CONFIDENTIAL

PILOT'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER REPORT

A. Combat (Ground Attack).
B. 21 March, 1945.
C. 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group
D. 1000.
E. Hopsten Airfield.
F. CAVU - Smoke and fire on airdrome.
G. FW 190's.
H. Two (2) FW 190's Destroyed on the Ground.

I.  I was Windsor, leading the Group on a strafing mission on Hopsten Airdrome. Strafing was to follow the bombing of the field by five combat groups of B-17's. At 1000 hours, immediately after the last box of Big Friends had laid their eggs directly upon the airdrome, I started a dive bomb pass with Hellcat Squadron from NE to SW. We were carrying one 500lb. frag, and these were placed in the immediate proximity of the numerous gun emplacements bordering the east side of the field. After dropping my frag I hit the deck on the south side of the field and did two complete turns around the perimeter track at "0" altitude. Flak was intense, and I received a 37mm in the tail section. I was able, however, to locate most of the gun positions and two or three S/E aircraft parked near a large burning hangar. I called in the gun positions, and Tudor Squadron frag bombed them, inflicting a momentary lull in the flak activity.

   I pulled up and out while this bombing was in progress and determined that my aircraft was in satisfactory condition for an attack upon the 190's, which I had previously spotted. I then approached from NE to SW, and fired a 2-second burst at 400 to 300 yards, deck level, through a small shed, behind which the grounded fighter was sitting. I observed good strikes and a small explosion and left the 190 burning brightly. I broke into the smoke of the burning hangar, then turned right and returned out of the sun for a fast diving pass at the only remaining undamaged aircraft that I could locate. I opened fire from 800 yards and fired to 600 yards, observing many strikes about the cowl, cockpit and wing roots. This 190 burst into flame and continued burning throughout the next 10-15 minutes of circling in search of more targets. Flak continued intense, and since this airdrome could not be further considered in the big dividend
class, I called my boys together, and we set course for home. I claim the two FW 190's as destroyed.

J. Ammunition expended: 1035 ROUNDS.

ELWYN G. RIGHETTI,
O-396312 , Lt. Col., Air Corps.

CONFIDENTIAL

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