The Bomber That Was NOT Supposed To Be Shot Down
YouTube / TJ3 History
Robert Post has been covering the Battle of Britain for the past few years from London and has been starting to gain popularity because of his news write-ups. He was then assigned as one of the top war correspondents, covering the war from England from an American perspective.
Post wasn’t the only young man progressing in his career. On the other side of Europe was a young German pilot, Heinz Knoke who was also starting to make a name for himself as a skilled flyer. Knoke was eventually promoted to squadron commander- very soon his targets would no longer be RAF fighters, but the Americans.
In early 1943, Post was invited to be one of the journalists to get footage and write from an actual bombing mission.
Post and seven other journalists were asked to document what it was like to be a heavy crew member over Europe. This unit of men was called the Writing 69. The unit Post ended up would be the 44th Bomb Group, which would go on to become one of the most famous units of the war, and the aircraft of this unit would be the B-24 Liberator.
A Strategic Area
According to two of his close friends, Post told them that he felt that he wouldn’t come back from the mission. Post’s unit would be raiding a key strategic target in Germany due to its valuable shipyards and U-boats, and the B-24 that he would be flying in would be the one called Maisy.
The Germans knew that the area was valuable, and defended it with anti-aircraft and flak as well as with experienced fighter groups. Heinz Knoke was in one of these fighter groups. Soon, Post’s unit saw bandits coming right for them.
At around 12 pm on February 26th, 1943, B-24 Maisy was shot down by German fighters. She fell behind the formation, making her a sitting duck for the Messerschmitt. It is here that JG1 squadron leader Heinz Knoke finished her off, lighting her right wing on fire, and eventually breaking off.
Of all the crew onboard, only two men were able to successfully bail out and would be taken as POWs. Robert Post, however, would be killed as the B-24 Maisy went down on the very first mission of the Writing 69th. His premonitions not making it home have been tragically correct.
Out of the reporters that went on this mission, Post would be the only one shot down. Because of his death, the Writing 69th was disbanded and wasn’t allowed to fly on combat missions for quite some time.
Because of the plane that Post was onboard by the time he was shot down, when reporters and journalists were eventually allowed to go back in the air, they almost always preferred the B-17 units which resulted in a great deal of its coverage over Europe and helped shape public perception of these bombers for years, and decades to come.