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View Full Version : Some good read about an Ace! enjoy



XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 02:19 PM
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By Pierre Clostermann:


... The last preparations before we took off were carried out in silence. only Joe Kestruk made a desillusioned remark to the effect that every time the navy made a balls of job, the poor bloody R.A.F. had to clear up the mess. At Ford there was the usual panic about tyres bursts and flat tarter batterie. luckily Yule's long experience of advanced airfields had led to the provision of three reserve aircraft per squadron and at 0950 hours 602 and 132 took off at full strengh.
I was flying as blue four, next to Jacques who was blur three, in Ken Charney's section.
On our way to the rendez-vous we passed three Bostons whose task was to scatter, over a stretch of twenty miles towards Cape de La hague, strips of tin-foil designed to jam the german radar.
Thanks to this, and to the mist, we would probably reach the entry to Cherbourg without being picked up too much.
We joined up with the typhoons at House-top-level over Brighton and set off Obliquely for Cherbourg, skimming the grey sea.
I loathe flying so low as that with all the paraphernalia of supplementary tank and ****s. Somewhere or other there is always liable to be an airlock, enough to make you slap into the drink at 300 m.p.h.
We flew through belts of opaque mist which forced us to do some very tricky I.F.(1) a few feet above the sea, which of course we could not see. The Typhoons, in spite of the two 1,000-lb. bombs under their wings, were setting a cracking pace and we had a job to keep up with them.
Obsessed by the idea of seeing the red light on the instrument panel going on (indicating a drop in the flow of petrol to my carburettor), I began to sweat from head to foot. What would it be when the Flak started ?

1015 hours. The fog thickened and it started to pelt with rain. instinctively the sections closed up to preserve vusual contact.
Suddenly Yule's calm voice broke the strict RT silence :
"All Bob aircraft drop your babies, open up flat out, target straight ahead in sixty seconds !"
freed of its tank and drawn by the 1,600 h.p. of its engine, my Spitfire leapt forward and I took up my position fifty yards on Jacques' left and slightly behind him, straining my eyes to see anything in the blasted fog.
"Look out, yellow section, Flak-ship, one o'Clock !"
And immediately after Frank Wooley, it was Ken Charney who saw a Flak-ship, straight in front of us !
"Max blue attacking twelve o'clock !"
A grey mass rolling in the mist, a squat funnel, raised platforms, a mast bristling with radar aerials - Then rapid staccato flashes all along the superstructure. Christ ! I released the safety catch, lowered my head, and nestled down to be protected by armour plating. Clusters of green and red tracer bullets started up in every direction. flowing Jacques, I wnet slap through the spray of a 37 mm. charger which only just missed me - the salt water blurred my windshield. I was fifty yards from the Flak-ship. jacques in front of me was firing ; I could see the flashes from his guns and hisempties cascading from his wings.
I aimed at the bridge, between the damaged funnel and the mast, and fired a long, furious continuous burst, my finger hard on the button. My shells exploded in the water, rose toward the water line, exploded on the grey black-stripped hull, rose higher to the handrails, the sandbags. A wind-scoop crashed down, a jet of stream sputerd from somewhere. twenty yards - two men in navy-blue jerseys hurled themselves flat on their faces. - ten yards - the four barrels of multiple pom-pom were pointing straight between my eyes - quick - my shells exploded around it. A loader carrying two full clips capsized into the sea, his legs mown from unedr him, then the four barrels fired, I could feel the vibration as I passed a bare yard above - then the smack of the steel wire of the aerial wrenched off by my wing as I passed. my wing tip had just about scarped the mast !
Phew ! Passed him.
My limbs were shaken by a terrible nervous tremor, my teeth were chattering. Jacques was zigzagging between the spouts raised by the shells. the sea was seething.
Half of dozen belated Typhoons passed to my right like a scholl of porpoises, bearing down on the hell going on behing the long granit wall of the breakwater.
I skimmed over a fort whose very walls seemed to be belching fire - a curious mixture of crenellated towers, modern concrete casements and thirty Years War glacis.
We were now in the middle of the roadstead - an inextricable jumble of trawlers masts and rusty wrecks stiking out between the battered quays. the weather seemed to have cleared a little - Look out for the Jerry fighters ! The air was crissed-crossed with tracers, lit up by flashes, dotted with black and white puffs of smoke.

The Munsterland was there, surrounded by explosions, flames, and debris. Her four masts bristling with derrick and her squat funnel well aft emerging from the smoke. The typhoon attack was in full swing, bombs exploding all the time with colossal bursts of fire and black clouds of smoke, thickening as they drifted away. A Typhoon vanished into thin air in the explosion of a bomb dropped by one in front. One of the enormous harbour cranes came crashing down like a house of cards.

"Hullo, Bob leader, Kenway calling - There are Hun fighters about, look out !"
What an inferno ! I was close to Jacques, who was gaining height in Spirals, making for the layer of clouds. Two Typhoons emerged from a cumulus, a few yards from us, and I just stopped myself in time from firing at them. With their massive noses and clipped wing they looked uncannily like Focke Wulfs.
"Beak, Blue Four !"
Jacques Broke away violently and his Spitfire flashed past a few yards under my nose, a white plume at each wing tip. To avoid a collision I waited for a fraction of a second a ****e Wulf - a real one this time - flashed past, firing with all four cannon. A shell ricocheted off my hood. As I went over on my back to get him in my sights, a second Focke-Wulf loomed up in my windshield, head on, at less than one hundred yards. Its big yellow engine and its apparently slowly turning propeller seemed to fling themselves at me and its wings lit up with the firing of its guns. Bang ! stars appeared all over my slintering windshield which became an opaque wall before my eyes. Thunderstruck, I dared not move for fear of a collision. He passed just above me. A stream of oil began to spread all over my hood.
the sky was now alive with aircraft and full of flak bursts. I let fly at another Focke-Wulf and I missed. Luckily !... It was a Typhoon. Jacques was circling with a German fighter. I saw his shells explode in the black cross on the fuselage. The Focke-Wulf slowly turned over, showing its yellow belly, and dived, coughing smokes and flames.
"Good show, Robbie ! You got him !"
My oil pressure was disquietingly down. the rain began again and within a few seconds my hood was covered witha soapy film. I slipped into the clouds and set course north on I.F., first warning Jacques and Yule over the radio.
I reached Tangmere as best I could, my oil pressure at zero and my engine red hot and ready to explode. I had to Jettison my hood to see to land.
In this business we had lost two pilots, as did 132. Seven Typhoons were destroyed, plus two which came down off Cherbourg and whose pilots were picked up by the launches.

As for the Munterland, although seriously damaged and with part of her cargo on fire, she succeded two nights later in sneaking as far as Dieppe. She finally got herself sunk off the coast of Holland by a strike of Beaufighters.



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21st December, 1943

Briefieng at 10.30.

Superb weather, a temperature fit for brass monkeys - not a trace of a cloud in the sky ? The Spitfires' wings were streaming with water, for the hot-air de-icing trailer had just passed. The runway was covered with ice.
I had to take off my gloves to do up my straps, and so my hands froze, and I couldn't get them warm again. I opened up the oxygen, to put a bit of stuffing into myself.
The ice on the runway theses last days has produced a crop of accidents, serious and otherwise. Smashed undecarts, taxiing accidents, etc. - and now we had only eleven serviceable planes left.
Drumbell, Jack, and I were MAX section, with the C.O. With 132, we were to patrol the Cambrai area, where german fighters fighters have been particularly active recently. We climbed to 20 000 feet, then, as the cold was intense, we cam down to 17 000.
The winter sky was so clear, so dazzling that after a mere twenty minutes over France we were continually blinking.
The controller told us there was a strong enemy fighter formation not far off, but it was impossible to spot anything in the dazzling night. To be on the safe side, as grass Seed was geeting urgent, we gained height again.

