March 15, 1944. The 56th FG is on a mission deep into Germany. Over Dummer Lake, near Soligen, the group encountered between 75 and 90 enemy fighters, mostly Me-109's, and some FW-190's. Lt. Robert J. "Shorty" Rankin, flying a P-47 named "Wicked Wacker Weegie" was quickly engaged in combat with the FW's and l09's.
Rankin recorded one exciting victory this day; "I was on the tail of a l09 in a fast dive. The 109 could not break away as the P-47's 8-50 cals. rammed away as we dove over the lake area. In the steep dive, smoke and flame was beginning to pour from the l09. I started to pass the 109 and saw it trying to break away, dropping its auxiliary fuel tank."
On this day Rankin was credited with 2 victories, his 2nd and 3rd, plus a probable and one damaged Me-109. He will finish WWII with 10 victories, all while flying with the 61st SQ of the 56th FG.