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XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 06:46 AM
i got this from simhq...Seeing as the P-51 is the current topic of interest here, I figured I'd post some examples of real life P-51 vs Bf-109 engagagements. These two stories are fairly detailed, which makes them extra useful in a sim context. They are also very different.

In the first example a group of Bf-109 G-14 get bounced by a bigger group of P-51s. The result is a free-for-all that takes place between 3500 meters and the deck. In this kind of fight, performance specifics seem less important than reflexes and luck (and pilot armour!):


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The aerial combat developed into a wild dog fight between the P-51s and our Me 109s at the closest quarters and at varying altitudes between 12.000 ft [3500 m] and the deck. It was impossible to maneuver into a firing position without been attacked at once. I attempted a dozen or more times to position myself behind a P-51, but had to break off in seconds as other P-51s turned in on me to attack. During this dogfight my wingman Roesner lost contact to me (he had reported to the squadron around August 1944 and this was his 1st or 2nd enemy contact flying with 7../JG11. Roesner is MIA after aerial combat on May 3rd 1945 in the east).

During this engagement, I saw a P-51 below me, which was behind a Me109, and had already damaged it heavily. Both aircraft were in a flat descent, I positioned myself with a half down turn approximately 300 yards [275 m] behind the P-51, opened fire at 200 yards [180 m] with machine gun and cannon, and closed in to 100-150 yards [90-140 m]. At the same moment, the Me109 disintegrated as the P-51 was firing on it. I placed heavy hits on motor and cabin of the P-51 and observed parts flying off and black smoke. The aircraft continued a flat descent and crashed at approximately 1755hrs in the vicinity of Vreden. All together I stayed for 10-20 seconds behind the P-51, and then broke off to the right.

At the same moment I received severe hits on engine and right wing. My engine started to smoke at once and lost almost all power. I pushed down and looked for emergency landing possibilities. A crash landing followed on flat land, where the aircraft continued at high speed into a forest loosing both wings.

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The same encounter from the perspective of an American pilot:


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[Flight leader] Williams gave the order to "drop tanks." Just as he did, the sh*t hit the fan. It was standard operating procedure in a fight, to break down to the smallest unit. Williams and his wingman banked over and onto a Me 109. At that moment, three aircraft crossed my nose, a Me 109, a P-51 and another 109 all headed straight down. I rolled over and down to the attack, chasing the "tail end charley" 109. My closure was rapid and my new high tech gun sight [presumably the K-14 gyro sight] was on. Just as I drew into firing range, I saw a cluster of 20mm shells arcing over my left wing. I broke off at once to handle my problem, climbing straight up to 10,000 feet [3000 m]. I knew I was able to gain altitude on my adversary. At this height, I went into a tight turn but saw nothing. I called for my wingman, Blanchard and for the leader, Williams but received no reply. Now I was mad and scared and wanted to shoot something. So, I nosed over and dove down to the battle area. At 2,000 feet [600 m], I leveled off and circled. I saw nothing, zero, zilch. Nothing, except nine burning wrecks over an area of several square miles.

It amazes me that the sky can be filled with airplanes one minute and be totally empty in the next. After milling around for several more minutes I turned west, climbed up to altitude, and headed on a course for home base.

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The second example is very different. It starts as a four-versus-four and ends up as a one-vs-one between 16-kill Mustang ace Bud Anderson (who had five kills at the time of this encounter) and a Bf-109 pilot that was probably very experienced as well. The engagement takes place at high altitude, around 10.000 metres. This engagement has much more of the mental chess game that we as simmers tend to associate with air combat, with moves and countermoves:


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As we take up the chase again, two against two now, the trailing 109 peels away and dives for home, and the leader pulls up into a sharp climbing turn to the left. This one can fly, and he obviously has no thought of running. I'm thinking this one could be trouble.

We turn inside him, my wingman and I, still at long range, and he pulls around harder, passing in front of us right-to-left at an impossible angle. I want to swing in behind him, but I'm going too fast, and figure I would only go skidding on past. A Mustang at speed simply can't make a square corner. And in a dogfight you don't want to surrender your airspeed. I decide to overshoot him and climb.

He reverses his turn, trying to fall in behind us. My wingman is vulnerable now. I tell Skara, "Break off!" and he peels away. The German goes after him, and I go after the German, closing on his tail before he can close on my wingman. He sees me coming and dives away with me after him, then makes a climbing left turn. I go screaming by, pull up, and he's reversing his turn - man, he can fly! - and he comes crawling right up behind me, close enough that I can see him distinctly. He's bringing his nose up for a shot, and I haul back on the stick and climb even harder. I keep going up, because I'm out of alternatives.

This is what I see all these years later. If I were the sort to be troubled with nightmares, this is what would shock me awake. I am in this steep climb, pulling the stick into my navel, making it steeper, steeper...and I am looking back down, over my shoulder, at this classic gray Me 109 with black crosses that is pulling up, too, steeper, steeper, the pilot trying to get his nose up just a little bit more and bring me into his sights.

[...]

So I'm looking back, almost straight down now, and I can see this 20-millimeter cannon sticking through the middle of the fighter's propeller hub. In the theater of my memory, it is enormous. An elephant gun. And that isn't far wrong. It is a gun designed to bring down a bomber, one that fires shells as long as your hand, shells that explode and tear big holes in metal. It is the single most frightening thing I have seen in my life, then and now.

