PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT
B. 18 March 1944.
C. 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.
D. Approximately 1500.
E. Approximately 25-30 miles east of Freiburg, Germany.
F. 4-5/10ths low clouds, haze, layer of thin high clouds just above combat area.
G. Me 109.
H. One (1) Me 109 Destroyed. also possible claims for two (2) damaged,
depending on results of film assessment.
I. Lt. Fruh and myself had just accompanied Captain Bollwerk's flight in an encounter with about 8 Me 109's, which has made a diving pass at a B-17 we were protecting. The E/A upon seeing our section of six, split S'ed down below the bomber and disappeared from our view.
After this encounter Lt. Fruh and myself attempted to catch up with Captain Bollwerk's flight, from which we had become separated, and a box of B-24's, which we intended to give escort protection. At this time we noticed 15 to 20 Me 109's on our starboard side, and at our altitude, coming in for a deflection shot at the two of us. We broke into them, making an almost head-on pass. I fired continuously as we passed through, and managed to get a good 15 degree deflection shot on the last Me 109 of a four-ship flight. I saw strikes on the nose and flames coming from the engine and resultant smoke. The E/A went spinning down alone.
After this we made a climbing turn and met them head-on again. This time we had the advantage of altitude. I saw one Me 109, a bit separated from the rest of the section, get hit by Lt. Fruh's guns, saw smoke and fire come from the nose of the ship, and saw several pieces, including the canopy, fall away from the ship. This ship went down in a slow spin. Shortly after this another Me 109, hit by Lt. Fruh, burst into heavy flames, and I observed it going down out of control. During the action I continued to fire at every E/a as is passed my view, but because of the extremely fast action and the fact that my gun sight light had suddenly gone out, I was unable to observe any results.
I had observed during the engagements that the E/A were all Me 109's, painted a very dark brown, and that as they turned to attack us they jettisoned their belly tanks. They had no distinctive nose markings, and their spinners appeared to be the same color as the fuselage. I also noticed that they flew in close formation but with no distinctive pattern.
After the engagement the enemy force split up, and Lt. Fruh and I followed a lone Me 109 from astern, firing at him from long range. He started to roll to the left, suddenly snap rolled tot he right, and went down in a vertical dive with a series of snaps and spins. No hits were observed on this E/A.
I claimed one Me 109 destroyed and confirm Lt. Fruh's claim of two Me 109's destroyed.
2nd Lt., Air Corps.
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