Just Another Day for a WWII Fighter Pilot

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2nd Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
The book "Escort Pilot" has a summary of a typical day of Walter J. Konantz, flying P-51's with the 338th Ftr Sqrn, 55th Fighter Group, out of Wormingford, England.

Got up at 0500, took off at 0800, flew an escort mission for B-17's to Berlin. He said that they would detail one of the newer pilots to leave the formation and carefully fly up to the B-17's and find the unit with the correct markings on the tail to make sure they had the correct bombers to escort (this seems rather unsophisticated, but I guess it worked). After the bombers hit the target, and heading back home at 1135, they leave the bombers a the Holland border, drop their tanks when they are empty, and go down to strafe, They shoot up a train. They spot three BF-109's and shoot them down and see some B-17's limping along on three engines and escort them back to England. On they way back, they eat lunch, consisting of 2 or 3 candy bars.

They arrive at home base with maybe 15 gallons of fuel left and land, forgoing victory rolls due to the low fuel state. They debrief, sack out until supper at 1730, and hit the sack at 2130.

At 2140 hours there is a PA announcement that the base is under Red Alert and to seek shelter. This means that air launched V-1's will be flying overhead toward London. They all load their .45 automatics and go stand atop the bomb shelter. If a V-1 comes overhead they shoot at it, inevitably without results. Finally they go back to bed in the barracks and at about 0200 they hear the engine on one quit and they take cover under the covers. It hits about a mile away and the blast blows open the doors. They close the doors and go back to sleep.

At 0500 they are awoken for another mission....

Imagine getting up to go shoot at V-1's! Sounds like fun, but...

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