A B-24 Liberator, Up Close and Personal: German Photographs of a Downed B-24 in Holland – II

This page presents the 15 pictures of Tell Me More in Luftgaukommando Report KU 1679.

By scrolling down the post from top to bottom, you’ll first see images of the two pages in the KU Report listing the captions of the photos. 

This is followed by verbatim transcriptions of the entire block of text on those two pages.  Each German-language caption is followed by its English-language equivalent, in italics

Then, scrolling down through all the pictures you’ll see that each photo has its pertinent caption – in both German and English – beneath it.  The English-language translations are presented in italics. 

Importantly, the images and their captions are not presented in the same numerical order as in the KU Report.  Instead, I’ve arranged them to appear as if you were walking along and moving through the plane, from front to rear.  I’ve also added some comments below the German-English paired translations. 

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KU Report Photo Caption Pages

Bild 1     Ansicht der Maschine von Vorn.
Picture 1     View of the machine from the front.

Bild 2     Ansicht der Maschine von hinten.  Man beachte das weggeknickte Fahrwerk.
Picture 2     View of the machine from behind. Note the bent landing gear.

Bild 3     Rumpfende mit Leiwerk und Staffelkenner.
Picture 3     Fuselage tail with body work and [squadron signal light].

Bild 4     Rumpfvorderteil:
a) Staurohr
b) Blister für Navigator beidseitig
c) Abtriftmesser
d) mit den Bewegungen der Waffen gekoppelte Panzerblickscheibe
e) Panzerplatten aussenbords, links und rechts
Picture 4     Fuselage front:
a) Pitot tube
b) Blisters for navigator on both sides
c) Drift [meter?]
d) Armored sighting window, coupled with the movement of the weapons
e) External armor plate, left and right

Bild 5     Linker Flügel mit Triebwerken.
Picture 5     Left wing with engines.

Bild 6     Blick über Waffenstand Rumpfoberseite, Antennenanordnung nach dem Leitwerk:
a) Rückspiegel für Schützen auf Rumpfoberseite
b) Revi N 6 A
Picture 6     View of the weapon stand [dorsal turret] top of the fuselage, antenna arrangement according to the control unit:
a) Rear-view mirror for gunner on fuselage top
b) Revi N 6A

Bild 7     Blick auf Führerstand:
a), b), c), d), Panzerglasscheiben
e) Panzerplatte
Picture 7     View of pilot’s seat:
a), b), c), d), armored glass panes
e) Armor plate

Bild 8     Ausgefahrener Notsporn
Picture 8     Extended emergency skid

Bild 9     Bugturm mit Panzerglasscheibe und Antrieb.
Picture 9     Nose spire [sic] with armored glass pane and drive.

Bild 10     Plexiglasverkleidung des Bugturmes mit aufgemalter
a) Sprung des Plexiglasses wurde durch beidseitige Lochung der Plexiglashälften und durch Einziehen eines Drahtes zickzackförmig verbunden.
Picture 10     Plexiglass covering of the nose spire [sic] with painted [markings]
a) Crack of the plexiglass was zigzagged by bilateral perforation of the plexiglass halves and by pulling in a wire.

Bild 11     Blick in rückwärtigen Kabinenabschnitt mit MK-Kugel und Rumpfseitenständen.
Picture 11     View in the rear cabin section with machine-gun bullets and trunk sides.

Bild 12     Unterbringung der Munitionskästen für Heckstand an der rechten Bordwand hinter dem rechten Fenster.  Darüber Seenotsender mit Zubehöirbehälter.
a) Ausstiegklappe für Besatzung als auch Agenten und Sabotagebehältern.
Picture 12     Accommodation of the ammunition boxes for the rear deck on the right side of the vehicle
behind the right window.  Above that, distress transmitter with accessory container.
a) The exit flap for crew as well as agents and sabotage containers.

Bild 13     Blick auf ferngesteuerte FT-Geräte
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Stromversorgungsgerät für TR 5043
c) Modulator Unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio Transmitter Unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043
Picture 13     View of remote controlled FT devices
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Power device for TR 5043
c) Modulator unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio transmitter unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043

Bild 14     Die schwenkbaren Rumpfseitenwaffen mit Kreiskornvisier ohne Rücklaufbremse.
Picture 14     The swivel[ing] fuselage side weapons with a circular horn sight without a return brake.

Bild 15     Hydraulicbrett an der rechten Bordwand vor Heckstand.
Picture 15     Hydraulic board on the right side of the vehicle in front of the tail.

Bild 16     Servomotor für Seiten- und Höhenruder der Kurssteurerg A 5. Sitz des Gerätes in Flugrichtung hinter der Trennwand des Heckraumes.
Picture 16     Servomotor for side and height control of the steering wheel A 5.  Seat of the device in the direction of flight behind the partition of the rear compartment.

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THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Bild 1     Ansicht der Maschine von Vorn.

Picture 1     View of the machine from the front.

Comments: Note that none of the props appear to have been feathered, and the lower blades of two starboard props appear to be bent.  The landing gear has been lowered. 

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Bild 7     Blick auf Führerstand:
a), b), c), d), Panzerglasscheiben
e) Panzerplatte

Picture 7     View of pilot’s seat:
a), b), c), d), armored glass panes
e) Armor plate

Comments: The skin of the forward fuselage is crumpled.  Armored glass and pilot’s compartment exterior side armor – of obvious of interest to the photographer – are clearly visible.

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Bild 5     Linker Flügel mit Triebwerken.

Picture 5     Left wing with engines.

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Bild 4     Rumpfvorderteil:
a) Staurohr
b) Blister für Navigator beidseitig
c) Abtriftmesser
d) mit den Bewegungen der Waffen gekoppelte Panzerblickscheibe
e) Panzerplatten aussenbords, links und rechts

Picture 4     Fuselage front:
a) Pitot tube
b) Blisters for navigator on both sides
c) Drift [meter?]
d) Armored sighting window, coupled with the movement of the weapons
e) External armor plate, left and right

Comments: Note the attention to co-pilot’s exterior side armor, and crumpled skin of the front fuselage. 

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Bild 6     Blick über Waffenstand Rumpfoberseite, Antennenanordnung nach dem Leitwerk:
a) Rückspiegel für Schützen auf Rumpfoberseite
b) Revi N 6 A

Picture 6     View of the weapon stand [dorsal turret] top of the fuselage, antenna arrangement according to the control unit:
a) Rear-view mirror for gunner on fuselage top
b) Revi N 6A

Comments:  An excellent view of the top of the rear fuselage.  Note the furrows created by the impact of the starboard landing gear tire and fuselage bottom.  These extend only a very short distance behind the aircraft into the adjoining field, implying a very abrupt stop.  

The dorsal turret is probably the Martin A-3C version as opposed to A-3D, the latter of which commenced with Block H-25 Liberators.  Ironically, the German technical analyst referred to the turret gunsight as a “Revi N 6 A”.  (Revi?!) 

