Autore Topic: P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944  (Letto 4882 volte)

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Offline PJ Montana

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P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« il: 24 Lug 2015, 18:53:46 »
Ciao storici dell'aviazione,
Sono molto felice di avere trovato questo sito, e la speranza è possibile asssit.

I am looking for information on a P-47 that crashed near Massa on 29 December, 1944.  The family of the pilot, Lt. John Phelan, are good friends, and my uncle was also a P-47 pilot.  The MACR indicated that the plane perhaps crashed near the marina near Massa. 

Lt. Phelan was with the 350th FG, 346th FS and was based at Pisa at the time.  He was reported to the family as missing in action until the war was over.  His remains are now buried in the state of Montana in the US.  The short life of John Phelan is a very interesting story as he first completed his missions in a B-17 before re training in the P-47.

Any information you can provide on this crash would be appreciated!

Grazie per il vostro interesse, e lavoro che fate!
PJ



micky.38

  • Visitatore
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #1 il: 25 Lug 2015, 08:29:16 »
Welcome PJ, we will happy to help.

Did you have a pic of Lt. Phelan?

micky.38

  • Visitatore
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #2 il: 25 Lug 2015, 08:46:39 »
MACR 10946 29 Dec 44

Republic P-47D-26-RA Thunderbolt    42-28333

Phelan, John William    O-742888    346FS    350FG    12AF    MIA

Squadron mission #162. FOD.

Location, 4401 N-1006 E, Point Of Departure, Pisa, Italy

micky.38

  • Visitatore
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #3 il: 25 Lug 2015, 10:19:08 »
Here's the Daily Operation Record for the day, december 29th 1944, someone can post the macr? i didn't have it...

micky.38

  • Visitatore
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #4 il: 25 Lug 2015, 10:39:06 »
Note for th many militaria enthusiasts on this forum: Many of Lt. Phelan personal Uniforms, cap, jackets and other items are depicted in this book:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/105096185/Silver-Wings-Pinks-and-Greens-Uniforms-Wings-Insignia-of-USAAF-Airmen-in-World-War-II#scribd

Offline Freddy

  • Post: 987
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #5 il: 25 Lug 2015, 13:55:03 »
Here's the Daily Operation Record for the day, december 29th 1944, someone can post the macr? i didn't have it...

Ti allego il MACR. Ho eliminato un paio delle solite pagine inutili e fatto un collage di un paio di rapporti per non eccedere nel numero di allegati. Comunque, come vedrai, il MACR non dice niente che ci possa aiutare a individuare il punto di abbattimento. La sola speranza è che qualcuno degli iscritti al forum, che abiti nella zona di Marina di Massa, si voglia impegnare a raccogliere  informazioni dalla gente del posto.

I attach the MACR. I deleted a couple of the usual unnecessary pages and made a collage of a pair of reports, not to exceed the number of attachments. However, as you will see, the MACR does not say anything helpful to locate the crash point. The only hope is that someone, among the members of the forum, who lives in the area of Marina di Massa, will gather information from the locals.


micky.38

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #6 il: 25 Lug 2015, 17:53:37 »
Hi Freddy,

I've checked the coordinates as in the Honor Roll Data (4401N-1006E) , and the result is a point in the middle of the town of Massa. I have to traslate the coordinates in the DOR yet, but as you say it should be better to have some statement from any witness

Offline Freddy

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #7 il: 26 Lug 2015, 07:34:29 »
Già, a volte, o per meglio dire spesso, quando (proprio come in questo caso) non c'erano stati testimoni oculari della caduta dell'aereo, le coordinate fornite nel MACR si riferiscono al centro abitato più vicino oppure ad un punto di riferimento noto. Ad ogni modo le coordinate BSO dell'obbiettivo, VP903019, riportano ad un'area vicina al centro di Massa Carrara e sulla sponda destra di un'ansa del fiume Frigido. Con molta probabilità vi era un concentramento di truppe o qualcosa del genere.
Mi stavo chiedendo, però, se non fosse possibile che l'aereo colpito fosse finito in mare, anche in considerazione della sua vicinanza alla città e al fatto che nelle cronache dell'epoca (almeno per quanto ho potuto trovare) non vi è nessuna menzione dell'abbattimento di un caccia alleato. Se questo fosse caduto nel centro abitato sicuramente qualcuno avrebbe riportato la notizia.

Yes, sometimes, or better very often, when (just as in this case) there was no eyewitnesses of the crash, the coordinates given in the MACR refer to the nearest town or known benchmark. Anyway, British coordinates of the target, VP903019, refer to an area in the center of Massa Carrara and on the right bank of a bend of the river Frigido. Probably there were troop concentrations or something like.
I was wondering if it was possible that the plane had crashed into the sea considered that this was very close to the city and that no memory is reported in the chronicles of the time (at least from what I could see) about the crash of an allied fighter. If it had crashed in the town, surely someone would have reported the news.
« Ultima modifica: 26 Lug 2015, 07:36:32 da Freddy »

micky.38

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #8 il: 26 Lug 2015, 09:03:35 »
Hi Freddy, the crash coordinates given by the DOR give me a rough unbuild area just behind the "Car Shop Le Occasioni", in the corner from Via Enrico Mattei and Via Montegrappa, not far from a little river

https://www.google.it/maps/place/44%C2%B001%2700.0%22N+10%C2%B006%2700.0%22E/@44.0166667,10.1,550m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

Due the fact that in december 1944 the area was in or very near the front line, and evacuated by the civilian, this must be the reason why nobody reported the crash of the plane. More, Phelan's body has been recovered in anyway after the war, and was bow buried in america, so i wonder how he crashed in sea, you agree?

