Spitfire Mk XIV versus Me 109 G/K
A Performance Comparison

Brief Description

The Spitfire XIV was a short range medium-high altitude fighter combining the Spitfire Mk VIII airframe with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. Armament was either: B wing - 2 x 20 mm cannon and 4 x .303 Browning guns, or E wing - 2 x 20 mm cannon and .50 Browning guns. The operational weight with full fuel and ammunition was 8,400 lbs. It was fitted with a two-speed, two-stage Griffon 65 engine of 2,220 h.p. Internal fuel capacity was 112 gallons with pick-up points provided for carrying of 30 gallon, 45 gallon or 90 gallon drop tanks. Later models could be equipped with a 33 gallon rear fuselage tank. In appearence it was very similar to the Spitfire XII with normal wings, except that it had a five-bladed propeller. The fin and rudder were further modified. Production models entering service beginning in February 1945 featured a cut-back rear fuselage and teardrop bubble canopy.

Spitfire XIVs of 610 Squadron in January 1944

Brief Operational History

The first production Spitfire XIV was delivered in late October, 1943. No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron was the first squadron to convert to Spitfire XIVs, re-equipment commencing on 4 January 1944 with the Squadron's move to Exeter. 1  610 Squadron’s first operational sorties with their XIVs occurred on 8 January 1944. Spring brought moves to Culmhead, Bolt Head, and Harrowbeer. 91 Squadron began trading in their Spitfire XIIs for XIVs on the last day of February 1944 when they moved to Castle Camps. They flew operations with the XIVs on 12 March 1944, moving to Drem that month, then West Malling in April. 322 (Dutch) Squadron began re-equipping with Spitfire XIVs in mid March at Acklington, with the first operational flying coming after the move to Hartford Bridge in April. At this time 91 and 322 Squadrons comprised 24 Wing, 2nd TAF led by Wing Commander Bobby Oxspring. Spring operations took the form of sweeps, patrols, scrambles, escorts etc. 2  3  4   After participating in Operation Overlord, the successful landings in Normandy, the Spitfire XIV Squadrons were engaged in anti-diver duties for approximately two months. On 9 August 1944 Nos. 91 and 322 delivered their Spitfires XIVs to 350 (Belgian) and 402 (Winnipeg Bear) Squadrons at Hawkinge, while No. 130 (Punjab) Squadron also converted to Spitfire XIVs that month at Lympne. By mid August the V-1 diver threat had waned and the Spitfire XIV Squadrons went back to offensive operations over the continent. 5  6  7  8  

Spitfire XIV and aircrew of 322 (Dutch) Squadron, Hartford Bridge, April 1944

In September 1944, 41, 130, 350, and 610 squadrons, led by Wing Commander Colin Gray, made up the Spitfire XIV wing based at Lympne, Kent, their primary role being escorting bombers to Germany. 9  10  11  12  13   402 (RCAF) was first to move to the continent, arriving at Antwerp/Deurne, Belgium (B.70) in September followed shortly thereafter by 130 Squadron. These two Spitfire XIV squadrons then joined the Tempests of 80 and 274 Squadrons at Grave, Belgium (B.82) in early October to comprise No 125 Wing, No 83 Group, 2nd TAF before moving to Diest, Holland (B.64) in November. No. 2 and 430 fighter recce squadrons, based on the continent with No 35 Wing, No 84 Group, 2nd TAF, equipped with Spitfire XIVs in November. 350 and 610 Sqaudrons moved to Evere, Belgium (B.56) during the first week of December, while 41 joined 130 and 402 at Diest. At the end of the month 41, 130, 350 and 610 squadrons, comprising No 125 Wing, moved to Ophoven, Belgium (Y.32). 402 transferred to 126 (RCAF) Wing at Heesch, Holland (B.88) in December, staying there into April.

In January 1945, 130, 350, and 610 squadrons moved to Eindhoven, Holland (B.78), while 41 Squadron joined 122 Tempest Wing at Volkel, Holland (B.80). Missions over north-west and north-central Germany brought the Spitfires into occasional contact with the Me 109s of JG 27 based at Rheine, Rheine-Hopsten, Hesepe, and Achmer during the first few months of 1945. The Me 109s of JG 3 may also have been encountered before they were moved to the crisis on the east front in January. Most combats, however, were with the Fw 190s of JG 26 and and to a lesser extent III./JG 54. 125 Wing moved to Twente, Holland (B.106) in early April where 41 Squadron rejoined them. 414 Squadron converted to FRXIVs in April as did 268 Squadron when they moved to Twente. In mid April 125 Wing moved to Celle, Germany (B.118) while 126 Wing moved to Rheine (B.108), then Wunstorf, Germany (B.116), where they finished up the war. 401 (RCAF) started to re-equip with Spitfire XIVs in mid April and was still in the process of fully converting to Spitfire XIVs when the war in Europe concluded. As of 26th April 1945 there were 667 Spitfire XIVs on strength with the RAF. 14

Spitfire XIV of 414 (RCAF) Squadron, Wunstorf, Germany, April 1945

Shipments of Spitfire XIVs to India began in January 1945. 132 Squadron converted to Spitfire XIVs at Madura in May, 11 and 17 Squadrons following suit in June. Post Victory in Europe, 411, 412, 416, 443, and 451 Squadrons converted to Spitfire XIVs in Germany as part of the British Air Forces of Occupation (B.A.F.O.). Other squadrons to convert to the Spitfire XIV after VE include: Nos. 136, 152, 155, 273, 600, 602, 607, 611, 612, 613, and 615. Spitfire XIV's also served with the Indian, Belgium, and Thailand airforces. A total of 957 Spitfire XIVs were produced.

