22nd January 1945

Monday 22nd January 1945 saw improved weather and 174 Squadron put up 3 operations. The second of these saw Plt Off Frank Johnson and RB396 take off from B.80 at Vokel flying as RED 2 to the Boss, S/L D.T.N. Kelly. The sortie was a close support mission to the Aphoven area where enemy infantry and mortars were causing problems. 174 Squadron put up 11 aircraft for the mission, with 3 flying as part of 184 Squadron in a composite flight. The three squadron wing, which also included 245 Squadron, was led by 184 Squadron’s CO, S/L W. Smith DFC.

The callsigns for the squadrons were CRAYFISH for 174 Squadron, FIRKIN for 184 Squadron and LANDLORD for 245 Squadron.

Departing B.80 at 13:40, the wing climbed to 8000′ and the aircraft set course for the village of Maisyck [sic]. When they arrived, there was no red target smoke to indicate where to attack, so the two squadrons orbited the village in a wide arch. On the second orbit, the red smoke was spotted by Firkin Leader and the attack commence with Landlord squadron making the first attack, followed by Crayfish (174) Squadron and then Firkin (184) Squadron. The Wing’s rockets were seen to hit the village and they then followed up with a further attack with cannon.

A Hawker Typhoon Mark IB of No 263 Squadron RAF during an attack on an enemy headquarters and observation post south-west of Goch Germany. Image (c) IWM

No losses to the Wing were incurred and they had returned to B.80 by 14:55, a sortie of 1 hour 15 minutes. Frank’s logbook notes:

“Attacked Aphoven: R.P and cannon used. A good prang!”

174 Squadron would put up 6 aircraft for another close support sortie later that afternoon. All aircraft would return safe and it is not currently known if RB396 flew on that operation.


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