Suddenly, woooof ! Thrirty Focke Wulfs were on top of us. Before we could move a muscle, the brutes opened fire. A whirlwind of enormous radial engines, of short, slender wings edged with lightning, of tracer bullets whizzing in every direction, of black crosses all over the place. Panic. Everyone broke. In the space of one second the two flights' impeccable combat formation was disrupted, dislocated, scattered to the four winds. Too late ! Old Jonah was on his way down in flames, and Morgan, the Scots flight sergeant, in a spin, one wing torn off bay a hail of Mauser.
132 were no luckier. Three of their pilots were shot down. A fourth - as we learnt later - succedeed in bringing his badly damaged machine half way back across the Channel, then baled out and was fished out one hour later.
Once surprise had passed, we pulled ourselves together.
Captain ubertin, in command of Skittles, suddenly found himself isolated : his n? two and four has been shot down and his n? three had vanished into thin air - Poor old Spence had got a 20 mm. Shell four inches from his head which has smashed his radio to smithereens. Half knocked out he hes instinctively pulled the stick back and opened the throttle and had woken up at 36000 feet absolutely alone in the sky.
A Focke Wulf sneaked in behind the captain but missed him. The hun overshot him. He was carried away by his speed and Aubertin settled his ash in no time at all ; the biter bit. Unfortunately four other Focke-Wulfs engaged him and only did he failed to see his victim crash but he himself succeeded in getting away after after an eventfull 45-miles chase among the trees, round church steeples and through village streets. His Spitfire was hit seven times.
Meanwhile Jacques and I - contrary to our settled habits - folowed on Sutherland's hells like faithful hounds and had the pleasure of seeing him liquidate another "190" at 600 yards range. The Hun disintegrated in the air, but the pilot escaped : a little later we saw a parachute open out below us.
Danny fired a sly burst at a "190" but missed.
If results were wanted, this sweep certainly produced them - out of twenty three Spits, six were shot down, eight others damaged, not counting Williams of 132, who was wounded and had to belly-land.

7th january, 1944

A long trip this time. We were going to Rheims to fetch home a strong formation of flying fortresses and Liberators coming back from Germany. 602 was to cover the first three groups - 180 bmobers in all - and 132 the three following.
We took off at 1210 hours after a rushed lunch, and we flogged out aircraft, weighed down by forty-five-gallon auxilliary tanks, up to 23 000 feet. After thirty minutes flying we passed Paris on our right, sensed rather than seen below a cloak of mist and smoke. On the way German heavy batteries loosed some beautifully aimed salvoes which burst very close - we immediately scattered about the sky. The black puffs appeared on every side. Climbing at full throttle with Thommerson, we succeeded in getting out of range and re-forming, not without difficulty.

1050 hours. The jerries seemed to be reacting and the Focke-Wulls must be taking off all over the place because control was begining to get agitated. Still nothing near us.
Soon a closter of black dots appeared in the horizon, followed by others. Our bombers !
The Thunderbolts and lightnings whom we were relived returned to base, and we took up our positions - in patrol of four on either side of the formation.

A show of Fortresses certainly is an impressive sight ! The phalanx of bombers in impeccable defensive formation - several massive boxes of hundred or so four-engined aircraft in bank at 27,000 feet, each box bristling with 1,140 heavy 5 machine guns - spread out over twenty odd miles.
On either side of the Spitfire escort stretched as far as the eye could see. The top cover of Spits VIIs and IXs was only visible in the shapes of fine white condensation trails.
The visibility that day was splendid. The sky was dark indigo blue, paler toward the horizon, passing from emerald green to milky white where it merged with the bands of mist over the North Sea.
Below, France unfolded like a magic carpet. The peaceful meandering Seine and its tributaries, the dark masses of the forests with their curious geometrical shapes, the multi-coloured checker-board of the fileds and meadows, the tiny toy-like villages, the towns sullying the translucent sky with patches of smoke clinging to the warm layers of air.
The sun burnt through the transparent cockpits, and yet I could feel ice forming in my oxygen tube, and the exhaust gases condensed in a myriad microscopic crystals, marking the wake of my Spitfire in the sky.
Fatigue, stiffness, the painful cramp in my back, the cold searing my toes and fingers through the leather, the wool, and the silk, all wrer forgotten.

Here and there in the Fortress formations there were gaps. From close to you could see machines with one, sometimes two stationary engines and feathered propellers. Others had lacerated tail-planes, gaping holes in the fuselages, wings tarnished by fire or glistening with black oil oozing from gutted engines.
Behind the formation were the stragglers, making for the coast, for the haven of refuge of an advanced air base on the other side of the Channel, flyin only by a sublime effort of the will. You could image the blood pouring over the heaps of empty catridges, the pilot nursing his remaining engines and anxiously eyeing the long white tail of petrol escaping from his riddled tanks. These isolated fortresses were the Focke-Wulfs favourite prey. Therefore the squadrons detached two or three pairs of Spitfires, charged with bringing each one back safe : an exausting task as theses damaged fortresses often dragged along on a thrird of their total power, stretching the endurance of their escort to the limit.
On this occasion Ken sent Carpenter and me to escort a Liberator which was only in the air by a miracle. Its n?three engine had completely come out of its housing and hung on the leading edge, a mass of lifeless ironmongery. His n? One engine was on fire, the flames slowly eating into the wing and the smoke escaping through the aluminium plates of the upper surface, buckled by the heat. Through the tears in the fuselage, the survivors were throwing overboard all their superfluous equipment - machine guns, ammunition belts, radio, armour plates - to lighten their machine, which was slowly loosing height.
To crown all, there was a burst in the hydraulic system, freeing one of the wheels of the undercart which hung down and increased the drag still further.
At 1,800 revs., minus two boost and 200 m.p.h. we had to zigzag to keep level with him. We had been hunched up in our unconfortable cockpits for two hours already, and we were still over France, twelve miles behind the main formation. Ten Focke-Wulfs bagen to prowl round us, at a respectful distance, as if suspecting a trap. Anxiously Carp and I kept an eye on them.
Suddenly they attacked in pairs. Short of juice as we were, all we could do was to face each attack by a very tight 180? turn, fire a short burst in the approximate direction of the Hun, and immediately resume our position by another quick 180? turn. This performance was repeated a dozen times but we succeeded in making the Focke-Wufs keep their distance. They eventually tired of it - or so we thought.
Over Dieppe the fighters gave way to the Flak. We were flying at about 10,000 feet. The german light Flak opened fire with unbelievable frocity. An absolute pyramid of black puffs charged with lightning appeared in a fraction of a second. Violently shaken by several well-aimed shells, Carp and I separated and gained height as fas as we could with our meagre reserves of petrol. The poor Liberator, incapable of taking any sort of violent evasive action, was quickly bracketed. Just as, after a few agonizing seconds, we thought it was out of range, there was an explosion and the big bomber, cut in half, suddenly disepeared in a sheet of flame. Only three parachutes opened out. The blazing aluminium coffin crashed a few hundred yards from the cliffs in a shower of spray, dragging down the remaining members of the crew.
With heavy hearts we landed at Lympne, our tanks empty.
Luckily we were often more fortunate than this and succeeded in bringing our charges back to our airfield at Detling, where their arrival always caused the gratest agitation - ambulances, fire service, curious onlookers. We felt fully repaid by the gratitude in the eyes of the poor exhausted fellows. In many cases it was only the moral support of the presence of a pair of Spits that gave them the courage to hlod out to the end, to resist the temptation of baling out and waiting for the end of the war in some Oflag or other.