More intriguingly – at least, as described in the caption – are two circular rear-view mirrors mounted within opposite sides of the turret, each located between the .50 caliber machine gun and turret bubble.  The starboard inner turret mirror is also visible in photograph number 7.   

Notice that the cover of the starboard emergency life raft compartment has been detached from the fuselage.

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TO RELEASE & INFLATE LIFE RAFTS
PULL RELEASE HANDLE HARD

PULL RELEASE HANDLE AS FAR AS
POSSIBLE WHICH RELEASES DOORS

PULL INSIDE RELEASE HANDLE…

Comments: This is an 800 dpi scan from the previous photo, showing instructions concerning release of the B-24’s life-rafts.

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Bild 10     Plexiglasverkleidung des Bugturmes mit aufgemalter
a) Sprung des Plexiglasses wurde durch beidseitige Lochung der Plexiglashälften und durch Einziehen eines Drahtes zickzackförmig verbunden.

Picture 10     Plexiglass covering of the nose spire [sic] with painted [markings]
a) Crack of the plexiglass was zigzagged by bilateral perforation of the plexiglass halves and by pulling in a wire.

Comments: Here’s a different way of looking at things: The photographer stood atop the front fuselage of Tell Me More, and pointing his camera down, photographed the top of the “dome” of the Emerson A-15 nose turret.  Immediately apparent are numbers denoting the rotational azimuth of the turret – in gradations of 15 degrees relative to the fuselage center line – engraved or etched into the plexiglass.  The overwhelming majority of photographs of the Emerson A-15 turret, where the turret is seen from the side, naturally don’t show this feature. 

(Did the turret dome of the CAC / Motor Products tail turret have a similar azimuth scale?)

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Bild 9     Bugturm mit Panzerglasscheibe und Antrieb.

Picture 9     Nose spire [sic] with armored glass pane and drive.

Comments: Another view of the A-15 turret.  Immediately apparent are the pane of armored glass and elevation drives for the guns.  There’s a small mystery here:  How was the turret dome shattered?  Flak?  Fighters?  During the plane’s landing?

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Comments: An excellent side view of an Emerson A-15 turret, albeit not from the KU Report.  Instead, from Air Force Photo 53584AC / A12599.  This picture illustrates an interesting aspect of the general design of the A-15, as opposed to the structure of dorsal aircraft turrets:  The guns are located well below the gunner’s head and torso.

Caption: “ENGLAND – S/Sgt. Edward J. Mickey, a B-24 nose turret gunner, of Kingston, Pa., has 30 missions to his credit and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. (53584AC / A12599)”

Here’s an interesting video (at the website of Hugh Fenlon) of an Emerson A-15 in operation, albeit not (!) in a B-24.

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Bild 11     Blick in rückwärtigen Kabinenabschnitt mit MK-Kugel und Rumpfseitenständen.

Picture 11     View in the rear cabin section with machine-gun bullets and [trunk] sides

Comments:  Fuselage interior, looking forward.  This image provides an excellent view of the waist gun opening covers in their stowed positions, and, the location of oxygen bottles.  The wind blast deflector for the port gun can be seen just ahead of the open waist window.  These are the original “open” style B-24 waist gun positions that are neither staggered nor enclosed.  According to Alan Blue’s book, that modification only commenced with Block H-20 Liberators. 

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Bild 13     Blick auf ferngesteuerte FT-Geräte
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Stromversorgungsgerät für TR 5043
c) Modulator Unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio Transmitter Unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043

Picture 13     View of remote controlled FT devices
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Power device for TR 5043
c) Modulator unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio transmitter unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 504

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Bild 14     Die schwenkbaren Rumpfseitenwaffen mit Kreiskornvisier ohne Rücklaufbremse.

Picture 14     The swivel[ing] fuselage side weapons with a circular horn sight without a return brake.

Comments:  The simple circular ring-and-bead gunsight mounted atop the waist machine guns.

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Bild 12     Unterbringung der Munitionskästen für Heckstand an der rechten Bordwand hinter dem rechten Fenster.  Darüber Seenotsender mit Zubehöirbehälter.
a) Ausstiegklappe für Besatzung als auch Agenten und Sabotagebehältern.

Picture 12     Accommodation of the ammunition boxes for the rear deck on the right side of the vehicle behind the right window.  Above that, distress transmitter with accessory container.
a) The exit flap for crew as well as agents and sabotage containers.

Comments:  Tail turret ammunition storage box, and ventral entry / escape hatch in open (stowed) position. 

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Bild 15     Hydraulicbrett an der rechten Bordwand vor Heckstand.

Picture 15     Hydraulic board on the right side of the vehicle in front of the tail.

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Bild 16     Servomotor für Seiten- und Höhenruder der Kurssteurerg A 5. Sitz des Gerätes in Flugrichtung hinter der Trennwand des Heckraumes.

Picture 16     Servomotor for side and height control of the steering wheel A 5.  Seat of the device in the direction of flight behind the partition of the rear compartment.

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Bild 8     Ausgefahrener Notsporn

Picture 8     Extended emergency skid

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Bild 2     Ansicht der Maschine von hinten.  Man beachte das weggeknickte Fahrwerk.

Picture 2     View of the machine from behind. Note the bent landing gear.

Bild 3     Rumpfende mit Leiwerk und Staffelkenner.

Picture 3     Fuselage tail with body work and [squadron signal light].

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There ends the tail – literally (ahem! – pardon the pun!), and figuratively – of Tell Me More.  The photos tell the story of a single B-24 Liberator – of very, very many – that was lost in the air war against Germany in the Second World War. 

Certainly every man in the plane’s crew certainly had his own, much more human story, as well:  Of attempted evasion, eventual capture, and ultimately liberation and freedom.  I have no way of knowing if in the decades since 1945 those stories were recorded and preserved – especially as suggested by the inscription on the tombstone of Lt. Robert Willson – but it would be nice to think they have been. 

So, let this collection of photos stand as a symbol of a past that should not be forgotten.

