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  #41  
Old 05-03-2010, 06:01 PM
scottyvt4 scottyvt4 is offline
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more a facts and figs on a fighter ace for the luftwaffe ace ..........................

Walter Nowotny
German Luftwaffe Ace, Fw 190 and Me 262 pilot
JG 54 and Kommando Nowotny

One of the highest scoring German aces (an Austrian, actually) almost ended his flying career very early.
Flying a Bf 109 in July 19, 1941, he had shot down three Polikarpov I-153 biplanes (his first three kills), when he went down too. He ditched his Messerchmitt in the Gulf of Riga and clambered into his one-man survival raft. With no food or drink, he paddled southwards, towards land that he estimated to be about 40 miles away. A couple German fighters flew overhead, but didn't notice his Mauser pistol shots. Sunburn set in, waves splashed into his dinghy, and he became exausted from his paddling.

On his second night adrift, two Soviet destroyers passed close by, but didn't notice him either. He was somewhat heartened by the evidently-German artillery fire directed at the Russian warships. But by the second day, he became nearly suicidal, and even began writing a "farewell message." He fell asleep, and when he awoke on the third day, the currents had brought him close to shore. He paddled towards it, landed, and collapsed on the sandy beach. He awoke in a bed; two Latvian auxiliaries (collaborators?) had rescued him.

For many months, JG 54 remained at Krasnogvardeisk, as the northern front settled into a stalemate around besieged Leningrad.

Messerschmitt Bf 109
Nowotny achieved over 50 victories in this airplanes, from July 1941 through early 1943. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 54 on 25 October 1942.
Focke Wulf 190
In January and February of 1943, JG 54 transitioned to the Fw 190, a rugged aircraft that Nowotny and many othe experten would fly with great success. In August, Nowotny added 49 victories to his score and was promoted to Gruppenkommandeur of 1./JG 54. Heady stuff for a 22-year-old. But he hadn't yet been awarded the "Oak Leaves," and showed distinct signs of "throat-ache;" despite the fact that he had passed the 120-victory threshhold - no "Oak Leaves."
But he continued to excel in the air. On September 1, 1943 he downed ten Russian aircraft. On a morning bomber escort mission, he destroyed four attacking Soviet fighters. He noticed another group, and promptly got two of those. As the dogfight carried him 180 km over Russian lines, he closed in on a seventh victim, only to have his cannon jam. he closed in ever closer and finished it off with his machine guns. He made good his return by flying on the deck, right thru the flak thrown up from a large town. That afternoon, on another sortie, he got three more during an in-and-out duel in the clouds.

A few days later, he received his long-awaited Oak Leaves. "The Swords" followed three weeks later, awarded to him at a ceremony at Hitler's headquarters.

By September 14, his score stood at 203, just behind the Luftwaffe leader (Hans Phillipp?). At midday, on a clear, perfect day, Soviet bombers and their fighter escorts approached. Nowotny led his 4-plane Schwarm on a Freie Jagd (literally "free hunt," or in Allied aviation jargon, a "fighter sweep"). Soon, evryone in the ops room heard over the loudspeaker his radio call that he had achieved his 204th. He was then the top Luftwaffe experte. He kept flying and fighting and shooting down Soviet planes. Before the end of September, he had reached a total of 235. On afternoon, while patrolling south of Velikiye Luki, he shot down 3 of a group of 14 Airacobras. The next day, in the same area, a flight of 6 Airacobras fled as soon as they sighted the Fw 190's; perhaps they were survivors from the previous day's mission. Only two escaped.

Then he had a day ruined by jammed guns and an out-of-service aircraft. The following day, his aerial rampage continued: two P-40s, a P-39, and an LaGG-3. Nowotny was doing his part to reduce the American Lend-Lease equipment sent to Russia.

The Diamonds
On October 15, 1943, he destroyed a Curtiss P-40 - his 250th victory. He was the first pilot ever to achieve such a score. Back at his base, a wild celebration ensued. Nowotny took off to Vilna to celebrate in style. His wingman "Quax" Schnörrer stayed at the base and, with other pilots, got riotously drunk. Then General von Greim telephoned, to say that the Führer wanted to speak to Nowotny, to congratulate him personally. Understanding the situation, General Greim passed on the information that Nowotny was at the Ria Bar in Vilna, confident that Hitler's telephone operators wouldn't be able to get through to the partying Nowotny. But they did. Nowotny, stewed to the gills, surrounded by young lovelies in a noisy bar, managed to get through the conversation with the Führer. He had been awarded the "Diamonds," the Reich's highest military honor. The next day, von Greim, Schnörrer, and Nowotny flew to Hitler's HQ in East Prussia, for Nowotny to receive his "Diamonds."

But October, 1943 marked the end of Nowotny's famous schwarm (flgiht of four planes). Toni Döbele (96 victories) was killed. Lt. Karl "Quax" Schnörrer (35) was badly injured in a crash and hospitalized for a long time. Nowotny himself was made into a superhero by Goebbels propaganda machine and was withdrawn from the front.

Training Assignments
His career was temporarily halted because he was assigned command of the Schulegeschwader 101 (SJG 101). This was a training unit for new pilots, and was based in Palau. Even though it was an unpopular assignment for the veteran pilots, Nowotny once again brilliantly succeded, earning a reputation as a first class instructor.
Me 262 Jet
On September 26, 1944, he was appointed CO of Kommando Nowotny, the world's first jet fighter unit, based at Achmer and Hesepe
Kommando Nowotny became operational on the 3rd of October and claimed their first kill, a B-24, on October 7th. Nowotny began the practice of using prop-driven conventional fighters as cover against the roaming Allied fighters during the takeoffs and landings of the Me 262. The Me 262 was especially vulnerable as the turbojet's relatively low thrust resulted in slow acceleration. It took some time for the jet to get up to speed. But once there, no Allied aircraft could touch it.



November 8, 1944
Adolph Galland, Luftwaffe General of Fighters, visited Achmer for an inspection. Nowotny was going to give Galland his pilots' flight reports. A flight of B-17 bombers was reported, so the unit took off, about six jets in the first wave, then another. The Fw-190Ds were waiting on the runway cover their return of the jets. Galland was in the operations shack, monitoring the pilots' radio transmissions. Several bombers were called out as shot down, and Nowotny radioed that he was approaching. The flight leader on the ground, Hans Dortenmann, requested permission to take off to assist, but Nowotny said no, to wait. The defensive anti-aircraft battery opened fire on a few P-51 Mustangs that approached the field, but they were chased away. The jets were coming in.
One Me-262 had been shot down, and Nowotny reported an engine failure before making a garbled transmission referring to “burning”. Galland watched Nowi's approach, heard the sound of a jet engine, and saw his Me 262 A-1a (W.Nr. 110 400) “White 8” dive vertically out of the clouds and crash at Epe, 2.5 kilometres east of Hesepe. The explosions rocked the air, and only a column of black smoke rose from behind the trees. The wreckage was Nowotny's plane. After sifting through it, the only salvageable things found were his left hand and pieces of his Diamonds decoration.

The unit was disbanded shortly after Nowotny's death. It had claimed 22 aircraft with a loss of 26 Me 262s, eight of which were due to accidents and mechanical failures.
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  #42  
Old 05-03-2010, 06:11 PM
scottyvt4 scottyvt4 is offline
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Recollections of a Corsair Pilot
By C. R. Cartledge

In March 1944 came my posting to the new 1842 Squadron of Corsairs to be formed up at Brunswick, Maine, USA. This new and powerful fighter aircraft was immediately distinguishable by its cranked "gull" wings. From head on, with its radial engine, it had an aggressive appearance, but was fast and nimble, its long and horizontal nose giving it an unmistakable profile. It was faster than the Hurricane on which I had trained and was very responsive and manoeuvrable, with formidable fire power.
For a crisis it could go into water injection mode for those extra knots, the water tank giving ten minutes of boost.




We spent two months working up the squadron under Lt. Cdr. (A) Tony Garland, RNVR, and by June we were ready to complete our preparations by a trip[ down to Norfolk, Virginia, where we achieved the standard three successful landings on a US carrier. The Corsair was particularly tricky to deck-land due to its long, straight nose, which blotted out the pilot's vision ahead when the aircraft was adopting the landing position with flaps down. The final approach had to be made while still turning in order to keep the deck and batsman in sight, straightening out at the last moment before touch down.

Coming back to the U.K. we were based briefly at RNAS Eglinton (where we lost Sub. Lt. (A) Wheway who flew into a mountain in the mist) before joining HMS Formidable (Capt. P. Ruck-Keene, RN) in the Irish Sea in August 1944. We were on our way to the arctic to attack the German battleship Tirpitz, which was sheltering in the Alta Fjord. Little did we know that some of us were to be used as dive-bombers. Corsair Squadrons 1841and 1842 were on board, plus 848 Avenger Squadron. Stopping briefly at Scapa Flow, we sailed northwards carrying out flying exercises whenever weather permitted. Those who had volunteered for dive-bombing, of which I was one, were given practise on towed targets. We lost another pilot in an air collision, the younger brother of our own ship's surgeon. As we neared the arctic, we ran into the roughest seas I had so far experienced. There was no possibility of flying. The huge seas were throwing the ship in all directions and breaking over the flight deck, drenching the lashed down aircraft with salty water.

