Wednesday, January 30, 2008

B26 Marauder vs ME 262




B26 SHOOTS DOWN ME262 JET: 1st Lt. T.V.HARWOOD'S Mission 44,official 323rd Bomb Group, 456th Bomb Squad combat mission/ target number # 376
was flown on the afternoon of 4-20-45 and lasted 4:20 hours, the second mission of the day for
Harwoods crew. 35 ships of the 323rd went up at 11,000 feet. Harwood’s plane, Martin B26 Marauder;
42-96090 WT-M (Bltitz Wagon), dropped 2 2000lbs bombs on the railroad yard at Memmingen,
Germany. Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (P) 2nd/1st Lt., Eugene T. Muszynski (CP) 2nd/1st Lt.,
Anthony B. Caezza (NB) S/SGT., James N. Night (?) T/Sgt., George W. Boyd (RG) S/Sgt.,
Raymond Deboer (TG) S/Sgt. Base of operations; Denain/Prouvy, France. It was April 20th,
1945, in the afternoon. Thirty-five B-26 Marauders flew out toward Nordlingen, Germany to
drop their bomb load from 10,000 feet in the sky to the railroad yard below. This was our next to
the last mission of the war and like any mission, it could have been our last. From the skies below
came a vision of death, the foremost of the German Luftwaffe Jet, rocket aircraft, the ME-262
armed with a 50 mm cannon. It was only seconds before the ME-262 was upon us. I could see the
50 mm cannon of the ME-262 cut loose. It was very close. The whole ordeal was like watching it
happen right in front of you in the fast lane of the freeway. The 50 mm cannon bursts hit the
number two plane, right wing man, and sheered the nacelle door off. I could see it as clear as day.
We had no fighter escort on most missions and on this mission we were alone so we had to take
care of the problem ourselves. The entire squadron opened up with everything we had. Quite
possible it was out turret gunner, but someone found the target and the ME-262 went down. One
of the first jets ever shot down in combat. That same ME-262 craft is now on display at the Air
Force museum in Dayton, Ohio. This occurrence was accidentally misquoted by Major General
John 0. Moench. He had documented the ME-262 attack on 4-25-45, which would have been the
B-26 bombing raid on the German airfield at Erding. The mission that had the ME-262 attack was
on 4/20/45 on the B-26 Nordlingen railroad yard bombing raid. This element is listed in the
official mission folder. The account documented by Major General Moench is as follows:
"Flying the left wing on the Box I, number four flight leader, Ist Lt. Theodore V.
Harwood s postwar account of the ME-262 attack included an observation of fire from the
attackers against the lead flight and the sudden loss of a nacelle door from Capt. Trostle's right
wingman. "Our top turret was chattering like mad and the air in front of us was filled with 50
caliber casings." This element of the attack was not noted in the mission folder." It appears the
date here or in Meonch’s book may be off - 4-25-45 ---The 262 may have hit on both days! he
was on both missions.
MEONCH RECORDING OF HARWOOD: “Ah the second question you have ah on the
last mission April 25, 1945 to Arding, Germany of the 262s ah I was in ship 040 in the low flight
ah, as I recall, according to your diagram everything was in the rear of the flight, however aha as I
recall, I saw the Me262 come up from our right - position itself below us and shoot at the lead
flight, as I recall, according to your diagram here number 969 which was on the right of 131 the
lead ship, I don’t recall any other ship numbers except our own, ah however I could see the 37
MM. puffs of ah smoke from his cannon as he fired, and as I recall the right nacelle door flew off
number 969 in your position ah, that was about all there was to that mission as I could see. Our
top turret gunner was firing which that was the first mission in my 45 mission that the gunners
ever fired a shot and that was sort of startling because I didn’t know they were going to fire made
considerable rattle, the whole sky in front of me was filled with 50 Caliber empties coming out of
ah, I guess the lead flight there but I don’t know how they got back there because according to
your diagram, this ME 262 was ah unless I got this thing reversed, but I wasn’t in the lead flight,
but this trail you got here shows everything in the rear of the flight, but defiantly we saw the 262
and I saw it fire and saw the smoke from the, when the cannon went off you could see a little puff
black smoke every time it fired. Ah, our top turret gunner engineer was considerably ah -hepped
up he thought he hit the thing (laughs) I don’t know there was so much brass in the air, that was
by big problem worrying about the brass coming though the canopy or through the ah
bombardier’s nose compartment.”

6 comments:

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
THE RESEARCH JOURNAL said...

Rob you may be correct, I am nota military historian and my dad had passed away many years before I started collecting this info, I have talked with many experts and know it is in the official records. I am not 100% sure of the exact detail. I was in the army as a tanker and I do have a black belt if you want to go toe to toe I will step up.

THE RESEARCH JOURNAL said...

This entire mission is in Meonch's book "Marauder Men"

THE RESEARCH JOURNAL said...

if anyone can correct me in my details, or provide more information, please e-mail me at: figflint@yahoo.com

Ray

THE RESEARCH JOURNAL said...

Midland Publishing, Rob Baumgartner,
it seems, my have some issues with my some of my tech. details but I have no way to contact him to make the changes.

Rick Liesmann said...

I'll check with my dad, who was shot down over Germany by an ME-262 on April 20, 1945, if he remembers any details. He, and most of his crew, were behind enemy lines for 3days. When he returned to the 323rd on April 27th they were in a "stand down" situation.