Republic P-47 D-16-RE

T9+LK flown by Leutnant Klaffenbach, 2./Versuchsverband OKL "Zirkus Rosarius", Alteno/Germany, 12 November 1944

White 27, 42-75971, Flown by 2nd Lt. Lloyd S. Hathcock, 301st FS, 332nd FG to Littorio/Italy, 29 May 1944

The personal machine of Lt. George P. Novotny from 310th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 12th USAAF.

The 2./Versuchsverband OKL, the Feinfliegerstaffel was a part of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, testing and evaluating captured enemy aircraft. This unit also displayed their machines for the pilots in their different Luftwaffe fighter units.

This traveling unit was dubbed as "Zirkus Rosarius" after its commander Hauptmann Theodor Rosarius. The unit was set up on 28 February 1944 and by then had in its inventory one P-47 Thunderbolt and two Spitfires.

After the war over France and Germany intensified a number of other Allied fighters and reconnaissance machines fell into the hands of the Germans. One of the machines, a P-47 D-16-RE Thunderbolt with the serial Number 42-75971 "Ruthless Ruthie" had an interesting history:

Originally flown by the 8 kill ace Lt. George P. Novotny from 310th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 12th USAAF. However on 29 May 1944 this machine was lost on ferry mission, when its pilot, 2nd Lt Lloyd S. Hathcock landed in error at Rome-Littorio, apparently flying the correct distance on a ferry flight but with 180 degree wrong direction.

On 2 June the Germans made their first test flight in this machine when Fl. Hauptingenieur Lerche from the E-Stelle Rechlin took to the air. Later that day Lerche flew the machine to Germany and landed at Munchen-Riem at 18:56.

Repainted with large german markings and a striking Yellow undersides it was test flown by the Luftwaffe at Rechlin coded "8+6" in the typical Rechlin style of coding. Later transferred to "Zirkus Rosarius" on 12 October 1944, this Thunderbolt received the call-sign: 9K-LK. Thereafter it took part in the display missions and familiarization flights by Luftwaffe fighter pilots.

It is know that this machine as a part of the 2./Versuchsverband OKL by others visited fighter units such as JG 77 and JG 6. Finally it was captured by units from 2nd U.S. Infantry Division at Wörishofen base outside Göttingen on 8 April 1945. By then the machine was stripped of part, by others lacking its propeller.

This profile would be included in my Profile book No 11, two other Allied fightes from "Zirkus Rosarius", a Typhoon and a P-51 Mustang would be included in Profile book No 12 and 13.

This is one of ten profiles made by me during the week, most of them would be included in Profile book No 13.

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