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357th Fighter Group (USAAF)
History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To
The 357th Fighter Group (USAAF) served with the Eighth Air Force, flying a mix of bomber escort and ground attack missions as well as supporting the D-Day landings, the break out from Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine.
The group was constituted and activated on 1 December 1942 and trained with the P-39. The group moved to Britain in November 1943, where it converted to the P-51. It was assigned to the Eighth Air Force and made its combat debut on 11 February 1944 with a fighter sweep over Rouen. In the same month the group took part in the Big Week attack on the German Air Force (20-25 February 1944).
By the end of March 1944 the 357th was one of three P-51 groups operational within the Eighth Air Force.
The group's main role was to escort long range bombers during their raids over occupied Europe and Germany. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for raids on Berlin on 6 March and 29 June on Leipzig.
The group also flew counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps and ground attack missions, including some in the dive bomber role.
The group supported the D-Day invasion and the breakthrough at St Lo in July 1944.
In December 1944-January 1945 the group helped support the troops fighting during the Battle of the Bulge.
The group was awarded a second Distinguished Unit Citation for escorting a raid on Derben on 14 January 1945.
The group supported the airborne crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. Its last combat mission came on 25 April and it moved to Germany in July to join the United States Army Air Forces in Europe. It was inactivated in Germany on 20 August 1946.
1942-1943: Bell P-39 Airacobra for training
1943-1946: North American P-51 Mustang
|1 December 1942||Constituted as 357th Fighter Group|
|1 December 1942||Activated|
|November 1943||To Britain and Eighth Air Force|
|11 February 1944||Combat debut|
|25 April 1945||Last combat mission|
|July 1945||To Germany|
|20 August 1946||Inactivated in Germany|
Commanders (with date of appointment)
Lt . Col Loring F StetsonJr: 1 Dec 1942
Lt Col Edwin S Chickering:7 Jul 1943
Col Henry R Spicer: 17 Feb1944
Col Donald W Graham: 7 Mar 1944
Lt Col John D Landers: 11 Oct 1944
ColIrwin H Dregne: 2 Dec 1944
Lt Col AndrewJ Evans Jr: 21 Jul 1945
Lt Col WayneE Rhynard: c. 20 Nov 1945
Col Barton MRussell: Apr 1946-unkn.
Hamilton Field, Calif: 1 Dec1942
Tonopah AAFld, Nev: 4 Mar 1943
Santa Rosa AAFld, Calif: 3 Jun 1943
OrovilleAAFld, Calif: 18 Aug 1943
CasperAAFld, Wyo: 7 Oct-9 Nov 1943
Raydon,England: 30 Nov 1943
Leiston, England:31 Jan 1944-8 Jul 1945
Neubiberg, Germany:21 Jul 1945-20 Aug 1946.
1943: 72nd Fighter Wing (training organisation)
1943-1944: San Francisco Fighter Wing; IV Fighter Command; Fourth Air Force
1944-September 1944: 66th Fighter Wing; VIII Fighter Command; Eighth Air Force
September 1944-Late 1945: 66th Fighter Wing; 3rd Air Division; Eighth Air Force
357th Fighter Group (USAAF) - History
The P-51D Mustang underwent a complete restoration from 2007 to 2012. The restoration was managed by Jeff Harris at Allied Fighters in Chino, California with Mike Breshears of Vintage Airframes in Caldwell, ID doing a majority of the work.
Also providing support during the restoration was Fighter Rebuilders (Chino, CA) and Westpac Restorations (Colorado Springs, CO). Roush Aviation in Michigan overhauled the Packard Merlin engine.
After several decades on the ground, N5420V&rsquos first flight after restoration was mid-May 2012. Robert Dickson Sr. and his son RT bought the plane in June of 2012 and had it painted as the last mount of then, Lt. Will Foard &ndash &ldquoSwamp Fox&rdquo C5-A, 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, based out of Leiston, England.
The Dickson&rsquos consider themselves trustees of this important piece of history and want to preserve it by honoring all those past present and future that have served the U.S. Armed Forces.
On December 2, 2012, Lt. Col. Will Foard, USAF (ret), surrounded by family and friends, had the opportunity to see this Mustang restored as his during WWII. After lunch, Lt. Col Foard strapped into the rear seat of Swamp Fox and rode with Robert as they flew in formation with two other 357th FG P-51s (Gentleman Jim & Ain&rsquot Misbehavin&rsquo).
Lt. Col Will Foard, USAF (ret), then a young USAAF Lt., grew up in the Carolina&rsquos. Since he was flying and fighting out of England, Will thought it would be funny to name his plane after the famous American Revolutionary hero from South Carolina, Col Francis Marion. Marion was hated by the British and gave him the moniker &ldquoSwamp Fox&rdquo.
12 October 1944
12 October 1944: During World War II, First Lieutenant Charles Elwood Yeager, Air Corps, Army of the United States (A.U.S.), was a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot assigned to the 363d Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, stationed at RAF Leiston (USAAF Station 373), near the village of Theberton, Suffolk, England.
Recently promoted from the warrant rank of Flight Officer, Lieutenant Yeager—as one of the most experienced pilots in the group— was leading the 357th on a bomber escort mission against Bremen, Germany. While the Group’s 362nd and 364th Fighter Squadrons remained with the B-24 bombers, Yeager and the 363d patrolled 50 to 100 miles (80 to 160 kilometers) ahead.
At 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) over Steinhuder Meer, northwest of Hanover, Yeager sighted a group of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters (also called the Me 109). He was soon able to count 22. Yeager and his squadron of 16 Mustangs circled and attacked out of the sun.
A flight of three Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 109 fighters, 20 July 1944. (Bundsarchive Bild 101l-676-7975-36)
As Chuck Yeager maneuvered his P-51D Mustang, named Glamorous Glenn II, to fire at a trailing Bf 109, the German fighter suddenly turned left and collided with his wingman. Both pilots bailed out of their fighters and the two Bf 109s went down.
“It was almost comic, scoring two quick victories without firing a shot. . . By now, all the airplanes in the sky had dropped their wing tanks and were spinning and diving in a wild, wide-open dogfight. I blew up a 109 from six hundred yards—my third victory—when I turned to see another angling in behind me. Man I pulled back the throttle so damned hard I nearly stalled, rolled up and over, came in behind and under him, kicking right rudder and simultaneously firing. I was directly underneath the guy, less than fifty feet, and I opened up that 109 as if it were a can of Spam. That made four. A moment later, I waxed a guy’s fanny in a steep dive I pulled up at about 1,000 feet he went straight into the ground.“
— Yeager, An Autobiography, by Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos, Bantam Books, New York, 1985, at Page 57.
1st Lieutenant Charles E. Yeager with “Glamorous Glenn II,” at USAAF Station 157, Raydon, Suffolk, England, 17 October 1944. (American Air Museum in Britain)
Lieutenant Yeager’s official report of the air battle reads (in part):
“I. I was leading the Group with Cement Squadron and was roving out to the right of the first box of bombers. I was over STEINHUDER LAKE when 22 Me. 109s crossed in front of my Squadron from 11:00 O’Clock to 1:00 O’Clock. I was coming out of the sun and they were about 1½ miles away at the same level of 25,000 feet. I fell in behind the enemy formation and followed them for about 3 minutes, climbing to 30,000 feet. I still had my wing tanks and had close up to around 1,000 yards, coming within firing range and positioning the Squadron behind the entire enemy formation. Two of the Me. 109s were dodging over to the right. One slowed up and before I could start firing, rolled over and bailed out. The other Me. 109, flying his wing, bailed out immediately after as I was ready to line him in my sights. I was the closest to the tail-end of the enemy formation and no one, but myself was in shooting range and no one was firing. I dropped my tanks and then closed up to the last Jerry and opened fire from 600 yards, using the K-14 sight. I observed strikes all over the ship, particularly heavy in the cockpit. He skidded off to the left. I was closing up on another Me. 109 so I did not follow him down. Lt. STERN, flying in Blue Flight reports this E/A on fire as it passed him and went into a spin. I closed up on the next Me. 109 to 100 yards, skidded to the right and took a deflection shot of about 10°. I gave about a 2 second burst and the whole fuselage split open and blew up after we passed. Another Me. 109 to the right had cut his throttle and was trying to get behind. I broke to the right and quickly rolled to the left on his tail. He started pulling it in and I was pulling 6″G”. I got a lead from around 300 yards and gave him a short burst. There were hits on wings and tail section He snapped to the right 3 times and bailed out when he quit snapping at around 18,000 feet. I did not blackout during this engagement due to the efficiency of the “G” suit. Even though I was skidding I hit the second Me. 109 by keeping the bead and range on the E/A. To my estimation the K-14 sight is the biggest improvement to combat equipment for Fighters up to this date. The Me. 109s appeared to have a type of bubble canopy and had purple noses and were a mousey brown all over. I claim five Me 109s destroyed.
