1/Lt. Philip A. Erby


(F. Birtciel)

1/Lt. Philip A. Erby

343rd FS  02 March 1945 - 17 April 1945 (Killed in Action)

Assigned Aircraft

P-51D 44-15025 "Beautiful Lavina"

Mission History

Not Known

Mission List

Not Known

Air Scores
Destroyed
Probable  
Damaged
Ground Scores
Destroyed
Damaged  
Score Detail 21 March 1945  FW-190 destroyed (ground) Hopsten A/F
30 March 1945  Me-262 damaged (air) SW Lubeck A/F
17 April 1945  FW-190 destroyed (air) Kamenz A/F
Notes Entered service from Evanston, Illinois.
ASN - O-829960
02 March 1945 - Joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron
April 1945 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
April 1945 - Awarded the Air Medal
17 April 1945 - Missing in Action
MACR No. 13920
Lt. Erby was hit by flak while chasing a FW-190 over Kamenz airdrome.  It is believed he bailed out.
Lt. Erby's name is on the Wall of the Missing, Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery and Memorial, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium.
Awards
Memories At least three S.G. 77 FW 190s were about to fly a mission to attack advancing Soviet forces when the American fighters dove to attack. Capt. Robert E. Welch led the attack on Kamenz, flying the first pass with 2/Lt. Philip A. Erby. Welch describes the attack:

"Lieutenant Erby was on my wing when we made the bounce on two FW 190s that had just taken off from Kamenz airfield. I took the one on the left and he took the one on the right. They were flying line abreast at 1,000 m. We came down on them from 3,000 m and attacked, from dead astern. We both knocked them down at about the same time. I watched his 190 crash, just south of mine, in a woods near a lake. It exploded and burned upon crashing.
Suddenly I was hit by flak, so I called Lieutenant Erby and told him I was heading for Russian lines. He called over and said, 'Wait for me, I've been hit and am leaking coolant'. He called about four minutes later and said he was going to bail out. I couldn't see him due to a bad haze that greatly limited visibility. He never called again and I could not raise him after repeated attempts".

Welch believes Erby bailed out about 36 km north-west of Kamenz, but Erby was never heard from again.

   

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