Monday, February 11, 2008


On 1 June 1944, Lt. Col. C. H. Bolender, then a Major, took command of the squadron, replacing Major Smith, who was transferred to assume command of a Fighter Control Area. 8 June 1944 marked a new era: Night Intruder work over Southern france. The 414 was the first American N.F.S. to do night intruding. Better results than any other similar outfit.

The next three months was spent in moving, 22 June 1944 they moved from Elmas to Alghero, Sardinia; 4 September from Alghero to Borgo Airfield, Corsica; and finally to Pisa Airfield on the Italian mainland, 12 October 1944. Remaining operational during all these moves was not easy, what with intruder missions and patrols being flown in support of the invasion of Southern France, and additional intruders being flown over the Po Valley in Northern Italy, but it was done.

After moving to Pisa the squadron began to do more and more intruder work. This they handled in grand style, severely hampering the enemy's communications and transportation in the Po Valley. Patrols were limited mostly to "Nickelling" missions, (dropping of Psychological Warfare leaflets to German troops). Many of these "Nickels" have been instrumental in bringing about the surrender of "Jerry" soldiers.

On 28 November the squadron moved from Pisa to Pontedera Airfield, Italy, where they are at this writing. For a Christmas present they received their first P-61 "Black Widow". They continued operating in the Beaufighter while undergoing transitional flying in the "Widow", however, and on 20 January 1945 the last was seen of "Old Beau" as it was bid a fond good-by, and the squadron then went operational in the P-61. For many of the men there will always be a soft spot in their hearts for the "Beau", but with a newer and faster aircraft they were hoping to continue to put the fear and respect of their striking power into the hearts of the enemy that "Whispering Death", as the "Hun" called the Beaufighter, had given them.

----- to be continued -----

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