Pilots Quotes

Discussion in 'Stories' started by bobbysocks, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    got this from another forum,,,thought it was pretty good stuff...

    Harrison B. Tordoff, P-47 pilot, 353rd Fighter Group


    We loved the P-47 for its toughness and reliability. It was heavy and looked cumbersome but in the hands of a good pilot it could turn and climb with an Me 109 or Fw 190. Nothing could outdive it. We had pilots bring back tree branches and tops of telephone poles in the wings of their '47s. A few even came home with top cylinders shot off. It could be belly landed in a forest, on an open field, it crash landed about as well as it landed on wheels. Pilots learned to appreciate that kind of toughness. The eight .50 caliber machine-guns were devastating on ground or air targets and the plane was a very stable gun platform. On the negative side, the '47 burned fuel at power at 450 gallons/hour. It only carried about 350 gallons internally. It got nose light in a stall and nose heavy in a dive. It had a very nasty spin, violent and hard to stop. I spun out of a slow turn at high altitude with full wing tanks once, by accident, while trying to keep in formation on a combat mission. It tore the wing tanks off and scared the Hell out of me. But the general way I felt in a P-47 was invincible.


    Adolf Galland, Me 109 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 26
    Galland was one of the top German aces of the war. Here, he describes the first time he was shot down


    This was on June 21, 1941 when JG 26 was stationed at Pas de Calais. We had attacked some Bristol Blenheim bombers and I shot down two, but some Supermarine Spitfires were on me and they had shot my plane up. I had to belly land in a field until picked up later and I went on another mission after lunch. On this mission I shot down number 70, but I did something stupid. I was following the burning Spitfire down when I was bounced and shot up badly. My plane was on fire and I was wounded. I tried to bail out but the canopy was jammed shut from enemy bullets. So I tried to stand in the cockpit, forcing the canopy open with my back as the plane screamed toward the earth. I had opened it and almost cleared the 109 when my parachute harness became entangled on the radio aerial. I fought it with everything I had until I finally broke free, my parachute opening just before I hit the ground. I was bleeding from my head and arm plus I had damaged my ankle on landing. I was taken to safety by some Frenchmen.


    Jack Lenox, P-38 pilot, 14th Fighter Group


    I flew my third mission as wingman to Col. Taylor. During a dive onto a formation of Me 109s, I made a turn to the left, losing sight of my leader. I observed black smoke trailing from the Me 109 I was firing at but was unable to observe more as I continued to dive to outrun an Me 109 firing at me. Passing through about 15,000 ft I was able to pull out of my dive and blacked out in the dive recovery. The next thing I knew I was at 20,000 ft, alone, and trying to find someone to attach myself to. Seeing another P-38 in the same predicament, I joined formation with it as his wingman and discovered that it was the group commander. When we returned home, Col. Taylor commented on how we had become involved in the fight and although he was all over the sky I had followed him and remained on his wing.


    Elmer W. O'Dell, P-51 pilot, 363rd Fighter Group


    I destroyed an aircraft on my first mission. Unfortunately, it was a P-51. I was taking off on my leader's wing when I blew a tire and swerved to avoid him. Kicking opposite rudder, I avoided the collision but by the time I got straightened out I didn't have enough speed or runway to get airborne. I cut the switches, held the stick in my gut and closed my eyes. The plane ran off the field, across the sunken road which sheared off the gear, dropped on two full wing tanks, skidded across a field, tore off the left wing on a stump and wound up with its nose in a chicken coop. I was told later that I killed a crow in a hedge along the road and two chickens in the coop. The Mustang was rugged; I didn't even get a scratch


    Erich Hartmann, Me 109 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 52
    Highest scoring ace of WWII with 352 kills; shot down 16 times but never wounded


    Once committed to an attack, fly in at full speed. After scoring crippling or disabling hits, I would clear myself and then repeat the process. I never pursued the enemy once they had eluded me. Better to break off and set up again for a new assault. I always began my attacks from full strength, if possible, my ideal flying height being 22,000 ft because at that altitude I could best utilize the performance of my aircraft. Combat flying is based on the slashing attack and rough maneuvering. In combat flying, fancy precision aerobatic work is really not of much use. Instead, it is the rough maneuver which succeeds.

    Harry J Hayduff, P-47 pilot, 78th Fighter Group


    If the Hun is right on your tail, do something quick and violent. As one of our pilots once said when the first he was aware of a Hun were the tracers coming over his shoulder, "I put the stick in one corner and the rudder in the other. I don't know what happened but when I came out the Hun wasn't there any longer". If the Hun is in shooting range, always keep the ball going in each corner, never give him an opportunity to line up his sights. Remember this slows you up though.


    Avelin P. Tacon, Jr, P-51 pilot, CO, 359th Fighter Group


    It is impossible to attack ground targets without having to pull up as the nose of the Mustang rides pretty well down at high speed. If the nose isn't far enough down, you can use 10 degrees of flaps, which is permissible up to 400 mph. This will bring your guns down on the ground right in front of you.


    As for bombing, we much prefer dive bombing. Skip bombing is something we are not at all enthusiastic about, probably because we can't hit a damn thing that way. The only thing we consider a skip bomb target is a tunnel mouth. All of the bridges we have skip bombed have had low river banks and our bombs have just tumbled cross country for about a mile before exploding.


    Dive bombing is something else. We've gotten pretty accurate with dive bombing since we'e had the Mustangs. By starting our dive from about 8,000 ft and releasing about 4,000 ft we can get pretty good results. Particularly on bridge approaches and marshalling yards. Flak doesn't bother us much dive bombing as we have plenty of speed. We like to dive bomb individually if there isn't any heavy flak bothering is.

    As to the danger - everyone agrees that in strafing you're bound to get it in the end if you do enough of it, but that by being smart and taking every advantage, you can prolong it somewhat.


    Ernst Schroeder, Fw 190 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 300


    I catch sight of the glittering reflections of the sun on the uncamouflaged American bombers, off to the left and at the same altitude, about 25,000 ft. Still a long way away, the stately enemy formation crosses in front of us from left to right. I carefully search the sky for enemy escorts but I can make out only three or four condensation trails above the bombers. Curving around, the Sturmgruppe is now directly in front of me, about 150 yards below. I have a grandstand view of the attack as it unfolds. The bombers open up with a furious defensive fire, filling the sky with tracers as we move in at full throttle. At 300 yards, the main body of the Fw 190s open up with their 20 mm and 30 mm cannon, the murderous trains of high explosive shells streaking out towards the Liberators. Within seconds, two of the giant aircraft have exploded into great fireballs, while several others have caught fire and are falling out of formation. On either side of me my Schwarm comrades fire like mad and score hit after hit on their targets. Looking around, I see the sky is like a chaotic circus; whirling and fluttering pieces of aircraft, and entire wing falling complete with engines and propellers still turning, several parachutes and some of our aircraft battling with the few P-38 escort fighters that have reached us.


    Duane W. Beeson, P-51 pilot, 4th Fighter Group


    The most important thing to a fighter pilot is speed; the faster an aircraft is moving when he spots an enemy aircraft, the sooner he will be able to take the bounce and get to the Hun. If you have any advantage on him, keep it and use it. When attacking, plan to overshoot him if possible, hold fire until within range, then shoot and clobber him down to the last instant before breaking away. It's like sneaking up behind someone and hitting them with a baseball bat.


    James H. Doolittle, Commander, 8th Air Force


    Adolf Galland said that the day we took our fighters off the bombers and put them against the German fighters, that is, went from defensive to offsensive, Germany lost the air war. I made that decision and it was my most important decision during World War II. As you can imagine, the bomber crews were upset. The fighter pilots were ecstatic.
     
  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    James Finnegan. P-47 pilot, 50th Fighter Group
    Finnegan describes shooting down Adolf Galland's Me 262 in April 1945


    I was leading the top flight cover of P-47s that was escorting B-26s to their target. As I gazed down, I saw two objects come zipping through the formation and two bombers blew up immediately. I watched the two objects go through the bomber formation and thought "That can't be a prop job, it's got to be one of those 262 jets". I was at about 13,000 ft and estimated them to be at about 9-10,000. They were climbing and I pulled a split-S towards the one that turned left and almost ended up right on top of him, about 75 yards away. I gave a three second burst and saw strikes on the right hand engine and wing root. I was going so fast I went right through everything and guessed my speed at about 550 mph. I recorded it as a probable. I was flying a D-model Thunderbolt with a bubble canopy, a natural metal finish and a black nose. The Me 262 had a green and brown mottled camouflage with some specks of yellow. That turned out to be my last flight in a P-47. My kills for the war were an Me 109 and a Fw 190, in addition to the Me 262.


    Adolf Galland, describing the same incident:


    I was shot down by a Republic P-47D flown by a man named James Finnegan, whom I met some years later and we became friends. We were intercepting bombers near Neuberg. I was leading a flight and I attacked from astern. My rockets did not fire but I poured 30 mm cannon shells into one bomber which fell in flames and flew right through the formation, hitting another. I could not tell if that bomber was finished off, so I banked around for another run, all the while my jet was receiving hits from the bomber's defensive fire. Suddenly my instrument panel disintegrated, my canopy was shattered and my right knee was struck. I was losing power and was in great pain. I thought about parachuting out but realized that might be dangerous as some of our pilots had been strafed upon exiting their jets. I flew for the deck and headed for this field at the air base, which was under attack. I cut the power to my good engine and thumped across the field. My nose wheel had been flattened, smoke was pouring from the plane. I climbed out to get away in case it should explode, only to find aircraft dropping bombs and firing rockets at me. Well, our mission netted five victories total and none of the pilots were killed.


