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View Full Version : The human factor in aerial combat.



XyZspineZyX
06-18-2003, 11:06 PM
I thought you chaps may enjoy this story, it has a somewhat moving end. I will be astounded if anyone doesn't pause for thought.

Allan Smith & Fank Murphy were Typhoon pilots in WWII, on April 29, 1943 this happened:

'Our patrol lines ranged between North Foreland and Beachy Head and it was difficult to make an interception unless you were right above the target area where the German aircraft made their attack. Initially we flew at 500 feet, which gave us a chance to speed up an interception by increasing our speed in a shallow dive.

'I was scrambled on April 29th with Frank Murphy and headed straight out to sea keeping low on the water. The Controller plotted bandits approaching from the south and we were positioned between the bandits and the French coast. Later, after other vectors, I saw two aircraft low on the water. At about the same time the bandits either saw us or received a message from their base that they were being intercepted and headed for France. This gave us chance to close the gap and I identified them as Me109s. We tucked in behind them and it must have been very difficult for them to know just where we were because they were not flying far enough apart to cover each others tails effectively.

'We were flying about 10 feet above the water and as we got in range I told Frank to attack the second 109 while I kept an eye on the leader. Frank was having trouble with his reflector sight and was having to use the splashes of his cannon shells on the water to direct his guns.There were a number of strikes on its wings and fuselage and the 109 moved to the left. As it came into my sights I gave it a couple of short burts and shortly afterwards it crashed into the sea.

'I then closed in on the leader and fired. Pieces started to come off and it burst into flames. I moved to the left to avoid the debris and as the 109 lost speed I ended up in close formation to it. The German pilot turned and looked at me but shortly afterwards it hit the sea.

Matt.

http://www.world-data-systems.com/lomac/pirhana.jpg


Message Edited on 06/18/0310:29PM by mattduggan

XyZspineZyX
06-18-2003, 11:06 PM
I thought you chaps may enjoy this story, it has a somewhat moving end. I will be astounded if anyone doesn't pause for thought.

Allan Smith & Fank Murphy were Typhoon pilots in WWII, on April 29, 1943 this happened:

'Our patrol lines ranged between North Foreland and Beachy Head and it was difficult to make an interception unless you were right above the target area where the German aircraft made their attack. Initially we flew at 500 feet, which gave us a chance to speed up an interception by increasing our speed in a shallow dive.

'I was scrambled on April 29th with Frank Murphy and headed straight out to sea keeping low on the water. The Controller plotted bandits approaching from the south and we were positioned between the bandits and the French coast. Later, after other vectors, I saw two aircraft low on the water. At about the same time the bandits either saw us or received a message from their base that they were being intercepted and headed for France. This gave us chance to close the gap and I identified them as Me109s. We tucked in behind them and it must have been very difficult for them to know just where we were because they were not flying far enough apart to cover each others tails effectively.

'We were flying about 10 feet above the water and as we got in range I told Frank to attack the second 109 while I kept an eye on the leader. Frank was having trouble with his reflector sight and was having to use the splashes of his cannon shells on the water to direct his guns.There were a number of strikes on its wings and fuselage and the 109 moved to the left. As it came into my sights I gave it a couple of short burts and shortly afterwards it crashed into the sea.

'I then closed in on the leader and fired. Pieces started to come off and it burst into flames. I moved to the left to avoid the debris and as the 109 lost speed I ended up in close formation to it. The German pilot turned and looked at me but shortly afterwards it hit the sea.

Matt.

http://www.world-data-systems.com/lomac/pirhana.jpg


Message Edited on 06/18/0310:29PM by mattduggan

XyZspineZyX
06-18-2003, 11:45 PM
I wonder what it felt like to look your foe into the eye a split second before he died. Can't have been a very pleasant experience /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

We few, we happy few, we band of Würgerwhiners...
http://home.wanadoo.nl/wana.mail1/Op****/WurgerwhinerLogo.jpg

XyZspineZyX
06-18-2003, 11:49 PM
or you stuck out your tongue,lifted your nose with your thumb and wiggled your fingers at him.Im sure there is a mean streak in side a pilot as they shoot another human down that doesnt end once they are a gonner.Yes maybe nightmares afterwards and feelings of quilt but at that moment its more like...die you son of a B@#$!#!!!!

XyZspineZyX
06-18-2003, 11:53 PM
Wolfstriked, that may have been a pilots reaction when getting their first kill, but I think the more experienced a pilot got the less they "celebrated" shooting down an opponent.

