358TH FIGHTER SQUADRON 355TH FIGHTER GROUP
March 2, 1944
MISSION SUMMERY REPORT
A. 358th Fighter Squadron. Major Raymond B. Myers leading,
B. 18 UP: 1252 DOWN: 1545
C. 2 (1 belly tank, 1 oxygen).
D. Ramrod, provided withdrawal support 1st and 2nd ATF's. F.O. #257.
E. – G. Nil
One Me 109 destroyed, Major Myers
One Me 109 destroyed, Lt. Hoffman
One Me 109 destroyed, Lt. Blair
One FW 190 destroyed, Lt. Gresham (Egon Mayer - KIA)
One FW 190 destroyed, F/O Dudley - shared with Lt. Fussell
One Me 109 destroyed and One Me 109 damaged, F/O McGinty (shared with either Major Myers or Lt. Blair)
I. Squadron made L/F on course at 26,000' at 1342 and made R/V at Charleroi flying at 27,000' at 1352. Squadron was assigned to cover rear box of B-24's but since they could not be located permission was asked of group leader to go back into e/t along bomber course to find them. Squadron flew back and SE of Liege spotted about 8-10 e/a. 3 e/a believed to be 109's were diving for the clouds around 1352. We were at 25,000' and they were at 15,000' and heading away from the bombers and down in a northerly direction. 3 Me 109's with belly tanks (F or G) in a poor V formation were first spotted SE of Liege flying at 23,000' to our 23,000'. Trooptrain Red and Yellow Flights chased them for app. 5 min, to app. 25 mi. N of Liege. They were flying without attempting to take evasive action and no maneuvers to get away. Bounce resulted in 3 Me 109's destroyed with F/O McGinty sharing a destroyed with either Maj. Myers or Lt. Blair. F/O McGinty also claimed a damaged.
2 FW 190s flying abreast and staggered, similar to our battle formation, heading north and diving from 20,000 to 15,000' were seen at 1410. They were bounced by Trooptrain Green Flight from 25,000' resulting in one destroyed for Lt. Gresham and one shared by F/O Dudley and Lt. Fussell. e/a tried violent evasive action and split S-ing when they saw bounce coming. B-24's were never seen by Trooptrain. Squadron made L/F out over Blankenbergh at 19,000'.
1 B-17 probably ditched half way across the channel. Sighted by Trooptrain Yellow 2 who called him in to yellow leader. Message never received because of poor reception. Bombers were flying at 18,000', straggler left formation and went down towards the water in a normal glide. There were no fighter planes in the vicinity and no chutes or flares visible from bomber. After reporting straggler, Yellow 2 looked back and bomber had disappeared. Bomber probably ditched 90 or 95 degrees from here.
5 e/a were destroyed resulting in claims of 7-0-1.
HAROLD H. MARSHALL
1st Lt, AC
Sqdn. Intelligence O.
PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
358TH FIGHTER SQUADRON 355TH FIGHTER GROUP
B. March 2, 1944
C. 358th Fighter Squadron
D. 1420 Hours
E. S.E. of Charleroi
F. 3/10ths Cum.
G. FW 190
H. 1 FW 190 destroyed
I. I was leading Green Flight flying at 25,000' S.E. of Charleroi. We saw two e/a diving N.E. about 18,000'. Our Squadron leader dispatched us with Blue Flight to cover and we started a bounce from out of the sun at 1420 hours. The 2 e/a split, one going to the right and the other to the left, I told Green #3 and #4 to take the second e/a while I took the leader who was in a left turn. I gave him a short burst at 400-500 yards and closed to 300 and opened fire. Hits were seen in and around his cockpit and on both wings. I saw an explosion on the right wing root and about this time almost half of his left wing disintegrated and broke off completely. The e/a, identified as a FW 190, snapped and did a half cartwheel and then went into a violent spin. The combat took place between 15,000' and 12,000' and at the time of the attack I was indicating 500 mph and not closing too fast. I closed to about 200 yards.
In view of the effective hits, the explosion, the disintegration of his left wing, his violent spinning and the supporting statements of my wing man, Lt. Martyn, and those of Capt. Wright, Lt. Dissette and Lt. Harrington, I claim 1 FW 190 destroyed.
All through the bounce my Green Flight was given excellent cover by Blue Flight.
My wing man, Lt. Martyn, stuck with me through the entire attack and gave me splendid cover. The second element of Green Flight rejoined immediately following the attack.
WALTER V. GRESHAM, 1st Lt, AC, March 3, 1944
945 ROUNDS FIRED
Supporting statements for Lt. Gresham's claim:
"I was flying Lt. Gresham's wing. At about 1420 hours S.E. of Charleroi, two e/a were reported. Green Flight bounced them and the e/a dove and then split up, one passing under me with Green #3 and #4 breaking after him. I cleared our tails, then called to Lt. Gresham that he was clear. The e/a lead levelled out at about 12,000' and made for the cloud in a gentle turn with Lt. Gresham closing fast and firing. I identified it as an FW 190 and saw strikes in and about the canopy which resulted in a large flash of fire in the right wing root. A large piece flew off the left wing; the a/c snap rolled, did what appeared to be a cartwheel, then spun violently to the right, disappearing as we pulled up and to the left. I believe that the pilot of the e/a was killed by the strikes in and around the cockpit which caused the canopy to disintegrate."
DONALD M. MARTIN
2nd Lt, AC
"I was flying Blue Leader in Trooptrain Squadron at about 1420 hours S.E. of Charleroi when two e/a were reported. Green Flight, with Lt. Gresham leading, made a bounce as they were in better position and Blue Flight covered. The e/a split up and the plane Lt. Gresham was bouncing dove and tried to make for the clouds about 12,000'. Lt. Gresham closed fast, firing. I saw strikes on the wings and then a large section of the left wing break off making impossible for the e/a to continue in flight. The FW 190 appeared to snap roll, then cartwheel and I last saw it disappear in a cloud, spinning violently. I saw many pieces of the e/a thrown off as a result of Lt. Gresham's fire."
DONALD H. WRIGHT
"I was flying Blue #4 in Trooptrain Squadron. We provided cover and support to Green Flight during their bounce on two e/a, following about 200 yards behind Lt. Gresham, Green Flight leader. I saw the e/a that Lt. Gresham had been firing at doing what appeared to be continuous rolls. My first thought was admiration for the pilot that could perform this feat. Upon closer observation I realised what had happened. Half of the left wing of the e/a was missing and the a/c was whirling madly about, out of control with pieces flying off. The e/a finally disappeared earthward in this same condition at about 10,000'."
LAWRENCE J. DISSETTE
1st Lt, AC
"I was flying blue #2 with Capt. Wright leading when we started down to cover Green Flight's bounce on 2 e/a. On the way down I saw one e/a which Green Flight was chasing go into a violent and rapid flick roll, and then soon after started tumbling with pieces flying off of it, some of which passed right by on the way down. I started pulling out at 8,000', levelling off and climbing back up from 5,000'. I could see the e/a still tumbling below me and it was headed right for the city directly below. I would say the e/a hit within the city limits."
JAMES C. HARRINGTON
2nd Lt, AC