As we drew nearer the target the weather improved, enabling four strikes to be carried out on August 22, 23, 24 and 29, involving Barracudas, Hellcats, Corsairs, Avengers and Seafires. These included some dare-devil attacks led by Lt. Cdr. R. H. Richardson RNZVR and Major V. B. G. Cheesman, Royal Marines, who screamed low over the Tirpitz, attempting to lob their bombs down the funnels. Richardson lost his life in an attack two days later. We simultaneously supported diversionary attacks on related coastal targets. These left a trail of damaged or destroyed tankers, airfields, radio stations, and three Narvik Class destroyers near the islands and neighbouring fjords. In one attack Richardson, having run out of ammunition, lowered his arrestor hook and tore away the station's radio mast and aerials from almost zero feet.

In the last strike, the 'dive-bombers' were told that a 1000-lb bomb would be fastened under the port wing, the central fuselage position being taken up by the extra fuel tank. We were advised to trim the aircraft to give maximum lift to the port wing in the hope that this would compensate for the bomb. We would only find out when the aircraft left the flight deck on take-off! As I am writing this article 57 years later the reader can conclude that all went well. It was a fine and beautiful morning and we approached the islands and main coast line as low as possible to avoid radar detection knowing the Germans would operate a smoke screen as soon as they received warning. We climbed as we hit the coast and gained height for the dive-bombing. The view over the mountains and fjords on this brilliant morning was breathtaking and I could see the whole party of Avengers and the escorting Corsairs of 1841 and 1842 Squadrons. As we approached the Tirpitz, the white puffs of A-A shells started to burst around us and I lost my No.2, Sub. Lt. (A) French, RNVR. The smoke screen was already across the fjord, but leaving the huge outline of the Tirpitz just visible through it. I turned, and as I dived, saw one bomb explode close to the outline of the battleship. I released my bomb and pulled away hard, partially blacking out. There was a lot of flack blazing away in all directions. I turned and fired into one of the gunnery positions, then broke away at low level along the fjord. Cruising along just above the water I was admiring the scenery when bullets kicked up the water just in front of me. My Corsair responded well to some violent turns and twists and I escaped. Several pilots did not return however, two of whom were from 1842 Squadron. Whilst waiting his turn to land, one pilot ran out of fuel and ditched alongside the fleet. He was quickly picked up from the icy water. Very few of our aircraft returned unscathed, causing the maintenance crews a busy time patching up the bullet holes. Although immediate observation was made impossible by the smoke, we learned as we withdrew southwards that the Tirpitz, such a menace to Atlantic shipping, was disabled but not sunk. At least it was put out of action until it could be finished off by RAF Lancasters operating from Russia. It had been a gallant operation and had served its purpose of preventing the German battleship from sailing out of the fjord on further deadly missions. Major V. B. G. Cheesman was awarded a D.S.O. and I believe, later, Lt. Cdr. Richardson a posthumous V.C. for their exceptional bravery and determination in the attacks. There were also twelve D.S.C.'s and a D.S.M. awarded to other squadron commanders and flight leaders of which I was privileged to be one, which I took as recognition of the gallantry of all the aircrew involved.

The Formidable then set sail for the Pacific. After three months delay at Gibraltar waiting for a new gear wheel to be sent out from the U.K. we sailed through the Med and on to Columbo, losing three pilots in flying accidents off Alexandria, Lt. (A) Dunkley, RNVR, Sub. Lts. (A) RNVR Chipperfield and Railton. We finally arrived in Sydney early in June 1945, and from there we headed north stopping in the Phillipines for provisions and briefing. We were to join the British Pacific Fleet (B.P.F.), operating on the right of the line of the U.S. fleet. On the way we carried out regular sorties in pairs, attacking targets on the Sakishima Gunto, a chain of islands between Formosa and Okinawa. Here we lost our squadron commander Lt. Cdr. (A) Tony Garland D.S.C., who did not return from one such sortie. It was a shattering blow to lose Tony, who had been such an inspiring and efficient commander since the squadron's formation. He was replaced by Lt. Cdr. (A) Douglas Parker, RN.

As we came within striking distance of Japan, the Formidable suffered a direct hit on its flight deck from a Kamikaze pilot, causing casualties around the control tower and killing one of our pilots, Sub. Lt. (A) Bell RNVR. My flight was airborne at the time, but we never saw the Jap plane. We landed on the Indefatigable for a three-day stay while Formidable's flight deck was repaired. Early in the morning of July 17 Douglas Parker led 1842 Squadron in the first British air attack against the Japanese mainland. We were to attack airfields and other targets at Matsushima, Sendai and Masuda on the East Coast, north of Tokyo.
We came in low through poor visibility, but the Japs were ready for us. As I came across Matsushima airfield targeting two planes on the ground, my aircraft was hit and its trimming went suddenly berserk as I zipped over the hangars. I had to apply full right rudder and pull hard on the stick in order to fly straight and level. I could not carry on with the others, and radioed that I was returning to the fleet. I suspected my hydraulics were damaged, so I decided to bail out on my return, as deck landing without operative flaps and arrestor hook would almost certainly be disastrous, especially if I couldn't jettison the extra fuel tank! I climbed painfully to a safe bail-out height of 5,000ft, and was later relieved to see the fleet coming into sight. The drill for bailing out is to eject the hood, for which there is a lever. I pulled it, but instead of ejecting the hood it jammed it shut! I would have to do a deck landing after all (I must have said a prayer or two). The fire appliances were all ready waiting for me should I crash the barrier. As I made my final approach the batsman waived me on and I received a radio message to wait while the fleet turned out of wind to regain its correct position. I circled the carrier, waiting for it to turn back into wind, at probably not more than 500ft, trying to free the hood. At each effort I had to let go of the stick, continuously losing height.

Then the miraculous happened. As I turned for another effort I flew into the sea. The next thing I knew I was floating, supported only by a Mae West, with the last piece of my Corsair's wing just disappearing into a wave about twenty yards away. The impact had knocked off the hood and thrown me out, breaking my safety straps and parachute harness, yet leaving me more or less unscathed. A friend watching from Formidable's bridge said that my aircraft exploded on impact and he was amazed that I survived. I was picked up by a destroyer, and was sent back to Australia for a rest and check-up. While in Sydney, news came through of the atom bombs and Japanese surrender.

Early in September, from the Botanical Gardens overlooking Sydney Harbour, I watched the triumphant return of the Formidable. Going on board I found many new faces but several old ones missing. 1842 Squadron had lost a further three pilots. These included Sub. Lt. (A) Jimmy Ross (Canadian), whose aircraft wings folded up on take-off. Of the eighteen pilots in the Brunswick photo only nine had survived. Total squadron losses were fourteen. Tragically, half these losses were non-operational and could to some extent have been caused by the Corsair's long, level nose, which restricted the pilot's view ahead.
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  #43  
Old 05-03-2010, 10:27 PM
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more nowotny....but tomorrow...hot russian chicks we would all love to meet!!

The eager and fearless nature of "Nowi" soon became well-known among the other pilots of JG 54. This side of his personality almost cost him his life, as he was shot down by an I-153 over the Riga Bay, following his first three victories on 19 July 1941. After three days and nights (during which he was close to committing suicide out of pure desperation) in a rubber dinghy in the sea, he finally reached the shore. This first encounter with death changed young "Nowi". He became more careful - and superstitious, always carrying the trousers he had worn on this occasion, the Abschusshose, on all his combat missions.

Please hear his own vivid account from second mission over Leningrad on 4 August 1942 (the previous mission resulting in three kills) clearly pictures both the skill and character of this young Austrian fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe:
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"It was a clear blue sky, and it was filled with Soviet fighters attempting to attack our bombers. I picked an I-18 (MiG-1) and made a sharp turn, putting my Me 109 in a good position. A few bursts sent him burning to the ground. The remaining fighters tried to escape, but my Me was faster. Flying above the docks on the Neva mouth, I got the backboard plane in a finger-four formation into my gunsight. Two bursts of fire and the Rata blew up. Fuselage and wings tumbled down on fire. The Flak fired fiercely from below. I made a 180 degree turn and spotted four I-18s attacking our bombers from behind. Pulling up the nose of my plane, I made one of the Soviet fighters pass through my bullet tracers. The success stunned me. He immediately went into a steep dive, started spinning and left a thick black trail of smoke. This was my sixth victory today. Number seven didn't last long. I was just about to return home, as suddenly a Rata pulled up beneath me. I pushed my stick forward, and seconds later the enemy went down in spirals."
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This day, Tuesday 4 August 1942, he achieved his victories Nos. 48-54 - thus marking the beginning of his astonishing victory row. Fourteen months later, he reached the 250 victory mark (on 13th October 1943, his victim was a skillfully flown P-40) as the first fighter pilot of WW II.

During the following year, he managed to down another 40 Russian planes, but in majority these were rather "easy" victories, achieved with great care and mainly against aircraft much obsolete to his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F and Gs. The blow against Nowotny´s self-confidence was not fully repaired until that fateful day in August 1942. From then on, he felt absolutely secure in the air. Only on 4th August 1942 "Nowi" scored seven kils in three sorties. This is remarkable, since the bulk of his successes were scored after the recovery of the Soviet Air Force, when obsolete models such as the I-16 were exchanged for Yak-9s and La-5s equal to the Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf fighters, and as aces such as Petr Pokryshev on the Leningrad front started emerging. Successes of Nowotny were awarded by Knight Cross on 4th September 1942. Soon, on 25 October 1942 he got command of 9./JG 54.

Roaming the skies over Leningrad in 1942/43, Nowotny definitely must have met Pokryshev in the air more than once. Flying over Staraya Russa, a skilful Soviet pilot once was close to putting an end to Nowotny´s deadly career. "The Russians have had me shot up! I've got 'blisters' on my wings!" Nowotny cried over the radio: "We desperately shook off the enemy and made a quick escape at low level", said his wing-man "Quax" Schnörrer. With smoke pouring out of the hit engine, Nowotny´s Messerschmitt 109 made a hastily landing at Tulebya airfield. Rushing on the landing strip at 100 mph, the engine suddenly burst into flames. At a speed of 60 mph, Nowotny blew off his and left his plane in a true do-or-die jump. The burning Messerschmitt continued rolling another 30 meters, and then exploded.