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References

The B-24 Liberator

Birdsall, Steve, B-24 Liberator in Action (Aircraft No. 21), (Illustrated by Don Greer), Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrollton, Tx., 1975

Blue, Allan G., The B-24 Liberator – A Pictorial History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, N.Y., 1975

Davis, Larry  B-24 Liberator in Action (Aircraft No. 80), (Illustrated by Perry Manley), Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrollton, Tx., 1987

Joe Baugher’s list of B-24 serial numbers, at
http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_bombers/b24_16.html

B-24H 41-28754

American Air Museum, at
http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/804

8th Air Force Historical Society, at
http://www.8thafhs.com/get_one_acgroup.php?acgroup_id=53

Robert Edwin Willson Commemorative page, at
http://findagrave.com/ for Robert Edwin Willson

Luftgaukommando Report KU 1680

United States National Archives – Collection of Foreign Record Seized – Record Group 242: “Records of Luftgaukommandos: German Reports of Downed Allied Fighters and Other Aircraft – KU Reports”

Report KU 1680 at NARA: (In) Records Group 242, Entry 1022, Shelf Location 190 / 14 / 9-12 / 1-5, Box 231

Demonstration of Emerson A-15 Turret

Hugh Fenlon’s website, at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eQx_7J2Gk

Modelling the B-24H Liberator

US-Aircraft.com History-Modelling-Forum
http://usaircraft.proboards.com/thread/1570

IPMS USA
http://www.ipmsusa.org/reviews2/aircraft/details/eduard_48/eduard_48_b24j-stuff.htm

Captive Technology: German Photographs of Electronic Equipment in a Downed Special Operations Squadron B-24 Liberator – II

This – and the next – page present the 19 pictures in Luftgaukommando Report 1054, for B-24D 42-63792.  The format is identical to that followed in the blog post covering the Luftgaukommando Report for B-24H Liberator Tell Me More:

By scrolling “down” the post from top to bottom, you’ll see images of the two pages in the Report listing the captions of the photos. 

This is followed by a verbatim transcription of the block of the German text in those two pages.  The German text is followed by its English-language translation (in italics) which I transcribed from the MACR.

Then, moving “down” through all the pictures…

Each photo has its caption – in both German and English – below it.  The English-language translations are presented in italics. 

The images and their captions aren’t presented in the same numerical order as in the KU Report.  They’re arranged as if you were moving along the plane (or, er, uh…in this case, what’s left of the plane…) from front to rear.  I’ve also added comments below some captions.

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DESCRIPTION OF AIRCRAFT 42-63792, AND PHOTO CAPTIONS

Feindgerät-Untersuchungsstelle 5
RLM GL C-Rü                                                                                                O.U. den 23.4.44
Feldpostnummer: L 50825 FW, Lgp. Brüssel.

Untersuchungsbericht Nr. 5/2021:

Am. 2.3.44 um 23.30 Uhr wurde in Fienvillers (8 km s.w. Doullens) eine Liberator durch Flak abgeschossen.  Von der Besatzung wurden 2 Mann gefangen genommen.

Das Flugzeug war als Sabotagematerialträger eingesetzt und sehr stark zerstört.

Die Typenbezeichnung des Flugzeuges lautete: B 24 D, Ser. 42-63792.  Bemerkenswert an diesem Flugzeug war die FT-Ausrüstung.  Es befanden sich beiderseits des Rumpfbuges die im Bild 1 u. 2 dargestellten Antennen.  Ferner befanden such nachfolgende FT-Geräte an Bord, die grösstenteils bereits durch Kurier nach dem RLM GL C-Rü gesandt wurden:

1.     RT-3 / APN-1
27 Volt
D.C. N.X.S. – 2424
1341 C.R.V.

2.    T-7 / APN-1
110 DB / 25
N.X. – 23763
1237 C.R.V.

3.    Anzeigegerät mit Braun’scher Röhre, vermutlich Suchgerät (Bild 12, 13, 14, 15 u. 16). –
4.    BC-433-C, Ser. Nr. 14506
5.    BC-966-A, Ser. Nr. 45327
6.    BC-454-A, Ser. Nr. 140
7.    BC-455-B, Ser. Nr. 20162
8.    BC-445-B, Ser. Nr. 52370
9.    BC-929-A

Trotzdem bei diesem Flugzeug verschiedene neue Geräte dabiei waren, waren sämtliche FT-Geräte von der Funkmeisterei des Fl.H. Rosiéres weggenommen worden.  Die FT-Geräte mussten erst dort abgeholt und zur Entnahme der Stecker und Kabel wieder in das Flugzeug eingesetzt werden. –

Ferner wurden mehrere Agenten-Empfänger des Musters Miniature Communications Receiver (M.C.R.1.) festgestellt.

Als Anlage zum Bericht werden 18 Fotos übersandt.

Erläutering zu den Bildern:

Bild 1 u. 2:     Antennen an beiden Seiten des Rumpfbuges
Bild 3:           Gerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.  Rechte oben im Bild ist die Kabeleinführung der im Bild 1 u. 2 gezeigten Antennen ersichtlich.
Bild 4:          Kabeleinführung in grösserem Masstab.
Bild 5, 6, 7:  zeigt den Lageert der Geräte RT-7 / APN-1
Bild 8, 9, 10: RT-7 / APN-1
Bild 11:         RT-3 / APN-1
Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.
Bild 17, 18:   zeigt den Agenten-Kleinempfänger.

Engelhard
Stabsing. Und
Sondering. GL

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Enemy equipment investigation center 5                                             KU 1154
Ministry of the Air Force GL C-Rue                  Local Quarters, 23 April 1944
Field postal No L 50825 FW
Air District Post Office Brussels

Investigation Report No 5 / 2021

On 2 March 1944 at 2330 a Liberator had been shot down by anti-aircraft over Fienvillers (8 km southwest of Doullens).  Two members of the crew had been captured.  The plane was equipped as sabotage material-carrier and therefore very seriously damaged.

The type markings of the plane were as follows: B 24 D, Serial No. 42-63792.  This plane was equipped with remarkable radio equipment.  There were aerials on both sides of the front of the fuselage as pictures 1 and 2 show.  Further, there was the following radio equipment on board, the greatest part of which has been sent by messenger to the Ministry of the Air Dorces GL C-Rue.

1.     RT-3 / APN-1
27 Volt
D.C. N.X.S. – 2424
1341 C.R.V.

2.    RT-7 / APN-1
110 DB / 25
N.X. – 23763
1237 C.R.V.

3.    Indicator-set with Bruan’scher tube, probably search-equipment (see picture 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16)
4.    BC-433-C, Ser. No. 14506
5.    BC-966-A, Ser. No. 45327
6.    BC-454-A, Ser. No. 140
7.    BC-455-B, Ser. No. 20162
8.    BC-445-B, Ser. No. 52370
9.    BC-929-A

Though this plane was equipped with different kinds of new radio equipment, all radio equipment had been taken out by the radio office of the Air-base Rosieres.  The radio equipment had to be obtained from that office, and for the purpose of the removal of the plugs and cables had to be installed again into the plane.  Also, several agent receivers of the type “Miniature Communications Receiver (M.C.R. 1)” were found.

Enclosed in this report 18 photographs.

Photo explanation.

Picture 1 and 2:     Antenna on both sides of the front of the fuselage.
3:     Equipment with Bruan’scher tube.  In the right upper corner of the picture the cable installation of the antenna (shown in picture 1 and 2) can be seen.
4:     Cable installation on larger scale.
5, 6, 7:     shows the location of the equipment RT-7 / APN-1
8, 9, 10:   RT-7 /APN-1
11:            RT-3 / APN-1
12, 13, 14, 15, and 16     Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.
17 and 18:     Shows the Miniature-Communications-Receiver.

