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352nd Fighter Group Mission Logs?


LukeFF
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Hey all,

 

I'm working on a project right now to update a few things with the Rhineland phase of career mode, including squadron mission assignments. Right now, the big missing thing is what sort of missions the 352nd Fighter Group was flying during its time in Belgium. Specifically, I'd like to see their daily mission logs. If anyone could help with that, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks!

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LF_Gallahad
1 hour ago, LukeFF said:

Hey all,

 

I'm working on a project right now to update a few things with the Rhineland phase of career mode, including squadron mission assignments. Right now, the big missing thing is what sort of missions the 352nd Fighter Group was flying during its time in Belgium. Specifically, I'd like to see their daily mission logs. If anyone could help with that, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks!

Dear Luke,

 

You might find useful info in WWII Aircraft Performance webpage. There is a section in the P-51 part named "Combat-reports". I could find some reports by 352 pilots. 

Here is the link: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang/combat-reports.html

 

2f7b2bcd2d2d5256aa091d54d3f78c9b.png

 

I don't know if this can help!

 

Kind regards,

Gallahad

Edited by LF_Gallahad
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VBF-12_KW

Unfortunately I don't have any mission logs.  Roger Freeman's "Mighty Eighth War Diary" doesn't shed much light on the subject either.  I'm currently reading "Fighter Group: The 352nd Blue Nosed Bastards in World War II" by Jay Stout and it provides some nice detail.  He has some info about their move to Belgium and describes their missions after moving as fighter sweeps of the battle area under radar control, often two or more per day.  Kent Miller's "Fighter Units & Pilots of the 8th Air Force" gives and nice break down of victories and losses (and the locations where they took place) with some notes and details that occasionally shed some additional light.  Based on that they seem to have stuck to the short range sweeps and patrols until mid February when they started going on some of the longer escort missions again, while still continuing the shorter range patrols as well (Don Bryan rather famously downed an AR-234 over Remagen on March 14th).

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VBF-12_KW

I did a little more research and reading this morning and it appears that at least some of the groups missions in February and March 1945 were escorts for 9th AF bombers and fighter bombers.  Don Bryan's 234 kill happened on a mission that started as an escort of B-26s and A-26s.

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Luke I provided mission info from the squadron history on this exact question some time ago - do you not have it still?

 

 

Here's what I sent, just typed it again like the wind from hand written notes from the history just now before running out the door.

probably typos etc but no time to refine it.

 

 

Dec3 1st

328th Patrol, Jet encounter (Arado) near Verviers, vectored by controller

 

Jan 1st Bodenplatte - (Legend of Y-29)

 

Jan 2nd through 13th - uneventful - Patrol missions

 

Jan 14th 

352nd tasked to support bombers during penetration and withdrawal phases, refinery missions.

(take off from Y-29 rendezvous with bombers prior to penetration, leave bombers when back over friendly territory)

 

Jan 15th - 22nd

Patrol missions, escorts...uneventful

 

Jan 23rd

Patrol Bonn, Dusseldorf, Munchen  

Vectored by controllers to 109's near Nuess

 

Jan 24th

Patrol - 487th near Wahn aerodrome - 2 109's encountered

328th encounters bandits over Norvenich at 20k - 109's

THIS WAS THE LAST MISSION FROM ASCH

 

Jan 27th - Moving Day to Chievres

 

Feb 2nd, first Chievres mission - patrol, uneventful

 

Feb 3rd - escort target near Berlin, no EA

 

Bad weather 4th and 5th

 

Feb 6th, escort, no EA

 

Feb 7th - 21st NO EA, mission types not specified, most likely escort

LOTS OF STRAFING, RAIL TARGETS DESTROYED

 

Feb 22nd  - Escort

Rendevous with bombers near Zwelle, encountered 4 262's

 

Feb 24th - more ground attacks

 

March 2nd

Escort - rendezvous near Weisbaden

15 190's near Rositz

 

Attacked airfield near Prague on the way home

 

March 3rd - escort, 1 EA encountered

 

March 4-13th escort, no EA

 

March 14th Escort 9th AF A-26's

Contact upon egress, Remagen, 17 enemy AC destroyed

 

March 15 - 17th, escort, patrols, no EA

 

March 18th Fighter Sweep to Berlin

13-16k

2 262's 1 109's

 

