Captain James W Browning's Crash Site Discovered by Jim Anderson

Captain Jim Browning was lost 9 Feb 1945 in P-51D, 44-15630, B6-L, “Junior Miss,” near Wurges, Germany.  Jim and Captain Don Bochkay, both from the 363rd FS, 357th FG, “Yoxford Boys,” were engaged in a fierce dogfight with German ME-262 jets, when Jim was Killed in Action (KIA) due to a mid-air collision with one of the jets. Jim was an Ace with 7 victories and was two missions shy of completing his second combat tour.

Merle Olmsted documented Jim’s fate in March 1955, but the exact location of Jim’s crash was unknown. From the description in Merle’s report, a friend did a site survey of the area while working in Germany. I published his survey and photos on this web site. Two young German police officers, Andi  and Yannik , who enjoy searching for historic artifacts, used the information from our web site, which included Merle’s report and the survey, to search for Jim’s crash site. They noted that the Mayor of Worsdorf visited the crash site, so started their search near the city. Using a metal detector, they found pieces of Jim’s P-51. After they found the site, an old German farmer, asked them what they were doing. They told him about finding the P-51 and he confirmed that when he was a young boy, he had witnessed the P-51 crash there and picked up one of the 50 Cal Machine guns from the Mustang and took it home. He was severely reprimanded by his parents and turned the weapon over to the German authorities. Most of Jim’s aircraft was removed from the crash site by the German army just after the crash, but some small pieces remain.

Andi contacted me to tell me of their find and wanted to send pieces of the crash site to me. I told him I would be hiking in Switzerland this summer and asked if they would take me to the site. Andi and Yannick agreed and on 19 Sep 2015, I met them and traveled to Jim’s crash site, located in a beautiful, peaceful forest, may he rest in peace.

Visiting the crash site with Andi and Yannik!

Original Survey Map

Red X marks the location of the crash site.

Hike to the crash site begins

Beautiful Forest

Pile of P-51 parts

Base of tree where first crash site item was found

Hunter's stand where we survey the area north of the crash site

Looking North from the hunter's stand, Wurges in the distance

 

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