P-47 strafing run on column of P.O.W.s

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by T Bolt, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have information on two P-47s that inadvertently made a strafing run on a column of P.O.Ws in Germany sometime after Feb 45’?

    My father was one of the P.O.W.s and it was one of his favorite war stories to recall. He was shuffled around to various camps in those last few months of the war and this incident happened during one of the moves. The only place I recall from his stories is Mooseberg (spelling could be incorrect) when I know he spent some time but may not be connected. I know there were some casualties before the pilots realized the column was made up of P.O.W.s and made another pass wagging their wings. I have always wanted to know more about this incident and thought if anyone had any info I might be able to use the unit markings in a build.
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  3. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I looked it over and that could be a possibility, it sounds like that was a very busy day.

    I wish I had more information but my dad died almost 10 years ago and all I have to go off of is my memory of his stories and a few documents. All the documents tell me is that his B-24 was shot down on a mission to Vienna on Feb 21st 1945 and he was he had been liberated by May 5th. My recollection of his story was that he was moved around quite a bit from camp to camp and on one of these marches a pair of P-47s came down and made one strafing pass on the column before they realized the column was made up of P.O.W.s and came down again, this time wagging their wings. My father said it was the fastest he ever ran in his life. I remember him saying that he ran through a ditch full of water and ended up soaked except for his feet because he pulled them up before the water had a chance to close around them. He had a very high opinion of the destructive power of the eight fifties the thunderbolts carried. Some of the P.O.W.s were killed in the attack but none in his emaciate group. I am positive of the aircraft type as dad spent a couple of years in Texas as a gunnery instructor before volunteering for combat duty, and until he died had the best eyesight(long distant) of anyone I knew and could tell me the aircraft type when we were watching old war movies when it looked like nothing more to a dot to me.
     
  4. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    I was killing some time surfing the internet and decided to have a try and locking this incident down again and found this.

    The March (1945) - Wikipedia

    I had never heard about this anywhere before but it seems to mesh with my Dads story of being marched all over Germany to stay away from the advancing Russian Army. He did not in any way compare it to anything as terrible as the Bataan Death March, but he may not been involved in the worst parts of it. He didn’t mention any horrible hardships or freezing weather, just the endless walking across Germany from place to place, the strafing attack and one incident were the German soldiers guarding him and his group had to defend them from the civilians in a town they passed through that wanted to hang them.

    The strafing by Typhoons does not fit with my Dads version with Thunderbolts – and Dad was pretty good at aircraft identification- but I guess when you’re running for your life its easy to make a mistake.

    There are a couple of ways I’m going to try to check this out better, first I have my brother trying to locate his German POW dog tags which have the number of the Stalag he was in on them, and second, try to look into another incident he talked about when he and a bunch of other POW’s were air evacuated after liberation by C-47s landing at a grass Luftwaffe airfield. Years ago I found pictures of this event in an old book and showed it to him and he confirmed that that was the same event. The book said it was done there for just one day so he must have been there at the time. I know the book told the location so if I can find it maybe I can backtrack the POW group from there.

    I’ll post more if I find anything else, and if anyone has information please post it.
     
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  5. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting Glenn
     
  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    I think you've found Glenn. Everything matches except for the aircraft. The Marches occurred and Moosburg an der Isar is a town in the Landkreis (rural district)(of) Freising in Bavaria, Germany and there was a POW camp there.
    Now that it means so much more to me I wish I could go back and ask so many more questions of my parents and grandparents
     
  7. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Moosburg!!
    That is a name Dad mentioned many times and I pretty sure he was talking about one of the camps he was held at when he mentioned it.
    Thanks a million Mike!
     
  8. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    So very glad to be of help Glen. In German pronounced MAWS-BERK or MUS-BOOK.
    I know its been a while but condolences on your Dad. Mine died in 1973 but I still miss him.
     
  9. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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  10. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    With my admittedly stale German, I would have pronounced it "MOZE-BOORG".
     
  11. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    #11 T Bolt, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
    The first picture a page from the book that I showed to my Dad (The War In The Air by Gene Gurney, Major, USAF, 1962). He said he recognized the tents and the lines of C-47s picking them up. He said that the C-47s really tore up the grass field. I found the second photo with the caption on back on the internet.

    My brother could not find Dads POW dog tags which is a setback because I know they had the Stalag number stamped on them. Hopefully it will turn up.
    EPSON088.JPG C-47 1.jpg C-47 2.jpg
     
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  12. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Glenn,

    Interesting thread. Do you, by chance, have any suggestions on where to look for details of POW evacuation flights? My cousin was evacuated quite early, around 10 April 1945 probably for health reasons. I'm trying to find out where he had been incarcerated since there's no record of the camp(s) where he was a prisoner.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    Kind regards,
    Mark
     
  13. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Mark, I did a lot of searching for "Airlifting POWs and not much of any use come up. From what I've seen April 10 would be very early for a POW camp liberation. I found this that talks about he first POW camp liberated as being Fallingbostel on April 16

    16 April 1945: The first POW camp liberated – Fallingbostel
     
  14. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Glenn. Clearly you're hitting the same problems I encountered. My cousin went ashore on D-Day (Sword Beach) as part of a beach security team to prevent German counter-attacks. Once the beaches were fully secured, he was assigned to a personnel pool for replacing combat casualties in other regiments. He was captured in Holland in Oct 44 but, as noted, there's no record of the camp(s) in which he was incarcerated. He was flown back to the UK around 10-12 Apr 45 and his family received a telegram notifying them of his safe return. Shortly after, they received a second telegram to tell them he had died. He had been admitted to a US Army field hospital near Oxford and died of malnutrition. I have so many questions but, alas, there don't seem to be any answers. :(
     
  15. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Conditions in the camps near the end of the war were not very good as the German supply lines had been cut. Dad talked about eating some sort of soup that bugs had gotten into. He said at first he would pick them out, but after a wile he just said f__k-it, meat ration. He said that the guards were eating the same stuff because it was all they had. Fortunately he was only in a short time before he was liberated but he still was down to about 100 lbs.
    When I was at collage he attended a seminar at one of the vets hospitals to see what benefits he was entitled to and ended up getting free tuition for me and my brother at the state university we were attending. He told me that if he has been a POW for a couple of more weeks (total 90 days) I would have been eligible for grant money. I kidded him and said he should have hidden when Patton' tanks rolled up to the gate. :lol:
     
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  16. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Something I've never heard of before. Thanks for this Glenn. Have you tried this site Mark? Although it mentions WW1, the Red Cross may be able to get you pointed in the right direction...

    Where to Find Prisoner of War Records
     
  17. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Already tried Red Cross and they came up with nothing...but thanks for the suggestion. I think my best bet is finding out exactly when he was flown back to Blighty and, from there, determining where he might have been held (assuming some degree of proximity between his POW camp and the airfield from which he departed).
     
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