Performance in Context

At about the time of the Spitfire XIV's entry into service in early 1944 its Me 109 counterpart was the Me 109 G-6 with its DB-605 A engine presumably cleared for 1.42 ata take-off and emergency power. The DB-605 AS engine, with improved altitude performance, came into service during the spring of 1944. MW-50 was introduced that summer in the Me 109 G-6/R2 and Me 109 G-14 enabling improved low altitude performance.

The following chart demonstrates how the Spitfire XIV performed during the first half of its wartime service relative to its Me 109 rival. For more on the Spitfire data refer to the Spitfire XIV section of this site. The +18 lb. level speed performance is from AFDS which is nearly identical to that charted by Rolls Royce. The official Aircraft Data Sheet for the Spitfire XIV, using +18 lbs boost, gives maximum speed performance as 417 mph at 12,000 feet in MS gear and 448 mph at 26,000 feet in FS gear, which is in excellent agreement with the AFDS figures and the curve depicted below. 15  16   The RAE commented on the Griffon 65 engine in Tech. Note No. Eng. 316 from July 1944 "Due to main bearing troubles, these engines are at present limited to + 21 lb./sq.in. boost pressure although they will be capable of operation at +25 lb./sq.in. boost pressure in the future". 17   The same report gives 393 mph at 3,000 ft. as the total possible a/c speed using +21 lb boost, which extrapolates to 377 mph at sea level. Rolls-Royce obtained 366 mph at sea level in June 1944. 17   Calculated estimates indicate that actual performance was probably somewhere between the two, or about 370 mph at sea level. For comparison, the first production Spitfire 21 with Griffon 61 at +21 lbs. boost achieved 368 mph at sea level. 18   Absolute maximum speed at full throttle height would only have increased a few mph with the increase from +18 to +21 lb. boost. No. 610 Squadron's Operations Record Book shows that by July 14, 1944 their Spitfire XIVs were undergoing modifications to operate at +21 boost. 18b  

All Me 109 data used in the following charts comes from German sources. The curve of Me 109 G-5 with DB 605 AS engine at 1.3 ata is the only Me 109 curve below reflecting data from actual flight trials. 20   It can be seen that the effect of the hydraulic coupled supercharger is properly represented (for more Me 109 G curves derived from flight trials see: Me 109 G Flight Testing). Unfortunately this feature is often missing from estimated performance curves. The Me 109 G-5 and 6 curves at Start and Notleistung (take-off and Emergency) shown below are approximations, whereas the curve for the Me 109 G6/R-2 again accounts for the effect of the hydraulic coupled supercharger, although with rather less precision than that of the flight tested Me 109 G-5. The Me 109 G-14/U4 curve is an estimate by Messerschmitt's Projecktburo assumming DB 605 ASM engine using MW-50, Gondelwaffen and weight of 7,817 lbs. The GL/C-E2 Aircraft Development Sheet for a clean Me 109 G-14 with ASM engine gives 348 mph at Sea Level and 422 mph at FTH. 21   Messerschmitt's Flugbericht Nr. M 35/25 dated 4 July 1944 determined that the MW-50 installation on the DB 605 AM engine allowed for a brief increase in boost pressure to 1,75 ata/2800 rpm, increasing sea level speeds from 315 mph to 352 mph. 22 This corresponds well with the Me 109 G6/R-2 curve below, which is equivalent to the Me 109 G-14 with AM engine.

Conditions in Germany during the last year of the war, however, were not conducive to aircraft achieving maximum theoretical performance levels. Hans Knickrehm of I/JG 3 recalled the condition of new Me 109 G-14/AS’s received by his group in October, 1944:

The machines that were delivered were technically obsolete and of considerably lowered quality. The engines proved prone to trouble after much too short a time, because the factories had had to sharply curtail test runs for lack of fuel. The surface finish of the outer skin also left much to be desired. The sprayed-on camouflage finish was rough and uneven. The result was a further reduction in speed. We often discovered clear cases of sabotage during our acceptance checks. Cables or wires were not secured, were improperly attached, scratched or had even been visibly cut. 30

At a conference in Berlin on 20 January 1945, with the Chief Engineer of the Luftwaffe, it was reported that the Me 109 airframe was extraordinarily bad and performance outrageously low. Daimler-Benz noted that there was no point in continually increasing engine power when the airframes were getting worse due to sloppy manufacturing. A comparison between the Me 109 and the Mustang was devastating.

Im Zusammenhang mit der Zellenfrage wird von den Herren berichtet, dass die Leistung der Zelle ausser-ordentlich schlecht und zum Teil unerhört niedrig liege. Auch hier weist DB wieder daraufhin, dass es keinen Zweck hat, den Motor dauernd in der Leistung aufzustocken, während die Zellen durch Fabrikations-ungenauigkeit etc. immer schlechter werden und damit den durch die Steigerung der Motorleistung möglichen Geschwindigkeitsgewinn wieder zunichte machen. Es wird seitens der Herren des Chef.Ing. davon berichtet, dass die gegenüberstellende Vorführung einer Mustang und einer Me 109 für Herrn Sauer geplant war, dass jedoch Herr Sauer selbst leider nicht erschienen sei. Die Gegenüberstellung der beiden Maschinen sei, was die Ausführung der Me 109 angelange geradezu niederschmetternd. 31

It didn’t help matters that ground crews, who might have ameliorated these problems to some degree, were being transferred to the infantry in significant numbers. The primitive conditions existing at Luftwaffe airfields was an additional complication. Bombing and strafing attacks further taxed the ground crew's ability to maintain the aircraft anywhere near the degree necessary to even approach theoretical performance levels.

