Post-mission debriefing - Luftwaffe defensive CAP - Mission report.
Mission: Intercept enemy bombers
Schwarm: 4x Messerschmitt Bf-109 G-6 equipped with 1x 20mm cannon + 2x 13mm machineguns.
As the sirens started blaring at about 10h00, the on-duty pilots of II/JG 52 were already strapped to their seats while the mechanics were doing that last-minute repair work. The day was calm so far, it was the second sortie for the Gruppe, as a few hours very early in the morning another Schwarm had took off but couldn't find any enemies during their patrol and had just landed from their sortie. The Eastern front was slowly taking its toll on the exhausted veterans and novice pilots that had just arrived from training.
"As the refreshened pilots started scrambling to intercept, the ground control reported while the Schwarm was climbing heading South-Southeast: possible altitude 3500m, enemies coming from East, number unknown yet, but it wasn't a small number. While climbing, Oberleutnant Karl von Rümmingen, leader of that flight, started planning his attacks and its variants if the enemy were bombers or fighters. As they took off without external cannon gondolas to keep climb rate fast if needed, they weren't on exactly best weapon if the enemy were to be though bombers, but it was his tool and he had to take it."
The first dots started appearing from East, spotted by Oblt. Karl v. coming slightly below the sun. The Schwarm was at about 4000m, south of the enemy formation. As Karl approached and positioned himself high and to the left of the formation, there they were: twin engined bombers, probable A-20s. His wingman, the recently comissioned Leutnant Werner Hauss was on his second sortie, but Karl trusted him a lot and started the first pass with a dive at their 8 o'clock. Confirmed: A-20s, about 12 of them and also smaller dots slightly to the north, possible escort fighters, but the priority was to defeat the bombers as they started the run to their airbase and nearby installations.
The first pass was successful - somewhat. As Karl shot very close, debris from the crippled bomber started to disassemble and a good sized chunk of metal debris hit his left radiator, under the wing and also blown out the left flap. Oblt. Karl didn't have the time (nor the will) to abort his attacks and kept his speed high while the oil coolant temperature started rising. Carefully throttling back and forth to keep engine as smooth as possible, Karl checked around to see if his wingman was still with him, as he heard a lot of chaos over the comms.
Second pass was good: another A-20 shot down to an out of control dive and plummeted into earth. At the 109, Oblt. Karl watched the oil coolant temperature rising to near critical levels, but kept pushing - the airbase must be safe. A third pass and the 3rd enemy bomber broke into flames, with the crew quickly jumping out of the burning wreck, 4 chutes accounted for. As Oblt. Karl was aligning for the fourth pass, suddenly a burst of metallic sounds rattled around loud, for a few instants overpowering the engine roar and a hole through the cockpit window appeared. On Oblt. Karl's words: "It was a La-5 behind and was a good luck his bullets didn't hit my head. But I was very close to my target, must kept pushing! My aircraft was starting to get hard to keep stable, instinctively I felt that it must have got some wing damage; anyway I got to keep my aim steady and very closely shot another burst of 20mm cannon shells that exploded on the enemy's tail. Rudder and both elevators blown away and that airplane departed an uncontrollable dive. Lt. Werner jumped on that La-5, making him break off my tail so I could keep my crippled plane somewhat flying for another last pass as the oil coolant was nearly depleted and engine started running very rough, and to help with the situation, Kommandogerat kept the remaining radiators fully open, adding a huge drag and making even harder to keep speed. To make the mess worse, the right leading edge slat was hit and stuck on the forward position, together with the missing left wing flap caused strong wing asimmetry, beside the small bullet holes on both wings. But the next target was worth a try as I had potential energy remaining for a last attack before RTB - if possible. As I dived in and landed a few shots, my aircraft started losing speed very fast, engine's roaring sounded even more sick than before and the plane shocked on a violent jolt to the left, silence and then I could only hear the wind - the propeller stopped! And that damaged bomber got away on a slight dive. Damn, I still have some shells left onboard!"
Few moments later, Oblt. Karl von Rümmingen was making a forced wheels up landing on a grass field just short of the runway. Pilot was unhurt. Aircraft was a total hull loss.
That damaged bomber was a confirmed kill a few hours later as some observers reported that they saw it hitting the ground and exploding just about 30 km north of the combat zone, probably due to loss of control and engine power.
Confirmed kills: 5 (A-20)
Intel staff developed the film of the onboard gun camera, as follows: