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 Post subject: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:56 pm 
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My father was shot down with his ARADO 234 during the starting phase when he took off from Lechfeld airstrip (near Augsburg) on April 22, 1945. He crashed with his plane into a nearby forest and was immediately taken to a military hospital in Hohenschwangau (near Füssen). In spite of his multiple injuries (basal skull fracture etc.) he survived and will celebrate his 91st birthday next month.
During the war he was the pilot of a JU 88/ JU 188 in a reconnaissance unit which was statioened in Riga. In late 1944 he was trained on the ARADO 234 near Magedeburg and then transferred to Southern Germany (Lechfeld).
Only shortly before this happened he had held the wake in honor of his Squadron Leader Hptm. Holert who had been killed in April (not in February as some commentaries in another thread have supposed).
Does anybody know something about this incident on April 22 ? Which planes were involved? British or American Spitfires or Mustang.


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:14 pm 
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Catire,

Many thanks for your post and welcome to the forum.

I had a look through Manfred Griehl's "Strahlflugzeug Arado 234 Blitz" which lists AR 234s by Werke Nummer and cannot see any reference to the incident there. There is also a section on 1(F)./100 but unfortunately it does not mention anything for 22 Apr 1945.... So not very helpful so far. (If you are interested please e-mail me and I can scan the relevant pages for you)

Also checked Michael Holm's page on Aufklgr. 100 but it fails to mention Lechfeld so I have to ask was 1(F)./100 operational from there at the time of your fathers crash or was it a transfer flight from there to elsewhere? According to most published sources relating to 1(F)./100 they had relocated to Saalbach by this time. Does your father still have his Flugbuch from the time - this may help with some info regarding the flight.

Here is something from a post by David E Brown over on the TOCH site from April 2008 - this relates to something on 25 Apr not 22 Apr and the geographical location may also be incorrect -
Quote:
Arado Ar 234 “T5+BH”, WNr.140611, 1./FAG 100
(Information Request on TOCH LDB, October 10, 2003)

One victory that has been well noted in the past is the Ar 234 shot down by a Mustang of the 454th FS / 479th FG piloted by Lt. Hilton O. Thompson. The action took place near Traunstein, Germany, on April 25, 1945 with the aircraft crashing near Berchtesgarden and the pilot managing to parachute out safely.

The event, summarized from the AAF Combat Report (27th April, 1945) was published in the excellent "Aircraft Profile #215" by Richard Batson. It was further detailed in another Profile on the "P-51 Mustang", and in Roger Freeman's "The Mighty Eighth". Surprisingly, this combat receives only the briefest of mention in Smith and Creek's Monogram Monoarch-1 book "Arado 234 'Blitz'" (p. 186).

About ten years ago (1993), Jim Crow sent me a photo that showed the partial remains of an Ar 234 in deep woods and was noted to have been taken at Berchtesgarden. Its visible Werknummer - 140611 - and Kennzeichen - T5 + we.BH - did not appear in the Monogram book, nor any other know references or Werknummer lists. The late (and much lamented) Luftwaffe historian and researcher Lorenz Rasse kindly provided me with a copy of Thompson's Combat Report, and with this information I was able to match the location of Thompson's observed hits with those seen on the wreck, thus indicating with high probability that this aircraft was indeed Thompson's victim.

However, while the pilot appears to safely parachuted out of his burning aircraft and probably survived, his identity remains a mystery. From what it known via the aircraft’s markings, it and the pilot were attached to 1./FAG 100 flying out of Hörsching, Austria.

At the time, I corresponded with former Ar 234 pilots Willi Kreissman and Hans Hirn for possible leads, but to no avail. I did receive a response to a query I posted in the Gemeinschaft der Jagdfleiger's magazine "Jägerblatt" from Fredric Müller-Romminger of Bad Reichenhall Germany, who was working on a history of the airwar in his part of the world: "Bomber über der Heimat - Ein Kreigstagebuch des Berchtesgardener Landes". Unfortunately, he too could shed no further light on the pilot's identity, though it is possible that with the passage of time he may have done so.

I would therefore appreciate any further thoughts anyone might have on the pilot's identity. Can anyone confirm if Fredric's book noted above was ever published? Anyone have an email for him? And further, does anyone know if Hilton O. Thompson is still alive? Any help is much appreciated.


From reading the Holert posts it appears that the supposition that he died in Feb 1945 was demolished by posts from Junker and Andy Fletcher. Any further information that you can add regarding Holert would be greatly appreciated by all concerned. In fact anything that your father could add relating to both 1(F)./100 and Ar 234 operations would be greatly appreciated.

I will continue looking and if I find anything more will make a further post.

Merry Christmas to you and your father.

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Andy Mitchell
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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:43 pm 
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With the greatest of respect, can you give further details regarding your father, name, rank etc, many thanks, Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:19 pm 
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My father's name is Josef Gibitz (born on 1/15/1920 in Piwana- Czechoslovakia) When he was shot down in April 1945 he had the rank of a lieutenant. After he had been saved from the plane which had crashed into the wood near the airfield of Lechfeld by a sanitary unit he was taken to a hospital in Hohenschwangau (near Fussen) because Augsburg was already under the control of the American forces. (By the way - in the 1950s we visited the site and we still could witness the scar in the forest where the Arado had crashed).


