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Dean Elwood Lange

Military

Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Whilst on mission to provide top cover for 335FS, section were bounced by Bf109's. A/C P-51 42-103791 received multiple hits and caught fire, forcing pilot to bail out. Pilot 2nd Lt Dean Lange wounded in left arm by cannon fire, captured shortly after landing in Beavais, France. A/C crashed just north of Therdonne, France. POW. 18-Mar-44. MACR 7944.

Awards: AM (2OLC), PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

"On my last mission, I was wing-man to a captain, each of us carrying two 500-pound bombs, looking for “targets of opportunity” near Beauvais, France. We were flying nearly parallel and expected to observe the rear of each other, which we could not see for ourselves. Suddenly I saw bombs on the lead aircraft drop and then heard on my radio, “BREAK!” Which meant to turn quickly to avoid attack. Before I could react from this warning, 20mm cannon shells exploded in my cockpit, one shell shattering as it hit my left arm. It was immediately obvious that neither me nor my aircraft could fly any longer and I had to eject.
With my right hand, I pulled the aircraft into a right turn, trying to evade the pursuing Focke-Wulf 190. The 20mm shells were exploding on the wings of my aircraft and I feared the bombs under my wings might explode. I knew I must eject quickly, but since my left hand and arm were useless, I just jettisoned the canopy, released both the seat and shoulder harness, removed my helmet and oxygen mask all while holding the aircraft in a turn with the control stick between my knees. The “G”-forces from the steep turn made it extremely difficult to scramble out of the cockpit, but I managed somehow and found myself free of the aircraft, falling. Nearby were two Frenchmen who had been loading hay on a rack. They came to my aid and used my silk scarf to bandage my arm and stem the bleeding somewhat. Then two German Wehrmacht soldiers appeared and, waving away the Frenchmen, took me into custody." - Dean Lange detailing his final mission.

Service

Units served with

  • 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...

Aircraft

  • 42-103791

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Whilst on mission to provide top cover for 335FS, section were bounced by Bf109's. A/C received multiple hits and caught fire, forcing pilot to bail out. Pilot 2nd Lt Dean Lange wounded in left arm by cannon fire,...

  • 44-13884

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Lost, Mech failure 6-Feb-45 crashed into North Sea - F/O William D Bates baled out KIA.

Associated Place

  • 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...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location

  • Dulag Luft 12

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Fairmount, ND 31 October 1923

Son of Rufus and Opal E Lange.

Lived in St Paul, MN, USA 1940
Enlisted Minneapolis, MN 7 August 1942

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Assigned Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 15 June 1944 – 18 August 1944

Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

Landing accident RAF Debden 6 August 1944

Landing accident Debden/Sta 356 Cat 3 damage, pilot Lt Dean E Lange, 6-Aug-44.

Shot Down / WIA Beauvais, France 18 August 1944

Whilst on mission to provide top cover for 335FS, section were bounced by Bf109's. A/C P-51 42-103791 received multiple hits and caught fire, forcing pilot to bail out. Pilot 2nd Lt Dean Lange wounded in left arm by cannon fire, captured shortly after landing in Beavais, France. A/C crashed just north of Therdonne, France. POW. 18-Aug-44. MACR 7944.

Prisoner Of War (POW) Barth, Germany 18 August 1944 – 30 May 1945

Prisoner Of War (POW). Stalag Luft I.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2021 15:20:21 Al_Skiff Changes to events and aircraft associations
Sources

http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/uploads/8/2/0/3/8203817/334_la...

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2021 14:16:41 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/670166640
https://www.fold3.com/record/84642978/dean-e-lange-wwii-army-enlistment-...
http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/uploads/8/2/0/3/8203817/334_la...

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2017 14:20:43 general ira snapsorter Changes to place associations
Sources

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Date Contributor Update
01 April 2016 11:45:57 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, biography, awards, events and unit associations
Sources

http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbmacr.asp?MACR=7944&Submit=Go
https://www.fold3.com/image/28665477
http://wwii-pows.mooseroots.com/l/61587/Dean-E-Lange
http://www.wahpetondailynews.com/news/prisoner-of-war/article_ca700bd8-6...

Date Contributor Update
30 March 2015 18:49:00 apollo11 Changes to role, events and place associations
Sources

Personal research & 'The Debden Eagles' by Garry L. Fry.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:07:11 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 7944 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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