On 25 March 1943, Nowotny met the first Soviet Spitfires - belonging to Major Petrov´s 26 GvIAP of the Leningrad Air Defense - and shot down one of them, his 79th victory. On 15 June, he scored his 100th kill. Nine days later, he brought down 10 Soviet aircraft in one single day. That month, Walter Nowotny raised his score by no less than 41. Promoted to Oberleutnant and in charge of 1./JG 54 "Grünherz", he surpassed himself by downing 49 Soviet planes in August 1943, among them nine on the 13th and seven on the 21st. Claiming his 150th victory on 18 August, Nowotny stood as No 16 on the "Ace list".

The following month was opened with another ten victories on the first day. Three days later, he was awarded with the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross, and on 9 September 1943, his victory tally reached the incredible "200 mark". During his last ten days on the Eastern Front, ending on 14 October 1943, Walter Nowotny blew 32 Russian aircraft out of the sky - pushing his total victory score to 255.

22-years-old Hauptmann Walter Nowotny by now stood on the top of the fighter aces. Desperate for anything that could give the German people any faith in the war, the Nazi propaganda machinery rapidly turned Nowotny into its foremost headline "superstar". Young Walter received all the highest military awards at hand: The Knight´s Cross with Oak Leaves, with Swords, and with Diamonds added. Afraid of losing such a "star", the High Command withdrew Nowotny from combat activity.

During the following year, his main role in the war was to serve as an object for propaganda and moral-boosting. But the winds of war eventually forced the High Command to call back Nowotny into active service. In the fall of 1944, he was put in charge of the first jet fighter unit, equipped with the Me 262, "Kommando Nowotny".

Nowotny was firstly reassigned to a training Geschwader in Pau. He also test flew the Me 262 - like most other Experten he was astonished. Since he was not employed to his full potential in the Defense of the Reich organization, he was given the command of the Me 262 test unit - Kommando Nowotny. In it's short history Ekdo 262 didn't live up to expectations of the High Command and the pilots themselves. Nowotny was to be the energy boast that the unit needed. He was to lead by example. When he arrived to Hesepe he was introduced to the Oberleutnant Hans Gunther Muller the Komandeur of the Hesepe detachment, Nowotny immediately reacted in his own fashion saying: ¨What? You are the Staffelkapitan and you haven't scored a kill on the Me 262??!! I suggest you find yourself a more suitable employment.¨ But he was to soon experience the real situation in the unit.

In the next few weeks the unit was plagued by the constant enemy action, the highly temperamental jet turbines and similar problems which were not solved till the end of the war, but eventually the catastrophic 8. November would dawn.

Galland and Keller were visiting the unit that day. Under the pressure to perform, and to rectify the unit in the eyes of the High Command, Komando Nowotny gave their best shot. Nowotny was among the pilots who were to fly that day. The Komando's all out effort turned out to be only 2 Me 262 in the first wave and the same in the second wave. The target was a large group of bombers heavily escorted who were targeted to bomb the marshalling yards at Rheine and the Nordhorn Canal. There were four FG on the lookout for rats coming from Hesepe and Achmer. Detecting the bombers two Rottes of Me 262 were prepared to take-off (one at Hesepe-Erich Buttner and Franz Schall, and at Achmer-Nowotny and Gunther Wegmann). But only two Me 262 managed to take-off. Buttner had a puncture during taxing and Nowotny's turbines refused to start-it was most likely an fuel-clog problem. But the two pilots airborne managed to bring down a Thunderbolt and a Mustang.

Galland: "I arrived on that day ( 7. November) to inspect the unit and write a report, plus I spoke with Nowotny that evening, and he was going to give me his pilots' reports concerning their actions. The next day, a flight of B-17 bombers was reported heading our way, so the unit took off, about six jets (note: some relations told about four), if I remember correctly, in the first wave, then another. The Fw-190Ds were waiting on the runway to take off and cover their return, engaging the Allied fighters that were sure to follow. I was in the operations shack, where we monitored the radio transmissions and could get an idea of what was happening."

Schall approached the formation but didn't make contact as he was intercepted by escorting Mustangs. In the following dogfight Schall reported a Mustang shot-down, but he suffered a flame-out at high altitude. He tried to start his turbines with a dive, but was caught-up by Mustangs, who made some really nice photos of the evacuated turbinen jager.

Galland: "Several bombers were called out as shot down, and Nowotny radioed that he was approaching. The flight leader on the ground, Hans Dortenmann, requested permission to take off to assist, but Nowotny said no, to wait. The defensive anti-aircraft battery opened fire on a few Mustangs that approached the field, but they were chased away, from what I could understand, and the jets were coming in. One Me-262 had been shot down (note: piloted by Franz Schall), and Nowotny reported one of his engines was damaged. He was flying on the right engine alone, which made him vulnerable. I stepped outside to watch his approach to the field, when an enemy fighter pulled (Nowotny's slayer) away not far from us."

At that very same moment Lt. RW. Stevens of the 364 FG which was patrolling the area, caught-up with a Me 262-flown by Nowotny who was returning to Hesepe. He knew the jet was approaching the field, and would shortly be in the Flak-alley. He swiftly closed in due to the Nowotny speed loss from the engine failure. When in the gun-range he opened fire. He recorded some hits on the jet, but sensing all that flak is just waiting for him to come in to range, he decide that he would be satisfied with a Me 262 - damaged. He put his trusty Mustang in a shallow dive to gain speed and he immediately went back to seek cover in those low hanging clouds. Meanwhile Major Nowotny was fighting a lost battle. His Me 262 was partly paralyzed from the engine loss, and he made one last radio transmission. Last words of Nowotny heard over the radio were: "I´m burning! My god, my god! I´m burning!". Then his fighter rolled and stalled-probably on the port side. His altitude was low, so when hitting the ground he briefly bounced back in the air losing one of the engines, and upon hitting the ground his Me 262 furiously exploded.

Galland: "I heard the sound of a jet engine, and we saw this 262 coming down through the light clouds at low altitude, rolling slightly and then hitting the ground. The explosions rocked the air, and only a column of black smoke rose from behind the trees. We took off in a car and reached the wreckage, and it was Nowotny's plane. After sifting through the wreckage, the only salvageable things found were his left hand and pieces of his Diamonds decoration."

The crash site at Epe (2.5 km east of Hesepe) is littered with the remains of the Meserschmitt scattered in an wide area. A local remembers that a engine was lying on the road beside the crash site. A small memorial was erected near the ¨grave¨ of this exceptional pilot. R. Stevens reported having chased and damaged a Me 262 at Epe.
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:56 PM
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as promised. the "ruskie' boys will especially love this one. and while its not in "their" words ( because many didnt make it back ) it is very much worth reading.

as we know...the soviet army was an equal opportunity employer. women did all the same jobs as men. some of their best snipers were female and as you will read....some of their aces and most feared fighter pilots were as well. let me introduce you first to Lilya Litvak, the "White Rose" of Stanilgrad.

Lidya Vladimirovna Litvak was born in Moscow in August 18, 1921. Lilya was her nickname. She was regarded by all as a "strikingly beautiful woman", which helped earn her public appreciation and, added to her success as a fighter pilot, served the propaganda ministry well.

Litvak's aviation adventure began when she was teenager. Having 14 years old she joined Aeroclub, and one year later she took off for her first a lone flight. Soon Lidya arrived to 'Khersonskoya' Aviation School. After finishing it she returned to 'Kalininskiy' Aeroclub, as a flight instructor. When the war began, Lidya's dream was join to the battle. The building of female units by Marina Raskova, was excellent occasion!

She began military service in the all-woman 586th IAP, where she flew mostly defense missions from January to August 1942. In August she was posted, with Katiya Budianova, Masha Kuznietzova and Raya Bieliayeva to 'male' squadrons because of her merits. They arrived to 6th IAD (after some sources it was 9th Guards IAP of 287 IAD), battling over Stalingrad front. With this unit she got her first 2 air victories in September 13, 1943. It was second combat sortie. Soviet pilots encountered formation of Ju 87s with cover of Bf 109s. In first attack Lidya killed a single 'Stuka'. Then she noticed a friend's plane in trouble - Raya Bielayeva dueled against very agressive 'Messer'. Help arrived just in time and the Bf 109 was downed. After Soviet's relations German fighter pilot (experienced ace, 'baron', and member of Richthofen unit) fell POW and this same day evening he meet his adversary. He was very surprised seeing young, beutiful, female pilot...

In the end of January, 1943, she was transferred with Yekaterina Budianova to the 296th IAP, stationed Kotiel'nikovo airfield near Stalingrad. On February 17, 1943, she was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Two days later she was promoted to Junior Lieutenant and soon after to Senior Lieutenant.

On 22 March 6 Soviet fighters encountered formation of Ju 88s. Lidya just downed one of them when she noticed attacking 6 Bf 109s. She rapidly turned against Germans to cover other surprised Soviet fighters. After heavy, 15-minuts combat Litvak's Yak returned base, but plane took several hits while Lidya was wounded. After hospital's stay she went to Moscow with order of month rehibilitaion. But after next week, in first days of May, she arrived front unit...

When she came back, the 296th IAP had been renamed the 73 Guards IAP for their exploits in battle.

On 5 May 1943 Lilya, not fully healthy after injuring, took part in aerial combat, scoring 1 kill. Two days later another Bf 109 fell in her gunsight, escaping with dark smoke.

