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  #1  
Old 10th March 2016, 12:53
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

As I try to finish my part of the third volume of A History of the Mediterranean Air War, I have two P-38 problems I have been unable to resolve.

I have notes that 2nd Lt Harold Clifford Lentz (94th FS, 1st FG) was shot down and evaded twice. The first time was on March 12, 1943 when he was shot down by Bf 109s or FW 190s. I have the mission report which indicates that he was MIA, and the report of the 15th which says that he had returned, having crash landed at Maktar. My notes say that the second time he was shot down was on March 25. This date comes from the roster of the 94th FS in Mullins: An Escort of P-38s; the book does not mention March 12. Page 56 of the book says he was shot down in late March by an unmarked German flown P-38 (which I find doubtful). The mission report for March 25 does not mention Lentz.

Can anyone add anything further to this second shootdown? Or tell me the source of the quotation of Lentz on page 56? I am wondering if the March 25 details are an error for March 12.

I should also note that there are two pilots named Lentz in the 1st FG at this time. 2nd Lt Harold Clifford Lentz O730542 of the 94th FS, and 1st Lt J C Harrison Lentz O431230, also of the 94th FS.

The other problem I have concerns the 14th FG. The Squadron Signal book by Dénes Bernád, Heinkel He 112 in Action, on page 33 describes the shootdown of a P-38, apparently of the 14th FG, by Teniente Miguel Entrena Klett on March 3, 1943. The plane was shot up over Spanish Morocco, and force landed just over the border in French Morocco. At this point, the 14th FG was out of combat, retraining, and bringing in the 37th FS so as to be a normal three squadron group. Can anyone add any details of this from the American side? The name of the pilot, his unit, etc? Maybe even the serial number. The P-38 was apparently recovered.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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Last edited by Frank Olynyk; 10th March 2016 at 13:11. Reason: Note two Lentz pilots.
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Old 10th March 2016, 21:12
vathra vathra is offline
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

Hello Frank,

I have Lentz's Escape statement from March 12, I will send it tomorrow.
It is hand written, so better to send it. It does not seem to have RTD date.
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Old 11th March 2016, 14:49
vathra vathra is offline
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

From Lentz' escape statement (from March 12) it seems that he returned to duty on same day (or pretty soon).
I don't have his other statement, although I am missing roll with E&E from 1FG.
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Old 27th January 2020, 10:50
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

I know this is 4 years old but has anyone come up with the identity of Klett's victim?
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Old 27th January 2020, 11:35
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

Chris

Frank moved this claim/loss to March 4th in the book.
He also added that the force landing took place near Mulluva river in Algeria (so not in French Morocco)
Serial number and pilot still unknown at the time of publication.

Sounds like it came down in Allied held territory so no MACR issued. Possibly the aircraft was not too badly damaged and perhaps taken back as spares or possibly even put back into circulation again.

If that is so the record card will only show dates when it was condemned or stricken which could be very different from when the actual incident took place.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 27th January 2020, 11:42
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

I have this location from another source but still 3 March.....Apparently the jettisoned tanks were recovered by the Spanish
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Old 27th January 2020, 12:11
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

I believe the American pilot was Maj Gabriel Caldwell Russell, who is listed in my copy of the DPAA loss list as KIA on March 4, 1943, while with 14th FG, but noted as NON RECOVERABLE. I am guessing shot down on the 3rd, died of his injuries on the 4th, buried in a local cemetery without proper identification. The serial numbers of two P-38s lost on the 4th are given in MAW3, but there is no way to tell who was flying those P-38s.

See also Russell's Find-A-Grave entry for his memorial. The text implies lost at sea, which I doubt, as I think Klett's combat ties in too well. I will have to pursue this with DPAA.

I should also note that we typoed Klett's name in the Spanish claim entry in MAW3.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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Last edited by Frank Olynyk; 27th January 2020 at 12:31. Reason: Added Find-a-Grave reference.
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Old 27th January 2020, 12:28
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

Thanks Frank. A quick Google for Russell has him lost at sea on 4 March and his named recorded on a memorial in Carthage. I would have thought a crash-landing in friendly territory would not have resulted in his MIA at sea? Bit of a puzzle......
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Old 28th January 2020, 04:47
Alex Smart Alex Smart is online now
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Re: Two P-38 Problems, North Africa, 1943

Liens reported down in sea, rescued by Submarine, from which he escaped - ?
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