406th Fighter Group Maintenance Depot

The first two photos appear to be from the same roll of film and therefore from the same time period and base.  The length of the grass in both photos tends to confirm this assumption.  The first one shows the 406th Group's boneyard from which many spare parts seen on other aircraft were salvaged.   Front and center are the sad remains of L3-T.  The vertical stabilizer just behind it bears the serial 42-26930, which identifies a 513th Fighter Squadron P-47 which made a forced landing near Egenbilsen, Belgium on 1 Mar 45.  This suggests that the setting for both photos is Y-29, Asch, Belgium.

Click on thumbnail to download large image. Photo: Pima Air & Space Museum

The second photo shows the results of time at the depot.  All 5 aircraft appear to be ready for combat and at least 4 have belly tanks hung on them. The aircraft at the center, which I believe to be 42-26860 L3-O "Angie" displays lots of replacement parts from the boneyard, including a OD-painted right wing and tail feathers.  The three aircraft on the right are from the 514th Squadron and the one on the left behind the truck sports the red cowling of the 513th Squadron.  This mix of aircraft from different squadrons supports the idea that this is in fact a photo of the Group depot, since the squadrons tended to park their aircraft in separate areas of the airfield.

Click on thumbnail to download large image. Photo: Pima Air & Space Museum

And these three photos show maintainers installing salvaged parts on 44-32749 L3-N during the last cold days of 1944 at A-80 Mourmelon le Grand. Note the bombs used as maintenance stands.

Click on thumbnails to download large image. Photos: Pima Air & Space Museum

And here are photos (also from the Pima Air & Space Museum) of the kind of damage that would require replacement of a Thunderbolt's tail feathers:

 

 

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