    Gilbert C. Burns, P-47 pilot, 50th Fighter Group


    My fifth combat mission changed my viewpoint on combat flying in many ways. The first four missions I had flown mechanically, the hands and feet flew the plane, the finger squeezed the trigger, doing automatically all the things I had been taught. But this mission got me thinking. I thought about killing. I had killed the rear gunner of an Me 110 by rote, very nonchalantly, like brushing my teeth. However, when I killed three flak gunners, I was acutely aware of what had happened; I had seen their bodies being blown apart and was keenly concerned that I had done something serious. I though about being wounded. I heard a pilot say on radio after he had pulled up from an airfield that he was hit in the knee and that he could not stop the blood from flowing. He wanted to bail out and hoped he could find a German doctor. From that day onward, during every mission I wore four loose tourniquets around my upper arms and thighs. I thought that if I was hit I could just take up on the tourniquets as they were already in place.


    Norman W. Jackson, P-38 pilot, 14th Fighter Group


    By the time I had 30 hours of combat, I had bailed out, crash landed, come home on one engine and brought one more home so shot up that it was junked. There was talk of presenting me with the German Iron Cross.


    Erich Hartmann, Me 109 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 52
    Highest scoring ace of WWII with 352 kills; shot down 18 times but never wounded


    The key to the approach was simple: Get in as close to the enemy as possible. Your windscreen has to be black with the image, the closer the better. In that position you could not miss and this was the essence of my attack. The farther you are from the enemy, the more chance your bullets have of missing the target, the less the impact. When you are close, and I mean very close, every shot hits home. The enemy absorbs it all. It doesn't matter what your angle is on him or what position you are firing from, it doesn't matter what he does. When you are that close, evasion is useless and too late. It matters not how good a pilot he is. All his skill is negated, you hit him and he goes down. I would say get in close, there is no guesswork.


    Arthur L. Thorsen, P-38 pilot, 55th Fighter Group


    I was turning tight with the German now and my ship trembled and buffeted slightly. I couldn't pull enough deflection on him, but I had him and he had no place to go. He couldn't dive and if he climbed, he was finished. All he could do was to try to out turn me. We could turn like this forever, I thought and quickly dumped ten percent flaps. My ship reared up and turned on its wingtip. I was out turning the Jerry. I opened fire and saw strikes around the cockpit and left wing root.


    The German was not done yet and rolled out quickly to starboard, sucking in his stick and pulling vapour streamers from his wing tips. I rolled with him but he had me by a second and I lost my deflection. We were in a vertical turn now and the centrifugal force was pusing me hard into the seat. I was about 150 yards astern of him when his ship filled my gunsight. I pulled through and opened fire. I could see strikes on his engine and pieces flew off. Then a long stream of glycol poured from his engine and I knew he was finished. He suddenly pulled out of the turn, went into a steep climb, popped his canopy and bailed out. We were very low, almost too low for bailing out. I followed him down and his chute must have popped just as his feet hit the ground.


    Franz Stigler, Fw 190 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 27


    At first the unescorted bombers were relatively easy to destroy and suffered prohibitive losses. When the P-47s and P-38s began escorting them part way, early in 1944, we had to alter our method of attack, but as soon as they left due to lack of fuel, we pounded the bombers unmercifully. Our interception time was more limited than it had been in late 1943, but our technique had improved so that we were able to accomplish more in less time. Our ground control methods were also better and we could call in interceptors from a far larger area.


    William J. Skinner, Spitfire pilot, 31st Fighter Group


    Our Spitfires and the P-51Bs that replaced them had the same Rolls Royce Merlin engine, but the P-51 had the laminar flow wing which gave it 10 mph more speed straight and level and much greater fire power with .50 caliber machine-guns. When strafing a target with the Mustang it seemed like I'd never run out of ammunition while the Spitfire had 120 rounds each for the two cannon and 350 for each of the .303s, which was a good gun but didn't have much power. The Spit had excellent maneuverability and rate of climb and no restrictions on maneuvers performed. The British never gave us any flight manuals, just word of mouth. We'd ask them what we could and couldn't do and they'd say "Hell, you've got a fighter plane, you can do anything you want, straight down, full throttle, put your feet on the upper rudder pedals and pull back as hard as you can. Nothing's going to happen."


    Barrie Davis, P-51 pilot, 325th Fighter Group


    New pilots coming to our fighter group were invariably cocky to the point they were dangerous to themselves. They thought the Luftwaffe was finished and that the P-51 could quickly and easily kill anything else that flew. To modify the attitude of the newcomers, we used a war weary P-40 which our squadron somehow acquired. I was in charge of putting new pilots through a quick, intensive training program, and the final flight included a mock dogfight with the new pilot of a P-51 pitted against one of us flying a P-40. I can tell you that until a pilot knows the strengths and weaknesses of both airplanes, the P-40 can make the P-51 look outclassed. Using all of the P-40s strengths, an innovative pilot could outfly a P-51 at low altitudes until the P-51 jockey finally realized that there was something more to fighting in the air than simply having the best airplane. At that point the new pilot would become ready to listen to everything we had to say.


    Walter Hagenah, Fw 190 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 3


    To be sure of bringing down a bomber, it was essential that we held our fire until we were right up close against the bombers. We were to advance like Frederick the Great's infantrymen, holding our fire until we could see 'the white of the enemy's eyes'.


    John B. Murphy, P-51 pilot, 359th Fighter Group


    My first reaction when I saw the jet plane was that I was standing still. It seemed hopeless to try to attempt to overtake them, but my actions were prompted by a curiousity to get as close to them as possible. I believe that will be the reaction of every pilot that comes in contact with them.


    Thomas H. Jones, P-38 pilot, 82nd Fighter Group

    I well remember my first mission. After take-off and climb over the sea, some jock above and ahead of me cleared his four .50s with a burst of fire as we always did, and the empty casings rattled off my windscreen, scaring the Hell out of me. I thought the Jerries had zeroed in and I was going to be shot down.
     
  3. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    and finally..
    Erwin Miller, P-47 pilot, 4th Fighter Group


    When we strapped into a Spitfire we felt snug and part of the aircraft. The Thunderbolt cockpit, on the other hand, was so large that we felt if we slipped off the god damned seat we could break a leg. We were horrified at the thought of going to war in such a machine. We had enough trouble with the Focke Wulfs in our nimble Spitfire Mk Vs. This lumbering monster seemed infinitely worse.


    Gradually however, we learned how to fight in the Thunderbolt. At high altitude she was a hot ship and very fast in a dive. If anyone thought to escape a Thunderbolt by diving we had him cold. Even more important, at last we had a fighter with the range to penetrate deep into enemy territory where the action was.


    Reluctantly, we had to give up our little Spitires and convert to the new juggernauts. My heart remained with the Spitfire. The mere sight or sound of a Spitfire still brings deep feelings. She was such a gentle little airplane, without a trace of viciousness. She was a dream to handle in the air.


    Arthur L. Thorsen, P-38 pilot, 55th Fighter Group


    The thrill of the chase is hypnotic. Your body tingles. You feel you have wings of your own. You make funny noises to yourself. You strain against your shoulder straps as if that will give you more momentum. You begin to tremble with the knowledge that the German ship ahead of you is yours. You can take him. You don't think of shooting a human being, you just shoot at a machine. Air combat is strictly impersonal.


    Erich Hartmann, Me 109 pilot, Jagdgeschwader 52
    Highest scoring ace of WWII with 352 kills; shot down 18 times but never wounded


    If taken by surprise, I would do one thing or another automatically, depending on conditions. If I had time and saw my attacker coming in, I would wait and see how close he would come before opening fire. If he began firing at long range, I could always turn in to him. If he held his fire, I got ready for a real battle. Even against good competition, you could always break away by using negative Gs. In a tight turning maneuver, the attacker must turn more tightly in order to pull lead on his quarry. For a split second you pass under his nose and his line of sight, as he tries to line his guns up ahead of you. It is precisely at that moment when he gets his gunnery angle on you that you push the nose forward, kick bottom rudder and are gone. Your attacker cannot see you. He is intent on pulling lead and is turning in the opposite direction, in an even tighter circle, even as you are diving and turning the other way. As I said before the use of the negative G is a last ditch measure. Frankly, I tried everything possible never to be placed in such a position because if your attacker had a good wingman, he could quickly pick up that maneuver. This is why I avoided dogfights. They were long and drawn out affairs, requiring all your attention, allowing another opponent to jump you. They were the longest and most difficult method of getting a kill, the expensive and most dangerous.
     
  4. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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  5. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    Up there the world is divided into bastards and suckers. Make your choice.
    — Derek Robinson, 'Piece of Cake.'

    The first time I ever saw a jet, I shot it down.
    — General Chuck Yeager, USAF, describing his first confrontation with a Me262.

    Of all my accomplishments I may have achieved during the war, I am proudest of the fact that I never lost a wingman...It was my view that no kill was worth the life of a wingman. . . . Pilots in my unit who lost wingmen on this basis were prohibited from leading a [section]. The[y] were made to fly as wingman, instead.
    — Colonel Erich 'Bubi' Hartmann, GAF.

    The wingman is absolutely indispensable. I look after the wingman. The wingman looks after me. It's another set of eyes protecting you. That the defensive part. Offensively, it gives you a lot more firepower. We work together. We fight together. The wingman knows what his responsibilities are, and knows what mine are. Wars are not won by individuals. They're won by teams.
    — Lt. Col. Francis S. "Gabby" Gabreski, USAF, 28 victories in WWII and 6.5 MiGs over Korea.