She was wounded again in combat on July 16. This day Soviets escorted Il -2s when they spotted 30 Ju 87s in cover of 6 Bf 109s. In dramatic combat Lidya downed Junkers and Messerschmitt, shared with her leader. She landed in German-ocuppied territory, but got back to base on foot. She din't permit for doctor's examine - saying: "I'm feeling enough good to fight!"

Three days later she again took off for combat mission. On 21 July Lida flew as a wingman of unit's commander - Ivan Golishev. The pair of Soviet fighters was attacked by 7 enemy Bf 109s. Lidya fufilled her duty covering the leader, she managed to shot down one of 'Messers' attacking Golishev, but her Yak was heavily hit. She belly-landed near Novikovka village.

There is no doubt, that heavy combats, wounds, the death of Katya Budyanova (in combat) and death of close friend Alieksiey Solomatin (in plane crash) exhaust Lilya both physically and mentally...

She was repeatedly successful in flying missions, although was finally killed while escorting a unit of Shturmoviks returning from an attack in August 1, 1943 (it was her third sortie this day!). Because of her notoriety amongst the Germans, eight Messerschmitt Bf 109's concentrated solely on Lilya's Yak-1 with number '23' on board, and it took all eight of them to finally shoot down the 'White Rose of Stalingrad'. Her body and aircraft were not found during the war, but a marble monument, with 12 gold stars—one for each enemy plane that she had shot down—was erected in her memory in Krasy Luch, in the Donetsk region. Litvyak had completed 168 missions, and had 3 shared victories in addition to her personal twelve. She was 22 years old when she died.

Her remains were found at last in 1979, buried under her fallen YaK-1's wing, near the village of Dmitriyevka. Ten years later her body was recovered for an official burial; and in May 5, 1990 she was posthumously conferred the title of Hero of the Soviet Union by then Premier Mikhail Gorbachov.

After some sources, on each side of her Yak-1's cockpit she painted a white lily, often confused for a rose—hence the nickname. She was so fond of flowers, that she often picked wildflowers and carried them aloft on her missions. According to her mechanic, Inna Pasportnikova, she had a postcard with yellow roses in her instrument panel. The white rose on the fuselage became famous among the Germans, who knew better than to try to dogfight the familiar Yak-1, and usually tried to make good their escape before Litvyak got too close. But there is no photography confirmation about 'white lilly' painting and I'm afraid that is only the legend...
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:01 PM
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and now Marina Raskova and other Soviet Female Pilots....

After Germany invaded the Soviet Union, between 22 June 1941 and 8 May 1945 there were nearly one million women who served in the Soviet Armed Forces, many of whom were at the front, enduring the harshness of frontline combat and fighting alongside their male counterparts for the very existence of their homeland. Soviet women's combat aviation regiments began to be formed in October 1941, after the Soviet high command authorized Marina Raskova to organize a female special Aviation Group No. 122.

A few words would be in order here about Marina Raskova, a very interesting personality. Besides establishing close relationships with everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, Raskova also cared deeply for the people under her command. She was a very cheerful woman with a wide range of interests, including classical music (she attended the Pushkin School of Music, specializing in piano playing), who became fluent in French and Italian and studied chemistry as well as military subjects.

At the age of 19 Marina Raskova was hired by the Zhukovsky Aviation Engineering Academy as a laboratory technician. In 1934 she passed the aviation navigator's examination and in 1935 obtained her pilot's license. On 24 October 1937 Raskova and Valentina Grizodubova, while flying a Yak-12, scored the female world record in a long distance non-stop flight of 1,445 km. In 1938 Raskova took part in three record flights: on 24 May and 2 July in an MP-1 flying boat, covering 1,749 km and 2,241 km respectively and on 24-25 September with V. Grizodubova and P. Osipenko in an ANT-37 covering 6,450 km or 5,908 km as the crow flies in a pioneer non-stop flight from Moscow to the Pacific. At the age of 26 she was awarded the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union, along with Grizodubova and Osipenko, for their flight to the Far East.

After the German-Soviet war broke out on 22 June 1941, Raskova used her personal influence with Joseph Stalin, and her position on the People's Defense Committee, to secure permission to form all-female combat units. This request was at the behest of many Soviet young women and girls who wished to fight their homeland's enemy. In the Soviet Union there were already some pre-war female pilots that had been trained in aeroclubs by the Osoaviakhim (Society for Assistance to Defense, Aviation and the Chemical Industry). With the official approval of Stavka (Shtab Glavnogo Verkhovnogo Komandovaniya = Headquarters/Supreme High Command) and assistance from the Komsomol (Young Communist League) in selecting training candidates, Raskova began forming three all-female aviation regiments in October 1941.

After their acceptance into this new program, the future airwomen were moved to the small city of Engels on the Volga River north of Saratov. While at Engels, the women were to finish most intensive flying and navigation courses in six months, which normally took about 18 months!

Raskova had of course "kept an eye" on the entire training process, deciding on the final posting of each airwomen. With the official Stavka approval, Marina Raskova eventually formed three women's aviation regiments: the 586 IAP (Fighter Aviation Regiment), the 587 BAP (Bomber Aviation Regiment) and the 588 NBAP (Night Bomber Aviation Regiment). The first regiment was initially assigned to air defense duties in Saratov, while the other two were eventually sent to the front. These three aviation regiments were numbered in the "500" series, which meant that they were of special interest to the GKO (Gosudarstvennyy Komitet Oborony= State Committee for Defense).

When the women of these three female combat units were completing their training at Engels, the military situation at and around Stalingrad had become critical for the Soviets. Allegedly, the 1st Squadron was transferred from the 586 IAP for duty at Stalingrad due to shortages of male pilots. This is not necessarily true; there is another explanation for the transfer, i.e. that Tamara Kazarinova, the Fighter Regiment's Commander, wished to get rid of some of her subordinates, whom she considered troublemakers, by sending them to Stalingrad. Among those sent to Stalingrad were future aces Senior Sergeants Lidya Litvyak and Yekaterina (Katya) Budanova, with 12 and 11 kills (the second figure unconfirmed) respectively. Assigned to front-line fighter regiments, Litvyak and Budanova were initially underestimated as to their combat effectiveness and flying skills.

Eventually, Litvyak and Budanova were assigned to the elite 73 IAP, 6 GvIAD, 8 VA (73th Fighter Aviation Regiment, 6th Guards Fighter Aviation Division, 8th Air Army). Fighting as free hunters in search of targets of opportunity against the very best German fighter pilots, and overcoming their own male comrades' prejudices, Litvyak and Budanova were soon able to exceed the three confirmed aerial victories needed to become fighter aces.

Here is small episode from the combat efforts of Lilya Litvyak. On 22 March 1943, Litvyak was attacked by four Messerschmitt Bf 109s over Khar'kov area. Litvyak managed to shoot down two of the German fighters, while driving off the rest. This aerial engagement coincided exactly with the only two German Bf 109s lost in the same area on this date. The two German fighter pilots shot down were Leutnant Franz Müller (Bf 109G-4, coded "BH + XB") and Unteroffizier Karl-Otto Harloff (Bf 109G-2, coded "yellow 2") of the 9th squadron, fighter wing 3 (9./JG 3). German records have each of these men, who both survived, being reported shot down by Russian fighters. Lilya Litvyak was killed on 1 August 1943.

Katya Budanova was killed earlier, on 18 July 1943. According to her mechanic, while escorting a group of Soviet dive bombers Budanova was attacked by three enemy fighters and managed to shoot down one of them. Villagers who witnessed this engagement from the ground reported seeing Budanova's aircraft make a very controlled landing, even though it had obviously been damaged in flight. When the villagers reached the aircraft they discovered that she was already dead.

The remainder of the 586 IAP, commanded by Major Tamara Kazarinova, assisted in the Soviet Operation Saturn and Uranus (the elimination of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad) during November 1942, at which time they flew Yak-1 fighters. After the successful destruction of German forces in the Stalingrad area, the 586 IAP was tasked with defending some important military logistical facilities and strategic locations.

Earlier, towards the end of September 1942, the 586 IAP's Valerya Khomyakova downed a Ju 99, becoming the first Soviet woman fighter pilot to shoot down a Soviet aircraft by night. In 1944 the unit was rearmed with Yak-9 fighters and took part in the Soviet offensive in Hungary. The 586 IAP finished the war on one of the captured airfields in Austria. During the war, the female fighter pilots of the 586 IAP flew 4419 sorties, and scored 38 victories. Losses have not been totalled.

This unit was officially declared combat ready in May 1942, and on 23 May 1942, led by Marina Raskova, reached Ukraine. Because of their performance these women soon won the respect of their adversaries, when the Germans started calling their female opponents of this regiment "Night Witches."

Hauptmann Johannes Steinhoff, the commander of II./JG 52 who was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross for 101 victories on 2 September 1942, wrote: "We simply couldn't grasp that the Soviet airmen that caused us the greatest trouble were in fact WOMEN. These women feared nothing. They came night after night in their very slow biplanes, and for some periods they wouldn't give us any sleep at all."

On most occasions, the poor bombing and navigational devices of the "Night Witches" prevented them from dealing any heavy material damage to the enemy. But on the night of 25 October 1942, a lucky bomb strike set a fuel depot at the airfield of Armavir ablaze. The fire spread, and six Ju 88s and He 111s of Stab and II./KG 51 were destroyed. Only one aircraft escaped damage. This led to the quick withdrawal of II./KG 51 to the Kerch Peninsula.

