P-51s of the 20th Fighter Group during the Frantic VI Mission on 11th September 1944. 44-13535 “Wilma” can be seen nearest the camera.
ber was one of the most intense days in the air war over Europe
but the 20th Fighter Group and their bombers didn’t see any
German Fighters. The group landed at Piryatin airfield six and
half hours after take-off. Lt Horst became separated from the rest
of the 79th Fighter Squadron and was unable to locate Piryatin.
He eventually force landed in Poland having spent over nine
hours in the air, which was a new record for a single engine fighter
on a combat mission. 44-13535 was flown on this mission by
Lt Roark who was promoted to Captain two days later. On the
13th September the bombers left Soviet territory, escorted by the
20th Fighter Group, and attacked targets at Miscolcz in Hungary.
Escorting the bombers as far as Adriatic Coast of Yugoslavia the
fighters landed at three airfields near Foggia in Italy. The next three
days were spent enjoying wine, beer, bourbon and Coca Cola as
well as visiting Foggia and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. The last
leg of the mission was considered a non-operational flight as they
returned over France to the UK.
Newly promoted Captain Roark completed his tour and returned
to the USA at the end of September. 44-13535 was flown
by a number of different pilots. It was during this period that
Lt. Walter Bullers claimed a He115 floatplane destroyed. Spotting
a number of enemy seaplanes moored on a lake near Berg
Dievenow the group attacked. Red flight destroyed four He115s
before Blue flight, including Lt. Buller in 44-13535, destroyed
a further two.
Lt. Clyde Dixon who claimed an unidentified
German aircraft as damaged whilst flying
44-13535 “Wilma” on 10th September 1944.
INFO Eduard - August 2019