left coast over Ijmuiden at 12:58 hrs at 22,000 ft. Moderate, heavy flak, accurate, from Clappenburg. “A” – good, heard German on “A” channel believed he was trying to discourage us. “C” fair. 16 plus ship convoy composed of light boats, cargo vessels and believed to be tankers seen on a 60 degree heading 5 miles off the lower tip of Terschelling Island. Majority of ships flying balloons. Visibility was good over route. 6/10 clouds, tops around 6,000ft. Two Fw190s seen with yellow cowlings with bright red stripes under the cowl. 1 Fw190 seen with a green nose. 1 unidentified S/E A/C seen to go down in vicinity of Steinhuder Lake.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) SX-U
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry SX-F
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-V
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Z
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-K
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-X
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Flt Ldr) SX-Y
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-L
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-C
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-D
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-P

Group Aborts/ERTN/Lost

[Unfortunately the aircraft aborts, early returns, lost and damaged reports from Wing to 8th Fighter Command are not available for the period March 5-19, 1944. I have checked through the microfilm reels (B5200-B5202) from the AFHRA at Maxwell and even went through the actual files when I was last there in January. Sadly, there is no trace of the data for this period unless anyone out there knows otherwise].



Filed under 350th Fighter Squadron, Missions

Mission#88 March 4, 1944 – Target: Berlin. The Loss of Lt. William R. Burkett, 351st Fighter Squadron.

Date: Mar 4, 44

Dispatched: 36           Aborts: 2

Mission: Withdrawal support to 1st & 2nd ATF, 660 B-17s

Field Order: 260        Target: Berlin

Time Up/Down: 13:03 hrs     16:18 hrs

Leader: Lt Col: Rimerman (A) Major Pidduck (B)

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

“A” Group

L/F Flushing 22,000ft, 14:45 hrs. Flew to planned R/V point. No bombers seen. Contrails to north turned out to be P-47s and P-51s. Bombers reported by Denver 1-6 to be below overcast. Investigation made but no bombers see. No e/a seen. Accurate flak believed Hamm and Rotterdam. L/F out Hook of Holland, 27,000ft, 15:34 hrs. Lt. Burkett last seen approx. Vicinity Liege. Lt Col. Ben Rimerman and Capt. Charles J. Hoey of Group HQ participating.

351st: Lt Col Rimerman. T/U 12:57 hrs. T/D 16:05 hrs. Total flight time 03:08 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, out at Rotterdam. Withdrawal support. [L/F in] Walcheren Island at 13:34 hrs, 24,000ft. P-47S and P-38s [seen]. Rotterdam at 15:53hrs at 26,000ft. [Flak] Heavy and intense over Ruhr. One NYR Lt. William R. Burkett. Lt. Burkett was last seen in the Liege area where he turned back to give escort to Lt. Weaver, who had called on R/T saying that his oxygen was almost out. Later a call was heard on R/T saying ‘I almost hit compressibility and am at 4,000ft, I might have to bail out, maybe I can straighten it up.’


Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-H
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
1st Lt Francis N. King YJ-P
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-M
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-J
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-W
2nd Lt William J. Weaver (Flt Ldr) YJ-N
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards (Not dis) YJ-F 42-75570
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley (Not dis) YJ-R 42-75507
Capt Vic L. Byers (Not dis) YJ-V 42-75563

In the vicinity of Liege 2nd Lt. William J. Weaver’s aircraft developed a fault with his oxygen supply forcing him to descend through the overcast to a breathable altitude:

I was flying on the left wing of Lt. Burkett in number three position when my oxygen regulator became inoperative. I called Lt. Burkett and told him I had to go home and had to go down to a level where I did not need oxygen. He called back saying he was coming with me. I made a left turn out of formation and he did likewise. He called me to make a right turn and get on his wing, which I did.

We flew in close formation skimming over the tops of the clouds at 24,000ft. Twice he called me while flying like this, asking if I was all right. Both times I replied saying I was all right so far but had to get down right away as I had full emergency oxygen on and still was getting very little oxygen. We then started to descend through the clouds together, flying a course of around 300 degrees, which was roughly the course home.