As a counter-measure, Fliegerkorps IV organized an improvised night-fighter unit of 10./ZG 1. Operating with the support of searchlights, the Bf 110s of this unit took a heavy toll of the slow and brittle Po-2 biplanes once they encountered them in the air. The Po-2 aircraft was easily set on fire by either the antiaircraft or machine-gun tracers, and the plane was almost always doomed. The crew could not escape, because parachutes were not provided until the summer of 1944.

The most successful night-fighter pilot of 10.(NJ)/ZG 1 during this period was Oberfeldwebel Josef Kociok, who was credited with 21 night kills. During a single night he destroyed four Po-2s in a row. Serafima Amosova witnessed this event: "One night, as our aircraft passed over the target, the searchlights came on, the antiaircraft guns were firing, and then a green rocket was fired from the ground. The antiaircraft guns stopped, and a German fighter plane came and shot down four of our aircraft as each one came over the target. Our planes were burning like candles. We all witnessed this scene. When we landed and reported that we were being attacked by German fighters, they would not let us fly again that night. We lived in a school building with folding wooden beds. You can imagine our feelings when we returned to our quarters and saw eight beds folded, and we knew they were the beds of our friends who perished a few hours ago."

Oberfeldwebel Josef Kociok was awarded the Knight's Cross. Later he was killed in action near Kerch when he collided with a crashing Russian aircraft and his parachute failed to open.

On 6 January 1943 the regiment received the coveted acknowledgment of its members'meritorious service and was awarded the new title of 46th Taman' Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. Soviet statistics show this unit to have flown about 23,672 sorties and the unit was credited with dropping 3,000 tons of bombs. (Please note that the maximum bomb load of a Po-2 plane was only 300 kg!) Twenty-three airwomen of this regiment were awarded the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union, and it was the most highly decorated regiment in the entire Soviet Air Force. (The 24th Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to a former navigator in 1995.)

Maj Marina Raskova herself took command of the 587th Dive Bomber Aviation regiment. Her chief of staff was Capt Militsa Kazarinova, the sister of the infamous Tamara Kazarinova, first commander of the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment. The 587th began training on Su-2 bombers, which became obsolete, so it soon was re-equipped with twin-engined Pe-2 dive bombers. On 22 November 1942 the regiment finished its training and was ordered to move to the Stalingrad Front. The points of battle "tour" of this unit were: Orel, Kursk, Smolensk, Vitebsk, Borisov, Mazurian Lakes. In May 1943, near Elblag, Poland, the dive bomber regiment finished its war operations, now designated as the 125th "M. M. Raskova" Borisov Guards Dive Bomber Aviation Regiment (after helping in the liberation of the town of Borisov). The unit's flag was decorated with the Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov III Class. This Regiment's crews flew a total of 1134 combat missions, dropping 980 tons of bombs. The most unusual success of this unit was scored by Mariya Dolina. In her Pe-2 bomber she downed two enemy planes, a Bf 109 and Fw 190, at the same time.

A fitting tribute was made to the dedication of this unit's airwomen by the male Free-French pilots of the "Normandie-Niemen" Fighter Regiment who often fought next to these women: "Even if it were possible to gather and place at your feet all the flowers on earth, this would not constitute sufficient tribute to your valor."

Marina Raskova did not survive the war, having died in a plane crash. According to Capt Valentina Savitskaya-Kravchenko, the unit's chief navigator, in December 1942 there was an urgent need to transfer as many Pe-2s to the Stalingrad front as soon as possible. While leading a formation of three aircraft to the front on 4 January 1943 in a blinding snowstorm, Raskova crashed her aircraft into the high west bank wall of the Volga River north of Stalingrad. The entire crew were killed. Since this was a military mission, involving supply of the front with aircraft and their crews, Raskova was considered as being Killed in Action (KIA).

The 587 BAP and the 588 NBAP were employed in the intense fighting in the Kuban area of southern Russia. They flew their missions resisting the finest Jagd Gruppen (fighter group) of the German Luftwaffe, JG 54. This German fighter group included some of the world's highest ranking fighter aces in history, including Erich Harmann with 352 confirmed air combat kills.

At times suffering heavy losses, the women in the night bomber regiment received many decorations and flew as many as fifteen missions per night. Some of those who have never read these women's memoirs believe that the story of the female ground crews has never been adequately covered in print. True, these women had to drag 60 kg (124 pound) compressed air cylinders to the aircraft to be recharged, hauled ammunition cans, removed weapons, performed maintenance tasks, loaded bombs and carried out repairs, which was all done in the open in all kinds of weather. The female ground support personnel suffered from frost bite, sunburn, stress, anxiety, hunger and fatigue.

During the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, which resulted in the collapse of any hope of German victory in the East, prior to the Soviet assault against Berlin in May 1945, the Soviet female combat units were engaged in some of the heaviest aerial combat operations in history. Among the airwomen who didn't serve in the women's regiments was Senior Lieutenant Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, Hero of the Soviet Union, who flew the IL-2 "flying tank," in Kuban and Crimea. Timofeyeva, regimental deputy commander and chief navigator of the 805 ShAP (Ground Attack Aviation Regiment), was the only female in her unit. This woman faced some of the fiercest aerial combat in recorded history against the Luftwaffe's J-54.

Some of the women of these female units that won distinction and held command posts were as follows:

Commanders - 586 IAP (Fighter Aviation Regiment): Lidya (Lilya) Litvyak, Hero of the Soviet Union (HSU) - Flight Commander; Raisa Belyayeva - Squadron Commander; Tamara Pamyatnykh - Squadron Commander.

Commanders - 587 BAP (Bomber Aviation Regiment): Klavdiya Fomicheva, HSU - Squadron Commander; Marina Raskova, HSU - Regimental Commander; Nadezhda Fedutenko, HSU- Squadron Commander.

Commanders - 588 NBAP (Night Bomber Aviation Regiment): Yevdokiya Bershanskaya - Regimental Commander; Yevgeniya Zhigulenko, HSU- Flight Commander; Tat'yana Makarova, HSU- Flight Commander; Nina Ul'yanenko, HSU, Flight Navigator.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:06 PM
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"It must have been at the time Al [Deere] was hit that one of the other 109s joined our formation and took up his position as my number two! It was not until we were over Bethune that the leader of the section on my right suddenyl realised that my wingman was, in fact, a 109. He immediately opened fire and the enemmy aircraft dived away, which was when I saw it.

The distance from Hazebrouck to Bethune is quite considerable and all this time I had this German aircraft behind me, in fact, I was even looking back straight into its gun muzzles without recognising it! Just why he did not open fire I will never know but all I can think is that he was a new boy who joined our formation by mistake, thinking it was his own, or having found himself by accident in the midst of a whole wing of the much feared Spitfires he just did not know how to break away without being immediately shot down.

Although it still gives me the creeps, it is interesting to speculate on what would have happened if he had not been fired at - perhaps he might even have landed back at Kenley with us!

About a week later we carried out a sweep over Dunkirk, St Omer and Gravelines. We did not encounter anything until we were approaching the coast on our way then I noticed that the number three of a section on my left was intermittently "trailing". I thought it was strange, as no vapour trails were being formed by any of the other aircraft, so I had a closer look and to my horror realised that numbers three and four in the section were 109s and the "vapour trail" I had noticed against the briliant blue of the sky was, in fact, smoke from his guns as he fired at the number two of the section. He must have been a terribly bad shot as he failed to score a hit.

I called out a warning and climbed towards the 109s opening fire as I did so. The Germans dived away and I latched on to the tail of the leader, his number two latched on to me, and my number two on to him - and down we hurtled towards the beaches of Gravelines.

I was in the fortunate position of being the only one who could fire as the German number two could not fire at me for fear of hitting his leader and my number two could not shoot in case he hit me! As we got lower the 109 I was shooting at pulled out of its dive and started a climbing turn to starboard and I noticed that we were now about 3000 feet right over the flak batteries so, having failed to hit the 109, as I thought, I broke violently to port and dived away out to sea weaving gently. A certain amount of flak came up but it was very wide of the mark.

It was not until debriefing at Kenley that I learned from my number two that "my" 109 had continued its turn to starboard, rolling on to its back and diving straight into the sand dunes where it exploded."


From: Johnny Kent, "One of the Few", Tempus Publishing 2000 reprint.

[In 53 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit based at Heston, London]:"The accident rate during training was considerably higher than it was on an operational unit and, although always regrettable, some of them had their amusing side. One was the result of engine failure immediately after take-off and the pilot had no option but to come down in Osterley Park where he hit a tree and literally wrapped the aeroplane round it. When we got there we could not move the machine and had to wait for the Crash Crew; in the meantime we examined the wreckage and could see that the pilot was himself jammed tightly up against the tree. Judging from the angle of his head, his neck appeared to be broken and there was no sign of life at all.

On arrival, the Crash crew rapidly got a chain around the aeroplane and, using their lorry, quickly pulled it clear - as it did so the pilot's head snapped back into its normal position and he said: "Thank you very much!".

Apparently he had been so tightly jammed up against the tree that he could neither move nor speak, but he had been able to hear all the comments as we surveyed his "dead" body. Actually his injuries were confined to a few scratches and bruises."

From: Johnny Kent, "One of the Few", Tempus Publishing 2000 reprint.


[In Nicosia, Cyprus, 1944] "Some of the Hungarian cabaret girls were most attractive and some of the stories about them were very amusing - unfortunately most will not bear retelling here. One, I think, can be told as it illustrates the attitude to life and world affairs that most of them seemed to have. One of our officers was dancing with a particularly good-looking girl who asked why he had the top button of his tunic undone. He explained that this was because he was a fighter pilot. She said: "Oh, I like fightair pilotts - my brudder he is a fightair pilott."

