Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5 flown by Major Josef priller, Stab./JG 26, Lille-Vendevile/France, May 16, 1943.

On this day, the 16th of May 1943, three P-47 groups flew two sweeps of the Dutch and Belgian coasts, trying to draw the Luftwaffe into a fight.

Major Josef Priller led the Stabs and the III./JG 26 east, while the II./JG 26 patrolled the French coast. At the same time elements of JG 1 with their Kommodore Major Hans Philip scramble from Woensdrecht but was bounced climbing by P-47s from the 78th FG. Hitting the Fw 190s below and shooting down the Kommaneur of the II./JG 1, Hauptmann Dietrich Wickop who was KIA. As this action was unfolded Priller arrived at the scen, and Priller quickly got on the tail and fired at one of the attacking P-47 Thunderbolts, one P-47 was later to be seen to crash into the Scheldt Eustary, the pilot F/O Charles R Brown was taken POW. In all three German pilots were shoot down by the three Fighter Groups, losing just one of their with another limping back to base with a injured pilot.

My reflection is that the USAAF pilots made a perfect bounce this day, especially when one consider the fact that they had run into some of the best Luftwaffe pilots in this engagement. Its also interesting to note that Prillers claim this day, his 88th was later refuted by the RLM.

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Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5, Josef priller, May 16, 1943

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