“J. Ammunition Expended: 587 rounds .50 cal MG.
Lieutenant Yeager had destroyed five enemy fighters during a single battle. He became “an Ace in one day” and was awarded the Silver Star. Of the twenty-two Me 109s, the 363rd had destroyed eight without losing a single Mustang.
Yeager’s Glamorous Glenn II had previously been assigned to Captain Charles K. Peters and named Daddy Rabbit. Flown by another pilot, Second Lieutenant Horace Roycroft, 44-13897 was destroyed six days later when it crashed in bad weather. Lieutenant Roycroft was killed.
North American Aviation P-51D-5-NA 44-13366 on a test flight near the North American plant at Inglewood, California. This fighter is from the same production block as Yeager’s Glamorous Glenn II.
The P-51D was the predominant version of the North American Aviation World War II fighter. It was a single-seat, single-engine fighter, initially designed for the Royal Air Force. The P-51D was 32 feet, 3.5 inches (9.843 meters) long, with a wingspan of 37 feet (11.278 meters). It was 13 feet, 4.5 inches (4.077 meters) high. The fighter had an empty weight of 7,635 pounds (3,463 kilograms) and a maximum takeoff weight of 12,100 pounds (5,489 kilograms).
The P-51D was powered by a right-hand tractor, liquid-cooled, supercharged, 1,649-cubic-inch-displacement (27.04-liter) Packard V-1650-3 or -7 Merlin single overhead cam (SOHC) 60° V-12 engine with Military Power ratings of 1,380 horsepower at Sea Level, turning 3,000 r.p.m with 60 inches of manifold pressure (V-1650-3), or 1,490 horsepower at Sea Level, turning 3,000 r.p.m. with 61 inches of manifold pressure (V-1650-7). These engines were versions of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 63 and 66, built under license by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. The engine drove a four-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constant-speed propeller with a diameter of 11 feet, 2 inches (3.404 meters) through a 0.479:1 gear reduction.
A Packard Motor Car Company V-1650-7 Merlin V-12 aircraft engine at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. This engine weighs 1,715 pounds (778 kilograms) and produces 1,490 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m. Packard built 55,873 of the V-1650 series engines. Continental built another 897. The cost per engine ranged from $12,548 to $17,185. (NASM)
The P-51D with a V-1650-7 Merlin had maximum speed at Sea Level of 323 miles per hour (520 kilometers per hour) at the Normal Power setting of 2,700 r.p.m. and 46 inches of manifold pressure, and 375 miles per hour (604 kilometers per hour) at War Emergency Power, 3,000 r.p.m with 67 inches of manifold pressure (5 minute limit). At altitude, using the Military Power setting of 3,000 r.p.m. and 61 inches of manifold pressure (15 minute limit), it had a maximum speed of 439 miles per hour (707 kilometers per hour) at 28,000 feet (8,534 meters). With War Emergency Power the P-51D could reach 442 miles per hour (711 kilometers per hour) at 26,000 feet (7,925 meters).
The P-51D could climb to 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) in 6.4 minutes, and to its service ceiling, 41,600 feet (12,680 meters), in 28 minutes. The airplane’s absolute ceiling was 42,400 feet (12,924 meters).
With 180 gallons (681 liters) internal fuel, the maximum range of the P-51D was 1,108 miles (1,783 kilometers).
Armorers carry Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns and belts of linked .50-caliber ammunition to a P-51 Mustang. (U.S. Air Force)
The P-51D was armed with six electrically-heated Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns, with three mounted in each wing. 400 rounds of ammunition were provided for the inner pair of guns, and 270 rounds for each of the other four guns, for a total of 1,880 rounds of ammunition. This was armor piercing, incendiary, and tracer ammunition. The fighter could also carry a 1,000 pound (453.6 kilogram) bomb under each wing in place of drop tanks, or up to ten rockets.
North American Aviation P-51D Mustang. (U.S. Air Force)
A total of 8,156 P-51Ds were produced by North American at Inglewood, California, and Dallas, Texas, and another 200 by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Melbourne, Australia.
The North American Aviation P-51D Mustang remained in service with the United States Air Force until 27 January 1957, when the last aircraft were retired from the 167th Fighter Squadron, West Virginia National Guard.
North American Aviation P-51D-25-NT Mustang 44-84900 at NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, circa 1945–1952. (NASA)
Today Leiston airfield is virtually unrecognisable. The airfield area itself, has largely been returned to agriculture except for the Cakes & Ale Park, about 1/3 of the main runway and a short section of perimeter track further down Harrow Lane. The NW runway still exists in its full length but has been reduced to a width of about 4 m (13 ft) and cannot be viewed from public roads.
A few old buildings still exist on the airfield and also on a domestic site but most are overgrown with vegetation and are in poor condition.
Tag: 357th Fighter Squadron
“God gives luck to somebody, but He needs such a lot of help from you!”
Lieutenant William Stanley Lyons, Steeple Morden, England, mid-August, 1944
“Tiger’s Revenge” – Aerial Victory at Magdeburg, Germany, February 9, 1945 (Digital art by Ronnie Olsthoorn see more below.)
As recounted in the previous post, Sunday, November 26, 1944 is notable for the severe losses incurred by the Eighth Air Force – principally the 445th and 491st Bomb Groups. – during its mission to rail viaducts, marshaling yards and oil installations in western Germany.
However, there’s another aspect of that day which – though it would not assuage the grief of those families whose sons were lost in combat – provides, in a purely military context, a measure of recompense for that day’s losses: The significant number of aerial victories attained by fighter pilots of the Eighth Air Force in combat with the Luftwaffe.
According to USAF Historical Study No. 85 (USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II) for November 26, Eighth Air Force fighter pilots were credited with 122 aerial victories, while elsewhere in Europe the 9th, 12th, and 15th Air Forces were credited with 13 enemy planes destroyed, and in the Southwest Pacific, 6 aerial victories were credited to fighter pilots of the 5th and 13th Air Forces.
Thus, on November 26, 1944, there were 141 confirmed aerial victories of USAAF fighter groups across all theatres of war. These are listed by Fighter Groups (and other units) below:
For the Eighth Air Force, total aerial victories by Group were:
78th Fighter Group – 9 victories (by 6 pilots)
339th Fighter Group – 28 victories (by 17 pilots the highest scoring USAAF Fighter Group on November 26)
353rd Fighter Group – 3 victories (by 3 pilots)
355th Fighter Group – 21 victories (by 13 pilots)
356th Fighter Group – 22 victories (by 17 pilots)
359th Fighter Group – 1 victory
361st Fighter Group – 23 victories (by 18 pilots)
364th Fighter Group – 9 victories (by 7 pilots)
479th Fighter Group – 1 victory
2nd Air Division – 4 victories (by 2 pilots)
2nd Bombardment Division – 1 victory
Nine Air Force fighter units (one Group and one Fighter Squadron) were credited with the following aerial victories:
354th Fighter Group – 3 victories (by 1 pilot)
422nd Night Fighter Squadron – 1 victory (1 victory each credited to both pilot and radar operator)
324th Fighter Group – 1 victory
And, in the Fifteenth Air Force:
14th Fighter Group – 8 victories (by 8 pilots)
35th Fighter Group – 2 victories (by 2 pilots)
49th Fighter Group – 3 victories (by 3 pilots)
And, in the Thirteenth Air Force:
18th Fighter Group – 1 victory
Among the Eighth Air Force fighter pilots who shot down German aircraft on November 26, 1944, was First Lieutenant William (“Bill”) Stanley Lyons (0-822214) of the 355th Fighter Group’s 357th Fighter Squadron, who later – on February 9, 1945 – shot down another German fighter for his second aerial victory, ultimately completing 63 combat missions over Europe. As reported in a letter published by the Brooklyn Eagle on December 28, 1944, under the heading “Over There”:
/> Diving from 15,000 feet to tree-top level, 1st Lt. William S. Lyons, of 6733 Ridge Boulevard, Mustang pilot, recently shot down a Messerschmitt 109 to tally his first victory over the Luftwaffe.
