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Old 05-02-2010, 05:56 PM
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Jan 20's mission....
On January 20th 1945, I was Red Flight leader and my wingman was Ernest Tiede. Lt Ed Haydon was my Element lead and his wingman was Lt Roland Wright,Lt Dale Karger was leading White Flight. I have forgotten what the original mission was, but about the time that we were to return home, we engaged 2 Me-262's near Brunswick(Germany). It appeared that one 262 pilot was checking the other one out in the jet.
They did not run away, but seemed to want to engage in a fight. We were at about 20,000 feet and the 262's split......one went down to about 18,000 feet and the other stayed at 22,000 feet. Both flew in a large lazy circle, one opposite the other with me and the flight in the middle.It looked to me that the upper jet was waiting for me to attack the lower one, I called Lt Karger to turn back as if he were going home and climb back to attack the high jet while we circled. Lt Karger and his flight did just that and the upper 262 never saw them return, they shot him down with out any trouble and then Lt Kargers flight headed for home.When the upper 262 was eliminated, the remaining jet headed down for home in a hurry. I rolled over, split S'ed and went to full power.In no time, I hit compressibility with loss of all control at speeds in excess of 650 mph. After finally getting control I pulled out in a wide sweeping arc and pulled up behind the jet for a perfect shot at 6 o'clock. Unfortunatly, I was out of trim and my tracers went right over the top of his canopy. He hit the throttle and left me in a cloud of kerosene exhaust as if I were standing still. My flight had caught up with me so we headed for Lechfeld airbase, this we thought would be were he was heading and maybe we would catch him on landing. We flew over Lechfeld at about 6,000 Ft, there were about 100 262's nose to tail parked on the inactive side of the field, this meant they were out of fuel, no pilots or both. We were not sure which way the jet would approach the runway, so Lt Tiede and myself cruised toward the South end.Lt Haydon and Lt Wright spotted him coming in from the North, so Lt Haydon went for the jet, but he was to high and made an easy target for the flak gunners. He was hit and on the R/T said he was on fire, he pulled up to 400 Ft and bailed out and landed on the airfield, he became a P.O.W. Lt Roland Wright, following Haydon, was at very low level and the flak missed him but he did not miss the 262, he shot it down on its approach to the field.

Bob Wink's 262

The very next day saw Winks achieve acedom in rare fashion. “We were on a sweep over southern Germany, in the Munich area,” he recalled. “The 364th Squadron was over to take pictures of a 262 airfield. Pete Peterson had a camera in his P-51 and we were flying escort. The Eighth Air Force had orders not to strafe those airfields—it had incurred too many losses. I was flying along when I saw a plane doing slow rolls on the deck, over patches of snow—it was an Me-262. I was following what he was doing and called him in to Peterson, who responded with an order to ‘Go down and get him.’ At that point the bogey was going back toward the airfield. I dropped my two tanks, cut my engine and went into a straight dive with 5 degrees of flaps. I was at about a 60-degree angle when I came at the jet and fired 240 rounds of .50-caliber into his cockpit and wing root. The German flipped over, caught on fire and banged in. Pete confirmed it.”

The identity of Winks’ quarry has only recently come to light. Although Schöngau was put under alert because of the Mustangs’ presence in its vicinity, Fähnrich (cadet trainee) Rudolf Rhode, either took off or was already airborne when Winks caught him. “We observed Me-262s taxiing toward protective abutments all over that airfield,” Winks recalled. “Whoever was piloting the Me-262 that I shot down must have had a military rank high enough to have been able to countermand the ‘alert.’ Or so I have always thought.” Killed at age 19, Rhode was buried in Schwabstadl, near Lechfeld. In regard to the trainee status of his last victim, Winks remarked: “I denied the Luftwaffe an Me-262 aircraft, and a pilot from attacking our bombers. That is what I was hired and trained to do. Speaking, perhaps, for both sides of the conflict...what a terrible waste of men, and the world’s wealth.”

No sooner had Winks shot down the jet then the anti-aircraft guns defending Schöngau airbase cut loose, literally with a vengeance. “Boy,” Winks said, “did they have flak coming at me! I went straight into the heavens and suddenly I realized that my engine had lost power, it was only wind milling. When I dropped my auxiliary fuel tanks, I had failed to turn the fuel selector switch on to the internal fuel tanks. I corrected the switch, and the speed gained in my dive on the Me-262 plus the speed of the wing milling prop sucked out any airlock in my fuel lines, and the engine roared back into full power and got me out of there, f-a-s-t!”
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