March 19th - 24th

Increased enemy activity

Fighters Sweeps, patrols, escorts

 

March 25th -jets

Escort, Target Hitzacker

Bounced by (4?) 262's

 

March 26th -29th no data

 

March 30th Escort - Bremen

Uneventful - Bombers jumped by single 262

 

April 1 -6th

Escorts, low EA

 

April 7th escorts, Jets

 

April 8th  - 9th Raids on 262 bases

 

April 10th Attack 262's returning to base, airfield attacks, straffing

 

April 11th - 15th

No data - recommend airfield attacks

 

April 16th - back at Bodney, more airfield attacks.

 

 

 

Edited by Gambit21
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8 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

Luke I provided mission info from the squadron history on this exact question some time ago - do you not have it still?

 

Lol yes, I probably do - I just didn't check before writing this post. Thank you for writing this up again!

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17 hours ago, LukeFF said:

 

Lol yes, I probably do - I just didn't check before writing this post. Thank you for writing this up again!

 

No worries.

Note, as discussed before I can't find any evidence/photos of 352nd Aircraft carrying bombs while stationed in Belgium.

I can't bet my life that they didn't EVER... but I can't find any references or photo evidence of it.

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@Gambit21, I wanted to get your opinion on why the 352nd apparently didn't carry bombs during its time on the Continent: is it possibly because the only ground attacks they carried out were strafing attacks on targets of opportunity as they returned from bomber escort missions? It's been a while since I've looked closely at Eighth AF history, but I seem to recall that fighter escorts were free to go after whatever ground targets they could find, once they were released from their escort assignment. 

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5 hours ago, LukeFF said:

@Gambit21, I wanted to get your opinion on why the 352nd apparently didn't carry bombs during its time on the Continent: is it possibly because the only ground attacks they carried out were strafing attacks on targets of opportunity as they returned from bomber escort missions? It's been a while since I've looked closely at Eighth AF history, but I seem to recall that fighter escorts were free to go after whatever ground targets they could find, once they were released from their escort assignment. 

 

Before replying I sent Stout a quick email to see if his take was the same as mine, and he concured with the no bombs on the continent.

Now disclaimer.

 

While my info comes not only from the squadron history, many (many) photos both in the history and sent to me by the squadron historian, but many interviews with the pilots, including Bob Powell, Don Bryan, Alden Rigbey, James Wood, Don McKibben and a few others. None of them every mentioned carrying bombs during this period. Stout concurs from his interviews etc.

So with that I am/was, sort of... 98% sure bombs were not used during this period by the 352nd, acknowledging the slight chance of error. 

 

That said...why?

I'd guess that the 352nd being an 8th Air Force unit tasked with bomber escort pre-Bulge did not have significant bomb inventory, or did not have a plausible way to transport this inventory to Y-29 even if it did exist. The move was announced and carried out very quickly.

 

When they did begin operating in Belgium, their task was still mostly escort, patrol, sweep, and for this they needed drop tanks much of the time anyway and definitely bombs were not appropriate.

Ground attack, armed recon, train hunting etc was a secondary roll, and while these missions happen (especially once February/March rolled around) they did not constitute the bulk of the operations and they might simply have not been in the supply chain...or were they?

 

I looked in my 352nd/Asch file and pulled this photo - check out the lower right hand corner...are those bombs? I cant' tell. 

So I can't bet my life on anything. No photos with bombs mounted, no pilots commenting on using them is not a slam dunk by any means, but best I can do.

Along with the possibly confusing photo as well that is. :)

 

 

352nd Flight Line_2.png

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RedKestrel
13 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

 

Before replying I sent Stout a quick email to see if his take was the same as mine, and he concured with the no bombs on the continent.

Now disclaimer.

 

While my info comes not only from the squadron history, many (many) photos both in the history and sent to me by the squadron historian, but many interviews with the pilots, including Bob Powell, Don Bryan, Alden Rigbey, James Wood, Don McKibben and a few others. None of them every mentioned carrying bombs during this period. Stout concurs from his interviews etc.

So with that I am/was, sort of... 98% sure bombs were not used during this period by the 352nd, acknowledging the slight chance of error. 

 

That said...why?

