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William B Spengler

Military

78th FG 83rd FS. 1st Lt William B Spengler Duxford based from March 1945

In March 1945 1st Lt W.B. Spengler, Chicago, Illinois, flew 20 missions with 83rd FS. On 19th March 1945 he claimed 2 Me 109’s damaged in the vicinity of Osnabruck. His combat report states: “I was flying wing on Lt.Col. Landers at the time of the fight. He dived on an Me 109, called that he was going to over run him and for somebody to get on the “Jerry”. I was behind and slightly to the right of the e/a, and in position to fire. The 109 was turning left and I managed to get a few strikes at 20 degrees deflection before over running him. He was on fire before I opened fire.

I climbed to about 12,000 feet, joined up with White 3 & 4. We broke into two 109’s who were slightly above and to our right. Both split S’d and White four and I followed them down. I got quite a few strikes on him from astern and black smoke began to pour out of his engine. There was a flash of flame and it went out in a few seconds. The smoke continued to pour out and I continued my attack at sea level altitude until I was out of ammunition. He was smoking but I did not see him crash. As I could not catch him, I broke off and joined up with another flight.”

In April the Group flew 17 combat missions, Lt Spengler flew in 13 of them. On 16th April 1945 he claimed 1 FW 190 destroyed and 3 Junkers damaged on a raid north of Prague. He wrote: “I made about seven passes at the field, firing on each pass. On the second or third pass I blew up one FW190. I also hit three other Ju 87’s.”

Service

Units served with

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. It flew all three of the USAAF's principal fighters. On D-Day every available Thunderbolt provided air cover to the Allied...

  • 83rd Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

  • 44-72481 Buzzin' Cuzzin

    P-51 Mustang
    Originally assigned to Captain Harold T Barnaby of Waco, TX, it was reassigned to Lieutenant William B Spengler, Chicago, IL, on Barnaby being transferred to 8th Fighter Command.

Associated Place

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

Events

Event Location Date
Based Duxford January 1945

Second Lieutenant Spengler assigned to 83rd Fighter Squadron.

Promoted Duxford, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB22, UK 20 April 1945

Promoted to First Lieutenant.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2015 12:35:10 Anne Hughes Changes to biography
Sources

78th Fighter Monthly Histories for 83rd FS March/April 1945

Date Contributor Update
13 January 2015 17:45:29 Lucy May Changes to events
Sources

Combined two entries for Spengler. This one now included information from the following sources:
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit roster on page 134 in 'Eagles of Duxford' book by Fry

Date Contributor Update
16 November 2014 13:21:51 Pyker Changes to service number, highest rank, role, events and place associations
Sources

Added additional data from my and Ted Damick databases.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:27:44 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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