On This Day…10th April.
On 10 April 1945, the USAAF Eighth Air Force targeted airfields, transportation hubs, and various military infrastructures at Oranienburg, Rechlin, Neuruppin, Stendal, Brandenburg-Briest, Zerbst, Burg, Parchim and Wittenberge, Germany.
In total, a mass of 1,232 B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers, escorted by a quite unbelievable 900 fighters, were committed to the raids that day.
Walter Schuck, a hugely experienced pilot, led seven Me 262s from No. 3 Staffel and in the space of eight minutes claimed four B-17s shot down in the vicinity of Oranienburg.
This took his total of ‘kills’ to 206 aerial victories. One of the bombers was “Henn’s Revenge” (above) of the 303rd Bombardment Group, and another was “Moonlight Mission” (below, flying over the Alps) of the 457th Bombardment Group.
Shortly afterwards, his Me 262 was hit by a P-51 of the fighter escort (‘Josephine’, below) piloted by Lt. Joseph Anthony Peterburs of the 55th Fighter Squadron (20th Fighter Group).
Schuck had to bail out, spraining both ankles upon landing; the war ended before he recovered.
As so often happened between the elite of the fliers, both Petersburs and Schuck went on to create a lasting friendship, albeit after they met in 2005, 60 years after the war.
Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats of VF-3 in flight off Oahu on 10 April 1942.
USS Copahee (CVE-12) in port in the United States with Dauntless dive bombers on her flight deck, 10 Apr 1944.
BF2C-1 Goshawk fighter (right) at a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics hangar, United States, 10 Apr 1936.
Latest diorama bait…Wildcat of VF-6 testing out machine guns aboard USS Enterprise on her way to rendezvous with Hornet for the Doolittle raids, 10th of April, 1942.
April 10th, 1945 saw the death at age 23 of Oberleutnant Leopold Wenger, Jr (by coincidence it was also the day of his father’s birthday) after over 400 combat missions in the defense of the Reich.
At the time of his death, Poldi was Squadron Commander of Schlachtgeschwader 10/Jagd 2 stationed at Markersdorf airfield near St. Pölten, close to Vienna. At this point in the war, Markersdorf was one of the few safe airfields left for the Luftwaffe. He was shot down in a protracted dogfight with soviet fighters over Vienna, Austria.
Poldi Wenger’s “beautiful” plane after being destroyed in an air attack and fire while parked in Marsa del Oro, Sicily on July 7, 1943…
10th April 1959: Northrop test pilot Lewis A. Nelson made the first takeoff of the prototype YT-38-5-NO ‘Talon’ serial number 58-1191, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.