“Anybody who thinks the Luftwaffe is a thing of the past should have seen those 200 German fighters we tangled with,” said the lieutenant, recalling the aerial battle over Hanover, during which his group destroyed 22 enemy planes.
“There were about three big formations. When we first saw them they were preparing to attack the Liberators which our group was escorting. We intercepted the first wave and kept them off for a while, but there were so many Germans that they finally got to the bombers and hit them pretty hard.
“I managed to get behind one Me-109. I hit him in the fuselage a few times and smoke began streaming out of the plane. He tried to turn very tightly and I put another good burst into him. His wing-tip scraped the ground and he cart-wheeled and crashed.”
The 20-year-old flyer, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, was employed in a defense plant before entering the service in 1942.
Akin to a significant number of American Jewish servicemen who participated in combat during the Second World War, Bill’s name never appeared in the 1947 publication American Jews in World War II. Regardless, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and eight Oak Leaf Clusters.
Born on June 20, 1924, Bill’s parents were Edward Immanuel and Ethel (Goldstein) Lyons his wartime residence was 6733 Ridge Boulevard, in Brooklyn.
With the passage of time, notably commencing in the early 2000s, Bill’s story has become easily readily immediately accessible.
Here are websites where you can learn more about his experiences, and, view images and artistic depictions of his “personal” P-51, Tiger’s Revenge…
At Hyperscale, you can listen to Bill’s 10-minute account – recorded in 2006 – of his aerial victory during the Magdeburg mission of February 9, 1945.
At the West Point Center for Oral History, you can view a two-hour interview of Bill as he recounts his experiences during the Second World War, in an interview entitled “A Mustang Over Europe”. Of particular interest is Bill’s presentation and description of two portraits taken during his service in the 357th Fighter Squadron (one of which forms the “header” image for this post), which can be viewed at t he American Air Museum in Britain, and, HistoryNet.
The Texas Flying Legends Museum has a four-minute-long video of Bill’s flight in a two-Seat P-51D, piloted by TFLM pilot Mark Murphy, on September 7, 2013. The aircraft (actually P-51D 45-11586 / NL51PE) appears in the markings of aircraft 44-13551, Little Horse, of the 353rd Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force.
LoHud (Long Island Hudson?- Part of the USA Today Network?) features a news item of August 31, 2014: “Honor Flight to fly WWII Vets to D.C. Memorials”, by Richard Liebson, about Bill’s 2014 visit to the National World War II Memorial, U.S. Marine Corps War (Iwo Jima) Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The visit was organized by Hudson Valley Honor Flight. The article includes eight photos, showing Bill, Bill and his wife Carol, and Frank Kimler of Hudson Valley Honor Flight.
As mentioned above, HistoryNet has Bill’s own well-written account of the November 26, 1944 Misburg mission (“Mustang Pilot’s Mission: A Day in the Life”) derived from a January 15, 2013 article in Aviation History Magazine.
The 12 O’Clock High Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum includes a discussion about Bill’s aerial Victory of February 9, 1945. A question: Could the German plane actually have been long-nose FW-190D (“Dora”) rather than an Me-109?
At the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, here’s the Biographical Entry for Bill Lyons.
Bill’s Mustang: P-51D-5-NT (Dallas built) 44-11342, “OS * F”, “Tiger’s Revenge”
Bill was assigned his own P-51 on November 29, 1944, after the completion of 129 hours of combat time. The plane bore the nicknames Tiger’s Revenge and Elaine on its port and starboard cowlings, respectively, the former being a double entendre: “Tiger” was Bill’s nickname within the 357th Fighter Squadron, while the phrase “Tiger’s Revenge” denoted vengeance on behalf of Bill’s cousin, Major Sylvan Feld, who was killed in France in the summer of 1944.
Tiger’s Revenge was lost on April 16, 1945, during a strafing attack on Eferding Airdrome, Austria, while being piloted by Captain Joseph E. Lake, of Delaware County, Indiana.
(Captain Lake was killed. According to his WW II Honoree Record (created by Martha A. Harris) his fate was only fully determined in 1949. He was buried at Elm Ridge Memorial Park, Muncie, Indiana, on May 25 of that year. Information about him can also be found at WW2 Aircraft.Net and Ciel de Gloire. The loss of Captain Lake and Tiger’s Revenge is an example – even in mid-1945 – of an ETO USAAF combat loss for which there is no Missing Aircrew Report.)
Nine beautifully rendered in-flight depictions of Tiger’s Revenge, seen from various vantage points, can be viewed at Sim Outhouse / SOH Combat Flight Center, under the heading “P-51D Tiger’s Revenge”. In light of copyright concerns, and, uncertainty about the artist’s identity (John Terrell?), rather than display the images “here”, you can view them directly at SIM-Outhouse.
A color profile of Tiger’s Revenge (by Nick King) can be viewed at Peter Randall’s Little Friends website, the profile being accompanied by two photographs of the actual airplane. Readily notable is the immaculate, shiny appearance of the fuselage, testimony to the conscientiousness of the fighter’s ground crew.
Some years ago, I had the good fortune to meet and interview Bill “in person”. The result was a fascinating, enlightening, and moving conversation of about six hours duration, concerning his wartime, pre-war, and post-war experiences.
You can listen to excerpts from the interview – cumulatively somewhat over an hour long – below. The excerpts have been subdivided into three sections, with explanatory text and images below each section.
Akin to the interviews with Irving Newman, Lawrence Levinson, and Phil Goldstein, in my prior blog posts, the interview addresses sociological and psychological aspects of military service, and, philosophical issues, as well as (but of course) military technology and combat. Likewise, some parts of this interview cover topics perhaps not addressed elsewhere. (The intermittent vwhirrr – vwhirrr – vwhirrr – (and more vwhirrs!) – sound is from the micro-cassette recorder which was used to record the interview. (Remember audiotape?!))
00:00 – 11:08: Bill’s youth in Brooklyn, and the genealogical background of his family his desire – from adolescence – to become a fighter pilot. His knowledge, during the 1930s, of events in Europe the probability of war.
11:22 – 15:40: The relative degrees danger of different types of combat missions (specifically, strafing versus escort).
15:22 – 22:01: Variations in performance of different aircraft of the same type and model (for example, “P-51D versus P-51D”), and, the quality of aircraft maintenance. Preparation for combat missions.
00:10 – 02:08: Psychologically and sociologically adapting oneself to combat flying, in terms of the individual and the group.
02:24 – 03:17: The personalities of fighter pilots Bill’s opinion of the 1986 movie Top Gun.
03:35 – 08:49: Given that he was flying combat missions over the Third Reich, Bill’s thoughts about the implications of being captured, and, identified as a Jew. The concept of courage – what is it? Human behavior in extreme situations. “God gives luck to somebody, but He needs such a lot of help from you!”
Commentary and Digression…
A number of Jewish fighter pilots became POWs of the Germans (and a few, of the Japanese) during the Second World War.
Some names are given below.
Royal Air Force – No. 65 Squadron
Waterman, Philip Fay, Flight Lieutenant, J/15023
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 1919
Mr. M. Waterman (father), Leah and Matthew (sister and brother), 2912 West 31st Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Shot Down January 3, 1944
Aircraft: Spitfire IX, MA847
POW at Stalag Luft III German POW # 1372
Canadian Jews in World War, Part II, p. 133
Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume III, p. 11
Royal Air Force – No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron
Maranz, Nathaniel, Flight Lieutenant, 86617
Born New York, N.Y., January 12, 1919
Dr. Jacob M. and Mrs. Amelia (Schimmel) Maranz (parents), 102 East Fourth St., New York, N.Y.
