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IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey Famous title comes to consoles.

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Old 08-16-2011, 08:46 AM
Gilly Gilly is offline
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Stumbled over this last night. As it's 72 years to the day I thought I'd share:
No Luftwaffe units were worked harder during Europe's final weeks of peace than were the cherished groups of Ju.87 Stukas, which were being remorselessly groomed for the leading role in the war Hitler was determined to launch against Poland. One of the more experienced Stuka outfits, Group I of the 76th Sturzkampfgeschwader, commanded by Captain Walter Sigel, was sent up from its usual base in Austria to Cottbus, sixty miles southeast of Berlin, as part of the Luftwaffe's general deployment of its strike forces toward the east. It was Sigel's pride that his was one of the early units to be so deployed, especially since I/St.G.76 had been handpicked for a showpiece demonstration to be held for the benefit of the senior Luftwaffe commanders, including Generals Hugo Sperrle, Bruno Loerzer, and Wolfram von Richthofen. Sigel's outfit was equipped with the lastest Ju.87B's, mounting new Jumo 211D engines rated at 1,200 horsepower, nearly twice as powerful as those used in Spain. Sigel hoped to stun the onlooking air commodores with a mass formation diving attack of the entire group, twenty-seven aircraft in all. He succeeded, but in a way nobody could have dreamed of.

The demonstration was scheduled for the morning of August 15 [1939]. The hour chosen, six [a.m.], was undoubtedly selected for the dramatic postsunrise effect it would offer. Just prior to the scheduled takeoff time, a weather reconnaissance plane landed at Cottbus with a report on
conditions over the strike area, a wooded section of Silesia near Neuhammer-am-Queis, thirty minutes' flight time away. Conditions were far from ideal. The weather pilot told Captain Sigel that it was clear above 6000 feet, but below he would find seven-tenths cloud cover all the way down to 2500 feet. Below that, however, visibility was good. This meant that Sigel would have to trust finding a hole in the clouds over the strike area, lead his group down through the murk, and and break into the clear with about five seconds left to line up on the target, release bombs, and pull out. As group commander, Sigel had three choices: to request postponement of the strike until the weather was clear all the way down, to ask that the exercise be scrubbed, or to carry on as planned. Since Sigel was a German officer, and since a galaxy of fearsome Luftwaffe generals were gathering to personally witness I/St.G.76's star turn, only the last option was thinkable. Shortly after 5:30am, Sigel led his group off the field at Cottbus.

Once Sigel left the ground, he was in constant radio communication with the twenty-six other Stukas forming up in squadron strength behind him, but there was no radio link between his airborne group and the strike area at Neuhammer. Thus he could not know of the disaster in the making. Between the time the weather plane had surveyed the area and returned to Cottbus and the time Sigel's group neared the strike zone, early morning ground fog formed into an opaque white blanket covering almost the entire area, rising in places to merge with the fringes of cloud. No more dangerous weather conditions for a dive-bombing attack could have been created.

Sigel, with his Stukas arrayed behind him, approached Neuhammer at an altitude of 12,000 feet, estimating his position by dead reckoning and upon checkpoints which were in the clear on the flight out from Cottbus. Above, a pale blue windowpane sky; below, a sea of rolling clouds tinged with red. The generals were waiting. Sigel rolled the Stuka on its back and shoved the stick forward. The altimeter needle began unwinding in a futile race to keep up with the altitude that was being eaten away at the rate of 375 feet per second. Sigel's bomber plunged into the dirty gray wet muck at a dive angle of seventy degrees doing nearly 300 miles per hour. Closed in by the white world about him, his eyes straining to see past the mist being churned by the prop, Sigel felt time drag. By now, the entire group, echeloned out on his wings, were hurtling through the clouds with him. Where was the clear air promised by the weather pilot?
Any instant now...

