Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Atomeur

A French aircraft escort a German bomber in 1940

Recommended Posts

I want to present here a history. She is like the famous history when a German Fighter escort an Amercian bomber in many details but more tragic...

I will write all the flight, from takeoff to landing, with all the details mentioned by the author.

 

But it was at dawn on May 18, 1940 that I discovered all the absurdity of the war, and that day marked for me the most moving memory of this short and dramatic six-week campaign. Short, it may have been for those who, in retrospect, have written the course. it certainly was not so for those who, for forty days, were plunged into a murderous action, as on the ground. Eleven Curtiss of the group II / 5 had taken off at dawn of Toul-Croix-de-Metz, under the orders of the commander Hugues. their mission: general destruction on the sector Longwy-Dun-sur-Meuse, altitude 5000 meters. At this early hour, we would not miss game. We were not disappointed. A quarter of an hour after our arrival on the sector, we intercepted over Conflans a formation of eighteen heinkel 111, without close protection of hunting. All of Curtiss's device went to the parish, but the Heinkel's rear gunners, who were flying in very close patrols, began to weave a barrage of fire which disassociated our attacks. After a clearance, I saw a plane coming up. behind me. I faced. It was Svetlik, a Czech of the group, who had lost his patrol during the engagement. He comes a few meters away from me and, with his cabin open, he makes a friendly gesture. I inspected the sky around us and I did not discover the others. The Heinkels had trained them. Lightning fights where we crossed 8 kilometers in one minute. The sun had risen above the horizon and was now blazing in the limpid azure. the visibility was excellent. I consulted my measurer. I still had three quarters of an hour of gas. I decided to stay in the Svetlik sector, a confident teammate despite his youth, and very brawling. My eyes went down to the ground. At 1500 meters below, the Chiers snaked through a narrow corridor, dominated by wooded rumps. A light mist covered Luguyon. Suddenly, my attention was fixed.

Lower than us, a plane was returning to enemy territory. A Dornier 17 who, after a reconnaissance towards the end of the night, far inside our lines, returned quietly home, at very low altitude. He had not noticed us, for he did not deviate from his path. I pointed it out to Svetlik, who nodded. We dropped into a deep dive, engines at full throttle. The Dornier did not flinch. the three men were probably drowsing. It was not until my first gust, fired less than 100 meters away, that the pilot seemed to be concerned, as he tilted his plane to the left, straightened it and, after a very sharp bend to the right, to the ground. I went after him. At the water's edge, the German is recovering. My balls lapping on the smooth surface of the river. Svetlik, who was also attacking, stopped his right engine. In spite of this handicap, the German still approached the ground, and at a few meters altitude, obediently married the curves of the valley, while the machine gunner laughed at full flow. I tried to avoid as far as possible his range and I placed myself 30 meters behind him, sending him short bursts. One of them seemed to crush the glassmaker's dome, which stopped shooting. On the right, on the left, dominating us, the wooded hills were moving at great speed.

I write the following later ;D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suddenly, the Dornier's right gear lowered. Unbalanced, the device skidded to the left, as I made a new pass. I avoided the collision in extremis, arranging myself in a brutal, very tight turn, during which my Curtiss marked a certain inclination to escape to my hand. I did not care too much and squeezed again to find myself in a good shooting position. I leaned on the bowden. My bonnet machine guns spit out a few bullets, then went silent. Those of wings had remained silent. I rearmed feverishly, without result. I did not have ammunition anymore. I had used them generously on the Heinkels ... I turned around, looking for the Czech: he was no longer there. Rather unhappy to have to break the fight against an opponent at our mercy, I approached the Dornier, sparkling in the sun, beautiful aircraft with very pure lines. The pilot, with his only left engine, his gear out, appeared to have serious difficulties to hold his aircraft in flight line. The gunner had been hit. I could see his motionless figure, crumbling to his post. I was on a patrol flight with him a few yards to his right.

The navigator, sitting next to the pilot, turned in my direction. His glasses were lifted on his leather-covered headgear and he had unhooked his oxygen mask. I could see him, sometimes in profile, sometimes in front, because he kept turning his head towards me. He was a very young boy who, behind the glass of his cockpit, raised his hand for a sort of quick salute, accompanied by a slightly tense, almost friendly smile. Perhaps he was grateful to me for sparing them the coup de grace? They could not have guessed, his pilot and him, that they owed this chance to my weapons without supply. their gunner, he had had his account. I thought suddenly of the strangeness of this situation. A few meters from my wing, a drama was playing, which I felt somehow solidarity, after being one of the leaders. the Germans were far from being out of the woods ... At this altitude, barely 100 meters, there was no question of them parachuting themselves. Their valid engine, which was running at full power, did not allow them to regain the necessary height. And the train that was hanging, unlocked, was going to cause them big trouble during the landing. If, however, the plane managed to reach his ground ...

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The moment before, shooting fiercely at this target like a madman, I waited impatiently for the second when it would crash into flames to finally register a victory to my credit. And this one escaped me ... Well, what did it matter after all? he was no longer an enemy, but an aviator like me, who was in a deadlock and struggled desperately to escape. A driver who had certainly embraced a sports career to rise above the daily routine. [...] A few kilometers ahead of us, the relief of the ground appeared less hilly. But La Chiers drew a sharp curve, very steep, and to reach the flat ground, it was necessary to cross a higher hill, to gain thirty meters. the Dornier was flying at a speed close to the loss of speed. I read mine in the joke: 170 kilometers per hour. Without stopping, I had to play with the throttle to avoid the injured plane. His pilot could not deviate an inch from his course if he did not want to trigger in auto-rotation. The slightest maneuver of slippage would unbalance it. He surely shifted the overpower as a jet of black smoke flew behind the engine. the result was insignificant and the Dornier didn't climb a meter.

 

I moved away to not interfere with my opponent. I imagined it, the muscles bandaged to the extreme to hold his helpless plane which weighed terribly heavy in his arms. the eddies caused by the woody relief did not make it easy for him. His outstretched gaze was to be hypnotized by this ridge, which was fast approaching. With all his will, he thought he could jump it. Would he manage to cross it? I really wanted him to do it. the Dornier approached the summit of the slope in a very upward position. He gave me the impression of sinking. A swell lifted him. Phew! ... It was won for him. He was going ... But suddenly, a series of glowing gleams springs under the engine spindle. A sheaf of smoke enveloped him. He let go at the last tenth of a second, refusing to his crew the chance he thought he had to hold ... The plane lifted off to the right, the left plane standing vertically to the sky. He made a quick half-roll, stayed on his back and struck in that position among the trees where he exploded. A bitter smell came to my lips, as I turned around its base, covered with flames and smoke ... I regained Toul economic regime ...

END!

 

What do you think ?

 

The first time I read this story, it hurt my heart for the Dornier crew. I find that the last engine that has let go at the worst moment is the most painful and tragic moment in history. In addition, we see that the pilot of the Curtiss was attached to this aircraft, not attached as an enemy that had to be shot down but as an aviator who had to do everything to live and to save the others.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...