Eiffel Tower

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DVH, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. DVH

    DVH Member

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    Hi,
    I recently read about the death of one William Overstreet ( apt name) who reportedly flew his P51 through the Eiffel Tower chasing an ME109.
    Anyone know if this is true? or who the luftwaffe pilot was? He seems to be one heck of a pilot, but gets no name check.
     
  2. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #3 GrauGeist, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    USAAF pilot Wiiliam "Bill" Overstreet, of the 357th FG, chased the damaged Bf109G under the Eiffel Tower with his P-51C "Berlin Express". As far as the identity of the Luftwaffe pilot, I haven't heard who it was, but he flew under the tower first, Overstreet finished him off after they cleared the structure, the Bf109 crashing near the river.

    He just passed away last Sunday (29 December 2013) at the age of 92.
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #4 tyrodtom, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    I've seen a picture of a Beechcraft Bonanza doing the same thing in the late 50's or early 60's, and this was long before photoshop.
    I don't know the details, if it was some movie stunt , or just some crazy pilot's wet dream come true.

    The bottom arch is about 220 feet across, and less than 200 high, certainly possible for a P-51, just not the safest route thru Paris.

    The Bonanza incident actually happened in 1984. Look up Robert Moriarty, he had a camera with him and the film is online, look it up.
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Considering that the fleeing German was trying to get the AA batteries there in Paris to shake the P-51 off his tail, Overstreet had alot more to worry about than clearing the arch!
     
  6. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Here's a WW2 view of the Eiffel tower from the Palais de Chaillot which is directly opposite, across the Seine; the distance from the photo to the arch is about 350 metres (measured on google map): I assume the two aircraft raced up the Champ de Mars?

    [​IMG]

    The arch is about 150 feet tall, so at 350+ mph it must have been a small target.
     
  7. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Same view, a few years later:

    [​IMG]

    From a history of 409 Squadron.
     
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  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Is that a Mossie?
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    No, it's a Beaufighter, flying through the arch. I believe it was duplicating a similar flight by a Beau, which dropped a Tricolor, and tickled either a Gestapo HQ or Whermacht HQ with it's cannons, during the war. I have the story somewhere.
     
  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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  11. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I don't see this a big deal other than the novelty of the evasion maneuver on the part of the LW pilot. One would have to a.) make the decision to go for it - and seeing the 109 make it is a confidence builer, and b.) fly low where your peripheral vision/depth perception is probably best to make sure you have a lot of clearance above you.

    There are documented encounter reports in which a pilot flew under high tension power lines coming off a strafing run in bad weather.
     
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  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Bill Overstreet was an accomplished pilot and could have easily "shot the arch", when he was training on the west coast, he and a few others used to fool around with the Golden Gate Bridge along with other "interesting" stunts that usually got them wrote up.

    He is also one of the first known pilots to survive a P-39's infamous flat spin, too. His experiences during the war were actually quite remarkable.
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That may well be, but if this combat did indeed happen (and I'm not saying it did not) Overstreet did not file a combat report or make a claim for a Bf 109 anywhere near Paris.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    One suspect that old boy is thinking about Commander A. K. Gatward of No. 404 Squadron.....
    It was on the 12th of June '42, when he flew (Sgt. G. F. Fern was his navigator) Beaufighter T4800, ND-C, at deck height through Paris, dropped the French tricolour over the Arc de Triomphe, then cannon blast the Gestapo HQ, which was located in the Ministry of Marine building....
     
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  17. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Crazy Canadians as the Mossie was also a Canadian a/c.
     
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  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    It's my understanding that this event occurred on 29 July 44...I'm not exactly certain.

    On that day, the Luftwaffe lost two fighters in the direct vicinity:

    Bf109G-6 (WkNmr 412619) 9./JG 27; Yellow 3+| - Lt. Hannes Löffler

    Bf109G-6 (WkNmr 165162) 11./JG 27; Red 11+~ - Lt. Paul Becker

    Lots of eye witnesses, including the French Resistance, who were all inspired by the event and rioted for several days. Overstreet was eventually awarded the Legion of Honor for this action (2009).
    If Lt. Overstreet didn't claim it, perhaps he wasn't sure if the Bf109 went down (though he did say he nailed it pretty hard when it pulled up from passing under the arch) and I could understand that, since the Germans were throwing everything at him, including the kitchen sink, so he was probably more focused on getting out of the area in one piece! :lol:
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    On 29th July Overstreet made his one and only claim for a Bf 109, not near Paris, but West of Merseburg. That couldn't possibly be linked to an aircraft shot down in Paris.

    Again, I'm not saying that this didn't happen, but it doesn't seem possible that it happened on that date which seems to be generally accepted. It is strange that if it was indeed Overstreet who pursued and shot down a Bf 109 in Paris that he did not submit a report.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    That's the one old boy! Must be getting more confused than usual, although I still think there was, at some time, a 'Beau Moment' involving that copy of Blackpool Tower ....
     
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