But I'm too busy to be frightened. Later on, you might sit back and perspire about it, maybe 40-50 years later, say, sitting on your porch 7,000 miles away, but while it is happening you are just too damn busy. And I am extremely busy up here, hanging by my propeller, going almost straight up, full emergency power, which a Mustang could do for only so long before losing speed, shuddering, stalling, and falling back down; and I am thinking that if the Mustang stalls before the Messerschmitt stalls, I have had it.

I look back, and I can see that he's shuddering, on the verge of a stall. He hasn't been able to get his nose up enough, hasn't been able to bring that big gun to bear. Almost, but not quite. I'm a fallen-down-dead man almost, but not quite. His nose begins dropping just as my airplane, too, begins shuddering. He stalls a second or two before I stall, drops away before I do.

Good old Mustang.

He is falling away now, and I flop the nose over and go after him hard. We are very high by this time, six miles and then some, and falling very, very fast. The Messerschmitt had a head start, plummeting out of my range, but I'm closing up quickly. Then he flattens out and comes around hard to the left and starts climbing again, as if he wants to come at me head on. Suddenly we're right back where we started.

A lot of this is just instinct now. Things are happening too fast to think everything out. You steer with your right hand and feet. The right hand also triggers the guns. With your left, you work the throttle, and keep the airplane in trim, which is easier to do than describe.

Any airplane with a single propeller produces torque. The more horsepower you have, the more the prop will pull you off to one side. The Mustangs I flew used a 12-cylinder Packard Merlin engine that displaced 1,649 cubic inches. That is 10 times the size of the engine that powers an Indy car. It developed power enough that you never applied full power sitting still on the ground because it would pull the plane's tail up off the runway and the propeller would chew up the concrete. With so much power, you were continually making minor adjustments on the controls to keep the Mustang and its wing-mounted guns pointed straight.

There were three little palm-sized wheels you had to keep fiddling with. They trimmed you up for hands-off level flight. One was for the little trim tab on the tail's rudder, the vertical slab which moves the plane left or right. Another adjusted the tab on the tail's horizontal elevators that raise or lower the nose and help reduce the force you had to apply for hard turning. The third was for aileron trim, to keep your wings level, although you didn't have to fuss much with that one. Your left hand was down there a lot if you were changing speeds, as in combat...while at the same time you were making minor adjustments with your feet on the rudder pedals and your hand on the stick. At first it was awkward. But, with experience, it was something you did without thinking, like driving a car and twirling the radio dial.

It's a little unnerving to think about how many things you have to deal with all at once to fly combat.

So the Messerschmitt is coming around again, climbing hard to his left, and I've had about enough of this. My angle is a little bit better this time. So I roll the dice. Instead of cobbing it like before and sailing on by him, I decide to turn hard left inside him, knowing that if I lose speed and don't make it I probably won't get home. I pull back on the throttle slightly, put down 10 degrees of flaps, and haul back on the stick just as hard as I can. And the nose begins coming up and around, slowly, slowly...

Hot damn! I'm going to make it! I'm inside him, pulling my sights up to him. And the German pilot can see this. This time, it's the Messerschmitt that breaks away and goes zooming straight up, engine at maximum power, without much alternative. I come in with full power and follow him up, and the gap narrows swiftly. He is hanging by his prop, not quite vertically, and I am right there behind him, and it is terribly clear, having tested the theory less than a minute ago, that he is going to stall and fall away before I do.

I have him. He must know that I have him.

I bring my nose up, he comes into my sights, and from less than 300 yards I trigger a long, merciless burst from my Brownings. Every fifth bullet or so is a tracer, leaving a thin trail of smoke, marking the path of the bullet stream. The tracers race upward and find him. The bullets chew at the wing root, the cockpit, the engine, making bright little flashes. I hose the Messerschmitt down the way you'd hose down a campfire, methodically, from one end to the other, not wanting to make a mistake here. The 109 shakes like a retriever coming out of the water, throwing off pieces. He slows, almost stops, as if parked in the sky, his propeller just windmilling, and he begins smoking heavily.

My momentum carries me to him. I throttle back to ease my plane alongside, just off his right wing. Have I killed him? I do not particularly want to fight this man again. I am coming up even with the cockpit, and although I figure the less I know about him the better, I find myself looking in spite of myself. There is smoke in the cockpit. I can see that, nothing more. Another few feet...

And then he falls away suddenly, left wing down, right wing rising up, obscuring my view. I am looking at the 109's sky blue belly, the wheel wells, twin radiators, grease marks, streaks from the guns, the black crosses. I am close enough to make out the rivets. The Messerschmitt is right there and then it is gone, just like that, rolling away and dropping its nose and falling (flying?) almost straight down, leaking coolant and trailing flame and smoke so black and thick that it has to be oil smoke. It simply plunges, heading straight for the deck. No spin, not even a wobble, no parachute, and now I am wondering. His ship seems a death ship - but is it?

Undecided, I peel off and begin chasing him down. Did I squander a chance here? Have I let him escape? He is diving hard enough to be shedding his wings, harder than anyone designed those airplanes to dive, 500 miles an hour [800 kph] and more, and if 109s will stall sooner than Mustangs going straight up, now I am worrying that maybe their wings stay on longer. At 25,000 [7500 m] feet I begin to grow nervous. I pull back on the throttle, ease out of the dive, and watch him go down. I have no more stomach for this kind of thing, not right now, not with this guy. Enough. Let him go and to hell with him.

