68 years ago: Jim Ashford and Ron Hamby bag 109s

On the morning of August 22, 1944, the 378th Fighter Squadron provided column support for the 5th and 7thInfantry Divisions, sending 12 planes to attack targets. They dive bombed a tank but failed to hit it. The squadron’s second mission, which sent 12 planes to the Chartres area, found 18 tanks hidden in the woods. The P-47s dropped their fragmentation bombs on them with no observable results. Finally, the squadron sent 12 planes after gun emplacements along the Seine, and despite intense flak 10 guns were damaged.

The 379th’s day was equally busy, with three 12-plane missions going to Chartres. During the first mission, after bombing and destroying a single tank and 15 other vehicles, the squadron stumbled across a gaggle of 20 Bf 109s around Nantes. “That’s exactly what it was – a gaggle,” said Capt. Jim Ashford. “It was like a hive of bees. We went at them. When you have that kind of formation, it’s not a formation, it’s an undisciplined thing. There’s no question in my mind that there might have been one very well trained man in that whole lot who was probably leading the gaggle, but the others were not very well trained.” in the resulting furball Capt. Ashford and Lt. Ronald Hamby each destroyed one fighter, with Lt. L.O. “Doc” Savage claiming a probable. Ashford downplayed his achievement; because of the obvious inexperience of the German fliers, “It didn’t take any skill to get one of them.”

During the second mission, with a mix of general purpose bombs and fragmentation bombs, the squadron knocked out 11 trucks, three staff cars a tank and a bus. The third mission was a bust, with no targets assigned by the controller.



  1. Hey there, I was at Mini Gourmet tonight and couldn’t help notice “hay there’s a model group there.” I’d love some info on this! But I dunno if I’d fit in, I love warbirds but my main subject is sci-fi usually.

    I’m shy as heck and I was in a lot of pain because of the accident I had earlier in the day or I woulda said hi. >.<

    Anyway, if you see this e-mail me! 😀 Would be awesome to maybe meet some fellow model builders. :3

    • Hey, just introduce yourself! We all belong to the Silicon Valley Scale Modelers and the Fremont Hornets, but we welcome all modelers – and we do talk about sci-fi and other topics besides the military stuff. For example, my Glyptodont (giant prehistoric armadillo) just won first at the IPMS Nationals in Orlando. If the armadillo is cool, then the sci-fi stuff is perfectly mainstream to our interests!

      • Do you have a picture of the armadillo?

        And I’m not in the area super often, still recovering a bit from that accident too.

        Do you have an e-mail I can contact you at?

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