Enclosures:

Instructions for the
“Miniature Communications Receiver”
and 18 photographs.

Signed: Engelhard
Staff-Engineer and Special Engineer

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Photos: Crash Site, APN-1 Antenna, and BC-929-A “Rebecca” Radar Interrogator Unit

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These three un-numbered images show the scope and scene of the plane’s crash.  Most of the airframe and wings have been destroyed (the tail and left wing broke off during the crash) but ironically, several components of the plane’s special electronic equipment, situated in the central fuselage and nose, survived relatively or completely intact.  These have been extracted from the fuselage and placed in front of the wreckage. 

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Bild 1 u. 2:     Antennen an beiden Seiten des Rumpfbuges

Picture 1 and 2:     Antenna on both sides of the front of the fuselage.

Bild 1 u. 2:     Antennen an beiden Seiten des Rumpfbuges

Picture 1 and 2:     Antenna on both sides of the front of the fuselage.

Bild 3:           Gerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.  Rechte oben im Bild ist die Kabeleinführung der im Bild 1 u. 2 gezeigten Antennen ersichtlich.

Picture  3:     Equipment with Bruan’scher tube.  In the right upper corner of the picture the cable installation of the antenna (shown in picture 1 and 2) can be seen.

Bild 4:          Kabeleinführung in grösserem Masstab.

Picture 4:     Cable installation on larger scale.

Comments for Photos 1, 2, 3, and 4: Close-ups of nose-mounted external receiving antenna associated with the APN-1 radar altimeter, and, the interior electrical connection of an APN-1 antenna within the fuselage.  Notably, the nose-mounted BC-929-A “Rebecca” Radar Interrogator unit and its attached cables (in photo 3) are completely intact. 

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Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.

Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16: Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.

Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.

Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16: Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.

Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.

Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16: Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.

Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.

Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16: Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.

Bild 12, 13, 14, 15, 16: Suchgerät mit Braun’scher Röhre.

Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16: Search equipment with Braun’scher tube.

Comments for photos 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16:  These are external and internal views of the BC-929-A Rebecca Radar Interrogator.  The phrase “Braun’scher Röhre” (Braun’scher tube) is German for “cathode ray tube”, the first such device having been invented by a Dr. Karl Ferdinand Braun in 1897. 

The remaining photographs are presented on the next blog post…

A B-24 Liberator, Up Close and Personal: German Photographs of a Downed B-24 in Holland – I

In September of 2016, this blog commenced with a post about Luftgaukommando Reports – documents created by the Germans to record information about aircraft and aircrews of the United States and British Commonwealth air forces shot down over German-occupied Europe and Germany itself, during the Second World War.  Also known as KU (Kampflugzeug Unterlagen – “Downed Allied Aircraft”) Reports, these documents are part of Records Group 242 (Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675-1983) in the United States National Archives. 

By nature, Luftgaukommando Reports comprise records compiled by the Germans, and not uncommonly, include documents (personal and otherwise) and other items, such as V-Mail and hand-written correspondence, carried or worn (dog tags) by air crewmen. 

That “first” post (a multitude of keystrokes ago…!) focused on Luftgaukommando Report J 2525, which covers “Chicago’s Own”, a P-51D Mustang (44-41010) of the 353rd Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Group, which was piloted by Captain Gordon T. McEachron, and served to introduce and describe general aspects of Luftgaukommando Reports. 

What makes Luftgaukommando Report J 2525 noteworthy is the presence of several excellent photographs of the downed and mostly intact – albeit no longer quite flyable! – Mustang. 

Report J2525 is one of the very few Luftgaukommando Reports containing photographs.  Sometimes, like the pictures of Chicago’s Own, such images suggest the features, components, and design aspects of American warplanes that particularly drew the attention of German investigators and technical analysts.

In a large sense, perhaps an apt word for such images is “evocative”.  It’s one thing to read “about” the loss of an American military plane in a book, article, or Missing Air Crew Report.  It’s quite another to actually see and hold an image of what that aircraft looked like, to those who actually flew within it over seven decades ago. 

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This post presents another series of German photographs of a downed American warplane:  An entirely intact yet rather broken 8th Air Force B-24 Liberator – ironically nicknamed “Tell Me More” – which was examined by the Germans after force-landing in Holland on April 29, 1944.  The 15 images presented here, in Luftgaukommando Report KU 1679, represent the second highest total quantity of images found in any of the Luftgaukommando Reports (whether J, KU, or ME Reports) I’ve thus far examined.  (The largest quantity of photographs in a Luftgaukommando Report– 19 – hopefully the subject of a future post!)

“Tell Me More”, a B-24H 41-28754 of the 787th Bomb Squadron, 466th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, squadron code 6L * N, was piloted by 1 Lt. Carl E. Hitchcock, and was lost during the Group’s mission to Berlin on April 29, 1944.  Its loss is covered in MACR 4447.  The 466th lost one other Liberator that day (41-29399, “T9 * D”, of the 784th Bomb Squadron, covered in KU 1681) while the 8th Air Force lost 61 other B-17s and B-24s; the 15th Air Force 4 B-24s. 

In human costs, approximately six hundred and seventy men.

According to tables of B-24 Liberator serial numbers in Allan Blue’s The B-24 Liberator (pp. 195 and 202), Tell Me More was a B-24H-1DT, and – going by serial numbers alone, rather than calendar date of manufacture and delivery – was the very first ”H” version of all 3,100 B-24H Liberators manufactured. 

The crew list from the MACR is shown below:

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Neither the MACR nor the KU Report contain information describing the actual cause of the aircraft’s loss.  The KU Report simply states that the plane, “made an emergency landing 6 km east of Apeldoorn”, also vaguely mentioning “Liberator Shot Down”.  Regardless, as can be seen from the list in the MACR and KU Report, the entire crew of 10 was eventually captured.  

Fortunately, all survived the war. 

They were:

PilotHitchcock, Carl Edward, 1 Lt., 0-664597
Mrs. Mary Hitchcock (mother), North Bradley St., McKinney, Tx.
Born 1/17/15, Tx.; Died 9/23/95
Buried Sunset Memorial Park, San Antonio, Tx. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag 7A (Moosburg)
Captured by 6/22/44

Co-PilotYoung, Lloyd G., 2 Lt., 0-680791
Mrs. Mary Young (mother), Park View Ave., Knoxville, Tn.
Born 9/25/18, Smith County, Tn.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured May 3, 1944, at Vorort v Tiel, by Officer Heitzwebel

NavigatorWillson, Robert Edwin, 2 Lt., 0-698245
Mrs. Frances (Gardner) Willson (wife), 3026 Lebanon, El Paso, Tx.
Born 9/9/20, Sherman, Tx.; Died 2/3/08
Buried Dallas – Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, Tx.
On tombstone – “Ex-POW – It is well with my soul.”  (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW – Camp Unknown
Captured by 6/22/44

Robert Willson’s tombstone, photographed by FindAGrave contributor William Nance, is shown below:

