Frisky and the Black Widows of Fürth

No, Frisky was not bitten by a Black Widow, nor even smitten by a widow in black, but he did share an airdrome in 1945 with the 425th Night Fighter Squadron, which flew the Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter.

The 371st Fighter Group left their first airfield in Germany Frankfurt/Eschborn (Y-74) and moved to Fürth/Industriehafen Airfield (R-30), near Nürnberg (aka Nuremberg), on 5 May 1945. Fürth would be the last wartime field for the group (for three days until V-E Day) and first post-war home for the group, until the next move to Austria in mid-August, 1945.

But just days before, on 2 May 1945, the 425th Night Fighter Squadron moved to Fürth from Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Airfield (Y-73). You could say the 371st and the 425th were old neighbors from Frankfurt.

With regard to now being at the same airfield, the 371st was a much larger organization than the 425th, and with many attached units to provide all the support functions needed for a flying field. In that sense Frisky was the big dog on the block, and naturally was able to assume a host role, providing many services required at an airfield. Officially, the 425th fell under XIX TAC, as did the 371st at that time, so it appears reasonable that the 425NFS relied on the 371FG for support.

A 425th Night Fighter Squadron Northrop P-61B-15-NO Black Widow serial number 42-39674 rests at R-30, Fürth/Industriehafen Airfield, circa the spring/summer of 1945.  According to Joe Baugher’s serial number website, this aircraft was condemned to salvage on April 23, 1947.  Note the unidentified German aircraft (Henschel Hs-126?) in the background just behind the P-61’s right landing gear.  (Courtesy Ms. Nancy Beaumier, daughter of 371FG veteran Tom Boliaris)

A 425th Night Fighter Squadron Northrop P-61B-15-NO Black Widow serial number 42-39674 rests at R-30, Fürth/Industriehafen Airfield, circa the spring/summer of 1945. According to Joe Baugher’s serial number website, this aircraft was condemned to salvage on April 23, 1947. Note the unidentified German aircraft (Henschel Hs-126?) in the background just behind the P-61’s right landing gear. (Courtesy Ms. Nancy Beaumier, daughter of 371FG veteran Tom Boliaris)

Information in the 371st Fighter Group’s historical records suggests this relationship between the 371st and the 425th. There is no mention of it in the group’s monthly histories for the period, but it is evidenced in supporting documents for the monthly histories such as HQ 371FG Special Orders (SO) #50, 10 June 1945, when the results of a 29 May 1945 court-martial of a private from the 425NFS for being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) were approved with a forfeiture of $41.00. On a more positive note, in HQ 371FG SO #52, 15 June 1945, paragraph 2, 12 enlisted men from the 425NFS were authorized a furlough in the UK, and para 3 named five officers from the 425NFS for the same.

Evidence was also seen in HQ XIX TAC SO # 132, 28 May 1945, identified in paragraph 2 27 officers of the 371FG and two officers from the 425NFS as eligible to return to the States. Other units were identified in separate paragraphs but the 371FG and 425NFS were noted in the same paragraph. HQ XIX TAC SO #147, 12 June 1945, also included the 371FG and 425NFS in the same paragraph 7.

So it would appear that there was at least some administrative connection between Frisky and the Black Widow, if not any operational control.  And that’s the story about Frisky and the Black Widows of Fürth!
References:

371FG/142FW entry on Wikipedia, at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/142d_Fighter_Wing

425th Fighter Squadron entry on Wikipedia, at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/425th_Fighter_Squadron

Joe Baugher’s 1942 USAAF Serial Numbers (42-30032 to 42-39757), at:
http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_2.html

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