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:47 pm 
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I've just talked with my mother who tells the following story: When my father was in Hohenschwangau hospital he was unconscious for more than three weeks. When he woke up he was informed that Germany had surrendered and he was a prisoner of the American Army. In the next weeks there were many interrogations concerning his unit and the Arado 234 and the American officers tried to persuade him that he should join the American forces as a pilot and go to Japan after his recovery. But when the Pacific War ended in August he was released and returned to the farmer family in Königsbrunn near Augsburg/Lechfeld where he had lived in the last months of the war. There my mother met him again. Together they visited the site of the plane crash in the woods with some remains of the plane (big parts had already been removed)


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Just talked with father again. Some more details and corrections:
1.Before going to Lechfeld the unit was in Magdeburg where he was trained on the ARADO 234. On February 13th he flew over Dresden and saw the burning city. First nobody knew what had happened but a comrade who was listening to BBC secretly confirmed the bombing.
2.Captain Holert was shot down shortly before my father in April 1945 over Gabling (near Ingolstadt). At his funeral some days later at Königsbrunn (near Augsburg) some American reconnaissance planes flew overthe cemetry and my father thought that he would be the next dead pilot.
3. The incident with my father on April 22nd can also have been caused by a technical failure. When the plane crashed into the forest near the airstrip one turbine was burning. Long time he thought that it had been caused by an attack. But it is also possible that the turbine started burning for technical reasons (becoming too hot): Normally steel which came from Japan was used, but at that time there had been problems with the import.
4. After the incident (my father was unconcious for more than three weeks) he first was at a hospital in Augsburg. During the attack on Augsburg by the American forces on April 23th/24th he was transported to Hohenschwangau near Füssen where he stayed in two hotels which were used as hospitals (one was called "Liesl"). There he became a POW. One of the American officers who interrogated him was called Oppenheimer. They wanted to have a detailed report on the ARADO 234 from him. Later, before he was released, he was in a prisoner camp at Biessenhofen near Kempten.


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:03 am 
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It is very interesting to get all of this near primary information. A couple of years ago I carried out quite substantial research on the Ar 234. I did not find any events linked to the 22nd April, but my own (unpublished) findings for this unit during this period were;

Quote:
In March administrative functions of 1.(F)/100 moved to Saalbach in the Austrian Alps, where it remained until the end of the war. Official records state that on the 10th April the staffel had 6 Ar 234 aircraft. Most of these aircraft appear to have been operating from Hörsching in Upper Austria, south west of Linz. At Hörsching jet fuel was in stock for several weeks of operations. While nearly all other Ar 234 had gone northwards, including at least one of this unit’s aircraft, what remained of 1.(F)./100 in the south was to form a jet reconnaissance unit within Luftwaffen Division Nordalpen.

The unit suffered the usual losses. On the 18th April an Ar 234B was flying near Regensburg in Bavaria. The identity of the aircraft is unknown, but given the location it is most likely an aircraft of 1.(F)/100. Lt.Col. D.E. Shafer flying a Mustang of 503th Sqdn was escorting bombers when he spotted the jet and dived at it. The Ar 234 attempted to escape and swooped away, but then entered a sharp climb, allowing Shafer to open fire. The German pilot ejected his cockpit and then bailed out, his fait unknown. The remainder of the aircraft exploded. On the 20th April 1945 Sqdn.Ldr. Grey of 182 sq led eight Hawker Typhoons into an attack upon Nordholz air base in the North of Germany, where some aircraft were parked. One Ar 234 of 1.(F)/100 and a Ju 188 were destroyed and another Ju 188 badly damaged.

Another Ar 234 of 1(F)./100 W.Nr. 140611 coded T5+BH was lost on the 25th April, this time to aerial combat. US Mustangs, escorting a bombing raid came across the Ar 234 which had flown from Hörsching. The Arado was flying 2000 feet above the American formation. Near Traunstein the Mustangs spotted the reconnaissance machine. One Mustang of the 434th Fighter Squadron, 479th Fighter Group hit the target, disabling an engine and slowing the Ar 234. The drop in speed allowed another Mustang flown by Lt Hilton O. Thompson to go in for the kill. The German pilot lost control and the aircraft spiralled into the ground near Berchtesgarden. The pilot had managed to escape and parachute to the ground. His identity is unknown.

By the 26th April 1.(F)/100 only had two aircraft serviceable. On the 5th May forces of the US 65th Infrantry Division captured Hörsching. The operational aircraft had left by this time. It is likely that an Ar 234B found at München-Riem at the end of hostilities was T5+GH of 1.(F)/100. Certainly a number of the ground personnel escaped to Saalbach. There they surrendered to American forces on the 8th May.


