One Fifty-sixth of a Kill?

Discussion in 'Stories' started by MIflyer, May 20, 2012.

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  1. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

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    A story told by a friend of mine, a retired USAF officer who entered the USAAF late in WWII as a B-32 gunner.

    A formation of 56 USAAF P-51 Mustangs was proceeding into Germany in 1944. Suddenly the US pilots noticed a single BF-109 at about their altitude, proceeding seemingly casually, at right angles to their route of flight, right in front of them. Every American thought the same thing, “What does that guy think he is doing?” but no one broke formation.

    They could tell just exactly when the German sighted the P-51’s. The 109 jerked suddenly. And then, with no one as much as firing a shot, breaking formation, or even uttering a word over the radio, the 109 rolled upside down, the canopy came off, and the pilot bailed out.

    Finally, a few minutes later came a radio call from someone in the Mustang formation, “Well, do we all now claim 1/56 of a kill?”
     
  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Well, I'm not about to call your friend a liar, so let's just chalk this up to mis-remembrance or repeating a myth.

    The B-32 Dominator never served in the European theatre. That was my first flag. And second, if none of the P-51s broke formation the Bf109 pilot would have just hauled azz to avoid a lopsided battle, not abandon a completely good airplane.

    Good story, but I'm about 99.999% sure it's BS.
     
  3. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Agree with Matt. B-32 in WWII? Now there were some green LW pilots that are documented as giving up the ghost when in the .50 sights of Allied 51s but just upon seeing them? Naw.
     
  4. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

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    Excuse me, but just exactly where did I say anything about B-32's in Europe?

    My friend originally was training in the U.S., shooting at RP-63's, and was told that for the invasion of Japan he would be a gunner on B-32's which would be used for low altitude "gunship" strafing missions. The A-bomb attacks eliminated the need for that mission. And B-32's were used over Japan; in the Pentagon there is a painting showing a B-32 fighting Japanese fighters, labled as "The last aerial combat of WWII."

    As for what the combat vet told my combat vet friend about the 109 pilot bailing out , I rather would tend to believe them rather than your objections, so excuse me. The fact is, by that time in the war the Luftwaffe was tracking pilots via some of their new IFF and charging them if they failed to engage the enemy. And our bombers reported cases in which German fighters just flew out of gun range and seemed to decide not to get involved.
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    You can choose what you want to believe, but I can tell you that I heard plenty of stories during my time in the Air Force that were definitely not true. But they grow as time goes on and some people believe them. Hearing a story from a veteran does not necessarily make it true. Allegedly, the P-38 Lightning was called the "Forked Tailed Devil" by the Germans, yet there is no written record of that ever being true.
     
  6. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    While I do believe a B-32, a heavy bomber, is credited for shooting down the last Japanese plane of the war, it would not be used for low altitude “gunship” strafing missions and gunners were not officers, they were NCO’s.

    Did he become an officer later?

    Again since the B-32 was not used in Europe how did your friend (if he was in that airplane) see a Bf 109? The Japanese did not use them.

    Is he telling the story as told to him by someone else?
     
  7. futuredogfight

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    Hmmmm. Didn't Japan get a couple of Me-109s? No one knows what happened to them. Anyway, funny story, but I doubt it's true
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    #8 Matt308, May 20, 2012
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
    Look MI, you are the guy who posted the story. We members of this history forum are obsessed with facts. There is no need to get your buttocks up around your shoulders when someone questions a premise that you put forward. Your response only raises more issues for the credibility of the story. Your "friend" was training in B-32's to be a gunner, that implies that he was destined for the Pacific theater, was likely very young at the time and that time was probably late 1944 to sometime in 1945 (assuming he was actually in WWII proper - don't panic I don't mean that in a disparaging way :rolleyes: ). You then note that he was a "combat vet" so that now places him in mid-1945+ timeframe. So your friend hears this from another service member. And your friend also notes that the B-32 crews were training for "low altitude 'gunship" strafing missions". Negative. Not under then doctrine.

    I'm not sure if you are familiar with an IFF system. It is only a transponder of limited range in WWII that if "pinged" would respond with a code for identification. It is nothing like todays ADS-B transponder with GPS position reporting wherein a ground control intercept station could monitor flight maneuver granularity to make determinations of "being bounced" by the enemy. And your last sentence supports my response exactly.

    The facts do not add-up whatsoever. Again, I say this may be an elder gentlemen whose memory perhaps is not quite so clear as it used to be. But do yourself a favor in the future, don't get riled up when your posts are challenged. It's the nature of historical forums on the 'internets'. :lol:

    And please don't take this as an admonition. Your posts are most welcome.
     
