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Old 3rd March 2011, 15:55
Mark R. Mark R. is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Rather than toss a draft list of P-38 kills at you, let me add a bit more refined post to the discussion. Some items may have changed as the previous post was a draft list and I did a bit more digging for this post.

Luftwaffe and Buhligen JG 2 kills against P-38s


26 DECEMBER 1942: There were two P-38F-15-LO losses on the date and at that approximate time claimed by Buhligen. Lts Milton Sahl and Richard B Jones of the 94th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group. Both were lost over Bizerte between 1300 and 1330 local time. But I also have one reference stating JG 53 claimed one B-17 and four P-38s during a raid over Bizerte on that date and at that time (Prien, JG 53, Vol. 2, p. 514 – English version). However, Die Jagdfliegerverbande der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 – Teil 8/II noted on page 74 that JG 53 claimed only ONE P-38 over Bizerta during that same engagement – “dabei konnte eine B-17 abgeschossen werden, während der Abschuss einer P-38 offenbar nicht anerkannt wurde.” Tony Woods’ data for P-38 kills indicates three kills were awarded:

26.12.42 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 5 km E. El Obeid: 3.500 m. 13.32 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2
26.12.42 Ltn. Paul Marx 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 3 km. N. Jefna: 400 m. 13.35 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2
26.12.42 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel Tebourba: tiefflug 13.40 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2


8 JANUARY 1943: There were possibly six P-38 losses on that date – five of them at or near Kairouan. The sixth is somewhat uncertain. It appears most were lost between 1500 and 1530 hours. The 14th Fighter Group aircraft were conducting a fighter sweep of Kairouan while the 82d Group was escorting B-26s to Gabes. The 14th Group losses include three P-38s shot down with two pilots killed (Lt Robert H. Woodward and Lt Robert P. Kirschke) and one pilot bailed out and returned (Lt William J. Hoelle). One additional P-38 crashed when it landed at base (Lt Robert J. Moffat). I am not sure if you want to count Moffat as a “shoot down” or not. The 82d data indicating three losses is a bit flakier because only the 112 Squadron Honor Roll web site states that there were two pilots lost on 8 January: Lt Col Roy M. Lowe and Lt Thomas A. White. Lt Pincus P. Taback of the 97th Fighter Squadron made it back to base where his P-38 was destroyed in a crash landing and fire. On the other hand, Steve Blake’s unit history (Adorimini – p. 27) states these events took place on 9 January. The third P-38 (total loss) was from the 95th Fighter Squadron which escorted B-25s to Kalaa Sirira (between Sfax and Tunis). This loss is not mentioned in Blake and is listed only on the 112 Squadron website. If I had to guess, I would say that it was shot down (if actually lost) by JG 77. Prien says III/JG 77 was operating in the southern part of Tunisia that day. As for the discrepancy on dates, I would go with 8 January because there were no Luftwaffe claims for P-38s on the following day (see Tony Woods). The Tony Woods data below indicates Luftwaffe pilots were credited (?) with 10 kills out of 13 P-38s claimed that day:


08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ 20 km. S. Kairouan: 1.500 m. 14.47 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.144
08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ 2 km. W. Djebel Toerl: 1.600 m. 15.29 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.150
08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel el Obeid: 500 m. 15.42 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.153
08.01.43 Uffz. Franz Gäbler 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 20 km. N.E. Kairouan: 4-6.000 m. 14.40 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.148
08.01.43 Uffz. Peter Fasshauer 4./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Taush: tiefflug 15.33 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.151
08.01.43 Uffz. Franz Gäbler 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 40-50 km. S.W. Kairouan: tiefflug 15.36 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.152
08.01.43 Ltn. Lothar Werner 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel el Obeid: tiefflug 15.50 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.154
08.01.43 Oblt. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 50 km. S.W. Kairouan: 100 m. 15.35 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.69
08.01.43 Ltn. Wilhelm Crinius: 113 3./JG 53 P-38 £ 15 km. N.E. Béja: 8.500 m. 13.45 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.295
08.01.43 Fw. Helmut Baumann 5./JG 51 P-38 £ 60 km. W.S.W. Gabes: 200 m. 15.50 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.464
08.01.43 Ofw. Herbert Kaiser: 57 8./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424
08.01.43 Ofw. Arno Potzel: 16 * 9./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424
08.01.43 Uffz. Drehmann: 2 * 7./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424

28 JANUARY: There are two P-38 losses on this date, one attributed to flak and the other to enemy fighters. The first loss was Lt Charles Earnhart of the 49th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group reported downed by AAA around 1530 hours during a strafing run near Sfax. The unit history identifies Earnhart as a Captain while the mission report states he was a Lt. He was taken prisoner. The second P-38 loss took place about an hour earlier when Lt. George F. Brittin of the 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group was shot down by enemy aircraft “near” Kairouan. Brittin avoided capture and returned to his unit. The mission report states he lost power in his left engine and disappeared going home so whomever bagged him had the advantage of fighting a P-38 with maintenance issues. Tony Woods information is presented below:

28.01.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 50 km. S.W. Kairouan: 5.000 m. 14.15 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.101

28.01.43 Fw. Horst Schlick: 15 1./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2425
28.01.43 Ofw. Kurt Niederhagen: 4 3./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2425


15 FEBRUARY: I am not showing any P-38 losses. In fact, the shoe seems to be on the other foot as the 82d Fighter Group claimed two FW-190s. If I am not mistaken, Andrew Arthy’s book shows two JG 2 aircraft damaged, one with 40% damage and the other crashlanding with 70% damage after an aerial engagement. Tony Woods shows the below listed claims/kills. I am at a loss to explain the large discrepancy as the Americans did not lose multiple P-38s on any of several days leading up to this date. Notice that three pilots claimed multiple kills and a fourth claimed a single kill.

15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 15 km. S.W. Fondouk: 6.000 m. 14.59 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.199
15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ E. Djebel Martila: 5.000 m. 15.03 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.200
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 10 km. N.W. Hadjel El Aictu: 5.000 m. 15.03 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: ASM
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 10 km. S.O. Sbeitla: 5.000 m. 15.07 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.90
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 8 km. N.E. Sbeitla: 5.200 m. 15.08 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.ASM
15.02.43 Ofw. Kurt Goltzsch 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N. Sbeitla: 6.000 m. 15.09 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.201
15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N. Djebel Trozza: 4.000 m. 15.13 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.202
15.02.43 Ofw. Kurt Goltzsch 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N.N.E. Djebel Vratza: 3.500 m. 15.22 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.203
15.02.43 Ltn. Fritz Karch 6./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Bou Dabouse: 3.500 m. 15.25 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.94
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 15 km. N.W. Pribon: 5.500 m. 15.58 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.95


12 MARCH: I am not showing any P-38 losses. But I have neither the 1st or 82d Group Fighter Group mission reports for this period. The 14th Group had been withdrawn by then. I am relying on the 112 Squadron Honor Rolls for each group, Fighters over Tunisia, and the published unit histories of each group. I try to use three sources (at least one primary) to document each USAAF loss, but in this case it’s not possible until I get to go back to the US National Archives in June. That said, the information I have already is probably 90% or better in terms of accuracy. Tony Woods information is presented below. These below represent the only P-38 claims on that date.

12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S.E. Mateur: 1.500 m. 04.27 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Trossa: 7.500 m. 14.22 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ E. Djebel Siben-Habber: 5.000 m. 14.24 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -

Last edited by Mark R.; 3rd March 2011 at 19:14.
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