I'd guess that the 352nd being an 8th Air Force unit tasked with bomber escort pre-Bulge did not have significant bomb inventory, or did not have a plausible way to transport this inventory to Y-29 even if it did exist. The move was announced and carried out very quickly.

 

When they did begin operating in Belgium, their task was still mostly escort, patrol, sweep, and for this they needed drop tanks much of the time anyway and definitely bombs were not appropriate.

Ground attack, armed recon, train hunting etc was a secondary roll, and while these missions happen (especially once February/March rolled around) they did not constitute the bulk of the operations and they might simply have not been in the supply chain...or were they?

 

I looked in my 352nd/Asch file and pulled this photo - check out the lower right hand corner...are those bombs? I cant' tell. 

So I can't bet my life on anything. No photos with bombs mounted, no pilots commenting on using them is not a slam dunk by any means, but best I can do.

Along with the possibly confusing photo as well that is. :)

 

 

352nd Flight Line_2.png

I want to say they look very much like bombs, but did US bombs have like a circular fin at the back as those seem to do? And aren't bombs usually on carts rather than left lying in the snow? Could they be fuel tanks?

Does the second plane from the left look like it has some kind of wing pylons? Could be for bombs...mind you, it could also just be for fuel tanks. 

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1 hour ago, RedKestrel said:

And aren't bombs usually on carts rather than left lying in the snow?

 

Yes

 

1 hour ago, RedKestrel said:

 

Could they be fuel tanks?

 

Nope

 

1 hour ago, RedKestrel said:

Does the second plane from the left look like it has some kind of wing pylons?

 

Yes - they all have them.

They carried external fuel much of the time.

 

 

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RedKestrel
Just now, Gambit21 said:

 

Yes

 

 

Nope

 

 

Yes - they all have them.

They carried external fuel much of the time.

 

 

The mystery deepens! Looking at them I don't know what else they could be but bombs. Did they share an airfield with other squadrons that are confirmed to carry them maybe?
 

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4 minutes ago, RedKestrel said:

The mystery deepens! Looking at them I don't know what else they could be but bombs. Did they share an airfield with other squadrons that are confirmed to carry them maybe?
 

 

Yes they shared the airfield with the 9th AF/366th/Jug squadron. However the 366th area was completely across the field.

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Thanks, @Gambit21. Those objects are indeed strange - they don't look like your typical US-made bombs. Supply/shipping canister of some sort? 

 

19 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

Ground attack, armed recon, train hunting etc was a secondary roll, and while these missions happen (especially once February/March rolled around) they did not constitute the bulk of the operations and they might simply have not been in the supply chain...or were they?

 

I think what I can do if/when we receive armed recon missions is to set the P-51 to not carry bombs until late in the campaign - say around March 25th, when the 370th Fighter Group started taking on P-51s. Until then, the 352nd was the only fighter group on the Continent equipped with P-51s.

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RedKestrel
4 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

 

Yes they shared the airfield with the 9th AF/366th/Jug squadron. However the 366th area was completely across the field.

Theory: new ground crew members took the bombs to the wrong dispersal area, not knowing they should have a cart or a sled, looked across the field to how  far the Jugs were, said "F*** this!" and left them there. 

 

its real to me dammit!

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6 hours ago, RedKestrel said:

Theory: new ground crew members took the bombs to the wrong dispersal area, not knowing they should have a cart or a sled, looked across the field to how  far the Jugs were, said "F*** this!" and left them there. 

 

its real to me dammit!

 

...or a prank/late night raid on the 366th's bomb shed.

 

7 hours ago, LukeFF said:

Thanks, @Gambit21. Those objects are indeed strange - they don't look like your typical US-made bombs. Supply/shipping canister of some sort? 

 

 

I think what I can do if/when we receive armed recon missions is to set the P-51 to not carry bombs until late in the campaign - say around March 25th, when the 370th Fighter Group started taking on P-51s. Until then, the 352nd was the only fighter group on the Continent equipped with P-51s.

 

Sounds reasonable.

 

I'd like to see B-25 rendezvous/ escort missions over the frontier and back from Asch and Cheivres.

Otherwise patrol/sweeps will have to do I suppose.

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3 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

I'd like to see B-25 rendezvous/ escort missions over the frontier and back from Asch and Cheivres.

Otherwise patrol/sweeps will have to do I suppose.

 

All of that should be doable. 🙂

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