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  #11  
Old 30th January 2018, 20:38
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Lt William Brewster Morgan, who was the only survivor from the 4th FG wrote an account of his shoot down, which was published in the February 1959 Flying magazine.

It all started one sunny May day back in 1943.

I was operations officer with the 355th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group, Eight Air Force stationed at Debden. England.
We were to pull a diversion to draw the German fighters in order that our bombers might hit Emden. Germany, our track was to be Ghent, Belgium.
Before climbing into the cockpit of his P-47, Bud Care, my wingman, sauntered over for a last cigarette and we discussed the coming mission. "You know, Morgan," he said, "we've simply got to do better. Our squadron is low scorer, it's up to us old-timers to lead the pack." I agreed and we shook hands , wishing each other good luck.
Our group was acting as top cover for the force and we were to go in at 35,000 feet. As we approached the coast of Belgium, the C.O. called our radar control in England, and the calm, unconcerned voice announced that that things were beginning to pop "Fifty plus bogies taking off St. Omer, 30 plus Lille, 50 plus Blankenburg" there were more coming.
We soon crossed in and, in no time we were over Ghent. This was our turning point, we had done our work, now we were to head home.
Bud Care's voice crackled, "Red Three red four here-two bogies at eleven o'clock low, look like Me's." I strained my eyes but the high altitude haze blotted out everything at eleven o'clock low. Taking a deep breath, I answered "Roger from Red Three, you go down I'll follow.
In a second, we were behind two Messerschmitts and they hadn't seen us. Bud's gun were firing. The first burst was enough, the enemy plane flew apart in a cloud of flames. Number two filled my sights. I tightened my finger on the trigger, the jumping of the guns seemed simultaneous with the strikes on his right wing and along the engine cowl smoke poured from his exhaust and he fell into an easy left bank that tightened into a spiral as he headed down. All good reason had left me blotted out by the thought "a confirmed, get a confirmed." Here I made my mistake. I should have headed back up to my squadron but it was too late anyways. Reports on the radio told me what had happened, the squadron had been jumped.
Weak in the background was Bud's voice,insistent "Morgan,Morgan get out, there are four following you down!"
I had to act fast. Should I go back up to the squadron 10,000 feet above me or should I try to dive away from those boys. I chose to go up as I was too low. At about 10,000 I was crossing the coast with the air speed indicator on the red line. They must have gone by the barrier [sound?] the way they caught up with me. Soon they were within range and the leader lined up to fire. When his wings lit up like neon lights I broke left and knew I was in it. He had three friends to help him, I was alone. Not more than a quarter turn later, he decided this was it. His first burst caught me in the engine. My plane shuddered with the punishing fire. I was spinning violently, the flames past my cockpit. Time to bail out. I called Bud but no answer, my radio was probably gone. Flicked the emergency IFF on, called "Mayday" three times and reached for the cockpit latch. Jammed! I pulled out of the spin. They were right behind me. Two more attacks and the wings of my plane looked like a bunch of scrap. As I happened to glance down once more into the cockpit, I noticed the small crowbar I always carried in case of a fire or jammed canopy on the ground. It worked! The pressure seemed to break a lock, setting me free.
The only instruments left were the altimeter and the airspeed, the former indicated 400 feet and the latter 175 [mph]. Too late to jump. But I had dumped my shoulder straps when the canopy had opened. I stood up in the seat, still holding the stick and the airplane hit the water with a terrific impact. Then all was still. My parachute came off easily and I automatically inflated my one man raft as the tail of my plane disappeared under the surface.
I knew that I was close to the Belgian coast, each swell lifted me up to reveal the skyline of a city, probably Ostende. Nine hours later , I was picked up by a Belgian fishing trawler and within 15 minutes, the German had boarded her and I was looking down the wrong end of a machine pistol.
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  #12  
Old 31st January 2018, 01:55
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rottler View Post
Hi Michel,

the P-47 D-1-RE 42-7920 was shot down by Uffz Johannes Rathenow, 2./JG 1 at 1400 hrs 10 km west of Blankenberghe.
Two more P-47 of the 4th FG collided on the occasion of chasing some Fw 190.

Source: JFV Vol. 10/I page 113, 10/II page 84 and 10/IV page 154.

Regards
Leo
Hello, I am curious how the P-47 was identified as 42-7920 above. Is it in the JFV book ?

The report by Morgan above is in line with a shot down W of Blankenberghe, and Morgan was flying the P-47D-5 42-8644.

Of the two killed pilots, 2nd Lt. Leland L. MacFarlane was flying the P-47D-1 42-7920 QP-N and 1st Lt. Gordon H. Whitlow the P-47C-5 41-6406 QP-H. For some reason, there is only one MACR for MacFarlane, the two other pilots have no MACR AFAIK.

