PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
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.
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