2/Lt. Robert L. Van Horn

(Robert M Littlefield)

2/Lt. Robert L. Van Horn

338th FS - 02 March 1945 - 18 March 1945 (Killed in Action)

Assigned Aircraft

Not Known

Mission History

Not Known

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
346 18 March 1945 Berlin
Air Scores
Ground Scores

ASN - O-715064
02 March 1945 - Joined the 338th Fighter Squadron
Crashed after mechanical failure on 18 March 1945 in P-51D CL- 44-14598 "Lady Lorene" (Capt. Herbst's plane)
MACR No. 13397

Capt. William F. McGill reported: "While leading Yellow flight with Lt. Van Horn on my wing, his engine suddenly conked out. This happened at about 1235, 18 March 1945. We had been chasing 4 bogies about 5 minutes before, pulling quite a bit of manifold pressure for about 5 minutes."

"At the time Lt. Van Horn's engine quit however, we were throttled back to about 35 inches and 2500 rpm and had been this way for a couple of minutes. Lt. Van Horn was in string with me and a little behind at about 11 or 12,000 feet, apparently trying to catch up. I was flying behind White flight. My 3 and 4 man had gone home a few minutes before. Number 3's engine being rough. When number 2, (Lt. Van Horn), called and said his engine had quit, I answered him and turned around to look for him but investigated the wrong man and then could not locate him. The whole squadron stayed in the area and (another pilot), tried to get a fix. We continued to orbit, but we did not locate Lt. Van Horn. However, we did have radio contact with him and told him to make several cockpit checks, all of which were unsuccessful. I last contacted him at 6,000 feet and told him to bail out if he could not find a suitable place to set it down. He acknowledged and said he thought he could set it down. Later attempts to contact him were unsuccessful."

"We think he went down about 20 miles east of Trier, Germany, but were not certain of our position. We had been in a fight for 15 minutes previous, but I don't think Lt. Van Horn suffered any battle damage."

Lt. Van Horn had engine failure. It was assumed he had bailed out, but was in fact murdered by the Gestapo after successfully belly-landing his P-51 near Reichelsheim. His murderers were later tried for the crime and found guilty. He was from Minnesota. The plane he was flying was named, "Lady Lorene", Dick Herbst's ship. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble


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