A Belgian website had these two P-47s both crashing Maldegem and Moerkerke, respectively near the hamlets of Den Hoorn and Donk.
https://www.luchtvaartgeschiedenis.b...-bij-moerkerke
https://www.luchtvaartgeschiedenis.b...ldegem-heirweg

See map here: https://www.google.fr/maps/dir/Malde...1!2d51.2430573

This Belgian website also says that they collided. I don't know if this is taken from ground witnesses or if the fact that they crashed close to one another was the reason for this.
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  #13  
Old 31st January 2018, 02:37
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Just to muddy the waters some more. From the following Website
http://www.8thafhs.org/new/get_mia_a...te=1943-05-21:

Missing 4th Fighter Group aircraft on 1943-05-21:
Dates may be UK-style: dd/mm/yy

#41-6406 - Republic P-47C-5-RE Thunderbolt
Group Squadron Sq Code A/C Code
4FG 334FS
MIA 1943-05-21
Notes 6406 (4th FG, 334th FS) shot down by fighter of JG 26/III near Ghent, Belgium May 21, 1943. Pilot KIA. Plane condemned Oct 31, 1944
Source Joe Baugher US Aircraft Serial Numbers - http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/usafserials.html

#42-7920 - Republic P-47D-1-RE Thunderbolt
Group Squadron Sq Code A/C Code
4FG 334FS
MIA 1943-05-21 - MACR #: 2663
Notes 7920 (4th FG, 334th FS) shot down by fighter of JG 26/III near Ghent, Belgium May 21, 1943. MACR 2663
Source Joe Baugher US Aircraft Serial Numbers - http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/usafserials.html

#42-8644 - Republic P-47D-5-RE Thunderbolt
Group Squadron Sq Code A/C Code
4FG 334FS
Name Lilliput
MIA 1943-05-21
Notes 8644 (4th FG, 334th FS, *Lilliput*) shot down by Obfw. Hermann Hoffmann in Bf 109G-3 of JG 54/ll off Ostend, Belgium May 21, 1943. Pilot POW
Source Joe Baugher US Aircraft Serial Numbers - http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/usafserials.html

Just as a side note a Ofw Hermann Hoffmann flew with 11/JG-26 and was KIA 8-17-43. Not sure if this is the same guy.
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  #14  
Old 31st January 2018, 05:55
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

The P47 Thunderbolt Database has the following.

42-7920 - MACR 2663 MacFarlane - KIA. Fold3 has this MACR.
42-8644 - 'Lilliput' - Morgan - POW a/c coded "QP- N " later "QP-U" so I except at the date given here it would have been a/c "U".
41-6406 "QP-H" - Whitlow - KIA.

Joe Baugher has the following.

7920 (4th FG, 334th FS) shot down by fighter of JG 26/III near Ghent, Belgium May 21, 1943. MACR 2663
8644 (4th FG, 334th FS, "Lilliput") shot down by Obfw. Hermann Hoffmann in Bf 109G-3
of JG 54/ll off Ostend, Belgium May 21, 1943. Pilot POW
6406 (4th FG, 334th FS) shot down by fighter of JG 26/III near Ghent, Belgium
May 21, 1943. Pilot KIA. Plane condemned Oct 31, 1944
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  #15  
Old 31st January 2018, 10:36
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

From the 334th FS line-up on 430521:
42-7920, MacFarlane, was QP-N
42-864, Morgan, was QP-U
41-6406, Whitlow, was QP-H
Morgan ditched in the North Sea, off of Ostend to become a POW. MacFarlane I have as subject to a Declaration of Death and Whitlow as killed in a crash at den Hoom, near Moerkerke (from J-5287, AV 157/43)
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  #16  
Old 31st January 2018, 13:20
Rottler Rottler is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Hello Peter,

what is the source "J-5287, AV 157/43"?

Regards
Leo
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Old 31st January 2018, 18:47
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Documents at Archives 2 College Park.
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  #18  
Old 31st January 2018, 20:35
Rottler Rottler is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Hello Peter,

thank you for the information.
Do you know the meaning of "J-5287, AV 157/43"?

Regards
Leo
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Old 31st January 2018, 21:47
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

The German LuftGaukommando collected information on crashed enemy aircraft and captured Allied aircrew. At the end of the war this material was captured, intact, I believe. It was divided into three parts; one part on American losses, one part on RAF/Commonwealth losses, and one part on Soviet losses; and each part was handed over to the corresponding government. It is my understanding that the RAF/Commonwealth material is still held by the Air Historical Branch, and is not open to the public. Whether the Soviet material is open to the public I have no idea. The US material is available in NARA II (Archives II) in College Park, Maryland. It is in Record Group 242, and consists of probably over 500 boxes. AV records refer to captured Americans, mostly bombers, from France and Germany. J refers to captured American fighter pilots. ME refers to captured Americans in the MTO area. These records are the original German forms. After each of these sections are translations into English. All of these reports are generally on very flimsy paper, requiring careful handling. In addition, a large amount of the LuftGauKommando records are found in the corresponding MACR file, which are also at College Park, but only available to the public on microfiche cards (3 MACRs per fiche). Due to the great interest in the MACRs it was felt that excessive handling of the MACRs would cause damage.

There is a paper index to the names in the LuftGauKommando records, which is not online.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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  #20  
Old 31st January 2018, 22:19
Rottler Rottler is offline
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Re: 4th Fighter Group on 21/5/43

Hello Frank,

I thank you for your explanation and the answer of my question to Peter.

Regards
Leo
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