Then the horrified Sigel saw not two thousand feet of clear space, but a limitless canopy of trees rushing toward him. Already tensed to the breaking point, his reactions were instantaneous. He screamed a warning to the others and slammed the stick back. Through the blur of a grayout, Sigel saw that he missed death by a matter of feet; the Stuka was zipping through a firebreak below the treetops. His warning came too late for the two dive-bombers riding his tail. They plunged into the earth, sirens wailing, and exploded -- as did all nine Stukas of the second wave. The high squadron's Ju.87's convulsively came out of their dives, but two of them stalled out and smashed into the trees to join the eleven others. Fragments of metal and flesh were scattered across a wide area, and fires started in the summer-dry secondary undergrowth. Plumes of smoke, pyres for the twenty-six airmen who had died before breakfast, rose lazily into the air, blending with the fog that began to dissipate not long afterwards.

The tragedy at Neuhammer, worst of its kind in the recorded history of aviation, was kept secret for a long time afterward. OKL was notified immediately, of course, as was the Fuhrer. One account has it that when Hitler was given the news, he "stared speechlessly out of the window for ten minutes." The reaction is believable; Hitler was a mystic, a believer in astrology, and the wiping out of thirteen of his vaunted Stukas at one stroke was surely an omen. His war against Poland, in which the Luftwaffe was counted on to play a decisive role, was scheduled to begin sixteen days later.
Cajus Bekker- Angriffshohe 4000

As an additional note it seems one Hans Ulrich Rudel was destined for this group but ended up, much to his disappointment at the time, being sent to a recon group.

Last edited by Gilly; 08-16-2011 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:18 AM
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a video interview with Stewart "Bomb" Finney. think foz and bucket are going to like this particularly...


Last edited by bobbysocks; 09-14-2011 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:24 PM
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some 357th stories...

During a mission to Munich, in a nearly complete undercast near Ulm, Capt. Glendon Davis was flying with the second element in Blue Flight of the 364th Fighter Squadron, having lost his wingman in an earlier run-in with German fighters. The three Mustangs were climbing back through the clouds when five Bf 109s came down through a break in the clouds. They failed to spot the P-51s; “We let them get below us, then bounced them from above,” said Davis. “On the turn into them, my second element cut inside me and went for the first three 109s. I singled out the last one and he went for the deck. While he was looking back at me he touched the snow, but pulled it back and kept on going. I gave him a burst from 300 yards, observing strikes and he cut his engine and began a glide for an open snow-covered field. I closed on him, firing steadily all the way and observing my bullets completely riddle his airplane. Just as I pulled up to avoid collision he exploded. Pieces of his airplane hit the top and leading edge of my right wing, smashing it flat. I climbed back up to 29,000 feet and came home alone. I can truthfully say that I owe my life to the excellence of American materials and workmanship.”

While the Blue, White and Green Flights were tangling with the Germans below the bombers, Red Flight, led by Maj. Thomas Hayes, had stuck with the bombers. Soon, several “heavy fighters” tried to take advantage of the situation. “Three or maybe four twin-engine enemy aircraft made a sorry attack on a tight formation of three boxes of B-17s,” said Hayes, “and, I might add, with no apparent results. I called the flight to attack, and while going down they all broke up. One headed south, which I closed up with my wingman, Capt. Currie, as cover. My element, led by Capt. (Jack) Warren, chased two on a heading north. We turned only gradually without diving, which made the kill easy. At 300 yards my first had not enough lead but the enemy aircraft did nothing. Still closing, my second burst caught him square and started the left engine to burn. He reacted now by straightening out where he caught the full effect of all my guns. This was at about 50 to 100 yards and I observed his canopy in addition to other debris leave the plane. I went under him by 50 feet and noticed both engines burning. (I) also (noticed) the black crosses on the underside of the left wing, which was trimmed heavily with bright yellow. His belly was robin’s egg blue and the top a rusty brown. I broke away to come back again when I saw one parachute open and the aircraft go straight down, where it exploded in a snow field.” Because there was no return fire from the tail gunner when he was attacking at close range, Hayes assumed that no observer had been on board.