    The duty of the fighter pilot is to patrol his area of the sky, and shoot down any enemy fighters in that area. Anything else is rubbish.
    — Baron Manfred von Richthofen, 1917. Richtofen would not let members of his Staffel strafe troops in the trenches.

    I had no system of shooting as such. It is definitely more in the feeling side of things that these skills develop. I was at the front five and a half years, and you just got a feeling for the right amount of lead.
    — Lt. General Guenther Rall, GAF.

    I am not a good shot. Few of us are. To make up for this I hold my fire until I have a shot of less than 20 degrees deflection and until I'm within 300 yards. Good discipline on this score can make up for a great deal.
    — Lt. Colonel John C. Meyer, USAAF.

    Go in close, and when you think you are too close, go in closer.
    — Major Thomas B. 'Tommy' McGuire, USAAF.

    On March 29 Korky [Koraleski] got credit for destroying a Focke-Wulf 190 without firing a shot. His encounter report is quoted in part:

    "There were Me-109s and FW-190s all over the place. We were milling round like mad. I squirted at three or four, then chased one off my wingman's tail. I picked out another one and stayed with him, waiting to get in a good shot. He started to do snap-rolls, and the next thing I knew we were both spinning down through the clouds. We broke out at about 2000 feet, with me about 300 yards behind him, still spinning. Boy, I thought, it's too late. I stopped my ship from spinning and started my pullout.

    The ground was staring me right in the face. I had grabbed the stick with both hands and hauled back as hard as I could, and the pressure caused me to black out. I remember thinking, "Well, at least you'll be unconscious when you hit."

    When I recovered a few moments later the ship was cocked up on one wing, about fifty feet above the ground, and had just slid between two trees. I looked back and could see what was left of the Focke-Wulf 190 I had been chasing. Pieces of it were still bouncing along the ground and flames were all over the wreckage. I was plenty lucky!"

    Norman "Bud" Fortier, "An Ace of the Eighth", Presidio Press 2003, p.143.

    December 31st 1944; The 358th were escorting B17s to Misburg when FW190s were spotted:

    "I managed to get right behind one of them. He was in a diving left turn, right in my gunsight. I pressed the trigger. To my consternation, only the right outboard gun fired.

    That one gun popped away with no effect until I finally got a hit on his right wingtip. He straightened out and dove straight away from me, centered in my fixed gunsight. A perfect setup but I just couldn't hit him. Chuck Hauver was just off my right wing. He could see that I was having problems. "Let me have him," he said. I slid over to the left and watched him blow the FW out of the sky. Belatedly I turned on the gun heater switch. I felt foolish, frustrated and furious.

    Chuck broke off to the right. Just as I turned to join him, I heard my wingman, Johnny Molnar, yell, "Bud! Get this sonofabitch off my ass!"

    I racked into a hard left turn and saw Johnny about five hundred yards behind me with a Focke-Wulf about three hundred yards behind him. Molnar was turning that Mustang as tight as he could, and the FW was sticking with him, but it was unable to lead him enough for a shot. I joined the rat race.

    Johnny kept yelling at me to "get this sonofabitch off my ass!" and I kept trying to assure him calmly that I would do just that. It wasn't that easy.

    With Molnar leading the aerobatic display, we used up quite a bit of sky and soon found ourselves down to about seven thousand feet, just above a layer of clouds. There was neither sky nor airspeed enough left for anything but tight turns, and all three of us were doing the best we could in that department. I lowered a few degrees of wing flaps - I didn't dare look down at how many degrees. "Johnny" - I tried to sound calm but my blood pressure must have been sky-high - "did you lower your flaps a little?"
    "Yeah."
    "Keep the stick pressure you have now. He's not gaining on you at all but I'm gaining on him." I tried to sound confident.

    I could see the vapour trails from the wingtips of the planes in front of me and I knew that my wingtips were producing the same pattern. All three of us were right on the edge of high-speed stalls. My Mustang kept giving me subtle clues, through the control column and the seat bottom, that it would be unwise to tighten the turn much more. If I stalled out of this turn, Molnar would be on his own. Every ten seconds or so, the wings of the 190 became blanketed very briefly with white vapour, an indication that the German pilot knew I was getting in position for a shot, that he was slipping closer to a stall. He couldn't increase his turn enough to get to a shooting position on Johnny and I sensed that he felt he was running out of time.

    The 190 pilot pulled it in a little too tightly. Suddenly his plane snapped viciously to the right and spun down into the cloud layer. The FW had a reputation of snap-rolling out of very tight turns. I watched him spin into the clouds. "Man, that was close!" said Johnny as he raised his flaps and eased into his wingman position. It wasn't hot inside my cockpit but I had to wipe the sweat out of my eyes.

    The terrain below the overcast was hilly, with some peaks rising to nearly three thousand feet, and I doubt that the German pilot had enough altitude to recover but I'll never know for sure - I wasn't about to follow him into that overcast. I was tempted to claim it as a probable but it was just as likely that he was "one that got away".

    Norman "Bud" Fortier, "An Ace of the Eighth", Presidio Press 2003, pp.276-9.
     
  6. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    This is from an article on Erich Hartmann, Germany's leading ace at 352 aerial victories, printed in the January 2006 issue of Aviation History magazine:

    On October 14 (1942), Hartmann lifted off on his first-ever combat flight. It was almost his last. He was flying as wingman to Sergeant Eduard Rossmann, who had 80 victories. Rossmann was as competent a teacher as he was a fighter, and he had a reputation for always bringing his wingmen home. It would take all his ability to save this one.

    Leveling off at 12,000 feet, the pair followed the Terek River until they were passing over Prokhladny. At this point Rossmann spotted a flight of Soviet aircraft strafing German traffic outside the city and radioed Hartmann to follow him as he dived to attack. After a 5,000-foot plunge, the green wingman finally caught sight of the enemy Rossmann had been tracking all along. Seeing the Russians sent Hartmann into a dither of excitement. Slamming his Messerschmitt to full power, he leapt ahead of Rossmann and impatiently lined up on the rearmost Russian, opening fire at 300 yards. He was dismayed to see his tracers whizzing over and to the left of his target. Unable to get the aircraft in his sights, he had to yank his own plane upward at the last moment to avoid a collision. Momentarily leveling off, he later recalled that he found himself "surrounded on all sides by dark green aircraft, all of them turning behind me for the kill ... ME!"

    Frantically climbing into a layer of cloud, he lost his pursuers and was unspeakably relieved to hear Rossmann's calm voice over the radio: "Don't sweat it. I watched your tail. I've lost you now that you've climbed into the clouds. Come down through the layer so I can pick you up again."

    When Hartmann dropped from the overcast, he saw a plane coming at him from straight ahead. Panicky, he dived to treetop level and hurtled westward, screaming into his microphone that he was being pursued. By then Rossmann's voice from the radio was so garbled that Hartmann could not make out his words, and the youngster countinued full-tilt to the east until he outdistanced his pursuer.

    By the time he was free of being chased and had regained his orientation, his red fuel warning light was flashing. Twenty miles short of Soldatskaya his engine sputtered into thirsty silence. After belly-landing in a cloud of dust, he was quickly surrounded by a unit of amused German infantrymen, who gave him an armored car lift back to his base. Von Bonin was waiting.

    Hartmann's "enemy" pursuer had actually been Rossmann, and bolting from his element leader was just one of seven serious combat flying infractions he had committed on his maiden flight. He had separated from his leader without orders, he had flown into his leader's line of fire, lost himself in the clouds, failed to obey Rossmann's order to rejoin, gotten lost and wrecked an expensive plane without damaging the enemy. Von Bonin banished the future supreme ace to three days with the ground crews, hoping to give him dirty hands and time to mull over his sins.




    The 354th were returning from a very long escort mission to Poland on the 11th April 1944:

    "Later Chuck Lenfest's microphone button became stuck in the on position and he began a long monologue. Since his transmitter was on, no one else could use that channel. Of course, Chuck didn't realise he was transmitting.

    "Look at those poor $%^*% bombers!" was his first observation. "I wonder if they know where the $%^*^% they're going. I sure as Hell don't."

    There was no mistaking Chuck's slow Idaho drawl. It was useless to try to transmit to him, so Mendy eased in close and tried to signal with his hands that the mike button was stuck. Chuck looked at him and said, "Look at old Mendy! What does that silly sonofabitch think he's doing?" Mendy gave up.

    The group was next treated to a few bawdy songs and more comments on the progress of the mission. "Why are we headed back? I don't want to go home yet!" and "Where in Hell is Jeeter? I hope they didn't shoot his ass off back there." And "What a long $^^*%% mission this is! My old ass is plenty sore!"

    "I think I'll drop down to ten thousand so I can light up my old pipe."

    He kept up his running commentary of the mission, his fellow pilots, the bombers, the Germans and the weather, and he had a captive audience throughout the performance, which went on for more than thirty minutes. When Chuck finally realised there was something wrong with his radio, he stopped talking. But the damage had already been done.

    Jeeter's comment after the mission was typical. "I was laughing so hard, even the flak didn't bother me."

