Freeman Field Komet

Note: this page was previously named 'Wright Field Komet'. This was a preliminary name, since the location of this Komet's disassembly was either Wright Field or Freeman Field. Recent research has cleared up the issue, and experts agree it was Freeman Field.

This Komet was formerly shown on the 'White 54' page. During its dismantling process at Freeman Field it was fitted with the tail of 'White 54', which led to predictable results. But after it was established that the tail of 'White 54' had also been fitted to 'White 42', suspicion rose about the identity of this aircraft. Soon it turned out it indeed was another Komet. The mottle camouflage was different, it had a pitot boom, it seemed to have MK 108 armament, and it had later type cooling slots in the rear fuselage. Unfortunately no information on the identity of this Komet is known; no Werknummer, Stammkennzeichen or code is known. Therefore it will be simply identified as the 'Freeman Field Komet'.

Germany, 1945

Thanks to David E. Brown of Experten Decals and N. Malayney, we can now trace back the 'Freeman Field Komet' to Germany! It is seen here being loaded aboard a C-46 Commando, possibly for transportation to the USA. Richard Chancellor reports that "this C-46 was operated by the 313th Troop Carrier Group, and going by the font of the radio call sign letter R was assigned to the 48th Troop Carrier Squadron. The number 41 by the trailing edge of the wing could be the chalk number that was put on the aircraft for Operation Varsity. If it indeed is the aircraft chalk number for Operation Varsity, the full aircraft serial number would be 44-77589. This C-46 survived Operation Varsity by virtue of the fact that it had engine trouble just after taking off, the pilot then returned to Achiet Le Grand and the aircraft was replaced by another C-46 (44-77583) which was shot down by flak over the drop zone at Wesel." Note that the location appears to be the very same hangar apron as seen in the seven Komets on trucks photo. That makes Merseburg the location for this photo. Brandis had a hangar that looked similar, but all Komets at Brandis were destroyed.

Late 2012, two related photos surfaced on Ebay. They should the loading of a Komet into what appears to be the same C-46. Clearly the personel involved struggled to load the Komet, trying different methods. The Komet appears to be a different one than the 'Freeman' Komet. It's fuselage Balkenkreuz has a black center which the 'Freeman' Komet appears to lack. Also, the first photo shows a strong camouflage demarcation on the lower fuselage, aft of the wing. In that photo, the Komet is still fitted with its dolly that has checkered wheels (most likely red and white).

Freeman Field

The following set of photos give a good impression of a late-series Komet, including its camouflage and markings. The disassembly took place at Freeman Field, where a number of German aircraft were collected and studied.

A new photo of the Freeman Field Komet surfaced in 2010: Julian Abram kindly provided the photo below in high resolution. The photos show the same composite airframe as in the four above photos.

A page dedicated to Freeman Army Air Field, part of James West's extensive Indiana Military Organization web site, shows lots of data and a large number of photos of these aircraft. Following the 'German Aircraft @ Freeman' link you will find an extensive list, that includes all known data on the five Komets that were present at Freeman at some point.

Camouflage discussion

To be added.

Sources to be checked

Through James West of the extensive Indiana Military Organization web site, the following possible interesting sources were identified:

James West sells two CD's on his site, one that contains the entire collection of the weekly newspaper 'Twingine Time' published at Freeman Field, and a CD containing a 1,500 page 'Freeman official Army history'. James was kind enough to check for Komet content, but there is no mention of the enemy aircraft on either of them. Both end with the end of the Flight Training Center and before it became the Evaluation Center.

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