Straight down he plunges, from as high as 35,000 feet [10.500 m], through this beautiful, crystal clear May morning toward the green-on-green checkerboard fields, leaving a wake of black smoke. From four miles straight up I watch as the Messerschmitt and the shadow it makes on the ground rush toward one another...

...and then, finally, silently, merge.

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One more:

Lawrence Thompson meets Hartmann

".... this was my first major dogfight I had in the war, in January 1945. I was flying a P-51D and
we were supposed to meet with bombers over Romania. Well, the bombers never showed up!
And we kept circling and wasting our fuel. When we were low on fuel the squadron leader orders
us back to base, with the top group at 24,000 feet and the four bait Mustangs ordered to 15,000
feet. Now you might not really think about it, but the difference in altitude, 9,000 feet, is
almost two miles, and assuming that the top flight could dive and rescue the 'bait' airplanes,
it might take a full sixty seconds or more for the top group to come to the rescue. A heck of
alot can happen in sixty seconds. Earlier, I requested to fly in the bait section believing that
I'd have a better chance to get some scores (at that time I had no victories either) and this was
my seventh mission. I have to say now that I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and my older brother
flew a Jenny biplane inthe late 1930s, so I learned the basics of flying even before joining the Army.

So we're all heading back to Italy when, all of a sudden, a dozen or so Me109's bounce us. From
one moment it's a clear blue sky, next moment there are dozens' of tracers passing my cockpit.
I'm hit several times and I roll over to the right, and below me is an P-51, heading for the deck,
with an Me109 chasing him. I begin to chase the Me109. All this time I believe there was
another Me109 chasing me! It was a racetrack, all four of us were racing for the finish line!
Eventually I caught up with the first Me109 and I fired a long burst at about 1,000 yards, to no
effect. Then I waited until about 600 yards, I fired two very long bursts, probably five seconds
each (P-51 has ammo for about 18 seconds of continuous bursts for four machine guns, the
remaining two machine guns will shoot for about 24 seconds). I noticed that part of his engine
cowling flew off and he immediately broke off his attack on the lead P-51. I check my rear view
mirrors and there's nothing behind me now; somehow, I have managed to lose the Me109 following me,
probably because the diving speed of the P-51 is sixty mph faster than the Me109.
So I pull up on the yoke and level out; suddenly a Me109 loomes about as large as a barn door
right in front of me! And he fires his guns at me, and he rolls to the right, in a Lufberry circle.
I peel off, following this Me109. I can see silver P-51s and black nosed camouflaged painted Me 109s
everywhere I look, there's Me109 or P-51 everywhere! At this time I cannot get on the transmitter
and talk, everyone else in the squadron is yelling and talking, and there's nothing but yelling,
screaming, and incoherent interference as everyone presses their mike buttons at the same time.
I can smell something in the cockpit. Hydraulic fluid! I knew I got hit earlier.

... I'm still following this Me109. I just got my first confirmed kill of my tour, and now I'm
really hot. I believe that I am the hottest pilot in the USAAF! And now I'm thinking to myself:
am I going to shoot this Me109 down too?! He rolls and we turn, and turn; somehow, I cannot
catch up with him in the Lufberry circle, we just keep circling. About the third 360 degree turn
he and I must have spotted two Mustangs flying below us, about 2,000 feet below, and he dives
for the two P-51s.

Now I'm about 150 yards from him, and I get my gunsight on his tail, but I cannot shoot, because
if I shoot wide, or my bullets pass through him, I might shoot down one or both P-51s, so I get a
front seat, watching, fearful that this guy will shoot down a P-51 we're approaching at about 390
mph. There's so much interference on the R/T I cannot warn the two Mustangs, I fire one very
long burst of about seven or eight seconds purposely wide, so it misses the Mustangs, and the
Me109 pilot can see the tracers. None of the Mustang pilots see the tracers either! I was half
hoping expecting that they'd see my tracers and turn out of the way of the diving Me109. But no
such luck. I quit firing. The Me109 still dives, and as he approaches the two P-51s he holds his
fire, and as the gap closes, two hundred yards, one hundred yards, fifty yards the Hun does not
fire a shot. No tracers, nothing! At less than ten yards, it looks like he's going to ram the lead
P-51 and the Hun fires one single shot from his 20mm cannon! And Bang! Engine parts, white smoke,
glycol, whatnot from the lead P-51 is everywhere, and that unfortunate Mustang begins a gentle roll
to the right.

I try to watch the Mustang down, but cannot, Now my full attention is on the Hun! Zoom. We fly
through the two Mustangs (he was taken POW). Now the advantage of the P-51 is really apparent,
as in a dive I am catching up to the Me109 faster than a runaway freight train. I press the trigger
for only a second then I let up on the trigger, I believe at that time I was about 250 yards distant,
but the Hun was really pulling lots' of negative and positive g's and pulling up to the horizon. He
levels out and then does a vertical tail stand! And next thing I know, he's using his built up velocity
from the dive to make a vertical ninety degree climb. This guy is really an experienced pilot. I'm in a
vertical climb, and my P-51 begins to roll clockwise violently, only by pushing my left rudder almost
through the floor can I stop my P-51 from turning. We climb for altitude; in the straight climb that
Me 109 begins to out distance me, though my built up diving speed makes us about equal in the climb.
We climb one thousand fifteen hundred feet, and at eighteen hundred feet, the hun levels his aircraft
out. A vertical climb of 1,800 feet! I've never heard of a piston aircraft climbing more than 1,000 feet
in a tail stand. At this time we're both down to stall speed, and he levels out. My airspeed indicator
reads less than 90 mph! So we level out. I'm really close now to the Me109, less than twenty five yards!
Now if I can get my guns on him.........

