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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…May 7th.

May 7, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 4 Comments

Republic P-47D-11-RE Thunderbolt coded T9+LK, a captured US fighter. This aircraft was flown by Zirkus Rosarius (special test pilot of the Luftwaffe, specifically of the Luftwaffe High Command, tasked with testing captured British and American aircraft which were repainted in German markings) until it was re-captured by US forces at Göttingen, Germany in May 1945.

On May 7th at 07:20 in the Coral Sea, the Japanese thought they had identified the US aircraft carriers, which were actually the oiler Neosho and the Destroyer Sims. The Japanese launched 78 aircraft to attack the ‘carriers’ and en route, Admiral Inoue received a communication regarding the true location of the American carriers but continued the attack on the Neosho and Sims. At the same time, Commander Fletcher’s force had located the Japanese invasion fleet, including the light carrier Shoho, and sent off his air groups.

The Japanese sank the USS Sims and heavily damaged (later to sink) the Neosho. Below is the last known picture taken of the U.S.S. Neosho taken from a Japanese plane about 1 p.m. on May 7, 1942, after Japanese torpedo planes and dive bombers attacked both ships.

The Americans countered by sinking the Shoho, which they had actually found by accident while following up an erroneous lead (fouled communications were a key learning point from the Coral Sea experiences).

The Japanese air groups were ambushed on the way to attacking the US Carriers and Admiral Inoue ordered a strategic retreat. The analogy with a deadly game of chess with huge stakes continued, each side losing lower order pieces, trying but failing to find a tactical and strategic advantage. The next dat would not only change that, but the future of sea warfare.

A beautiful rendering of a ‘skin’ for White 7 (‘Rusty’) flown by Lt. JB Paris. The image is from ‘Special Aircraft Service’ and depicts Rusty (49th Fighter Group 7th Fighter Squadron) over New Guinea, ‘May 1944’.

On the afternoon of May 7, 1915, the British ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed without warning by a German submarine off the southern coast of Ireland. Within 20 minutes, the vessel sank into the Celtic Sea and of the 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 people were drowned, including 128 Americans, setting off a long chain of actions that eventually led to the USA’s entry to World War I.

Japanese pilot Nishizawa flying his A6M3a Model 22 Zero fighter over the Solomon Islands, 7 May 1943.

A real treat. 354 Fighter Squadron in Germany May 7th 1945... · on youtube

Halifax LW615 on 7th May 1944 after it crash-landed at East Moor (England) at 16.00hrs when the 432 Squadron crew were flying a familiarization flight.

Deutsches Afrika Korps prisoners on a Luftwaffe Sd. Kfz.7 Krause Maffei Half Track after surrendering to the British 7th Armoured Division in Tunis, May 1943.

7th May 1942 - Lockheed Hudson of No.2 Squadron RAAF, crashed after take off.

64 squadron Spitfire Mk Vb, being refuelled and given a servicing by ground crew, the photograph was taken on the 7th May 1942.

On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Reims, France, to take effect the following day, ending the European conflict of World War II.

Spitfire Mk Is of No. 19 Squadron at RAF Duxford, England, May 1939.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

4 responses

  1. the P-47 haunts me in that livery...the DAK half track is stunning...wasn't Coral Sea a screwed up mess

  2. Whether a photo or a painting, that shot of the faded blue, multi-tier formation Dauntlessness is absolutely stunning, David. Where'd you find that gem?

  3. What a remarkable P-51 Mustang video ! I watched it... twice. These are some remarkable photos. The photos of the early Mk 1 Spitfire and the SBD's in formation look a little familiar. Overall this "On this Day" episode is a perfect blend... It has a little of everything.

    Thanks David,
    Again you have made my day. 🙂

  4. Great article David, thank you for sharing!

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