Thank you, Nigel. I especially like the pic of the water tower at Metfield. I guess you can't get a copy of the book from the author anymore? Wasn't it when Glenn Duncan I believe he was, commander of the 353rd, that the Group kind of pioneered dive/glide bombing in the P-47?
It was Glenn Duncan and Walter Beckham who gathered 16 volunteers together from four fighter groups and developed strafing techniques at Metfield ,. "Bills Buzz Boys" as they became known were formed on March 15th 1944 and as well as the training flew 8 missions.One was a fighter escort mission and another aborted due to bad weather, but the 6 missions that were flown as ground attack missions resulted in the following claims
Aircraft destroyed on the ground 20, 6 probables and 14 damaged.
There was also a probable air to air kill.
Locomotives....17 destroyed, 5 probable,3 damaged.
Boats. I destroyed , 9 probables.
9 Flak Towers were straffed and one airfield hanger was destroyed with 3 probables and 6 damaged.
Not a bad tally for only 6 missions!
The final mission was flown on April 12th 1944 when the experimental group was disbanded by General Kepner, C/O of 4th Fighter Command. It was William Kepner that inspired the name "Bills Buzz Boys".
Looking across Metfield today, its quite easy to imagine why, when the Buzz Boys were practicing their low level attacks, the safest place for any ground crew who happened to be out on the airfield was face down hugging the earth!!
Hope you manage to find a copy of the book!