My Third Kill

by:  RAF_Yank

My third kill was nearly my last. I made many of the mistakes that usually kill a combat pilot. when it usually only takes one. Fortunately I am still alive to tell about it. We were on a typical ground attack mission, strafing an bombing some artillery positions that were giving our boys a bad time. After my run I lost contact with our flight.So instead of trying to form up with them again (Mistake #1. Stick with your flight leader) I decided to go solo and find something else to shoot at before I went home. I must have really had my head up my (you know what).

During those days the Luftwaffe was rarely seen in the air. They were very busy trying to stop our all out daylight bombing raids by the Eighth Airforce and the RAF night missions. They were low on gas, pilots. planes and spare parts. They were stretched very thin. So I was't real worried about getting jumped (Mistake #2. Never underestimate your enemy) I remember looking around at the beautiful French countryside. I was thinking about vineyards, farms (probably French girls too). It was spectacular country where war hadn't torn it up. So instead of paying attention to business and keepong an eye out for Jerry (Mistake #3. Keep your head on a swivel) I kept flying like I was on a Sunday afternoon drive in the country (Mistake #4. Never fly straight and level for very long in a combat zone.)

These last two mistakes almost cost me my life. As I peered out the left side of my cockpit, I noted that 4 feet of my wing disappeared before my eyes. The truly disconcerting thing was I didn't hear a thing for a few seconds. A moment or two later I heard the umistakable "Thump...thump....thump" of German 20mm cannons. A second or two later this striking FW 190 flashed past my left side. I started to go in to a spin to the left due to the loss of my wing surface. I jammed in opposite rudder as I tried to recover. I lost some altitude but managed to straighten out. I was a big fat sitting duck as I expected more cannon fire to rip me up.

FW-190 (note battle damage of the left wing)

I must be lucky because my opponent made a bad mistake. He could have shot me down from any angle but one: the front. My leg was cramping and I was extremely afraid, when the FW appeared in front of me to my right. I banked a bit to the right and was head on with him. I could see his guns flashing as I opened up with all 8 .50 caliber guns. I saw his tracers pass all around me but he never hit me again as my guns converged on him. I saw hits begin to score on his wings, engine, and fuselage. I just had time to see him opening the canopy of his stricken plane and climb out as I flashed by.

I tried to gather my senses to see if I could get home. My engine hadn't been hit and the cannon fire had barely missed my fuel tank. I pointed my plane (gingerly) back to base I started to think about what happened, the blood ran from my head and I nearly passed out. I then proceeded to throw up all over myself. I may have wet my pants as well. My leg ached and I could barely keep enough pressure on the rudder to keep from spinning.

I was fortunate to be lined up for a straight in approach and I landed without problem. My crew chief ran out and took a look at my plane. He was about to yell at me but he saw me with puke all over me and he must have changed his mind. It took two guys to lift me out of the plane.

When I recovered my flight leader saw my plane and heard my story. He said simply "So I guess you'll be sticking with me from now on?" My snappy eriudite response was "Yes sir"


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