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Thread: John Davidson MITCHNER's claim, 8 September 1943

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    Default John Davidson MITCHNER's claim, 8 September 1943

    hello,

    As for H.J. DOWDING, I'm looking for the details of the claim filed by Flight Lieutenant (later Squadron Leader) John Davidson MITCHNER, R.C.A.F., No. 402 Squadron, on 8 September 1943.

    I have the ORB of the Squadron, but couldn't find the combat report in AIR 50/137.

    I also have his short bio in 'Aces High'.

    Thanks in advance

    Joss

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    Joss,
    The correct spelling is 'Mitchener' have looked on NA site and there are a few combat reps for him but not the one you want, closest to that date is 5th Sept 43
    Alan.
    Last edited by AlanW; 3rd April 2009 at 13:43.

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    hello again Alan

    The ORB spells his name without the 'e', as does "Aces High" and the Canadian awards website.

    I've read the other reports, but as you say, the one I was interested in was missing, or misplaced in the roll /reel. I was in a hurry, with closing time arriving, and the security people at Kew looking at me, meaning more or less "put back that microfilm. Don't take another one !"

    Cheers

    Joss

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    Default John Davidson Mitchner

    I would like to clarify the spelling of my father's name on this thread. It is John Davidson Mitchner.

    He was also called "Jack" or "Mitch".

    Thanks.

    Joan Mitchner Foster
    Last edited by gardenridge; 2nd February 2011 at 15:53.

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    Hello Joan,

    Do you happen to have any information about your father's victory claim on 8th September 1943 ? Do you have his log-book where details might be recorded ? Or he may have kept a copy of the combat report ? I was trying to match the multiple allied claims of that day with the known German losses, hence all details are welcome.

    Regards from France

    Joss

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    Default F/L J.D. Mitchner's Form F Narrative.

    "Twelve a/c of 402 squadron took off from Merston as close escort to thirty-six Mitchells bombing Vitry en Artois a/d. Operations went according to plan. After bombing the a/f the Mitchells and escort turned left. When the formation was about fifteen miles northwest of the target seven Me.109s were sighted behind at about 16,000 ft. Four of these e/a dropped down behind the squadron and then attempted to come up underneath Blue and Red sections. The squadron broke down on them to port. F/L Mitchner (Yellow 1) closed in on the number 4 e/a getting about 300/350 yards almost dead astern. Yellow 1 fired a fifteen plus second burst with both m/g and 20 mm, exhausting his ammo. He saw strikes at the port wing root and the fuselage. The e/a took no evasive action. Black smoke streamed out firs followed by heavy grey smoke. Flames appeared on the port side as the e/a did a diving turn into cloud at 7,000 ft. This was the last seen of the a/c and it is claimed as possible. Cine gun used. The squadron reformed and brought the bombers out according to plan."

    Stephen

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    Hello Stephen

    Many thanks for the excellent information.

    Joss

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    Default September 8th, 1943 was a busy day...

