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On This Day…March 12th

Wilhelm “Willi” Reinhard was a German World War I pilot who was born today in 1891 (12 March 1891 – 3 July 1918). Born in Düsseldorf, he became a flying ace during the great war, credited with 20 victories. Following the death of Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, Reinhard assumed command of Jagdgeschwader 1 on 22 April 1918.

In July 1918, Reinhard attended aircraft trials near Adlershof, Berlin. After Hermann Göring finished test flying a Dornier-Zeppelin D.I prototype that was supposed to have been grounded pending structural upgrades, Reinhard took it up for a test flight and was killed when the top wing broke free while he was pulling out of a dive. Following Reinhard’s death, Göring assumed command of JG 1 five days later. I’m sure the two events were in no way connected.

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The Russian Army Capturing Vyborg on March 12th, 1940. Painted in 1941 by Alexander Alexandrovich Blinkov.

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March 12th, 1940. The Soviet Union and Finland sign a peace treaty in which Finland surrenders substantial strategic territory, including the city of Viipuri and the port of Hangö. The new order comes at a (conservative) cost of around 25,000 Finnish lives and the deaths of nearly 70,000 Soviets.

Two days later a mass exodus began as a half-million Finns poured out of the Soviet-occupied territory shortly after the cessation of hostilities.

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PBM-3C Mariner aircraft of US Navy patrol squadron VP-203 at Naval Air Station ‘Isla Grande’ – San Juan, Puerto Rico, 12th of March, 1943.

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The remains of an SB2C Helldiver on the badly damaged flight deck of the USS Randolph(CV-15) after a P1Y Ginga special attack bomber crashed into the carrier while at anchor in Ulithi Lagoon, Caroline Islands, 12th March, 1945.

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B-17 Fortresses of the 301st Bomb Group fly over the Italian Alps on their way to bombing rail yards in Vienna, Austria, 12th March, 1945. Looking closely, you’ll see the B-17 in the center has had it’s ball turret replaced with the H2X ground scanning radar.

The image above shows an H2X image of a Fortress flying beneath the new scanner. The set up was also known as the ‘Mickey set’ and ‘BTO’ for (Bomb Through Overcast) radar.

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Scots Guards Vic Mutch and Joe Stephenson inspect a knocked-out German Panzer IV after the Battle of Medenine, Tunisia. 12 March 1943.

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5 responses to On This Day…March 12th

  1. Give me Reinhard’s end over Göring’s any day of the week…

    • I have read somewhere that Goring flew the plane first and performed some rather violent maneuvers with it. Soon afterwards Reinhard took it back up again. The speculation is that Goring weakened the already flawed structure and Reinhard simply finished up the job.

      I’d rather leave earth permanently this way too…… Much better than to chomp down on a cyanide vial in a successful attempt to cheat the hangman’s noose.

      But given the type of person that Goring was, you can speculate that something might have been done to cause his supervisor to crash and die.

      This crash and resulting death opened up the leadership position in the Jasta and he filled the vacancy.

      We will never know what happened for sure. Definitely fuel for conspiracy theories.

  2. I’d sooner go out the way Goring did than see the ground rushing up to me before that final impact….
    Interesting story all the same ,hi Dave by the way hope all’s well with you and yours pal.
    N.

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