PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
B. 18 March 1944.
C. 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.
D. Around 1500.
E. 25 miles east of French border and 25 miles north of Swiss border.
F. 6/10ths low clouds; haze, high cirrus clouds.
G. Me 109.
H. Two (2) Me 109's Destroyed.
One (1) Me 109 Probably Destroyed.
I. Our Squadron was covering the central box of B-24's, and I was leading an element flying 3rd element in Warcraft Yellow flight. My flight leader and his wingman had left a few minutes earlier. We went over to investigate a single B-17 flying a bit north of our course. As we approached, 9 Me 109's made a poor pass at the bomber. When they saw our planes coming from above, they split S'ed down. In the turning the B-17 got ahead of us and my element got behind the other four ships. We shoved on the throttle trying to catch up when we spotted 20 bogies at the same altitude, flying collision course to us. When they got close they turned into my wingman and myself. We broke into them, and flew head-on thru the whole bunch, positively identifying them as Me 109's. On going thru I made a sharp climbing right turn of 180° and again met several of them head-on. We had altitude and I dove on them. I fired at the first ship at about 15° deflection, but observed no results. I did see No. 4 E/A blow up in the nose and catch fire as it spun down out of control. I had not fired at this E/A, so I know that my wingman had been the one who destroyed it.
I saw a lone Me 109 coming head-on at the same deflection. I fired at him, observing hits on the nose and cockpit. As he passed by me his canopy blew off, and the plane went into three or four violent snap rolls going up and fell off, spinning down and smoking heavily. He had started to do a split S.
I met another head-on, made hits on his engine, and he started to burn and spun down. Lts. Blanchard and Korinek saw this one on fire. I fired from dead astern at another Me 109, and as I started firing, he started to roll over. I continued to fire, dropping my nose on him, saw strikes at the wing roots and on the fuselage. He started spinning as I passed over him, and I did not observe close results, but I do believe that the E/A was probably destroyed.
I had expended all of my ammunition during these combats and had fired at about 7 or 8 different E/A. I claim two (2) Me 109's destroyed and one (1) Me 109 probably destroyed. I also confirm Lt. Korinek's claim of one Me 109 destroyed.
ROBERT K. FRUH,
2nd Lt., Air Corps.
Return to 1/Lt. Robert K. Fruh's page
Return to the Encounter Reports page