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G.C.C. were worrying us, as usual. They wanted us to fly a patrol that evening at Dust to cover the Bremen-Hamburg sector. This was because the Luftwaffe had been reacted in strengh along the autobahn during the last few days. S.S. planes had been shooting up and bombing our advanced columns, considerablely hampering their progress and their supply echelons.

We were quite agreeable, in principle, to fly a patrol, but G.C.C. couldn't seem to understand that Rheine Hopsten had only one runway in good order, and a very short one at that, and no night-flight installation whatever. G.C.C. were also forgetting that the jerries operated immediately after sun-down (if there had been any sun). Looking for small groups of Focke-Wulf in the air and the mist that rose from the marches of the Elbe and the low clouds which reflected the last glimmer of daylight was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Beside, the aircraft situation was very tight. "Chieffy", after we had made some diplomatic inquiries, hinted at only nine machines avalaible - ten at the outside - during the next twenty hours. In the end we decided on a compromise; Bruce Cole kept six Tempest for normal army reconnaissance, and I got the rest myself. As I didn't know my new pilots very well yet, I chose Mc Intyre and Gordon, to see how they coped with a difficult job.
We took of at 1936 hours. Gordon had difficulty in starting his engine and we lost ten minutes of precious twilight, circling round waiting for him. At 1945 hours we set course for Bremen, flying at low level. Not much to be seen - in the distance a few vague burst of tracer, dimmed in the summer lightning. Some houses on fire. In the vast pine forest a few fires glowed furtively. We flew into driving rain wich dragged down the clouds lower still. We went down to tree-top level. I could only just see Gordon's plane. The visibility was getting worse and worse. It was distinctly disquieting. The huns were sure to come out, but I wasn't very keen on venturing at ground level over enemy territory in that sort of weather. I tried to pierce the mist. Hamburg, With its formidable Flak defence, was somewhere, quite close in the murk, straight ahead. What the hell ! Let's go home ! "One hundred and heighty degrees port, filmstar, go." I kept my eyes on the dead straight autobahn as best I could. It was the only reliable landmark in the gloom, even through its white surface had been partially camouflaged by pages of tar. It marked our front line position approximatively. It was about 2030 hours. The rain came down with redoudled vigour. We roured over britsh and american armoured columns, producing considerable panic. Those stupid "pongos" never seemed to learn how to distinguish our aircraft from those of the Jerries. We flew over a squadron of Churchills scattered over a field, and the man all over the place, jumping for the shelter of the tanks, or under the caterpillar tracks or in the ditches. As they had been machine-gunned every evening recently in this part of the world - usually just about htis time - they were taking no chances. Besides, we were probably the first R.A.F. fighters to operate round about there so late in the day. Lousy weather. You might pass within five hundred yards of a regiment of Focke-Wulf and ot see them.All the same, I kept a sharp look-out. 2035 hours. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw somewhere behind my tail a green verey light come up from our lines, folowed immediatelly by an eruption of tracers, wich disappeared into the clouds. Christ, something was up - Jerries perhaps ! I started a left-handed turn and warned the other two : "Look out, filmstar White - 180? port, and keep your eyes open ! Just at that moment I felt a violent impact under my seat and at the same time a burning pain in my leg. Tracer bullets were whizzing up past my Tempest. That really was too much ! Those stupid "pongos" morons not only were shooting at us, but for once their aim was accurate. I broke and went in a tight turn, and poured some pretty varied invectives into the radio. As they couldn't hear me anyway it was rather a waste of breath. The other Tempest followed me in my turn, hotly pursued by increasingly heavy burst of ack-ack. We waggled our wings, switched on our navigation lights, went right trough the whole recognition rigmarole, al to not avail. As a last resort I was just going to let down my undercart when, like a shoal of fish passing under a skiff, thirty Focke-Wulfs appeared. They where hugging the ground and the rapid shapes seemed to slip trough the trees, pursued by the action of their delayed-action bombs dropping on one of ours tank parks. "Focke-Wulf two o'clock, filmstar. Attacking ! I heeled over and, at full throttle, dived toward the huns. Just my finger was hovering on the fire button something made me look around : a dozen of Focke-Wulf in close formation were emerging from the clouds, a few yards from my team mates. In the meantime the ack-ack was increasing in fury - so was the rain. The Focke wulfs - they were magnificent "long noses" with the white spiral round the spinner - broke in every direction. The visibility had by now got even worse, Wich didn't prevent wich didn't prevent two of the huns from making a frontal attack to me - so close that I left quite unnerved. My chief concern was not get involved in a collision in the gloom. That really would be too stupid. In any case I hadn't had a genuine target yet. Suddenly the radio blared. Gordon, in the hell of a flap, started shouting incoherently. He had just been hit by our ack-ack and a Focke-Wulf in quick succesion. One of the Tempest - presumably his - was dragging a long trail of grey smoke and climbing straigh to the clouds, followed by four Focke Wulfs. Poor Gordon ! "Look out, Pierre, break ! break !" Before I had even had time to realize this was meant to me, I pulled hard on the stick - but too late. I was hit somewhere under my petrol tank. The impact was so violent that my feet jumped off the rudder bar. An acrid smoke filled the cockpit with the stench of cordite. A square wing bearing a black cross swept past in a flash only a yard or two away, and the Focke-Wulf's slipsteam was so violent that this time the stick was wrenched out of my hands. Instinctively I completed a roll and levelled out just above the tree tops. The nausea of fear gripped my throat as a short bright flame licked my feet. Fire ! I felt the heat through my boots, quickening the first stabs of pain in my wounded right leg. I bent down and flumbled whith my glove, trying to locate the course of the flame. Bang ! Bang ! Two more shells smacked into my plane. This time my engine missed a beat - so did my heart. I hurled my Tempest into a violent skid wich jammed me against the side of the cockpit, and at the same time reduced throttle. Then I slowly opened full out - the engine responded normally. Stick right back, I climbed back to the cloudbase. All around me, in dismaying confusion were Focke-Wulfs machine-gunning, climbing, diving, turning. In the half light one turn toward me, rapidly wraggled itd short wings and engaged me. I turned at once to face him, fired a burst from tree-quaters front, but evidently missed him, and passed like a whirlwind just a foot or two below him, I immediately brought the sick hard back, and put on full left rudder. My Tempest shuderred, showed signs of stalling, but completed an astonishingly tight turn all the same, two white "contrails" at its wing tipes. The Focke-Wulf seemed nonplussed - began to turn to startboard - skidded - righted itself - then turn to port. That was a boob : now I in turn was in a good position, at less than twoo hundred yard range. Quickly, before before he had time to complete his manoeuvre, I corrected 10? - two rings of my sight. One long burnst from my four cannons - lightning flashes lit up and seemed to bounce off his fuselage and his wings. Fragment were tossed about in a cloud of rapidly thickening smoke - the cockpit flew off and spinned down, and I saw the pilot, his arms glued to the fuselage by the speed, trying to bale out. Then the Focke-Wulf veered sideways at less than 150 feet, righted itself for a moment, hit the ground, bounced up, moved down a pine tree in a shower of flames and sparks and finaly crashed in a sunken lane. There was a terrific explosion wich threw a lurid light like a magnesium flare for hundred yards around. The weather now seemed to be clearing a bit. Gaps appeared in the wall of mist, revealing a broad of moist, yellow horizon throwing a wan light over the pine forests and the marshes On the left a fire was raging; it was our tank park blazing, its tank trucks and its ammunition lorries in flames. Four Focke-Wulfs were flitting around like big moths, occasionally spitting a stream of bullet in the inferno. I daren't attack them - I could feel the other prowling round in the shadows. Aha ! I spotted a lone plane skimming over the tree tops in the direction of Bremen, whose tall chimneys stacks look positively medieval outlined against the dying sky. Engine temperature 125?, oil pressure down to the fifty five. Regretfully I opened the radiator and closed the throttle to 3500 revs. Even then I went on gaining on the Focke-Wulf, who was probably making for home, his magazines empty. We were now over Bremen, and he was still a thousand yards ahead. This businness might take me rather far; I closed the radiator again and opened the throttle flet out. My "Grand Charles" responded at once. We were now over the first docks of the Weser. We roared between the shattered remains of the big transporter bridge. On either side rose the charred hulks of the ware-houses; the few cranes and derricks still erect rose uo like black skelettons. Suddenly a salvo of Flak shelles blossomed beetween theFocke-Wulf and me - brief white flashes, mingled with brown balls which passed by either side of me. More kept appearing miracously out of the void. The automatic flak now chimed in and the orange glow of the tracers was reflected in the black oily water, from wich overturned hulk emerged, like enormous stranded whales. I concentrated on not losing sight of my Focke-Wulf - lukely he was silhouetted against the dying glow of the sky. For a moment the Flak redoubled in intensity. There was a sudden Clang behind my back - then suddenly the tracers were snuffed out and diseappeared... A bit suspicious ! A glance behind me explained this curious phenomenon : on my tail six Focke-Wulfs in perfect close echelon formation - exhaust white hot -pursuing me at full throttle. With one movement I broke the metal thread to enable me to go to "emergency" and shoved the throttle lever right forward. It was the first time I had occasion to use it on Tempest. The effect was extraordinaire and immediate. The aircraft litteraly bounded forward with a roar like a furnace under pressure. Within a few seconds I was doing 490 m.p.h by the air speed indicator and I simultaneously caught up my quarry and left my pursuers standing. I had soon reduced the distance to less than 200 yards. Although in this darkness my gun sight rather dazzled me, I had him plumb in the middle and I fired two long, deliberate bursts. The Focke-Wulf oscillated and crashed on its belly in a marshy field, thowing up a shower of mud. He miracously did not overturn. Whithout losing anytime I climbed vertically toward the clouds and righted myself to face the others. They had vanished in the shadows. They must have turned about and left their comrade to this fate. I flew back over the Focke-Wulf I shot down. The pilot was limpimg off, dragging his parachutte an dquite dazed by the shock. I besparred the remains of his machine with shells and they caught fire at once.
That made two !