Me 109 G-14 of 12./JG 53 at Kirrlach, Germany, January 1945

Unfortunately there is little known documentation for climb performance of the Me 109 G using 1.42 ata. The following charts reflect performance of the Spitfire XIV and Me 109 K from the introduction of the K in mid October 1944 through to VE day. The Spitfire XIV's performance was rather stable, new development going toward the Spitfire Mk 21, whereas efforts were taken to increase the output of the DB 605 D series in order to make the Me 109 K-4 more competitive. Unfortunately, flight trials of Me 109 Ks appear not to exist. The following Me 109 K curves were produced by Messerschmitt's Project Bureau at Oberammergau. 32  32b   While the curves are rather simplistic estimates (the effect of the hydraulic coupled supercharger being absent for example), they should give some idea of potential, however, they should be treated with reserve.

Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, Generalquartiermeister, Chefing.d.Lw on 18 October 1944 summarized the performance of the principle Me 109 varients as follows 33:

The GL/C-E2 Aircraft Development Sheet lists Me 109 K-4 performance as 360 mph at SL and 441 mph at 24,606 ft. with production 9-12159 propeller which is in perfect agreement with the Chief Engineer of the Luftwaffe's figures shown in the table above. 34   The November 1944 edition of the Bf 109 K-4 Flugzeug-Handbuch states: 34b  

This translates as: The MW installation serves to increase the emergency power of the engine. With 1,75 ata boost pressure, additional injection of MW increases emergency power (special emergency power) and can occasionally be used to increase level speed and rate of climb. The MW additive serves for the interior cooling of the engine and for the avoidance of overheating during flight with special emergency power. The use of the special emergency power without MW injection is forbidden! The engine is endangered without MW injection. The use of the special emergency power is done via pushing the throttle lever forward to 1,75 ata boost pressure (number of revolutions 2850 U/min).

The Projektbüro estimate from 19.1.45 assumes 9-12159 propeller, and a weight of 7,496 lbs. Documentation listed below demonstrates that newly delivered Me 109 K-4's were equipped with a DB 605 DB engine operating with 1.80 ata/2800 rpm engine limitations beginning approximately mid January 1945. Various engine and propeller configurations were experimented with. The 9-12159 propeller was the standard production propeller but various German curves are extant showing estimated performance of the Me 109 K-4 with 9-12199.10 and 9-17018.10 thin blade (Dünnblatt) props and Projektschraube with 4 light-metal blades. The 452 mph figure often cited as the top speed of the Me 109 K-4 derives from an estimate assumming an experimental 9-12199 Dünnblatt propeller. The DB 605 DC engine running at 1.8 ata boost without MW-50 was tried but did not find favour. (Die E-stelle hat Bedenken gegen den Betrieb mit 1,8 ata Aufladung ohne MW mit C 3 Kraftstoff.) The DB 605 DC engine running at 1.98 ata boost with MW was tested but seems not to have made it into service (Nach Mitteilung der E'Stelle sind 1,98 ata gesperrt.)

Aspera G.m.b.H., Kamenz on orders from OKL Chef TLR F1. E. 3 V reports in Geschwindigkeitmessungen mit 4 VDM Luftschrauben auf Me 109 K4 mit DB 605 D dated 4 January 1945 that full measurments could not be reported due to engine damage at 1.98 ata. Trotz mehrerer Stunden schonenden Einfliegens des Motors mit Dauerleistung vor den Messreihen mit Kampfleistung stellte sich bei den ersten Prüfläufen nach der Umstellung auf p = 1,98 ata ein Motorschaden heraus, der einen Motorwechsel notwendig machte. 35  

Interner Aktenvermerk Nr. 6642 from Daimler-Benz (internal memo) dated 17.1.45 reports on a meeting held 10 January 1945 at OKL, Berlin. All 4 DB 605 DC engines supplied to Rechlin from DB-Genshagen failed (pistons, piston rods, supercharger), therefore special emergency power DC (1.98 ata boost pressure) for the troops is not released (die Sondernotleistung DC (1,98 ata Ladedruck) für die Truppe nicht freigegeben). 36  

Niederschrift Nr 6717 from Damiler-Benz, dated 19.1.45, states that DB 605 D engines from Kassel are delivered at 1.80 ata boost with B4 and Mw 50. Die Motoren DB 605 D werden in Kassel allgemein mit Ladedruck 1,80 ata mit B4 und Mw 50 abgenommen. 37  

Niederschrift Nr 6730 of Daimler Benz dated 24 January 1945 details discussion at a conference held 20 January 1945 in the office of the Chief engineer of the Luftwaffe in Berlin: It states that testing of 1.98 boost pressure may be done provisionally at Group 2/11, only engines with 1.8 boost may be supplied and strict punishment is threatened if this instruction is neglected. Also of note is mention of problems due to poor quality fuel as well as a devastating comparison of the Me 109 and the Mustang. 38  

Niederschrift Nr 6731 of Daimler Benz also dated 24 January 1945 discusses a meeting held at Rechlin on 16.1.45. Some of the same material is discussed as in Nr 6730, the conclusions being that 1,98 ata is not to be used on the front line. Testing at Rechlin will continue. 39  

Messerschmitt's Erprobungsbericht Nr. 15 vom 16.1.45 bis 15.2.45 dated 22.2.45 states that 1.98 ata is blocked, testing done at 1.80 ata: WM 50 Betreib - Nach Mitteilung der E'Stelle sind 1,98 ata gesperrt. Die Erprobung (Funktion und Kerzentemperatur) wird vorläufig mit 1,80 ata (2800 U/min) durchgeführt. 40  