BombardierBochicchio, Vito Joseph, 2 Lt., 0-682047
Mrs. Margaret Bochicchio (mother), West 21st St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1/1/17, New York, N.Y.; Died 3/23/10
Buried Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, N.Y. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured May 3, 1944, at Vorort v Tiel, by Officer Heitzwebel

Flight Engineer DiManno, Carmine Gerard, T/Sgt., 31276739
Mrs. Mary Dimanno (mother), 19 Orchard St., Hartford, Ct.
Born 7/7/23; Died 5/29/77
Buried East Cemetery, Manchester, Ct. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)
Probably Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Radio OperatorMcCue, Thomas J. (“Thomas Francis”?), S/Sgt., 12188732
Mrs. Lee V. McCue (mother), 476 Dean St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Ball Turret)Browne, Charles Graham, S/Sgt., 19116027
Mrs. Agnes G. Browne (mother), East South Mariposa St., Glendale, Ca.
Born 12/21/19, Twin Falls, Id.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Right Waist)Smith, David Leon, S/Sgt., 18213749
Mrs. Mary Smith (mother), General Delivery, New Franklin, Mo.
POW Stalag Luft 1 (Barth)
Captured by January 5, 1945

Gunner (Left Waist)Lugosi, Alex Paul, S/Sgt., 36631214
Mrs. Anna Lugosi (mother), 12632 Wallace St., Chicago, Il.
Born 11/11/21, Chicago, Il.
POW – Camp Unknown (numerical indicator is “0”)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Tail)Dorrian, Thomas George, S/Sgt., 12121740
Mr. James Dorrian (father), 2541 99th St., East Elmhurst, Long Island, N.Y.
Born New York, N.Y.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

____________________

The crew list and other documents in the KU Report imply that the crew split up after landing – the enlisted men in one group, and the four officers in two pairs – in an attempt to evade capture.  This is suggested by their dates of capture, which are listed in the KU Report as follows:

Captured on April 29, at Apeldoorn:

T/Sgt. Carmine G. DiManno (flight engineer)
S/Sgt. Thomas J. McCue (Radio Operator)
S/Sgt. Charles G. Browne (Ball Turret Gunner)
S/Sgt. Alex P. Lugosi (Left Waist Gunner)
S/Sgt. Thomas G. Dorrian (Tail Gunner)

Captured May 3, at “Vorort v Tiel”, by an “Officer Heitzwebel”:

2 Lt. Lloyd G. Young (Co-Pilot)
2 Lt. Vito J. Bochicchio (Bombardier)

Captured by June 22, at an unspecified location:

1 Lt. Carl E. Hitchcock (Pilot)
2 Lt. Robert E. Willson (Navigator)

Managed to evade until early January, 1945; location of capture unspecified:

S/Sgt. David L. Smith (Right Waist Gunner)

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The specific location of the aircraft’s landing is presented as follows:

1) The American Air Museum website lists the plane as having crash-landed at Apeldoorn.

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/804

2) The Eighth Air Force Historical Society lists the plane as having landed at Wilp-Achterhoek, in Gelderland.

3) The KU Report gives two locations for the plane’s loss:

a) 6 kilometers east of Apeldoorn
b) 4 kilometers south of Touge

Touge is east-northeast, and Wilp-Achterhoek directly east, of the geographic center of Apeldoorn.  Based on this information, I’ve created three Google maps at successively larger scales, “zooming in” on the location which seems (seems!) to be the best composite of the above-reported locations.  This is denoted by the north-south oriented red ovals superimposed on the map, just southwest of Wilp-Achterhoek, and repeated on the Google Earth view of the same locale. 

These maps and the aerial photograph are presented below:

Here is an image of Tell Me More from the American Air Museum website, showing the relatively intact and rather bent B-24 resting on its forward fuselage, on a vacant field.  The American Air Museum website includes two other images of the plane, one showing what seems to have been a very hastily applied individual aircraft letter – “N” – on the lower port fin. 

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But, what about the images in the KU Report?  To be told more of Tell Me More, refer to the next post…

Captive Technology: German Photographs of Electronic Equipment in a Downed Special Operations Squadron B-24 Liberator – I

The three prior blog posts concerning photographs in Luftgaukommando Reports (that for P-51D Mustang 44-14040 (“Chicago’s Own”) in Report J 2525, and the two posts for B-24H Liberator 41-28754 (“Tell Me More”) in Report KU 1680) share a fortunate similarity:  The aviators aboard that Mustang and Liberator all survived the loss of their planes.  Taken prisoner, they all returned to the United States after the war’s end. 

The loss of the aircraft covered in this blog post – B-24D Liberator 42-63792 of the 36th Bomb Squadron, 328th (later 801st) Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, covered in Missing Air Crew Report 3666, resulted in a different outcome:  One crew member evaded capture, but one aviator was killed in the loss of the aircraft, and the remainder spent the rest of the war as POWs.

In historical and archival terms, the Luftgaukommando Report (KU 1054) covering the loss of this bomber so far has the distinction of having the largest number of photographic images I’ve found in any KU Report I’ve examined.

This is probably attributable to the nature of the electronic equipment found in the plane, which comprised three notable items: 1) A BC-929-A “Rebecca” Radar Interrogator, 2) An APN-1 Radar Altimeter, and 3) A M.C.R.-1 Miniature Communications Receiver.

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This nicknameless Liberator, piloted by 1 Lt. Frank G. McDonald, squadron letter “U”, was lost at 23:30 on the evening of March 2 – 3, 1944, during an operation dubbed “Musician 5”.  The Crew’s Mission Report for March 3, 1944 describes the plane’s load as 3 packages and 13 containers (both of unspecified contents), and 10 leaflets (containers of leaflets?). 

Roy Tebbutt’s extraordinarily comprehensive document “Aircraft lost on Allied Force’s Special Duty Operations & Associated Roll of Honour” states that the plane was shot down by flak mounted on railway cars.  The crash location in his compilation is stated as “Hem-Hardinval, Fienvillers (Somme)”, France, which is consistent with the location given in the KU Report as “five kilometers southwest of Doullens”.

Co-pilot Lt. Frederick C. Kelly’s Escape & Evasion Casualty Questionnaire (one page of which is included in the MACR; the transcribed account is given below), states that the propeller on the #1 engine was damaged, the #2 engine was on fire, the #3 engine was struck by flak and inoperative, the tail turret would not work because of damage to the hydraulic system.  And unsurprisingly, the fuselage was peppered with flak holes.

Here is a page from the KU Report describing the plane’s wreckage.  Note that the investigator identified the plane as a “Boeing Fortress II”.  (!)

