The 513th Fighter Squadron

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Unit History of 513th
Period ending 30 June 1944 (continued)

F. Narrative (continued)

June 17th, the squadron had an armed reconnaissance mission in the Lessay area from which 2nd Lt. CARL GRAY failed to return. He was seen to bail out of his plane 2 miles east of Cherbourg. His plane had evidently been hit by flak. The morning of June 17th the squadron went on an armed reconnaissance mission in the Lessay area in which 4 enemy aircraft were destroyed and one probable. 2nd Lt. STEWART accounted for 2 ME-109s, Major SHURLDS got 1 FW-190, 2nd Lt. ELLIS shot down 1 FW-190, 2nd Lt. COOPER claimed an ME-109 as a probable. All of these planes were met at a position 10 miles southwest of Periers.

June 15th, after an armed reconnaissance mission to Vire and Mortain, 2nd Lt. JENE ATHERTON was forced to bail out into the Channel due to mechanical failure of his airplane. He was picked up by naval craft a short time later and returned to England.

The 513th Squadron received nationwide recognition when Capt. RAYMOND M. WALSH appeared over the British Broadcasting Company on June 19th and explained how he became the first American pilot to shoot down a pilotless aircraft. It occurred when Capt. WALSH was returning from a mission and encountered the "Flying Bomb" off the south coast of England near Brighton.

The Squadron suffered another loss on June 23rd when 2nd Lt. RAYMOND DEMERITT was forced to bail out 2miles south of Chartres. His plane had suffered heavy flak damage and was aflame when he abandoned it.

To round out the series of "dunkings" and bail outs, on June 25th, lst Lt. WAYNE T. SWANBERY bailed out into the Channel 5 miles off Cherbourg, after developing engine trouble. Lt. SWANBERY had difficulty in being picked up even though planes circled over him for several hours and his position was radioed to Air-Sea Rescue. He was finally picked up after 6 hours in the water.

The armament section has been busy this month, installing 13 sets of A-2 bomb releases, installing Mark VIII gun sights and putting thermite incendiary bombs in the planes for use in security destruction of aircraft if forced down in enemy territory.

Perhaps the greatest excitement of the month was centered around the pilotless aircraft raids. The squadron's ground defense system was tested the first night the "robot bombs" came over, when a ground alert was called and all men occupied their alert position. Everyone lost sleep that night but nothing developed other than the continual roar of the rocket bombs overhead. Since that time sleeping in foxholes has been a rule of the Group. It hasn't been too comfortable but it is a safety precaution against falling flak.

At this time the squadron is ready to move at a few hours notice. Boxes are stenciled and painted; "C" rations are on hand; transportation has been allotted and planes ready.

Up to the present time the squadron has run 60 missions; among those have been armed reconnaissance, dive bomb, and escort. We have dropped 700 x 500# GP bombs, 1450 fragmentation bombs, 16 x 1000# GP bombs, and expended 190,000 rounds of ammunition. With this armament we have destroyed 4 enemy aircraft, 99 vehicles, 8 locomotives, 54 horse-drawn carts, 8 tanks or armored vehicles, and 1 rocket bomb. Numerous vehicles and goods cars have been damaged.

This completes the record of activities for the month of June.