At the end of WW2, on April 11, 1945, the last documented air battle occurred in the skies over Europe on the western front near Berlin between a Piper L-4 named “Miss Me!?” and a Fiesler Fi-156 Storch. While flying his 142nd mission, Pilot Lieutenant Duane Francies and his observer Lieutenant William Martin, were scouting ahead for the 5th Armored Battalion, which was heading northeastward towards Berlin. Francies spotted the Fi-156 hugging the terrain below and giving chase, they opened fire on the storch using their Colt .45 pistols. After trying to evade the L-4 and with holes in his windscreen, the Storch pilot tried to make a hasty landing in a beet field. He lost one wing and cartwheeled the plane into a pile of parts. Francies landed his L-4 in an adjacent field, and then he and Martin captured the two Germans who had survived the crash. One of the most unusual victories in the history of combat in that the involved Storch was the only aircraft known to have been downed by handgun fire in the entire war. The nose art has two meanings, thus the exclamation point AND the question mark. The exclamation mark was for the enemy, the Pilot wanted them to “Miss Me!” And the other was to his girlfriend – do you “Miss Me?”
Princeton Airport Centennial Show, NJ, USA. 17 September 2011 Original photo click ‘show full description’.
Lt. Francies pilot (left) and Lt. Martin observer (right) in front of the “Miss Me!?” photo courtesy of Beckley family