Here was too good an opening to miss so our young hopeful asked what squadron the brother was in, to which she airily replied: "I don't know but he flies the Messerschmitt 109 on the Rossian front!""

Where the relationship went after that, we do not hear!

from: Johnny Kent, "One of the Few" (Tempus reprint 2000)


"Hornchurch was bombed again later that day [1st September]. Half asleep in my bed, having been doctored and doped, I was dimly aware of the air raid sirens blaring on the camp and decided that the air-raid shelter was the safest place to be as the chances were that Hornchurch would again be the target, and it was. I hastened to the shelter behind the mess which was for the use of the mess staff and the airwomen who slept in billets nearby. The civilian mess staff, headed by Sam our popular and bluff chef, were already safely installed and seated in two rows along either side of the shelter and engaged in the usual speculative conversation.

I had no sooner seated myself when a pair of female legs appeared unexpectedly on the top rung of the iron ladder which led into the air-raid shelter from the emergency escape exit at the far end. Shapely ankles were followed by a figure draped in a dressing gown and obviously in some haste. Having successfully negotiated the ascent, she jumped thankfully on the floor of the shelter and turned to face the audience to display all of mother nature's charms, so embarrassingly revealed through her dressing gown which had, unfortunately, become unfastened. The poor girl was covered in confusion and the situation made no less embarrassing by the ribald remarks which Sam tossed to the assembled company. The unfortunate airwoman, who was an operations-room plotter, had been caught in her bath when the sirens sounded and deemed it wise to make all haste to the shelter. A wise but, as it turned out, an emabarrassing decision, and one not made any easier to laugh down by her admission that she didn't know there was another entrance to the shelter. In the circumstances, the bombing attack which then developed was suffered rather lightheartedly."

From: Group Captain A. C. "Al" Deere, "Nine Lives", 1959. [Al Deere, 54 Squadron, had been blown up by a German bomb in his Spitfire when taking off the previous day in the middle of a German air raid, 31st August.]

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

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

"On another sortie leading 93 Squadron, to my great regret I fired on an ambulance; however, the Germans themselves were to blame. Along a straight piece of road leading north from Annonay, I saw a long column of German transports. I swung the formation in a wide arc eastwards, with the intention of attacking across the road. The flak, I knew, would be pretty stiff, and I thought that by this tactic we could take the enemy by surprise in the initial attack.

Putting 93 into line abreast, I dived for a large vehicle dead ahead of me. My opening burst caught it squarely along its side enveloping it in dust and debris. As I pulled up I saw the Red Cross on the roof. Realising I had attacked an ambulance I called off the attack. However running my eye down the column as I swung round left in a climbing turn, I could see it was the only vehicle marked as an ambulance. The Germans did this quite often. They would put a few vehicles marked as ambulances in the midst of an armed convoy hoping we would not attack.

Later when I went down the same road with Tim Lucas to look at the Tiger tank I found this ambulance burnt out where I had strafed it, lying on its side in the ditch. Beside it was a communal grave with the names of twenty German soldiers fixed to the wooden cross. The spot where the petrol and ammunition trucks had blown up also had a communal grave with fifteen names. [This was on the same mission when he shot up the Tiger tank.] The ambulance incident was unfortunate but unavoidable. I remembered a morning in England, during the summer of 1942, when I saw an Fw190 fighter-bomber strafe the main shopping area of Folkestone, which at the time was full of women; I couldn't do anything about it as I was unable to catch him. Looking at the names on the cross, I reckoned it was a just retribution."
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:18 PM
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[November 1st 1940: 92 Squadron. Kent was CO.] "Kinder, a hefty New Zealander, was shooting at a second Stuka when he too was attacked. A few days later I received a letter from him written in hospital and I think it is one of the most perfect examples of unwitting understatement I have ever come across. The purpose of the letter was to lay claim to one Stuka destroyed and one probably destroyed and he followed up with a description of what had happened:

I was firing at the second Ju87 [he wrote], which began to smoke heavily at the starboard wing root, but at this point my attention was distracted by a cannon shell which entered the left wing and blew the end off. I turned and chased the 109 that had hit me and I last saw it going down smoking near Herne Bay. I did not feel very well so I decided to return to Biggin, but after a while I felt worse so I landed in a field, I regret to say, with my undercarriage retracted. After a little while I felt better so I phoned the nearest RAF Station and they came and collected me from the farmhouse from which I had phoned.

"Tiny" Kinder was not the sort of man to try to impress me with his coolness, he was just stating plain facts. He did not mention, because to him it had no bearing on the matter, that the shell that "blew the end off" had also badly wounded him in the left arm and leg. Despite this he clamped his arm on to his leg in an effort to stop the bleeding in both, turned his partly disabled aircraft and succeeded in out-manouevring the German and, I was able to establish later, shot it down. It was no wonder that he "felt ill" but again he did not mention that he had to walk nearly a mile from where he had landed to the farmhouse. A remarkable person."

From: Johnny Kent, "One of the Few", Tempus Press 2000


"I was by myself now and still in the battle area and I was weaving madly for I realised how vulnerable I was. I was easy meat to German fighters, just their cup of tea, particularly if there should be more than one of them, for the Germans always seemed to fancy themselves when the odds were in their favour, particularly numerical odds. It was past six o'clock now and the sun was getting lower in the west, the direction I was travelling in. I felt fairly secure from behind, provided I kept doing steep turns.

I could see a single Spitfire in front of me and a little lower. It must be Ferdie, I thought at once, and chased after it to catch up. It would be nice to go back to base together. When I got closer to it I noticed a white stream of Glycol coming away from underneath. There wasn't very much but it was enough to tell me that the machine had been hit in its radiator. It seemed to be going down on a straight course in a shallow dive. I got to within about three hundred yards of it and called up Ferdie to ask his position, feeling that he would be sure to tell me if he had been hit in the radiator, although he might not have wanted me to know in the first instance. I got no reply and for a second became convinced that he had been attacked since I had last spoken to him. I opened up my throttle, although I ought to have been conserving my fuel. From the direct rear all Spitfires look exactly the same and I had to get up close to it to read the lettering. I came up on its port side and at a distance of about twenty yards. It wsn't Ferdie. I felt relief. It didn't belong to Maida squadron at all. It was 'G' for George and belonged to some totally different squadron. I made a mental note of the lettering for 'Brain's' benefit. I closed in a bit to see what it was all about. The Glycol leak wasn't severe. I couldn't think what to make of it at all. Perhaps the pilot wasn't aware of the leak. Perhaps he had baled out already and the machine, as they have been known to, was carrying on alone, like the 'Marie Celeste'. Perhaps it was my imagination, an hallucination after the excitement and strain of the past hour. I came in very close to it as though I were in squadron formation and it no longer presented a mystery to me. The pilot was there, his head resting motionless against the side of the perspex hood. Where it was resting, and behind where it was resting, the perspex was coloured crimson. Now and then as the aircraft encountered a disturbance and bumped a little, the pilot's head moved forward and back a little. The hood was slightly open at the front, which gave me the impression that he had made an instinctive last minute bid to get out before he had died. The wind had blown into the cockpit and had blown the blood which must have gushed from his head, back along the entire length of the cockpit like scarlet rain. I became suddenly and painfully aware that I was being foolhardy to stay so close as this for a sudden reflex from the pilot, dead though he was, a sudden thrust of the rudder bar or a movement from the stick could hurl the aircraft at me. I swung out and left it. I didn't look back any more. Before I left it, it had started to dive more steeply, and the Glycol flowed more freely as the nose dipped and the speed increased."

Roger Hall, "Clouds of Fear", Bailey Brothers and Swinfen Ltd., 1975, pp.79-81.


Colonel Walker M. "Bud" Mahurin, 56th FG WW2 (20.75 kills Europe; 1 kill PTO; 3.5 Migs Korean War):

"The excitement and the thrill associated with shooting down an enemy airplane is indescribable. I always liken it to a big-game hunt, only here the quarry has the same advantage as you. Boy, it's touch and go, but Jesus, is it thrilling! I think the most fun and the most excitement I ever had was flying an F-86 in Korea against the Russians. That was just sheer delight and pleasure."

"In Europe though, we were bore-sighted for 300 yards, and at that range the pattern would be a square of about 12 feet. The natural tendency was to fire way out of range. With the first two airplanes I got, I came home with German oil on my airplane and on the windshield. But lots of times I fired out of range. Lots of times I took "snap shots" and didn't have the presence of mind to slow down and take things easy and really get things lined up. But the more experienced one became, the closer one got to the enemy airplane, and as more inexperienced German pilots were encountered, the easier it was."

"But the perspective - we just didn't have training aids that were good enough to simulate ranges as the range would look in the gunsight... to show, for example, what a 109 would look like out there at 600 yards, so you could get a perspective. In theory, we were supposed to be able to control the circle so you could set it for the wingspan of, say, a Focke Wulf Fw190, and if the airplane filled the circle, you were within range... except, how the Hell are you gonna do that when it went this way and that way and up and down and sideways? You just couldn't do it."

"I was in several dogfights. With the Me 110s, most of my kills were rear-quartering stern shots; most were real stern chases where they were wide open, and they knew we were behind them and we were closing very slowly. If you couldn't get into that kind of position, your chances of hitting the guy would be a question of how good you were at aerial combat, and most of us weren't that good."

from: Philip Kaplan, "Fighter Pilot: A history and a celebration", Aurum Press 1999, pp.145-6.


"I got chewed out by General Arnold when I came back to the States to help train and form up other groups to take over. He asked me, "What is the best bomber we have?" I looked him in the eye and said, "Sir, I think the P38 is the best bomber we have." God, he got mad! "Why do you say that?, he said. I said, "Well. it's got two engines instead of four. It carries two 1000-pounders, has only got one guy in it instead of ten, so, if you lose one, it's a lot cheaper on people. Also, when you send the fighter pilot in a P38 in to bomb something, he can probably hit the target most of the time and the bombers can't."

