Download Aces of the 78th Fighter Group by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver PDF

By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver

Dubbed the 'Eagles of Duxford', the 78th Fighter staff (FG) was once special in being the single fighter unit within the 'Mighty 8th' to fly the P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang operationally. Arriving within the eu Theatre of Operations (ETO) in November 1942, and at last devoted to wrestle 5 months later, the 78th, in addition to the 4th and 56th FGs, 'wrote the publication' on long-range fighter escort through VIII Fighter Command within the ETO. This quantity charts the group's highs and lows in the course of its years in motion from Duxford, concentrating on the exploits of the fifty one pilots who completed ace prestige with the 78th in the course of global warfare 2. those males incorporated Capt Charles London, the first actual 8th Air strength ace, and Maj Quince Brown, who was once the 78th's so much winning aerial ace sooner than being murdered through the SS after he used to be shot down over Germany. by way of VE Day, the 'Eagles of Duxford' had downed 316 airplane and destroyed an additional 320 machines at the flooring in the course of strafing attacks...

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Using the same tactic as before, Roberts closed so fast he had to pull up and roll in on the second fighter to avoid colliding with it. ‘I opened fire from dead astern. I observed several strikes and, as before, the enemy fighter billowed smoke and flames, rolled over and spun down’. Amazingly, Roberts and Koontz were still in the middle of the action; Capt Charles London of the 83rd FS was credited with two victories on 30 July flying his P-47C-2 41-6335 El Jeepo . These successes took his final tally to exactly five kills, thus making him the first ace of VIII Fighter Command.

Once at the RAF fighter airfield, its Wing Commander Flying, Wg Cdr A M Bentley, ‘wondered what we were supposed to do’, London recalled. ‘We said he was supposed to teach us to fight the war, so he got us checked out in Spitfire Mk IXs. ’ The next morning the Americans flew to Calais. Later that day ‘we were about to take off on another mission to see if we could goad the Hun into a reaction when a teletype came in stating we were not supposed to fly. ’ Prior to the departure of the Lightnings, Harry Dayhuff took one up for a test flight and decided to buzz the field.

Pilots’ opinions were divided. Those from the 56th FG believed in the P-47, and maintained that belief throughout the war, resisting moves for the group to switch to the P-51D/K Mustang in 1945. Future ace Maj Don Blakeslee, 336th FS commander within the 4th FG and the first pilot to score a victory with the P-47 in the ETO on 15 April 1943, compared it to the Spitfires he had previously seen considerable combat in and found the Republic fighter wanting. After diving from 28,000 ft onto three Fw 190s at 20,000 ft, he caught one that tried to out-dive him and had the satisfaction of seeing it explode under the weight of his fire at an altitude of 500 ft.

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