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43-6946

P-51 Mustang

Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One time personal aircraft of Lt Ralph 'Kidd' Hofer. The Kidd was almost interned due to this aircraft and a mechanical failure which righted itself just in time. A/C struck a high-tension wire and caught fire on a strafing mission to Stendal. Unable to exit A/C pilot Lt Allen F Bunte landed the ship in a lake, extinguishing the flames. Dazed by the impact, he sank with the P-51, eventually escaping from the cockpit and waded to shore. POW. MACR 3609.

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Group
    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...

People

  • Ralph Hofer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine
    Ralph Kidd Hofer was born Ralph Kidd Halbrook on a farm near Salem, Missouri, in 1921. Upon his father's death, when Ralph was only four, his mother remarried and his name was changed to Ralph Kidd Hofer. Eventually the name "Kidd" stuck with him...

Places

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...

Events

Event Location Date
Interned almost Lake Constance 18 March 1944

Whilst on a target withdrawal support mission, A/C suffered from a runaway-propeller which caused extremely high r.p.m.’s in the engine. Lt Ralph Hofer set course for neutral Switzerland at 6000ft. After passing Lake Constance and crossing into Swiss territory, Hofer started to climb up to bail out. After jettisoning the canopy and standing up on the pilot’s seat, the propeller suddenly came back to normal control. Hofer stepped back into the cockpit, began calculating the remaining fuel and decided that he possibly could make it back to England. Lucky Ralph Hofer landed at Manston airfield with only 6 gallons fuel left in his tanks. Throughout the whole journey back home he had to endure an uncomfortable ride due to the lack of his canopy and icy winds whipping around the cockpit.

Crashed 39576 Stendal, Germany 5 April 1944 – 5 April 1944

A/C struck a high-tension wire and caught fire on a strafing mission to Stendal. Unable to exit A/C pilot Lt Allen F Bunte landed the ship in a lake, extinguishing the flames. Dazed by the impact, he sank with the P-51, eventually escaping from the cockpit and waded to shore. POW. MACR 3609.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
30 March 2016 19:52:55 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, markings, description, events, unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbmsn.asp?SN=43-6946
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/search
http://www.swissmustangs.ch/4655/4736.htmlphp?searchString=43-6946

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:41 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 3609 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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