    08 September 1943
    OPERATIONS: At 1___ hrs., 8th September, 1943 it was announced that ITALY had capitulated; that the ITALIAN armed forces had accepted unconditional surrender, and that an armistice had been signed.
    GENERAL SUMMARY: Medium and light bombers kept up the air offensive throughout the day with undiminished intensity, MARAUDERS, MITCHELLS, VENTURAS, WHIRLWINDS and TYPHOONS attacking 4 aerodromes, a marshalling yard and special targets in the BOULOGNE area. Escort and support for these massive attacks was provided by SPITFIRES and THUNDERBOLTS operating in great strength. During the course of smaller scale offensive operations, MOSQUITOS II (L.R.) of 307 Squadron patrolled uneventfully against E/A operating S.W. of BREST. 10 SPITFIRES and 4 MUSTANGS flew shipping reccos off the FRENCH, BELGIUM and DUTCH coasts; 1 SPITFIRE of 501 Squadron damaged a loco E of LE TREPORT harbour, and 2 other SPITFIRES were attacked by 4 Fw.190s near MERVILLE, and one of our A/C was damaged, the pilot being unhurt. 16 MUSTANGS were despatched on photographic reconnaissance, one sortie being successful, 2 partly successful, others being rendered abortive due to weather. One MUSTANG of 414 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron and its pilot, F/O R.E. BAKER, R.C.A.F., are missing, having been shot down by an Fw.190 on patrol near CASSEL.*
    9 E/A carried out a reconnaissance over the START POINT and FALMOUTH areas.
    A resume of the main operations, which commenced at 0830 hrs., follows:
    “STARKY” No.41, PART I
    TARGET – LILLE/FORD AERODROME.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 130, 234, and 401, 411, 412 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons SPITFIRES V.
    ESCORT COVER – 131, 504, 302, 317 Squadrons, SPITFIRES V.
    HIGH COVER – 129, 222 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX
    TOP COVER – 19, 65, 122, SPITFIRES IX
    R/V – N. FORELAND at 0900 hrs.
    RESULTS – 61 MARAUDERS bombed, dropping 91 tons of bombs, results being fair to good. Stiff fighter opposition was encountered both approaching and leaving the target. As a result of combats, 302 destroyed 2 Me.109s and 1 Fw.190, and probably destroyed 1 Fw.190 while 317 destroyed 3 Me.109’s and damaged 1 Me.109, for the loss of 2 SPITFIRES and pilots of 302*. 1 SPITFIRE V of 302 was damaged but this pilot is safe. The high cover WING was bounced by 10 – 12 Fw.190s near the target, and 1 pilot and SPITFIRE of 222 are missing.
    FIGHTER SWEEP. 303, 316, 124 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX swept the SANGATTE/DOUAI/CAMBRAI/LILLE areas, seeing some E/A but these were engaged by the other SPIT formations.
    “STARKY” No.41, PART II
    TARGET – LILLE/VENDERVILLE AERODROME
    FORCE – 72 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 610, 611, 132, 602 Squadrons, SPITFIRES V.
    HIGH COVER – 341, 485 Squadrons SPITFIRES IX (66)
    TOP COVER – 331, 332 Squadrons SPITFIRES IX
    R/V – N. FORELAND at 0950 hrs.
    RESULTS – 68 MARAUDERS bombed, dropping 89 tons of bombs with fairly good results. Intense flak was experienced from the target. 1 MARAUDER crashed into the sea W. pf the GOODWINS, 5 crew [members] being rescued. 1 SPITFIRE was slightly damaged, but the pilot, W/C LUCAS, R.A.F., was unhurt. 331 Squadron destroyed 1 Fw.190 and damaged 3 others, all without loss.
