71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion WWII

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71st L-4 Restoration Spain

An original L-4J Piper Cub observation plane of the 71st AFA Bn., is presently being restored to it's original condition in Spain by Calixto Albertos, who generously donated these pictures (below) of the restoration, pending final assembly.  As he completes the project, more photos will follow. Here is a history of the aircraft from Mr. Albertos:
HISTORY of the G-54 Observation Aircraft
60 years ago,on October 31, 1944,  he left the Piper factory in Lock Haven. He went to war in the military , wearing the khaki uniform of the US-ARMY. His number was 44-80669 (s / n 12 965). He originally wore the familiar yellow color of his sister, the J3 Cub. He was born a soldier, L4-J was a grasshopper. Shortly thereafter, on December 5, he arrives in Europe, and is assigned to the 9th Air Force. February 26 he is transferred to the 5th Armored Division, participating as part of the 71st Field Artillery Battalion in the Hurtgen Forest battles, the siege of Bagstonne, reconquest of Falaise, and the whole of the Ardennes campaign. This is the first unit to enter German territory. He was comrade in arms of another L-4H that Duane Francies piloted, (which he had named "Miss Me?") Was the star of the most unusual air battle of World War 2. On April 11, 1945, takes place the last aerial combat of the war in Europe, when Merritt and his observer, Lieutenant Martin, seen as a little below them, flying a German observation Fi156 Storch. Without thinking for a moment, opened the door of the aircraft, drew their pistols and emptied Colt45 chargers on the surprised German. This, to be attacked and not knowing where the attack came, he began to describe circles trying to escape, not realizing he was losing altitude, causing the tip of the plane and make landfall overturn the plane. Merritt then landed and captured and treated the two Germans captured. Because of this, 20 years after the war ended, he was awarded the DFC medal. After the war, and like every soldier, he was disbanded, and after spending time stored, reappears in Switzerland with registration HB-OCM on 19 November 1946, Farner property of the company Werke AG (Grenchen). Eight years and a half after entering Spain, was purchased by Miguel Ara and is registered as Torrell EC-AJY on 8 June 1954. This purchase, 80,000 pesetas! of the time. On 18 December 1965 was acquired by the Royal Aero Club Barcelona-Sabadell. (Mr. Carlos Alos Soler as president and on behalf of Real Aeroclub makes such purchase). On June 8, 1966 is inscribed in the name of the flying club. On April 22, 1982 was bought by Tavis (work Aviacion SA) in Barcelona. This period is known as The Pascualina, due to its decoration in commercials for Leche Pascual. Around this time is when you do the incredible looping as reflected in the photos. Quite a feat for this type of aircraft. A short time later was bought by the Royal Aero Club of Burgos. Its president Don Jose Olias and four partners get down to work and bring color and decoration that looks even today. Involved in countless laps and Spain air raids. Some time later was acquired by Francisco Javier Sánchez Peral Lucas and Julian Alonso, who ascribe to the Fundación Infante de Orleans in 1990. And in the Fundación Infante de Orleans continues.The current owners, José Fernández-Albertos Coppel and Callisto, continue to make it fly every first Sunday of the month in exhibitions. Very shortly, in the workshops it will come back to its original state, and this veteran, will proudly wear the uniform that was when one day he went to war.


*NEW 12/26/12

Pictures of the plane on it's first day of flight. It will continue testing and possibly on March 3, 2013 it will be made public for it's official presentation.  (C.A.)

Previous Color Schemes (Civilian)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 22:49  


Sgt.Wallace Weeks
Photo Collection & Story
In Memory Of ..
James N. Sorensen 70
McKinleyville, CA.
(Son of Lt. Neil Sorensen)
8/07/44  -  7/29/15
In Memory Of ..
Paul H. McWain 95
Huntington Woods, Michigan
(Former Lt. in the 71st)
1919  - 12/21/14
In Memory Of ..
Everett Hammock Wilcox  95
Crystal River, Florida
(Former Capt. in the 71st)
6/27/1918 - 4/14/2014