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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…March 24th.

March 24, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 15 · 2.5K

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.

Reader reactions:
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15 responses

  1. Neat B-24 assembly ship. I came across this site a week or two ago showing more photos of B-24s and B-17s used in assembling formations of bombers. Lots of photos and ideas for making one of these retired bombers. There are one or two photos showing a assembly ship that had been crashed into.

  2. Great stuff on 5hat site, Stephen. I posted a few ‘Judas Goats’ (so called because certain goats are trained and placed in herds to direct them to certain places - or the abattoir) .

    Thanks for the link, hope all’s well with you, Stephen.

    • Curiosity is what did the cat in ... and David your the one throwing the Cat Nip. Your posts always seem to inspire more reading and investigation of the stories (modeling ideas)that you provide. I'll bet your not the Wall Flower at parties... keep up the good work.

      • Now there’s an interesting observation, Stephen. Reading my posts, I can see why one would come to that thought, but I’m very much a natural introvert. This site just allows me to ‘socialise’ on a scale (pardon the pun) that suits me and allows me to be myself.

        Interestingly, on other forums (don’t post on them anymore) I’ve found there’s no difference to ‘real’ life, that is, people impose themselves, criticise, get quite rude, try to assert their ‘expertise’. Here...on iModeler, I get the sense it brings out the best in people. Hell, even Tom C is housetrained (sorry, Tom).

        There’s a mindset of encouragement and improvement here, of thinking more about the hobby and people we share it with - and although sometimes I feel I go a bit far on this series (sorry for making you work harder, Martin), that allows members to go a little more out of their comfort zones. Me included.

        Cat people are nuts.

        • "Hell, even Tom C is housetrained (sorry, Tom)."

          LOL. TC never suffers fools or flat earthers. I tend to think that the "Culture" of folks being down to earth or "Down to Earthers" who practice humanity and humility seem to come to this site. "Birds of a feather flock together." Any time someone writes as in writes an article instead of doing show and tell ... movies, magazine covers, "New Yorker" , artwork, and film are fair game. Besides, all Cat lovers have been thoroughly trained by their feline owners... raising hand.

  3. Good one again today, David. An interesting aside to the Operation Varsity segment - this marked the only time that the Curtiss C-46 was used in combat paratroop operations anywhere during the war. They were operated by the 313th Troop Carrier group. The experiment was a resounding failure, as none of the C-46's were equipped with self sealing fuel tanks, making then extremely vulnerable to ground fire. 19 of them were shot down, and they proved so unsuitable for use in the European climate that they were immediately withdrawn and never used again. It does, however, make for some interesting and different markings for the type, which tended to be pretty boring as far as paint schemes went.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Always a pleasure to hear from you, Jaime. Thanks for that, as Stephen was saying above, it’s nice to use these post as a staging point for more thought and exploration of subjects.

      Talking of which, just to show that I have not abandoned the ‘Nose Art’ group build - here’s my ongoing attempt to bring something different (eventually) to that table. At the moment I’m tearing the house apart to find my hammerhead shark that fits in with the dio - can’t find ‘Jeff’ anywhere.

      As far as deadlines go, this is ‘elastic’ - but I’m hoping worth it.

      Jaime, you are a gentleman and I salute you.

  4. Again: great stories and pictures through the times...thank you, David.

  5. Maybe Jeff's hanging out in your Jaws build. Nice shot of the Scooter.

  6. This is another great set of photos... How fantastic would it be if they restored the Bf-109 ? It looks very intact and reminds me of a "certain" F6F Hellcat from the Princeton... 🙂

    The "Judas Goat" B-24 assembly ship is what really captivated me and lured me a moth to a flame. You're good !

    Add in the excellent link that Stephen tossed in the mix and now I'm hooked.

    Thanks for providing yet more inspiration for another build. I may have to fire up my "Willow Run" assembly line soon...I have a few B-24's in mind using the Monogram 1/48 kits.

    I have a set of decals for "A Dragon and it's Tail" using Bare Metal Foil,

    "Chief" from the 98th BG

    and now an assembly ship. I have some decals for "Tubarao" that I just might be able to use, and have been toying around with the idea for a long while now.

    But first some other projects have to clear the bench... I'm running out of room.

    Thanks David. 🙂


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