Interpretive Comments (excerpted from a 13 October 2007 e-mail from Mike Dingu):
The mission in the above photo is number 187 to Kraiburg on April 11, 1945 (munitions factory in Eastern Gemany).
What you see in the photo are the 3 lead planes of the high squadron and the first five planes of the lead squadron below and slightly to the left. The two planes in the center of the shot are N7-M (lead) and 3O-U (deputy lead).
On mission Number 188 (Friday, 13 April 1945), just two days later, both of these aircraft and several others went down in the RDX detonation incident written about by Allen Ostrom and others. This is likely the last photo of these two aircraft. The pilot of 3O-U in the photos above is Samuel Palant. Palant was flying 3O-X on the fatal Friday the 13th mission which was the aircraft that dropped the RDX that detonated. The command pilot for the high lead in the photos above was Tom Marchbanks. He was also command pilot in the same aircraft (N7-M) on mission 188 but with a different crew. N7-M was eventually repaired but was flown directly to the States and never made it back to the 398th. 3O-U was flown by Martinek on mission 188 and was destroyed in the crash and fire that killed 2nd Lt. Ted Klein and T/Sgt. Floyd Aaron after a wounded Emil Martinek bailed out.
- 11 April 1945 Mission to Kraiburg for additional details about this mission as they become available.
- 13 April 1945 Mission to Neumunster for details about RDX mission
- Photo Source: The Randy Stange Photo Collection
- Photo Reference: Photo 67
- Photographer: Unknown
- Information compiled by the 398th Web team with special thanks to Michael Dingus and Randy Stange.
- If you would like to add information about this photograph, please contact our Aircraft Photo Coordinator. Please include the title.