  9. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

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    My friend entered the USAAF as an enlisted man, was told that he was training to be a gunner on B-32 on gunship missions, but to my knowledge never set foot in a B-32. He went on to became an officer in the USAF and served until 1970. He was a combat vet because the USAF saw combat after 1945, if you call getting shot at being in combat (some people do not). He was an author - I was reading his stuff for years before I met him - had some fantastic experiences, met a lot of very interesting people, including having dinner with Hans Ulrich Rudel a couple of evenings, and was told a WWII story by Gen Pete Quesda that was absolutely incredible and for some reason has yet to come out - I do not know if it is true but there are some indications that it was. The 1/56th kill story was told to him by another vet. I thought people would enjoy it.

    My friend believes that in immediate postwar Germany he was the radar controller that vectored a P-80 for the first ever jet-to-jet intercept, after trying on mutiple evenings with P-51's and P-47's as the interceptors. He never heard what that other jet was or who was operating it.

    As for German IFF, I read of a case where a German fighter was equipped with new IFF and after landing they asked the pilot if he had stayed with the formation. He said yes. They told the formation leader that they knew what the location of the formation was based on the IFF and where the enemy was located, and therefore the leader had avoided combat and they arrested him. That is what I was getting at

    But I do not see people asking questions here but just saying they do not believe something because, well, just because. In one other case I mentioned that I had read a book by a WWII Navy pilot who had trained on the F2A in Florida and said the landing gear operation was quite difficult. I got a response from somebody who said that he read the F2A manual saying that did not sound right. Okay, He Read The Manual. That overrules a book written by a highly decorated Navy pilot.

    I was going to post next here a very interesting P-38 story I heard personally from Tony LeVier but I can see that would be pointless. It would only bring more calls of BS. Sorry to disturb y'all.
     
  10. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    ..here's your ball. I guess we are done then.
     
  11. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    MIflyer,

    “But I do not see people asking questions here but just saying they do not believe something because, well, just because.”

    I did ask questions. I ask if your friend became an officer after his B-32 service and I ask if he was re-telling the story, which was not clear (to me) from your first post.

    “My friend believes that in immediate postwar Germany he was the radar controller that vectored a P-80 for the first ever jet-to-jet intercept, after trying on mutiple evenings with P-51's and P-47's as the interceptors. He never heard what that other jet was or who was operating it. “

    Technically the first “jet on jet intercept” was RAF Meteors vs. German V1’s during the war.

    As Matt308 pointed out all of us on this site should be interested in “facts” and we all probably have been “schooled” by others at one time or another, this is how we learn.

    I, for one, would like to hear your P-38 story.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I'll stick with my post with the adendum that I want to thank your friend for his service.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
    Tell ya what - bring it on. I knew LeVier personnaly (I also worked at Lockheed Burbank for 10.5 yrs) and interviewed him several times.
     
  14. Jack_Hill

    Jack_Hill Member

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    One thing is acertained by General A.Galland while flying an observation mission with a wingmang.
    The goal was to observe efficiency and tactical methods respect from luftwaffe interceptor pilots against bombers.
    What he saw was schwarms of 109 and 190 turning around bomber boxes not even attempting any attack.
    Was it usual for LW pilots to be cowards ?
    I don't think so.
    Anyhow, it's'a strange idea to bail out from a good state warplane.
    Maybe a mechanical failure dictated the pilot reaction ?
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #15 FLYBOYJ, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
    After looking up some info, I'm going to throw the BS flag on your friend. There were MANY articles and a few books written about the B-32 and NOWHERE does it mention any type of planned low-level "gunship" mission for this aircraft. Here's one very good internet source on the history of the B-32.

    Consolidated B-32 Dominator

    The only use of a "gunship" during WW2 were the conversion of B-17s and B-24s into bomber formation escorts to counter German fighters and those aircraft didn't last to long. The first air-to-ground fixed wing gunships were not conceived until 1964 when AC-47s were developed for use in Vietnam.

    FYI - on this site many of us have been in this business for 20 and 30 years plus and have spent time around some of the hardware. When we hear stories that seem to stretch too far, we question them. If the submitter could provide a viable source (other than an third party's "word") we listen and learn. So with that said, I would like to know where your "friend" went to B-32 gunnery school.
     
  16. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Key 2 words.
     
  17. Jack_Hill

    Jack_Hill Member

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    Hi all !
    What about pulling up and slowing revs a bit ?
    "Rahan, paleolithic SR 71 pilot while not even knowing wheel", 35000 ad
    "Cooking well a fresh fished pike for Family and friends is much more important than upseting about planes stories"
    Don't remember exactly who or where, once upon, a long ago.
    Have fun my friends !
     
  18. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I will not even dignify that with a response.
     
  19. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    And the drugs kicked in at exactly 12:55 P.M.

    Geo
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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