On April 3, 1945, 2Lt. Walter P. Manning of the 301st Fighter Squadron was escorting Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers to a marshalling yard at St. Polten in Austria. On the way back to Ramitelli Air Field in Italy, the squadron flew straight down the Danube River . They were looking for boats and barges as targets of opportunity when they encountered heavy flak at Linz and spotted enemy planes. A battle ensued. Seven pilots shot down 12 planes including an FW-190 shot down by Manning. Unfortunately, Manning's P-51 was hit by enemy fire and went down about 15 miles south of Wels in northern Austria.