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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…April 2nd.

April 2, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 7 ≡

Iconic photo of Kittyhawk Mark I with the RAF 112 Squadron, taxiing through the treacherously uneven scrub of the Libyan desert on 2nd of April, 1942. The groundcrew on the wing is helping guide the pilot around potential unseen obstacles (due to the high view is obscured by the high nose).

On 2 April 1943, when escorting Convoy OS 45, from Liverpool to Freetown, HMS Black Swan (L-57), above, and the Flower-class corvette HMS Stonecrop (K142), below, sank the top-scoring U-boat U-124 off the coast of Portugal.

Over eleven war patrols, U-124 (Edelweissboot) was a terrible and efficient enemy, sinking 46 allied ships and damaging several more.

In this photo, the original Edelweiss emblem on the conning tower is visible, as well as the frog painting that was added when new captain, Johann Mohr when he assumed command of her in September of 1941.

An F4U-1 Corsair with its gear, flaps, and arresting hook all down, preparing to land aboard the training ‘paddle’ carrier USS Wolverine on Lake Michigan, United States, 2nd April 1943.
F4U Corsairs and TBM Avengers of Air Group 6 aboard USS Hancock (CV-19) off Okinawa, Japan, April 2nd,1945.

Submarines Blenny, SS-324, (background) and Cochino, (SS-345) under construction at the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, United States, early Apr 1944.

Sherman tanks supporting the 45th infantry Division in the ruins of Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Germany, on 2nd of April, 1945.

On the 2nd April, 1945, ‘Filthy Fay II’, a US B-29 bomber, crashed into a mountain in Ome, a city near Yokota Air Air Bassein Japan.

In the late 1990s, farmer Tetsuya Nomura bought the land where the Superfortress crashed in order to, “ease the spirits of those killed” and felt that it was morally wrong that the servicemen had no memorial to recognise their sacrifice.

Each year on April 2, Nomura has held a small Buddhist ceremony to mark the tragedy, including a ceremonial pouring of American bourbon into the ground where Filthy Fay II went down. Ome’s mayor will speak and officials will read a message from the family of a crewmember who died.

The 11-member crew of the B-29 left Saipan on April 2, 1945 as part of a bombing mission (498th Bombardment Group, 73rd Bomb Wing) on the Nakajima airplane factory in Tokyo.

After the raid, the bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the mountain near Yoshino Village in Nishitama District. The site was later renamed Yugimachi, Ome City.

Five of the crew were killed outright, while six others who parachuted to the ground were taken as POWs. Two died in Japanese camps and four were liberated and returned to the United States.

German Jagdpanzer IV of the 116th Panzer Division in Brambauer, Germany, 1945.

Typhoons from RCAF preparing for takeoff in the Netherlands, April 2nd, 1945.

And, below, in flight...

April 2nd, 1942. The remains of a Gloster Sea Gladiator, previously of the ‘Malta Fighter Flight’ and No. 261 Squadron, RAF, lies in ruins by the side of the airfield at Ta Kali, Malta. The Hawker Hurricane Mark I (W9133) belongs to No. 261 Squadron.

A GI of the US Second Armoured Division loads up with souvenirs in Lower Saxony, Germany, early April, 1945.

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  1. I was stationed in Aschaffenburg in ‘78-81. There were pictures in the castle that showed the was town basically leveled during the war.
    The story, probably apocryphal, was that a deligation was sent into the town under a flag of truce to ask for it’s surrender and they were killed and their body’s dumped in sight of the American lines. Patton’s ( it’s always Patton) reply was to have his artillery fire at point blank range until the rounds would pass completely thru the city without hitting anything. And of course he hung any one left that had anything to do with killing the truce party.

    I doubt the truth of the story but A-burg truly was shot to pieces in ‘45.

  2. When I was in Germany in 1983, I remember seeing a few bombed out buildings that were left "as is" ... Definitely a sobering sight, when you consider that this was the norm during the later stages of the War.

    Thanks for bringing us these stories on a daily basis. I've said it before, I don't always comment, but you can rest assured that I stop by to look every day.

    Thank you David !

  3. interesting info on that B-29 crew.

    • Hi Robert @roofrat - I really like these stories where locals have taken on a labor of duty to tend to ‘fallen’ ground. It’s respectful and dignified; I like to think it repairs a tiny part of the damage done by war.

  4. I found a Command & Staff college thesis on the Battle of Aschaffenburg. Lasted 10 days in March & April of ‘45.

    So back to the “legend”

    No truce party sent so no one murdered.

    Patton’s only involvement was to order Task Force Baum to break out of A-Burg to go to Hammelburg to rescue the POW’s held there. In reality it was to rescue Patton’s son in law who was captured in North Africa during the early fighting leading to the Battle of Kasserine Pass.

    The fate of Task Force Baum should have gotten Patton busted & sent home, but it got covered up. Tom may develop that topic.

    The massed artillery fire. True, after 2 days of slogging, the CG of the 45th Infantry Division was provided with 90 guns, not counting tanks, etc, and the attack continued using massed fires to destroy “strongpoints”, Infantry still had to clear but encountered much less resistance and greatly reduced casualties.

    Only hanging done was by the Germans, couple of unfortunate individuals executed to, as the French say, “to encourage the others”.

    Much of the heaviest fighting was in my old stomping grounds in the training area and around the Kaserns on the east end of town. By 1978 there was no visible damage. I had been in country about 3 weeks and we deployed to Hammelburg for my first and almost last FTX. It was Urban com)bat training in a hamlet that was still much as it was in ‘45. I rounded a corner inside a building and fell through a open hatch cut in the floor. If the toe of my boot hadn’t hooked on the edge I would have fallen about 15 feet onto a concrete floor. Instead my chest hit the far side of the hatch and I hung on till my troopee’s stopped laughing at their newb

    platoon leader and pulled me out. On such things unit esprit is made lol.

  5. Fantastic work, Rick. Thanks for drilling into the story and coming out with the facts, makes for a great thread when people pick up on a story and share their research.

    I could give you 15 stories like yours where I come out as the ‘fall’ guy or at the butt end of a story that took a long time to see the funny side of...

    Thanks for sharing this, Rick. Hope all’s well with you, and ‘speak’ soon.

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