A US serviceman (appears to be a paratrooper) looks at recently recaptured P-47D (T9+LK) at Göttingen, Germany, (probably April) 1945.
The fighter, (formerly Republic P-47D “Ruthless Ruthie”) was captured in Italy when the pilot, Lt Lloyd S “Scotty” Hathcock, from the 301st FS, 332nd FG, 12th AF (one of the USAAF four African-American fighter Squadrons fighting in Europe), got lost during a ferry mission and landed in error at enemy held Rome-Littorio on 29th May 1944.
This particular P-47D was test flown by the Luftwaffe at Rechlin coded “8+6”. It was later transferred to “Beute-Zirkus Rosarius” on Oct 12, 1944, and flown as T9+LK. It is thought that T9+LK flew several recon flights over England a few days prior to D-Day.
“Beute-Zirkus Rosarius” (Rosarius’ Flying Circus) was the name given to the 2.Staffel of the ‘Versuchverband Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe’ (Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief’s Research Unit) after its commanding officer, Ted Rosarius.
This Luftwaffe’s special unit was divided in 3 Staffels, each with individual roles: 1.Staffel was involved in long range reconnaissance missions, 2.Staffel operated captured Allied fighters in a training role, and 3.Staffel carried out experimental and test flights with captured equipment (including a Vought F4U-1 Corsair delivered by submarine from Japan in August 1944).
The unit also conducted salvage operations all over occupied Europe. These were undertaken to such an extent that there was never a lack of spare parts, ammo, lubricants, and even allied fuel for the 20 odd fighters operating on average with the unit throughout the war.
In the background, on the right, a captured P-51D (LH-N 44-14687 of the 350th FS, 353rd FG, lost on 24 March 45, the pilot, Lt. Carl A. Larsen, was taken prisoner), and on the back upper left corner the fuselage of a British Mosquito.