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XyZspineZyX
10-29-2003, 08:32 PM
Fighter Aces Of The 7th Fighter Squadron

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7ps-p-40e.JPG


Early war markings on 7th PS P-40E, March 1942
Part One

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7fstn49.jpg


The 7th Goes To War

The 7th Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron was formed, along with the 8th and 9th Pursuit Squadrons as part of the 49th Pursuit (Fighter) Group as a result of alarming reports by Air Corps observers stationed in England during the Battle of Britain. The Army, shocked into the realization that the Air Corps was badly outclassed in both size and equipment in comparison to the RAF and Luftwaffe, decided to act. On January 16, 1941, the 49th PG was activated, without any aircraft. Not until mid May, when the group had set up operations at Morrison Field outside West Palm Beach, Florida, did the 49ers (as they would call themselves) receive their first aircraft.
Initially, each squadron received six planes. A PT-13 Ryan Basic Trainer, a PT-17 Stearman trainer, three worn out Seversky P-35's (designated as an Advanced Trainer) and a single Curtiss P-40C. Between May and December, 1941, the 49th gradually matured but were still saddled with the obsolete Seversky fighters. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, training was noticeably stepped up and the 49th was utilized to fly anti-submarine patrols along the Florida coast in their ancient P-35 fighters. On January 4, 1942, the group was moved to San Francisco in preparation for deployment to the Pacific theater. The Group set sail on January 12, destination: Australia.

Having arrived in Melbourne on the 26th of January, the group was moved north to training bases where each squadron received 25 P-40E Warhawks. Still, the squadrons were less than fully trained with most pilots never having flown anything more advanced than the P-35. Training accidents were common. While none of the group's fledgling aviators were killed, over two dozen wrecks occurred in the first 14 days of flying the P-40's. The planes and pilots were repaired, and gradually, they mastered their new fighters.

The first squadron declared "combat ready" was the 7th, soon to be known as the Screamin' Demons, they were transferred to Horn Island for combat duty on the 4th of March, 1942. The squadron's first action was not long in coming.

March 14th saw the 7th FS scrambled to intercept a large formation of Japanese G4M "Betty" bombers, heavily escorted by Zero type fighters. Getting airborne quickly, 9 Warhawks climbed out, searching for the enemy. When Squadron Commander Morrissey gave the order to "charge guns", he found out to his dismay, that his own gun switch was inoperable. Handing the squadron over to Flt. Ldr. Reddington, he raced back down to Horn Island to get his gun switch repaired. RAAF ground crews got the problem fixed and one half hour after he discovered the gun fault, Morrissey was roaring back up to join his now circling squadron. Upon assuming lead again, it was quickly apparent that the squadron was in disorder. Shortly thereafter, Reddington announced that his guns as well, were dead. Morrissey sent him back to base. As he surveyed his strung out squadron Morrissey noticed that another P-40 was missing. But, it was too late to worry about that now.

By now, radio reports of bombs falling on their airfield imparted a sense of urgency upon Morrissey, who ordered a maximum power climb. Meanwhile the Japanese bombers, having completed their bomb run had begun a shallow dive to gain airspeed, while tightening their formation, expecting to be attacked on the return leg of their flight to Rabaul. They were soon set upon by a lone P-40. This was Morrissey's missing P-40. Lt. Martin, uncertain if his C.O. would return in time, took out after the bombers alone. Unseen by the Zero escorts, Martin closed on the bombers and began firing at extreme range. Seeing his tracers missing, he bored in closer and fired off all of his ammunition. Convincing himself that one Betty was a goner, Martin rolled into a split-S and hauled out for Horn Island at maximum speed.

