North American P-51D Mustang Flown by Major Leonard "Kit" Carson, 352nd Fighter Squadron, 357th FG, Leiston/England, December 24, 1944

On this Chrstmas eve the Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 300 Oblt Klaus Bretschneider was shot down an killed in a dogfight with P-51 Mustangs from 375th FG in the Hausen/Oberaula area. In all the 357th FG claimed to have shot down 28 enemy fighters for the loss of two of their own. In fact the JG 300 losses match perfectly the USAAF pilots claims this day with 28 Bf 109 and Fw 190 lost in action, and with 11 pilots KIA.

In late December during the Geman Ardennes offensive, JG 300 was one of the few units remaining on Reich defence duties, with most other fighter units sent to support attacking ground forces. The Geschwader took heavy losses in late 1944, particularly on 17 December when 100 aircraft of JG 300 intercepted USAAF bombers, claiming 33 shot down but losing 43 of their own number.

What pilot who shot down the Experten Bretschneider this day probebly would never been known. What is know is that Major Kit Carson claimed a Fw 190 shot down this day and ended the war as the most succesfull pilot in the 357th FG with a total of 18.5 arial victories.

Oberleutnat Klaus Bretschnider had amassed a total of 34 ememy aircaft when he was KIA this day. Included in his 17 daytime-Abschuss is 14 4-engine bombers.

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North American P-51D Mustang, Leonard "Kit" Carson, December 24, 1944

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