By the way the Focke-Wulfs in the story were 190Ds /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif





VICTOR MAY HAVE BEEN A WEIRDO,BUT HE WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTERPILOT.
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XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 02:19 PM
http://www.flyandrive.com/images/ClostermannL.jpg

By Pierre Clostermann:


... The last preparations before we took off were carried out in silence. only Joe Kestruk made a desillusioned remark to the effect that every time the navy made a balls of job, the poor bloody R.A.F. had to clear up the mess. At Ford there was the usual panic about tyres bursts and flat tarter batterie. luckily Yule's long experience of advanced airfields had led to the provision of three reserve aircraft per squadron and at 0950 hours 602 and 132 took off at full strengh.
I was flying as blue four, next to Jacques who was blur three, in Ken Charney's section.
On our way to the rendez-vous we passed three Bostons whose task was to scatter, over a stretch of twenty miles towards Cape de La hague, strips of tin-foil designed to jam the german radar.
Thanks to this, and to the mist, we would probably reach the entry to Cherbourg without being picked up too much.
We joined up with the typhoons at House-top-level over Brighton and set off Obliquely for Cherbourg, skimming the grey sea.
I loathe flying so low as that with all the paraphernalia of supplementary tank and ****s. Somewhere or other there is always liable to be an airlock, enough to make you slap into the drink at 300 m.p.h.
We flew through belts of opaque mist which forced us to do some very tricky I.F.(1) a few feet above the sea, which of course we could not see. The Typhoons, in spite of the two 1,000-lb. bombs under their wings, were setting a cracking pace and we had a job to keep up with them.
Obsessed by the idea of seeing the red light on the instrument panel going on (indicating a drop in the flow of petrol to my carburettor), I began to sweat from head to foot. What would it be when the Flak started ?

1015 hours. The fog thickened and it started to pelt with rain. instinctively the sections closed up to preserve vusual contact.
Suddenly Yule's calm voice broke the strict RT silence :
"All Bob aircraft drop your babies, open up flat out, target straight ahead in sixty seconds !"
freed of its tank and drawn by the 1,600 h.p. of its engine, my Spitfire leapt forward and I took up my position fifty yards on Jacques' left and slightly behind him, straining my eyes to see anything in the blasted fog.
"Look out, yellow section, Flak-ship, one o'Clock !"
And immediately after Frank Wooley, it was Ken Charney who saw a Flak-ship, straight in front of us !
"Max blue attacking twelve o'clock !"
A grey mass rolling in the mist, a squat funnel, raised platforms, a mast bristling with radar aerials - Then rapid staccato flashes all along the superstructure. Christ ! I released the safety catch, lowered my head, and nestled down to be protected by armour plating. Clusters of green and red tracer bullets started up in every direction. flowing Jacques, I wnet slap through the spray of a 37 mm. charger which only just missed me - the salt water blurred my windshield. I was fifty yards from the Flak-ship. jacques in front of me was firing ; I could see the flashes from his guns and hisempties cascading from his wings.
I aimed at the bridge, between the damaged funnel and the mast, and fired a long, furious continuous burst, my finger hard on the button. My shells exploded in the water, rose toward the water line, exploded on the grey black-stripped hull, rose higher to the handrails, the sandbags. A wind-scoop crashed down, a jet of stream sputerd from somewhere. twenty yards - two men in navy-blue jerseys hurled themselves flat on their faces. - ten yards - the four barrels of multiple pom-pom were pointing straight between my eyes - quick - my shells exploded around it. A loader carrying two full clips capsized into the sea, his legs mown from unedr him, then the four barrels fired, I could feel the vibration as I passed a bare yard above - then the smack of the steel wire of the aerial wrenched off by my wing as I passed. my wing tip had just about scarped the mast !
Phew ! Passed him.
My limbs were shaken by a terrible nervous tremor, my teeth were chattering. Jacques was zigzagging between the spouts raised by the shells. the sea was seething.
Half of dozen belated Typhoons passed to my right like a scholl of porpoises, bearing down on the hell going on behing the long granit wall of the breakwater.
I skimmed over a fort whose very walls seemed to be belching fire - a curious mixture of crenellated towers, modern concrete casements and thirty Years War glacis.
We were now in the middle of the roadstead - an inextricable jumble of trawlers masts and rusty wrecks stiking out between the battered quays. the weather seemed to have cleared a little - Look out for the Jerry fighters ! The air was crissed-crossed with tracers, lit up by flashes, dotted with black and white puffs of smoke.

