This discrepancy could be attributed to the system of escorts on
which their commanders decided. The Red Tails always stayed
within visual range of their charges, while other units opted for
a tactic that involved standing off at greater distances, and catching their victims before they could get to the bombers. That was
part of the strategy of the 8th and 15th Air Forces in their attempt
to gain and maintain air superiority over the enemy. Thanks to their
tactics, the 332nd FG lost half of their charges compared to their
colleagues. The Red Tails, over the last eleven months of the war,
lost only 27 bombers they escorted to action of enemy fighters.
These losses were over the course of 7 of 179 escort missions they
undertook during this period.
Kampfgeschwader ‘Boelcke’ Fighter Pilots
The German ‘Boelcke’ bomber wing was formed in April, 1936 and
after two changes, the designation became Kampfgeschwader 27
in May, 1939. It carried the name of a legendary flyer from the First
World War, Oswald Boelcke. It fought its way through Poland, Western
Europe, the Battle of Britain, and from there through to mid-1944 the
eastern Front. Throughout this whole period, it flew Heinkel He 111s.
Photo: Jeffrey Ethell Collection
Photo: Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group pilots
Distinguished Unit Citation
Before being attached to the 332nd Fighter Group, the 99th Fighter Squadron received two Distinguished Unit Citation awards
from the American President. The first was for action in Sicily in
1943, and the second was for action at Monte Cassino in the spring
of 1944. At that time, it was a component of the 324th FG. A third award came together with the whole of the 332nd FG for the
escort of bombers on March 24th, 1945.
On this day, the 15th AF received orders to raid targets in Germany
and occupied Czechoslovakia. It succeeded in attracting the atten-
As was their custom, the Red Tails stuck close to the bombers
they were escorting, and the 99th FS claimed three jets as damaged, with another three probable kills being claimed by the
100th FS, and same unit also claiming three confirmed kills. The
successful pilots were F.O. Charles V. Brantley, 1/Lt. Earl R. Lane
and 1/Lt. Roscoe C. Brown.
The last named pilot attacked one of the ‘Turbos’, as the Americans
called them, in a dive, but lost contact. When he climbed back up to
24,000 feet, he spotted another Me 262 approaching from the right
and from above at a distance of 2,500 feet. Brown went into a climb
at some 15 degrees, and with the help of his gyroscopic gunsight,
he fired three long bursts from 2,000 feet from the enemy’s eight
o’clock position. The German bailed out of his aircraft.
Besides the 332nd FG, the 463rd and 483rd BGs also received the
Distinguished Unit Citation.
tion of at least a part of the enemy’s aerial assets which protected
the crossing of the Rhine during Operation Plunder.
The Red Tails were tasked with the escort of B-17s to Berlin, where the target was a plant that manufactured Daimler-Benz engines destined for tanks. The target was reached by 158 ‘Heavies’
and 241 fighters. This force was intercepted by JG 7 Me 262s, and
their pilots claimed ten B-17s and three escort fighters. Among
the enemy fighter pilots were such well known names as Heinrich
Ehrler, Hermann Buchner and Franz Schall. In actual fact, though,
the jets only shot down two bombers and two Mustangs, which
hailed from the 332nd FG. Both were apparently brought down
by Walter Schuck during an Me 262 training flight with JG 7. Four
Me 262s were shot down and all of their pilots sustained injuries.
The bomber crews reported shooting down eight Me 262s as confirmed kills and five as probable. In all likelihood, at least one was
actually shot down. Fighter pilots of the 31st FG claimed five Me
262s confirmed and three probable, out of which one was observed from low altitude at an enemy air base.
INFO Eduard - June 2021
Photo: Jeffrey Ethell Collection
Photograph from Ramitelli, Italy in March 1945 shows left to right, crew chief Marcellus G.
Smith and pilot Roscoe C. Brown who downed a Me 262 on March 24, 1945 and added scored again on March 31. After the war Brown became a professor at New York University.
P-51D "Tootsie" in background was assigned to Lowell Steward.
The Bf 109 G-10 "Yellow 2", which formerly belonged to KG(J) 27, was found at the end of the
war in Kaufbeuren. The green and white checkerboard is a quick identification feature of this
unit. The white number on the rudder is a marking used by the unit responsible for transporting aircraft to combat units. It is not clear why the plane was located here. The 3rd and 6th
Panzerjägerstaffel Bü 181 were permanently based here, as was the training unit FFS A 23