Jack Warren spotted a single Fw 190 flying straight and level at 1000 feet. “I closed in to about 100 yards from astern and fired a short burst,” said Warren. “I observed numerous strikes on and around the cockpit. The enemy aircraft started a spiral to the left and crashed in an orchard. The pilot undoubtedly was killed. The enemy aircraft was entirely demolished and, when last seen, had started to burn.” Warren later spotted some Me 210s and shot down two of them, raising his score to five and making him the group’s first ace.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Hubert Egenes of the 362nd spotted an enemy plane 5000 feet below him. “I went into a 45-degree dive and closed on the plane, a Bf 109, at approximately 10,000 feet,” said Egenes. “I commenced firing from about 250 yards range and observed strikes on his fuselage, wings and underside of the plane. The enemy ship caught fire from the oil coolers near the center of the fuselage underneath. The last I saw of him he was in a steep dive, burning, heading into the clouds. I saw no parachute. “Upon pulling up from this encounter at about 14,000 feet I noticed a Bf 109 forming on another 109’s wing. The first pilot was rocking his wings, apparently signaling for both of us to join up. They must have thought I was friendly, for they allowed me to fly up by the No. 2 man. We were all in a gentle climb straight ahead. Then I pulled up directly behind the wingman and started firing. Pieces flew off his plane and it began burning. He went out of control, rolled over on his back and went down.”
It wasn’t all victories this day, however. Lt. John England and his wingman, Lt. Alvin Pyeatt, were attacked by a trio of Bf 109s. “I peeled off to the right, making a very tight turn into the enemy aircraft,” said England. “Due to the tightness of the turn and a full fuselage tank I went into a high-speed stall (from) which took me about 10 seconds to recover. I did not see Lt. Pyeatt during or after this maneuver. Later I attempted to contact him over R/T, but there was no replay.” Pyeatt’s Mustang “Scrappy,” P-51B 43-6960, was shot down and crashed, killing the pilot.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:28 PM
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another one..

On 12 May, the First Air Task Force received an escort to Brux. Lt. William Reese of the 357th Fighter Group was flying on Capt. John Carder’s wing when he spotted two Bf 109s coming in on Carder’s tail. “I called (Carder) to break right,” said Reese. “We came around on the two enemy aircraft’s tails. I followed the enemy aircraft from 8000 feet to the deck, firing short bursts at 400 yards and was unable to close. Finally after a 10-minute chase I observed strikes on the enemy aircraft’s engine and it began to smoke. I then closed to within 100 yards and observed strikes all over the enemy aircraft.”
“At this time, Capt. Carder passed over me from my right to the left and this was the last I saw of him.” Suffering from a balky engine, Carder bellied in and the 7-victory ace became a POW.
During the run in to the target, eight Bf 109s from JG.27 tried to attack the bombers, and three of them were destroyed by Lts. Ralph Hofer, Joseph Pierce and Grover Siems and Capt. Howard Hively. In another attack, Lt. Thomas McDill and Maj. James Goodson each bagged a Bf 109, and four pilots later combined for six more victories. George Stanford was among the last group of victors. “At 10,000 feet, we spotted three Bf 109s below us and went down to attack them from the rear. I picked the one in the middle, and he broke right and down onto the deck. I fired at him continually, starting at about 350 yards. I observed only one group of hits on his starboard wing. For some reason, however, he seemed to think his jig was up, for he pulled up in a steep climb, started to roll over, and jettisoned his canopy.”
Lt. Eliot Shapleigh dove for the same three Bf 109s, his section weaving to lose speed so as not to overshoot. “I opened fire, getting strikes on the wings and fuselage,” he said. “I pulled up as the enemy aircraft went into the deck and exploded.” At that point Shapleigh made a starboard turn and found himself on the tail of Stanford’s Bf 109. Shapleigh opened fire, and the Bf 109 completed his roll and went into the ground on its back.
Lost during the mission was Lt. Roger A. Hilsted, who was shot down by a German fighter. In exchange, the group accounted for 14 enemy aircraft. Lt. Thomas Norris shot down one and shared a second with Lt. Aubrey Hood, while single kills went to Maj. Irwin Dregne, Capts. Maurice Baker, “Bud” Anderson, Paul DeVries and William O’Brien and Lts. Joseph Pierce, Thomas McKinney, Richard Smith and Robert Smith. Shares of victories went to Capts. John Storch, Richard Peterson and Fletcher Adams and Lt. Arval Roberson.
Elsewhere above the bomber stream, the 4th Fighter Group was in action as well. Lt. Ted Lines and his wingman spotted a pair of Bf 109s and the two dropped their tanks to pursue. “They split up and headed for the deck,” said Lines. He saw his wingman destroy one Bf 109, “and just then the other Bf 109 cut right in front of me. I got on his tail and started firing. I followed the enemy aircraft for about 20 miles, and he led me into a flak area. By that time, I was out to get him. I cleared my tail and just as I faced forward I saw this Bf 109 hit the ground and blow up.” Other German fighters fell to Capt. James Happel and Lt. Robert Homuth.