Reparatur-Anweisung 2. Nachtrag Nr. 191/345 from des Reichministers für Rüstung und Kriegproduktion dated 14 March 1945 gives instructions for the adjustment of engine settings. Sämtliche Änderungen sind durch die Forderung bedingt, für die leistungsgesteigerten Motoren auch B4 Kraftstoff minderer Qualität ohne Gefahr verwenden zu können. Da kraftstoff C3 in unverminderter Qualität zur Verfügung steht, werden Motoren 605 ASC und 605 DC, falls sie in dieser Ausführung aufgebaut werden, unverändert wie bisher abgegeben; da jedoch, sowohl von Neubaufertigung als auch Reparatur, die Abgabe gewöhnlich in Ausführung 605 ASB und 605 DB erfolgt, werden nahezu alle 605 Motoren von diesen Änderungen erfasst. 41   The following table from this report shows that special emergency power remained at 1.8 ata, further power levels being reduced by about .05 ata.

No evidence has come to light proving operational use of 1.98 ata by combat units, however, its clear from surviving documentation that the Luftwaffe felt a pressing need to increase the performance of the 109 and that 1.98 ata was tested and proposed for use. Prien & Stemmer have written about the desperate situation confronting the Luftwaffe in 1945:

The start of the Russian offensive (note: in mid January 45) resulted in the biggest regrouping of forces by the Luftwaffe since the invasion of the Soviet Union. From this point on, the course of operations in the east dictated the employment of all remaining forces, especially of the air units and the flak. Russian breakthroughs everywhere threatened the very existance of the Reich. Faced with this, the German command reduced defensive operations in the west to a minimum, while the Defense of the Reich was virtually abandoned.

The only units left in action over the west were JG 2, 26, 27, and 53, which operated mainly against the Allied fighter-bombers and twin-engined bombers but not against incursions by the heavy bombers.

A Wehrmacht Operations Staff memo dated 19/1/1945 stated that “a high degree of forces are to be concentrated for the great decisive battle in the eastern theater at the conscious acceptance of the associated serious risk in the western theater”. For the air defense that meant that the flak would bear the main of subsequent defensive operations in the west, while the bulk of the flying units were to be deployed in the east to support the army. To this end the units deployed in the east were to receive prioity in the allocation of the last remaining reserves of fuel. The memo went on to say: "The available fuel is to be allocated accordingly”.

As a result of increased consumption in defensive operations in January and February the fuel shortage had again become acute, and on 4 March 1945 the OKW saw itself forced to issue another directive on future Luftwaffe operations. It decreed that apart from operations by the few jet fighter units, defensive missions against incursions over the Reich by the American and British heavy bombers were now to be halted completely, which nearly meant the end of the Defense of the Reich. There was also a rigorous concentration of remaining forces for operations in the east, in order to make the defensive effort there as effective as possible.

By now deliveries of aircraft had slowed down, which is why, for example, that in March III Gruppe was given a number of old BF 109 G-6s (probably from disbanded training units) in addition to several BF 109 K-4s and G-14s. (Note: Prien has also written that II./JG 53 reverted to old Bf 109 G-6's)

War Diary Luftflotte 6; worthy of note is a note dated 3/4/1945 in the collection “Fuel Situation 1945” which says: “Production of the BF 109 has been halted, six Gruppen in Luftflotte 6’s command are being disbanded immediately in order to create a reserve”. The effected units were I/JG 3, I/JG 4, III/JG 6, II/JG 51, I/JG 53 and III/JG 77. Units were disbanded in the same way by the Luftflotte Reich (IV/JG 301) and Luftwaffe Command West (IV/JG 27). 42

II./JG 11, the Me 109 unit that had earlier experimented with 1.98 ata, also disbanded during the first few days of April:

An den ersten sechs Tagen im April war das JG 11 nicht im Einsatz; nicht etwa schlechtes Wetter, sondern allein der anhaltende Treibstoffmangel verhinderte ein Eingreifen des Geschwaders in das Geschehen an der Oderfront, an der es im übrigen während ruhig blieb. Offensichtlich erfolgte in diesen Tagen die Auflösung der II./JG 11, deren Flugzeugführer danach zum Teil auf die I. und III. Gruppe verteilt wurden, während einige der erfahreneren und erfolgreichen – darunter Hptm Rüdiger Kirchmayr, Olt. Erich und Lt. Walter Köhne – zu dem Strahlerverbänden versetzt wurden. Für viele der jungen, unerfahrenen Flugzeugführer, die zur Katagorie “C” zählten, endete dagegen der Einsatz in einem fliegenden Verband und sie fanden sich in Fallschirmjäger – oder sogar Waffen-SS Einheiten wieder, um dort als Fussoldaten noch eine Verwendung im Sinne des “Führers” zu finden; mit ihnen gingen eine ganze Anzahl von Männern des Bodenpersonals, deren Stellen durch die Auflösung der II. Gruppe entweder überflüssig wurden oder die durch weiteres weibliches Personal ersetzt wurden. 43

Jochen Prien wrote of directives effecting Luftwaffe operations on the western front in 1945:

