PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
B. 5 November 1943.
C. 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.
D. 1430 (Approximately).
E. Near Arnhem.
G. ME 109G
H. Plane destroyed, Pilot bailed out. Witnessed by: Lt. Birch, Major Joel, and Capt. Hancock.
I. While protecting a B-17 straggler, which was at approximately 14,000 feet and 8 - 10 miles behind the main formation, 3 ME 109's were observed making an attack from the 3 o'clock position. They were on the bombers level and were attacking in a line astern position. I was leading the second element to a flight led by Major Joel. Our position was approximately 10,000 feet above the bomber in question when we first observed the attack. Major Joel half rolled and aimed for the lead ship. He did not position himself sufficiently for firing and pulled up into a very steep climb.
The plane I picked on was in a steep turn towards the bomber when I opened fire from a vertical position directly above him. I opened fire at 300 yards and fired about a 3 second burst, observing hits starting at the motor and continuing toward the tail. In particular I noticed 3 very distinct 20 MM cannon hits that seemed to blast large holes along the side of the plane, accompanied by very bright flashes. The pilot bailed out immediately and the plane spun down on fire.
The entire action was witnessed and substantiated by Lt. Birch, my wingman, along with Major Joel and his wingman, Lt. Forsblad.
Captain, Air Corps.
Captain Myers, flying my second element as element leader, followed me down in an attempt to drive fighters off a straggling bomber. Due to excessive speed and angle of dive, I was unable to get enough deflection to fire. As other E/A in formation had "hit the deck", I pulled up. As I did, I heard Captain Myers call out "Look at that parachute". I looked behind and below me and saw a smoke trail going down and a parachute 1,000 feet below me. Capt. Myers made a full deflection shot at a speed of at least 375 mph indicated.
Major, Air Corps.
I was flying No. 4 position in Capt Myers wing. I saw Capt. Myers, when about 100 yards in front of me, open fire at a Me 109 as it attacked the bombers. I observed the E/A burst into flames and the pilot bail out. I distinctly saw his parachute open as his burning plane went into a spin.
WILLIAM. K. BIRCH,
2nd Lt., Air Corps.
I was leading a flight of four ships acting as top cover for Major Joel's and Capt. Myers flight as they went down for an attack. Immediately after that I saw a lone parachute below.
JAMES H. HANCOCK,
Captain, Air Corps.
Return to LtCol. Joseph Myers Jr.'s page
Return to Maj. Milton Joel's page
Return to 2/Lt. William K. Birch's page
Return to Maj. James H. Hancock's page
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