Shot down by Me-109 of JG 2 or JG 26, on June 21, 1941. Gunshot wounds in both legs burned foot. Picked up by German Air-Sea Rescue.
Aircraft: Hurricane II, Z3461
(Also, shot down and parachuted over England on April 6, 1941 Suffered burns.)
POW at Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany German POW # 1372
Columbia University School of Pharmacy Graduate, Class of 1939
Changed surname to “Marans” by 1957
Died July 29, 2002, at Belvedre Tiburon, California (Via Obit Central)
Jewish Post (Indianapolis) 6/27/41, 7/25/41
Jewish Chronicle 8/1/41, 8/8/41
Long Island Daily Press 9/2/41
New York Sun 3/19/41
New York Times 7/18/41, 9/2/41, 9/3/41
Schenectady Gazette 6/24/41
The Knickerbocker News 9/2/41
The Times Record (Troy, N.Y.) 7/18/41
Utica Daily Press 7/18/41
We Will Remember Them, Volume I, p. 214
Behind The Wire, Record # 263
Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume I, p. 121
This photo of Nathaniel Maranz is from the Columbia University Yearbook of 1939.
South African Air Force – No. 1 Squadron (“The Billy Boys”)
Wayburne, Ellis, Captain, 47508V
Born November 16, 1916
Mr. and Mrs. Meier Gerson and Sonia (Blank) Wayburne [Waigowsky] (parents)
Cyril, Gert, Harry, Issy, Laura, Lea, Mary, and Rose (brothers and sisters)
20 Beelaerts St., Troyeville, Johannesburg, Guateng, South Africa
Shot down September 23, 1944
Aircraft: Spitfire IX, MA313
POW at Stalag Luft II, Sagan, and Stalag IIIA (Luckenwalde)
Eagles Victorious, p. 307
85 Years of South African Air Force, pp. 300, 307
The Story of No. 1 Squadron S.A.A.F., Sometime Known as the Billy Boys, p. 424
…made Aliyah to Eretz Israel in 1970
This picture of Ellis Wayburne (possibly taken while he was a student pilot) is from The Billy Boys. It also appears in his autobiography.
United States Army Air Force
Korotkin, Louis, 2 Lt., 0-749567, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, 10 combat missions
10th Air Force, 80th Fighter Group, 459th Fighter Squadron (The “Twin Tail Dragons”)
Born Brooklyn, New York, June 5, 1919
Mrs. Angelina J. (Sanicola) Korotkin (wife), 97-29 91st St., Ozone Park, N.Y.
Mr. Isidore Bronstein (father), 91-07 101st Ave., Ozone Park, N.Y.
Shot down February 3, 1944 Evaded until February 8, when captured by Japanese patrol Liberated 4/28/45
Aircraft: P-38H, 42-66981 MACR 2089
POW at Burma #5 Moulmein & Rangoon Jail
Graduated Williams Field, Arizona, 6/22/43
Long Island Daily Press 5/28/45
The Leader-Observer 5/31/45
The Record (Richmond Hill, N.Y.) 5/31/45, 3/1/44, 5/28/45
American Jews in World War Two, p. 366
Willner, Edward A., 2 Lt., 0-671824, Air Medal, Purple Heart
10th Air Force, 311th Fighter Group, 530th Fighter Squadron
Mrs. Lillian (Greenberg) Willner (wife), 2646 Tuxedo St., Detroit, Mi.
Mr. C.R. Willner (father) , Westwoods, Ca.
Shot down November 27, 1943
Aircraft: P-51A, 43-6265 MACR 1213
POW at Burma #5 Moulmein & Rangoon Jail
The Jewish News (Detroit) 6/29/45, 7/6/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed
Wood, Henry Irving, 1 Lt., 0-789035, Air Medal, Purple Heart
14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 75th Fighter Squadron
Mrs. Josephine (Hughes) Wood (mother), 2217 Herschell St., Jacksonville, Fl.
Shot down October 1, 1943
Aircraft: P-40K, 42-46250 MACR 759
POW at Shanghai POW Camp, Kiangwan, China
Craig Field, Alabama, Class 42-D
Jacksonville Commentator 10/21/43, 11/5/43
American Jews in World War Two, p. 86
Lt. Wood’s portrait is from the United States National Archives collection: “ Photographic Prints of Air Cadets and Officers, Air Crew, and Notables in the History of Aviation – NARA RG 18-PU”. (In this case, Box 102.) You can read more about this collection in the post Five Pilots in December at my brother blog, The Past Presented.
09:06 – 09:41: Did Bill ever discuss the above topic – being a Jewish aviator, flying over Germany – with anyone else? (No.) Did he know any other Jewish airmen in the 357th Fighter Squadron? (Yes.) One: Lieutenant Jack H. Dressler.
09:38 – 18:27: An encounter with antisemitism (the comments of “Lieutenant X”).
Commentary and Digression…
The historical records of the 357th Fighter Squadron revealed that Bill’s memory of Lieutenant X’s surname – deleted for the purpose of this blog post – was dead-on accurate. The man passed away in the mid-1950s. In any event, the Latin expression: “Res ipsa loquitur,” – “The thing speaks for itself,” is as pertinent as it is sufficient.
As I listened to Bill “then”, and once again while creating this post, I was reminded of Len Giovannitti’s 1957 novel The Prisoners of Combine D, a novel about a group of American prisoners of war in Germany from late 1944 through the war’s end in May, 1945. Inspired and loosely based upon Giovannitti’s experiences as a POW in Stalag Luft III, a central plot element involves the identification and attempted segregation of Jewish POWs in the camp … which event actually transpired in Stalag Luft I and Stalag 9B (Bad Orb), but not Sagan. Jewish POWs were not segregated at the latter camp, probably due to a combination of the intervention and policies of the senior allied officers, and, the timing of the forced march of all POWs from that camp, which commenced on the evening of January 27, 1945.
The cover of Bantam Books’ 1959 paperback edition of the novel appears below. Though the cover artist is unknown and the art itself undramatic, albeit directly relevant to the story, this illustration is – ironically – vastly better than the uninspired, monochrome composition by the strangely over-rated Ben Shahn, which graces the dust jacket of the book’s (hardback) first edition.
The novel’s central characters (Bendel, Fernandez, Kitchener, Lawton, Storch, and Zuckerman) represent individuals of a variety of social, and ethnic backgrounds, while in a literary sense, all are generally “three dimensional” in terms of representing distinct individuals with different personalities.
The novel pays absolutely no attention to aerial combat, and very little attention to pre-war events, life in the United States, postwar plans, or life – in “general” – elsewhere and elsewhen. In effect and intention, the novel’s entire “world” – in terms of both time, space, and thought – is confined to the immediacy of the POW camp, and, the psychological impact of being a prisoner of war.
Not evident – perhaps intentionally so, given the tenor of the 1950s? – from the blurb on the rear cover, the central character turns out to be “Hyman Zuckerman” (I would think refreshingly unrelated to Philip Roth’s “Nathan Zuckerman”!) who is almost certainly a fictional representation of Giovannitti himself.
As for his military service, Len Giovannitti (ASN 0-811621) was a navigator in the 742nd Bomb Squadron of the 455th Bomb Group, and was one of the seven survivors from B-24H 41-29261 – Gargantua – piloted by 1 Lt. Ralph D. Sensenbrenner, which was shot down during the 15th Air Force’s mission to Vienna on June 26, 1944, his 50th mission. The plane’s loss is covered in MACR 6404 and Luftgaukommando Report ME 1492.
The image below shows Giovannitti’s “ Angaben über Gefangennahme von Feindlichen Luftwaffenangehörigen ” (“ Information about capture of enemy air force personnel” ) form, from the Luftgaukommando Report.
In Giovannitti’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Nature of the Beast (1977), the protagonist is named Dante Ebreo. The name is strikingly symbolic, seemingly derived from “Dante” – as in the name of the renowned poet “Durante degli Alighieri”, author of The Divine Comedy, combined with “Ebreo” – the Italian word for “Jew”. Within the book, Giovannitti devotes one chapter to his – or is it “Dante Ebreo’s”? – experiences during the Second World War. Here, he recounts his final mission in great detail (even naming his pilot “Sensebrenner” ), concluding with a few paragraphs which summarize the profound impact of his war experiences in general – and captivity in Germany, in particular – upon his life, within the overall arc of Dante Ebreo’s – or is it Len Giovannitt’s? – story.
