2/Lt. Leon M. Patterson


(Robert M. Littlefield)

2/Lt. Leon M. Patterson

38th FS - 06 December 1943 - 31 January 1944 (Prisoner of War)

Assigned Aircraft

P-38J 42-67301
P-38 "Mississippi Mudcat"

Mission History

11 missions

Mission List

55th FG Mission #

Date Target

39

31 January 1944 Sweep-Eindhoven-Arnhem
Air Scores
Destroyed  
Probable  
Damaged  
Ground Scores
Destroyed  
Damaged  
Notes Born in Calhoun City, Mississippi, May 22, 1921
Military serial number: 14098809
ASN - O-750675
Known as 'Pat'
12 February 1942 - Enlisted in the US Army
06 December 1943 - Joined the 38th Fighter Squadron
31 January 1944 - Missing in Action
MACR No. 02109
Pat Patterson tells his story: I was assigned to the 55th Fighter Group, Nuthampstead, England in early November 1943, as a replacement fighter pilot.  I was on my eleventh mission to northern Germany on a fighter sweep the day I went down.  Our group of some 48 P-38s was jumped by about 120 Me-109s.  I found that I had about half power during the attack and was lagging behind when my right engine was shot out.  I was in a tight turn, after the break, and saw a Me-109 about 30 yards to my right, taking strikes in the cockpit, and there was no doubt that he was killed instantly.  The group left me so I hit the deck, on single engine, to avoid radar.  As I was approaching the Zuider Zee, Holland, my left engine was knocked out by ground fire.  I crash landed in a potato field and harvested three full rows!  It took the Krauts some 10 hours to catch me.  I was sent to Frankfurt where I was interrogated and then shipped to Barth, Germany, by cattle car, and imprisoned in Stalag Luft I.  The Mongols were the first to arrive ahead of the Russians who overran our camp the last of April 1945. 

An amusing incident, whilst I was in prison at Stalag Luft I, was my witnessing three losers pay a debt to one winner, January 1, 1944, by kissing his butt on the parade ground before the entire camp.  I was flown out from prison camp the first part of May and went back to my base in England. 

It was discovered, two weeks after I was shot down, that the manifold gaskets on the Allison engines were contracting at high altitude where extreme cold was encountered but would seal back when bought down to lower levels.  This resulted in the loss of power and the beginning of all my trouble which damn near got me killed.
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble

Imprisoned in Block 7, Room 7, Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany

Awards
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