23rd January 1945

Tuesday 23rd January 1945 dawned fine and clear. RB396 and Plt Off Frank Johnson flew as RED 2 to 174 Squadron CO S/L D.T.N. Kelly for the second day running. The target for the day was gun positions near Dremmen, in the Heinsberg region, Germany.

174 Squadron put up 8 aircraft for the operation. When the squadron arrived over Dremmen, they had issues identifying the target as the gun positions they could see did not match with what had been reported. The squadron ORB reports that they encountered a ‘fare amount of flak’ and Frank’s logbook said the flak was ‘heavy and accurate’. Before the attack could begin, F/S T.D.V. Cram had to return to base as his windscreen was oiling up badly.

With its rocket rails empty, a 175 Sqn Typhoon taxis between the trees at B5 Le Fresne Camilly after returning from a close-support sortie 1 Aug 1944. Image: IWM

With Cram safely on his way back to B.80, the rest of the squadron attacked the gun positions and slit trenches on either side of the road where they were dug in. Their R/P and cannon attacks resulted in the gun pits being, as the ORB reported, ‘plastered’ with all RP and cannon strikes in the target area. Frank’s logbook states that he and RB396 managed to ‘prang 3’ guns during the sortie.

174 Squadron returned to B.80 at Volkel after a sortie that lasted 1 hour and 5 minutes. The squadron suffered no losses. 174 Squadron had one further operation later that afternoon, to attack an enemy headquarters in a chateau near Wassenburg. It is not currently known if RB396 flew on that operation.


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