The Munsterland was there, surrounded by explosions, flames, and debris. Her four masts bristling with derrick and her squat funnel well aft emerging from the smoke. The typhoon attack was in full swing, bombs exploding all the time with colossal bursts of fire and black clouds of smoke, thickening as they drifted away. A Typhoon vanished into thin air in the explosion of a bomb dropped by one in front. One of the enormous harbour cranes came crashing down like a house of cards.

"Hullo, Bob leader, Kenway calling - There are Hun fighters about, look out !"
What an inferno ! I was close to Jacques, who was gaining height in Spirals, making for the layer of clouds. Two Typhoons emerged from a cumulus, a few yards from us, and I just stopped myself in time from firing at them. With their massive noses and clipped wing they looked uncannily like Focke Wulfs.
"Beak, Blue Four !"
Jacques Broke away violently and his Spitfire flashed past a few yards under my nose, a white plume at each wing tip. To avoid a collision I waited for a fraction of a second a ****e Wulf - a real one this time - flashed past, firing with all four cannon. A shell ricocheted off my hood. As I went over on my back to get him in my sights, a second Focke-Wulf loomed up in my windshield, head on, at less than one hundred yards. Its big yellow engine and its apparently slowly turning propeller seemed to fling themselves at me and its wings lit up with the firing of its guns. Bang ! stars appeared all over my slintering windshield which became an opaque wall before my eyes. Thunderstruck, I dared not move for fear of a collision. He passed just above me. A stream of oil began to spread all over my hood.
the sky was now alive with aircraft and full of flak bursts. I let fly at another Focke-Wulf and I missed. Luckily !... It was a Typhoon. Jacques was circling with a German fighter. I saw his shells explode in the black cross on the fuselage. The Focke-Wulf slowly turned over, showing its yellow belly, and dived, coughing smokes and flames.
"Good show, Robbie ! You got him !"
My oil pressure was disquietingly down. the rain began again and within a few seconds my hood was covered witha soapy film. I slipped into the clouds and set course north on I.F., first warning Jacques and Yule over the radio.
I reached Tangmere as best I could, my oil pressure at zero and my engine red hot and ready to explode. I had to Jettison my hood to see to land.
In this business we had lost two pilots, as did 132. Seven Typhoons were destroyed, plus two which came down off Cherbourg and whose pilots were picked up by the launches.

As for the Munterland, although seriously damaged and with part of her cargo on fire, she succeded two nights later in sneaking as far as Dieppe. She finally got herself sunk off the coast of Holland by a strike of Beaufighters.



http://www.flyandrive.com/images/spitfire03.jpg



21st December, 1943

Briefieng at 10.30.

Superb weather, a temperature fit for brass monkeys - not a trace of a cloud in the sky ? The Spitfires' wings were streaming with water, for the hot-air de-icing trailer had just passed. The runway was covered with ice.
I had to take off my gloves to do up my straps, and so my hands froze, and I couldn't get them warm again. I opened up the oxygen, to put a bit of stuffing into myself.
The ice on the runway theses last days has produced a crop of accidents, serious and otherwise. Smashed undecarts, taxiing accidents, etc. - and now we had only eleven serviceable planes left.
Drumbell, Jack, and I were MAX section, with the C.O. With 132, we were to patrol the Cambrai area, where german fighters fighters have been particularly active recently. We climbed to 20 000 feet, then, as the cold was intense, we cam down to 17 000.
The winter sky was so clear, so dazzling that after a mere twenty minutes over France we were continually blinking.
The controller told us there was a strong enemy fighter formation not far off, but it was impossible to spot anything in the dazzling night. To be on the safe side, as grass Seed was geeting urgent, we gained height again.

Suddenly, woooof ! Thrirty Focke Wulfs were on top of us. Before we could move a muscle, the brutes opened fire. A whirlwind of enormous radial engines, of short, slender wings edged with lightning, of tracer bullets whizzing in every direction, of black crosses all over the place. Panic. Everyone broke. In the space of one second the two flights' impeccable combat formation was disrupted, dislocated, scattered to the four winds. Too late ! Old Jonah was on his way down in flames, and Morgan, the Scots flight sergeant, in a spin, one wing torn off bay a hail of Mauser.
132 were no luckier. Three of their pilots were shot down. A fourth - as we learnt later - succedeed in bringing his badly damaged machine half way back across the Channel, then baled out and was fished out one hour later.
Once surprise had passed, we pulled ourselves together.
Captain ubertin, in command of Skittles, suddenly found himself isolated : his n? two and four has been shot down and his n? three had vanished into thin air - Poor old Spence had got a 20 mm. Shell four inches from his head which has smashed his radio to smithereens. Half knocked out he hes instinctively pulled the stick back and opened the throttle and had woken up at 36000 feet absolutely alone in the sky.
A Focke Wulf sneaked in behind the captain but missed him. The hun overshot him. He was carried away by his speed and Aubertin settled his ash in no time at all ; the biter bit. Unfortunately four other Focke-Wulfs engaged him and only did he failed to see his victim crash but he himself succeeded in getting away after after an eventfull 45-miles chase among the trees, round church steeples and through village streets. His Spitfire was hit seven times.
Meanwhile Jacques and I - contrary to our settled habits - folowed on Sutherland's hells like faithful hounds and had the pleasure of seeing him liquidate another "190" at 600 yards range. The Hun disintegrated in the air, but the pilot escaped : a little later we saw a parachute open out below us.
Danny fired a sly burst at a "190" but missed.
If results were wanted, this sweep certainly produced them - out of twenty three Spits, six were shot down, eight others damaged, not counting Williams of 132, who was wounded and had to belly-land.

7th january, 1944

A long trip this time. We were going to Rheims to fetch home a strong formation of flying fortresses and Liberators coming back from Germany. 602 was to cover the first three groups - 180 bmobers in all - and 132 the three following.
We took off at 1210 hours after a rushed lunch, and we flogged out aircraft, weighed down by forty-five-gallon auxilliary tanks, up to 23 000 feet. After thirty minutes flying we passed Paris on our right, sensed rather than seen below a cloak of mist and smoke. On the way German heavy batteries loosed some beautifully aimed salvoes which burst very close - we immediately scattered about the sky. The black puffs appeared on every side. Climbing at full throttle with Thommerson, we succeeded in getting out of range and re-forming, not without difficulty.

1050 hours. The jerries seemed to be reacting and the Focke-Wulls must be taking off all over the place because control was begining to get agitated. Still nothing near us.
Soon a closter of black dots appeared in the horizon, followed by others. Our bombers !
The Thunderbolts and lightnings whom we were relived returned to base, and we took up our positions - in patrol of four on either side of the formation.

A show of Fortresses certainly is an impressive sight ! The phalanx of bombers in impeccable defensive formation - several massive boxes of hundred or so four-engined aircraft in bank at 27,000 feet, each box bristling with 1,140 heavy 5 machine guns - spread out over twenty odd miles.
On either side of the Spitfire escort stretched as far as the eye could see. The top cover of Spits VIIs and IXs was only visible in the shapes of fine white condensation trails.
The visibility that day was splendid. The sky was dark indigo blue, paler toward the horizon, passing from emerald green to milky white where it merged with the bands of mist over the North Sea.
Below, France unfolded like a magic carpet. The peaceful meandering Seine and its tributaries, the dark masses of the forests with their curious geometrical shapes, the multi-coloured checker-board of the fileds and meadows, the tiny toy-like villages, the towns sullying the translucent sky with patches of smoke clinging to the warm layers of air.
The sun burnt through the transparent cockpits, and yet I could feel ice forming in my oxygen tube, and the exhaust gases condensed in a myriad microscopic crystals, marking the wake of my Spitfire in the sky.
Fatigue, stiffness, the painful cramp in my back, the cold searing my toes and fingers through the leather, the wool, and the silk, all wrer forgotten.