Morrissey spotted Martin as he was closing on the bomber formation, but thought Martin was one of the escort fighters. As the 8 Warhawks eased in behind the Japanese bombers, six Zeros were seen to be closing in on the bombers on their left. Morrissey took 4 P-40's and slid in behind the Zeros, who were apparently fixated upon Martin as he sped away. Morrissey opened fire at about 600 feet behind the nearest Zero. The fighter exploded in flame and fell out of formation. The 5 remaining Zeros broke every which way. The superior turning ability of the Zero became obvious to 2 of the P-40 pilots, who, foolishly trying to out-turn them, had their planes peppered with rifle caliber bullets. Both dove for the deck and raced for home. Meanwhile, 2nd Lt. House managed to shoot up a Zero, which, trailing smoke, hauled around in a punishing turn, which House somehow matched. Upon trying to fire his guns, House discovered that the extreme G loading had jammed the ammo belts. Just then, House caught a glimpse of yet another Zero turning onto Morrissey's tail. Without a second thought for jammed guns, House dove down on the Japanese fighter, intentionally smashing his right wing tip into the cockpit of the zero, killing the pilot instantly and shearing nearly 3 feet off the P-40's right wing. As House fought to retain control of his battered Warhawk, the Zero spun into the sea below. During the same time span, two other P-40's had shot up another Zero, and in turn were both hit themselves. Once again the superior dive speed of the Curtiss fighter enabled them to escape to safety. One by one the pilots of the 7th disengaged by diving away. Eventually, all but one made it back safely to Horn Island. Second Lt. House had to make a nerve wracking high speed flaps up landing, and pulled it off without incident.

Back on the ground, Morrissey gathered all his pilots together for a debriefing. Martin received a chewing out for breaking formation, but still earned great respect for his courage. Later, the RAAF reported the wreckage of a G4M was found in the sea and Martin received credit for the kill. Five kills were claimed by the 7th, but in reality, two of the Zeros were only damaged and nursed home. The Japanese were only missing 2 fighters. Remarkably, the Zero pilots claimed and received credit for 8 P-40's destroyed. Yet, they really hadn't shot down any. The missing pilot, having developed a serious oil leak, wisely disengaged from the air battle and promptly got himself lost. Running out of fuel, he then bailed out and swam to an island, where the local natives looked after him and brought him to a missionary who reported his survival to the RAAF.

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/buzzjob.JPG



Fighter Aces Of The 7th Fighter Squadron

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/Billhennon.JPG


Java ace Bill Hennon of the 7th FS



Part Two: Holding The Line


The 7th Fighter Squadron re-deployed to the newly constructed Batchelor field, just south of Darwin, in April 1942. Thus, they joined the 8th and 9th FS in the defense of Darwin. The 8th FS moved onto their new field, later named Strauss field, 30 miles north of Batchelor. As the 7th settled in to their new base, the 9th began moving north to Livingston field. By the beginning of May, the 49th was well disbursed on three airfields to the south and southeast of Darwin.

For the month of May, the Japanese kept a low profile and the 49th had little to do except fly patrols and train. It was during this quiet time that fighter ace Bill Hennon, the Operations Coordinator of the 7th FS, had painted the image of a mythical Java jungle demon on his P-40's vertical stabilizer. Called "Bunyap", the demon typified the fierceness of Hennon in combat and the squadron soon adopted the image and the title "Screamin' Demons".


http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7fstn49.jpg



After the stunning set-backs at the Coral Sea and at Midway, the Japanese decided to concentrate on eliminating the remaining Allied air units in the Southwest Pacific. Port Moresby and Darwin were both selected as targets.

Unsure of the exact strength of Allied forces in the area of Darwin, the Japanese launched a series of raids beginning on June 13, 1942. After almost 90 days of inaction, the Japanese sent 27 G4M bombers escorted by 45 A6M2 Zeros to pound the RAAF airstrip and the docks of Darwin. The first P-40's to get to the attackers were the from the 8th FS standing patrol. Grossly outnumbered, the 8th was badly shot up and never got near the bombers. With only one confirmed kill, the 8th lost one P-40 and three more limped home badly damaged to be written off. The 7th arrived too late to join in.