    When Chuck entered Gremlin Villa [the name for the pilots' mess at Steeple Morden], red-faced and smiling sheepishly, he was greeted with a storm of good-natured heckling. For once he was speechless."

    from: W. G. C. Duncan-Smith, "Spitfire into Battle"

    [During the "Champagne Campaign", Invasion of Southern France August 1944 onwards]

    "Continuing past Vienne, and on the open road, I spotted a Tiger tank going as hard as it could towards Lyons. More in hope than anger I gave it all my remaining ammunition. To my utter amazement it belched smoke and caught fire. When I gave my report to Tim Lucas, the senior Army Liaison Officer, he did not believe me, shaking his head and muttering that a Tiger was too tough for the shells of a Spitfire. I got my own back when I took him to the spot in my jeep, after we got to Lyons on 7th September, and showed him the tank. It was there I am pleased to say, burnt out, with 'Bravo RAF' painted on its blackened hull. To me the sight was worth a couple of Me109s. Apparently some armour piercing incendiary shells had ricocheted off the tarmac road into the oil tank and engine - pure luck but very satisfying."
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    Not from Knoke this time but Oberleutnant Hans Hartigs, 4/JG26, 25th June 1944: "At this time I had a splendid wingman, Oberfahnrich Wolfgang Marx. The boy could fly but he couldn't stay with me. After each mission I came home alone. It was enough to make one vomit. One time I had had too much and I threatened to send him back to the Erganzungsgruppe (operational training unit). Flake off once more and the ticket was ready. He was flying with me again today. After a couple of hours at Sitzbereitschaft (cockpit readiness) we received the order to take off.

    We sixteen Fockes were vectored perfectly to a Lightning formation 1000 meters [3300 feet] below us. We had obviously been reported to the Lightnings because they began to climb but our attack out of the sun was a complete surprise. Two fell away in flames. As my Gruppe climbed away from its attack, the sky was suddenly empty - no more Lightnings or Fockes. As I banked around to find my little brothers, I spotted two Thunderbolts, flying straight and level just above the clouds at 4000 meters [13,000 feet]. The wingman was too far behind - a perfect target. I closed on him and opened fire. His leader, 'an old hare' pulled up immediately. I lost sight of him and then, just behind me, there appeared a gigantic snout.

    Badly frightened, I sought my salvation in a steep climbing turn. The boy was still there. I shoved the stick forward and to the left; all of the trash in my cockpit whirled around me as I dived for the ground, pulling out just above the trees... I saw an Allied airfield and raced across it at top speed, hoping that the gunners' late reaction would catch the fighter behind me. But nothing happened. I would have bailed out but he had not yet opened fire. Was his pepper mill empty? The fighter gradually gained on me and pulled alongside. Marx! It had been Marx all along! I waved at him and led him back to the field. After landing he came up to me and said, "Congratulations, Herr Oberleutnant, on your victory! That was the craziest mission I have ever flown. How many were there behind us? I never looked around. I was trying so hard to stay with you - and I did it!"

    from: "The JG26 War Diary: Volume 2 1943-5", Donald Caldwell, Grub Street 1998, p.290.

    "12th October 1940: I had hoped for a posting to an operational unit this month. Unfortunately, training is far behind schedule because of the bad autumn weather.

    We have a rough time in training here also. There have been one or two fatal accidents every week for the past six week in our Course alone. Today Sergeant Schmidt crashed and was killed. He was one of our section of five.

    We have spent several days on theoretical conversion training before flying the Messerschmitt 109, which is difficult to handle and dangerous at first. We can now go through every movement in our sleep.

    This morning we brought out the first 109 and were ready to fly. Sergeant Schmidt was chosen as the first of us, by drawing lots. He took off without difficulty, which was something, as the aircraft will only too readily crash on take-off if one is not careful. A premature attempt to climb will cause it to whip over into a spin, swiftly and surely. I have seen that happen hundreds of times and it frequently means the death of the pilot.

    Schmidt came in to land after making one circuit; but he misjudged the speed, which was higher than that to which he was accustomed, and so he overshot the runway. He came round again and the same thing happened. He began to worry; for Sergeant Schmidt had obviously lost his nerve. He was coming in and making a final turn before flattening out to touch down, when the aircraft suddenly stalled because of insufficient speed and spun out of control, crashing into the ground and exploding a few hundred feet short of the end of the runway. We all raced like madmen over to the scene of the crash. I was the first to arrive. Schmidt had been thrown clear and was lying several feet away from the flaming wreckage. He was screaming like an animal, covered in blood. I stooped down over the body of my comrade and saw that both legs were missing. I held his head. The scream were driving me insane. Blood poured over my hands. I have never felt so helpless in my life. The screaming finally stopped and became an even more terrible silence. Then Kuhl and the others arrived but by that time Schmidt was dead.

    Major von Kornatzky ordered training to be resumed forthwith and less than an hour later the next 109 was brought out. This time it was my turn.

    I went into the hangar and washed the blood off my hands. Then the mechanics tightened up my safety belt and I was taxiing off to the take-off point. My heart was madly thumping. Not even the deafening roar of the engine was loud enough to drown out of my ears the lingering screams of my comrade as he lay there dying like an animal. I was no sooner airborne than I noticed the stains on my flying-suit. They were great dark blood-stains and I was frightened. It was a horrible, paralysing fear. I could only be thankful there was no-one present to see how terrified I was.

    I circled the field for several minutes and gradually recovered from the panic. At last I was sufficiently calm to come in for a landing. Everything was alright. I took off immediately and landed again. And a third time.

    Tears were still in my eyes when I pushed open the canopy and removed my helmet. When I jumped down from the wing I found I could not control the shaking of my knees.

    Suddenly I saw Kornatzky standing in front of me. Steely blue eyes seemed to be boring right through me.

    "Were you frightened?"
    "Yes, sir."
    "Better get used to it if you hope to go on operations."

    That really hurt. I was so ashamed I wished the ground would swallow me up.

    14th October 1940: This morning I was one of the six N.C.O. officer candidates who acted as pallbearers at the funeral of Sergeant Schmidt.

    Late this afternoon there was a mid-air collision over the field. Two pupils in No.2 Flight were killed instantly. Once again I was amongst the first to reach the crash and dragged one of the bodies out of the wreckage. The head was a shapeless pulp.

    At this rate I shall soon become hardened to the not exactly pretty sight of the remains of an airman who has been killed in a crash."

    From: Heinz Knoke, "I Flew for the Fuhrer", Corgi Books 1967.

    It is estimated that 10% of 109s were destroyed in landing and take-off accidents, as well as many pilots, but despite its vices it was the favoured mount of most of the major aces of the Luftwaffe.


    "I remember one occasion [in the Battle of Britain 1940] when a lad who hadn't, as we used to say, tasted much English air, lost sight of our formation after some frenzied twisting and turning about the sky; he had dived steeply and was over the outskirts of London. He should have stayed with the Staffel instead of chasing off on his own. When he grasped the situation he called for help: "Come quickly! I'm on my own over London."

    He hadn't called in vain. By return post, as it were, his Schwarm leader, whom he couldn't see but who could see him clearly and had followed astern and above him, gave the comforting message: "Hang on a second and you'll have a couple of Spitfires behind, then you won't be alone any longer.""

    Told by Pips Priller of JG51/JG26 and quoted in Mike Spick's very useful book, "Luftwaffe Fighter Aces: The Jagdflieger and their combat tactics and techniques" Ballantine Books 1996.
     
  8. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Very cool reading! :thumbright:
     
  9. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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  10. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    straffing a 262

    On July 24th 1944 the 354th were part of a 3 squadron strafing mission designated to attack the airfield at Lechfeld, near Augsburg, Bavaria, Southern Germany, close to the Messerschmidt factory where 262s were being built. Their job was to destroy jet fighters parked on the airfield before they could be used against allied bombing raids. It seemed that it might be a wasted effort, as solid cloud covered the continent for the whole of the outward flight - until a hole appeared in the cloud near the target.

    "One after another, six flights of four dove through the opening in the clouds. It was our turn. So much for the element of surprise. Even the lead flight could expect a warm reception. I turned on the windshield defroster, flipped the gun switch on and followed in a spiraling dive toward that thin ribbon below [the Lech River].

    The Mustang seemed to come alive as the airspeed built up rapidly. Gone was the sensation of hanging motionless. We were moving! Streaking down the walls of cloud, my pulse quickened with the excitement of high-speed flight. Below I could see the lead flight level off above the river and head for the target, which was hidden by clouds.

    We leveled off just above the trees and headed north, straddling the river. Almost immediately, we were beneath the overcast in a light drizzle that sharply restricted visibility.

    With the throttle wide open, doing better than four hundred miles per hour, I was straining to find the airfield in the sunless gloom. I knew the field was west of the river, so if I held this heading...

    A large hangar, dead ahead. Big brick buildings to the left. "There it is!"

    I pulled up to about three hundred feet to get a better angle to fire the guns and find a good target. This also made us more vulnerable, because now the gunners could see us, and we had to maintain a steady shallow dive to the target - no evasive action; just like flying down somebody's gun barrel.

    I spotted a row of hangars on the far side of the field and what looked like Me-262s scattered around in sandbagged revetments. Some were burning, the black oily smoke merging with the low clouds. |I picked out an airplane parked at an angle, half inside a small hangar, and lined it up carefully in my gunsight. There would be only one pass. It had to be good.

    I was aware of small white puffs from exploding 20mm shells all around my aircraft. I could hear the soft pop of near misses. I forced myself to concentrate: Keep that pip steady on that airplane!

    I squeezed the trigger on the stick. The four .50 calibre machine guns in the wings hammered, jarring the airplane as if it had been hit. Instantly, like a string of firecrackers, orange flashes appeared on the fuselage of the 262; then a small yellow flame licked up around the cockpit and flashed into a bright red-orange explosion as the fuel tank blew up.

    Then I saw another airplane parked next to it. I fired a short burst and saw a few hits, but I realised I was getting damn close to that hangar.

    I was almost too close. I pulled back on the stick and cleared the hangar roof by inches. As I did, a brilliant flash of light reflected off the clouds to my left, lighting up the whole area. Something had exploded. I banked left a few degrees to avoid flying over the airfield at Landsberg and skimmed the trees until well out of range of the airfield guns. I had seen enough of those for one day. Blue Flight finally caught up with us. They hadn't seen the airfield at all. I felt like saying, "You guys missed all the fun!"

