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Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons

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9 years 5 months ago #1091 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi, Peter,

Good news. I have a logbook which provides shootdown evidence for the 25 Nov '42 air combat. It also mentions being attacked by a fighter on the 17th, but at this point I have no further details for the 17th.

If I find anything more, I'll post it.

I tried attaching a scan of the logbook page, but nothing happened, so if you e-mail me at feb2944 AT aol.com (making the obvious changes to the address), I'll send that scan to you.

Below are my details on 25 Nov 1942.

Cheers,

Matt
++++++++
Harry Reid DFM, Service number 1064111, was rear gunner aboard 159 Squadron Liberator AL544B (skipper: F/Lt Dyer) during a sortie to Mingaladon airfield, Rangoon on the night of 25 Nov '42. The four 159 Squadron Libs making up the bomber force were attacked, and three of the four were shot up. All made it home, but there were two serious injuries and one minor injury.

Reid’s logbook remarks on this operation were: “MINGALADON AERODROME RANGOON. ATTACKED BY 3 OR MORE NIGHT FIGHTERS. ONE DESTROYED. ONE PROBABLE (ZERO),CONFIRMED LATER. HIT BY CANNON FIRE. 3,000 ROUNDS FIRED REAR TURRET.”

I found a little more info on this from my 159 Sqn records and then contacted Hiroshi Ichimura, a Japanese research friend, whose father flew for the most famous Japanese Army Air Force fighter squadron of the war -- the 64th Sentai in Burma. Hiroshi searched through his extensive records and found proof that, yes indeed, one 64th Sentai Oscar (the Japanese Army Air Force's main fighter) was shot down by a Liberator gunner that night.

Two Oscars of the 64th got airborne and attacked the Libs. The first Oscar, piloted by the legendary ace and leader, Yasuhiko Kuroe (30 kills, roughly), was damaged in the attack and had to break off. Nine or so bullet holes were counted in Kuroe’s fighter. (Kuroe survived the war, only to drown in a fishing accident in 1965.)

The second attacker was another ace, Yoshito Yasuda (10+ victories), whose war had already been very exciting. I'm digressing, because it's interesting. He had been shot up, by (I think) Duke Hedman and Chuck Older of the American Volunteer Group on 10 April 1942. On 22 May 1942 he made the initial attack on a 60 Sqn Blenheim, but was injured by return fire and broke off the attack. The second attacker that day was the much-beloved leader of the 64th, Tateo Kato. However, in his first air combat ever, the Blenheim gunner named McLuckie lived up to his name and shot down Kato. It was a major blow for the Japanese. Stevenson, the AOC of India Command, or whatever it was called in '42 (I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment...), wrote a congratulatory telegram to the C.O. of 60 Sqn and to McLuckie. There's a photo of the telegram in Vol. 2 of Bloody Shambles, by Christopher Shores.

Back to 25 November 1942. After being hit during his attack on the Liberators on this date, Yasuda bailed out badly burned and landed in a marshy area, where he was picked up the following day -- to fly and fight again. He survived the war.

I think Harry Reid was credited with the destruction of a fighter that night, though I’m not positive of this.

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9 years 5 months ago #1092 by phasselgren
phasselgren replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi Matt,

Thank you for the offer to send me a scan of the logbook plus the interesting information. Mail has been sent.

Cheers,
Peter

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9 years 5 months ago #1096 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Peter and I have exchanged info privately, but I figured out how to attach the scan of Harry Reid's logbook page and wanted to share this with everyone.

I also have a pdf copy, very washed out in places, of 2nd pilot Bill Hall's logbook. His Lib on 25 Nov '42, AL579, was shot up badly, with injuries. I quote Hall's entry for 25 Nov:

OPERATION/ - MINGALADON AERODROME. NO. 38. [Hall's 38th op.] ATTACKED NINE TIMES BY JAP ARMY 0.1 [OR 0.I?] FIGHTERS. BADLY SHOT UP - REAR & BEAM GUNNER WOUNDED - RETURNED TO BASE O.K. MID-UPPER CLAIMED ONE ENEMY A/C. R.G. GOT D.F.M. (IMMEDIATE AWARD).

The Reid logbook entry does not necessarily mean he (aboard AL544) personally claimed either the downed fighter or the damaged one. I believe that the mid-upper gunner aboard Hall's AL579 who apparently claimed a fighter destroyed, per Hall's logbook, was F/Sgt Barrell.

From the 159 Sqn ORB for that night, with my comments in [brackets]:

Liberator AL544 (B) took off at 19.00 and landed at 04.10 for operations as detailed. Crew: F/Lt. Dyer, Sgt. Morris, W/O. Boteler, F/Sgt. Stanton, F/Sgt. Erickson, Sgt. McRoberts, Sgt. Rochford, F/Sgt. Reid. [Harry Reid, rear gunner]
Liberator AL564 (D) took off at 19.00 and landed at 04.15 on operations as detailed. Crew: F/O. Towell, F/O. Stokers, F/Sgt. Coates, F/Sgt. Parr, F/Sgt. Hollingworth, Sgt. Reid, Sgt. Gunn, F/Sgt. Rich.
Liberator AL579 (G) took off at 19.10 and landed at 03.50 on night operations as detailed. Crew: P/O. Bettridge, Sgt. Hall [Bill Hall, 2nd pilot], P/O. Barton, F/Sgt. Nixon, F/Sgt. Barrell [mid-upper gunner, I think, who claimed a fighter, per Hall’s logbook], Sgt. Cheshire, Sgt. Laslett, F/Sgt. Robson [rear gunner, who, per Hall’s logbook, was awarded an immediate DFM].
Liberator AL600 (W) took off at 19.10 and landed at 03.35 on night operations as detailed. Crew: F/O. Jenner, F/O. Cox, F/O. Struthers, F/Sgt. Irving, Sgt. Swain, F/Sgt. Palmer, F/Sgt. Da Costa, F/Sgt. Box.
Encountered enemy opposition over target. Three machines badly damaged and casualties, three wounded, two seriously and one slightly. Target area for these operations was Mingaladon Aerodrome. One enemy fighter shot down. Names of wounded F/Sgt. Erickson wounded R. knee, F/Sgt. Robson wounded [rear gunner on Hall’s Lib], compound fracture left tibia and Tibula. Sgt. Laslett wounded in buttocks [beam gunner on Hall’s Lib]. All wounded admitted to B.M.H. Calcutta.




Cheers,

Matt

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9 years 1 month ago #1161 by paul178
paul178 replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
With regard to this my Father P/O A D Smith was second pilot in both these encounters A/C being AL555 and AL630.

01 Oct 1942, evening: Three Me.110s and one Ju.88 intercepted. One Me.110 destroyed. Seen to hit sea. One Me.110 probable. Last seen going down apparently out of control. Much smoke from port engine. Ju.88 claimed possible. Last seen going down with much smoke from port engine.

06 Oct 1942, evening: One formation attacked by three Me.110s and one Ju.88. One Me.110 seen to hit sea. Another Me.110 seen last at 1000 feet with flames and losing height. One Ju.88 last seen in steep dive at 1000 feet with one engine stopped and smoke from other engine.


I have his log books for his time with159,160,178 special fight andferry command but I have no way of scanning them at presnt

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9 years 1 month ago #1167 by phasselgren
phasselgren replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Paul,
thank you for the reply.

Do you know if the claims on these two dates were for his aircrew or if they were for the complete squadron?

Cheers,
Peter

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9 years 1 month ago #1168 by paul178
paul178 replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
I do not know the answer to that. I presume if it was just his aircraft it would be back home for tea and medals!!

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