70 years ago: the 362nd FG loses Russell Adams – and the Wehrmacht lose some bunkers

On May 23, 1944, the 362nd Fighter Group flew a fighter sweep in the Reims area. 2nd Lt. Russell Adams of the 377th Fighter Squadron, in P-47D-10-RE 42-75167, suffered a sudden drop in oil pressure. With Lt. John L. Hill as an escort, he made a 180-degree turn and headed for home. Hill saw “black puffs of smoke coming from the exhaust pipes of his plane caused by the engine skipping,” Hill said. “The engine stopped and the prop froze. I observed Lt. Adams belly land his ship near a small woods and three pillboxes.” Although Germans fired at him from their bunkers as he was landing, Adams scrambled out of the plane safely and ended up as a POW. Once he was away from his plane, Lt. John Hill destroyed the P-47 to prevent it from falling into enemy hands, then expended the rest of his ammunition on the pillboxes.

 

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