    I scanned the engine instruments and checked the plane over for damage. That's when I noticed the large chip in the "bulletproof" windshield. Apparently a shell had hit the windshield on a slant and been deflected off. Somewhere on that strafing run I had been only six inches from having my head blown off.

    Red 3 and Red 4 both reported that they could see a few holes in their airplanes but everything seemed to be running all right. I looked to my left. There was no sign of my wingman. "Where's Red 2?" I asked.

    "He went in - just off the airfield," answered Red 4 in a faltering voice. I knew they were roommates. I remembered that bright flash.

    Of the last four aircraft on that strafing run, the German gunners had shot down one and hit the other three. I signalled both flights into a tight formation, and we started the long climb through the thick overcast.

    It was a long and silent trip back to England. I kept staring at that chipped windshield and thinking about Red 2. The difference between life and death had been inches, or perhaps a few miles per hour one way or the other. This was my seventy-fourth mission, and his second.

    Last mission for both."

    Norman "Bud" Fortier, "An Ace of the Eighth", Presidio Press 2003, pp.233-235.


    "the one that got away or perhaps not"

    December 31st 1944; The 358th were escorting B17s to Misburg when FW190s were spotted:

    "I managed to get right behind one of them. He was in a diving left turn, right in my gunsight. I pressed the trigger. To my consternation, only the right outboard gun fired.

    That one gun popped away with no effect until I finally got a hit on his right wingtip. He straightened out and dove straight away from me, centered in my fixed gunsight. A perfect setup but I just couldn't hit him. Chuck Hauver was just off my right wing. He could see that I was having problems. "Let me have him," he said. I slid over to the left and watched him blow the FW out of the sky. Belatedly I turned on the gun heater switch. I felt foolish, frustrated and furious.

    Chuck broke off to the right. Just as I turned to join him, I heard my wingman, Johnny Molnar, yell, "Bud! Get this sonofabitch off my ass!"

    I racked into a hard left turn and saw Johnny about five hundred yards behind me with a Focke-Wulf about three hundred yards behind him. Molnar was turning that Mustang as tight as he could, and the FW was sticking with him, but it was unable to lead him enough for a shot. I joined the rat race.

    Johnny kept yelling at me to "get this sonofabitch off my ass!" and I kept trying to assure him calmly that I would do just that. It wasn't that easy.

    With Molnar leading the aerobatic display, we used up quite a bit of sky and soon found ourselves down to about seven thousand feet, just above a layer of clouds. There was neither sky nor airspeed enough left for anything but tight turns, and all three of us were doing the best we could in that department. I lowered a few degrees of wing flaps - I didn't dare look down at how many degrees. "Johnny" - I tried to sound calm but my blood pressure must have been sky-high - "did you lower your flaps a little?"
    "Yeah."
    "Keep the stick pressure you have now. He's not gaining on you at all but I'm gaining on him." I tried to sound confident.

    I could see the vapour trails from the wingtips of the planes in front of me and I knew that my wingtips were producing the same pattern. All three of us were right on the edge of high-speed stalls. My Mustang kept giving me subtle clues, through the control column and the seat bottom, that it would be unwise to tighten the turn much more. If I stalled out of this turn, Molnar would be on his own. Every ten seconds or so, the wings of the 190 became blanketed very briefly with white vapour, an indication that the German pilot knew I was getting in position for a shot, that he was slipping closer to a stall. He couldn't increase his turn enough to get to a shooting position on Johnny and I sensed that he felt he was running out of time.

    The 190 pilot pulled it in a little too tightly. Suddenly his plane snapped viciously to the right and spun down into the cloud layer. The FW had a reputation of snap-rolling out of very tight turns. I watched him spin into the clouds. "Man, that was close!" said Johnny as he raised his flaps and eased into his wingman position. It wasn't hot inside my cockpit but I had to wipe the sweat out of my eyes.

    The terrain below the overcast was hilly, with some peaks rising to nearly three thousand feet, and I doubt that the German pilot had enough altitude to recover but I'll never know for sure - I wasn't about to follow him into that overcast. I was tempted to claim it as a probable but it was just as likely that he was "one that got away".

    Norman "Bud" Fortier, "An Ace of the Eighth", Presidio Press 2003, pp.276-9.
     
  11. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    "It was like a ritual. The last thing each pilot did before climbing into his plane to go off on a mission was to walk a discreet distance to the rear of the plane and take a "nervous pee". Given that there wouldn't be another opportunity to empty the bladder for five or even six hours, this was a prudent thing to do. While it is true that the Mustang was equipped with a "relief tube" (a funnel attached to a rubber hose), it was next to impossible to use because of the layers of clothing and parachute straps in the way. So the ritual was born of necessity.

    Aside from being necessary, the nervous pee was a manifestation of underlying tension, which varied a great deal from pilot to pilot. There were a few among us who developed over time an aversion to combat flying. Initially I was unaware of this, naively believing that all fighter pilots were gung-ho. After all, they were all fighter pilots by choice. When push had come to shove, however, a few had found out that they had bitten off more than they could chew. For them it could be tough going. This was a sensitive subject that was never openly discussed - but should fear grab hold of a pilot, he could become a danger to himself and his comrades.

    There were various tell-tale signs of aversion to combat flying: early return from missions with an airplane malfunction that could not be duplicated by the mechanics; hanging back when an engagment with enemy aircraft was imminent or in progress; unusual weight loss; heavy drinking; and physical ailments for which the doctor could find no cause.

    I knew of only a couple of cases that required direct action. One pilot, after only a few missions, threw in the towel. It was too much for him to handle, he told Vic Warford. Vic didn't want to add to the poor fellow's shame and embarrassment, and was compassionate in dealing with him; he arranged for a transfer to an air transport outfit. The second case was handled in a similar manner.

    Others who felt undue stress just toughed it out. I don't know how many there were in the squadron but I suspected that two or three were having a difficult time. I admired them for persevering but knew that this wasn't necessarily in the best interests of the other pilots. Years later one of them confirmed what I had suspected. He told me that he lost thirty pounds then, had recurring nightmares and didn't think he would make it to the end of his tour. He did make it and spent a long period afterward hospitalized for "combat fatigue". In looking back at his record, he was not an effective combat pilot despite his love of flying."


    From: George Loving, "Woodbine Red Leader: A P51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater

    "You know, every time we take off on a combat mission, it is with mixed feelings, because it never turns out to be a pleasure trip. It is so depressing when one realises that our 'comrades from the other side' are far superior to oneself, and to know that when one engages the Viermots [4-motors, German name for B17s and B24s], sooner or later one gets shot down. During the only short period we've been here, our Staffel has already lost two pilots killed and two wounded. One had a hand shot clean off and from the other he lost a couple of fingers. The second injured pilot lost an eye. So, our Staffel, nominally on strength with 12 planes, has only four or five serviceable kites left. In the beginning, the Gruppe operated with 30 to 35 machines. Nowadays, only 10 to 15 can be scrambled at any one time.

    On the other hand, we have gained fame here on the Channel coast. Not a single Gruppe has chalked up such great combat results in this theatre, and such a thing is simply impossible without incurring losses. All this results in our frame of mind being that of a lost bunch. We call ourselves 'The Last Knights' and indeed, it is a great thing to see how everyone gets at our adversary and fires doggedly. I do admire my 'Chief' who has already been shot down twice here, who almost always gets back to base with his machine shot up and still rushes in and, with his thick Westphalian skull, approaches his adversaries to point blank range to make sure of the kill. One can only say, 'Hats Off'. I am always satisfied with the hits I register and then make it back home. I must add that there is no choice but to get at them regardless of our losses, in an effort to prevent them from wreaking more destruction than they already do. One feels so impotent and can only watch powerless when facing such an opponent. In Russia, we would have completely destroyed any formation. Over here, any formation destroys us. How can you win! Sometimes, I fly as Schwarm (Flight ) leader. That usually is the task of a very experienced pilot but one has to have this first. I am responsible for the safety of three men, who I lead into combat behind me. How could I ever do that? A hundred or more enemy aircraft in the sky (I am not exaggerating) and I should cover my 4th man's tail? Only the other day, my wingman got shot down. You know, the most sacred commitment for a flight leader is the one to his wingman. I am hanging in the middle of a pulk [German for enemy squadron or formation] with my men behind me, enemy fighters appear, I look around and see my wingman but no angry enemy. When I finally believe to have got away reasonably unscathed, my wingman is gone. I assume he has fled from the scene one way or the other, but when I touch down at base some time later, he is missing. Only that night, whilst I have been reproaching myself severely, one reports that he is in hospital in Aachen. The poor fellow's eye has been removed. Things like that easily get on one's nerves.

    Tonight we will celebrate 'Daddy's' birthday. 'Daddy' is our boss. There's only five of us pilots left now. Didn't we have a great time in the early days in Russia when there were still 16 of us. When I think of it, I feel tears welling up in my eyes. I never write such letters, but I have to get these thoughts off my chest and you are the only one I can confide in. Here, we don't discuss such things. The boss only talks about it in ruthless jokes, obviously trying suppress his weaker side and compassion. Still, he can't hide the fact that it has made a deep impression on him too, today he turned 27 but looks 37. It is a privilege to meet such men, who make one keen to get on with the job and who one admires.

    But isn't being a fighter pilot a great thing? Speedily dashing through the skies and then plunging into the action. My dear, it makes one's heart shout with joy! Sometimes, it also trembles but only occasionally. Do you know the saying: "Enjoy the war, because the coming Peace will be dreadful!" Every day we repeat this with a sadistic pleasure. The boss is very good at it, which helps him to keep his bunch of men together as best he can."

