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Oesau's last flight


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Does anyone have any info on the paint schemes and letter markings of the P-38 piloys who engaged Oesau?

From Wikipedia:

Oesau was chased by 1st Lt. James Leslie Doyle, 1st Lt. Wilbur L. Jarvis III and 1st Lt. James C. Austin, of the 428th Fighter Squadron (474th FG, 9th AF).

The guncam footage widely shown was apparently from "Pappy" Doyle's plane. Ideally, I'd like paint / markings for his aircraft.

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@Vonrd - you can find the squadrons codes and markings here:


For the 428th FS, 474th FB, you're looking at:

  • A black square on tail (sometimes white square with a darker paint scheme)
  • Red on the engine cowling and/or nose
  • A squadron letter code of F5

I looked for information on the three pilots, but can't seem to find their aircraft markings.

I'll keep looking.

However, here are three examples of 428th FS aicraft (just not the one's you're looking for).  Click the links for more information on the aircraft:











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@Vonrd, I found a better version of the third photograph here: https://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=9915


According to an anonymous correction, this 428th FS aircraft is from Advanced Landing Ground A-78 (now Florennes Air Base) in Florennes, Belgium.  It's from the Winter of 1944/1945.

Since Oesau died on 11 May 1944, we have to assume that markings shown above are not accurate to a Spring 1944 dogfight.

I did, however, find this photograph:



This photograph is P-38J Lightnings of the 428th Fighter Squadron.  The location is unknown, but probably Warmwell in Dorset.

Since the aircraft don't have D-Day invasion stripes, it's probably a May 1944 shot.  Which matches up with the May death of Oesau.

  • F5-X is P-38J-15-LO, s/n 43-28280, nicknamed "Dirty Nellie". Personal a/c of 428th Squadron CO Captain Ernest Nuckols. This a/c lost to flak 27 December 1944 near Montleban, Belgium. The pilot, 2Lt. Carl W. Coale, was KIA (MACR 11468).
  • F5-U is P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-67458. Aircraft written off in a landing accident 21 October 1944 at airfield A-78 Florennes, Belgium. The pilot, 2Lt. John P. Gawler, was OK.
  • F5-G is P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-67820. Aircraft was shot down 13 October 1944 by Hauptman Adolf "Addi" Glunz, Kapitan of the 6th Staffel of JG26 near Much-Birrenbachshöhe, Germany. The pilot, 2Lt. Richard R. Holt, was KIA (MACR 9542).
  • F5-L is P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-67653. Aircraft shot down by flak 27 December 1944 near Joubieval, Belgium. The pilot, 2Lt. Lewis R. Blakeney, was taken POW (MACR 11469).

Based on this, I think that there is a good chance the aircraft of Doyle, Jarvis, and Austin were green with white markings.

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