Sixty-five years ago today, over the fields of France, 23 P-38s of the 474th Fighter Group engaged what could loosely be described as a gaggle of German Bf-109’s and FW-190’s in a frenetic, hard 040521-f-2295b-014fought, swirling dogfight.  Initially engaged in a fight were the odds were 2:1 against them, the 12 427th Fighter Squadron and 11 428th Fighter Squadron P-38J’s were joined in mid-battle by another flight of 32-plus FW-190s.  It was, as these kind of fights are wont to be, short, brutal and bloody.  The Americans lost 11 of their 23 fighters — four 474th FG pilots (Capt. Charles Holcomb, Lt. Joseph Stone, Lt. Jerry Zierlein, and Lt. Ray Packard) were KIA on that mission, five would escape and evade capture, and two were taken as prisoners of war. The crash sites of Capt. Holcomb, Lt. Stone, and Lt. Zierlein were discovered shortly after the war allowing for proper disposition and return of their remains stateside.  Ray Packard’s crash site remained a mystery, but was recently found.  And on the German side?  Go here to read the rest of the story…

(H/t to Eagle0025, official historian of the 474th FG , for the reminder about today)

2 Comments

  1. bonjour, je vous fait par de mes recherche dans le secteur .Je connais bien la zone du crash. je n’est pas eut la change de vous rencontrer sur le terrain mes j’avais connaissance de vos travaux.
    Si joint mes recherches.
    http://crashoise.monsite.orange.fr/
    http://crashoise2.monsite.orange.fr/
    je serrais très contant si vous pouviez me transmetre une photo du lieutenant/pilote joseph stone afin de pouvoir enrichir mon site
    cordialement olivier
    merci pour vos travaux en france!

  2. Olivier:

    Merci pour s’arrêter près. Malheureusement je n’ai aucune photo de lt Stone. Cependant, j’ai cc’ ; d Gary Koch, historien du groupe en question et un qui a effectué la recherche étendue sur les événements de ce jour. Peut-être il pourrait aider à votre recherche. Bonne chance !
    w/r, SJS

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