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Old 04-26-2010, 05:03 PM
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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?"
"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.

Last edited by bobbysocks; 04-26-2010 at 05:06 PM.
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