Major-General Carroll W. McColpin, USAF (Ret).
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:25 PM
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"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; now this lumbering seven-ton 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 tried to escape from a Thunderbolt by diving, we had him cold. Even more important, at last we had a fighter with the range to penetrate deeply into enemy territory - where the action was. So, reluctantly, we had to give up our beautiful little Spitfires and convert to the new juggernauts. The war was moving on and we had to move with it.

My heart remained with the Spitfire. The mere sound or sight of a Spitfire brings deep feelings. She was such a gentle little airplane, without a trace of viciousness. She was a dream to handle in the air."

Erwin Miller, P47 pilot, 4th Fighter Group.

"... I developed an enduring affection for the breed. Sure, there was that obvious obesity coupled with a drinking problem and the undeniable fact that she glided like a flat iron and looked - head on - like a flying toilet seat. Yet, I'm grateful for the chance I had to pilot the Thunderbolt. It was a mighty fine, mighty machine."

Phil Savides, P47 Pilot, 50th Fighter Group

Pilot: Lt. Alden P. Rigby
Aircraft: P-51d HO-R "Eleen & Jerry"
Y-29 Victories: 4
WWII Victories: 6
Final WWII Rank: 1st Lt.
Post WWII Service: 3 years active duty during the Korean conflict with the 33rd Air Division in the Air Defense Command. 25 years with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), Retired 1979. 25 years in the Utah Air National Guard, Retired in 1979 at the rank of Major. Decorations:
Silver Star
Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters.
Distinguished Unit Citation (487th Fighter Sqdn.)

Few of us were up and about, to even learn of a long escort mission to Berlin, scheduled for later in the day. I had gone to the briefing tent and learned from Col. Meyers that he had requested a short patrol mission before the Berlin run. Huston and I were requested to find a few more sober pilots, just in case. At about 9AM the fog and haze had thinned to a point of being able to see the trees at the end of the runway to the east. General Queseda had just given the ok for a short mission, using only part of our planes. Start engines at 9:00, take-off at 9:20, and be back on the ground at 10: 15. This would give us time to refuel, and meet the bombers overhead at noon.

A few P-47 pilots from across the field were given the same instructions. The briefing was the bare essentials, since we did not expect more than a look at the "bulge." Col. Meyers would lead the 12 planes, and I would be in his flight, as "white 4." This was New Year's Day, and we had not seen the "Hun" aircraft for 2 days. The German pilots could be celebrating a little also, WRONG!!!! Little did we know of their plans for exactly 9:20AM at Asch, and 15 other Allied bases.

I kicked the tires, and climbed aboard at 9:00. The plane had been warmed up, and the tanks -topped off. The cock-pit was warm, and I was ready for a comfortable ride, as I rolled into position behind the Col. The P-47s had taken off a few minutes earlier, and headed straight for the front lines below the clouds. We had just gotten the green light from the makeshift tower, when we noticed bursts of flak just East of the field.

Surprise, and even shock would be an understatement. We next saw what looked like at least 50 German fighter aircraft about to make their first pass on our field. We could not have been in a worse position, unless loaded with external fuel (or bombs). We were sitting ducks, and our chances were slim and none. It was not a difficult decision to take off, since that was the slim chance. The next 30 minutes were filled with action and anxiety, that perhaps had not been seen, or felt before or since. I had turned on my gun heater switch earlier, and now had the presence of mind (and prompting) to turn the main switch on.

The take-off roll was very close, rapid, and somewhat organized. We did not wait for help from the tower, or our own departure Control Officer. We just went. I am certain there were a few short prayers to just get off the ground. I had my own sort of set prayer, consisting of 6 words that had been used many times. Being caught on the ground was simply a fighter pilot's nightmare. We had made the situation even worse by having our fuselage tanks filled.

This would make a big difference in our maneuverability, until about 50 gallons could be burned off. This would be my first take-off ever with the gun sight illuminated on the windshield. Things were happening too fast to even be afraid, that could come later. There was no training to cover such a situation, instinct simply had to take over, and it would have to be an individual effort.

Getting off the ground was extremely difficult. I was fighting Meyers prop wash, so I had to keep the plane on the steel mat a little longer to establish better control. It was of some comfort to just get airborne. Our ground gunners were firing a lot of shells at the enemy, and in all of the confusion, were firing at us as well. This would have been their first test in anything near such conditions, so they were not hitting anyone, but it was a little disturbing.

My landing gear had just snapped into the up position, when I opened fire on an FW-190 which was on Littge's tail. I told him on the radio to "break left", this put the 190 right in my sight. I could see strikes from the tail up through the nose. The plane rolled over from about 300 ft., and went straight in. I then picked out another FW- 190 headed east. It appeared that he was headed for "the Fatherland." I dropped down on his tail and opened fire at a greater distance than was necessary, since I had the speed advantage.

During the chase my gun sight failed. The bulb had burned out, and I did not have the time to change it, even had I known where the spare was. I expended even more ammunition before enough hits brought the smoke and crash in the trees. I was now in very difficult position, no gun sight, low on ammunition, and high on fuel. I had my tracers loaded to show only when I had fired down to 300 rounds. I was now into that short supply, with still a lot of fighting to be done. I knew that mine would have to be at very close range without the sight.

There did not seem to be any over-excitement, or even caution. It was not just another day at the office, but more of a day that all of the training had led up to. The odds were getting better with each minute. And I did have reason to be even a little optimistic. Considering getting off the ground in the first place, and being over friendly territory was much more than could be hoped for a few minutes earlier. The friendly territory added another dimension, since bailing out (if necessary) meant friends on the ground for a change.

I did not have any trouble finding the field after the lengthy chase on the 2nd 190. The flak was still there, though not nearly as heavy, and I could see at least 2 dogfights. I could see a few fires on the ground, and wondered if any could be "ours?" I could see a P-47 in a turn with an ME- 109 at about 1000 ft. I knew that the "Jug" could not turn with the German at the low altitude, which left me with a bit of a problem.

I really needed what ammo I had left for self-preservation, but when the 109 had the advantage, I did not have a choice. As the P-47 mushed to the outside, I came up from beneath, and- from very close range fired enough rounds to see hits on the left wing, through the cock-pit, and right wing. The 109 went in from about 500 ft. Before joining the fight, I reasoned that only I would know of my ammo shortage, and gun sight problem. I thought perhaps sheer numbers would count for something. The fuselage tank would now permit reasonable maneuverability near the ground, and I would very soon need that. I knew that I Was now down to what could be my last burst, even if all 6 guns were working.

My last fight was with the best German pilot I had seen at any time. He could well have been their Group Commander. I would be the 2nd or 3rd P-51 pilot to try for a reasonable shot. He put the 109 through maneuvers that had us mostly watching, i.e. a "split-S" from about 1000 ft. I recall seeing the aircraft shudder, then pull wing tip streamers as his prop wash shook the treetops. He was then back in the fight and very aggressive. I was glad to have another P-51 in the vicinity, since my firepower could only be a bluff as far as I knew. I recall being very impressed by the way the 109 was being flown, and hoped that I could in some way get in a reasonable firing position. I knew that I would only have one chance, (if any) because of his ability, and my limited ammo.

After about 5 minutes, I did not see any more firing from the German. It could have been that his situation was as bad as mine. His maneuvers now seemed to be on the defensive side. It was what seemed like 10 minutes, (but was probably less) before the other P-51 turned the 109 in my direction, where he turned broad side to me from something less that 30-40 yards. It was close enough for me to see the pilot clearly, and what proved to be the last of my ammunition score a few hits on the left wing, the engine, and then shatter the canopy and cock- pit. I had again guessed right for the very close proximity, high deflection angle firing without the gun sight. Some might think in terms of being "lucky." That could well have been, but I am convinced of other factors being involved (help from above for one).

The fight was over, as well as any other that I could see anywhere near the field. I now had time to think, and wonder about what had happened. How had we been able to get airborne? What had happened to the field, and would it be suitable for landing? This would not be a problem, since I still had plenty of fuel to find a field on the Continent, or even get back to England. How many of our planes did not get off the ground? How many of ours lost in the air, or on the ground? What had happened to my gun sight, and could I have done much more with it? I was not happy about wasting so much time and ammo on the 2nd FW- 190.

I was not at all anxious to land, though I knew the fighting had to be over. I would take my chances without ammo in the air rather than be in any hurry to get back on the ground at Y-29, or any field to the west. I could see several fires burning near the field, and what looked like 2 or 3 on the field, but the runway looked good. I could see the rows of P-51's and P-47's, and could not believe the field could have gotten by with so little visible damage.

My fuselage tank was down to fighting weight, and the fight was over. Flying around the area at about 2,000 ft. with more airspeed than usual was a great feeling. I had not been able to use this much speed since chasing the 2nd FW-190. I also had the time and judgment to check to the rear, which I had not done much of before.

Things had happened so fast, and as far as I knew gone so well, that I was getting curious about what the others had been doing. I could see 3 other P-51's in the area, but did not join up. A check with the tower was not all that re-assuring about the condition of the field. After about 15 minutes of looking things over, I decided it would be safe to get back on the ground. I had clearance to land, and would follow the P-51 on what was to be his break on the 360-degree overhead pattern. Instead, he came in on the deck and pulled up in the frequently done victory roll over the runway, with a few flak bursts following him. The ground gunners were still on edge. I had thought of giving the ground troops a little thrill also, but suddenly changed my mind. They had probably had enough for one day anyway. The frost had melted on the steel mats, and the landing was a bit slippery. I was just happy to be back where it all started in one piece.