____________________

Here is the crew list in the MACR:

More information about the crew – all of whom were still in the aircraft when it crashed – is given below:

Pilot
McDonald, Frank Green, 1 Lt., 0-675932

Mrs. Mary Thornton (mother), 1975 Sabine Pass, Beaumont, Tx. (or) 2823 South Adams St., Fort Worth, Tx.
Born 7/15/17; Died 1/15/99
Buried Hopewell Cemetery, Bowie, Tx. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag Luft 1 (Barth) – (North Compound 1)

Co-PilotKelly, Frederick Clyde, 2 Lt., 0-681112
Mrs. Frederick C. Kelly (wife), 26 Bellevue Road, Arlington, Ma.
Mrs. Elnora E. Watson (mother), Main Street, Taftsville, Vt.
Born 7/14/23
Evaded – Returned to England approximately June 1, 1944

NavigatorKendall, Thomas H, 2 Lt., 0-690665
Mr. Philip R. Kendall (father), Williamsburg, Oh.
POW Stalag 7A (Moosburg)

BombardierShevlin, Edward Francis, 2 Lt., 0-679669
Mrs. Mary R. Shevlin (wife), 908 Presidio, Forth Worth, Tx.
Born 8/12/19, Cortland, N.Y.; Died 3/7/11
Buried Oaklawn Memorial Gardens, Titusville, Fl. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
(Edward Shevlin’s tombstone – illustrated in his biography at FindAGrave – gives his wartime rank as S/Sgt.  This is almost certainly in error.)
POW Stalag Luft 1 (Barth) – (North Compound 1)

Flight Engineer Gellerman, Norman Raymond, T/Sgt., 37309882, 5 missions, AM, PH, KIA – Sole Fatality
Mrs. Virginia L. Gellerman (wife), 1415 Palace St., St. Paul, Mn.
Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Louis and Winnifred Gertrude (McHugh) Gellerman (parents)
Brothers and sister: Vincent Clay, John Paul, Francis J., Louis Ernest, Roger Leonard, and Kathleen Mary
Born 12/20/17, Ramsey County, Minnesota
Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France – Plot A, Row 13, Grave 32 (https://www.findagrave.com/)

Radio OperatorRoss, Warren Lewis, T/Sgt., 16092986
Mrs. Carrie E. Ross (mother), 216 West Ann St., Ann Arbor, Mi.
POW Stalag Luft 6 (Heydekrug)

Gunner (Right Waist)Goswick, Leroy Ellsowrth, S/Sgt., 13090050
Mrs. Amy Goswick (mother), 19 South 2nd St., Youngwood, Pa.
Born 7/28/22, Youngwood, Pa.; Died 1/12/17, Greensburg, Pa. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
Buried Youngwood Cemetery, Youngwood, Pa.
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)

Gunner (Tail)DeCoste, Edward Henry, S/Sgt., 11087792
Mr. Alcid Decoste (father), 36 Adams St., Newtonville, Ma.
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)

____________________

Though the MACR gives no details, translated German documents indicate that Lieutenant Shevlin was captured on March 3 in Rosieres, and was hospitalized at Luftwaffe Hospital 8 /31 at Amiens with a broken leg and a wound to his lower left arm.  Sergeant Goswick appears to have been captured by May 11.  The German crew roster in the MACR (translated from the German KU Report) also lists the capture of Lieutenants McDonald and Kendall, and Sergeant De Coste, but does not specify the dates and places of their capture.  The surnames of Lieutenant Kelly, and Sergeants Ross and Jennings appear in the translated crew roster with no further information.  The 801st/492nd BG website specifically states that some of the POWs had been betrayed to the Germans by collaborators.

What about Lieutenant Kelly?  As mentioned above, he was the proverbial “one that got away”. 

A transcript of the typewritten account he composed for his Escape & Evasion Report (E&E Report 699) appears below.  (Notably, what follows isn’t a verbatim transcript.  I’ve included those few sentences and phrases which were “struck out” of the original document, as struck-through text.) 

____________________

LIEUTENANT FREDERICK C. KELLY’S ACCOUNT OF ESCAPE AND EVASION

We were shot down by flak.  The plane crashed and a couple of us were thrown out.  We walked several miles and slept the rest of the night in a gully, where we also stayed the next day.  That night some Frenchmen who had seen us brought us bread.  We continued walking, and lay up in a shed on the edge of town, and spent the next day there.  In the evening a girl who had come upon us gave us food.  At nightfall we continued on our journey southwards, found a barn from which no dogs scared us away, and rested part of the night in a barn.

The third morning we approached an old man.  He said that the women of the village would take care of us.  We were led down the main street of the village, still dressed in our flying clothes, and taken in out of sight.  We were then given civilian clothes and taken to a house from which our journey was arranged.

However, when I got down in the S of France something went wrong with my helpers’ connections, of the people who were helping me.  I was given a railroad ticket to another town and continued the journey to Spain on my own.  After the train ride I walked out of the town and spent the night in bushes by a river.  The next morning I made the mistake of walking to the NE.  I spent the night outside a village and approached help the next morning and was told to take a bus to a town where I could find directions for getting to Spain.  The bus, however, went only as far as the town at which I left the railroad.  So I continued walking S and was taken in by a peasant who agreed to shelter me if I would leave my identity papers with him for the night.  It seemed that the farther S in France I went the more suspicious the people were

I walked to the town to which I had been directed, was fed by a peasant, and went on to a town farther to the S.  On the way a French gendarme checked my identity papers and asked me where I was going.  When I told him he asked me why I was going there.  “To work”, I explained, my identity card said that I was a blacksmith.  The gendarme laughed and let me go.  I spent an uncomfortably cold night in a shed outside of town and was colder than hell

I walked all the next day and spent that night in a sheep-fold.  The next day I continued walking.  About 1000 the next morning a women took me in and fed me.  She explained that it was dangerous to be found in the area along the Spanish border, that it was a in the Zone Interdite along the Spanish border, which I already knew from P/W lectures.  This woman kindly arranged got a guide to take me over the mountains.

Additional Comments

Airmen should have explained to them the difference between regular French gendarmes and the Vichy police – they wear different caps, for instance.  Men should be especially careful in the south of France where the people are not as friendly as in the north; they will feed you but are less likely to shelter you.

If you are not being moved it is a good idea to set a definite date by which your helpers must take some action; if they do not move you or do not give you a good reason for their failure to move you, you had better go on your own.

Statement of information covering the period from 2 March to 21 April 1944

Appendix B

Traveling by train from AMIENS to Paris in middle April informant saw that the railway yards at ALBET had been thoroughly blown up by bombing, with box cars strewn around and locomotives overturned.  AMIENS railway yards had also been hit but had not suffered so much damage.

In March or early April there was some kind of maneuvers around CONTY (Somme).  Infantry and tanks were involved (hearsay).

Informant saw a submarine in the river at BORDEAUX in middle April.

Informant was told, that DAX was a military headquarters of some sort.  Between BORDEAUX and DAX he saw a lot of German soldiers, most of whom seemed to be young.  There seems to be a large hospital at DAX; informant saw many German nurses.

