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 Herbert Maxis

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Herbert Maxis

Birth
Berlin, Germany
Death
1 Jan 1945 (aged 24)
Saarland, Germany
Burial
Burial Details Unknown
Plot
Body taken away by US Graves Registration troops
Memorial ID
97812831 View Source

NOTE: This is an update to information previously given in this article--

Herbert Maxis was born Nov. 20, 1920, in Berlin-Friedrichshagen, in the Treptow-Kopenick district of Berlin, Germany. When World War II came, he was married to Felicitas Maxis. He became a Luftwaffe pilot. On January 1st, 1945, he was flying as part of the German "Operation Bodenplatte" (Operation Baseplate), an attack on US and Allied airfields in France and Northern Europe. His group, IV/JG53, Squadron 13, was flying from the Stuttgart area of Germany, to attack the US airfield at Metz, France. He was flying an ME-109/G14/AS, tail number 784993, "White 13", for the large number painted on the side of the aircraft. In the early morning hours of that New Year's Day, he passed over the village of Ober-Felsberg, in the Uberherrn-Saarlouis district of the Saarland. For some reason, instead of proceeding on to the primary target airfield at Metz, some 20 miles further west, he peeled off to attack an American convoy traveling toward Ober-Felsberg from the nearly town of Ittersdorf. As he swung around into the attack, some 100 feet over the ground, American gunners began to fire at his plane and hits were scored. He also opened fire with his guns and wounded at least two American soldiers. Although men were firing machine guns and small arms fire at him from the ground and village, the credit for the shootdown went to Flenory Griggs of Battery 'A', gun crew #1, of the 455th AAA Bn., of Patton's Third Army, XX Corps.

Capt. James Parsons of 'A' Battery wrote to his wife later the following account :

"The (German) plane, at treetop level, came down the road straight at the (quad .50-cal.) machine gun, both firing like mad! About 300 yards from the gun the plane jerked off course a little and seemed bad hit. Then the pilot belly-landed his plane. It skidded for about 150 yards and stopped about 60 feet from the machine gunner who shot it down. The canopy of the cockpit slid back. The pilot crawled out onto the wing, holding his side, took two steps and pitched off the wing---dead! When we turned him over, you could see how bad he had been hit. A .50-cal. slug in his side had torn him to pieces . I'll never know how he landed that plane after being hit! What a sight---A man on a quad .50 and a fighter plane having a separate duel! " Capt. Parsons mentions no one shooting the pilot after he was outside the cockpit. He also doesn't mention the fact that Maxis was shot in the head...

Maxis managed to make a perfect belly landing in the ME-109. Some say he was already wounded as he opened his cockpit and stepped from the plane. They say he reached into his flight suit, as if to pull a pistol. Eyewitnesses say he stepped onto the wing, and raised his hands to surrender...

Eyewitnesses from a field artillery unit stated that a nearby field artillery soldier shot Maxis in the head, killing him, because Maxis had wounded some of their fellows with his strafing attack. Maxis' body lay across the left wing root of the plane. Many photos were taken of this aircraft.

US soldiers later came (from HQ) and removed the body. By that time, his flight gear had been taken as 'souvernirs'. Apparently, the dog tags (his ID # was 69-010-125) were taken as well. As a result, his grave has never been located and he is still listed as Missing in Action. He was 24 years old when he died...His plane, "White 13", was buried in a trench and re-discovered in 1987. The remaining parts of the airframe were restored with parts from other German aircraft and is currently on display in the AVIATICUM Museum in Werner Neustadt, Lower Austria.

NOTE: This is an update to information previously given in this article--

Herbert Maxis was born Nov. 20, 1920, in Berlin-Friedrichshagen, in the Treptow-Kopenick district of Berlin, Germany. When World War II came, he was married to Felicitas Maxis. He became a Luftwaffe pilot. On January 1st, 1945, he was flying as part of the German "Operation Bodenplatte" (Operation Baseplate), an attack on US and Allied airfields in France and Northern Europe. His group, IV/JG53, Squadron 13, was flying from the Stuttgart area of Germany, to attack the US airfield at Metz, France. He was flying an ME-109/G14/AS, tail number 784993, "White 13", for the large number painted on the side of the aircraft. In the early morning hours of that New Year's Day, he passed over the village of Ober-Felsberg, in the Uberherrn-Saarlouis district of the Saarland. For some reason, instead of proceeding on to the primary target airfield at Metz, some 20 miles further west, he peeled off to attack an American convoy traveling toward Ober-Felsberg from the nearly town of Ittersdorf. As he swung around into the attack, some 100 feet over the ground, American gunners began to fire at his plane and hits were scored. He also opened fire with his guns and wounded at least two American soldiers. Although men were firing machine guns and small arms fire at him from the ground and village, the credit for the shootdown went to Flenory Griggs of Battery 'A', gun crew #1, of the 455th AAA Bn., of Patton's Third Army, XX Corps.

Capt. James Parsons of 'A' Battery wrote to his wife later the following account :

"The (German) plane, at treetop level, came down the road straight at the (quad .50-cal.) machine gun, both firing like mad! About 300 yards from the gun the plane jerked off course a little and seemed bad hit. Then the pilot belly-landed his plane. It skidded for about 150 yards and stopped about 60 feet from the machine gunner who shot it down. The canopy of the cockpit slid back. The pilot crawled out onto the wing, holding his side, took two steps and pitched off the wing---dead! When we turned him over, you could see how bad he had been hit. A .50-cal. slug in his side had torn him to pieces . I'll never know how he landed that plane after being hit! What a sight---A man on a quad .50 and a fighter plane having a separate duel! " Capt. Parsons mentions no one shooting the pilot after he was outside the cockpit. He also doesn't mention the fact that Maxis was shot in the head...

Maxis managed to make a perfect belly landing in the ME-109. Some say he was already wounded as he opened his cockpit and stepped from the plane. They say he reached into his flight suit, as if to pull a pistol. Eyewitnesses say he stepped onto the wing, and raised his hands to surrender...

Eyewitnesses from a field artillery unit stated that a nearby field artillery soldier shot Maxis in the head, killing him, because Maxis had wounded some of their fellows with his strafing attack. Maxis' body lay across the left wing root of the plane. Many photos were taken of this aircraft.

US soldiers later came (from HQ) and removed the body. By that time, his flight gear had been taken as 'souvernirs'. Apparently, the dog tags (his ID # was 69-010-125) were taken as well. As a result, his grave has never been located and he is still listed as Missing in Action. He was 24 years old when he died...His plane, "White 13", was buried in a trench and re-discovered in 1987. The remaining parts of the airframe were restored with parts from other German aircraft and is currently on display in the AVIATICUM Museum in Werner Neustadt, Lower Austria.

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