On This Day…March 24th.
On march 24th 1943, a German pilot named Günther Seraphim of the JG 5, suddenly experienced engine failure on his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 “Yellow 3”.
The circumstances forced him to make an emergency landing in the water near the Norwegian coast, near the town Rørvik.
There, he was rescued from the water by a Norwegian named Olette Blikø and her 16-year-old son, Birger.
The plane crashed into the water with its nose first, with the tail upright. The aircraft was also discovered in this position by the divers. According to the serial number 146449, they found out that the plane belonged to the staff of the IV group JG 5. The aircraft was recovered on May 22th, 2010.
Men of the 30th Infantry catch a much earned ride on M10 Tank Destroyer of the 823rd. This was in preparation for crossing the Rhine into Germany on March 24th, 1945.
Below, on the same day, a Sherman Armour Recovery Vehicle and other specialist hardware prepare to meet up with the paratroopers of Operation
Today is the anniversary of ‘The Great Escape’, the attempted mass escape from Stalag Luftwaffe III on March 24th, 1944.
76 men escaped, 3 made it home to the UK, and 23 were recaptured and sent back to Sagan. Hitler personally ordered the execution of the remaining 50 men.
The commandant of Stalag Luft III, Lindeiner, was court-martialed by the Gestapo for not preventing the escape.
While serving with 486 Squadron Hawker Typhoon EJ956 belly landed near Fecamp (France) by it’s pilot, F/Sgt William K. Mawson, after being hit by flak on 24th March 1943.
After it was repaired by the Luftwaffe, EJ956 was flown with 2./Versuchsverband O.b.d.L. (as Wnr. 0956 T9+GK) only to turn over in a forced-landing near Meckelnfeld on the 10th August. Despite the detailed records of the Luftwaffe, the ultimate fate of the aircraft is unknown.
A-4C Skyhawk being prepared for launch aboard USS Hancock (CV-19), off southeast Asia, 24th March, 1965.
Operation ‘Varsity’ started took place on March 24th, 1945. It was the single largest parachute drop ever in one area on one day – with more than 16,000 men dropped into the Northern Rhine.
‘Varsity’ itself was the airborne component of Operation ‘Plunder’ which was the US, UK, and Canadian plan to surge into Germany across the Rhine.
The risks were huge in this massive undertaking, with variables in weather, natural hazards, lack of exact intelligence, and the sheer numbers involved. Of the men of the 6th and 17th Airbourne who dropped into the theatre, 2,000 did not return.
Lawrence ‘Doc’ Somers in a beautiful study of close up weathering in his Spitfire Mk V – 24th March, 1942.
I wrote a short article on ‘assembly’ ships a couple of weeks back and this is a favourite. B-24D Liberator lead assembly ship ‘Thar She Blows Again’ of the 93rd Bomber Group (US 329th Bomber Squadron, RAF Horsham St. Faiths,England) seen here on 24th March, 1944.
Khe Sanh, Vietnam, March 24th, 1971.