12-04-09

1 December 1943 - The Damn Yankee Story Continued - Who shot down who ?

About 4 years ago it became certain who got the victory claim for the B17-F Damn Yankee.  Although some sources mention it may have been Major Herbert Huppertz of Jagdgeschwader 2 who claimed a B17 at 13.15 hours, it is now clear that the claim made by Oblt. Artur Beese at 13.30 - 30 km from Ostend, is the correct one, and the nearest claim on a B17.

Beese was born on the 11th March of 1916 at Hörselgau and joined the Luftwaffe in October or November 1939.  While serving with 9/Jagdgeschwader 26 he was shot down on the 1st of June 1940 by a French Morane 406 and taken POW.  When the French surrendered he was liberated and participated in the Battle of England.  On the 24th August he was shot down again over the Channel by the RAF, but rescued by the German Navy.


beese_a

His first victory followed on 24 July 1941, a Spitfire.  At the end of February 1943 his unit moved to the Eastern Front, and in June 1943 he was promoted to Staffelkapitän in 1/JG26 and two months later the unit was back in the West.  His 16th and 17th victories were B17 bombers, shot down on 17 August 1943. 8 September he was shot down again by the RAF and had to bail out of this Fock Wulf 190 A-5, he was only slightly injured.

On the 6th of February 1944 his luck ran out.  He was shot down again by P47’s of the USAAF in the sector of Melun, France and he had to bail out again.  However he strook the tail of the plane while doing so, instantly killing him.  Till that moment he was the last surviving pilot of the unit who served in it from the first days of the war.

Beese had 22 victories and 285 missions.

Recently, the research of Michel Duparet in France is pointing in the direction of a 23rd victory on the day he died, just moments before his crash, on a B17 over Fontainebleau Wood.  He was probably shot down by US ace Ralph ‘Kid’ Hofer, although there are two other possibilities as well.

hofer_duke

Hofer's decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) with six oak leaf clusters and 3 Air Medals, he failed to return on the 2nd of July 1944 from a mission on Budapest, Hungary, but curiously, his plane and body were recovered at Mostar, Yougoslavia.

He had 30 confirmed victories.

Another point which remained a mystery was the fact that there had been told several times, by people who had seen crew members very briefly after their capture at Snellegem, or Bruce Sundlun after the war, that the Damn Yankee had set up a hell of a fight before her crash, and that at least one enemy plane had been shot down.  This was also confirmed in the notes of Lt. Boles.

Although it is not clear to us when the B17-F Damn Yankee (shortly after leaving the formation) was attacked, we found one possibility in a Bf 109G, Black 8 marking, with Feldwebel Würtz, Wilhelm, nicknamed Willi, who was with 12/JG26 who got wounded in action and who crashed his plane at Werneau, between Vise and Warnage.  Würtz had no aerial victories, and we didn’t find a trace of him afterwards in the unit, so he probably was wounded badly or no longer fit for flying.

We would like to thank ‘Pips’ and Donald L Caldwell for their additional information on victories and losses in JG26 on 1 December 1943.

18:22 Gepost door Jabbeke Remembers in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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