Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture

Some years ago I had the privilege of talking to a B-24 pilot about his experiences with the Eight Air Force in World War Two Europe. One of his stories concerned a return trip to England after a raid on Germany.

With flack and fighters the bomber formations had been scattered far and wide. Small groups of planes were making their way home. Individual aircraft would join up with them now and then. Their guns added to the defense of the group, and the new comers received protection from the others as well. There were still pockets of flack, but before the gun crews could get the altitude and speed right they were usually out of range.

A lone B-24 approaching them wasn't unusual. It didn't respond to their radio calls, but radios went down sometimes. What was odd about this Liberator was that it didn't get into formation with the rest of the planes. The lone B-24 took up their same heading and altitude, but stayed out of machinegun range. All of a sudden the flack batteries they passed got much more accurate.

This continued until they got to the English Channel. The Gentleman told me when his collection of planes crossed the coast the lone B-24 peeled off and went back into Europe.

This picture probably explains everything.

Throughout the war the Germans had an impressive collection of allied aircraft. With the fall of France fast moving German units managed to capture just about everything in British and French inventory.I was shocked when I first saw pictures of American trainers in German Markings. Some were sold to the French.
Others were built by the French under license. Is this an AT-6 or a French built NA-64 trainer. They had both.
I swear, when we get to Mars they will find a Piper Cub there! This one was 'drafted' when the Germans overran Denmark in 1940.

I wouldn't be surprised to find a DC-3 parked somewhere on the moon either! The things are everywhere! Like today, American airliners were sold all over the world. Lufthansa had a bunch of them.
There were no Spitfires in the France prior to Dunkirk. Often damaged planes crash landed in occupied in Europe. That's where this one came from.
I have heard talk of a dogfight between an American P-51 and a captured Mustang flown by a German Pilot. I havn't been able to track down any details, but the Germans had P-51's for this kind of thing.

In one case, an aircraft was brought to the Germans by a traitor. After Pearl Harbor Martin James Monti enlisted in the Army Air Force as an aviation cadet. After flight school he was commissioned as a flight officer. After qualifying on P-39 Aircorbras and P-38 Lightings he was posted to 126 Replacement Depot in Karachi, India (now in Pakistan).

For reasons unknown, newly minted Second Lt. Monti was displeased with his lot in life and set out in search of other adventures. He boarded a C-46 and hitched a ride to Cairo and proceeded to make his way toward Italy.

At Foggia, Italy he stopped in at the 82 Fighter Group and then to the 354 Air Service Squadron at Pomigliano Air Field north of Naples. The 354th. prepared aircraft for assignment to line squadrons. There was a steady stream of pilots coming and going. Lt. Monti was all but invisible.

It isn't clear at what point in his travels Lt. Monti decided to buy his way into the Third Reich, but that was now his plan. He studied the aircraft being worked on and found an F-5 (a photo reconnaissance version of the P-38) that needed work and would need a test flight after the repairs were completed.

The morning it was ready he showed up before the real test pilot and headed for the German airfield outside Milan. On exiting the plane he told the German personal surrounding him he was there to defect.

The above photo is of the plane Lt. Monti flew to Milan.

After that Monti, now an Untersturmfuhere (an SS second lieutenant), worked in propaganda in one form or another until the end of the war. One project that would come back to haunt him was a 'microphone test' he made as "Martin Wiethaupt".

By the end of the war Monti had joined the George Washington Division of the SS Foreign Legions. This unit was made up of Americans who wanted to fight for Germany. There were two of them.

Monti was still in Italy when the war ended and surrendered to American forces. He was proudly wearing his SS uniform at the time.

Screwball Warning.

Now, for me this is where the story looses touch with reality. In 1946 Martin James Monti was sentenced to fifteen years for desertion? Not only that, he was pardoned within a year on condition he join the Army? Why did they want him in the army with his track record? They made him a sergeant!

In 1948 the FBI caught up with Sgt. Monti and arrested him for treason this time based on his recording as Martin Weinhaupt.

Perhaps there is someone out there that can explain to me why stealing a P-38 to give the Germans and joining the SS of all things is "desertion", but making tape recordings is treason. It makes no sense to me.

This time Monti was sentenced to twenty five years in prison. He was paroled in 1960 after serving twelve years.

Martin James Monti lived to see the new millennium. He passed away on September 11, 2000 of all days. As I said before, whats wrong with this picture?


  1. Excellent photo choices and interesting info. One of the best yet!

  2. Actually, the new millineum started on January 1, 2001, so I doubt he saw it.

    Cheers, Medium Sized Jake

  3. Greetings from Texas,
    Ahhhh, details.