The Reichsmarschall issued an order 25 January 1945 "in connection with the ongoing widespread weakening of the fighter arm within the Reich":
Military situation and development in the east demand the calling away and transfer of previously subordinate fighter and close-support units. Stepped-up offensive action must also be expected in the west. We therefore have to meet our Anglo-American opponents in the air with fewer units than before, and consequently we must focus our efforts on providing the army with the air support it needs to continue its difficult defensive struggle to protect the homeland. I know that every brave and right-thinking airman of the Geschwader and Gruppen under my command feels exactly the same way and will do everything in his power to inflict damage on the enemy at every opportunity through ruthless aggressiveness. The hour is more than serious, you can only use complete men who are determined to give their utmost. Everything is at stake. Hail to victory and to the Führer! 44

The following is taken from an order issued by the Luftwaffe command on 5 February 1945:

"...Because of increased defensive consumption in the east new operational directives have been issued for Luftwaffe operations in the west. The results, as they pertain to the units subordinated to the corps headquarters:
    (a)Strictest limiting of fighter operations to really promising situations. 45

John Weal wrote of JG 27, the principal Me 109 unit in the Spitfire XIV's main area of operations, during 1945:

As one of the few Jagdgeschwader remaining on the western front (the majority having been rushed eastwards in a vain attempt to repel the Red tide), JG 27's activities were curtailed by a new OKL directive severely restricting fighter operations in the west. This permitted missions to be flown "only in those situations promising a real chance of success". Also many of the Geschwader's ground personnel were now being transferred to infantry duties. 46

Despite their best efforts, however, so overwhelming was the enemy's air superiority over north-west Germany by mid-March 1945 that all four Gruppen were ordered to retire from their bases in the Osnabrück region and withdraw nearer to the centre of the rapidly shrinking Reich. During the third week of March Stab, I., II. and III./JG 27 departed Rheine, Hopsten and Hesepe as instructed. But fate overtook Hauptmann Reinert's IV Gruppe before it could evacuate Achmer... 180 B-24's targeted Achmer, and the strafing by fighters which followed, destroyed all but one of IV./JG 27's 38 remaining fighters. ... It was considered impracticable to re-equip the Gruppe amid the chaos that was Germany in the last six weeks of the war. At the end of March IV./JG 27 was therefore officially disbanded. 47

Prien wrote of the pressure put on JG 27 after Bodenplatte by the oppressive, pervasive Allied fighters and scarce fuel supplies:

Das JG 27 blieb auch nach dem Abbruch der Kämpfe im Ardennenraum weiterhin auf seinen Plätzen im Raume Osnabrück; fortan lag der Einsatzschwerpunkt vor allem bei der Bekämpfung, der zumeist der 2nd Tac AF der RAF angehörigen Tief- und Artillerieflieger, während der Abwehreinsatz gegen die Einflüge der 8 USAAF in den Hintergrund trat. Bedingt durch den spärlichen Treibstoffnachschub wurden die meisten Einsätze in der Rotte oder im Schwarm, selten indes von grösseren Verbänden geflogen.

In diesen Tagen konnten trotz ausreichender bis guter Wetterbedingungen kaum noch Einsätze geflogen werden; ursächlich dafür waren neben den knappen Treibstoffvorräten vor allem die nahezu allgegenwärtigen alliierten Jäger, die sich denn ganzen Tag über ausserhalb der Flakzone in der Nähe der lange erkannten Einsatzplätze des JG 27 aufhielten und sich bei jeder Bewegung am Boden sofort im Tiefflug auf die Plätze stürzten. Dies führte dazu, dass die deutschen Jäger in die frühen Morgenstunden bzw. in das letzte Licht des Abends ausweichen mussten, wenn sie einigermassen sicher aus dem eigenen “Gartenzaun” herausstarten wollten. 48

As of 12 April 1945 the Spitfire XIV pilots along with the balance of the 2nd TAF force of Tempest, Typhoon and other Spitfire squadrons were facing within their area of operations a mere 41 serviceable Me 109's of JG 27 and 60 serviceable FW 190's of JG 26. 49

Kurt Setzinger of II/JG 53, (JG 53 being the Me 109 Jagdgeschwader allocated to the defense of south-west Germany), recalled the fate of his unit after suffering a devastating bombing attack in mid April:

We were to take charge of training machines - old G-6s - as replacements for the aircraft lost at Ristissen. 50

Prien noted "on 23 April the unit had four Bf 109 G-6s, on 24 April this figure had already risen to 32 Bf 109 G-6s, of which none where servicable, however". 51

The following passages from the work of Werner Girbig provide insight, from a German point of view, into the plight of the Luftwaffe in the west during the last 6 months of the war:

Review of November

Analysis of the Allied offensive air operations of November 1944 shows that, in addition to raids on communication targets, the level of attacks on synthetic fuel production was greatly stepped up. In October the Americans had dropped 12.5% of their total weight of bombs on fuel targets and the RAF 5.9%; but in November these figures rose to 33% and 25% respectively. On the other hand the intensity of strategic operations fell off somewhat from that of the preceding months, as the Americans' attention was focused on the ground operations that were taking shape in Lorraine and across Belgium and Luxembourg.

On the German side, by contrast, thanks to conservation and accumulation of fighter resources in the previous weeks, we could put strong forces into the air. But the figures are deceptive. The "Big Blow" envisaged by General der Jagdflieger Galland never took place. For one thing the weather that November was not suitable for an operation of this kind; the bulk of the pilots lacked the requisite operational training; and in addition the results of operations were falling way below expectations. In the area of I Jagdkorps under Generalleutnant Schmid, 155 Allied aircraft were shot down for the loss of 404 German aircraft, while personnel casualties amounted to at least 300 on the four principal days alone. The November 1944 figure for day-fighter pilots killed or missing, excluding accidents, was 244.

