CONFIDENTIAL

PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT

A. Engagement
B. 24 February 1944
C. 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.
D. About 1330
E. Vicinity of Gotha
F. CAVU
G. Me109's and FW190's.
H. None
I. I was leading Swindle Blue Flight.  We had just rendezvoused in the target area with our Big Friends, when we were bounced by 4 FW190's.  Everyone broke to the right in a big Luftberry, so I broke to the left to give cover to the other flights.  The four e/a followed us a short ways but we turned inside of them.  They decided not to play with us and half-rolled down.  Then I sighted a lone Me109 who had an advantage of about 500 ft. and was trying to increase this.  As I was already fire walled I bent the throttles slightly and quickly outclimbed him.  Whereupon, seeing me some 550 yds. astern, and within klobbering distance, he grew discouraged and half rolled.  At about this time I glanced to my left and saw 4 190's who had not sighted me and turned to meet them head on.  As I couldn't get my guns on them, and did not wish to give them a shot at me, I made a violent skidding turn down.  The No.3 man in the e/a flight dropped his nose about 3 feet, stuck his guns in my cockpit and fired.  He did no damage.  I immediately turned to get on their tails as they had not seen me soon enough to take advantage of their position.  They also half-rolled.  These particular ships were in very close formation and the No. 4 man seemed to be continually stalling out.  They appeared to be in very poor condition, paint chipped off the cowling, and very dirty.  I then sighted one lone P-38 being attacked by 3 e/a, some 6000 ft. below, and obviously in need of help.  I called him on the R/T and started down.  I was unable to position myself properly for this bounce, as he needed help immediately.  As a result I hit compressability, but got a good deflection shot from about ten degrees astern at about 400 yds.  We accomplished our primary purpose, as the e/a immediately broke off attack. Pulling back up we sighted another e/a trying to put climb us.  We outclimbed him and got astern at about 30 degrees.  We closed to about 350 yards and gave him about a 4 second burst at about 1 1 1/2 radii lead.  Due to the fogging of windscreen I was unable to observe any strikes, (continued Pg. 2)

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(Pg.2, Encounter report, 24 Feb 1944)

but this e/a did not half roll, which broke the monotony of it all.  He started a slight gliding turn to the right, whereupon we were forced to disengage ourselves, as four of his buddies were waiting to bounce us at the first opportunity, which we had not wanted to give them.  As the group had set course for home, we decided not to fight the war all alone. (unintelligible thereafter)

GERALD F. LEINWEBER
Captain - Air Corps.


CONFIDENTIAL

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