At this range, the gunsight is more of nuisance than a help. Next thing, he dumps his flaps fast and I
begin to overshoot him! That's not what I want to do, because then he can bear his guns on me. The P-51
has good armor, but not good enough to stop 20mm cannon hits. This Luftwaffe pilot must be one heck of
a marksman, I just witnessed him shooting down a P-51 with a single 20mm cannon shot! So I do the same
thing, I dump my flaps, and as I start to overshoot him, I pull my nose up, this really slows me down;
STALL warning comes on! and I can't see anything ahead of me nor in the rear view mirror. Now I'm
sweating everywhere. My eyes are burning because salty sweat keeps blinding me: 'Where is He!?!'
I shout to myself.

I level out to prevent from stalling. And there he is. Flying on my right side. We are flying side to side,
less than twenty feet separates our wingtips. He's smiling and laughing at himself. I notice that he has
a red heart painted on his aircraft, just below the cockpit. The nose and spinner are painted black.
It's my guess that he's a very experienced ace from the Russian front. His tail has a number painted on
it: "200". I wonder: what the "two hundred" means!? Now I began to examine his airplane for any bullet
hits, afterall, I estimate that I just fired 1,600 rounds at the hun. I cannot see a single bullet hole
in his aircraft! I could swear that I must have gotten at least a dozen hits!
I keep inspecting his aircraft for any damage. One time, he even lifts his left wing about 15 degrees,
to let me see the underside, still no hits! That's impossible I tell myself. Totally impossible. Then I
turn my attention back to the "200" which is painted on the tail rudder. German aces normally paint a
marker for each victory on their tail. It dawns on me that quick: TWO HUNDRED KILLS !!
We fly side by side for five minutes. Those five minutes take centuries to pass. Less than twenty five
feet away from me is a Luftwaffe ace, with over two hundred kills. We had been in a slow gradual dive now,
and my altitude indicates 8,000 feet. I'm panicking now, even my socks are soaked in sweat. The German
pilot points at his tail, obviously meaning the "200" victories, and then very slowly and dramatically
makes a knifecutting motion across his throat, and points at me. He's telling me in sign language that
I'm going to be his 201 kill! Panic! I'm breathing so hard, it sounds like a wind tunnel with my mask on.
My heart rate must have doubled to 170 beats per minute; I can feel my chest, thump-thump and so.

This goes on for centuries, and centuries. The two of us flying at stall speed, wingtip to wingtip. I
think more than once of simply ramming him. He keeps watching my ailerons, maybe that's what he expects
me to do. We had heard of desperate pilots who, after running out of ammunition, would commit suicide
by ramming an enemy plane. Then I decide that I can Immelmann out of the situation, and I began to climb,
but because my flaps are down, my Mustang only climbs about one hundred feet, pitches over violently to
the right and stalls. The next instant I'm dangerously spinning, heading ninety degrees vertically down!
And the IAS reads 300 mph! My P-51 just falls like a rock to the earth! I hold the yoke in the lower left
corner and sit on the left rudder, flaps up, and apply FULL POWER! I pull out of the dive at about 500 feet,
level out, (I began to black out so with my left hand I pinch my veins in my neck to stop blackout).
I scan the sky for anything! There's not a plane in the sky, I dive to about fifty feet elevation, heading
towards Italy. I fly at maximum power for about ten minutes, and then reduce my rpm (to save gasoline),
otherwise the P-51 has very limited range at full power. I fly like this for maybe an hour, no planes in
the vicinity; all the time I scan the sky, check my rear view mirrors.

I never saw the Me109 with the red heart again. At the mess I mention the Me109 with the red heart and
"200" written on the tail. That's when the whole room, I mean everybody, gets instantly quiet. Like you
ould hear a pin drop. Two weeks later the base commander shows me a telex:
"...according to intelligence, the German pilot with a red heart is Eric Hartmann who has downed 250
aircraft and there is a reward of fifty thousand dollars offered by Stalin for shooting him down. I've
never before heard of a cash reward for shooting down an enemy ace ... "

Cheers,
K

--------------------
Timo "Kossu" Niiranen
Chairman, Finnish Virtual Pilots Association

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From: Helsinki, Finland | Registered: Oct 2001 | IP: Logged

-Banger-
Member
Member # 2417

posted 11-06-2003 16:04
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Nice story, Kusso. I visited your excellent website and took a look around, too. Who is this Lawrence Thompson? That account



http://images.ar15.com/forums/smiles/anim_sniper2.gif
U.S INFANTRY 1984-1991

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 06:46 AM
i got this from simhq...Seeing as the P-51 is the current topic of interest here, I figured I'd post some examples of real life P-51 vs Bf-109 engagagements. These two stories are fairly detailed, which makes them extra useful in a sim context. They are also very different.

In the first example a group of Bf-109 G-14 get bounced by a bigger group of P-51s. The result is a free-for-all that takes place between 3500 meters and the deck. In this kind of fight, performance specifics seem less important than reflexes and luck (and pilot armour!):


quote:
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The aerial combat developed into a wild dog fight between the P-51s and our Me 109s at the closest quarters and at varying altitudes between 12.000 ft [3500 m] and the deck. It was impossible to maneuver into a firing position without been attacked at once. I attempted a dozen or more times to position myself behind a P-51, but had to break off in seconds as other P-51s turned in on me to attack. During this dogfight my wingman Roesner lost contact to me (he had reported to the squadron around August 1944 and this was his 1st or 2nd enemy contact flying with 7../JG11. Roesner is MIA after aerial combat on May 3rd 1945 in the east).