Early in the novel, in the context of the fate of the camp’s Jewish POWs , Zuckerman expresses the following thoughts to his friend, Edward Lawton:
Zuckerman: I used to think a pogrom might happen in New York
and I’d get killed.
And now it’s my yardstick, you might say.
Lawton: How do you mean?
Zuckerman: I measure people against it.
I say to myself, if a pogrom really did happen
and …(if) people like me were threatened with death,
what would he do, my friend?
Would he fight for me or would he turn away,
a little sick maybe, but turn away.
It’s not really fair, I guess,
because a pogrom would be after me and I’d have to fight,
but I want to know who’s with me and who’s against me
and who’s just going to watch and be sick.
Given Giovannitti’s literary skill, it would have been invaluable if he’d re-visited his wartime experiences in non-fiction format, as did David K. Westheimer, author of Song of the Young Sentry (and Von Ryan’s Express), in his 1992 book Sitting It Out – A World War II POW Memoir. Unfortunately for history, that book never came to be. As Len Giovannitti confided to me some years back, a little over three decades after the completion of Prisoners, he no longer had any desire to “re-visit” his Second World War experiences, whether as fiction or fact. Perhaps his novel – the writing of which spanned four years – was enough.
Alas. It would have been interesting…
Born in April of 1920, Len Giovannitti was a writer and producer / director of television documentaries. He died in March, 1992. Like Bill Lyons, his name never appeared in American Jews in World War II.
(Perhaps more about Len Giovannitti in a future post.)
00:06 – 0:37: What happened to Jack Dressler?
…as for “Dressler”, Bill’s memory was remarkably accurate:
“Dressler” was 2 Lt. Jacob (“Jack”) Harry Dressler (0-824608), from 81-21 20th Avenue, in New York. The son of Morris and Anna (Braunfeld) Dressler (parents), his siblings were Jack, Miriam, and Paul.
As recorded in the historical records of the 357th Fighter Squadron for March 15, 1945, “Lieutenant Dressler on this mission ran short of gas and was last seen heading toward the Russian lines. He wasn’t heard for two weeks and was given up as missing in action. Then on the 30th of March the report came in that he was safe and was on his way back to the squadron.” (See below.) The historical records of the 357th Fighter Squadron contain no information about his experiences in Russia, simply noting that he returned by April.
He was flying P-51D 44-14314 (OS * L), intriguingly nicknamed Sexless Stella / One More Time (what inspired that moniker?!). (This information is from Peter Randall’s Little Friends.) There is no MACR for this incident. The plane was one of at least eleven 8th and 15th Air Force P-51s that landed in the Soviet Union, or behind Soviet lines, between 1944 and 1945, based on data compiled by Martin Kyburz, of Swiss Mustangs.
Jack Dressler’s name appears on page 299 of American Jews in World War II, with the notation that he received the Air Medal, likely indicating that he completed between 5 and 10 combat missions. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 25, 1923, he died on November 2, 2017. His portrait, from Legacy, appears below:
00:51 – 02:17: Bill’s attitude towards the Germans, as “people”, and, as opponents in aerial combat.
02:44 – 07:58: Bill’s interactions with British civilians. Impressions of Steeple Morden and Letchworth. Dating a German-Jewish refugee girl – “Elsa” – in Letchworth.
08:11 – 17:38: Shooting down an Me-109 over Magdeburg, Germany, on February 9, 1945.
Here’s the Encounter Report for Bill’s aerial victory:
…and here is Ronnie Olsthoorn’s depiction of Bill’s victory, which appeared in 2007 at Hyperscale, which is accompanied by Bill’s account (audio) of this event.
Created in 2005, the original work was presented to Bill at the 355th Fighter Group reunion in October of 2005, with A-2 size signed prints (signed by Ronnie Olsthoorn and Bill) then being made available at Digital Aviation Art. The signed prints have since sold out, but Giclee (fine art digital inkjet prints) seem (?) to still be available through Mr. Olsthoorn’s site.
Several qualities contribute to the striking nature of this artwork: The image is characterized by its unusual perspective – the action is viewed front the front of the aircraft, not the side the complementary use of light (bright horizon) versus dark (shadows, earth tones, and darkened sky tones towards the top of the image) the degree of detail (details of the data block on the fuselage of the P-51 are visible) and the compositional relationship of the P-51 (foreground) and Me-109 (background).
“Moroney” is 1 Lt. Edward J. Moroney, Jr. (ASN 0-806496) who attained three confirmed victories while flying in the 357th Fighter Squadron (one on November 2, and two on November 26). He was from Highland Park, Il., and was killed in the crash of F-84E 50-1209 on June 8, 1951, one of eight F-84E Thunderjets that crashed near Richmond, Indiana, that day. He is buried at Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery, Lake County, Il. The news article below, from the Rome Daily Sentinel (New York) of June 11 (via Thomas M. Tryniski’s FultonHistory website) lists the pilots involved in the accident, as well as their addresses and next of kin:
/> New York State Digital library
17:38 – 22:48: Shooting down an Me-109 on November 26, 1944.
Here is the encounter report for this aerial victory…
…and here’s a picture of Bill, taken shortly after his return from this mission. As described by Bill in The West Point Center for Oral History video (1:58:30 – 1:59:35), the picture was taken by Bill’s crew chief using the gun camera from Bill’s Mustang (behind), which had been temporarily removed from the fighter’s wing to capture the image.
“Fred Haviland” is Capt. Fred R. Haviland, Jr., who attained six aerial victories in the 357th Fighter Squadron.
23:10 – 25:53: Encounter with an Me-262 on March 3, 1945.
Commentary and Digression…
Here’s Bill’s Encounter Report for this mission…
Since the (above) digital image – from microfilm – is extremely difficult to read, an image of a transcribed version of this Encounter Report appears below…
…while here is a (400 dpi) scan from Bill’s flight log, covering missions from March 2 through March 19, which mentions the encounter with the Me-262. “Escort to Magdeburg. – Fight with jets. – Damaged one Me-262. – Damn near had him. – Boresight off, fired with tanks.”
/> While some visitors to this post will doubtless be immediately familiar with the Messerschmitt 262 – and thus need no introduction to the aircraft – for those unfamiliar with WW II aviation (probably many, now in 2018), a depiction of the plane is displayed below, for representative purposes. Notably, this illustration does not depict the specific Me-262 which Bill pursued on March 3, the unit and markings of which are unknown. Rather, it’s simply a very good quite evocative picture: the “box art” for Airfix’s 1/72 scale Me262A-1A model kit, and shows a Schwalbe of KG(J) 54 attacking B-17s of the 351st Bomb Squadron of the 100th Bomb Group on March 18, 1945.
The B-17 on the right is 1 Lt. Rollie C. King’s 43-37521, (EP * K – Heavenly Daze / Skyway Chariot) not so coincidentally the subject of Airfix’s 1/72 kit AO8017, the box art of which is shown below. The bomber indeed was shot down on March 18, 1945 by Me-262s (with the deaths of three crewmen) though the painting shows the B-17 being shot down by FW-190s. The loss of Heavenly Daze is described in radio operator S/Sgt. Archie Mathosian’s 1991 letter to 100th BG Association Historian Jim Brown.
25:45 – 26:35: Memories of two pilots who were lost on November 26, 1944: 1 Lt. Bernard R.J. Barab and 2 Lt. Charles W. Kelley, killed in a mid-air collision witnessed by Bill.
Biographical information about Bernard R.J. Barab and Charles W. Kelley follows below:
1 Lt. Bernard R.J. Barab, 0-796643, Air Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Mary (Curran) Barab (parents), Thelma and Eileen (sisters), 2 South Bartram Ave. / 927 Atlantic Ave. / 127 Ocean Ave., Atlantic City, N.J.
Mr. Richard L. Barab (cousin)
MACR 11079, P-51D 44-13574 No Luftgaukommando Report?
