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Archive Report: Axis Forces
1914-1918   1935-1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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Busch portrait
23.09.1944 2./JG26 Focke-Wulf 190A-8 Wnr. 171576 Fhr. Busch

Operation: Interception

Date: 23rd September 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: 6./Staffel./Gruppe II./JG.26

Type: Focke-Wulf 190A-8

Werke/Nr. 171576

Code: Black 12

Location: Toten Hügel (Death Hill), Appeldorn, Germany

Pilot: Fhr. Maximilian Busch - Killed.


The weather over England remained bad.
The skies over the Dutch drop zones were relatively clear, however , and a large resupply mission was mounted, escorted by 519 8th Fighter Command fighters and forty 9th Air Force P-38s.
Luftflotte Reich responded with two combined missions to Arnhem, totalling 135 fighter sorties.
Most of the German fighter units were dispersed easily by the Americans, who were engaged in serious combat only twice - once each by the First and Second Gruppe of JG.26, the two Focke-Wulf Gruppen flew a total of 52 sorties.

Around 17:00 it was the turn of the Second Gruppe to patrol the Goch-Wesel area over Goch the German pilots caught sight of four P-51s far below them.

Busch death card

Death card for Fhr. Maximilian Busch (all images courtesy Eric-Jan Bakker)

The Mustangs, a flight from the 352nd Fighter Group's 487th Squadron, were flying straight and level, at an altitude of only 1200 meters (4000 feet), on the return leg of their patrol. The rest of the squadron heard only the single radioed word, 'Break' from the flight leader.
The four P-51s and pilots then simply disappeared, the victims of a perfect bounce.
The only German casualty was Fhr. Maximilian Busch, who collided with a P-51 that he had just shot down. He served with JG.26 since 17th July 1944, made 5 combat flights, and was credited with this one kill.

Notes: Busch was in battle with Captain Clarence Oscar 'Tuffy' Johnson 0-733904, from 'Red Flight' 352. Fighter Group - 487. Fighter Squadron, P-51D serial number 44-14078, with the name 'Bula B VI'.

Captain Johnson was credited with seven victories, could one say that Fähnrich Busch was his eighth....
In his flight he operated with Lt. Ayers, Lt. Waters, and Lt. Clark. The official American Missing Aircraft Report (MACR) shows that he was shot down at 17:30, 100% damaged, downed by fighter 4 km SW Kalkar at Toten Hügel.
 Johnson was buried at Kalkar, as was 1/Lt J.B. Ayers who crashed at Alt Louisendorf. 1/Lt J.F. Clark crashed at Heidkamp and was taken prisoner by an 'unknown paratrooper unit'. It is not known where 2/Lt P.B. Waters came down, there is no information on MACR.

Burial detail:

Fhr. Maximilian Busch. Alp Cemetery, Niederrhein. Grave 11

Researched and compiled by Eric-Jan Bakker for Aircrew Remembered July 2013.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Wer vor der Vergangenheit die Augen verschließt, wird blind für die Gegenwart. Richard von Weizsäcker
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