This Saturday morning the pilots from
the 354 FG was briefed for their last mission from their old
station in Boxted before the impending preparation for the Normandy
landings and their new base at Lashenden in Kent. This mission
should take them on a "Fighter Sweep" over the Rostock
and Rügen area. However this mission would end up in disaster.
As the unit passed the Dutch-German border the section was engulfed
in heavy clouds and soon two Mustang collides, Lt. Lamb was killed
in the crash and Lt. Kegebein manage to leave his stricken aircraft
only to be taken prisoner. The rest of the unit splits up and
the pilots are on their own fending for themselves. When returned
to England one more fighter is missing, Blue 3, the Mustang of
At 13.00 hours in the skies over the southeastern part of neutral
Sweden (just 15 km from where I now live) a large number of foreign
airplanes roars in. The air defense goes into action and Swedish
fighters are scrambled to pursue the intruders. But the foreign
aircraft are too fast, as they make a turn in over Sweden.
Close to the town of Laholm, the sound of aircrafts is heard.
Two planes is visible between the clouds and from one of them
two objects are seen falling to the ground. Bombs? No, it's the
spent fuel tanks that fall into the bog. An air combat is unfolding
before the onlookers eyes, the speed is high and at low altitude
both aircrafts are following the valley of the river Lagan towards
the town of Laholm. They swoop down and the sound of machine
guns is heard in the air. Smoke is appearing from the leading
aircraft, a transparent hood hurls up in the air before falling
down. Immediately thereafter the aircraft begins to make its
final dive, an object frees itself from the aircraft and fall
to the ground, the pilot.
A farmer hears the engine roar and the hail of bullets. He looks
up and sees something leave the aircraft that is coming right
at him, quickly he throws himself down in a ditch. With a violent
crash the plane hits the ground and flames appears followed by
a big black cloud of smoke. The pilot plunges down about fifty
meters in front of the crash site, his parachute didn't open.
He lies motionless with his legs bent unnaturally, the pilot
of the aircraft, Edward Phillips is dead.
A schoolboy also follows this drama from a distance, he sees
a smoke rising towards the clouds. Once again engine noise is
heard, a German fighter comes in from southwest at very low altitude.
"It was a Messerschmitt", he recalled 48 years later.
"I saw the swastika on the side and I also saw the pilot's
leather helmet". The aircraft makes a final turn over the
city and heads off to the west, out over the sea towards Denmark.
The pilot in this Messerchmitt was "Napp" Rudschinat,
an accomplished fighter pilot who just scored his first Mustang
kill, his sixth abschuss, six more would follow including two
more Mustangs. An interesting fact is that there is no mention
in the German combat files of the place of this victory. Probably
the Germans didn't want to advertise that this occurred within
my original text from my book Luftwaffe fighter Aircraft, Profile
Book No 3:
this day, Rudschinat chased the P-51 B Mustang flown by Lt. Edward
E. Phillips of the 355 FS in over the southern part of neutral
Sweden at low altitude. After some turns, Rudschinat shot the
P-51 down. Phillips had no chance to survive as he bailed out
of his Mustang at too low an altitude. This was "Napps"
sixth victory, six more would follow including two more Mustangs.