    Unteroffizier Uwe Michels, fighter pilot, II/JG3, 6th Staffel, at Schiphol, writing to his girlfriend Ilse, 11 October 1943. He was KIA one week later.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    "Sometimes for reasons I don't know - probably an unseated gas cap - the P-38 would start syphoning out its gasoline. From the ground it looked like a long plume of mist coming from the wing.

    One day as the planes were droning round the field getting into formation for a mission, a group of ground crew members were in the radio shack listening to the conversations of the pilots. Suddenly, they heard this: "Pete, you'll have to abort! You are syphoning fuel!" No answer. Then, a little more urgently, "Pete! Abort! Abort! You are syphoning fuel!" Finally a sheepish voice came on, "Aw Hell. No I'm not. I forgot to go to the bathroom and I'm just taking a leak."

    Robert T. Sand, propellor shop, 55th Fighter Group from: "Fighter Command: American Fighters in Original WWII Color", Jeffrey L. Ethell and Robert T. Sand

    Because of the losses in P38 units someone at Lockheed thought the pilots didn't know how to fly it so they sent Tony LeVier. As far as I was concerned, he did nothing that I couldn't do or nothing that I hadn't seen around the airfield by our own men. Had it been my choice of what he did, I would have had him fly some two hours at 28,000 feet, then tangle with me at 15,000 feet instantly. Then we would see how well he could fly when he was frozen.

    As an example, Bushing, who did not like combat, was up leading the 338th Squadron and had to urinate. Well, by the time you got out of your shoulder harness, the parachute straps and through four more layers of clothes (tank suit, pinks, long johns and shorts) you found your peter was about one half inch long at that altitude. Well anyway, Bushing let go in the relief tube and at that very moment someone hollered, "Bogies on the right!" Bushing turned to the right and madly looked for the bogies and, though it was a false alarm, by the time his heart stopped pumping and he looked back at the dashboard, he could see only frosted instruments.

    To be sure things were working properly, he had to take off his gloves and with his fingernails scrape off the frost on the important instruments. When he got back to the field the P38, once it got on the ground, turned into a hot box even in England. So by the time he taxied up to the hard stand and shut down the engines the urine had melted and heated up to probably 110 degrees. By tradition, the crew chief climbed on the aircraft as soon as you killed the engines and opened the canopy. In this case, just as he opened it, he slammed it down when he got a whiff of what was there. Bushing had not noticed it as he had been wearing his oxygen mask."

    Chet A. Patterson, P38 pilot, 55th Fighter Group.

    (from: "Fighter Command: American Fighters in Original WWII Color" by Jeff Ethell and Robert Sand

    [Flight Lieutenant R. B. Hesselyn, MBE, DFC, DFM and bar; born Dunedin, 13 Mar 1920; apprentice machinist; joined RNZAF Nov 1940; prisoner of war, 3 Oct 1943]

    [249 Squadron]"Here is an episode related by Hesselyn which may recapture for the reader some of the atmosphere of the air battles in which these men took part. It was an afternoon in mid-April [1942] and heavy raids were falling on the airfields. Pilots on their way to dispersal at Takali had to leap into a crater as bombs screamed down to crash nearby. The raiders passed over and the pilots reached their machines. A few moments later they were ordered off to meet another attack.

    "We scrambled at three o'clock, climbing south of the island getting to 26,000 feet with the sun behind us. Wood [Woodhall, the Senior Controller] called up and said: ‘Hello Mac [Norman MacQueen]. There's a big plot building up but its taking time to come south. Keep your present angels and save your gravy. I will tell you when to come in.’ We stooged around until he gave us the word. Then we sailed in ….

    Suddenly, glancing behind, I saw four 109s coming down on me. Three of them overshot. The fourth made his turn too wide and I got inside him. I was slightly below when I attacked from 200 yards, firing perhaps 20 feet ahead of him in the hope that his aircraft and my bullets would arrive at that spot simultaneously. They did. I kept on firing as I was determined to make certain of him. He caught fire. Black smoke poured out, he rolled on his back and went into a vertical dive and straight into the drink.

    As he crashed it struck me suddenly that there might be something on my tail. In my excitement I had forgotten to look but luckily none of the other 109s had dived down on me. Wood now reported that the 88s were diving on Takali, and I pulled up to 10,000 feet. The next instant the 88s were diving past my nose and the other boys were coming down from above to attack them. I picked out one and went for him and as I pressed my gun button his rear gunner opened fire. I had fired for about a second when my port cannon packed up. Luckily I was travelling fast. This prevented my aircraft from slewing from the recoil of my starboard cannon as I was able to correct with rudder. I concentrated on the 88's starboard motor and wing root and could see my shells hitting. Bits were flying off him and flames began spreading as he continued in his dive; he was well ablaze when he crashed.

    Returning to land I had my first experience of being beaten up in the circuit. A great pall of smoke and dust from the bombing was hanging over Takali. I made a couple of dummy runs over the airfield and could see that the landing path was well cratered. Just then I sighted six 109s above at 5,000 feet, waiting to pounce. The other boys were kicking about the circuit waiting to try and get in. I beetled up Imtafa valley, skipped round some windmills at the top and swung down a valley on the other side. Again and again the 109s dived down from above and attacked me. Again and again I thanked my stars that the ‘Spit’ was such a manoeuvreable aircraft. Each time I was attacked I turned violently and their shells and bullets whipped past behind me. It was a nerve-racking business. With all the violent turning and twisting I began to feel very sick. My neck ached from constantly twisting from side to side, looking back and from holding it up while doing tight turns against the extra gravity force. Eventually Mac said that we were to go in and he would cover us.

    I started a normal circuit about 300 feet above the airfield, put my wheels and flaps down, did weaving approach and, as my wheels touched ground felt a sigh of relief. I taxied to my pen, forgetting to put up my flaps. All I could do when I got there was to lie back in the cockpit and gasp for breath. The ground crew had to help me out of my aircraft and, dazed and dizzy, I groped my way along the wing out of my pen.

    I met Laddie [Lucas] as I was wandering over to dispersal. Both our tunics were soaked with perspiration. We looked up to see how Mac was getting on. He was making his approach about 50 feet up when suddenly two 109s darted out of the sun. Their shooting, however, was poor and whipping up his wheels Mac turned sharply into them. The 109s overshot him, carried on and beat up the aerodrome. Mac made a quick dart, put down his wheels and managed to get in. He landed with two gallons of petrol—at the pace we were using it, sufficient fuel for only another two minutes in the air. I had had five gallons; the others about the same."
     
  13. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Good reading Bobbysocks. :occasion5:


    Wheels
     
  14. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    After being processed, three of us were assigned to the 78th Fighter Group 1ocated at Duxford, England. The 78th formerly flew the P47, but now the fighter was the P51, which I had never seen or flown. Our only training in the P51 was to sit in the cockpit and familiarize ourselves with the instruments until we felt comfortable and then take it off.

    The primary mission of the 78th was to escort the bombers into Germany, protecting them from enemy aircraft. After the bombers reached their target and were safely on their way back to their bases, we would remain and strafe enemy air fields, trains, German convoys, tanks - anything of the enemy that moved before returning to our base in Duxford, England. While escorting them to their targets, if any of the bombers werewounded by flack or enemy airplanes, but yet still able to fly, the flight leader of one of our flights of four would have one P51 on each side of the bomber plane escort the plane back to its base in England or to wherever it could land in friendly territory. We were known as their "little friends." I had this assignment once and I can't tell you how happy the pilots, bombardiers and gunners were to have us protect them. We flew close enough to see their faces.


    It was my 18th flight into Germany on April 16, 1945. Our mission this day was to fly to the vicinity of Pilzen and Prague in search of air fields where the Germans had parked a number of their planes to hide them for lack of fuel to fly them and we were to destroy them, whether in air or on the ground. The 78th Fighter Group that day destroyed 135 German planes. You will note in the Squadron minutes that they gave me credit for one.


    After reaching the area, the squadron broke into flights of four to search and destroy. Our flight had just strafed an airfield near "Marianbad." As I made my pass, I noticed a plane that had not been destroyed. I called on my radio to my Flight leader, Captain Hart, told him I had seen a plane we didn't get and that we should make another pass. He replied, "No, we've had enough. Let's get back to home base." This was the flight leader's last mission before returning to the U.S.A. (Our base was at Duxford, just outside of Cambridge, England). I replied that I was going down to get that plane and he said, "Go ahead. Get low. Get on the deck. They are shooting at us. We will rendezvous at 5,000 feet."


    When I approached the city, I flew down the street at an altitude less than the height of some of the buildings to reach the airfield. My altitude was perhaps 50 feet. A bullet went through my canopy. The Plexiglas shattered and a piece of the Plexiglas hit my sunglasses, which broke them. While trying to remove my helmet and oxygen mask, so that I could take off the sunglasses and scrape the glass away from my eyes, I approached the airfield. There was a tall communication pole, possibly 250 to 300 feet in height, that was supported by guy wires. I pulled back on the stick and banked my P51, but I hit the communication pole about l0 feet from the top.

    The pole broke off, smashing and tearing off my canopy and causing most of my instruments to become inoperable. The pole hit me on the head forcing pieces of the canopy into my scalp and forehead causing blood to run down my face and eyes, making it difficult to see. At the time I hit the pole, the plane was traveling at top speed -- approximately 450 mph.

    The propeller was so damaged that it would not pull the plane. One wing was partially separated from the fuselage by about 8 inches. The other wing tip was shattered and I was pulling about ten feet of pole as one of the guy wires attached to the pole was wrapped around the tail of my plane.

