On This Day…March 23rd
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.