Rolf Arne Berg for his conduct, character & dedication.
Rolf Arne stayed with 331 squadron all the way to the end. Promoted to Wing Commander Flying he was the only one in the squadrons with a specially painted Spitfire. His own initials instead of the regular squadron codes. Parts of the tail and the wings were painted in Norwegian flag colours. He had the respect and admiration of both squadrons.
Rolf Arne Berg died in February 1945 in a tragic crash. Not only was it so tragic that he died in a crash but he was also tour-expired. He went along for an extra mission out of pure stubbornness and willingness to go up again one more time to fight the enemy. He convinced his friend Zulu Morris to add him to the mission. There had been reports about a Dutch airfield full of German airplanes parked around it. After getting “no” from Helge Mehre, he went further up the command and got his “yes” after all.
Even his bags were packed. He was supposed to go to Chamonix to ski. He wasn’t supposed to go over Holland in a Spitfire another time. But, the German airplanes were a too good of a chance to miss. A great opportunity to get in a few easy ground kills. It was supposed to be the encore for Norway’s best overall fighter pilot.
Flak was a fighter pilots worst enemy. No experience or 10 German airplanes shot down can help you deal with flak. Flak is about luck. Lots of experienced allied pilots lost their lives to flak when the war in reality had already been won. A German pilot could probably never have gotten close to shooting Rolf Arne down. He was that good and that experienced. Flak was something else. It was game of dice where the looser died.
When the Norwegian Spitfires attacked the airfield in Holland the flak opened up on them. Rolf Arne’s Spitfire was hit massively in one of the wings. Probably hit while gaining height after the attack. The Spitfire lost one of its wings and dived without control straight into a barn without exploding. He was found inside the cockpit by locals and buried nearby.
It may sound weird that Rolf Arne pulled up after such an attack. Famous fighter pilot Pierre Clostermann writes in his book “The big show” that pulling up from such an attack is asking to be shot down. The flak batteries are able to aim better if you’re higher up and not 10 meters from the ground. Rolf Arne pulled up but he probably had his reasons.
There were no real German airplanes on this airfield. They were dummy planes. It makes the entire event even sadder.
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