Fletcher Adams was one of several 357th pilots who survived the air combat by parachuting or belling in behind enemy lines only to be killed by civilians. the 357th museum in Ida, La ( his home town i believe ) is dedicated to him and bears his name.

Last edited by bobbysocks; 10-05-2011 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:29 PM
FOZ_1983 FOZ_1983 is offline
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Originally Posted by bobbysocks View Post
Great clips Bobby!! Basically tells us the Hurricane could slaughter the 109 haha. Brilliant.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:07 PM
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nice bobbysocks.I flew the yak last night for a couple of hours.gonna jump in the hurricane tonight hopefully.nice part about it is i wont piss my pants with fear.hats off to that old gent.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:34 PM
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some stories from Joe Shea 375 FG 362 SQ

The day the Germans blasted the 362nd over the Hague.

On many of the mission I flew on we would enter the continent over the Hague and always at about 18000 feet. This had become more or less routine, and we never expected the Germans to shoot at us. In fact I recall being told in Clobber College just that.

One morning though the Germans had apparently been observing our pattern, our air speed, etc and had polished the barrels of their 88 mm anti aircraft guns one last time before we flew over. There were probably 24 planes in the formation, 4 ship flights in trail and all tucked in nice and close. Guess we wanted to show the Germans what pretty formation we could fly.

Suddenly about a dozen rounds of 88’s exploded right at our altitude and right in the formation. I happened to be tail end Charlie and as I pealed off to the right sharply I looked back and you have never seen a bomb burst of planes the like of what I observed.

The old saying goes, “If you can see the flash and hear the noise, you’re dead.” Well that’s not true. I was at the rear of the formation but both saw the flash and heard the noise and I am sure the rest of the pilots saw and heard the same but we all formed back up and continued the mission. I guess the only casualties were the crew chiefs that had to patch up all the holes in the aircraft.

The moral of this story is to never get too cocky and let your guard down.

Joe B & Joe S got snookered.

I was flying on the wing of Joe Broadhead one day and apparently there had been some action because we were down to a flight of 2 heading home when we came across a German airfield with 7 ME-109’s lined up along one side of the field and 6 on the opposite side. Col Broadhead elected to take the 7 and let me have the 6. As we approached from the east, suddenly the sides of the buildings along both sides of the field fell away revealing anti aircraft guns. Col Broadhead called break and I didn’t have to be told twice we both broke sharply to the right and down to tall grass levels and got out of there full speed.

Don’t know to this day if the planes were real or dummies but somehow feel like we were duped.

The urge to KILL.

During the spring of 1945 it was quite common to perform your escort duties and after returning the bombers to friendly territory, to turn tail and go back into Germany and search out targets of opportunity. On one such occasion, probably south of Hanover, we encountered an unusual cloud pattern. The clouds were in rows much the same as hay farmers roll up the hay into parallel rows across a field. We were flying up one clear space and finding nothing diving down under the cloud row to the next clear spot. On one such maneuver we flew, inadvertently for sure, right over a German airfield and all hell broke loose. I recall looking back and seeing a solid red stream of tracers directly behind my tail. Needless to say, I bent the throttle over the quadrant in an effort to get more speed and somehow managed to stay ahead of the stream of bullets.