Here and there in the Fortress formations there were gaps. From close to you could see machines with one, sometimes two stationary engines and feathered propellers. Others had lacerated tail-planes, gaping holes in the fuselages, wings tarnished by fire or glistening with black oil oozing from gutted engines.
Behind the formation were the stragglers, making for the coast, for the haven of refuge of an advanced air base on the other side of the Channel, flyin only by a sublime effort of the will. You could image the blood pouring over the heaps of empty catridges, the pilot nursing his remaining engines and anxiously eyeing the long white tail of petrol escaping from his riddled tanks. These isolated fortresses were the Focke-Wulfs favourite prey. Therefore the squadrons detached two or three pairs of Spitfires, charged with bringing each one back safe : an exausting task as theses damaged fortresses often dragged along on a thrird of their total power, stretching the endurance of their escort to the limit.
On this occasion Ken sent Carpenter and me to escort a Liberator which was only in the air by a miracle. Its n?three engine had completely come out of its housing and hung on the leading edge, a mass of lifeless ironmongery. His n? One engine was on fire, the flames slowly eating into the wing and the smoke escaping through the aluminium plates of the upper surface, buckled by the heat. Through the tears in the fuselage, the survivors were throwing overboard all their superfluous equipment - machine guns, ammunition belts, radio, armour plates - to lighten their machine, which was slowly loosing height.
To crown all, there was a burst in the hydraulic system, freeing one of the wheels of the undercart which hung down and increased the drag still further.
At 1,800 revs., minus two boost and 200 m.p.h. we had to zigzag to keep level with him. We had been hunched up in our unconfortable cockpits for two hours already, and we were still over France, twelve miles behind the main formation. Ten Focke-Wulfs bagen to prowl round us, at a respectful distance, as if suspecting a trap. Anxiously Carp and I kept an eye on them.
Suddenly they attacked in pairs. Short of juice as we were, all we could do was to face each attack by a very tight 180? turn, fire a short burst in the approximate direction of the Hun, and immediately resume our position by another quick 180? turn. This performance was repeated a dozen times but we succeeded in making the Focke-Wufs keep their distance. They eventually tired of it - or so we thought.
Over Dieppe the fighters gave way to the Flak. We were flying at about 10,000 feet. The german light Flak opened fire with unbelievable frocity. An absolute pyramid of black puffs charged with lightning appeared in a fraction of a second. Violently shaken by several well-aimed shells, Carp and I separated and gained height as fas as we could with our meagre reserves of petrol. The poor Liberator, incapable of taking any sort of violent evasive action, was quickly bracketed. Just as, after a few agonizing seconds, we thought it was out of range, there was an explosion and the big bomber, cut in half, suddenly disepeared in a sheet of flame. Only three parachutes opened out. The blazing aluminium coffin crashed a few hundred yards from the cliffs in a shower of spray, dragging down the remaining members of the crew.
With heavy hearts we landed at Lympne, our tanks empty.
Luckily we were often more fortunate than this and succeeded in bringing our charges back to our airfield at Detling, where their arrival always caused the gratest agitation - ambulances, fire service, curious onlookers. We felt fully repaid by the gratitude in the eyes of the poor exhausted fellows. In many cases it was only the moral support of the presence of a pair of Spits that gave them the courage to hlod out to the end, to resist the temptation of baling out and waiting for the end of the war in some Oflag or other.



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G.C.C. were worrying us, as usual. They wanted us to fly a patrol that evening at Dust to cover the Bremen-Hamburg sector. This was because the Luftwaffe had been reacted in strengh along the autobahn during the last few days. S.S. planes had been shooting up and bombing our advanced columns, considerablely hampering their progress and their supply echelons.

