PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT

A. Combat
B. November 3rd, 1943
C. 343rd Fighter Squadron
D. 1315 to 1330
E.  15 miles east of Wilhelmshaven
F. Cumulus at 13,000. Haze at various levels
G. 1 Me 109 E ; 1 Me 109 F or G
H. 1 Me 109 E destroyed ; 1 Me 109 F or G destroyed
I. At 25,000 feet, while leading the second element of Whiteman Blue flight, escorting bombers near Wilhelmshaven, my wingman was attacked from dead astern by one E/A.  I could not get my wingman, Lt. Bauer, on the R/T.  His first indication of attack was a bullet though his canopy; he immediately did two half rolls with the E/A, a Me 109, following him and leaving me high above.  I firewalled everything and gave chase, catching them as about 14,000 feet.  I used flaps to raise my nose from the fast dive and opened fire at approximately 300 yards and closed to about 150 yards with about 4 degree deflection.  I observed strikes all over the canopy and cockpit down to the wing roots.  I saw the canopy come off and the Hun go over the side.  Lt. Gilbride in the near vicinity saw his chute open.  I had lost sight of Lt. Bauer while firing and believing him a "gonner" I pulled straight up to 25,000 feet behind the last box of bombers, looking for a flight to tack onto.  At this time both my turbos went out due to excessive speed.  I had just straightened out when 2 Me 109's turned directly in front of me, evidently watching the bombers and not seeing me.  I closed to about 300 yards.  I couldn't get any closer as my speed without my turbos was not enough,  I opened fire on the second E/A and saw him smoke and slip off on one wing.  Lt. Gilbride also saw this one bail out.  By this time I was behind my squadron, being bounced by several 109's and could not catch with the squadron.  Lt. Gilbride came back with me and kept my tail clear while I limped back home.

ROBERT L. BUTTKE
2nd Lieut., Air Corps.

I saw Lt. Buttke go after a Me 109 on Lt. Bauer's tail, observed strikes on the enemy aircraft and saw the pilot bail out and his chute open.  At this time, I saw Lt. Bauer going straight down through the overcast - I thought he had been shot down.  While Lt. Buttke and I were separated I observed a Me 109 in a flat spin and shortly afterwards another chute opened.  I rejoined Lt. Buttke at that time.  We were approximately ten miles behind the last box of B 17's and there were no other friendly aircraft in our vicinity, so that I am positive that the 109 seen in the flat spin and out of which the pilot bailed was destroyed by Lt. Buttke.

JAMES W. GILBRIDE
2nd Lt., Air Corps.

CONFIDENTIAL

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