Review of December

Even more than the preceding months, the past weeks had demonstrated the British and American pilot's' superior mastery of operational flying in the foulest of weathers. The result was, that on most days of December the home air defense fighter pilots were again faced with superior numbers wherever they turned.

Moreover the Allies succeeded in gaining not only the initiative on the fronts but along with it the control of the rear areas; as a result the month was marked by disruption of the communications system and destruction of air force installations. Thus in this last month of 1944, in bombing raids on as many as eighty airfields, 129 machines were destroyed on the ground and a further 140 damaged. In the last four days of the month the Allied air forces flew 5,500 heavy bomber sorties over Germany; I Jagdkorps shot down 63 bomber's and 23 escort fighters for the loss of 128 fighters. In the same period, according to Generalmajor Grabmann, AA artillery accounted for almost three times as many Allied aircraft. It follows that the German day-fighters could no longer be claimed to offer an effective defense.

The losses were devastating. From the beginning of the month to the opening of the German Ardennes offensive on December 16, 136 fighter pilots failed to return. In the four days from December 19-22, the figure was "only" 83. But in the week or so from December 23-31, the fighters units lost 316 pilots killed or missing, quite apart from the wounded. Over Christmas alone, Luftflotte Headquaters West and the units attached to it for the Ardennes offensive suffered 260 aircrew casualties. On these figures it would appear that German fighter force casualties for December 1944 amounted to 500 pilots killed or missing, 35 taken prisoner and 194 wounded.

Bodenplatte

In Operation "Bodenplatte" the German day-fighter force alone lost 214 pilots. 151 were killed or reported missing (the cases of 48 of the missing still being under investigation); a further 63 were taken prisoner. In addition there were eighteen wounded , but these cannot be counted as a total loss, since most of them were able to return to flying duties sooner of later.

While the casualties have now been established within a small margin of error, it is difficult to arrive at figures for material; no list of aircraft losses as such is available, if indeed one ever existed. In every unit there must have been machines which crashed as a result of enemy action, German AA fire or technical failures while their pilots escaped unhurt. It is thus safe to assume that, in addition to the 232 incidents which caused casualties, a further 60-70 aircraft were lost, bringing the probable total for the German fighter force on January 1, 1945 to around 300. This corresponds to a loss rate of 30% of all aircraft involved in the operation.

Operation "Bodenplatte" amounted to a total defeat. The home air defense formation equipped with the standard types of fighter never recovered from the blow. Their subsequent operations were insignificant seen against the situation as a whole and offered no further threat to the domination of the Allied air forces.

January's End

After the transfer of large number of fighter units to the Eastern Front in mid-January, only four day fighter Geschwader remained available to the Home Defense Forces and Luftflotte Headquarters West. And all four were well below strength. The Allied bombers in their hordes droned their way across Germany every day. The raids continued with unabated weight. Augsburg, Hamburg, Magdeburg, Paderborn, Bielefeld, Mannheim, Heilbronn, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Kassel, Hamm, Münster - these were just the main bomber targets for the second half of the month.

The German air defenses in the I Jagdkorps' area had by now become virtually meaningless. Losses amounted to almost 30% of sorties flown, while kills did not even amount to 0.2% of the Allies aircraft committed.

February

The war had entered its final phase. In East and West alike Allied forces already stood on German soil and was pressing foward relentlessly to deliver the final back-breaking blows. By now the Soviet armies had closed up to the Oder and were concentrating for their final major thrust on Berlin, while in the West the Allied air effort continued to be mainly directed against communications targets and the fuel industry. But the Luftwaffe had little left to put up against the bombers' incursions.

On February 14, the Americans put 945 heavy bombers into the overcast skies of Central Germany. To counter the three enemy incursions, Home Air defense could only muster 145 machines from IX Fliegerkorps (Fighters); and once again it was JG 300 and JG 301 who bore the brunt. On their own figures twenty of their aircraft went down. The Americans, on the other had, lost only two bombers, a further testimony to the impotence of the German fighter force.

The closing days of February were marked by another period of unusually intensive Allied air activity over Germany, On February 24, strong US 8th Air Force Heavy bomber formations attacked hydogenation plants in the Hamburg and Hanover areas. These raids met no opposition and only two bombers failed to return.

On the following day the Americans launched a major operation against the German communications system, at the same time attacking a number of airfields, mainly those used by ME 262 units. The towns of Aschaffenburg, Friedichshafen, Munich and Ulm also suffered raids of varying weight. The American fighter escort, over 600 strong, once again succeeded in holding off the German fighter defense and allowing the 1,177 heavy bombers used to reach their targets unimpeded. The RAF also flew another daylight operation, this time against Dortmund.

March

Not the least of the indications that the Allies now sought to put a speedy end to the War was the further intensification of their air activity. On no single day or night of the Month did German airspace remain free of the intrusions; and only a few weeks before the end of the murderous worldwide conflagration many more cities had to suffer heavy air-raids with appalling results; among them Berlin, Dortmand, Chemnitz, Dessau, Essen, Janau, Hildesheim, Mannheim, Paderborn, Ulm, Unna and Würzburg.

The German air defense had been shattered. The Geschwader, most of them by now reduced almost to Gruppe strength, went down in a series of last desperate encounters... For the IX Fliegerkorps (Fighters) units the day of March 2 ended with a loss of 43 aircraft against fifteen kills.

Figher sweeps against Allied fighter bombers and other ground-attack aircraft continued, but defense against the heavy bomber formations made little further impact. The jet fighter units, on the other hand, were rather more successful, even though Allied domination of German airspace and the effect of raids on fuel installations meant that they could only be used intermittently.