We few, we happy few, we band of Würgerwhiners...
http://home.wanadoo.nl/wana.mail1/Op****/WurgerwhinerLogo.jpg

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 12:00 AM
Indeed, I find it interesting that, after the war, a good many aces became good friends. Correct me if I am wrong but I think Gunther (spelling?) Rall & Chuck Yeager became good friends?

I think that there is an indelible link between these men given what they have been through.

Mankind is a strange race, do we really hate each other that much? Sad really.

/m

http://www.world-data-systems.com/lomac/pirhana.jpg

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 03:33 AM
Demolisher_ wrote:
- Wolfstriked, that may have been a pilots reaction
- when getting their first kill, but I think the more
- experienced a pilot got the less they "celebrated"
- shooting down an opponent.

More than likely a pilot who got angry and celebrated was a pilot that didnt make it to ace status.If you fly with anger you lose track of important factors.Erich hartman was a non-imposing guy as a;lot of the aces were.This I believe is what made them aces.They went up into the skies with tactics planning and as little anger as they could muster.Someone had posted here about trying very hard not to flinvh when pulling the trigger and now I notice how much it throws aim off.I now pull and say...dont flinch...dont flinch

You are right and death by ones own hand doesnt get to be fun and more than likely a pilot starts regretting each kill.Thatis unless killing is fun for you.There are many murderers that loved to kill in war and looked at it as a release for their crimes without laws to worry about.Most pilots just probably felt huge amounts of relief and pity as an enemy made eye contact at moment of death.

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 03:51 AM
I dunno. People on the Brit ships were not happy to see Bismarck crewmen burning, cos they knew their turn could come next. Things may be different for the infantry, where you are not isolated by distant machines but get face to face, and you have to hate the other guy up close.

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 04:41 AM
Are you forgetting that the same Bismark that they watched die had just shortly before destroyed the pride of the Royal Navy, i.e. the Hood? I would bet there wasn't much pity for Bismark at that moment, or any moment thereafter... Sorry, but revenge DOES at times serve a higher purpose...



Regards,
HerrBaron


Message Edited on 06/18/0311:42PM by HerrBaron

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 06:32 AM
Actually, watch the History channel show "Sink the Bismark" and you will see that the British WERE remorseful as they continually pounded the helpless battleship. Some eye-witnesses made some chilling comments about the degree of carnage onboard, said there were body-parts all over the place.

There was definitely a hatred for the Bismark but when it came time to cut it to pieces there was some remorse, as most normal human beings are likely to feel. At home there was probably little or no sympathy, but when you can see the death you are dealing out in front of your eyes things change, emotions take over.

http://www.brewsterbuffalos.org/yoj/pictures/006.jpg

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 06:53 AM
Yes kyrule, I was thinking of that. Another is the burning up of tanks in the African desert. But again, I think the remorse comes into play after the machines do the work, but in the infantry, the man is the machine, so I don't think there is that much remorse, at least not at the moment because the fight is so personal...not just machine fighting machine.

I mean, a machine tries to kill you, but you kill the machine, and then you see burning bodies running. *ugh*

But in infantry, man tries to kill you, but you kill the man, and you see burning man, a pleasing sight that must be because you saw the man try to kill you. With machines, you don't see the man try to kill you, just the machine.

XyZspineZyX
06-19-2003, 07:05 AM
Salute

Often in aerial combat, the death is depersonalized, as most of the time the two pilots don't actually see each other's faces.

Sometimes they do and that is when the reality strikes home.

George "Screwball" Beurling was the leading Canadian pilot of the war with 31.75 victories, who got 27 of them flying Spitfire Vb's in a 3 week period on Malta when it was being blitzed by the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica.

On one occasion Beurling shot down 2 MC 202's in a few minute span.

The pilot of the second of the two aircraft looked up just as Beurling let go with a burst. Beurling was very accurate, and he was close and saw the pilot's head explode as it was hit by a stream of 20mm.

Shortly after that, Beurling was shot down in fight with 5 109's and was evacuated.

When on a Victory Bond tour in Canada a Reporter pushed him for a 'blood and gore' quote and he mentioned this incident. He got the reputation of being heartless as a result.

But his Girlfriend of the time, and after the war had a different story. She mentioned he used to wake up at night screaming, dreaming of this incident, and always regretted it. She felt he was tormented by this and other events of the war.

Just goes to show you can't erase such things from your memory so easily.


RAF74 Buzzsaw