Help to ID German air units; late 43 early 44 15th USAAF area of operation

I've never posted on here before. I'm retired military and my father flew combat in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He shot down 4 ME-109's before being shot down in Feb. of 44 over Yugoslavia. Wondered how I could find info on German air ops to ID what units he engaged and if there is a record of Luftwaffe air action I could obtain. Thanks for any help.
 

mjfur

Senior Airman
364
331
Sep 23, 2006
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Include any information on your Father as in Name, Squadron, Base, etc..

Presuming your fathers name was McClure, I don't see a Missing Air Crew Report for Feb. 44. Was he a POW or did he come down over Allied Territory?

I did find a McClure involved in a Landing Accident in England Feb. 44.

 
Last edited:

Barrett

Senior Airman
445
575
Feb 9, 2007
Western United States
Yugoslavia indicates 15th AF from Italy, or less likely 12th AF. No McClure appears in the Mediterranean Theater victory list compiled by Dr. Frank Olynyk. It's far more detailed than USAF Historical Study 85, which used to be online.
 
You can also post your question here under the Luftwaffe section. Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum - Powered by vBulletin
Include any information on your Father as in Name, Squadron, Base, etc..

Presuming your fathers name was McClure, I don't see a Missing Air Crew Report for Feb. 44. Was he a POW or did he come down over Allied Territory?

I did find a McClure involved in a Landing Accident in England Feb. 44.

He fought with Tito's partisans. Was behind the lines for some time. After months, the mixed group he was with took and held an airfield in Croatia and the Brits flew in and evacuated them to Bary, Italy. His B-24 (15 AAF, 450th HB) went down just south of the Austrian border in Slovenia in late February, 1944.
 
You can also post your question here under the Luftwaffe section. Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum - Powered by vBulletin
Include any information on your Father as in Name, Squadron, Base, etc..

Presuming your fathers name was McClure, I don't see a Missing Air Crew Report for Feb. 44. Was he a POW or did he come down over Allied Territory?

I did find a McClure involved in a Landing Accident in England Feb. 44.

Thanks, I tried to register at the link you provided, but it said that registration was suspended by administrator? As for the 450th "Cottontails" they took 100% losses (air crew numbers) My father was shot down on his 13th mission (4th Ploiesti mission)
 
20180223_165029.jpg
 

Geoffrey Sinclair

Senior Airman
409
736
Sep 30, 2021
From the US side of things,

25 February 1944.

The 15th Air Force attacked Regensburg in Germany, Graz and Klagenfurt in Austria and Pola in Italy, 235 effective, 69 non effective and 69 non sorties, 40 bombers shot down or missing, 51 damaged, 117 enemy fighters claimed shot down (63 Bf109, 29 Bf110, 10 Fw190, 13 Ju88, 2 Me210), 618.75 short tons of HE bombs dropped, 80.75 tons jettisoned. The 450th Bombardment Group 25 effective, 2 non effective and 2 non sorties, 4 bombers lost, 13 damaged. 1 Bf109 claimed shot down, one of the lost bombers was interned in Switzerland.

The 40 US bombers losses I know of, B-17 2 to collision, 18 to fighters, B-24 1 Crash, 2 to flak and fighters, 13 to fighters, 2 to flak, 2 to mechanical failure.

The 8th Air Force attacked Regensburg, Ausgburg, Furth and Stuttgart in Germany, so there was an overlap.

The Luftwaffe records are not as complete as the US ones plus there is the chance claims are incorrectly recorded against the "wrong" US Air Force. The known claims made against the 15th Air Force raids are
JG27, 12 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 P-38
JG53, 1 B-17, 7 B-24
JG77, 4 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 B-24
JG108, 1 B-24
ZG1, 4 B-24.
 

Freddy

Recruit
9
13
Nov 18, 2019
According to information obtained from the MACR (Missing Air Crew Report), the aircraft had been hit by anti-aircraft fire in the area of Ljubljana in Slovenia, before reaching the target.
It was observed leaving behind a trail of smoke, two of the engines were not working and another malfunctioned. After entering a spin, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain.
The whole crew managed to bail out safely and landed without casualties.
Four crew members were immediately taken prisoner by the Germans: the nose gunner, S/Sgt William Booth, the engineer, S/Sgt Alcide J. Champagne, the ball turret gunner, S/Sgt. Benedict L. Klinshaw and the left waist gunner, Sgt. Herbert N. Wilch who was part of 723 BS.
The other six, the pilot 1st Lt. Willis R. Retzlaff, the co-pilot 1st Lt. William A. Parrish, the navigator 1st Lt. Edward J. Nisiobincki, the bombardier 1st Lt. J.C. McClure (your father), the radio operator T/Sgt. Hugo L. Greinert and the tail gunner T/Sgt. George G. Grad, had managed not to be captured and, with the help of the partisans, after a few days they had arrived at one of the Allied aviator gathering centers in liberated territories of Slovenia.
These six were then returned to their base in Italy on March 17, 1944.
According to the document "Allied airmen and prisoners of war rescued by Slovene partisans." published in 1946 by the Research Institute of Ljubljana, the plane had crashed near Stična, about 16 miles southeast of Ljubljana but probably the real crash location was Zgorja Besnica near Kranj, about 34 miles further northwest.
This would seem confirmed by the coordinates provided in the MACR and also by the fact that the areas around Ljubljana, at that time, were still in the hands of German forces and almost certainly all the crew would have been immediately captured.
In the same Slovenian booklet, I had already found many errors regarding various other crash points, already well documented in other sources, so I believe that the locations were often reported based on what was supposed by the partisans who had accompanied the allied aviators to the collection center, or even to "hearsay" and also, finally, to pure suppositions.
The names and ranks of many aviators are also very often spelled incorrectly, as you can see on the attached page.
 