Name appeared in casualty list published on November 1, 1945
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium – Plot C, Row 6, Grave 52
Bernard Barab’s name appeared in a Casualty List issued by the War Department on October 31, 1945. The New York Times published the list on November 1, limiting the names to servicemen from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Barab’s name appearing under “New Jersey – European Area”.
/> 2 Lt. Charles W. Kelley, 0-826462 (presumably received Purple Heart other awards unknown)
Born August 2, 1919
Probably from Hyattsville, Md.
Mrs. Helen Hawk (daughter) (Information from biographical profile at Registry of National WW II Memorial)
MACR 10886, P-51C 42-106910 Luftgaukommando Report J 2624
Mount Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Crimora, Virginia
The Tiger’s Cousin: Major Sylvan Feld
Ironically, in light of the ready availability of information and photographs concerning the military service of William Lyons, there is relatively – far, if not vastly – less known about his cousin, the man who served as the inspiration for Bill’s military service: Major Sylvan “Sid” Feld.
Among American pilots who flew the famous Spitfire fighter plane while specifically serving in the United States Army Air Force, “Sid” Feld attained the highest number of kills (nine) against German aircraft.
As recounted by Bill in the West Point Center for Oral History video (from 14:00 – 15:00), along with Bill’s innate interest in aviation, his parallel inspiration to become a fighter pilot was his cousin Sylvan Feld, who was born in Woodhaven, Queens, on August 20, 1918.
Bill’s first cousin on his mother’s side, Sylvan’s family originated in Bayshore, Long Island, where Sylvan’s father Nathan worked as a driver for Bill’s grandfather, in the dairy business. Nathan subsequently worked in lumber and construction, where he and Bill’s father Immanuel became “more or less partners” until Immanuel decided to work at Wall Street. Nathan moved to Lynn, Massachusetts in mid-thirties or late thirties, where he opened a dairy.
Remembering Sylvan from his childhood in the (then) very rural area of Bayshore, Bill viewed himself as a “little kid” who Sylvan, along with Sylvan’s older brother “Herbie” (Monroe Herbert) and their older sister Evelyn, “sort of took care of me. Babysat for me.“
However, Bill didn’t actually see Sylvan after the age of six or seven. (1930 – 1931) “There was the one letter that he wrote me… He was just advising me that I’d really like to be a pilot. He said if you’re going to be in the service, then you’ve got to be an officer, and a pilot, because it’s a terrific life. The idea was that it was a good life, and a worthwhile one.”
Towards the end of Bill’s teens, while he was working at the Sperry Gyroscope, Sylvan was flying in North Africa. “I remember a letter from him in which he heard that I was interested in becoming a pilot. He encouraged me. He said there was one great job in the service, and since I was eventually going to go into the service, he just assumed that I would be a pilot.”
The photographic portraits below respectively show Sylvan as a Flight Cadet at Kelly Field, and, his graduation portrait from June of 1942. They are both found in the National Archives’ collection ” RG 18-PU: “Records of the Army Air Forces” – “Photographic Prints of Air Cadets and Officers, Air Crew, and Notables in the History of Aviation” “, which is described in more detail at the post Five Pilots in December, at my brother blog, ThePastPresented.
Both Monroe and Sylvan would eventually serve in the Army Air Force. Fate was kind to neither, albeit thankfully Monroe did survive the war.
Born on June 23, 1915, in New York, Monroe (“Monroe Herbert” or “Herbie”) enlisted in the Army Air Force in January, 1942, becoming a Sergeant and waist gunner in the 723rd Bomb Squadron of the 450th (Cottontails) Bomb Group. His aircraft, B-24L 44-50245 “Princess Pat”, piloted by 1 Lt. Murray G. Stowe, was struck by flak down on March 12, 1945, during a mission to the Florisdorf Marshalling Yards, in Austria, the plane’s 10 crewmen parachuting (all with good ‘chutes) went of Lente, Hungary. Of the bomber’s crewmen, 8 survived as prisoners of war. Monroe and Sgt. Lawrence Cilestio were beaten so severely by Hungarian soldiers that, upon being reunited with their fellow crewmen, they were unrecognizable.
Two other crewmen – navigator 2 Lt. Richard H. Van Huisen and gunner S/Sgt. William R. Ahlschlager – landed safely by parachute, but were never seen again. As of 2018, they remain missing.
Like his cousin William, Monroe’s name never appeared in American Jews in World War II.
Born in Woodhaven, New York, on August 20, 1918, Sylvan was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, on February 13, 1942. He was one of the original pilots of the 4th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, which was originally assigned to the 8th Air Force, and then transferred to North Africa to support the landings there in November of 1942. He attained his aerial victories (4 Me-109s, 3 FW-190s, and 2 Ju-88s) between March and June of 1943, after which he returned to the United States.
He was subsequently assigned to the Headquarters Squadron of the 373rd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, where he served as Operations Officer. It was in this capacity that he was shot down, near Argentan, France, on August 13, 1944, while flying P-47D Thunderbolt 42-25966 (loss covered in MACR 8584).
The MACR includes only one statement about his loss: A report by 1 Lt. Virgil T. Bolin, Jr., stating, “On 13 August 1944, I was flying Gaysong Red 3 on a dive bombing strafing mission. I became lost from the first element on a strafing [pair? – run?] and joined Yellow 1 and 2. A short time later Major Feld called and told me to come North East of Argentan to join him. I was on my way from Laigle when he called and said he was on fire and was bailing out. I did not see the plane or his chute.”
Evading the Germans for a few days, Major Feld was eventually captured. (The details are unknown, and by now, probably will remain unknown.) Placed with a small group of other captured Allied personnel – aviators and ground troops British and Canadians – these soldiers had the tragic misfortune to be caught in the midst of a raid by American bombers in the town of Bernay. Some of the captured servicemen were wounded, and with a sad and terrible irony – for it was his 26th birthday – Sylvan was severely wounded.
He died the next day at Petit-Quevilly, while the small group of prisoners were being taken to Maromme.
All this is covered in MACR 8584, which contains correspondence focusing on the search for information about his final fate. After September of 1944, the trail of information grew cold.
Sylvan remained missing for a decade and a half. But, in 1959, during the disinterment and identification of German war dead buried in France, as a step to eventual reintermen t in German military cemeteries, German officials discovered an American dog-tag and flying clothing associated with the body of a man identified only as an “unknown German soldier”.
American authorities were notified, and by November of 1959, after investigation, the remains of the “German soldier” were determined to actually be those of Sylvan.
He is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery, at Neupre, Belgium (Plot B, Row 33, Grave 58). His burial plot appears in the image below, which was provided by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
…while this 2013 image is by FindAGrave contributor Doc Wilson.
As for Thunderbolt 42-25966, it’s unknown if this was his personal aircraft, or, a Thunderbolt from one of the 373rd’s three squadrons (410th, 411th, or 412th) which he randomly chose to fly on August 13. Given the location and circumstances of its loss, it is not (and probably could not have been) covered by a Luftgaukommando Report, while it’s unknown if its exact crash location is noted in Sylvan’s IDPF (Individual Deceased Personnel File) I don’t have a copy of that document.
However, information about Sylvan’s P-47 is found in Daniel Carville’s FranceCrashes website, in the following statement:
Lieu-dit La Commune – Neuvy-au-Houlme (1,8 km SE) -10 km S de Falaise – (Fouilles réalisées)
Location at the town of Neuvy-au-Houlme (1.8 km southeast) -10 km south of Falaise – (Excavations completed)
( Curiously, in Major Feld’s last radio message, he stated that he was northeast of Argentan, while the location 1.8 km southeast of Neuv-au-Houlme is northwest of Argentan.)
Fouille en 1988 par l‘Ansa – Recup : moteur – train mitrailleuse Browninq cal 0,50 (SN 1016677) – localisation précise du crash non communiquée
Search in 1988 by ANSA [Association Normand du Souvenir Aérien (“Normand Association of Air Remembrance”)] – Retrieved: engine – 0.50 caliber Browning machine gun (Serial Number 1016677) – precise location of the crash not communicated
Based on the above information, the maps below – shown in order of increasing scale – show the probable location of 42-25966’s crash site.