Both British 2nd TAF's Spitfires and American fighters in strength put in low-level attacks on German airfields. Jagdgeschwader 27, which at the time was just in the process of redeploying to the new airfields south of the Teutoburger Wald, suffered severely at their hands. For IV Gruppe, which had taken off from Achmer, March 19 proved to be the end of their existance as an operational unit. The Americans shot down virtually a whole staffel over the Osnabrück area, killing six pilots and wounding five.

Elements of I Gruppe took off about 1000 on their transfer flight to Störmede, but a group of Spitfires from No.130 (Spitfire XIVs) were on them in a flash. Flying low over the field, they caught some machines before they were even airbourne. Two pilots were shot down in flames, and one crashlanded in a wooded area. (See Combat Reports of F/O Lord and F/Sgt Hudson for 19 March 45 below)

With the cutting to pieces of JG 301 at the begining of the month, 1st Jagddivision had already lost a substantial part of the force under its commnad, and on March 24 JG 300 also suffered a decisive defeat. On this day US 8th Air Force put up a total of 1,400 bomber sorties in a major operation against a dozen or more Luftwaffe bases east of the Rhine, some in Holland and some in West Germany. These raids were carried out in support of the Allied airbourne operations at Wesel, where Montgomery's British were about to cross the Rhine.

It was about noon when the Americans, flying low, swept across the countryside between the Teutoburger Wald and the Lippe to take on the airfields in that area. There can be no doubt that the destruction wrought on the German bases and the loss of hundreds of machines on the ground very severly impaired the Gerrman day and night fighter effort.

Over Störmede, where I./JG 27 were based at this time, a major battle developed between a strong force of Mustangs and the Messerschmitts of I and III Gruppen. The unit had already been stretched to the limit, and now it lost another twelve pilots, four from I Gruppe and eight from III Gruppe. Over and above this, three pilots were wounded by machine-gun fire on the Störmede field.

A little later Jagdgeschwader 300's turn came, just east of Göttingen. II Gruppe under the 24-year-old Oberleutnat Radener and small elements from I and IV Gruppen had flown west from Thuringia to be directed by ground control on to the reported American incursion. In a bitter action II Gruppe, the Sturmgruppe, was completely wiped out, losing twenty of its Focke-Wulfs. 5 Staffel lost five pilots, and 6 Staffel simply ceased to exist, six of its pilots were killed in action. With 7 Staffel also losing 2 pilots, II Gruppe casualties amounted to fourteen killed and wounded - a blow from which it was never to recover. American losses on the other hand were negligible.

Now the German fighter force was well down the slope of its decline. Another six costly weeks of attrition were to go by before Germany finally collapsed, and a further 200 pilots were to lose their lives.

April

The proof that home air defense was now effectively at an end came on Thrusday, April 10, when a massive American raid went in on the jet fighter fields in North Germany. Briest, Burg, Orianienburg, Lärz, and Parchim suffered extensive damage to installations and machines. This resulted in the move of the Me 262 units to Czechoslovakia, where US 8th Air Force could no longer get at them. Meanwhile Hitler raged away at the Luftwaffe; he simply could not understand why the runways could not be restored overnight. On Friday, April 13, the Americans really began to take the Luftwaffe on the ground. Thunderbolts from the 56th Fighter Group destroyed 95 machines on North German airfields, including Eggebeck in the northwest of Schleswig-Holstein. Three days later, on the following Monday, it was the turn of the South German fields, the 353rd Fighter Group destroying 110 aircraft on the ground. And 125 machines went up in smoke airfields in the Sudentenland. The next day the Mustangs were back again to send another 200 aircraft up in flames. This sealed the fate of the Luftwaffe, and the fighter force in particular. 52

A 13./JG 27 Bf 109 K-4 Wk. Nr. 334 158 used by Oblt. Ernst-Georg Altnorthoff, at Achmer after suffering damage during the 21 March 1945 air raid. Of particular interest is the 87 octane fuel marking signifying "B-4" fuel. 37 Bf 109s were destroyed this day by an air raid of 180 Liberators followed up by fighters and fighter bombers. This, coupled with the debacle of 19 March when 11 Bf 109s were shot down, spelled the end for IV./JG 27 and led to thier immediate disbandment.

The following passages from Ring and Girbig touch on JG 27's activities during 1945:

Im Laufe des Monats muß das Geschwader fast das gesamte Personal der jüngeren Jahrgänge abgeben. Sie werden allen möglichen Verbänden des Heeres, der SS und der Luftwaffenfelddivisionen eingliedert. In diese Zeit hinein erreicht das Geschwader ein Befehl, dem heute und an dieser Stelle einen Kommentar hinzufügen wohl überflüssig is.

Aufgrund erhöhten Abwehrverbrauchs im Osten sind durch das OKL neue Answeisungen für den Luftwaffeneneinsatz im Westen befohlen worden: “Schärfste Einschränkung des Jageinsatzes auf nur wirklich erfolgversprechende Lagen...”

Aber wann bieten jetzt noch einmal solche erfolgversprechenden Lagen? Und so wird gemäß der neuen Anweisung fast nicht mehr geflogen. Sechs Wochen lang wartet das Geschwader am Boden, nur hin und wieder einmal ein Einsatz.

Am 22. und 23. Februar sind alle vier Luftflotten der Alliierten in der Luft und demonstrieren ihre Stärke durch das Unternehmen “Clarion”. Das ist die luftstrategische Vorbereitung der Großoffensive gegen den Rhein. Mit rund 9000 Bombern, Jabos und Jägern erscheinen sie über dem Reichsgebiet.