The next day, the 7th found themselves in the thick of the fight. The Japanese sent 9 Bettys and 27 A6M2 Zeros to attack the harbor and docks. This time, however, they split the bombers from the escort, thus providing an effective screen. The 8th FS never made contact with either group of aircraft. The 7th and 9th squadrons ran into the escorts over Middle Arm inlet. Captain Nate Blanton, a veteran of Java, led his 7th FS flight down from 20,000 feet, attacking the Zeros of the Japanese 3rd Ku. Within only seconds, Blanton had blasted 2 Zeros, one fatally. Now fully alerted, the remaining 25 Japanese veteran pilots responded quickly. One P-40 was clobbered by two Zeros and burst in flames. It's pilot, combat rookie Lt. Keith Brown managed to bail out over the RAAF airstrip just south of Darwin. Landing in a tree and breaking his leg, Brown was quickly rescued by RAAF personnel who were watching the air battle. A bit singed and in substantial pain, Brown was rushed to the RAAF hospital for treatment.

As the remaining three 7th FS pilots broke off the fight, a four plane flight from the 9th FS (the only 4 of twelve 9th FS P-40s to find the Japanese) arrived and weighed into the 3rd Ku. This flight, led by Andrew Landers, sent three Zero's down on fire. After 30 minutes of continuous air combat, the 3rd Ku headed for home. The pilots of the 7th and 9th squadrons, totaling only 8 aircraft, outnumbered better than 3 to 1, had managed to destroy four enemy fighters for the loss of only one of their fighters with the pilot injured, but alive.

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/49fgtn.jpg


June 16th brought yet another Japanese raid. 27 G4M bombers escorted by 27 A6M2 Zero fighters once again approached at high altitude. The 8th FS went up to attempt an interception. Climbing up to over 26,000 feet, they were met by the Japanese escorts. At this relatively high altitude, the P-40 is woefully low on power. Making matters worse, the Zeros were higher still and came down at speed, scattering the flight. Some of the 8th's pilots elected to try to maneuver with the Zeros, with the usual result. One P-40 was shot down, its pilot lost without a trace. Two others failed to return, one running out of fuel, the second suffering engine failure and ditching along the coast. Both pilots were recovered uninjured.

The 9th FS got into the scrap as well, claiming 2 Bettys and 2 Zeros as destroyed. Two of the P-40's were hit, one making a dead stick landing in a clearing. The second bellied in safely. No pilots were lost. Post war investigation reveals that while the 49th FG claimed 13 Zeros and two G4M bombers, the Japanese report losing only 2 Zeros and no bombers. The Japanese records are called into suspect as the RAAF reported finding the wreckage of 5 Zeros and 1 Betty. In contrast, the Japanese fighter pilots claimed 43 P-40's as destroyed. Group records indicate that 9 P-40's were lost to all causes over the four days. Obviously, Japanese aircraft that crashed into the sea did not leave wreckage to confirm the kill.

Back at the 7th, the Operations Officer, Capt. Hennon, was somewhat less than happy with the Groups performance. He raised hell with those pilots who tried to take on the A6M2 at high altitude alone. The tactic Hennon expounded on was "hit and run". Time and time again, the inexperienced pilots would take on the Zeros in turning fights. Worse, they were doing this at altitudes where the Allison engines of their P-40s were pitifully low on power. Hammering this lesson into the heads of the young pilots would save many of their lives and aircraft.



http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/p-40n.jpg



The Japanese did not return in strength until July 30th (they conducted some limited night raids starting on July 25th). Once again, G4M bombers escorted by Zeros arrived over Darwin at about 24,000 feet. The 7th was there to greet them. Diving in with little altitude advantage, the P-40s were met mid way by the Zero escort. In successive head-on passes the P-40's were able to tie up the escort. Lt. Melikian was able to make a nose-on attack on a G4M, the bomber last seen on fire going down. One additional P-40 was able to get a run in on the bombers. 2d Lt. Drake, having fallen behind his squadron mates, saw an opportunity to attack the second element of the bombers. Gaining airspeed in a shallow dive, Drake closed in and opened fire. The big G4M in his gunsight fell off on one wing, mortally wounded. Drake then made the rookie mistake of pulling into a steep climb to attack the first bomber element several thousand feet above. Taking a high angle deflection shot, Drake missed his target. Unfortunately the pursuing Zeros did not miss. Hammered by 2 Zeros, Drake's engine was hit, spewing out hot oil and Prestone. With his cockpit filling with smoke and fumes, the young 2nd Lt. went over the side. Landing safely in the mild surf, Drake waded ashore and was picked up by boat later that day.