We descended about 4,000ft together in close formation. Then Lt. Burkett started a turn to the right with me on the inside of the turn. The turn began getting steeper and steeper until my airplane was shuttering almost to the stalling point. I called to Lt. Burkett to make a left turn and I received no answer. I called him a second time to make a left turn, and gain I received no answer.

Suddenly my plane did a high speed stall from the sharp angle of bank and I made a stall recovery. Just as I made the recovery Lt. Burkett faded away from me in the clouds. This was somewhere in the Liege area.

I then pulled up into a steep climb and my airspeed fell off sharply. I immediately put the nose down and went into a steep dive with both wing tanks on. The airspeed hit 600 mph and with the altimeter reading 8,000ft I tried the controls which were frozen solid. I then gave two rolls of trim tab and pulled back on the stick with both hands. I broke out of the clouds at about 3000ft, and at the same time the plane pulled out of the dive, pulling right back up into the clouds.

When I last saw Lt Burkett he was in a steep right bank with his left wing tank on and his right one off [MACR No 2793 refers].

Bill Weaver returned alone on instruments and landed at Duxford. 1st Lt. William R. Burkett flying YJ-A (a/c 42-75850) evidently did not escape from the dive and remained with his aircraft. Lt. Burkett from Jefferson, Iowa is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium. More information can be found HERE.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 13:01 hrs. T/D 16:08 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. Withdrawal support to 1st and 3rd Div of B-17s. Made L/F in on course at 24,000ft at 13:44 hrs. Did not R/V with bombers. Observed P-38s coming out, they called us and said “No Big Friends -Mercury”. Controller said B Fs still in there. We observed flak to our left and turned to investigate and found other P-47s and P-51s over Ruhr. We went NE and then W. Left coast over Watwijk ann Zee at 15:33 hrs at 28,000ft. No flak directed at our Squadron. Active cumulus with hi cirrus layer at 26-28,000ft over entire route. Few thin spots. One Group of B-17s seen returning home as we made L/F in. Denver 1-6 talked to us and said they were with Big Friends at 16,000ft and everyone was happy. We never did see them.

Major William B. Bailey (A Group) SX-U
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q 42-75544
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry DNTO SX-G
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr) SX-H
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-S 42-75691
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-K
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-Z
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-W
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M

“B” Group

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 14:02 hrs. T/D 16:25 hrs. Total flight time 02:23 hrs. L/F on course 14:50, 24,000ft. No R/V with bombers. P-47s. Left coast at Ostend 15:50, 26,000ft. Flak Koln Heavy intense accurate. R/T normal. 8/10-10/10 alto cumulus 6/10-8/10 stratus over continent. Swept area from Dutch islands to Koln to Brussels to Ostend along the bomber route.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Robert E. Fortier
1st Lt Charles O. Durant

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:59 hrs. T/D 16:19 hrs. Total flight time 02:20 hrs. Withdrawal support to 1st and 3rd Div of B-17s. Landfall at Schouwen Islands 14:45 hrs at 24,000ft. No R/V made. L/F out at Knocke 15:55 hrs at 27,000ft. Heavy, intense, accurate flak at Cologne and Munchen. Point of deepest penetration S of Cologne. Proceeded on course but never saw the bombers at briefed R/V.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (B Group) SX-R
2nd Lt Joseph L. Knoble SX-O
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-Y
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-F

Group Aborts/ERTNS/MIAs

42-  75691 ABT supercharger out SX-S Lt. Schillinger flying.
42-  75544 ABT oil leak SX-Q Lt. Kipfer flying.
42-  75850 MIA YJ-A Lt. Burkett flying.
42-    8608 ERTN oil leak LH-D
42-  75157 ERTN belly tank not draw LH-Y
42-    7903 ERTN belly tank not draw LH-?
42-  75507 ERTN oil leak push rods YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42-  75563 ERTN pilot illness YJ-V Capt. Byers flying.
42-  75570 ERTN gas fumes in oxygen YJ-F Lt. Edwards flying.





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Filed under 351st Fighter Squadron, Missions