During this engagement, I saw a P-51 below me, which was behind a Me109, and had already damaged it heavily. Both aircraft were in a flat descent, I positioned myself with a half down turn approximately 300 yards [275 m] behind the P-51, opened fire at 200 yards [180 m] with machine gun and cannon, and closed in to 100-150 yards [90-140 m]. At the same moment, the Me109 disintegrated as the P-51 was firing on it. I placed heavy hits on motor and cabin of the P-51 and observed parts flying off and black smoke. The aircraft continued a flat descent and crashed at approximately 1755hrs in the vicinity of Vreden. All together I stayed for 10-20 seconds behind the P-51, and then broke off to the right.

At the same moment I received severe hits on engine and right wing. My engine started to smoke at once and lost almost all power. I pushed down and looked for emergency landing possibilities. A crash landing followed on flat land, where the aircraft continued at high speed into a forest loosing both wings.

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The same encounter from the perspective of an American pilot:


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[Flight leader] Williams gave the order to "drop tanks." Just as he did, the sh*t hit the fan. It was standard operating procedure in a fight, to break down to the smallest unit. Williams and his wingman banked over and onto a Me 109. At that moment, three aircraft crossed my nose, a Me 109, a P-51 and another 109 all headed straight down. I rolled over and down to the attack, chasing the "tail end charley" 109. My closure was rapid and my new high tech gun sight [presumably the K-14 gyro sight] was on. Just as I drew into firing range, I saw a cluster of 20mm shells arcing over my left wing. I broke off at once to handle my problem, climbing straight up to 10,000 feet [3000 m]. I knew I was able to gain altitude on my adversary. At this height, I went into a tight turn but saw nothing. I called for my wingman, Blanchard and for the leader, Williams but received no reply. Now I was mad and scared and wanted to shoot something. So, I nosed over and dove down to the battle area. At 2,000 feet [600 m], I leveled off and circled. I saw nothing, zero, zilch. Nothing, except nine burning wrecks over an area of several square miles.

It amazes me that the sky can be filled with airplanes one minute and be totally empty in the next. After milling around for several more minutes I turned west, climbed up to altitude, and headed on a course for home base.

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The second example is very different. It starts as a four-versus-four and ends up as a one-vs-one between 16-kill Mustang ace Bud Anderson (who had five kills at the time of this encounter) and a Bf-109 pilot that was probably very experienced as well. The engagement takes place at high altitude, around 10.000 metres. This engagement has much more of the mental chess game that we as simmers tend to associate with air combat, with moves and countermoves:


quote:
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As we take up the chase again, two against two now, the trailing 109 peels away and dives for home, and the leader pulls up into a sharp climbing turn to the left. This one can fly, and he obviously has no thought of running. I'm thinking this one could be trouble.

We turn inside him, my wingman and I, still at long range, and he pulls around harder, passing in front of us right-to-left at an impossible angle. I want to swing in behind him, but I'm going too fast, and figure I would only go skidding on past. A Mustang at speed simply can't make a square corner. And in a dogfight you don't want to surrender your airspeed. I decide to overshoot him and climb.

He reverses his turn, trying to fall in behind us. My wingman is vulnerable now. I tell Skara, "Break off!" and he peels away. The German goes after him, and I go after the German, closing on his tail before he can close on my wingman. He sees me coming and dives away with me after him, then makes a climbing left turn. I go screaming by, pull up, and he's reversing his turn - man, he can fly! - and he comes crawling right up behind me, close enough that I can see him distinctly. He's bringing his nose up for a shot, and I haul back on the stick and climb even harder. I keep going up, because I'm out of alternatives.

This is what I see all these years later. If I were the sort to be troubled with nightmares, this is what would shock me awake. I am in this steep climb, pulling the stick into my navel, making it steeper, steeper...and I am looking back down, over my shoulder, at this classic gray Me 109 with black crosses that is pulling up, too, steeper, steeper, the pilot trying to get his nose up just a little bit more and bring me into his sights.

[...]

So I'm looking back, almost straight down now, and I can see this 20-millimeter cannon sticking through the middle of the fighter's propeller hub. In the theater of my memory, it is enormous. An elephant gun. And that isn't far wrong. It is a gun designed to bring down a bomber, one that fires shells as long as your hand, shells that explode and tear big holes in metal. It is the single most frightening thing I have seen in my life, then and now.

But I'm too busy to be frightened. Later on, you might sit back and perspire about it, maybe 40-50 years later, say, sitting on your porch 7,000 miles away, but while it is happening you are just too damn busy. And I am extremely busy up here, hanging by my propeller, going almost straight up, full emergency power, which a Mustang could do for only so long before losing speed, shuddering, stalling, and falling back down; and I am thinking that if the Mustang stalls before the Messerschmitt stalls, I have had it.

I look back, and I can see that he's shuddering, on the verge of a stall. He hasn't been able to get his nose up enough, hasn't been able to bring that big gun to bear. Almost, but not quite. I'm a fallen-down-dead man almost, but not quite. His nose begins dropping just as my airplane, too, begins shuddering. He stalls a second or two before I stall, drops away before I do.

Good old Mustang.

