1st Lieutenant Edwin L. King of the 347th Fighter Squadron (350th FG, 12th AF) stands on the wing of his P-47 ‘Thunderbolt’ at the unit’s home base near Pisa, January 12, 1945.

Lieutenant King and his aircraft found themselves covered in engine oil after a strafing attack on a railroad marshalling yard at Brescia, Italy. During the strafing run the aircraft received a direct hit from a German AA battery which shot up two of the engine’s cylinders.

Notes from Pisa Airfield Tower Log describing the landing:

“10:00 hrs, Midwood Black Leader called for emergency landing and said he didn’t think he could make it. Gold Section led him on to final and tower operator talked him in from there (…) got down and on to taxiway”. Engine and prop completely frozen upon touchdown.

From 347th FS Daily Operations Report #364 of Jan. 12, 1945: Flak damage assessed as Cat. II and no doubt required an engine change along with the clean-up.

This particular aircraft career was to be short lived. Nine days later, on January 21, 1945, another of the squadron’s pilots, Lt. Edward S. Rock, was shot down and killed while flying it.

This and other photos of the same event were taken by Crew Chief H.D. (Henry) Embry who had his camera stolen from him shortly after. As a result he only got to see this now well-known photo many years after the war. Fortunately the thief was kind enough to develop the film…

Original property of Crew Chief H. D. (Henry) Embry

(Colour by Rui)

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