End of story? No not quite. I have never been able to erase the memory of the almost overpowering urge to kill the gunners who were firing at me. I wanted to split “S” and blast the gun emplacement. To have done so at that altitude would have been suicidal. It’s the only time during my tour that I was truly insanely angry with the Germans. Since then I have rationalized and understand that they had every right to be shooting at me, after all I was invading their homeland. But at that moment all I could think of was “How dare you.” Guess you might say I took it personally.

2 for me and 2 for you.

Do not recall the name of the pilot I was flying with but apparently we had been in a clash with German planes because we were down to a 2 ship formation. We came across 4 ME-109’s flying along at our altitude and they had not seen us. My leader called out and said, You take the 2 on the right and I will take the two on the left. And be sure to shoot the one at the rear first so you don’t give yourself away. We were closing in nicely from about the 7 o’clock position. We were almost to the magic 250 yard place to open fire when 4 blue nosed P-51s came screaming over the top of us and in an instant the 4 ME-109’s were destroyed. Two burst into massive flames, one the wing was sawed off at the wing root and the other was sawed in half right behind the pilot. All 4 crashed in a field the size of a football field. None of the pilots escaped.

The thoughtless train engineer.

On one occasion where we had gone back into Germany to search out targets of opportunity we ran across a trainload of gasoline. The train was in a small German town and the engineer disconnected the engine from the rest of the train and high-tailed it to the south. Our leader dispatched a couple of 51’s to take out the engine and the rest of us stayed to work over the tank cars.

There was a huge lumber yard right next to the train tracks and our leader instructed us to drop our external fuel tanks on the lumber yard on the first pass and to fire into the lumber yard on the second pass. We then started working over the 20 or so cars of gasoline. On my first pass to fire on the train the tank car I was shooting at exploded and I had to fly through the huge fireball. My gun camera captured a beautiful shot of the top of the conning tower on the tank car spiraling up in front of my plane. Fortunately I missed all the pieces and burst out into the clear in a second or two. On my second pass I was relegated to the 2 cabooses which I managed to splinter quite well with the 6-50 cal guns..

The squadron destroyed all the cars of gasoline and made a proverbial mess of the town in the process.

The amazing part of this experience is that about one block beyond the railroad tracks was a road running parallel to the tracks. All the time we were beating up the place a little old German lady was walking along that road with a satchel over her arm, presumably on the way home from the market. When we left we could still see her walking along the road.

The ME-262 that got away.

It was close to the end of the war and one day while on the return home from a mission, someone shouted break and one of our pilots made a fast break, his guns accidentally fired, and one of our 51’s went down. That evening a TWX came down advising us to turn our guns off when we left the target area because, after all, the Germans never attack us on the way home anymore.

The next day or so we went to the Brunswick area and after we left the target area I turned my guns off as directed.

Apparently there was a ME-262 pilot that did not get the message that the Germans never attack us on the way home.

We were in a 4 ship formation heading home. I was on the flight leaders left wing and the 2 ship element was off a hundred yards to the right.

I had just checked my tail and swept my eyes around past the leader to check the elements tails. Saw nothing so started the return sweep. As my sight went past the leader I saw a small cloud like affair forming out ahead of us. I knew instantly that what I saw was a string of 20 mm shells exploding. My eyes darted to my tail and sure enough, there was a ME-262 firing at me. In a split second I observed that he was closing very fast and could not continue to fire much longer. I also rationalized that he’s missing me now and the present crop of German pilots are extremely poorly trained. I then made the command decision to not make any movement and take the chance of flying into his stream of bullets. I was correct because he stopped firing and started fish tailing in an effort to slow down to stay behind me. He was unsuccessful and slid up past me ever so slowly.

At this point I should have backed off and let the leader have him but my mind never thought of that. All I could think about was, You had your turn, now its mine.” I slid in on his tail but since I was probably less than 2 feet behind him I realized I could not fire because I would be flying through the pieces. I waited till he was out there a couple hundred yards and pressed the trigger. NOTHING HAPPENED. Oh my God, my guns are turned off. I dove for the gun switch and in the process banged my head on the gun sight and knocked myself out. I came to with the sound of spent casings from my leaders guns rattling off my plane. He knocked some pieces off but the 262 got away.

