A fair February afternoon saw RB396 and Plt Off Frank Johnson in action with an Armed Reconnaissance to Venlo on the Dutch/German border. The eight Typhoons of 174 Squadron, with RB396 flying as Green 1, arrived over Venlo in between two cloud layers which then joined as they approached their recce area. The squadron became separated in the cloud and they descended to try and reestablish visual contact with each other. As they finally broke cloud, F/L Irwin, flying as Red 1, decided that an independent attack was the way to go and the aircraft attacked transport vehicles north of Venlo. Each aircraft made an attack with rockets and cannons to the effect that all ammunition was expended.
The squadron turned for home and en route spotted a convoy of motor transport. While Plt Off Johnson and RB396 landed safely, four other 174 aircraft were quickly refuelled and rearmed and set off to attack the convoy, with good results.
Frank’s logbook does not record any comments against the 45-minute afternoon recce, but 174 Squadron’s Operational Record Book shows squadron claims for:
- Motor Transport: 5 destroyed, 18 damaged.
- Half-tracks: 2 destroyed, 1 damaged.
- Locomotive: 1 destroyed.
- Trucks: 3 destroyed.
RB396 would be in action again the following day.