Meanwhile, the fighters involved with the bulk of the escort had shot down 2 Zeros during their head-on firing runs. Both Lt.'s Poston and Steere each getting credit for one apiece. A four plane flight from the 9th FS executed a picture perfect bounce on the escort's second element and dove safely away leaving four Zeros spiraling down in flames.

Upon being returned to the 7th Fighter Squadron, Drake received a thorough chewing out for trying to fight in the vertical with Zeros hot on his tail. The fact that he received a confirmed kill for the Betty, helped to offset the loss of his fighter. Drake was the only pilot who ignored the "hit and run" doctrine, and the only pilot to be shot down. Hopefully, this time, the message would sink in.



Special thanks to William Pascalis, co-author of Protect & Avenge, for his advice and
wonderful book on the 49th Fighter Group without which, this story could not be written.







We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!

XyZspineZyX
10-29-2003, 08:32 PM
Fighter Aces Of The 7th Fighter Squadron

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7ps-p-40e.JPG


Early war markings on 7th PS P-40E, March 1942
Part One

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7fstn49.jpg


The 7th Goes To War

The 7th Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron was formed, along with the 8th and 9th Pursuit Squadrons as part of the 49th Pursuit (Fighter) Group as a result of alarming reports by Air Corps observers stationed in England during the Battle of Britain. The Army, shocked into the realization that the Air Corps was badly outclassed in both size and equipment in comparison to the RAF and Luftwaffe, decided to act. On January 16, 1941, the 49th PG was activated, without any aircraft. Not until mid May, when the group had set up operations at Morrison Field outside West Palm Beach, Florida, did the 49ers (as they would call themselves) receive their first aircraft.
Initially, each squadron received six planes. A PT-13 Ryan Basic Trainer, a PT-17 Stearman trainer, three worn out Seversky P-35's (designated as an Advanced Trainer) and a single Curtiss P-40C. Between May and December, 1941, the 49th gradually matured but were still saddled with the obsolete Seversky fighters. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, training was noticeably stepped up and the 49th was utilized to fly anti-submarine patrols along the Florida coast in their ancient P-35 fighters. On January 4, 1942, the group was moved to San Francisco in preparation for deployment to the Pacific theater. The Group set sail on January 12, destination: Australia.

Having arrived in Melbourne on the 26th of January, the group was moved north to training bases where each squadron received 25 P-40E Warhawks. Still, the squadrons were less than fully trained with most pilots never having flown anything more advanced than the P-35. Training accidents were common. While none of the group's fledgling aviators were killed, over two dozen wrecks occurred in the first 14 days of flying the P-40's. The planes and pilots were repaired, and gradually, they mastered their new fighters.

The first squadron declared "combat ready" was the 7th, soon to be known as the Screamin' Demons, they were transferred to Horn Island for combat duty on the 4th of March, 1942. The squadron's first action was not long in coming.

March 14th saw the 7th FS scrambled to intercept a large formation of Japanese G4M "Betty" bombers, heavily escorted by Zero type fighters. Getting airborne quickly, 9 Warhawks climbed out, searching for the enemy. When Squadron Commander Morrissey gave the order to "charge guns", he found out to his dismay, that his own gun switch was inoperable. Handing the squadron over to Flt. Ldr. Reddington, he raced back down to Horn Island to get his gun switch repaired. RAAF ground crews got the problem fixed and one half hour after he discovered the gun fault, Morrissey was roaring back up to join his now circling squadron. Upon assuming lead again, it was quickly apparent that the squadron was in disorder. Shortly thereafter, Reddington announced that his guns as well, were dead. Morrissey sent him back to base. As he surveyed his strung out squadron Morrissey noticed that another P-40 was missing. But, it was too late to worry about that now.

By now, radio reports of bombs falling on their airfield imparted a sense of urgency upon Morrissey, who ordered a maximum power climb. Meanwhile the Japanese bombers, having completed their bomb run had begun a shallow dive to gain airspeed, while tightening their formation, expecting to be attacked on the return leg of their flight to Rabaul. They were soon set upon by a lone P-40. This was Morrissey's missing P-40. Lt. Martin, uncertain if his C.O. would return in time, took out after the bombers alone. Unseen by the Zero escorts, Martin closed on the bombers and began firing at extreme range. Seeing his tracers missing, he bored in closer and fired off all of his ammunition. Convincing himself that one Betty was a goner, Martin rolled into a split-S and hauled out for Horn Island at maximum speed.