There are a number of airfields between DAX and PONTONX  (Pontoux sur l’Adour)

Appendix D

I used the Horlocks tablets, milk tube, halazone tablets, matches, adhesive tape, chewing gum, water bottle, and compass.  The water bottle leaked.  There should be a check to see that the kits are new and in good condition.

I carried a yellow purse, the contents of which I gave to helpers. 

I carried eight passport-size photographs, one of which I used on my identity card.

I had been lectured on evasion and escape.  The lectures were of value only in so far as they concerned the use of the escape kits.  I don’t believe that I had ever heard of evaders.  At CCRC on November I believe I heard only a lecture on enemy interrogation, which was excellent.

Suggestions:  Carry every escape aid that you can.  Keep optimistic.

Lieutenant Kelly arrived in Spain on April 21, reached Gibraltar on May 29, and departed for England May 31. 

____________________

Akin to the blog post concerning B-24H Tell Me More, I’ve used Google (what else…no-one escapes Google!)* to generate maps – at successively larger scales – of the plane’s crash site, with the “concluding” image being an aerial view of the crash site as it appears in now, 2017.  The most probable general location of the crash site is denoted by a red oval superimposed on the maps and photo. 

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The next two blog posts cover the 19 photographs contained in the Luftgaukommando Report for 42-63792.  Click ahead…!

* Yet…. 

Through Enemy Eyes: A Downed P-51 Mustang in a German Luftgaukommando Report

The Army Air Force’s Missing Air Crew Reports were instituted in May of 1943 to provide a system for the documentation and organization of information covering aircraft and personnel reported missing on Army Air Force operational missions, the ultimate goal being the conclusive determination of the fate of such missing personnel. Though these documents show notable variation in style and format depending upon the immediate organization filing the report*, the “elements” of information within them remained highly consistent throughout the war.  A thorough description of the implementation and use of the MACR system is presented in the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) Publication M1380: Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947, available here.

Commencing with the de-classification of MACRs on September 10, 1982, historians, military aviation enthusiasts, and genealogists have been able to avail themselves of these documents, and the multi-faceted wealth of information within them.  As such, a casual perusal of books published since the mid-1980s about the WW II Army Air Force – particularly unit histories – as well as a cursory web search, will quickly reveal the importance of these documents.  They are now available in microfiche format at the National Archives and Records Center in College Park, Maryland, now digitally through Fold3.com, and in transcribed or other formats at many websites. When used with official Squadron and Group histories, they are an essential resource in the creation of accurate and comprehensive histories of combat units of the WW II Army Air Force.

Another series of documents, perhaps less widely known than Missing Air Crew Reports but complementary to them (specifically, those MACRs filed for USAAF losses in the European and Mediterranean Theaters) are the German Luftgaukommando Reports. These documents, held within NARA’s collection of Foreign Records Seized (Record Group 242), are reports on Allied aircraft lost in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of War. In terms of the information recorded with them, they are an ironic and accidental counterpart to MACRs. Though the extent of information in Luftgaukommando Reports shows very great variation, in a general sense, they include information about the nature and circumstances (flak or fighters) as to how an American aircraft was downed and recovered in German-occupied territory, the location and condition of its wreckage, technical aspects of the plane or its equipment particularly noted by German investigators, and, nominal biographical information about aircrew casualties.

A particularly notable aspect of Luftgaukommando Reports is that these documents not uncommonly contain material found in the possession of American airmen when they became casualties. The reports can include dog-tags, correspondence both to and from servicemen (V-Mail, and, typed or handwritten letters), official documents, and other items, such as navigational records or fragments of technical documents.  Luftgaukommando Reports practically never include POW information / identification cards (“Personalkarte“ – “Personal Card“) created by the Germans about captured aviators – post capture.  And, they don’t include POW identification photographs (“mug-shots”) of captured airmen typically attached to such cards.

In any event, far more than digitized, published, or secondary material, the content of Luftgaukommando Reports – documents carried by airmen – inevitably make one “pause” and reflect about the reality, nature, and impact of war.

A small fraction of the Luftgaukommando Reports include photographs of downed American aircraft.

Such material is the subject of this posting: A crash-landed P-51 Mustang of the 356th Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Group, the “Pioneer Mustang Unit”.

The aircraft was piloted by Captain Gordon T. McEachron when it was downed by flak on December 1, 1944, near Niederkirchen, Germany.

Captain McEachron, from California, was originally assigned to the 380th Fighter Squadron of the 363rd Fighter Group (9th Air Force), in the service of which he scored three aerial victories in 1944 while a First Lieutenant: An Me-109 on April 30, another Me-109 on May 28, and an Me-410 on June 20.

An account of his victory of May 28 – from his Distinguished Flying Cross citation for his actions of May 28 – appeared in Steve Blake’s publication Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat, in 1983, in a comprehensive six part series about the history of the 363rd Fighter Group.

The citation states: “Lt. McEachron was leading a Flight on a bomber escort mission when he spotted a large number of enemy aircraft overhead. He immediately ordered the Flight to drop their wing tanks and make a sharp turn to the left. By the time the Flight had completed the turn, the enemy aircraft could no longer be seen. Suddenly a break was called, and as Lt. McEachron turned, he saw more than 100 enemy planes approaching from the rear. Intercepting the group of Me-109s just as they were pressing their attack on the bombers, Lt. McEachron picked a target, closed to about 300 yards, and fired a long burst. Strikes were noted along the fuselage and wing, and the enemy aircraft rolled over and split ‘S’d’ with dense black smoke pouring from the engine.

“Suddenly an Me-410 appeared just in front of him. As the enemy turned, Lt. McEachron turned with him and fired a long burst. Strikes were observed along the fuselage of the enemy plane. Together with his wingman, Lt. McEachron went after the main group of enemy aircraft which were ahead. Another target, an Me-109, came into view. Lt. McEachron chased in on the enemy fighter and began firing from 500 yards. Pieces of the plane began to fly off as round after round went home. Suddenly black smoke began pouring from the plane and it caught on fire. The enemy pilot bailed out.”

Lt. McEachron was sent home on leave in August of 1944, and after his return to France as a Captain – at which time the 363rd Fighter Group no longer existed – was assigned to the 354th Fighter Group in November, as Assistant Operations Officer of the 353rd Fighter Squadron.

Captured and imprisoned at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany, Captain McEachron returned to the United States at the war’s end. According to his biography at FindAGrave.com and his Wikipedia entry, he coached college football at the University of Nevada, and, Pepperdine University (near Los Angeles) between 1953 and 1958. Later, he sold insurance. He died on April 22, 1993.

And now, time for some photographs and documents…

McEachron, Gordon 1 600Captain McEachron, probably photographed while still in Stateside training, given that his flight helmet is equipped with Gosport Tubes.  (From Steve Blake’s The Pioneer Mustang Group: the 354th Fighter Group in World War II.)

* * * * * * * * * *

mceachron-gordon-t-1A portrait of then Lieutenant McEachron, from Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat.

