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GR142_Astro
09-02-2004, 01:46 AM
This book is simple in its writing style, but still a great read.

An account (not an excerpt) from the book:

On June 26,1943, Robert S. Johnson was one in a flight of sixteen P-47 Thunderbolts assigned to escort B-24 bombers to their target. Bob was the first to sight approximately sixteen Focke-Wulf 190's approaching his group from 5 o'clock high but was not able to get any response from his group when he tried to warn them over the radio. On a previous mission he had been the first to sight enemy fighters and broke formation to attack them, successfully breaking up the attack and claiming his first victory. However, he was severely chastised for this by the Wing Cmdr. and was told never to break formation again, no matter what. On this occasion he held his position and on the first pass of the enemy fighters six Thunderbolts were shot down, including Bob's ship "Half Pint".

His aircraft fell out of control for several thousand feet and was on fire. The fire extinguished itself and Bob regained control of the aircraft. He had not worn his goggles that day ( the only time he did this) and his eyes were soaked in hydraulic fluid making it difficult to see. He had two bullet fragments in his right leg. Another bullet had nicked his nose and shattered part of the wind screen. Bob tried to bail out but discovered that metal behind the cockpit had been splintered in such a way as to prevent the canopy from sliding back more than six inches. With a parachute on there was obviously not enough space to slip through to safety. The only option left was to try to fly the Thunderbolt home, or at least to friendly territory, if the aircraft could make it. Somewhere over France another Focke-Wulf 190 spotted Bob flying alone and made a firing pass at him. The Fw-190 had only 7.9mm ammo on board and although every round of it was fired into Bob's plane, the German was not able to finish the job. The German pilot then realized Johnson's rather defenseless position and decided to pull in close to inspect his would-be quarry. The German pulled his left wing in behind Bob's right wing so that the wingtips of each plane were but a few feet from touching each other's fuselage. From his close vantage point, the German calmly inspected Bob's plane from nose to tail and shook his head, not understanding how the P-47 could still fly so perfectly. Bob kept looking over at the German pilot. He was a good looking man with blue eyes. He was not a rookie. He projected confidence and had somewhat of an aristocratic air about him. Occasionally their gazes met. Bob could clearly see the German pilot and noticed he was wearing a light blue leather or suede flying jacket with a white scarf wrapped around his neck and tucked into the jacket. He had on a dark brown summer style flying helmet and his black shatter-proof goggles were pushed up above his forehead. In this manner the two men flew alongside each other for almost 30 minutes. When reaching the English channel near Dieppe, France, The German pilot looked over at Bob one last time. He raised a black-gloved hand and saluted Bob, then peeled of to the right to head for his own base, presumably Abbeville, the home of JG26.

Bob flew on toward the English coastline, constantly in radio contact with a coastal air controller. He was low over the water now and thought he might have to ditch into the channel. Surprisingly, he was able to gain enough altitude to clear the cliffs and was vectored to the nearest airfield by the controller. Bob declined, opting to fly to his own airfield. He landed safely, but his Thunderbolt had to be scrapped. It had over 210 holes in it, with at least twenty being deadly 20mm cannon rounds which had initially brought him down.

He walked into HQ for debriefing and a shot of bourbon just in time to hear a live radio interview on a German radio station that some officers had tuned in. It was the German pilot who had just flown with him! Although they did not get his name, Bob was sure from the interview that it was the same pilot from his description of events. The German mentioned Bob's identification letters on the side of the Thunderbolt. He thought that Bob must have crashed into the Channel due to his low altitude and the amount of damage to his aircraft. It is believed that the German pilot was Georg Peter Eder of JG2 who was ferrying a JG26 aircraft that day.

http://www.stenbergaa.com/stenberg/laurier-notmyturn.jpg

GR142_Astro
09-02-2004, 01:46 AM
This book is simple in its writing style, but still a great read.

An account (not an excerpt) from the book:

On June 26,1943, Robert S. Johnson was one in a flight of sixteen P-47 Thunderbolts assigned to escort B-24 bombers to their target. Bob was the first to sight approximately sixteen Focke-Wulf 190's approaching his group from 5 o'clock high but was not able to get any response from his group when he tried to warn them over the radio. On a previous mission he had been the first to sight enemy fighters and broke formation to attack them, successfully breaking up the attack and claiming his first victory. However, he was severely chastised for this by the Wing Cmdr. and was told never to break formation again, no matter what. On this occasion he held his position and on the first pass of the enemy fighters six Thunderbolts were shot down, including Bob's ship "Half Pint".

His aircraft fell out of control for several thousand feet and was on fire. The fire extinguished itself and Bob regained control of the aircraft. He had not worn his goggles that day ( the only time he did this) and his eyes were soaked in hydraulic fluid making it difficult to see. He had two bullet fragments in his right leg. Another bullet had nicked his nose and shattered part of the wind screen. Bob tried to bail out but discovered that metal behind the cockpit had been splintered in such a way as to prevent the canopy from sliding back more than six inches. With a parachute on there was obviously not enough space to slip through to safety. The only option left was to try to fly the Thunderbolt home, or at least to friendly territory, if the aircraft could make it. Somewhere over France another Focke-Wulf 190 spotted Bob flying alone and made a firing pass at him. The Fw-190 had only 7.9mm ammo on board and although every round of it was fired into Bob's plane, the German was not able to finish the job. The German pilot then realized Johnson's rather defenseless position and decided to pull in close to inspect his would-be quarry. The German pulled his left wing in behind Bob's right wing so that the wingtips of each plane were but a few feet from touching each other's fuselage. From his close vantage point, the German calmly inspected Bob's plane from nose to tail and shook his head, not understanding how the P-47 could still fly so perfectly. Bob kept looking over at the German pilot. He was a good looking man with blue eyes. He was not a rookie. He projected confidence and had somewhat of an aristocratic air about him. Occasionally their gazes met. Bob could clearly see the German pilot and noticed he was wearing a light blue leather or suede flying jacket with a white scarf wrapped around his neck and tucked into the jacket. He had on a dark brown summer style flying helmet and his black shatter-proof goggles were pushed up above his forehead. In this manner the two men flew alongside each other for almost 30 minutes. When reaching the English channel near Dieppe, France, The German pilot looked over at Bob one last time. He raised a black-gloved hand and saluted Bob, then peeled of to the right to head for his own base, presumably Abbeville, the home of JG26.