Morrissey spotted Martin as he was closing on the bomber formation, but thought Martin was one of the escort fighters. As the 8 Warhawks eased in behind the Japanese bombers, six Zeros were seen to be closing in on the bombers on their left. Morrissey took 4 P-40's and slid in behind the Zeros, who were apparently fixated upon Martin as he sped away. Morrissey opened fire at about 600 feet behind the nearest Zero. The fighter exploded in flame and fell out of formation. The 5 remaining Zeros broke every which way. The superior turning ability of the Zero became obvious to 2 of the P-40 pilots, who, foolishly trying to out-turn them, had their planes peppered with rifle caliber bullets. Both dove for the deck and raced for home. Meanwhile, 2nd Lt. House managed to shoot up a Zero, which, trailing smoke, hauled around in a punishing turn, which House somehow matched. Upon trying to fire his guns, House discovered that the extreme G loading had jammed the ammo belts. Just then, House caught a glimpse of yet another Zero turning onto Morrissey's tail. Without a second thought for jammed guns, House dove down on the Japanese fighter, intentionally smashing his right wing tip into the cockpit of the zero, killing the pilot instantly and shearing nearly 3 feet off the P-40's right wing. As House fought to retain control of his battered Warhawk, the Zero spun into the sea below. During the same time span, two other P-40's had shot up another Zero, and in turn were both hit themselves. Once again the superior dive speed of the Curtiss fighter enabled them to escape to safety. One by one the pilots of the 7th disengaged by diving away. Eventually, all but one made it back safely to Horn Island. Second Lt. House had to make a nerve wracking high speed flaps up landing, and pulled it off without incident.

Back on the ground, Morrissey gathered all his pilots together for a debriefing. Martin received a chewing out for breaking formation, but still earned great respect for his courage. Later, the RAAF reported the wreckage of a G4M was found in the sea and Martin received credit for the kill. Five kills were claimed by the 7th, but in reality, two of the Zeros were only damaged and nursed home. The Japanese were only missing 2 fighters. Remarkably, the Zero pilots claimed and received credit for 8 P-40's destroyed. Yet, they really hadn't shot down any. The missing pilot, having developed a serious oil leak, wisely disengaged from the air battle and promptly got himself lost. Running out of fuel, he then bailed out and swam to an island, where the local natives looked after him and brought him to a missionary who reported his survival to the RAAF.

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/buzzjob.JPG



Fighter Aces Of The 7th Fighter Squadron

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/Billhennon.JPG


Java ace Bill Hennon of the 7th FS



Part Two: Holding The Line


The 7th Fighter Squadron re-deployed to the newly constructed Batchelor field, just south of Darwin, in April 1942. Thus, they joined the 8th and 9th FS in the defense of Darwin. The 8th FS moved onto their new field, later named Strauss field, 30 miles north of Batchelor. As the 7th settled in to their new base, the 9th began moving north to Livingston field. By the beginning of May, the 49th was well disbursed on three airfields to the south and southeast of Darwin.

For the month of May, the Japanese kept a low profile and the 49th had little to do except fly patrols and train. It was during this quiet time that fighter ace Bill Hennon, the Operations Coordinator of the 7th FS, had painted the image of a mythical Java jungle demon on his P-40's vertical stabilizer. Called "Bunyap", the demon typified the fierceness of Hennon in combat and the squadron soon adopted the image and the title "Screamin' Demons".


http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/7fstn49.jpg



After the stunning set-backs at the Coral Sea and at Midway, the Japanese decided to concentrate on eliminating the remaining Allied air units in the Southwest Pacific. Port Moresby and Darwin were both selected as targets.