We were quite agreeable, in principle, to fly a patrol, but G.C.C. couldn't seem to understand that Rheine Hopsten had only one runway in good order, and a very short one at that, and no night-flight installation whatever. G.C.C. were also forgetting that the jerries operated immediately after sun-down (if there had been any sun). Looking for small groups of Focke-Wulf in the air and the mist that rose from the marches of the Elbe and the low clouds which reflected the last glimmer of daylight was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Beside, the aircraft situation was very tight. "Chieffy", after we had made some diplomatic inquiries, hinted at only nine machines avalaible - ten at the outside - during the next twenty hours. In the end we decided on a compromise; Bruce Cole kept six Tempest for normal army reconnaissance, and I got the rest myself. As I didn't know my new pilots very well yet, I chose Mc Intyre and Gordon, to see how they coped with a difficult job.
We took of at 1936 hours. Gordon had difficulty in starting his engine and we lost ten minutes of precious twilight, circling round waiting for him. At 1945 hours we set course for Bremen, flying at low level. Not much to be seen - in the distance a few vague burst of tracer, dimmed in the summer lightning. Some houses on fire. In the vast pine forest a few fires glowed furtively. We flew into driving rain wich dragged down the clouds lower still. We went down to tree-top level. I could only just see Gordon's plane. The visibility was getting worse and worse. It was distinctly disquieting. The huns were sure to come out, but I wasn't very keen on venturing at ground level over enemy territory in that sort of weather. I tried to pierce the mist. Hamburg, With its formidable Flak defence, was somewhere, quite close in the murk, straight ahead. What the hell ! Let's go home ! "One hundred and heighty degrees port, filmstar, go." I kept my eyes on the dead straight autobahn as best I could. It was the only reliable landmark in the gloom, even through its white surface had been partially camouflaged by pages of tar. It marked our front line position approximatively. It was about 2030 hours. The rain came down with redoudled vigour. We roured over britsh and american armoured columns, producing considerable panic. Those stupid "pongos" never seemed to learn how to distinguish our aircraft from those of the Jerries. We flew over a squadron of Churchills scattered over a field, and the man all over the place, jumping for the shelter of the tanks, or under the caterpillar tracks or in the ditches. As they had been machine-gunned every evening recently in this part of the world - usually just about htis time - they were taking no chances. Besides, we were probably the first R.A.F. fighters to operate round about there so late in the day. Lousy weather. You might pass within five hundred yards of a regiment of Focke-Wulf and ot see them.All the same, I kept a sharp look-out. 2035 hours. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw somewhere behind my tail a green verey light come up from our lines, folowed immediatelly by an eruption of tracers, wich disappeared into the clouds. Christ, something was up - Jerries perhaps ! I started a left-handed turn and warned the other two : "Look out, filmstar White - 180? port, and keep your eyes open ! Just at that moment I felt a violent impact under my seat and at the same time a burning pain in my leg. Tracer bullets were whizzing up past my Tempest. That really was too much ! Those stupid "pongos" morons not only were shooting at us, but for once their aim was accurate. I broke and went in a tight turn, and poured some pretty varied invectives into the radio. As they couldn't hear me anyway it was rather a waste of breath. The other Tempest followed me in my turn, hotly pursued by increasingly heavy burst of ack-ack. We waggled our wings, switched on our navigation lights, went right trough the whole recognition rigmarole, al to not avail. As a last resort I was just going to let down my undercart when, like a shoal of fish passing under a skiff, thirty Focke-Wulfs appeared. They where hugging the ground and the rapid shapes seemed to slip trough the trees, pursued by the action of their delayed-action bombs dropping on one of ours tank parks. "Focke-Wulf two o'clock, filmstar. Attacking ! I heeled over and, at full throttle, dived toward the huns. Just my finger was hovering on the fire button something made me look around : a dozen of Focke-Wulf in close formation were emerging from the clouds, a few yards from my team mates. In the meantime the ack-ack was increasing in fury - so was the rain. The Focke wulfs - they were magnificent "long noses" with the white spiral round the spinner - broke in every direction. The visibility had by now got even worse, Wich didn't prevent wich didn't prevent two of the huns from making a frontal attack to me - so close that I left quite unnerved. My chief concern was not get involved in a collision in the gloom. That really would be too stupid. In any case I hadn't had a genuine target yet. Suddenly the radio blared. Gordon, in the hell of a flap, started shouting incoherently. He had just been hit by our ack-ack and a Focke-Wulf in quick succesion. One of the Tempest - presumably his - was dragging a long trail of grey smoke and climbing straigh to the clouds, followed by four Focke Wulfs. Poor Gordon ! "Look out, Pierre, break ! break !" Before I had even had time to realize this was meant to me, I pulled hard on the stick - but too late. I was hit somewhere under my petrol tank. The impact was so violent that my feet jumped off the rudder bar. An acrid smoke filled the cockpit with the stench of cordite. A square wing bearing a black cross swept past in a flash only a yard or two away, and the Focke-Wulf's slipsteam was so violent that this time the stick was wrenched out of my hands. Instinctively I completed a roll and levelled out just above the tree tops. The nausea of fear gripped my throat as a short bright flame licked my feet. Fire ! I felt the heat through my boots, quickening the first stabs of pain in my wounded right leg. I bent down and flumbled whith my glove, trying to locate the course of the flame. Bang ! Bang ! Two more shells smacked into my plane. This time my engine missed a beat - so did my heart. I hurled my Tempest into a violent skid wich jammed me against the side of the cockpit, and at the same time reduced throttle. Then I slowly opened full out - the engine responded normally. Stick right back, I climbed back to the cloudbase. All around me, in dismaying confusion were Focke-Wulfs machine-gunning, climbing, diving, turning. In the half light one turn toward me, rapidly wraggled itd short wings and engaged me. I turned at once to face him, fired a burst from tree-quaters front, but evidently missed him, and passed like a whirlwind just a foot or two below him, I immediately brought the sick hard back, and put on full left rudder. My Tempest shuderred, showed signs of stalling, but completed an astonishingly tight turn all the same, two white "contrails" at its wing tipes. The Focke-Wulf seemed nonplussed - began to turn to startboard - skidded - righted itself - then turn to port. That was a boob : now I in turn was in a good position, at less than twoo hundred yard range. Quickly, before before he had time to complete his manoeuvre, I corrected 10? - two rings of my sight. One long burnst from my four cannons - lightning flashes lit up and seemed to bounce off his fuselage and his wings. Fragment were tossed about in a cloud of rapidly thickening smoke - the cockpit flew off and spinned down, and I saw the pilot, his arms glued to the fuselage by the speed, trying to bale out. Then the Focke-Wulf veered sideways at less than 150 feet, righted itself for a moment, hit the ground, bounced up, moved down a pine tree in a shower of flames and sparks and finaly crashed in a sunken lane. There was a terrific explosion wich threw a lurid light like a magnesium flare for hundred yards around. The weather now seemed to be clearing a bit. Gaps appeared in the wall of mist, revealing a broad of moist, yellow horizon throwing a wan light over the pine forests and the marshes On the left a fire was raging; it was our tank park blazing, its tank trucks and its ammunition lorries in flames. Four Focke-Wulfs were flitting around like big moths, occasionally spitting a stream of bullet in the inferno. I daren't attack them - I could feel the other prowling round in the shadows. Aha ! I spotted a lone plane skimming over the tree tops in the direction of Bremen, whose tall chimneys stacks look positively medieval outlined against the dying sky. Engine temperature 125?, oil pressure down to the fifty five. Regretfully I opened the radiator and closed the throttle to 3500 revs. Even then I went on gaining on the Focke-Wulf, who was probably making for home, his magazines empty. We were now over Bremen, and he was still a thousand yards ahead. This businness might take me rather far; I closed the radiator again and opened the throttle flet out. My "Grand Charles" responded at once. We were now over the first docks of the Weser. We roared between the shattered remains of the big transporter bridge. On either side rose the charred hulks of the ware-houses; the few cranes and derricks still erect rose uo like black skelettons. Suddenly a salvo of Flak shelles blossomed beetween theFocke-Wulf and me - brief white flashes, mingled with brown balls which passed by either side of me. More kept appearing miracously out of the void. The automatic flak now chimed in and the orange glow of the tracers was reflected in the black oily water, from wich overturned hulk emerged, like enormous stranded whales. I concentrated on not losing sight of my Focke-Wulf - lukely he was silhouetted against the dying glow of the sky. For a moment the Flak redoubled in intensity. There was a sudden Clang behind my back - then suddenly the tracers were snuffed out and diseappeared... A bit suspicious ! A glance behind me explained this curious phenomenon : on my tail six Focke-Wulfs in perfect close echelon formation - exhaust white hot -pursuing me at full throttle. With one movement I broke the metal thread to enable me to go to "emergency" and shoved the throttle lever right forward. It was the first time I had occasion to use it on Tempest. The effect was extraordinaire and immediate. The aircraft litteraly bounded forward with a roar like a furnace under pressure. Within a few seconds I was doing 490 m.p.h by the air speed indicator and I simultaneously caught up my quarry and left my pursuers standing. I had soon reduced the distance to less than 200 yards. Although in this darkness my gun sight rather dazzled me, I had him plumb in the middle and I fired two long, deliberate bursts. The Focke-Wulf oscillated and crashed on its belly in a marshy field, thowing up a shower of mud. He miracously did not overturn. Whithout losing anytime I climbed vertically toward the clouds and righted myself to face the others. They had vanished in the shadows. They must have turned about and left their comrade to this fate. I flew back over the Focke-Wulf I shot down. The pilot was limpimg off, dragging his parachutte an dquite dazed by the shock. I besparred the remains of his machine with shells and they caught fire at once.
That made two !



By the way the Focke-Wulfs in the story were 190Ds /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif





VICTOR MAY HAVE BEEN A WEIRDO,BUT HE WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTERPILOT.
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XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 03:06 PM
Good reading - thanks.
Have got a write-up about Whirlwinds attacking the Munsterland, might post later.
Anyone got any pics of the Munsterland btw? And I don't mean some tacky theme park featuring Herman's roller-coaster.......

<center>http://www.uploadit.org/files/150903-Screensig.jpg

Whirlwind Whiner - First Of The Few

XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 03:51 PM
great post...look forward to more!

http://images.ucomics.com/images/doonesbury/strip/thecast/duke2.jpg


"Death before Unconsciousness" - Uncle Duke

XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 05:53 PM
Low_Flyer wrote:
- Good reading - thanks.
- Have got a write-up about Whirlwinds attacking the
- Munsterland, might post later.
- Anyone got any pics of the Munsterland btw? And I
- don't mean some tacky theme park featuring Herman's
- roller-coaster.......


