Profile Photo
david leigh-smith
283 articles

On This Day…March 23rd

March 23, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 12 · 2.1K

The whole nine yards...Bristol Beaufighter Mk VIF of No. 96 Squadron, RAF being re-armed at Honily, Warwickshire, 23 March 1943.

Vought F4U 1 Corsairs of VF-12 practising aerial maneuvers - 23rd Mar 1943. VF-12 lost seven pilots in the testing and transition period adjusting to the Corsairs, although four of those were in one ‘weather-related’ incident. Later in the year, VF-12 reverted to F6F 3’s due to lack of parts for the Corsairs.

Tom C. may well fill in some detail here later...

The ‘Gemini 3’ spacecraft being retrieved aboard USS Intrepid during recovery, in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Dominican Republic, 23rd March, 1965.

Gemini 3 was the first crewed mission in NASA's ‘Gemini’ program. Astronauts Gus Grissom (who stepped in for Alan Shepard after he developed an ear infection) and John Young flew three Earth orbits in the craft, which they nicknamed ‘Molly Brown’.

The clean up continues in the Vesuvius eruption. Here, ground crew sweep ashes off a B-25 of the 340th Bomb Group at Pompeii Field, Italy. Fire and brimstone - as if war wasn’t bad enough. On 23rd March 1944.

This B-17 was assigned to 416BS/99BG in Tortorella, here seen on a mission in southern Italy. She was lost to flak in a mission over Ruhland on 23rd March and crashed in Hoyerswerde, with all crew (Walter, Lea, Love, Ondercik, Macerollo, Biehl, Marcus, Burch, Hamilton, Willis) escaping to Russian lines; CP Korupp was taken Prisoner of War.

US armor near El Guettar, Tunisia, 23rd March, 1943.

Amazing iconic photo (and great diorama ‘bait’) of a ‘Dragon Wagon’ hauling off a captured Jagdtiger (No. 331 of 653rd Heavy Anti Tank Battalion). Germany, 23rd March, 1945.

Crashed TBF-1 aboard USS Charger (CVE-30, below) on 23rd March 1943.

Latest in the series, ‘servicemen with dogs’.

Willi Maximowitz was born on 29 January 1920 at Wuppertal-Barnen. At the end of 1943, he volunteered for Sturmstaffel 1, having had already achieved his first success when he shot down a USAAF B-24 four-engine bomber on 30 January 1944.

On 23 March 1944, he shot down his third four-engine bomber, a B-17, but his Focke-Wulf 190 A-6 (W.Nr. 551 099) “White 10” was hit by return fire from the bombers and a wounded (not for the first...or the last time) Maximowitz had to bale out near Wuppertal.

(Black 8", flown by Willi Maximowitz, IV./JG 3, 11.Staffel, Dreux, June 1944)

Following recovery from his wounds he returned to Sturmstaffel 1 and added another B-17, shot down over Helmstedt on 29 April 1944, to his tally. On 8 May 1944, Sturmstaffel 1 was integrated into JG 3. Maximowitz shot down a B-17 near Leipzig for his 10th victory on 20 July. On 28 July, JG 3 scrambled against USAAF four-engine bombers and Maximowitz was shot down (again) by the fighter escort and was slightly wounded (again). On 30 July, he was promoted to the rank of Feldwebel, but was wounded (again) in a landing accident in Fw 190 A-8/R2 (W.Nr. 680 756).

After recuperating from his injuries, he returned to his unit and in February, moved to the Russian Front. On 20 April 1945, Maximowitz failed to return from a combat mission having been shot down for the last time. He was probably killed in aerial combat with Russian fighters around Frankfurt am Oder. He confided in his friend and mentor, Feldwebel Oskar Bösch, before this mission that he had an MP 40 submachine-gun in his cockpit and he was saving the last round for himself if he got shot down. We’ll never know if he used it.

Willi Maximowitz was credited with 27 victories.

Three PBY-5A Catalinas of Patrol Squadron VP-73 flying over Reykjavík, Iceland, on 23rd March 1942.

Remarkable photo taken on 23rd March 1918. A German officer is posing on horseback in front of British. Mk IV tank ‘Jingle’ (from 10th Tank Battalion) which broke down en route to Sapignes.

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

12 responses

  1. Great lineup of photos today David.

  2. Thank you, Matt. I thought it was a little ‘aircraft heavy’ today but good photos nonetheless. Always glad to see you, Matt.