Unsure of the exact strength of Allied forces in the area of Darwin, the Japanese launched a series of raids beginning on June 13, 1942. After almost 90 days of inaction, the Japanese sent 27 G4M bombers escorted by 45 A6M2 Zeros to pound the RAAF airstrip and the docks of Darwin. The first P-40's to get to the attackers were the from the 8th FS standing patrol. Grossly outnumbered, the 8th was badly shot up and never got near the bombers. With only one confirmed kill, the 8th lost one P-40 and three more limped home badly damaged to be written off. The 7th arrived too late to join in.

The next day, the 7th found themselves in the thick of the fight. The Japanese sent 9 Bettys and 27 A6M2 Zeros to attack the harbor and docks. This time, however, they split the bombers from the escort, thus providing an effective screen. The 8th FS never made contact with either group of aircraft. The 7th and 9th squadrons ran into the escorts over Middle Arm inlet. Captain Nate Blanton, a veteran of Java, led his 7th FS flight down from 20,000 feet, attacking the Zeros of the Japanese 3rd Ku. Within only seconds, Blanton had blasted 2 Zeros, one fatally. Now fully alerted, the remaining 25 Japanese veteran pilots responded quickly. One P-40 was clobbered by two Zeros and burst in flames. It's pilot, combat rookie Lt. Keith Brown managed to bail out over the RAAF airstrip just south of Darwin. Landing in a tree and breaking his leg, Brown was quickly rescued by RAAF personnel who were watching the air battle. A bit singed and in substantial pain, Brown was rushed to the RAAF hospital for treatment.

As the remaining three 7th FS pilots broke off the fight, a four plane flight from the 9th FS (the only 4 of twelve 9th FS P-40s to find the Japanese) arrived and weighed into the 3rd Ku. This flight, led by Andrew Landers, sent three Zero's down on fire. After 30 minutes of continuous air combat, the 3rd Ku headed for home. The pilots of the 7th and 9th squadrons, totaling only 8 aircraft, outnumbered better than 3 to 1, had managed to destroy four enemy fighters for the loss of only one of their fighters with the pilot injured, but alive.

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/49fgtn.jpg


June 16th brought yet another Japanese raid. 27 G4M bombers escorted by 27 A6M2 Zero fighters once again approached at high altitude. The 8th FS went up to attempt an interception. Climbing up to over 26,000 feet, they were met by the Japanese escorts. At this relatively high altitude, the P-40 is woefully low on power. Making matters worse, the Zeros were higher still and came down at speed, scattering the flight. Some of the 8th's pilots elected to try to maneuver with the Zeros, with the usual result. One P-40 was shot down, its pilot lost without a trace. Two others failed to return, one running out of fuel, the second suffering engine failure and ditching along the coast. Both pilots were recovered uninjured.

The 9th FS got into the scrap as well, claiming 2 Bettys and 2 Zeros as destroyed. Two of the P-40's were hit, one making a dead stick landing in a clearing. The second bellied in safely. No pilots were lost. Post war investigation reveals that while the 49th FG claimed 13 Zeros and two G4M bombers, the Japanese report losing only 2 Zeros and no bombers. The Japanese records are called into suspect as the RAAF reported finding the wreckage of 5 Zeros and 1 Betty. In contrast, the Japanese fighter pilots claimed 43 P-40's as destroyed. Group records indicate that 9 P-40's were lost to all causes over the four days. Obviously, Japanese aircraft that crashed into the sea did not leave wreckage to confirm the kill.

Back at the 7th, the Operations Officer, Capt. Hennon, was somewhat less than happy with the Groups performance. He raised hell with those pilots who tried to take on the A6M2 at high altitude alone. The tactic Hennon expounded on was "hit and run". Time and time again, the inexperienced pilots would take on the Zeros in turning fights. Worse, they were doing this at altitudes where the Allison engines of their P-40s were pitifully low on power. Hammering this lesson into the heads of the young pilots would save many of their lives and aircraft.