    I could only keep the plane flying right side up by cross-controlling. I didn't have enough altitude to bail out. I was flying over valleys and hillsides. To keep the plane in the air, I was flying at an attitude of a three point landing, so it was difficult to see ahead of the airplane. I was probably three hundred feet from the floor of the valley when the plane crash landed on the ground of a sloping hillside that had trees on it. I thought it would never stop hitting trees and demolishing more of the plane. The plane was also on fire before crash landing. There was gas on the floor of the cockpit.

    I was unable to get out of the plane easily, as I had my G suit hooked in and each time I tried to raise myself, the G suit connection pulled me back down. After a couple of tries, I had enough brains to disconnect it. We were always to destroy our gun sight - it automatically centered on another plane and you didn't have to lead the plane to shoot it down. My gunsight was smashed by the pole. I didn't have to destroy it. I pulled out my .45 revolver, put a shell in the chamber and got out of the plane.

    Not 100 feet away was an army soldier and an officer in a Jeep. The driver had his rifle pointed and me and said, "Hands up." My hands went up and the pistol flew out of my hands at the same time. I thought they might be Russians, so I waved my identity, at the same time asking, "Are you Ruskys?". We wore an American flag with writing in Russian so they would know we were not the enemy. They let me know very fast they were not Russians.

    I was put in the front seat of the Jeep with the driver. The officer kept his gun on me. We drove a little ways and stopped. There were two or three civilians that had come up to the road -- I think they were farmers. We stopped and they talked with my captors. They started hitting me with the handles of their pitch forks. The officer could not control them, so we drove off.

    We stopped at a city. The people gathered around. I was left in the Jeep with the driver. The officer went to what I believe was their headquarters. Somebody got a rope and they were going to hang me. The officer, along with others, came out with rifles and told the crowd to disperse. The officer and driver drove me out of the town to save me from hanging.

    Other events that I experienced was being interrogated at several German headquarters and being stripped of my clothes, which were given back to me, but not my flight jacket, watch, ring or wallet. However, I was finally put in a dungeon, moved to a hospital in Tirschenreuth, Bavaria The Germans treated me very well and I demanded it as an officer. They respected rank.

    The hospital was full of wounded German soldiers. I was put in a private room with two other German officers. The doctor at the hospital spoke perfect English. He had graduated from our Harvard Medical School. In fact the S.S. officer in charge of the area that I was in tried to put me with a group of other prisoners who were going through the town, but the doctor would not let me go advising the S.S. officer that I was too ill to travel.

    After being liberated by the 90th Recon of the 3rd Army, I made my way back to Paris by bicycle, motorcycle, jeeps and airplanes. I arrived finally in Paris and was back under the good old 8th Air Force who in turn put me up in a hotel and arranged my trip back to England.

    Because I was a repatriated Prisoner of War, I was shipped back to the U.S.A. I was slated to train in jets and head for the Pacific Theater at the time the war with Japan ended. "

    Capt. Fred R. Swauger

    Air Force Reserve Retired
     
  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    "During the lengthy haul from our San Severo base across Italy and out over the Mediterranean, I trimmed my plane to fly hands off. And since our squadron and group was spread out in extended formation, I fumbled my big Zeiss camera from under my seat, unfolded it, slid the lens bellows forward to infinity focus and took several shots of our formations against the clouds. As we approached the French coast, we caught up with our designated bomber groups. I decided that vigilance took precedent over photography and managed to place the opened camera somewhere in my cockpit.

    The haze of a summer noon made visibility less then perfect and it was difficult to make out the results of the bombs bursting 25,000 feet below us. I can't remember any radio chatter from our Playboy Squadron fighters, but apparently the Hun was up and about because an Me-109 popped up out of the haze not 50 feet from my right wingtip. We stared at each other in complete astonishment as I fumbled for my camera. Just as I raised it to snap his picture, he shoved the nose of his plane straight down and black smoke poured from his engine being fire-walled into full emergency boost. I dropped the camera somewhere in the cockpit and started down after him. But he was long gone and invisible in the haze. As quickly as possible I retrieved my camera, folded it up and stowed it back where I hoped it wouldn't jam any of my controls. Never again did I attempt anything so foolish. Later I asked my three other flight members if they had seen the enemy fighter. The reply was negative. I was lucky not to have become a casualty.

    The date was April 28, 1944, and was my seventh mission as a fighter pilot with the 31st Fighter Group of the 15th Army Air force. The target was Piombino in the northwest of Italy and as usual I was flying as a wingman to my element leader, a boyish looking ex-Spitfire pilot named Junior Rostrom. As usual, we were providing escort to heavy bombers and were on our way back to base after an uneventful trip. As we neared the Adriatic on the East coast, the radio suddenly came to life announcing that enemy fighters were in the air from the numerous bases around the German stronghold at Ancona. With his experienced eyes Junior picked out a diving Me-109 and latched on behind although not yet in firing range. I was about 500 yards behind and slightly higher with my head on a constant swivel since I saw no other members of our flight or our squadron although the radio was busy with chatter indicating other contacts.

    Everything seemed clear around us as Rostrom closed on his target. It was then that I spotted two Me-109's slanting down on me from my right. I was breaking into them as I punched my throttle radio button and told Junior I was leaving him. I'll never know whether he heard me or not. I had a fair amount of speed from our dive and as I turned up and around into the two Me's aiming for me, they sheared away into a climbing turn to port. With my speed and full throttle I rapidly closed on the inside wingman and fired from about 300 yards and all four of my .50s seemed to register. The German ship slowed quickly as black smoke and white coolant poured out in a blinding cloud. I kept firing until I couldn't wait any longer and broke sharply to starboard just in time to meet the other Me-109 who had been closing on me.

    I didn't fire because my four-G turn had grayed my vision but I kept turning, easing enough for my vision to come back and found myself about 40 degrees angled off his right rear. He wasn't turning as sharply as I was and the angle decreased as I opened fire. Luckily I scored hits almost immediately and he slowed pouring coolant smoke as I slid through the smoke trail to his left. I was probably not more than fifty yards from him when his canopy came whizzing past me. I waited a few seconds getting the closest look I'd had at a 109 in my short tour. Impatiently I squeezed the trigger again just as a black clad figure climbed out on the left wing. It appeared as if he'd stepped right into my line of fire and I stopped firing. The figure slid off the wing of his ship trailing a long black tether. I watched fascinated as the strap yanked his parachute open. I had not known that the enemy had "static" lines to open their chutes. In fact, that was the first and only time that I actually saw one in action.

    Realizing suddenly that I was alone in a hostile environment, a mild panic set in and I never looked to see if the German pilot was hanging limp from his shroud lines so I never knew if he'd stepped into one of my bullets or not. I headed for the Adriatic coast at a good rate of speed while I called on my radio for my element leader. The airwaves were as silent as the clear blue sky. Reaching the coast near Ancona Point I headed south sliding downhill all the time as I looked at the pastel colored houses climbing the cliffs along the seashore. Calling fruitlessly for my leader, I seemed to be the last or one of the last landing on our metal strip at San Severo, an occurrence that happened not infrequently during the rest of my tour. While elated at scoring my first victories my happiness was tempered with a sense of guilt that I had lost my leader. I drank a little more than usual that night with Prybilo, who had been Jr. Rostrom's best friend.

    I was credited with one destroyed and one probably destroyed."

    Extract from Robert E. Riddle, 31st Fighter Group memoir: http://www.31stfightergroup.com/31st...es/Riddle.html
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    Australian Sergeant Pilot Paul Brennan, 249 Squadron:

    [4th May 1942]"Almos [Pilot Officer Fred Almos] and Linny [Pilot Officer Ossie Linton] were rather slow getting off the ground and when the fighter sweep came in we were only at 8,000 feet. The Huns caught us as we headed up sun, a little south of Gozo. The 109s were everywhere. Linny and I were at once separated from Mac and Almos. The two of us mixed it with eight 109s in a Hell of a dog-fight. We went into violent steep turns, dived down and pulled up again at them. But the Hun fighters came at us from every direction - from the beam, underneath, astern and head-on. We were separated in a twinkling. The last I saw of Linny was when he was in a vertical dive, skidding and twisting like blazes, with four 109s hotly pursuing him. It seemed to me as if I had been throwing my aircraft about for an hour, although probably it was less than five minutes, when a Hun blundered. He made a belly attack on me, missed and overshot. He pulled straight up ahead of me. He was a sitting target. I gave him four seconds. He went into a spin, pouring glycol. During the next few minutes, by manoeuvring violently, I succeded in shaking off the other 109s.

    I called up Linny and learning he was over Ta-Kali, joined him there. Woody [Group Captain A. B. Woodhall, Senior Controller] reported that some 109s, low down, were off the harbour and we went out to meet them. As we crossed the coast, however, Almos called up that Mac was in trouble and wanted to land. Followed by Linny, I turned back to give Mac cover. We were approaching Ta-Kali when I saw him. He was gliding across the aerodrome at 5,000 feet and seemed to be under control. As I watched his aircraft gave a sudden lurch, side-slipped about 1,000 feet, and then seemed to come under control again. I did not like the look of things. I called up: 'Mac, if you're not okay, for God's sake bale out. I will cover you.' There was no reply. A couple of seconds later his aircraft gave another lurch, went into a vertical dive and crashed at Naxxar, a mile from the aerodrome. Almos and Linny landed while I covered them in but it was some time before I was able to get in myself.

