History of Squadron

Harassing the Enemy


Three Americans serving with the RCAF and 439 Sqn: P/O AL Henderson, F/O JW Ross and F/O AE Monson (Photo: 439 Sqn archives)


Fighter sweeps, however, were the exception. No. 439's primary function now was bombing and strafing in a great interdiction campaign to strangle all enemy movement by rail or road. By the end of October the Squadron's tally of rail cuts was 58, at a minimum estimate, while its total of vehicles, locomotives, freight cars, barges and bests had been increased by almost 170; in addition two bridges had been destroyed and another damaged. 

On one operation in October, to attack an enemy headquarters in Hertogenbosch, F/O R.V. Smith's aircraft exploded in mid-air as he released his bombs. Miraculously, Smith survived the blast and was able to release his parachute. Captured by the Germans, he was put in hospital for treatment of his injuries and a few days later was liberated when the British troops captured Hertogenbosch.

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