http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/p-40n.jpg



The Japanese did not return in strength until July 30th (they conducted some limited night raids starting on July 25th). Once again, G4M bombers escorted by Zeros arrived over Darwin at about 24,000 feet. The 7th was there to greet them. Diving in with little altitude advantage, the P-40s were met mid way by the Zero escort. In successive head-on passes the P-40's were able to tie up the escort. Lt. Melikian was able to make a nose-on attack on a G4M, the bomber last seen on fire going down. One additional P-40 was able to get a run in on the bombers. 2d Lt. Drake, having fallen behind his squadron mates, saw an opportunity to attack the second element of the bombers. Gaining airspeed in a shallow dive, Drake closed in and opened fire. The big G4M in his gunsight fell off on one wing, mortally wounded. Drake then made the rookie mistake of pulling into a steep climb to attack the first bomber element several thousand feet above. Taking a high angle deflection shot, Drake missed his target. Unfortunately the pursuing Zeros did not miss. Hammered by 2 Zeros, Drake's engine was hit, spewing out hot oil and Prestone. With his cockpit filling with smoke and fumes, the young 2nd Lt. went over the side. Landing safely in the mild surf, Drake waded ashore and was picked up by boat later that day.

Meanwhile, the fighters involved with the bulk of the escort had shot down 2 Zeros during their head-on firing runs. Both Lt.'s Poston and Steere each getting credit for one apiece. A four plane flight from the 9th FS executed a picture perfect bounce on the escort's second element and dove safely away leaving four Zeros spiraling down in flames.

Upon being returned to the 7th Fighter Squadron, Drake received a thorough chewing out for trying to fight in the vertical with Zeros hot on his tail. The fact that he received a confirmed kill for the Betty, helped to offset the loss of his fighter. Drake was the only pilot who ignored the "hit and run" doctrine, and the only pilot to be shot down. Hopefully, this time, the message would sink in.



Special thanks to William Pascalis, co-author of Protect & Avenge, for his advice and
wonderful book on the 49th Fighter Group without which, this story could not be written.







We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!

XyZspineZyX
10-30-2003, 04:21 AM
Interesting indeed..thank you..

BUMP!

XyZspineZyX
10-30-2003, 04:45 AM
Yeah, nice post!

If you are ever in Darwin, it is worth checking out the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre that is located there. There is some interesting stuff there to do with the Japanese air raids during WW2, such as the remains of a downed Zero (see link, btw, the captured pilot was shot and killed in an escape attempt in 1944) and the wing of a P-40 that crashed.

http://users.chariot.net.au/~theburfs/avherit.html

"As weaponry, both were good, but in far different ways from each other. In a nutshell, I describe it this way: if the FW 190 was a sabre, the 109 was a florett, or foil, like that used in the precision art of fencing." - Gunther Rall

XyZspineZyX
10-30-2003, 06:25 PM
bump



We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!

XyZspineZyX
11-01-2003, 11:10 AM
bump



We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!

XyZspineZyX
11-01-2003, 11:29 AM
Great story! And the P-40 is just a stunning aircraft!

Btw, thanks for posting it!/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

<center>


http://members.chello.se/unni/rote3.JPG



'When it comes to aircombat, I'd rather be lucky than good any day!'

</center>

XyZspineZyX
11-01-2003, 05:46 PM
im gonna start flying the P-40 more.
its a challenging aircraft,but fun to fly.



We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!

XyZspineZyX
11-01-2003, 11:26 PM
Great story, thanks for posting this!

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

XyZspineZyX
11-02-2003, 01:04 AM
Need to better utilize the hit and run tactics online methinks http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

http://home.cogeco.ca/~cczerneda/sigs/temp_sig.jpg
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." - Winston Churchill

XyZspineZyX
11-02-2003, 01:22 AM
Yeah that IS nice!!!!

<CENTER>http://www.world-wide-net.com/tuskegeeairmen/ta-1943.jpg <marquee><FONT COLOR="RED"><FONT SIZE="+1">"Straighten up.......Fly right..~S~"<FONT SIZE> </marquee> http://www.geocities.com/rt_bearcat

<CENTER><FONT COLOR="ORANGE">vflyer@comcast.net<FONT COLOR>
<Center><div style="width:200;color:red;font-size:18pt;filter:shadow Blur[color=red,strength=8)">99th Pursuit Squadron

XyZspineZyX
11-02-2003, 04:10 PM
bump!



We may be hard on the outside,but inside, we are soft as cotton.
<ceter>http://www.funnypictureswebsite.com/funnypictures/funny-pictures213.jpg </center>
WESTCOAST FOREVER!