He is falling away now, and I flop the nose over and go after him hard. We are very high by this time, six miles and then some, and falling very, very fast. The Messerschmitt had a head start, plummeting out of my range, but I'm closing up quickly. Then he flattens out and comes around hard to the left and starts climbing again, as if he wants to come at me head on. Suddenly we're right back where we started.

A lot of this is just instinct now. Things are happening too fast to think everything out. You steer with your right hand and feet. The right hand also triggers the guns. With your left, you work the throttle, and keep the airplane in trim, which is easier to do than describe.

Any airplane with a single propeller produces torque. The more horsepower you have, the more the prop will pull you off to one side. The Mustangs I flew used a 12-cylinder Packard Merlin engine that displaced 1,649 cubic inches. That is 10 times the size of the engine that powers an Indy car. It developed power enough that you never applied full power sitting still on the ground because it would pull the plane's tail up off the runway and the propeller would chew up the concrete. With so much power, you were continually making minor adjustments on the controls to keep the Mustang and its wing-mounted guns pointed straight.

There were three little palm-sized wheels you had to keep fiddling with. They trimmed you up for hands-off level flight. One was for the little trim tab on the tail's rudder, the vertical slab which moves the plane left or right. Another adjusted the tab on the tail's horizontal elevators that raise or lower the nose and help reduce the force you had to apply for hard turning. The third was for aileron trim, to keep your wings level, although you didn't have to fuss much with that one. Your left hand was down there a lot if you were changing speeds, as in combat...while at the same time you were making minor adjustments with your feet on the rudder pedals and your hand on the stick. At first it was awkward. But, with experience, it was something you did without thinking, like driving a car and twirling the radio dial.

It's a little unnerving to think about how many things you have to deal with all at once to fly combat.

So the Messerschmitt is coming around again, climbing hard to his left, and I've had about enough of this. My angle is a little bit better this time. So I roll the dice. Instead of cobbing it like before and sailing on by him, I decide to turn hard left inside him, knowing that if I lose speed and don't make it I probably won't get home. I pull back on the throttle slightly, put down 10 degrees of flaps, and haul back on the stick just as hard as I can. And the nose begins coming up and around, slowly, slowly...

Hot damn! I'm going to make it! I'm inside him, pulling my sights up to him. And the German pilot can see this. This time, it's the Messerschmitt that breaks away and goes zooming straight up, engine at maximum power, without much alternative. I come in with full power and follow him up, and the gap narrows swiftly. He is hanging by his prop, not quite vertically, and I am right there behind him, and it is terribly clear, having tested the theory less than a minute ago, that he is going to stall and fall away before I do.

I have him. He must know that I have him.

I bring my nose up, he comes into my sights, and from less than 300 yards I trigger a long, merciless burst from my Brownings. Every fifth bullet or so is a tracer, leaving a thin trail of smoke, marking the path of the bullet stream. The tracers race upward and find him. The bullets chew at the wing root, the cockpit, the engine, making bright little flashes. I hose the Messerschmitt down the way you'd hose down a campfire, methodically, from one end to the other, not wanting to make a mistake here. The 109 shakes like a retriever coming out of the water, throwing off pieces. He slows, almost stops, as if parked in the sky, his propeller just windmilling, and he begins smoking heavily.

My momentum carries me to him. I throttle back to ease my plane alongside, just off his right wing. Have I killed him? I do not particularly want to fight this man again. I am coming up even with the cockpit, and although I figure the less I know about him the better, I find myself looking in spite of myself. There is smoke in the cockpit. I can see that, nothing more. Another few feet...

And then he falls away suddenly, left wing down, right wing rising up, obscuring my view. I am looking at the 109's sky blue belly, the wheel wells, twin radiators, grease marks, streaks from the guns, the black crosses. I am close enough to make out the rivets. The Messerschmitt is right there and then it is gone, just like that, rolling away and dropping its nose and falling (flying?) almost straight down, leaking coolant and trailing flame and smoke so black and thick that it has to be oil smoke. It simply plunges, heading straight for the deck. No spin, not even a wobble, no parachute, and now I am wondering. His ship seems a death ship - but is it?

Undecided, I peel off and begin chasing him down. Did I squander a chance here? Have I let him escape? He is diving hard enough to be shedding his wings, harder than anyone designed those airplanes to dive, 500 miles an hour [800 kph] and more, and if 109s will stall sooner than Mustangs going straight up, now I am worrying that maybe their wings stay on longer. At 25,000 [7500 m] feet I begin to grow nervous. I pull back on the throttle, ease out of the dive, and watch him go down. I have no more stomach for this kind of thing, not right now, not with this guy. Enough. Let him go and to hell with him.

Straight down he plunges, from as high as 35,000 feet [10.500 m], through this beautiful, crystal clear May morning toward the green-on-green checkerboard fields, leaving a wake of black smoke. From four miles straight up I watch as the Messerschmitt and the shadow it makes on the ground rush toward one another...

...and then, finally, silently, merge.

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--------------------------------------------------------------------

One more:

Lawrence Thompson meets Hartmann

".... this was my first major dogfight I had in the war, in January 1945. I was flying a P-51D and
we were supposed to meet with bombers over Romania. Well, the bombers never showed up!
And we kept circling and wasting our fuel. When we were low on fuel the squadron leader orders
us back to base, with the top group at 24,000 feet and the four bait Mustangs ordered to 15,000
feet. Now you might not really think about it, but the difference in altitude, 9,000 feet, is
almost two miles, and assuming that the top flight could dive and rescue the 'bait' airplanes,
it might take a full sixty seconds or more for the top group to come to the rescue. A heck of
alot can happen in sixty seconds. Earlier, I requested to fly in the bait section believing that
I'd have a better chance to get some scores (at that time I had no victories either) and this was
my seventh mission. I have to say now that I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and my older brother
flew a Jenny biplane inthe late 1930s, so I learned the basics of flying even before joining the Army.