  3. Nice David, I look out for these every day.

  4. Glad in some small way to repay the debt of enjoyment your recent work has given me, Marc. It’s been a joy to follow your progress.

  5. Nice selection! I might not always comment , but I always check in.

  6. Appreciate the support, Robert.

  7. Corsairs, Avengers, Jadgtiger's Oh My ! OK enough Wizard of Oz for the Year... maybe even the entire decade. 🙂

    The picture of "Willi" with his pup is my favorite... but with this particular selection it's very hard to pick a favorite. They are all fantastic.

    Great story line as usual...

    One of my Dad's childhood friends was shot down and became a POW in a B-24 named "Chief". His name was Clark Ingram and he was an upper turret gunner / radio operator.

    Clark was assigned to the 345th Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group “The Pyramider’s” out of Benghazi, Libya in 1943. He flew in a plane named “Chief” and it was serial number 41-11774.

    These pictures are of the same plane taken before the day it was shot down. It suffered damage when the nose wheel collapsed on landing on a previous flight but was repaired to fly again.

    A lot of people don't realize this, and I didn't either until I started digging into this particular B-24 downing that occurred on Sept 3rd, 1943.

    JG 3 had a small detachment left at San Severo, Italy during 1943. They were tasked with intercepting Allied bomber formations, and I believe this is where they started working up the tactics used later on the Western Front against the American daylight Heavies.

    The detachment was IV / JG3 that remained behind in Italy during this time.

    Clark was shot down over Italy on Sept 3rd, 1943 by a pilot named Johannes Burda. Burda flew with 11/ JG3 and was flying a Bf-109G6 Trop, which was from the same unit I mentioned above.

    At this time, 11/JG 3 was flying from San Severo which is near the “heel” in the boot of Italy. Some sources state the combat occurred at 18,000 feet above Italy. There is also reportedly gun camera footage of Clark’s plane being downed from Burda’s 109 still in existence in a German Archive in Munich.

    Clark and his crew was Burda’s 7th confirmed victory. Most of Burda’s other victories were made on the Eastern Front. It would be Burda’s last victory. He died in a landing accident in Germany a year later, since the rest of JG 3 transferred to “Defense of the Reich” duties by this time.

    Burda died exactly a year and a month later to the day…on October 3rd, 1944.

    Only 6 of the 10 crew members survived the shoot down and managed to safely bail out after their plane started burning. Four perished. Clark was captured by the Italian Police and handed over to the Germans. He spent the rest of the War as a POW in Luft Stalag 6 and later Luft Stalag 4 until April 1945. He was part of the “Shoe Leather Express” where the Germans force marched the POW’s in freezing weather for 44 days.

    Clark and his fellow POW's were liberated on April 16th, 1945, by the 2nd British Army that was led by “Monty”…

    Clark weighed a meager 100 pounds at the time of his liberation…

    I have built up a BF-109 G6 Trop in similar markings of Burda. However the fuselage side number "White 5" is speculative, since I don't have the actual number of the plane flown that day by Burda. This one is otherwise marked as a plane from 11 JG 3. This Bf-109 version is often called a "gunboat" because of the underwing cannons.

    Eventually I plan on using one of my 1/48 scale Monogram B-24D's to build up a model of "Chief".

    The "Sturm" unit of IV JG3 that Willi Maximowitz led had it's beginnings in Italy.

    Thanks again for bringing up another fabulous "On This Day" for us.

    • Fascinating addition to the thread, Louis. These personal insights lend a different perspective on stories. The chief’ project would be a great basis for a WiP build and a great personal tribute. Would look fantastic parked alongside your Gustav.

      Thanks for your time and thoughtful contributions to the series, Louis, they are always thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.

  8. David, Good stuff as usual. I couldn't help but notice the sealant over the guns on the beaufighter and the actual size of the (I believe are 20mm) rounds being loaded up ! Good stuff for us model guys to take note of.

  9. Terry, the beaufighter pic is a great reference for modelers - and yes, those 20 mil shells are literally a bit of a handful.

    Thanks for dropping in.

  10. All 88 B-25Ds of the 340th BG were rendered useless by Vesuvius. Losses were made good by mid April with a complete re-equipment with nice shiny new silver B-25Js. Of course, these made wonderful targets in the firelight when Joachim Helbig led Lehrgeschwader I and KG 30 on the night of May 12-13, 1944 to bomb Alesani airfield on Corsica, nearly wiping out the 340th (they had six flyable airplanes by Monday May 14) a third time.

  11. Thanks, as usual, Tom. Great, really great, to have your input.

Leave a Reply