CONFIDENTIAL

PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT

A. Combat.
B. 29 November 1943.
C. 55th Fighter Group Headquarters.
D. 1435.
E. 75 miles west of Bremen.
F. CAVU over overcast at 26,000.
G. ME 109.
H. Probably destroyed.
I. On my second bounce going into the target, I lost the rest of my flight and tacked onto the nearest semblance of a flight I could find.  We ended up with five ships and made three bounces on ME 109's attacking two P-38's below us, then we were bounced by five ME 109's from above.  When we got out of that skirmish, in which I did not get to fire nor did not see anyone go down, I found myself way behind the rest of the P-38's.  I pushed everything to the fire wall and after about ten minutes caught four P-38's flying very loosely.  I joined them and had just throttled back when somebody started telling the bunch, who were high in the back, that there were a number of enemy fighters catching from 6 o'clock.  We pored everything to our ships (were at 34,000) and somebody told us they were still gaining.
At this time I saw five ME 109's about our same level over my right shoulder.  I looked over my left shoulder and saw one ME 109 right on the tail of the P-38 to my left and behind.  I called for Major Joel's wingman to break right ( I thought I had joined Major Joel's flight).  I broke left to meet the ME 109 head on.  The P-38 ahead of me to my left also broke left.  The ME 109 dove for the clouds.  I continued in a left turn to take up my original heading and came out almost directly behind a ME 109 with one P-38 off to my right.  I started closing on the ME 109 that seemed to be in a very steep climb for that altitude.  I fired one fair burst; saw a flash on his canopy and observed him pull his nose straight up hang on his prop and then spin under my left wing.  I turned to the left to clear my tail, looked back and saw him spin into the overcast.  I believe this plane was destroyed by my strikes on the canopy.

THOMAS BEAIRD,
Captain, Air Corps.

CONFIDENTIAL

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