I did get some gun camera image since the camera works even when the guns are turned off.

Ever since the war ended I have wanted in the worst way to find out the name of the German pilot so I could make his acquaintance. I think it would be fun to hash over that day over north Germany.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:13 PM
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I havetn found a good stroy in a very long time and just fell onto this one...and it is GOOD!

W.Budd Wentz and his incredible story:

"On the morning of my wife, Bette’s, birthday Saturday, April 7, 1945, we set out on a mission to bomb a ME-262 jet airfield at Parchim, Germany. We took off from Lavenham, England (station 137) flying the B-17G-105-BO (#43-39126) we were assigned in March in position #4 under the Group Leader’s plane. The 838th Squadron was leading that day. The weather was excellent with only a few puffy clouds at about 20,000 feet. At approximately 13:10 hrs, I took the controls from the co-pilot while continuing to monitor the Group radio channel. The talk was relatively quiet with no calls announcing any German fighters or flak at that time. [NOTE - The 486th Bomb Group Association indicates that the 486th BG (H) dropped incendiaries on the Me-262 jet base over Parchim, GR at 1357 LST, 7 April 1945.]
Suddenly, while on route to the IP, we received a terrific jolt and bang. I tightened up on the wheel to prevent it from swerving. The waist gunner reported over the intercom that our plane had been hit in the tail by an ME-109 diving down from 4 o’clock high.
The tail gunner, Sgt. Jewell, was shoved forward 4-5 feet, but was only banged around. The plane was functioning okay so I held position for a few moments. The crew reported pieces of the tail and rudder were coming off. The engineer in the top turret reported that the vertical stabilizer was severely damaged. From the left side of the plane the crew observed that an ME-109 had severely damaged its right wing and was spinning down out of control. No parachute was seen while the crew had the ME-109 in view.
Not wanting to damage any other planes, I increased speed and planned to dive forward out of the formation. Unfortunately the plane didn’t dive when I pushed the wheel forward. I flew ahead of the formation and then cut the throttles back and let down in a flat aspect. After leaving the formation, I found that kicking the rudder didn’t turn the plane either. We couldn’t climb, dive or turn; it was apparent that I had no rudder or elevator control. Keeping the airplane level, I let down and turned by cutting the throttle on the outboard engine on that side and skidded around.
To prepare for emergency landing we dropped our bomb load in an open area then headed in a westerly direction while making a large circle to keep a flat attitude. The crew continued to report pieces falling off. I felt I had better get the plane on the ground. The navigator and bombardier found an airfield to the north with a single light gray runway. It could be worn asphalt or concrete. Low trees and cut grass surrounded the area. I approached in a northern direction and touched down. It had been only about 20 minutes since we were hit. It was odd that we hadn’t see any other fighters near our plane on our descent. We didn’t know if any other B-17s were hit.
On the right side of the runway, in the southeast quadrant, there was one or two small 1-story low buildings. Several new looking ME-262s were lined up under the trees. It was definitely a small facility in a very rural location without much fanfare. In 2005, I learned it was Wernershohe.
We were in Germany and expected to be in a Stalagluft as POWs in short order. At least we were on the ground unharmed. I came to a stop and taxied toward a building. To my surprise American soldiers came running out to the plane. “What the hell are you doing? You aren’t supposed to land here.”, shouted an American Army Major standing in his jeep. We learned that the Americans had just occupied the airfield only 2-3 hours earlier that day.
Upon examining the plane we saw the movable rudder was completely gone and the vertical stabilizer was damaged. The right horizontal stabilizer was reduced to less than one third its size while the left and right elevators were completely gone. The tail of the fuselage was crushed including the tail turret. The tip of a ME-109 wing was embedded in the fuselage. We pulled the tip of the ME-109 out and kept it as a souvenir. [NOTE-A piece of the ME-109 wing section is on display at the Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia.]
Under some trees at the edge of the runway was another B-17. It was an old camouflaged plane with no markings and no chin turret, probably a B17-E or F. It was in rough shape, but no FLAK holes. The plane was pretty beat up, but after inspecting it we ran up the engines from a jeep generator then we took off and flew back to our air base in England. We flew at 3 - 4,000 feet keeping watch for airfields along the way just in case we needed to land again quickly.
We landed at our home airbase in Lavenham several hours after the group had returned. By now it was late in the day and starting to get dark. Somewhat reminiscent of our earlier landing that day an American officer came racing out to our plane, “What the hell happened to my new 17? You were supposed to be here hours ago.” I told the Major that we left his new plane back in Germany and traded it for this one instead.
We were driven to the mess hall but were never officially debriefed or interrogated. Later that evening I was taken to the Squadron Commander, Capt. “Pete” Riegal, and gave him a short version of our events that day. He told me that we would not have to fly any further combat missions in this war, but he would not ground us. We had crash landed 2 times in 28 missions as well as returned 5 times on two engines."