GIMME GIMME GIMME!
-
-
-
-
-



VICTOR MAY HAVE BEEN A WEIRDO,BUT HE WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTERPILOT.
<ceter>http://www.boners.com/content/788904.1.jpg </center>

XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 08:07 PM
OK fjuff - here you go....


263 Squadron. 1943.
---------------------------

"Warmwell on 24 October was covered by a fine dawn and the squadron looked forward to another successful day, but 10 Group informed them that Warmwell was non-operational due to bad weather!
It took about one hour to convince the Group that their estimate of Warmwell's weather was completely wrong. As the Ibsley wing was non-operational, the Whirlwinds formed their own anti-flak screen - it was considered that this would probably be the last time that twelve Whirlwinds would be airborne together.

Ross (P6974), Barr (P7108), Mogg (P7040), Funnell (P6990), Baker (P7102), Procter (P7012), Purkis (P6997), Watkins (P6998), Mercer (P6979) and Gray (P6986) took off on a ship strike. Just after take-off the target was notified to them. It was the Munsterland, which was lying at the Digue du Home T at Cherbourg inner harbour. Four other Whirlwinds bombed two ships aft of the Munsterland and two pilots scored two direct hits on two 6M Class minesweepers. Flak was intense and was aptly described as 'Like a horizontal rainstorm, but painted red'. All Whirlwinds were hit, with Flight Sergeant Gray's aircraft going down in a controlled descent with its starboard engine on fire. Flight Lieutenant Mercer's aircraft was hit over the target and then recieved a direct hit from a coastal battery over St Vaast, the Whirlwind diving into the sea. Flight Lieutenant Ross's aircraft was severely hit in the starboard mainplane which caused it to stall at 180 mph, but he was able to carry out a perfect belly landing at Warmwell at 180 mph; whilst Flight Sergeant Cooper's aircraft had its undercarriage severely damaged by a flak hit, and that unit collapsed on landing.

On 28 October the squadron made another attack on the Munsterland, which was now positioned in the No 5 dry dock at Cherbourg. Baker (P7012), Mogg (P7037), Watkins (P6977), Handley (P7092), Ross (P6983), Beaumont (P7046), Pusking (P7111), and Procter (P7108) carried out a dive bombing attack from 12,000 to 7,000 ft, all bombs falling within a 500 yd radius of the target.

On 30 October the squadron was again detailed to attack the Munsterland so Baker (P7102), Heaton (P6997), Snalam (P7037). Reen (P7012), Procter (P7111), Holman (P7092) and Dunlop (P7108) took off, but when about ten miles south of Lulworth Snalam lost one of his bombs and was ordered to return to base. The remaining six Whirlwinds made their attack from south-west to north-east from 12,000 ft, a cluster of bombs hitting the warehouse and dry dock area. The flak was intense and also accurate, both at 12,000 ft and during the dive from 9,000 to 7,000 ft, so to escape this the dives were continued to 5,000 ft - then a period of evasive action and back to base. All Whirlwinds returned safely.

Good news reached the squadron on 1 November. Flight Sergeant G. Wood, who had been reported missing believed killed in action on 23 September when his aircraft disintegrated when hit by flak, not only survived, but evaded capture and arrived back in Plymouth in good health."

extract from Whirlwind - The Westland Whirlwind Fighter by Victor Bingham
1987 Airlife Publishing ISBN 1 85310 004 8



263 Squadron was active during November 1943 against shipping around Cherbourg and Geurnsey, on the 26th the Munsterland was again the target. Despite the usual intense flak, all Whirlwinds made it home - though some were damaged.

In December the squadron began re-equipping with Hawker Typhoons. "The squadron OR Book stated that all pilots who flew Whirlwinds on operations had absolute confidence in and affection for them - and by January 1944 was lamenting the fact that the squadron found it more difficult to maintain serviceability of the Typhoon than the Whirlwind."


Still haven't found any info on the Munsterland - anyone know what sort of ship it was? Just curious.







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Whirlwind Whiner - First Of The Few

XyZspineZyX
09-27-2003, 11:45 PM
Great stuff!! we need more of this and less talk of DMs and Fms..../i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif



Message Edited on 09/27/0306:46PM by Bearcat99

XyZspineZyX
09-28-2003, 04:11 PM
The Munsterland was an ultra modern 10.000 tonnages freighter with turbine engines ,
it carried a expensive cargo of Rubber and rare metals
from Japan into Germany,
and with a huge amount of luck sneaked through
the Allieds air and sea defences.
untill it finally got sunk by Beaufighters after many
unsuccesfull attacks by RAF.

VICTOR MAY HAVE BEEN A WEIRDO,BUT HE WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTERPILOT.
<ceter>http://www.boners.com/content/788904.1.jpg </center>

XyZspineZyX
09-28-2003, 05:15 PM
Thanks fjuff, was wondering what type of ship to use as a target when we get our Whirlwinds /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

<center>http://www.uploadit.org/files/150903-Screensig.jpg

Whirlwind Whiner - First Of The Few

XyZspineZyX
09-29-2003, 11:16 AM
have any more Wirlie stories?

VICTOR MAY HAVE BEEN A WEIRDO,BUT HE WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTERPILOT.
<ceter>http://www.boners.com/content/788904.1.jpg </center>

XyZspineZyX
09-29-2003, 09:13 PM
fjuff79 wrote:
- have any more Wirlie stories?

Are you sitting comfortably? /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif



" A 'Rhubarb' reconnaisance was called for on 7 November (1941) and resulted in Flying Officer Warnes (P7110), Flight Sergeant Blackshaw (P7084), Sergeant King (P7112), Flight Sergeant Brackley (P7003) and Sergeant Walker (P7006) taking off from Warmwell, Brackley having to return ten minutes out with the starboard engine overheating. An attack was made on a number of targets and then a course set back to base. Warnes, seeing a conical cloud of black smoke low down on the water three miles west of Cap de la Hague, went down to investigate as he suspected an aircraft crash. Immediately after he saw this he saw two Me 109s above him at 1,000 ft, so holding course and flying at 2,700 rpm plus 6 lb boost, he waited until a Me 109 dived to attack. When it was within range he turned violently to port at sea level. Then the other Me 109 attacked, then both together, but Warnes shook them off with a display of evasive action and returned to Warmwell.

King, whilst preparing to attack a goods train, observed two Me 109s on his starboard beam at the same height, so he jinked around and headed for cloud cover. After flying thus for about ten minutes the cloud diminished, and about three miles west of Cap de la Hague he saw two more Me 109s on his starboard beam and about 500 ft above him. He was now at 3,000 ft and both the aircraft turned in for a starboard beam attack, so he turned to starboard beneath them and pulled up. When at about 150-200 yd, he let fire at one Me 109. There was an explosion like a ball of fire at the rear of the Me 109's cockpit and it went into a steep dive into the sea. The other EA refused combat and made off inland. It was considered that the pillar of smoke from the downed Me 109 was the one seen by Geoff Warnes. As all aircraft returned safely the squadron considered it a successful day."

<center>http://www.uploadit.org/files/150903-Screensig.jpg

Whirlwind Whiner - First Of The Few

XyZspineZyX
09-29-2003, 09:38 PM
I've read two books by Pierre Clostermann, and they are absolutely brilliant. Can't remember the titles right now, but I'll go digging in my "archives" right now. Thank you for reminding me. I highly recommend these to everyone interested in WW2-aviation (if you aren't, what are you doing here?). Get your butt on amazon and start ordering!



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