So we're all heading back to Italy when, all of a sudden, a dozen or so Me109's bounce us. From
one moment it's a clear blue sky, next moment there are dozens' of tracers passing my cockpit.
I'm hit several times and I roll over to the right, and below me is an P-51, heading for the deck,
with an Me109 chasing him. I begin to chase the Me109. All this time I believe there was
another Me109 chasing me! It was a racetrack, all four of us were racing for the finish line!
Eventually I caught up with the first Me109 and I fired a long burst at about 1,000 yards, to no
effect. Then I waited until about 600 yards, I fired two very long bursts, probably five seconds
each (P-51 has ammo for about 18 seconds of continuous bursts for four machine guns, the
remaining two machine guns will shoot for about 24 seconds). I noticed that part of his engine
cowling flew off and he immediately broke off his attack on the lead P-51. I check my rear view
mirrors and there's nothing behind me now; somehow, I have managed to lose the Me109 following me,
probably because the diving speed of the P-51 is sixty mph faster than the Me109.
So I pull up on the yoke and level out; suddenly a Me109 loomes about as large as a barn door
right in front of me! And he fires his guns at me, and he rolls to the right, in a Lufberry circle.
I peel off, following this Me109. I can see silver P-51s and black nosed camouflaged painted Me 109s
everywhere I look, there's Me109 or P-51 everywhere! At this time I cannot get on the transmitter
and talk, everyone else in the squadron is yelling and talking, and there's nothing but yelling,
screaming, and incoherent interference as everyone presses their mike buttons at the same time.
I can smell something in the cockpit. Hydraulic fluid! I knew I got hit earlier.

... I'm still following this Me109. I just got my first confirmed kill of my tour, and now I'm
really hot. I believe that I am the hottest pilot in the USAAF! And now I'm thinking to myself:
am I going to shoot this Me109 down too?! He rolls and we turn, and turn; somehow, I cannot
catch up with him in the Lufberry circle, we just keep circling. About the third 360 degree turn
he and I must have spotted two Mustangs flying below us, about 2,000 feet below, and he dives
for the two P-51s.

Now I'm about 150 yards from him, and I get my gunsight on his tail, but I cannot shoot, because
if I shoot wide, or my bullets pass through him, I might shoot down one or both P-51s, so I get a
front seat, watching, fearful that this guy will shoot down a P-51 we're approaching at about 390
mph. There's so much interference on the R/T I cannot warn the two Mustangs, I fire one very
long burst of about seven or eight seconds purposely wide, so it misses the Mustangs, and the
Me109 pilot can see the tracers. None of the Mustang pilots see the tracers either! I was half
hoping expecting that they'd see my tracers and turn out of the way of the diving Me109. But no
such luck. I quit firing. The Me109 still dives, and as he approaches the two P-51s he holds his
fire, and as the gap closes, two hundred yards, one hundred yards, fifty yards the Hun does not
fire a shot. No tracers, nothing! At less than ten yards, it looks like he's going to ram the lead
P-51 and the Hun fires one single shot from his 20mm cannon! And Bang! Engine parts, white smoke,
glycol, whatnot from the lead P-51 is everywhere, and that unfortunate Mustang begins a gentle roll
to the right.

I try to watch the Mustang down, but cannot, Now my full attention is on the Hun! Zoom. We fly
through the two Mustangs (he was taken POW). Now the advantage of the P-51 is really apparent,
as in a dive I am catching up to the Me109 faster than a runaway freight train. I press the trigger
for only a second then I let up on the trigger, I believe at that time I was about 250 yards distant,
but the Hun was really pulling lots' of negative and positive g's and pulling up to the horizon. He
levels out and then does a vertical tail stand! And next thing I know, he's using his built up velocity
from the dive to make a vertical ninety degree climb. This guy is really an experienced pilot. I'm in a
vertical climb, and my P-51 begins to roll clockwise violently, only by pushing my left rudder almost
through the floor can I stop my P-51 from turning. We climb for altitude; in the straight climb that
Me 109 begins to out distance me, though my built up diving speed makes us about equal in the climb.
We climb one thousand fifteen hundred feet, and at eighteen hundred feet, the hun levels his aircraft
out. A vertical climb of 1,800 feet! I've never heard of a piston aircraft climbing more than 1,000 feet
in a tail stand. At this time we're both down to stall speed, and he levels out. My airspeed indicator
reads less than 90 mph! So we level out. I'm really close now to the Me109, less than twenty five yards!
Now if I can get my guns on him.........

At this range, the gunsight is more of nuisance than a help. Next thing, he dumps his flaps fast and I
begin to overshoot him! That's not what I want to do, because then he can bear his guns on me. The P-51
has good armor, but not good enough to stop 20mm cannon hits. This Luftwaffe pilot must be one heck of
a marksman, I just witnessed him shooting down a P-51 with a single 20mm cannon shot! So I do the same
thing, I dump my flaps, and as I start to overshoot him, I pull my nose up, this really slows me down;
STALL warning comes on! and I can't see anything ahead of me nor in the rear view mirror. Now I'm
sweating everywhere. My eyes are burning because salty sweat keeps blinding me: 'Where is He!?!'
I shout to myself.

