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The 513th Fighter Squadron

Page 5

Unit History of 513th
Period ending 31 May 1944 (continued)

Field Order #295, Mission #9, Mission#1 for 21 May 1944

The 513th Fighter Bomber Squadron took off at 1027 to strafe rolling stock in an area bounded by coordinates 5000 N-0530W, 5000 N-0630W, 5040 N-0630W, 5040 N-0530W.

Big Ass Bird Artist's rendition of the first "Big Ass Bird"
making hit on heavy tank with new 5-inch HVAR rocket.

Time down varied from 1330 to 1415. Six planes landed at Ford Airdrome and did not return to home base till 1515. A total of 19 P-47s took off on a mission but 3 were spares which returned after accompanying squadron to mid-Channel. One plane was lost due to engine failure over Channel on the way home. Pilot bailed out and was picked up by Air-Sea Rescue.

The 16 planes which flew the mission were divided into 4 flights of 4 ships each. They flew with flights and planes almost abreast. When formation reached area described above, a gradual sweeping turn to the left was made to about 8000 feet.

About 6 to 8 miles SW of town of Mahnedy (in vicinity of coordinates 5020 N-0610w), two freight trains were sighted through a break in the overcast. 1st Lt. RAYMOND E. WALSH, leader of Green Flight, went down through the clouds and fired at the lead locomotive of the first train which was drawing to a stop. Strikes were seen entering the boiler and the locomotive blew up. Lt. JAMES R. HOSKINS, leader of the 2nd element of Green Flight, attacked a locomotive which was pushing the first train. This locomotive also disintegrated when hit. Lt. WILLIE T. WHITMAN, who was flying on Lt. HOSKINS' wing, attacked the locomotive pulling the second train and destroyed it. Only inaccurate small arms fire was observed.

Capt. HENRY W. SHURLDS, leader of Blue Flight, flew 5 miles north of Mahnedy and found 5 trains in a 10-mile radius of that area. All five locomotives were attacked and following claims made:

Capt. H.W. SHURLDS — 3 locomotives destroyed

Lt. RODDY S. ELLIS — 1 locomotive destroyed

Lt. RODDY S. ELLIS — 1 locomotive damaged

At least 2 passes were made on each of the locomotives. When attacking the third train, a flak burst from a car on that train damaging the engine of Capt. SHURLDS' ship.

Major GORDON W. FOWLER led Red and White Flights down for an attack on the trains which Green Flight had attacked and continued on the deck for 15 to 20 minutes without encountering any further targets or enemy opposition. During this time 1st. Lt. WENDELL D. BRADY and 2nd Lt. EDWARD BLAKELY became separated from their flight and returned to base. Major FOWLER led the remaining six plans over the French coast. A heading of 210 was given this flight from "Ballrace" homing, but after flying for 15 minutes on this heading without sighting land, a new homing was obtained from "Coachride" which brought the flight to Ford Airdrome.

Lt. WALSH brought his flight safely to base, but Capt. SHURLDS' engine, which had been hit by flak, quit over the French coast. After gliding as far as possible, he was forced to bail out. By that time he was 4 miles off the French coast a little south of Boulogne. Lts. ELLIS, COBB and GRAY orbited until Capt. SHURLDS was picked up by Air-Sea Rescue.

Nine-tenths cloud coverage prevailed over continent and at home base with a top at about 4000 feet and at base at 2000 feet. Visibility on top was CAVU and approximately 3 miles below. No light or heavy flak was encountered.

S/ John A. Waace, 1st Lt., Air Corps Intelligence Officer