    Everybody was down in the dumps over Mac. We felt his loss very keenly. He was one of the finest pilots and had shot down at least eight Huns. He had been one of the first Spitfire pilots awarded the DFC for operations over Malta and he had richly earned his gong. At the time of his death he was acting CO of the squadron but neither that nor the fact that I was merely a sergeant-pilot had prevented us from being the best of cobbers. We had made many plans against our return to England."

    "The Japanese aircraft were considerably more manoeuvrable than ours were. If we got down and mixed it with them at low altitude we were in trouble because we couldn't accelerate away from them unless we had a bit of height to dive away and they could run rings round us. The Japs at that stage were flying fixed-undercarriage monoplanes called Army 97s. They were extremely light and, for their weight, had very powerful engines but not much in the way of gunfire. They also didn't have any armour plating behind them. If you got a good squirt at them they used to fold up.

    They really worked, those Japs. One Jap that I shot down had deliberately crash-landed, trying to dive into a revetment with a Blenheim there. We got the whole aircraft and body and everything else - he'd got 27 bullets in him and he was still flying that thing around the airfield looking for a target. They always used to try to dive into something. That was what we were up against. We also had to deal with an appalling lack of facilities - no spares, no tools, no equipment. Sometimes, to get an engine out, we wheeled a plane under a palm tree, pulled the tree down, tied it to the engine and slowly released it. Often we cannibalised one aircraft to keep others going.

    When we made our first advance against the Japanese down the Arakan border with Burma, I flew to a recently repaired airfield at Cox's Bazaar to test its suitability for operations. On the return journey I had to refuel at Chittagong, which had only emergency fuel supplies on it. The refuelling party were in the process of finishing their job, and I was in the cockpit waiting to start up, when I noticed a number of fighter aircraft appear from behind a cloud - about 27 in all. I knew they must be Japanese because we didn't have that many aircraft in the place.

    Being without radar cover or any other warning was always a hazard, and here it was in large lumps! I started my engine, yelled to the ground crew to get under cover, and then had to taxi a long way to get to the end of the runway. I opened up but long before I was airborne the bullets were flying and kicking up the dust around me. I got up in the air and immediately began to jink and skid to make myself an awkward target. I was helped by my own fury with myself for having been stupid enough to take off into such a suicidal position! However, luck was with me again and I led the Japs on my tail up the river at absolutely nought feet between the river boats, finally working my way up into the hills and leading them away from their own base at Akyab. Eventually they had to break off - I suppose their fuel was getting low. I thought I saw one of them crash behind me but that was never confirmed. I really lost a lot of weight on that sortie."

    Frank Carey quoted in: "Forgotten Voices of the Second World War", Max Arthur, Ebury Press/IWM 2004.

    "Gp Captain Frank Carey One of the highest scoring British fighter pilots of the 1939-45 War; entered the RAF in 1927 as a 15-year-old apprentice; earned 25 kills in the Battle of Britain and in Burma; was awarded the US Silver Star and appointed CBE in 1960; retired from the RAF in '62 and joined Rolls-Royce as its aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; retired to Britain in '74; died Dec. 6, 2004, aged 92.

    http://www.battleofbritain.net/bobhsoc/obit-carey.html Obituary"

    "Mechili was still in enemy hands and on the 18th I flew down the track once again to check on the situation with Masher as my cover... It was a long haul down the desert track and when I arrived at Mechili, being unfamiliar with the area, I blundered on the German landing ground. It was marked on my map and I had planned to give it a wide berth, but the country was so featureless that I couldn't check my position accurately. The field was crammed with aircraft of all kinds.

    A twin-engined Me 110 was on the approach with its wheels down, a perfect sitter. I was at about the same height, 600 feet and so close that it would have been easy to shoot it down. We seem to have been unrecognised as British planes and there was no anti-aircraft fire. Mechili had been over a hundred miles behind the lines for the past six months and, apart from a few sneaky reconnaissance sorties, the people there had not seen much invasion of their airspace. The recent fighter sweeps and bomber attacks had all been concentrated in the Gazala region where the ground fighting was taking place.

    "I'm going to get this one", I shouted to Masher.

    Get close. One burst. Then disappear, I mutter to myself. I was almost within range, tense as a drum, leaning forward against my straps to peer through the sight.

    "Three MEs overhead", Masher's voice crackled, spoiling my dreams.

    I looked up. They were 3000 feet above us in loose line astern formation.

    I cursed and turned steeply away, diving to ground level, watching with increasing bitterness as the fighters flew blandly north, ignoring us. Another thirty seconds and I could have pressed the tit on my spade stick and blown the Messerschmitt out of the sky.

    Why didn't I hang on for a few extra ticks and finish the job? I was disgusted with myself. If the MEs had peeled off to attack us, it would have been a different matter. But they weren't even looking at us.

    Ray Hudson would have shot the bugger down, I grumbled to myself, as I headed east along the Trigh Capuzzo toward the safety of our own lines. He'd have escaped in the confusion and chalked another one up. I've become too timid. A clapped out recce boy, an escape artist, a Houdini of the airways, a counter of tanks and transport for the army. It was my last chance. Damn those German fighters!

    I glanced back at Masher's Hurricane, weaving steadily behind my tail. I pressed my speak button.

    "Damn those German fighters", I said.

    Masher didn't reply."

    From: Wing Commander Geoffrey Morley-Mower DFC, AFC, "Messerschmitt Roulette: The Western Desert 1941-2", Phalanx Books 1993.
     
  17. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    a really good story of uncommon compassion and chivalry from a Luftwaffe ace to the crew of a B17. its a long read with both sides of the story. the story is copyrighted so as to not subject this forum or myself to possible infringement i will simply post the link. but it is worth the time to read.

    Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler by Ernie Boyette

    the soviet pilot:

    A 9th AF Group, identified as the 357th Fighter Group, was located at an airbase designated R-85 near Neubilburg, on the outskirts of Munich, Germany. This Group had been transferred out of the 8th AF into the 9th, to serve as a part of the Occupational Forces. The move from Leiston, England to Germany was made shortly after the surrender of The Third Reich in mid-1945. The 357th was equipped with P-51 planes.

    On afternoon, without announcement, a strange aircraft approached R-85 to land. Capt. (Earl Duke) Botti, the control tower operator, attempted radio contact with it's pilot, but to no avail. As the plane passed the control tower, Earl Duke saw the Red Star on its fuselage and he realized that he had a problem on his hands. He immediately contacted Major Hunt for advice. The plane, a Yak 9, stopped down near the hanger area and a Jeep and an emergency vehicle closed off its escape. The battery was removed from the Russian plane and the pilot was placed under Base Arrest until Higher Headquarters could be contacted from instructions. The pilot may have been lost, low on fuel, or in an act of desertion or sent there for intelligence purposes by Russian Higher Command. There were many questions awaiting answers.

    Each day one of our pilots were assigned to accompany the Russian pilot and to closely watch on his behavior and to prevent him from entering areas important to Base Operations.

    An interpreter was located so some communication could be carried on with the Russian. Many questions were asked but little information was learned.

    I was not on Base at the time of this excitement. I departed early the next morning on another duty assignment for the A-4 section. Most of my information had to come from others who were more directly involved in the events of the next few weeks. Lt. Lawrence Westphal of the 364th FS related to me the following, "We had a brief encounter with several replacement pilots who had recently transferred into the 357th from the ATC and had been flying C-47s. They were to be checked out in P-51s. Late one afternoon three or four of these ATC boys were watching a pilot above wring-out a P-51, I think the pilot doing the wringing was Major Bockay. Soon the replacement pilot and his escort joined the crowd. One of the replacement pilots, remarked, 'That looks to me like a good way to bust ones butt.' Immediately, thru an interpreter, the Russian Pilot replied, "What's the matter, you afraid to die?"

    Lt. G. A. Robinson of the 362nd FS told me that he had two tours with the Russian. He learned that the Russian claimed to have a total of forty flying hours and only nine of actual combat. One time just at Retreat time, they were walking across the drill field and heard the Bugler blowing Taps; the Russian began to smile and finally broke out into a laugh at the sound of the Bugle. Lt. Robinson asked the interpreter, "Why such a strange reaction?" The Russian pilot only shook his head but gave no reply. This made Lt. Robinson wonder if the Russian Pilot had lost his marbles.

    Finally word came down from Higher Headquarters to release the Russian. In refueling his plane and checking it over, it was discovered that most of the air, held in a compression tank in the fuselage, had leaked out. This was necessary to raise and lower the two main landing wheels. Capt Robert Lynch of the 469th Squadron and two of his men were called in to correct the problem. However, they found that their tools and fittings would not function with the metric connections of the Yak and no repair could be made.

    Lt. Westphal asked me if I was on the flight line when the Russian took-off? I replied that I was away from the base at the time, he said, "You missed a good show, when the Yak left the runway one wheel was dangling and the other was only three quarters of the way up. He did a 180 and came back very low and did three rolls very low on the deck. I'm sure I would not attempt such a trick with one wheel hanging down like that."

    The Yak turned toward the east and soon faded out of sight. That was the last known about the Russian Pilot however, many of our boys wondered what kind of a reception he received when he reached his home base.
     
  18. jester_587

    jester_587 New Member

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    Erich Hartmann was never shot down, EVER! I don't know where you got your information from. His plane had been damaged from pieces falling off of the planes he shot down because he was so close and had to make emergency landings but he was never ever shot down.


     
  19. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    On the morning of 7 May 1942 squadrons of SBDs and TBDs from the Lexington and Yorktown put 1000-pound bombs and torpedos into the Soho. Lieutenant Commander Bob Dixon on radio as the carrier was sinking: "Scratch one flattop."
     
  20. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't fighting for King and Country I was fighting for my Mum, I didnt like Germans and I didnt want them coming over here. Bob Doe
     
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