I level out to prevent from stalling. And there he is. Flying on my right side. We are flying side to side,
less than twenty feet separates our wingtips. He's smiling and laughing at himself. I notice that he has
a red heart painted on his aircraft, just below the cockpit. The nose and spinner are painted black.
It's my guess that he's a very experienced ace from the Russian front. His tail has a number painted on
it: "200". I wonder: what the "two hundred" means!? Now I began to examine his airplane for any bullet
hits, afterall, I estimate that I just fired 1,600 rounds at the hun. I cannot see a single bullet hole
in his aircraft! I could swear that I must have gotten at least a dozen hits!
I keep inspecting his aircraft for any damage. One time, he even lifts his left wing about 15 degrees,
to let me see the underside, still no hits! That's impossible I tell myself. Totally impossible. Then I
turn my attention back to the "200" which is painted on the tail rudder. German aces normally paint a
marker for each victory on their tail. It dawns on me that quick: TWO HUNDRED KILLS !!
We fly side by side for five minutes. Those five minutes take centuries to pass. Less than twenty five
feet away from me is a Luftwaffe ace, with over two hundred kills. We had been in a slow gradual dive now,
and my altitude indicates 8,000 feet. I'm panicking now, even my socks are soaked in sweat. The German
pilot points at his tail, obviously meaning the "200" victories, and then very slowly and dramatically
makes a knifecutting motion across his throat, and points at me. He's telling me in sign language that
I'm going to be his 201 kill! Panic! I'm breathing so hard, it sounds like a wind tunnel with my mask on.
My heart rate must have doubled to 170 beats per minute; I can feel my chest, thump-thump and so.

This goes on for centuries, and centuries. The two of us flying at stall speed, wingtip to wingtip. I
think more than once of simply ramming him. He keeps watching my ailerons, maybe that's what he expects
me to do. We had heard of desperate pilots who, after running out of ammunition, would commit suicide
by ramming an enemy plane. Then I decide that I can Immelmann out of the situation, and I began to climb,
but because my flaps are down, my Mustang only climbs about one hundred feet, pitches over violently to
the right and stalls. The next instant I'm dangerously spinning, heading ninety degrees vertically down!
And the IAS reads 300 mph! My P-51 just falls like a rock to the earth! I hold the yoke in the lower left
corner and sit on the left rudder, flaps up, and apply FULL POWER! I pull out of the dive at about 500 feet,
level out, (I began to black out so with my left hand I pinch my veins in my neck to stop blackout).
I scan the sky for anything! There's not a plane in the sky, I dive to about fifty feet elevation, heading
towards Italy. I fly at maximum power for about ten minutes, and then reduce my rpm (to save gasoline),
otherwise the P-51 has very limited range at full power. I fly like this for maybe an hour, no planes in
the vicinity; all the time I scan the sky, check my rear view mirrors.

I never saw the Me109 with the red heart again. At the mess I mention the Me109 with the red heart and
"200" written on the tail. That's when the whole room, I mean everybody, gets instantly quiet. Like you
ould hear a pin drop. Two weeks later the base commander shows me a telex:
"...according to intelligence, the German pilot with a red heart is Eric Hartmann who has downed 250
aircraft and there is a reward of fifty thousand dollars offered by Stalin for shooting him down. I've
never before heard of a cash reward for shooting down an enemy ace ... "

Cheers,
K

--------------------
Timo "Kossu" Niiranen
Chairman, Finnish Virtual Pilots Association

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Helsinki, Finland | Registered: Oct 2001 | IP: Logged

-Banger-
Member
Member # 2417

posted 11-06-2003 16:04
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Nice story, Kusso. I visited your excellent website and took a look around, too. Who is this Lawrence Thompson? That account



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U.S INFANTRY 1984-1991

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 07:30 AM
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!

I KNEW that was gonna be Hartmann! LOL! Like the last one the best, oh god, that guy dosent know how lucky he was to have survived without being number 201! lol.

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 08:08 AM
thx for the read.

JG27~jakevas

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XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 08:44 AM
Fantastic! What a great read.

Y'know, I may be wrong, but I think it was Rall who lamented that a P-51 in the hands of a rookie was a deadly adversary.

I love stories like this, thanks!

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XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 02:36 PM
Great stories, thanks for posting these!

As he was describing the way that German fighter closed in to the P51, it was easy to see who that fighter pilot was. I've just recently read "The Blond Knight of Germany", so it was very interesting to see intersecting stories from both sides of the conflict.

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

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 02:53 PM
Superb read tenmike, thanks a lot for posting.

I saw part of the Bud Anderson-story in a dreadful trim-thread, the combat part was alot better! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

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XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 03:37 PM
if only we could do the vein pinching trick in il2 /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif
good read/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 04:32 PM
Great read. Bump.

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2003, 11:18 PM
bumping own post as these are good stories

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U.S INFANTRY 1984-1991

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U.S INFANTRY 1984-1991

XyZspineZyX
11-09-2003, 12:45 AM
Bump, because it has atleast one P-51 getting slapped around! lol

XyZspineZyX
11-09-2003, 01:20 AM
Great stories tenmike/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif I especially liked the last one. That was one lucky sob. When he mentioned that the German didn't fire until he was only 10 yards behind the P-51, I knew it had to be Hartmann. I really had a good chuckle about the one line where he is talking about the markings on the German plane's tail: "I wonder what the 200 means?"/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

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Man will never truly be free until the last politician has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest. "Voltaire"