This research was carried out some time before the much more detailed accounts brought together by Nick Beale at http://www.ghostbombers.com/recon/234/1F100_1.html which add much more details and accuracy to these events. Note that my own research had already ruled out Michael Holm's claim of Saalbach as being an operational base for 1.(F)/100. This was an Alpine location without the facilities to fly Ar 234s. It would seem then that Saalbach was used for administrative/command purposes.

It appeared that operations were from Hörsching. However Nick's information, supported by this 22nd April flight indicate that Lechfeld was the operational base, at least until the final days of the war. Josef Gibetz's remarks on Hauptmann Holert do though suggest that he was the pilot of one of two Ar 234s lost on the 18th April.

In Nick Beale's appendix concerning Holert's crash he records;
Quote:
An Ar 234 of 1.(F)/100 crashed on the 22nd and a pilot was reported hurt

No mention is made of Josef Gibetz by name, but this is presumably the event noted in the above posts.

Ian

Regards
8) Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:38 am 
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Hi Catire

I have taken the opportunity of sending a message to Nick Beale at TOCH to see if he can expand upon the 22nd April incident. I am sure that he will be very interested in the information on your father and on Hauptmann Holert. Does your father recall the date of Holert’s death? Also can you confirm that the Gabling indicated as the location was near Ingolstadt as you state. While I am sure that this place exists, I cannot find it on google map. However a Gablingen is located near Augsburg and would more easily fit the operations of 1.(H)/100.

regards
Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:49 pm 
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I have had a reply from Nick. There was little more to add on events of the 22nd April, but records from Ultra read;

CX/MSS/T529/16
KO 1258
Document dated 22/4:
Ops day report of 22/4 …
C) Recce:
… 1 Zinn ((Ar 234)), road recce Amberg – Bayreuth – Bamberg – Roth. No result, a/c (sing.) crashed.
… Total losses:
0 ((killed)) 4 ((missing)) 1 (( wounded))
1 ((total loss)) 4 ((missing)) 1 ((damaged))
NOTE: Source believes above was sent by 7 JD.

Not sure about the meaning of the '4 missing' since neither aircraft or crew were missing. According to the records, and hopefully supported by Josef, the mission was a recon of road movements from Lechfeld and then in a anti-clockwise patteren to Amberg – Bayreuth – Bamberg – Roth. I have attached a google map showing this intended mission and also a close-up of Lechfeld (marked A on the first map). Although there could have been removal of forest since the war, the crash-site could have been the wooded areas located as either Lechauwald bei Unterbergen or Stadtwald Augsburg.

Ian


Attachments:
Lechfeld.jpg
Lechfeld.jpg [ 110.28 KB | Viewed 7862 times ]
22-04-45 Mission.jpg
22-04-45 Mission.jpg [ 173.03 KB | Viewed 7865 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:05 pm 
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Hi Ian,
you are right. It's sometimes a bit difficult to communicate with my father (92 years old and almost deaf). Hauptmann Holert was shot down during climb over Gablingen near Augsburg. This must have happened between April 15th and April 20th.
Cheers from the Baltic Sea (Schwerin)

Ulrich


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Some more information:
My father Josef was supposed to fly via Heilbronn to Nuremberg and back on a reconn flight of the B14 road. on the 22nd. He was alone in the plane both as the pilot and reconn officer. The incident happened shortly after the start and the plane crashed into a small wood not very far away from the airfield which they called "Handtuchwald" (towel wood) because of its size.

In two weeks I'll visit him in Schwäbisch Hall and he wants to show me a paper where he had been declared dead by the Luftwaffenoberkommando who did not know of his whereabouts.

Cheers
Ulrich


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Thanks Ulrich

I have passed on the additional info to Nick Beale. I think that the information on Holert's crash might correspond to a loss recorded on the 18th April. The mission recorded by your father does of course differ from that recorded from Ultra....More later...hopefully!

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:32 am 
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I have just had clarification from Nick regarding the four missing aircraft/crews recorded on Ultra. These were probably four Bf 109 aircraft missing from reconnaissance sorties to the Dillingen area that day. So they do not relate to 1(F)./100.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:47 pm 
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catire wrote:
Some more information:
My father Josef was supposed to fly via Heilbronn to Nuremberg and back on a reconn flight of the B14 road. on the 22nd. He was alone in the plane both as the pilot and reconn officer. The incident happened shortly after the start and the plane crashed into a small wood not very far away from the airfield which they called "Handtuchwald" (towel wood) because of its size.

In two weeks I'll visit him in Schwäbisch Hall and he wants to show me a paper where he had been declared dead by the Luftwaffenoberkommando who did not know of his whereabouts.

Cheers
Ulrich



My father died last week on February 23rd in Schwäbisch Hall at the age of 92. R.I.P. Dad. Only two weeks before I had given him a small model of the Arado 234 which a friend had constructed.


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 Post subject: Re: Lechfeld ARADO 234 April 1945
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:04 pm 
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Ulrich,

Please accept my condolences, you father had a long and eventful life.

Blue skies Josef.

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