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From the US side of things,

25 February 1944.

The 15th Air Force attacked Regensburg in Germany, Graz and Klagenfurt in Austria and Pola in Italy, 235 effective, 69 non effective and 69 non sorties, 40 bombers shot down or missing, 51 damaged, 117 enemy fighters claimed shot down (63 Bf109, 29 Bf110, 10 Fw190, 13 Ju88, 2 Me210), 618.75 short tons of HE bombs dropped, 80.75 tons jettisoned. The 450th Bombardment Group 25 effective, 2 non effective and 2 non sorties, 4 bombers lost, 13 damaged. 1 Bf109 claimed shot down, one of the lost bombers was interned in Switzerland.

The 40 US bombers losses I know of, B-17 2 to collision, 18 to fighters, B-24 1 Crash, 2 to flak and fighters, 13 to fighters, 2 to flak, 2 to mechanical failure.

The 8th Air Force attacked Regensburg, Ausgburg, Furth and Stuttgart in Germany, so there was an overlap.

The Luftwaffe records are not as complete as the US ones plus there is the chance claims are incorrectly recorded against the "wrong" US Air Force. The known claims made against the 15th Air Force raids are
JG27, 12 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 P-38
JG53, 1 B-17, 7 B-24
JG77, 4 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 B-24
JG108, 1 B-24
ZG1, 4 B-24.
Thanks
 
According to information obtained from the MACR (Missing Air Crew Report), the aircraft had been hit by anti-aircraft fire in the area of Ljubljana in Slovenia, before reaching the target.
It was observed leaving behind a trail of smoke, two of the engines were not working and another malfunctioned. After entering a spin, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain.
The whole crew managed to bail out safely and landed without casualties.
Four crew members were immediately taken prisoner by the Germans: the nose gunner, S/Sgt William Booth, the engineer, S/Sgt Alcide J. Champagne, the ball turret gunner, S/Sgt. Benedict L. Klinshaw and the left waist gunner, Sgt. Herbert N. Wilch who was part of 723 BS.
The other six, the pilot 1st Lt. Willis R. Retzlaff, the co-pilot 1st Lt. William A. Parrish, the navigator 1st Lt. Edward J. Nisiobincki, the bombardier 1st Lt. J.C. McClure (your father), the radio operator T/Sgt. Hugo L. Greinert and the tail gunner T/Sgt. George G. Grad, had managed not to be captured and, with the help of the partisans, after a few days they had arrived at one of the Allied aviator gathering centers in liberated territories of Slovenia.
These six were then returned to their base in Italy on March 17, 1944.
According to the document "Allied airmen and prisoners of war rescued by Slovene partisans." published in 1946 by the Research Institute of Ljubljana, the plane had crashed near Stična, about 16 miles southeast of Ljubljana but probably the real crash location was Zgorja Besnica near Kranj, about 34 miles further northwest.
This would seem confirmed by the coordinates provided in the MACR and also by the fact that the areas around Ljubljana, at that time, were still in the hands of German forces and almost certainly all the crew would have been immediately captured.
In the same Slovenian booklet, I had already found many errors regarding various other crash points, already well documented in other sources, so I believe that the locations were often reported based on what was supposed by the partisans who had accompanied the allied aviators to the collection center, or even to "hearsay" and also, finally, to pure suppositions.
The names and ranks of many aviators are also very often spelled incorrectly, as you can see on the attached page.
Thank you sir. I have my father's diary he kept during the entire ordeal. Very interesting. I was sent to Yugoslavia during their civil war on a SOCOM mission to work with militia groups and took with me photos and my father's partisan pass issued by Tito's HQ. It saved my ass. Word got round and I was invited to 3 separate partisan banquets-Slovenian, Serbian, and Croatian. I was able to obtain a great deal of info as my "visit" was broadcast on radio stations all over the area and Tito's former photographer and historian linked up with me and gave me tons of info including partisan reports (translated by him than goodness) about two 109's my dad shot down from the martin turret. One was Italian flying for Luftwaffe and they recovered his body and papers. This is why I wanted to try and find the German records of losses and see if they match the Partisan intel.
 
From the US side of things,

25 February 1944.

The 15th Air Force attacked Regensburg in Germany, Graz and Klagenfurt in Austria and Pola in Italy, 235 effective, 69 non effective and 69 non sorties, 40 bombers shot down or missing, 51 damaged, 117 enemy fighters claimed shot down (63 Bf109, 29 Bf110, 10 Fw190, 13 Ju88, 2 Me210), 618.75 short tons of HE bombs dropped, 80.75 tons jettisoned. The 450th Bombardment Group 25 effective, 2 non effective and 2 non sorties, 4 bombers lost, 13 damaged. 1 Bf109 claimed shot down, one of the lost bombers was interned in Switzerland.

The 40 US bombers losses I know of, B-17 2 to collision, 18 to fighters, B-24 1 Crash, 2 to flak and fighters, 13 to fighters, 2 to flak, 2 to mechanical failure.

The 8th Air Force attacked Regensburg, Ausgburg, Furth and Stuttgart in Germany, so there was an overlap.

The Luftwaffe records are not as complete as the US ones plus there is the chance claims are incorrectly recorded against the "wrong" US Air Force. The known claims made against the 15th Air Force raids are
JG27, 12 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 P-38
JG53, 1 B-17, 7 B-24
JG77, 4 B-17, 1 B-17 shot out for formation, 1 B-24
JG108, 1 B-24
ZG1, 4 B-24.
Thanks for the info.
 

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