    “STARK” No. 41 PART III
    TARGET – VITRI-EN-ARTOIS AERODROME.
    FORCE – 18 MITCHELLS of 180 and 98 Squadrons.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 118 and 402, 416 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons, SPITFIRES V.
    ESCORT COVER – 64, 313, 350 Squadrons, SPITFIRES VB
    HIGH COVER – 41, 91 Squadrons, SPITFIRES XII
    TOP COVER – 403, 421 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX.
    R/V DUNGENESS at 0950 hrs.
    RESULTS – Bombers attacked with 48 x 1,000 lb., and 48 x 500 lb., bombs, hits being seen on the E/W runway. 402 destroyed 1 Me.109; 91 destroyed 1 Fw.190 and 403 damaged another, for the loss of 1 pilot and SPITFIRE of 91.
    THUNDERBOLT SWEEPS – Between 0920 hrs., and 0855 hrs., 95 THUNDERBOLTS of the 56th and 78th GROUPS U.S. 8th F.C. swept uneventfully between DUNKRIK, HAZEBROUCK, GHENT, and FLUSHING at 25/29,000 ft.
    NO.11 GROUP RAMROD.
    TARGET – LANDING GROUND AT MARDYCK
    Commencing at 1107 hrs., 6 TYPHOONS of 3 Squadron escorted by 6 TYPHOONS IB of 3 and 198 Squadrons left to attack this target, and dropped 12 x 500 lb., bombs in a line from 10/4,000 ft. Results were fair and slight inaccurate heavy and light flak was experienced but no E/A seen.
    NO.2, 11, and 83 GROUP CIRCUS – PART I
    TARGET – ABBEVILLE MARSHALLING YARDS
    FORCE – 18 VENTURAS of NO. 2 GROUP
    CLOSE ESCORT – 64, 130, 234 Squadrons, SPITFIRES VB
    ESCORT COVER – 504, 131 Squadrons, SPITFIRES V (L.R.)
    HIGH COVER – 41, 91 Squadrons, SPITFIRES XII
    R/V - DUNGENESS at 1400 hrs.
    RESULTS – 17 VENTURAS bombed, dropping 51 x 500 lb., and 68 x 250 lb., bombs, no flak, E/A or traffic in the yards, being seen. Results fairly good. No combats resulted. 1 SPITFIRE of 131 crash-landed, the pilot being slightly injured; not due to enemy action.
    FIRST FIGHTER SWEEP – 341, 485 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX (66) ST. OMER/ROUEN/POIX between 1415 hrs., and 1445 hrs. 6 E/A seen, but these evaded rapidly.
    SECOND FIGHTER SWEEP – 303, 316 Squadrons SPITFIRES IX same areas, same times, without incident.
    THIRD FIGHTER SWEEP – 129, 222 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX, same areas, same time, 222 damaged, 1 Fw.190 without loss over MONTDIDIER.
    FOURTH FIGHER SWEEP – 331, 332 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX, same area, same time; 332 and MAJOR BIRKSTED each damaged 1 Me.109, over MERVILLE, without loss.
    FIFTH FIGHTER SWEEP – 403, 421 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX, same areas, same times; no E/A seen.
    SIXTH FIGHTER SWEEP – 65, 19, 122 Squadrons, SPITIFIRES IX same area, same time. No E/A seen.
    “STARKY” No. 42.
    (A series of attacks against special targets in the BOULOGNE area identified by code names only).
    PART IA
    TARGET – “[PUMICESTONE]” and “MILLSTOME”.
    FORCE – 18 MITCHELLS of No. 2 GROUP.
    MEDIUM COVER – 302, 317, 165, 66, 453, 504, 131, 64, 313, 350, 610, 611, and 41, 91 Squadrons, SPITFIRES V/XII.
    HIGH COVER – 222, 129, 341, 485, 303, 316 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX.
