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The Amazing story of the P-47 Thunderbolt ‘Dottie Mae’
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt 42-29150 Dottie Mae – the last USAAF aircraft lost in action in the European theatre of operations during World War Two – was recovered from the Traunsee, a lake in Austria, on June 13, 2005.
This eye-catching aircraft was manufactured at Evansville, Indiana in the summer of 1944, and first went into action with the USAAF Ninth Air Force’s 511th Fighter Squadron, 405th Fighter Group on December 16, 1944. It flew 90 combat missions before crashing into the Traunsee on May 8, 1945, the very last day of the war.
The pilot was attempting a low-level flight over the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria, in a bid to boost prisoner morale. It seems his enthusiasm may have got the better of him – Mohr flew so low that the bulky fighter’s propeller blades clipped the water and the machine ending up in the lake. Although the Thunderbolt sank quickly, the Pilot was able to exit the cockpit.
Although not badly damaged, the P-47D remained at the bottom of the lake until Brian Kenney and Austrian firm Sandy Air Corps finally raised it to the surface in April 2005.
‘Dottie Mae’ was completely restored to immaculate flying condition by Vintage Airframes of Caldwell ID.
The Thunderbolt is now owned by Jack Croul’s Allied Fighters organization, based at Chino Airport.
Brian Kenney funded the recovery of Dottie Mae. Brian will participate in the Q&A About the funding of the recovery of the P-47 Thunderbolt ‘Dottie Mae’ from the lake in Austria.
Bob Nightingale was part of the Search and Recovery team that found and recovered the P-47 Thunderbolt Dottie Mae. Bob will participate in the Q&A about the recovery of the Aircraft from the lake in Austria.
Mike Breshears of Vintage Airframes in Caldwell, ID restored ‘Dottie Mae’ to flight condition. Mike is scheduled to participate in the Q&A about the restoration of Dottie Mae.