This map is centered upon the Normandy Region of France. The Red Google location pointer indicates the location listed above – 1.8 km southeast of Neuvy-au-Houlme not visible at this scale – which is south of Falaise, in the Calvados Department.
A larger-scale view shows the location of Neuvy-au-Houlme (outlined in red ).
Moving in closer, the the probable crash site of Major Feld’s Thunderbolt is denoted by the red oval.
This image is an air-photo view of the above map. The probable crash site appears to be located in farmland, denoted as above by a red oval.
The image below shows the data plate that had been attached to the Thunderbolt’s engine. Information on the plate correlates to the engine type (R-2800-63) and serial number (42-56386) listed in MACR 8584. The photo appears at Passion Militaria, in an image uploaded by “CED6250” on February 3, 2014, under a post entitled “le destin tragique du major Sylvan FELD, pilote de P47”) [“The Tragic Fate of Major Sylvan Feld, P-47 Pilot”.
Passion Militaria (le destin tragique du major Sylvan FELD, pilote de P47) (“The Tragic Destiny of Major Sylvan Feld, P-47 Pilot”] (post by “ced6250”)
Compared to other WW II USAAF fighter groups, photographic coverage of the 373rd Fighter Group seems to be scanty. However, ironically, there are two excellent photographs of the specific P-47 (“Gaysong Red Three”, a.k.a. R3 * G) flown by Lt. Bolin when he received Major Feld’s last radio call.
One of these pictures appears in Kent Rust’s The 9th Air Force in World War II, where it’s listed as an official Army Air Force photo – though it doesn’t seem to be available via Fold3.com. The plane is seen flying near Mont St. Michel, France. It’s now a Getty Image, captioned as “Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (42-25845 R3-G) of 410th Fighter Squadron USAAF in flight near Mont St Michael, Normandy, 26 August 1944. (Photo by Charles E. Brown / Royal Air Force Museum / Getty Images)”.
The other image of R3 * G is available at the American Air Museum in England, where it’s captioned, “A P-47 Thunderbolt (R3-G, serial number 42-25845) of the 373rd Fighter Group in flight. Image stamped on reverse: ‘Charles E Brown.’ [stamp], ‘Passed for publication 7 Sep 1944.’ [stamp] and .’ [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: ‘P-47 Thunderbolt flying across open country.’” This picture has been scanned at an extremely high resolution, and zooming in on the photo reveals that the pilot is looking “up” through the canopy towards the photographer.
Unlike his brother Monroe and cousin Bill, Sylvan’s name does appear in American Jews in World War II: on page 157. There, his military awards are listed as the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 21 Oak Leaf Clusters (suggesting the completion of between 105 and 115 combat missions), and the Purple Heart.
During and after the Second World War, news items about Sylvan Feld appeared in the following publications:
Chicago Jewish Chronicle – 8/13/43
The American Hebrew – 8/13/43
Lynn [Massachusetts] Daily Item – 9/2/43, 11/15/44, 5/20/60
The image below, by Chris Davey, is a profile of Sylvan Feld’s Sylvan’s personal Spitfire Vc (ES276, WD * D), which appears in Andrew Thomas’ American Spitfire Aces of World War 2. Notable is the absence of any distinctive personal markings, except for Feld’s name and victory symbols.
/> The aircraft’s markings and camouflage are seen in the image below (artwork by Wojciech Rynkowski?) from the Montex company’s (Wroclaw, Poland) “Masks, decals & markings for Spitfire Mk Vb by Airfix – Product Number K48271 (decals and camouflage information for Spitfires EN794 and ES276)”.
The British Eagle Strike Productions company also produced (in 2006) a decal set covering Major Feld’s Spitfire, and, three other USAAF MTO Spitfires, images of which also illustrate the markings and camouflage of USAAF MTO Spitfires. These decals are available from the Valka Company, located in the village of Osek nad Bečvou in the Czech Republic.
I do possess more (but not really that much more) information about Major Sylvan Feld, but the above covers the essentials of his story, so far as those essentials can be known. Alas, a telephone inquiry to Monroe in the 1990s elicited a firm unwillingness – albeit, it must be stated, an unwillingness respectful and polite – to discuss either his brother’s life or his own military experiences.
Monroe died in Englewood, Florida, on June 11, 2007, and his sister Evelyn probably passed away in March of 1984.
Ironically, more information seems to be available (at that, what little there really is!) about Major Feld’s aircraft about Major Feld as a military pilot, than about Sylvan Feld as a son, brother, cousin, comrade, and friend. The final disposition of the correspondence (personal and official), documents, photographs, and memorabilia that he likely accumulated through his three years of military service – assuming that this material has even survived – is unknown. And, with the passing of his parents, sister, and brother, and members of their generations, recollections of him “as a person” have passed into history – and therefore beyond memory – as well.
Still, a memory partial, fragmentary, and indirect – for all men, both great and small – are in time remembered incompletely – is better than no memory whatsoever.
May this blog post perpetuate his memory, as best it can.
Brent, Winston, 85 Years of South African Air Force – 1920-2005 (African Aviation Series No. 13), Freeworld Publications xx, Nelspruit, South Africa, 2005
Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom – Compiled by the Bureau of War Records of the National Jewish Welfare Board, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947
Franks, Norman L.R., Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume I – Operational Losses: Aircraft and Crews 1939-1941, Midland Publishing, Ltd., Leicester, Great Britain, 1997
Franks, Norman L.R., Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume III – Operational Losses: Aircraft and Crews 1944-1945 (Incorporating Air Defence Great Britain and 2nd TAF), Midland Publishing, Ltd., Leicester, Great Britain, 1997
Giovannitti, Len, The Prisoners of Combine D, Bantam Books, New York, N.Y., October, 1957 (Paperback edition January, 1959)
Holmes, Tony, Star-Spangled Spitfires, Pen & Sword Aviaton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, 2017. (NOOK Book (eBook)), available from Barnes & Noble
Ivie, Tom, and Pudwig, Paul, Spitfires & Yellow Tail Mustangs: The U.S. 52nd Fighter Group in WWII, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 2013
Martin, Henry J., and Orpen, Neil D., Eagles Victorious: The operations of the South African Forces over the Mediterranean and Europe, in Italy, the Balkans and the Aegean, and from Gibraltar and West Africa, Purnell, Cape Town, South Africa, 1977
Morris, Henry, Edited by Gerald Smith, We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945, Brassey’s, United Kingdom, London, 1989
Rust, Kenn C., The 9th Air Force in World War II, Aero Publishers, Inc., Fallbrook, Ca., 1970
Thomas, Andrew, American Spitfire Aces of World War 2, Osprey Publishing, New York, N.Y., 2007
Vee, Roger, The Story of No. 1 Squadron S.A.A.F., Sometime Known as the Billy Boys, Mercantile Atlas, Cape Town, South Africa, 1952
Wayburne, Ellis, Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (…And Where There’s a Way, There’s a Wayburne), Israel, 1995 (privately printed)
Wright, Arnold A., Behind The Wire: Stalag Luft III – South Compound, Arnold A. Wright, Printed in Benton, Ar., 1993 (privately printed)
Canadian Jews in World War II – Part II: Casualties, Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1947
USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Air University, Office of Air Force History, Headquarters, USAF, 1978.
357th Fighter Squadron Historical Records – AFHRA Microfilm Roll AO784 (“SQ-FI-357-Hi – SQ-FI-358 Hi”)
P-51 Mustang serial number list (via Joseph F. Baugher’s “USAF USASC-USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Military Aircraft Serial Numbers to Present” website)
SECOND HAND BOOKS
By Merle Olmsted - Phalanx Publishing, 1994
History of the 357th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, a P-51 outfit that fought over Europe for 1 ½ years. Won two Unit Citations and flew on the last of the England to Russia "shuttle" missions. Second only to the 56th Fighter Group in total number of aerial victories, and produced 42 aces- Kit Carson, John England, Bud Anderson, Dick Peterson and Chuck Yeager to mention a few. Olmstead's grasp of the Mustang and its complexities will also satisfy those with a desire for technical material on this fine long range fighter. Many rare, unpublished photos, including seven original action art works by the author, a superb artist. Over 190 black/white photos, 9 pieces of art work, 2 maps, and 9 appendices including losses, victory list, aces, aircraft serials and names. 160 pages, 8.5x11 inches.