Landing to the west left only a short taxi to my parking place, and the foxhole used some during this mission by the crew. As I cut the engine, there was some emotion that I had not given any thought to. Sgt. Gillette knew something of what had happened, but of course did not know the numbers, my gun sight problem, or my ammo predicament. He was almost in tears as I made my account to him. I assured him that it was most probable that I had done better without the sight, because of the low altitude, and very close range. We had always had a close relationship, but the events of this day, and our visible emotions about what had happened, left us with even more common bond.

It was almost unbelievable that we had not lost any aircraft, or that damage on the ground was mini- mal. The only injury was almost humorous, a sprained ankle for Lt. Doleac, as he stumbled while running for a foxhole. I do not recall any celebrations. There was a lot of excitement, but nothing that was not rather subdued, or even "matter of fact."

We would be the only base out of 16 airfields attacked that morning to "survive." American and British losses at other bases totaled some 400 aircraft, with some estimates much higher. Some 1200 German planes were involved, departing several airfields, and timed to arrive at their target base at exactly 9:20AM. There could not be any manuals written, or even instructions given to cover the emergency we found ourselves in. At least 2 years of training, and considerable combat experience suggested (demanded) that we get airborne at any price. The timing of our take-off, however risky, had probably saved lives, and certainly saved the near 100-parked aircraft on the field. Another miracle, 9 of us had shot down 23 of the German fighters, without losing a plane or pilot. This encounter has been referred to as "The legend of Y-29." I would also add the word "miracle" in that title.

The Germans had suffered only minor losses, except at Asch, where almost half of the attacking force had been shot down. An ironic twist to the operation came as the Germans were returning to their bases. Their High Command had failed to notify the anti-aircraft unit guarding the well-defended V-2 launching site at Wilhelmshaven of their return route. Their gunners apparently did not know of the big morning operation, and the cloud cover prevented any visual recognition of the many aircraft seen on their radar screens headed toward the site. The officers in charge naturally assumed this to be an Allied raid on their most valuable V-2 rocket target. The very latest German radar guns, with the most experienced gunners opened fire on their own planes. German records revealed that some 140 planes were shot down before the firing could be stopped. Another 30 pilots had bailed out after getting lost, or running out of fuel. A very tragic end following a very successful earlier surprise mission.

I have re-lived that day many times over the years since. It had to be a once in a lifetime experience for any involved. We were in the right place at almost the wrong time. One minute, or even 30 seconds later, and the day would have been a total disaster. I would probably have been history, instead of writing it. Being in take-off position on the runway, we would have been the Germans' first targets.

My 2nd mission of the day was un-eventful, except for a rough engine. My landing was a little fast for the still wet runway. My brakes raised the tail wheel several times while trying to slow the bird down. Turning off the steel mat runway was also "hot", and I came very close to a twin-engine aircraft waiting to take off. I returned a friendly wave, and gave them a "thumbs-up." I learned a few minutes later that the 2 Generals on board were Spaatz and Doolettle. They had come to congratulate us on "the morning action."

The afternoon brought some anxiety as well. At a briefing following the 2nd mission, we were startled by a near-by bomb blast. We were all a little "jumpy", until we saw what had happened. A P-47 had to land with one 500 lb. bomb hanging under his left wing. The rough landing strip shook it loose, and the blast blew the aircraft apart right behind the cock- pit. The thick armor plate behind the seat had limited the pilot's injuries to nerves and scratches. Nerves and perhaps other unusual conditions contributed to another tragic afternoon accident. A flight of 4 British Typhoons, based about 30 miles west of us, were just south of our field when a P-51 from another Sqdn. in our Group mistook the flight for German. A gross error cost a British pilot's life (and plane). I was out over the front lines, some 20 miles to the east when this happened.

I begin the news part of my evening letter to Eleen; "Well darling, it is New Years night, and I may have started the year out right as far as flying and Uncle Sam are concerned. I've had quite a lot of action today, but there isn't much I can say about it right now. I feel that I could write a book about it, but tonight I can't even write a long letter. You might hear, or read about the day's action before this letter arrives. I will give you all of the details later, but for now I share only that I am an Ace." I knew she would know exactly what that meant, since that was the dream of every fighter pilot. I close my letter by telling her, "be real careful honey, and know that you are with me in all that I am doing, today was exciting, right?"

As the war related events of Christmas day were perhaps the kind to be forgotten, those of New Year's Day were to be remembered. Newspaper and other lengthy accounts of the battle were quite authentic, except for some of the loss reports. For our Squadron's part on this day, we were awarded the "Distinguished Unit Citation." We were the only Squadron to receive this award in the 8th AF during WWII. For my part, I was awarded the "Silver Star," the 3rd highest service medal.

Those reading this, and other accounts, should understand that it is impossible to express the feelings, and perhaps a lot of the action as it actually happened. Please understand also, that as an officer, I had made the commitment to fly and fight while defending this Country. I also had my personal reasons for wanting the War over with as soon as possible.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:34 PM
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The encounter was between an inbound flight of B-26 Marauders and the Me262 jet. What makes this even more interesting, is that the Me262 was the rare Me262A1/U4 "FlugPanzer" also referred to sometimes as the "Narwahl". The Me262A1/U4 was packing a 50 m/m anti-tank gun in it's nose in leu of the 4 30 m/m Mk108 "Air Hammers", and was remarkable for being both accurate and devestating in it's performance.

1st Lt. T.V.HARWOOD'S Mission 44, official 323rd Bomb Group, 456th Bomb Squad combat mission/target number #376 was flown on the afternoon of 4-20-45 and lasted 4:20 hours, the second mission of the day for Harwoods crew. 35 ships of the 323rd went up at 11,000 feet. Harwood’s plane, Martin B26 Marauder; 42-96090 WT-M (Bltitz Wagon), dropped 2 2000lbs bombs on the railroad yard at Memmingen, Germany.

Crew: Theodore V. Harwood (P) 2nd/1st Lt., Eugene T. Muszynski (CP) 2nd/1st Lt., Anthony B. Caezza (NB) S/SGT., James N. Night (?) T/Sgt., George W. Boyd (RG) S/Sgt., Raymond Deboer (TG) S/Sgt.

Base of operations; Denain/Prouvy, France. It was April 20th, 1945, in the afternoon. Thirty-five B-26 Marauders flew out toward Nordlingen, Germany to drop their bomb load from 10,000 feet in the sky to the railroad yard below. This was our next to the last mission of the war and like any mission, it could have been our last.

From the skies below came a vision of death, the foremost of the German Luftwaffe Jet, rocket aircraft, the ME-262 armed with a 50 mm cannon. It was only seconds before the ME-262 was upon us. I could see the 50 mm cannon of the ME-262 cut loose. It was very close. The whole ordeal was like watching it happen right in front of you in the fast lane of the freeway. The 50 mm cannon bursts hit the number two plane, right wing man, and sheered the nacelle door off. I could see it as clear as day.

We had no fighter escort on most missions and on this mission we were alone so we had to take care of the problem ourselves. The entire squadron opened up with everything we had. Quite possible it was out turret gunner, but someone found the target and the ME-262 went down. One of the first jets ever shot down in combat. That same ME-262 craft is now on display at the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio. This occurrence was accidentally misquoted by Major General John 0. Moench. He had documented the ME-262 attack on 4-25-45, which would have been the B-26 bombing raid on the German airfield at Erding. The mission that had the ME-262 attack was on 4/20/45 on the B-26 Nordlingen railroad yard bombing raid. This element is listed in the official mission folder.

The account documented by Major General Moench is as follows:
"Flying the left wing on the Box I, number four flight leader, Ist Lt. Theodore V. Harwood's postwar account of the ME-262 attack included an observation of fire from the attackers against the lead flight and the sudden loss of a nacelle door from Capt. Trostle's right wingman. "Our top turret was chattering like mad and the air in front of us was filled with 50 caliber casings."

This element of the attack was not noted in the mission folder." It appears the date here or in Meonch’s book may be off - 4-25-45 ---The 262 may have hit on both days! he was on both missions.

MEONCH RECORDING OF HARWOOD: “Ah the second question you have ah on the last mission April 25, 1945 to Arding, Germany of the 262s ah I was in ship 040 in the low flight ah, as I recall, according to your diagram everything was in the rear of the flight, however aha as I recall, I saw the Me262 come up from our right - position itself below us and shoot at the lead flight, as I recall, according to your diagram here number 969 which was on the right of 131 the lead ship, I don’t recall any other ship numbers except our own, ah however I could see the 37 MM. puffs of ah smoke from his cannon as he fired, and as I recall the right nacelle door flew off number 969 in your position ah, that was about all there was to that mission as I could see.

Our top turret gunner was firing which that was the first mission in my 45 mission that the gunners ever fired a shot and that was sort of startling because I didn’t know they were going to fire made considerable rattle, the whole sky in front of me was filled with 50 Caliber empties coming out of ah, I guess the lead flight there but I don’t know how they got back there because according to your diagram, this ME 262 was ah unless I got this thing reversed, but I wasn’t in the lead flight, but this trail you got here shows everything in the rear of the flight, but defiantly we saw the 262 and I saw it fire and saw the smoke from the, when the cannon went off you could see a little puff black smoke every time it fired.

Ah, our top turret gunner engineer was considerably ah -hepped up he thought he hit the thing (laughs) I don’t know there was so much brass in the air, that was my big problem worrying about the brass coming though the canopy or through the ah bombardier’s nose compartment.”
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:46 AM
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Love this read Bobby. Keep'em comin'!

And; Thanx!
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