    R/V DUNGENESS at 1730 hrs.
    RESULTS – 59 x 1,000 lb., bombs were dropped, 12 A/C attacking the first target, and 6 the second. Intense flak was experienced from BOULOGNE, but no E/A were seen by the medium cover Squadron. 222 destroyed 1 Me.109 without loss.
    FIRST FIGHTER SWEEP – 331, 332 Squadrons, SPITFIRES IX, SANGATTE area, 1730 hrs., saw 8 Fw.190s at 31,000 ft., but these evaded combat.
    SECOND FIGHTER SWEEP – 19, 65, 122 Squadrons SPITFIRES IX, CAYEUX/AMIENS/ST. OMER areas without incident.
    PART IB
    TARGET – “MENAGERIE”
    FORCE – 12 WHIRLWIND BOMBERS of 263 Squadron
    ESCORT – 1, 609 Squadrons, TYPHOONS IB
    R/V – HASTINGS at 14,000 ft., 1719 hrs.
    RESULTS – WHIRLWINDS not seen at R/V and escort returned to base. 7 A/C bombed (5 returned early due to technical faults) dropping 14 x 250 lb., bombs. 4 being seen to burst in the target area. Medium and high cover as for PART IA.
    PART IIA
    TARGET – “POMERANIAN”
    FORCE – 18 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 401, 411, 412 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons, SPITFIRES V.
    R/V – DUNGENESS at 1750 hrs.
    RESULTS – 14 MARAUDERS dropped 18 tons of bombs with fair results. No e/A were seen.
    Medium and high cover as for PART IA.
    PART IIB
    TARGET – “ANDANTE”
    FORCE – 18 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 602, 132 Squadrons, SPITFIERS V.
    R/V – HASTINGS at 12,000 ft., 1750 hrs.
    RESULTS – Bombers missed at R/V and SPITFIRES carried out an uneventful patrol over LE TOUQUET/ST. OMER. The MARAUDERS attacked their target with 24 tons of bombs. Results were moderate. Medium and high cover as for PART IA.
    PART IIC
    TARGET – “MENAGERIE”
    FORCE – 8 TYPHOON bombers of 181 Squadron.
    CLOSE ESCORT – TYPHOONS IB, 247 Squadron
    R/V – over base at 10,000 ft., at 1750 hrs.
    RESULTS – 16 x 500 lb., bombs dropped, bursts being seen in the target area. No E/A seen.
    PART IIIA
    TARGET – “POMERANIAN”
    FORCE – 18 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 130, 234, 306, 308 Squadrons, SPITFIRES V.
    R/V – DUNGENESS at 1750 hrs.
    RESULTS – Bombers escorted without incident and these dropped 24 tons of bombs, with fair results.
    Medium and high cover as for Part IA.
    PART IIIB
    TARGET – “RELQION”.
    FORCE – 18 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C.
    CLOSE ESCORT – 118 and 402 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons, SPITFIRES V
    R/V – HASTINGS at 12,000 ft., 1750 hrs.
    RESULTS – 1 MARAUER shot down by flak but 24 tons bombs dropped, with fair results.
    Medium and High cover as for PART IA.
    R.D.F. REACTION. Prompt and substantial reactions were indicated to the first (aerodrome) attacks, 80 E/A apposing the attack on LILLE/NORD, and another 40 that at LILLE/VENDEVILLE, 50 minutes later, while the VITRY operation aroused no specific reaction. In general these E/A came from between FLUSHING and the SOMME. Some 60 E/A reacted to the ABBEVILLE Marshalling Yards attack from the LILLE/BEAVIAUS/EUREUX areas. The attack on BOULOGNE evoked a total of 110 E/A promptly operating over a wide front from DUTCH bases and from the PAS DE CALAIS, to as far S. on EUREUX.

