4th Fighter Group 03/18/1944
FOURTH FIGHTER GROUP
A.P.O. 637 U.S. ARMY
PILOTS PERSONAL COMBAT REPORT
VIII Fighter Command F.O. NO 273
B. 18 Mar 44
C. 334 Fighter Squadron
D. Approx. 1335 hours
E. East of Mannheim area
F. 10/10ths cloud at 17,000 and 10,000 feet – clear between cloud layers.
G. Me 109
H. 1 Me 109 Destroyed
I. Narrative - - - - - I was leading Pectin Squadron as our Group was going in to give target support at Munich. There was 10/10ths cloud at 10,000 feet with another layer at 17,000 feet, and we were flying at 17,000 ft. just under the top layer. Shirtblue Squadron, who were on our port, reported sever a/c below, then Lt. Chatterley (Pectin Blue 1) identified them as 9 Me 109s directly below Pectin Squadron.
We started down on them but they began to dart in and out of cloud. I picked one and closed to 200 yards before opening fire and fired a short burst but saw no results. Fired another short burst which must have hit his belly tank because the whole aircraft immediately blew up in my face. A large sheet of flame suddenly appeared in front of my a/c and I tried to avoid it but was unable to and flew through it, feeling pieces of 109 strike my a/c before I could break clear. At the same time I could feel the heat in my cockpit and upon breaking away, began to check engine instruments. Last saw what was left of the 109 going down, covered in flame.
Later made two more passes at Me 109s but they went into the cloud and though I chased them down, was unable to find them below the cloud layer. One of these last two 109s was flying just above the cloud layer when three bursts of flak came very near him and a fourth appeared to hit him; then he fell off into cloud and we lost him.
I then climbed up and we reformed the a/c which had dropped their tanks and started to come out. ‘Upper’ continued with the rest of the group to make rendezvous.
I claim one Me 109 destroyed.
76 rounds fired
D W. Beeson,
Captain, Air Corps.
Confirmation – I was flying Blue 1 in Pectin Squadron when I saw a very violent explosion from a 109. He kept burning while he turned on his back and was last seen still burning entering cloud. I can confirm Captain Beeson’s claim.
1st Lt., Air Corps.
Official US Army Air Forces Combat Report by Duane Beeson of the 4th Fighter Group. This material is a transcription of official reports-testimonials of Duane Beeson's combat experience.
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