* * * * * * * * * *

beachcomber-ii-2Gordon McEachron seated on the wing of his personal P-51B, Beachcomber II, while serving in the 363rd Fighter Group.  He named the aircraft after a club he founded while a student at Pepperdine University.  This image is reproduced from the book Mission 376: Battle Over the Reich, May 28, 1944, by Ivo De Jong.

* * * * * * * * * *

mceachron-gordon-t-2_edited-1Additional views of Lt. McEachron in service with the 363rd Fighter Group, from Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat.  The upper photograph is another view of Beachcomber II, while the lower photograph shows Beachcomber III (with three kill markings) a P-51D he received in July of 1944.

* * * * * * * * * *

     And now, the subject of our study. 

First, the Missing Aircrew Report (MACR 11479) filed by the 353rd Fighter Squadron after Captain McEachron failed to return to Saint Dizier, France.

fold3_page_2_missing_air_crew_reports_macrs_of_the_us_army_air_forces_194219471

fold3_page_4_missing_air_crew_reports_macrs_of_the_us_army_air_forces_194219471

Eyewitness account of loss of Captain McEachron and Chicago’s Own

Now, we come to the subject of our study:  Images from Luftgaukommando Report “J-2525” covering P-51D 44-14010, AJ * G, otherwise known as Chicago’s Own

44-14010 1 J 2525 600Right-front view of the Mustang, under an overcast but still sunny sky.  Note that the aircraft’s coolant radiator has been removed from the fuselage.

* * * * * * * * * *

44-14010 2 J 2525 600Close-up of canopy rails along left side of cockpit, with names of ground-crew (Rooney, Branch, and Smith) painted below.  (Why photographs were not taken of equipment within the cockpit itself, is a matter of conjecture!)

* * * * * * * * * *

44-14010 6 J 2525 600Starboard gun bay, providing an excellent view of the installation of the three fifty-caliber guns and firing selonoids.  Belts of .50 caliber ammunition are still laying in ammuntion trays.

* * * * * * * * * *

44-14010 7 J 2525 800A very high resolution (800 dpi) scan of the above photograph, specifically of the placard attached to the interior of the gun-bay access door, showing bore-sighting information and ammunition loading diagrams.  (This image will be of particular benefit for plastic modelers building Tamiya’s 1/32 P-51D while under the influence of AMS – “Advanced Modeler’s Syndrome”!)

* * * * * * * * * *

44-14010 3 J 2525 600View of inboard section of the port flap.  Curiously, though the photographs were taken with black & white film, the “No Step” marking appearing on the image of the flap has been colored with red ink, matching the color and shape of the marking on 44-14010.

* * * * * * * * * *

p-51d-44-14010Images of Chicago’s Own (a color profile, and an official USAAF photograph of the aircraft at Debden, England) can be found in William Hess’ book 354th Fighter Group,  The aircraft is described as having been the personal plane of Lt. Frederick J. Warner.  The above color profile of Chicago’s Own, by Chris Davey or John Weal, appears on page 41 of Hess’ book.

The USAAF photograph of 44-14040, dated October 6, 1944, can be found at the website of the American Air Museum in Britain.

* * * * * * * * * *

The “Meldung über den Abschuss eines US-amerikanischen Flugzeuges” (Notification About the Shooting Down of a U.S. Aircraft) form – commonly found in Luftgaukommando Reports – filed for Captain McEachron and Chicago’s Own.

The data fields in the form covering the aircraft comprise:

Abschusstag und Zeit:   Date and time of shooting down

Abschussort:   General location of shooting down

Flugzeugtyp:   Aircraft type

Meldende Dienstelle:   [Location of] Reporting Service

The data fields in the form covering the aviator comprise:

Name und Vornamen / Geburststag und –ort:   Name and first name / Date and place of birth

Dienstgrad:   Rank

Erk.-Marke:   Tag number

Gef: [Gefangenen]:   (prisoner? [if so]) –   Welches Lager:   Which camp

Verw: [Verwundet]:   (wounded? [if so]) –   Art d. Verwundung:   [?]

Tot: [Tot]:   (killed? [if so]) –   Grablage:   Grave Location

And, at the bottom of the form:

Bemerkungen:   Remarks

44-14010 A J 2525 400

* * * * * * * * * *

The same form was typically used in Luftgaukommando Reports to cover aircrews of multi-place aircraft. 

This is a Luftgaukommando Report (KU 3493) crew list for a multi-place aircraft.  In this case, B-17G 43-97215 (BG * J) of the 334th Bomb Squadron, 95th Bomb Group, piloted by 2 Lt. Stewart D. Reed, which was lost on December 31, 1944.  There were five survivors of the plane’s nine crewmen, covered in MACR 11368.

43-38215-crew-list-ku-3493-360

* * * * * * * * * *

I hope that readers find these images of interest.  I may be able to post similar images in the future.

*Particularly distinctive in format are MACRs filed by the 15th Air Force’s 483rd Bomb Group.

 – References –

Books

Blake, Steve, The Pioneer Mustang Group: the 354th Fighter Group in World War II, 2008, Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA.

De Jong, Ivo, Mission 376: Battle Over the Reich, May 28, 1944, 2012 Stackpole Books, Mechanichsburg, PA.

Hess, William N., 354th Fighter Group, Osprey Publishing; 2002, Botley, Oxford, United Kingdom

USAF Historical Study No. 85, USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, 1978, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Air University.

Other Publications

 National Archives and Records Administration, Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, NARA Publication M1380, 1942-1947, 2005, Washington, D.C.

Missing Air Crew Reports

 https://www.fold3.com/title_95/missing_air_crew_reports_wwii#overview

http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/missing-air-crew-reports.html

http://www.afhso.af.mil/questions/topic.asp?id=1934

https://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1380.pdf

Luftgaukommando Reports (see comments by RodM) at:

 http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/06732.php

J (Jäger) Report 2525

 United States National Archives – Collection of Foreign Record Seized – Record Group 242: “Records of Luftgaukommandos: German Reports of Downed Allied Fighters and Other Aircraft – J (Jäger) Reports”

Report J-2525: (At) Records Group 242, Entry 1013, Shelf Location 190 / 14 / 9-8 / 2-1

Gordon T. McEachron

 Blake, Steve, The 363rd Fighter Group in WW II (Part II), Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat, Number 6, Fall, 1982, pp 13-23.

Blake, Steve, The 363rd Fighter Group in WW II (Part III), Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat, Number 7, Winter, 1983, pp 15-22.

Blake, Steve, The 363rd Fighter Group in WW II (Part IV), Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat, Number 9, Summer, 1983, pp 22-26.

Blake, Steve, The 363rd Fighter Group in WW II (Part V), Fighter Pilots in Aerial Combat, Number 11, Winter, 1985, pp 4-15.

http://findagrave.com/ (Search for entry under Gordon Townsand McEachron)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_McEachron

P-51D 44-14010

 http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/14229

– Michael G. Moskow