Offline Freddy

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #9 il: 26 Lug 2015, 10:09:14 »
Mine was just a supposition not knowing how and when Phelan's body was recovered but still it's possible that his remains had been found ashore or, even, off coast. We don't know, may be only in his IDPF could be found some information about the circumstances of the recovery. You are right about the evacuation of the civilians but i think, and I repete, mine are only suppositions, not all of them had left the town and, anyway, there were certainly German and Italian military units in the area.
These considerations only to have other hypotheses to evaluate in order to find the crash point even if, at the end, to find it could be of little importance today. In my opinion, the most important matter should be to find information on the fate of the pilot. To find out a narrative report from eyewitnesses, from documents etc. about how, why, when and where the plane crashed and the pilot's remains had been found and recovered. Then, if we could find even the crash point and something of the plane that will be a very good thing.
This, or so I think to have understood, is what PJ would like to know.
Well, now we just have to wait for someone, in the area of Massa Carrara, who can find out and give us some new information about this case.

Offline PJ Montana

  • Post: 6
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #10 il: 27 Lug 2015, 06:42:14 »
 :yahoo:
Hello Micky.38 and Freddy,
Thank you for the interest and feedback!   I am sorry for the delay in responding but I am glad you have seen both the daily operations report and the MACR.
 
I am attaching a photo of Lt. Phelan as requested.  According to the book THE MEMORY IS STILL FRESH on the history of the 346th FS Phelan joined the 346th in Oct. 1944 and was killed in action “in the Serchio Valley north of Pisa and Lucca, Italy.”  This MACR map may have been the last the other pilots saw Phelan, but they did not see his plane go down.  Since the book was written after the war and he was by this time listed as KIA perhaps they found the crash site closer to Lucca?

I think the IDPF is a great idea.  As you may know this is a very slow process but if a family member requests it, the documents will come sooner.  With the uniform, I have been trying to reach the collector on behalf of the family.  The uniform you found is the one Lt. Phelan had when he was a B-17 co-pilot, before he trained in the P-47.  He had completed 25 missions in the 100th BG in 1943.

Thank you again for your interest and assistance!
PJ

Offline Freddy

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #11 il: 27 Lug 2015, 07:20:52 »
Hi PJ, thanks for the photo. This new information, I mean that one about the point of crash, could allow us to pinpoint the exact location that is quite far from Marina di Massa, about 20 miles to the south. I Live in the north east of Italy and so my knowledge of that area in very poor but I hope that someone living there could help us to find some more information about the crash. Later in the morning I'll search on the internet for something about the matter. I hope to be of some help.

Offline jollyroger

  • Post: 486
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #12 il: 27 Lug 2015, 11:46:25 »
Hello to all

I live on the seaside, 20km south of Massa.

website http://raf-112-squadron.org/ reports the following data for Lt. Phelan:

10946   29 Dec 44   42-28333   Republic P-47D-26-RA Thunderbolt Phelan, John William   O-742888   346FS   350FG   12AF   MIA   Squadron mission #162. FOD. Location, 4401 N-1006 E, Point Of Departure, Pisa, Italy


44.01N 10.06E gives a point very close to the sea in the Ricortola village (provence of Massa)

I am sure that some time ago I have read somewhere that Lt. Phelan crashed at sea;

in my opinion the plane reported to have crashed near Serchio valley it's not Phelan's

it could be another P-47D of 350th FG shot down on the same day (Lt. Baldwin)

micky.38

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Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #13 il: 27 Lug 2015, 11:59:16 »
As said by PJ, the only way to solve this little mistery is the IDPF, especially about the first burial place....

Offline marquis

  • Post: 155
Re:P-47 Crash Near Massa, 1944
« Risposta #14 il: 27 Lug 2015, 14:23:50 »
L'unica certezza è che l'aereo di Phelan è sparito dalle parti dell'obiettivo situato nei dintorni di Massa (quindi assai lontano dalla Valle del Serchio).
Queste le coordinate esatte ("Occupied area at P-903019"): 44° 02 N, 10° 07E, ma non è detto che Phelan sia caduto proprio lì.   
Una pista da seguire potrebbe essere la breve notazione presente alla fine del Daily Operation Report:
"A flash at 1620 hours ("possible ammo explosion and smoke fire") at P-7914".
Le coordinate ci portano più a nord, nell'entroterra di Sarzana, 44° 08 N, 9° 59E, che forse sia finito lì? 

The only thing we are sure of is that Phelan's plane disappeared  in the target area in the surroundings of Massa, therefore quite far from the Serchio Valley. These are the actual coordinates ("Occupied area at P-903019"): 44° 02 N, 10° 07E, although this pinpoint doesn't necessarily match with the crash site. A clue to seek might come from the last lines of the Daily Operation Report:"A flash at 1620 hours ("possible ammo explosion and smoke fire") at P-7914". Such coordinates bring us up north, inland of Sarzana, 44° 08 N, 9° 59 E, maybe he went down there?   
« Ultima modifica: 27 Lug 2015, 18:15:40 da marquis »