If they made that into a movie noone would believe it!
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:02 PM
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I took the liberty of posting this story by Andrew George Linsley, July 2007

Black Thursday 13th June 1940.
As I stood amongst the 131 Gravestones in the churchyard at Stavne, Trondheim, at lunchtime on the 13th of June 2007 I was in good company. I was amongst the Allied personnel who died defending Norway after invasion in 1940. None of the men buried there were over 30 years of age and indeed the majority were only 18 or 19 years old.
As I stood there in the peace and tranquillity of that poignant scene I thought to myself “what a Bl…..dy waste!” 7 of those graves are Fleet Air Arm men; who died together on Thursday the 13th of June 1940, referred to as “Black Thursday”. This is their story… To understand the events we must go back a little further in time. On 7th June 1940, HMS Glorious landed on three Hurricanes from Bardufoss, and so skilfully did the RAF pilots, with no previous deck-landing experience, put them down that it was decided to recover the remainder of the RAF in this way. Thus ten Hurricanes of 46 Squadron and ten Gladiators of 263 Squadron were embarked in Glorious from Skaanland and Bardufoss, as well as the ship’s own nine or ten Sea Gladiators of 802 Squadron and some Swordfish of 823. There then followed a calamitous decision to detach Glorious, escorted only by the two destroyers Ardent and Acasta, to proceed independently to Scapa Flow. It was not known at the time, but the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were patrolling between Jan Mayen island and the Norwegian coast, looking out for British carriers. On the afternoon of 8th June, 180 miles WNW of the Lofoten islands, Glorious and her escorts were sighted. At 1630 the Germans opened fire, and within ninety minutes Ardent was sunk, and Glorious, set on fire, and capsized. Subsequently in the freezing northern waters, all but 43 men perished out of a total of 1474 of the Royal Navy, and 41 of the Royal Air Force. Acasta doggedly and coolly launched a torpedo attack on Scharnhorst before she, too, was sunk. Scharnhorst was damaged, and had to return to Trondheim for repairs. On the 13th of June HMS Ark Royal launched, at 0002 fifteen of 800 and 803 Squadrons’ Skuas to attack her. It was a disastrous sortie; carried out in broad daylight, with no cloud cover, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, and the Messerschmitts from Vaernes waiting for them above the target. The formation was broken up before it could attack. Only one hit was obtained, and the bomb failed to explode. Eight of the 15 Skuas were shot down. 7 aircrew were killed, and 9 were captured.

Roll of Honour. 803 & 800Squadron
Fleet Air Arm Raid on Scharnhorst at Trondheim 13 June 1940
Lieutenant Robin Southey Bostock Lieutenant George Edward Desmond Finch-Noyes Midshipman Leonard Henry Gallagher Petty Officer Wallace Crawford
Sub-Lieutenant John Anthony Harris [died 14 June 1940] Naval Airman Stuart Rex Douglas Stevenson [died 31 May 1941] Leading Airman William James Tremeer

We SHALL remember them.
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:32 PM
JRHOODY1 JRHOODY1 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: ULSTER
Posts: 85

nice hot cup of tea with the great reads here highly recommended gents keep them coming great stuff
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