    SUMMARY OF R.C.A.F. UNIT OPERATIONS
    NO.2, 11, and 83 GROUPS, U.S. 8th A.S.C. and U.S. 8th F.C.
    “STARKY NO. 41, PART I – SPITFIRES V of 401, 411, 412 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left STAPLEHURST at 0847 hrs., to act as close escort to 72 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C. attacking LILLE/NORD aerodrome. R/V was made with the bombers over the N. FORELAND at 0900 hrs and then these were escorted to the target area according to plan. Stiff fighter opposition was encountered but the close escort squadrons were not engaged, although 20 Fw.190s/Me.109s attempted to make diving attacks on the main formations. Bombing was seen to be accurate, hits registered on the perimeter track and adjacent hangers. A destroyer was seen in CALAIS basin and a large ship in DUNKIRK basin. WING landed at 1015 hrs.
    “STARKY” NO. 41 PART III – 24 SPITFIRES V of 402, 416 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left MERSTON at 0920 hrs., to act as close escort (with 118) to 18 MITCHELLS attacking VIRTY-EN-ARTOIS aerodrome. R/V was made over DUNGENESS at 0950 hrs, the whole operation going according to plan, save that the bombers were a little early at the R/V. Bombs seen to fall in the centre of the landing ground and on the N.W. dispersal. On the return, 7 Me.109s were seen above, over ARRAS, and 4 of these dived down astern of 402, who were to starboard of the second box of bombers. These E/A tried to climb behind the bombers. 402 broke and engaged, F/L J.D. MITCHNER, R.C.A.F. of 402 probably destroying 1 Me.109. No flak was experienced. The WING landed at 1015 hrs.
    TOP COVER – 25 SPITFIRES IX of 403 and 421 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left HEADCORN at 0941 hrs. to act as top cover to 18 MITCHELLS and escort going to VITRY-EN-ARTOIS. The operation went according to plan, and upon arrival at the target area some 15 Fw.190’s were seen manoeuvring E and S. of the target, apparently with the hope of bouncing 421. A general melee ensued in which SPITFIRES XII of 41 and 91 were included. As a result of combats F/O H.J. DOWDING of 403 damaged 1 Fw.190, without loss. Bomb bursts were seen in the centre and northern edge of the aerodrome. 6/10th cloud at the FRENCH coast and 3/10th further inland. WING landed at 1020 hrs.
    NO.2, 11, and 83 GROUP CIRCUS: FIFTH FIGHTER SWEEP – 24 SPITFIRES IX of 403, 421 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left HEADCORN at 1415 hrs., to sweep the ST. POL/AMIENS/LE TOUQUET/BOULOGNE area. This operation proceeded according to plan, 1/10th cloud at 7,000 ft., being seen at the COAST. Our shipping was plainly visible in the CHANNEL. No E/A were encountered. WING landed at 1535 hrs.
    NO.2, 11 and 83 GROUPS and U.S. 8th A.S.C.: “STARKY” NO. 42 PART IIA – 36 SPITFIRES V of 401, 411, 412 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left STAPLEHURST at 1733 hrs., to act as close escort to 18 MARAUDERS going to BOULOGNE. R/V was made according to plan and bombers escorted without incident. Bombers were seen to be concentrated on the target, and the bombers were escorted home. No E/A were seen. The WING had landed by 1802 hrs.
    “STARKY” No. 42 PART IIIB – 24 SPITFIRES V of 402, 416 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left MERSTON at 1740 hrs, to act as close escort (with 118) to 18 MARAUDERS of the U.S. 8th A.S.C. going to BOULOGNE. Operation went according to plan, the bombers being escorted to the target, where intense light heavy flak was experienced from BOULOGNE, accurate for bomber height. One bomber was seen to crash into the sea. Bombs were seen to fall outside and W. of the town, starting at least 5 large fires. Weather was busy up to 7,000 ft. WING landed at 1817 hrs.

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    Default indeed...

    Hello,

    Thanks again for the extra informations. "Starckey" actually lasted a couple of days, and while some operations were clearly located on the coast, the small town of Le Portel (south of Boulogne-sur-Mer) being obliterated in the process (there's a book about it, "the Starckey sacrifice"), some missions were clearly inland, attacks on Luftwaffe airfield at Lille-Nord (not Lille-Ford), Lille-Vendeville (= Lille-sud/south) and Vitry-en-Artois. What made "reconstruction" of the dog fights difficult is that some escort fighters from the Vitry raid actually shot down planes near Lille-Vendeville, and some of the Lille raid claimed victories in the Douai area, which is closer to Vitry... Distances were covered very quickly in single engine fighters, so the more details we have, the better.

    Correct spellings in the end of your document should read Beauvais and Evreux. The latter is still an Armée de l'air station now.

    Cheers

    Joss

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jossleclercq View Post
    Hello Joan,

    Do you happen to have any information about your father's victory claim on 8th September 1943 ? Do you have his log-book where details might be recorded ? Or he may have kept a copy of the combat report ? I was trying to match the multiple allied claims of that day with the known German losses, hence all details are welcome.

    Regards from France

    Joss

    I believe my brother has his log book. I'll check, and let you know.

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