PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
B. 31 January 1944.
C. 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.
D. 1520 to 1600.
E. Geldern, Germany.
F. 1/10ths low clouds and heavy ground haze.
G. Me 109.
H. One (1) Me 109 destroyed.
I. One flight of 4 Me 109's in string with a 5th Me 109 straggling were high and to the east of us. I started to climb beneath them, apparently out of their sight, and got up to about 1000 feet underneath them. I circled with them to get up to speed, then zoomed up on the inside of the circle, letting the first 4 E/A go past and gave the straggler a 4 radii lead at approximately 70 degrees for 1st burst, then a second burst from about 45 degrees. Each burst was for 2 to 3 seconds. He was above me towards the sun, and I could not observe results of my bursts, but he flipped around about 3/4 of a roll to left and started down. He seemed out of control as the ship fell sideways part of the time and would snap right and left at intervals. I followed him, and when we had gone a short distance, dark smoke was coming from just in front of the cockpit. On the way down I took several 1/2 second bursts as opportunity offered, but I had at the same time to keep an eye out for the 4 Me 109's, which I knew were still above me. I followed him to about 18,000 or 20,000 ft. and he was still out of control and smoking heavily when I last saw him. I broke away at this altitude because one of the four from above was coming down on me. I pulled up and turned into him. He started to turn with me, but the P-38 easily turned inside the 109, and when I tried to close he flipped over and down. I followed him taking 1/2 second bursts as opportunity offered, but as soon as I had followed him a short distance, another one of the three remaining above started after me, so I had to leave the one I was following to engage the one coming down. The same procedure was gone through with each member of the four ship flight. I observed no results from any of the last four engagements.
The tactics of this particular flight were to send just one 109 after me each time. I obtained the advantage each time and started down. Each time that one came down he would turn and climb with me until I gained the advantage. The last ship of the flight stayed with me longer than the rest, and tried using flaps. etc. While following him down my ship hit buffeting. I got out of the dive by just closing throttle. I found that in both right and left turns the 38 turned inside the 109.
VAL W. BOLLWERK,
Captain, Air Corps.
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