For someone researching the experiences of a downed Allied airman, if the airman was shot down by the Luftwaffe rather than by anti-aircraft fire, the researcher may find it useful to look at records of downed aircraft as submitted by the Luftwaffe pilots. These records give the date, the Allied mission objective, the name of the Luftwaffe pilot, his unit, the type of Allied plane shot down, the location on the German maps, time, and microfilm reference. Go to: http://don-caldwell.we.bs/claims/tonywood.htm, then scroll down to O.K.L. Fighter Claims and select the year the airman went down. In my case, I selected “Reich and Western Front 1943. Vol IV.” You will have a choice of a getting the full list for that year in a Word document or a PDF file. I found the latter more readable.
My search objective was to learn the name of the Luftwaffe pilot who claimed to have shot down “The Wild Hare” on which Tom Applewhite was the bombardier. Since I knew the date (11 Nov. 1943) when Tom Applewhite went down, the location, and that he was on a B-17, not a P-38 or P-47, my search was considerably narrowed. In addition, several of the map references for Allied planes shot down that day were nowhere near the part of The Netherlands where Tom Applewhite was shot down.
For Tom Applewhite, I found the following:
- Date: 11 November 1943
- Mission: U.S. VIII Bomber Command: MUNSTER & WESEL
- Name of Luftwaffe pilot: Hptm. Emil-Rudolf Schnoor
- Unit: Stab I./JG 1
- Type of Aircraft: B-17
- Location (map reference): KL-1 Echten: 5.000 m. [E. Meppel]
- Time: 14.47
- Microfilm reference: C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. 5
For the an explanation of the Luftwaffe Map Reference System, Gradnetzmeldeverfahren, and how it evolved during the war, go to the website http://www.stormbirds.com/, specializing in the Luftwaffe, and its page at http://www.stormbirds.com/eagles/research/gradnetz/gradnetz.html on the mapping system.
For a reproduction of the Jaegergradnetz (Fighter Grid Map) for central-western Europe, go to http://don-caldwell.we.bs/jg26/schlageter.htm. Scroll down to “RLV Jägergradnetzkarte” and click on it, or go directly to http://don-caldwell.we.bs/jg26/gradnetz.htm. It also appears in Donald Caldwell’s book, The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich. An improved version of the map will appear in Mr. Caldwell’s new book, Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich: A War Diary 1942-1945, due out in mid-2011, a companion volume to The Luftwaffe over Germany.
I subsequently learned that Hptm. Schnoor was badly injured in an accidental crash before the end of the war but survived. After the war he worked for the Allianz Insurance Company in Hamburg.
You may also want to explore the National Archives II Captured German and Related Records on Microfilm in the National Archives.