Bob flew on toward the English coastline, constantly in radio contact with a coastal air controller. He was low over the water now and thought he might have to ditch into the channel. Surprisingly, he was able to gain enough altitude to clear the cliffs and was vectored to the nearest airfield by the controller. Bob declined, opting to fly to his own airfield. He landed safely, but his Thunderbolt had to be scrapped. It had over 210 holes in it, with at least twenty being deadly 20mm cannon rounds which had initially brought him down.

He walked into HQ for debriefing and a shot of bourbon just in time to hear a live radio interview on a German radio station that some officers had tuned in. It was the German pilot who had just flown with him! Although they did not get his name, Bob was sure from the interview that it was the same pilot from his description of events. The German mentioned Bob's identification letters on the side of the Thunderbolt. He thought that Bob must have crashed into the Channel due to his low altitude and the amount of damage to his aircraft. It is believed that the German pilot was Georg Peter Eder of JG2 who was ferrying a JG26 aircraft that day.

http://www.stenbergaa.com/stenberg/laurier-notmyturn.jpg

VW-IceFire
09-02-2004, 07:06 AM
Amazing stories there are for events like this.

I can imagine the FW190's pilots surprise with the P-47 still flying along despite all of the damage sustained.

I'll bet he broke formation every time he needed to from then on.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~cczerneda/sigs/tmv-sig1.jpg
RAF No 92 Squadron
"Either fight or die"

Zyzbot
09-02-2004, 08:01 AM
Photo of some of the damage to Johnson's P-47:

http://www.cradleofaviation.org/history/aircraft/p-47/Johnson2comp.jpg

horseback
09-02-2004, 08:08 AM
What is interesting about this story is how closely it parallels so many other aces' experiences; flying as number four, you spot an enemy flight positioning themselves for the bounce, and your radio doesn't work. You've been severely chastised for breaking formation in the past, and know that if you break formation, no matter what happens, the assumption will be that you haven't learned your lesson...this was how Yeager got shot down.

The lesson learned was that there is a time to obey the rules and a time to break them. An awful lot of guys didn't survive the first part of the lesson.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

JG54_Arnie
09-02-2004, 08:15 AM
Very interesting stuff. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

---------------------------
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Questions, recommendations or compaints: PM (called PT here I believe) me.

lkemling
09-02-2004, 09:21 AM
Thunderbolt! Is still one of my all time favorite books.

GR142_Astro
09-02-2004, 09:39 AM
This account is described in much further detail in the book. It's funny, the first time you read it you breath a sigh of relief when he finally gets it down. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

RSJ's description of the Focke Wulf is very interesting too. If I recall, he describes it almost like a sports car. Gleaming gloss blue-very slick sounding indeed. Of course we all know if the 190 had its 20mm left the outcome would have differed.

Hope someone else discovers a new favorite book. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

http://www.leisuregalleries.com/johnsonrs810.jpg

BA31jocky
09-02-2004, 09:47 AM
Surviving all that damage is pretty amazing, but it didn't always work out that way. I expect that with the P-47 being a 'fat' fighter it may have tough, but also much easier to hit. 'Bud' Mahurin was downed in his P-47 only by the rear gunner firing the MG17, (probably a Ju-88). GR142, you're bang on about the 20mm comment!

Xnomad
09-02-2004, 09:54 AM
If he couldn't get his canopy open then I dread to think what would have happened to him if he had crashed into the channel. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif

http://server6.uploadit.org/files/Xnomad-Sig.jpg

KarayaEine
09-02-2004, 12:06 PM
Great book! I read it many, many years ago. I highly recommend it.

Johann

Horrido!
"We need more ammo!"
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid123/pf6134ba44807ec5fa171e4f94f32e299/f81fa8b5.jpg

HarryVoyager
09-02-2004, 01:07 PM
Well, the thing about the Thunderbolt, is that its top ten aces, I believe, all managed to survive the war, despite several of them being shot down.

Not many planes can claim that.

Harry Voyager

DangerForward
09-02-2004, 01:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BA31jocky:
Surviving all that damage is pretty amazing, but it didn't always work out that way. I expect that with the P-47 being a 'fat' fighter it may have tough, but also much easier to hit. 'Bud' Mahurin was downed in his P-47 only by the rear gunner firing the MG17, (probably a Ju-88). GR142, you're bang on about the 20mm comment!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There's a P47 and a FW190F8 parked right next to each other at the Dulles Smithsonian. I was surprised that the tbolt wasn't all that much bigger than the 190. From a hundred meters or more the size difference doesn't seem that significant. I had really expected the Tbolt to be huge in comparison. Now the B-29, that was huge.

DangerForward

tmdgm
09-02-2004, 10:06 PM
This was one of the best WW2 air combat stories I have ever read.... period. The full detailed account is awesome.