Some very minor rubbing marks to jacket but otherwise a very well cared for copy in clean condition throughout.
357th Fighter Group
362 nd 363 rd 364 th Fighter Squadrons and all Support Units.
Leiston, England 1944 - 1945
688 1/2 enemy aircraft destroyed
They Fulfilled Their Mission.
In memoriam to the fighter pilots
who made the supreme sacrifice in
air battles over Europe and in honor
of those who served in the
357th Fighter Group
362 nd 363 rd 364 th Fighter Squadrons
and all Support Units.
1944 - 1945
688 1/2 enemy aircraft destroyed
They Fulfilled Their Mission
Location. 39° 0.978′ N, 104° 51.321′ W. Marker is in United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, in El Paso County. Marker is in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, on Parade Loop west of Stadium Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: USAF Academy CO 80840, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (here, next to this marker) 474th Fighter Group (here, next to this marker) P51 Mustang Pilots Association (here, next to this marker) 5th Bombardment Group (H) (here, next to this marker) 19th Troop Carrier Squadron (here, next to this marker) 64th Fighter Squadron (here, next to this marker)
48th Fighter-Bomber Wing (here, next to this marker) 40 th Bomb Group (VH) (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in United States Air Force Academy.
More about this marker. Must have a valid ID to enter the USAF Academy grounds.
Also see . . .
1. 357th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. 357th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. 357th Fighter Group (USAAF). (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. 357th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
5. 357th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
6. 357th Fighter Group Home Movies 1944 (YouTube). (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group
Chris Bucholtz, in addition to a 12-year career as a technology journalist, has written extensively on aircraft history and on scale modelling. He is the aircraft editor of Internet Modeler, where he introduced his 'The Pilot and The Plane' series of long-form interviews with World War 2 aviators in 2002, and is the managing editor of the IPMS/USA Journal. His work has appeared in Flight Journal, Air Enthusiast and Plastic Kit Constructor. He also wrote AEU 24 332nd Fighter Group - Tuskegee Airmen and AEU 30 4th Fighter Group - Debden Eagles for Osprey.
Based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Chris Davey has illustrated more than 20 titles for Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces, Combat Aircraft and Aviation Elite Units series since 1994. He is one of the last traditional airbrush artists in the business and has become Osprey's artist of choice for both USAAF fighters and RAF subject matter, proving his undoubted skill when dealing with large aircraft subjects such as the Halifax.
The Yoxford Boys
The CORRECT answer is that the 357th Fighter Group was NOT based at Yoxford! They were based at Leiston. The moniker &ldquoYoxford Boys&rdquo was created by the infamous British traitor William Joyce, better known as &ldquoLord Haw-Haw,&rdquo during his January 30th, 1944, radio broadcast during which he &ldquowelcomed&rdquo the unit to its new home at the Leiston airfield. Yoxford was actually one of the small villages located nearby. Joyce also warned the Group&rsquos members of all the terrible things that would happen to them in the days to come. Joyce got it wrong: it was the Luftwaffe that should have been warned about the boys with the red and yellow checkerboard nosed Mustangs!
The 357th Fighter Group arrived in England in late 1943 and entered transition training at the newly constructed Raydon airfield. The first combat missions were flown by senior Group pilots, flying with the 354th Fighter Group (the pioneer Mustang group) based at Boxted.
The 357th was originally assigned to the 9th Air Force, but they became the first P-51 equipped unit in the 8th Air Force when they were exchanged for the 358th Fighter Group (a P-47 unit) in early 1944 due to the pressing need for the Mustang&rsquos long-range escort capabilities. The 357th also swapped bases with the 358th, moving to Leiston on January 31st, 1944.
The Group&rsquos first combat mission was on February 11th, 1944. Despite being one of the last fighter units to join the 8th Air Force, the Mustang gave the 357th ample opportunities to engage and destroy the Luftwaffe. The Yoxford Boys created an enviable record. They had more aces than any other unit and scored the second highest aerial kill record in the 8th&mdashdespite their relatively short time in combat. They also shot down more German jets than any other group, and were the fastest scoring unit during the last year of the war.
We hope you enjoy this selection of some of the more colorful ships of this famous unit. Good luck and good modeling!
General Note on Repainted Aircraft
VIII Fighter Command recommended during the late spring of 1944 that with the coming invasion of Europe it would be a good idea for the fighter groups to camouflage their natural metal aircraft, particularly since some of the units might be moving to the Continent where ground camouflage would be necessary. The 357th duly followed these recommendations.
Paint supply issues suggest the great majority of these aircraft were painted with RAF paint, most likely Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey, as the closest shades to USAAF Olive Drab and Neutral Gray. Unfortunately, even color photos and slides taken at the time do not conclusively prove whether RAF or USAAF colors were used on specific aircraft. However, noted 357th historian Merle Olmsted, a former Yoxford Boy who was actually there at the time, suggests that when in doubt, use the RAF colors.
357th Fighter Group
Constituted as 357th Fighter Group on Dec 1942 and activated the same day. Used P-39's in preparing for duty overseas. Moved to England in Nov 1943 and became part of Eighth AF. Trained with P-51's and began operations on 11 Feb 1944 by making a fighter sweep over Rouen. Served primarily as an escort organization, providing penetration, target, and withdrawal support for bombers that attacked strategic objectives on the Continent. Participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Received a DUC for two escort missions in which heavy opposition was encountered from enemy fighters: on 6 Mar 1944 provided target and withdrawal support during the first attack that heavy bombers of Eighth AF made on Berlin on 29 Jun 1944 protected bombers that struck targets at Leipzig. Received second DUC for operations on 14 Jan 1945 when the group, covering bombers on a raid to Derben, broke up an attack by a large force of interceptors and in the ensuing aerial battle destroyed a number of the enemy planes. In addition to escort the group conducted counter-air patrols, made fighter sweeps, and flew strafing and dive-bombing missions in which it attacked airdromes, marshalling yards, locomotives, bridges, barges, tugboats, highways, vehicles, fuel dumps, and other targets. Participated in the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944 the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945 and the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew its last mission, an escort operation, on 25 Apr 1945. Moved to Germany in Jul and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe for duty with the army of occupation. Inactivated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946.
Redesignated 121st Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Ohio) on 21 Aug 1946. Extended federal recognition on 26 Jun 1948. Redesignated 121st Fighter-Bomber Group on 16 Oct 1952.
Squadrons. 362d: 1942-1946. 363d 1942-1946. 364th (later 166th): 1942-1946.
Stations. Hamilton Field, Calif, 1 Dec 1942 Tonopah AAFld, Nev, 4 Mar 1943 Santa Rosa AAFld, Calif, 3 Jun 1943 Oroville AAFld, Calif, 18 Aug 1943 Casper AAFld, Wyo, 7 Oct-9 Nov 1943 Raydon, England, 30 Nov 1943 Leiston, England, 31 Jan 1944-8 Jul 1945 Neubiberg, Germany, 21 Jul 1945-20 Aug 1946.
Commanders. Lt Col Loring F Stetson Jr, 1 Dec 1942 Lt Col Edwin S Chickering, 7 Jul 1943 Col Henry R Spicer, 17 Feb 1944 Col Donald W Graham, 7 Mar 1944 Lt Col John D Landers, 11 Oct 1944 Col Irwin H Dregne, 2 Dec 1944 Lt Col Andrew J Evans Jr, 21 Jul 1945 Lt Col Wayne E Rhynard, c. 20 Nov 1945 Col Barton M Russell, Apr 1946-unkn.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe Normandy Northern France Rhineland Ardennes-Alsace Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 6 Mar and 29 Jun 1944 Derben, Germany, 14 Jan 1945. French Croix de Guerre with Palm: 11 Feb 1944-15 Jan 1945.
Insigne. Shield: Per fess nebuly azure and or, in chief a chaplet azure and argent winged or, in base a cubit arm in armor brandishing a sword proper hilted bronze. Motto: Semper Omnia - All Things at All Times. (Approved 27 May 1953.)
This webpage was updated 11th October 2012
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