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Old 04-25-2010, 10:51 PM
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ran into a bunch of these short quotes elsewhere...some words of wisdom, funny, interesting...

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.
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