Aus diesem Grund lebt die Einsatztätigkeit des JG 27 Ende Februar wieder auf... Mitte des Monats stoßen die britischen Truppen nach schweren Kämpfen bei Goch vor und gelangen in den Raum südlich von Kleve. Von hier aus bereiten sie dann den Sprung über den Rhein vor. Dieser Aktion wird ein großes Luftlandeunternehmen bei Wesel vorangeschickt.

Um dieselbe Zeit macht sich das JG 27 zur Verlegung auf verschiedene Plätze im Teutoburger Wald bereit, nimmt aber auch an den Kämpfen am Niederrhein teil.

Um den 18. März herum kommt das Geschwader wieder in Bewegung und gibt seine Plätze um Rheine nun endgültig auf. Der Stab verlegt nach Horn, die I. Gruppe kommt nach Störmede bei Lippstadt, die II. nach Lippspringe und die III. nach Gütersloh.

Am 19. März hat das JG 27 wieder acht Gefallene und vier Verwundete zu beklagen. Mustang schießen an diesem Tag eine ganze Staffel der IV. Gruppe herunter. Sie verliert allein sechs Flugzeugführer.

Leutnant Beckmann rollt kurz nach 9 Uhr mit seiner 3. Staffel zum start, um von Rheine nach Lippstadt zu verlegen. Über dem Flugplatz waren etwa 45 Indianer gemeldet. Der Kommodore zögerte Startbefehl zu gebe. Daraufhin gab Divisions-General trotz der schwierigen Lage Befehl zum Start. Die 3. Staffel startete und wurde angegriffen. Die gesamte Staffel mit Ausnahme von Uffz. Horst, der als einziger in Störmede ankam, und Lt. Schreyer, wurde abgeschossen und größtenteils verwundet.

Für die IV. Gruppe bedeutet der Frühlingsanfang am 21. März 1945 das Ende. Am Morgen dieses Tages geht über Achmer ein furchtbarer Viermot-Angriff hinweg, der Rollfeld und Liegeplätze völlig zerstört. Was durch die Bomben verschont bleibt, vernichten anschließend die Jabos. Anderthalb Stunden sind sie über dem Platz. Nur einzige Maschine des gesamten Flugzeugbestandes von 38 Messerschmitt bleibt übrig.

Nach der Tragödie von Achmer wird die IV./JG 27 nunmehr aufgelöst, die Flugzeugführer werden auf andere Gruppen verteilt. Für das Bodenpersonal kommt der Abmarschbefehl nach Braunschweig. Die Stabskompanie unter Hauptman Neuberger findet sich im Erdeinsatz während der Kämpfe um Berlin wieder und erlebt nach dem Rückzug über Mecklenburg dort das Kriegsende. Den übrigen 400 Mann der Bodenteile ergeht es ähnlich. Auch sie werden zu anderen Einheiten versetzt und nehmen an den Erdkämpfen teil.

Von den wenigen Einsätzen, die von den Plätzen im Teutoburger Wald aus geflogen werden, bleibt nicht mehr viel zu berichten. Dem Abschuß von fünf gegnerischen Jägern stehen nochmals schwere Verluste gegenüber. Allein am 24. März fallen zwölf Flugzeugführer, und vier werden verwundet.

Sechs Tage nach diesem verlustreichen 24. März tauchen ersten amerikanischen Panzer vor Paderborn auf. Doch bis jetzt liegt noch kein Verlegungsbefehl für die Jagdflieger vor. Also Rücksprache mit Major Franzzisket, seit 30. Dezember 1944 Kommodore des JG 27. Dieser entscheidet, daß das Geschwader die Plätze auf eigene Faust verlassen soll. Am Abend des 30. März starten die Maschinen.

Jetzt liegen die E-Häfen in den Ausläufern des Harzes und des Elm. Die Verteilung sieht wie folgt aus: Stab und I. gruppe in Helmstedt, II. in Völkenrode bei Braunschweig und die III. in Goslar. Der Geschwaderstab verlegt in den nächsten Tagen gleich nach Gitter bei Salzgitter weiter. Auch in den neuen Räumen kommt es außer dem Abschuß einiger gegnerischer Artillerieflugzeuge zu keinen größeren Erfolgen mehr. Dagegen verliert das Geschwader bis 9. April weitere zwölf Flugzeugführer, und da sich die meisten Einsätze gegen die amerikanischen Panzerspitzen im Gebiet des Harzes und westlich Hannover richten, fallen die meisten Piloten davon der gegnerischen Panzerflak zum Opfer.

Die letzte Verlegung im Geschwaderverband beginnt am 8. April 1945. Das ergibt schon nach wenigen Tagen wieder ein anderes Bild, denn der Stab liegt nun in Breitenfeld bei Salzwedel, die I. geht direkt nach Salzwedel und muß diesen Platz wegen Panzerbeschuß sofort wieder aufgeben. Während die II. Gruppe nun in Helmstedt einfällt, befinden sich ihre Bodenteile in Salzwedel. Die III./JG 27 trifft in Halferstadt ein.

In raschen, unaufhaltsamen Vorstößen erreichen die alliierten Truppen die Elbe und treffen bei Torgau auf die von Osten herankommenden Spitzen der russischen Armee. Dadurch wird auch das Jagdgeschwader 27 gespalten und die Wege trennen sich von nun an. Die im Nordraum verbleibenen Einheiten, bestehend aus Geschwaderstab, der II. Gruppe und kleinen Teilen der I. Gruppe, ziehen sich über Rathenow, Perleberg und Schwerein zurück.

Einsatzmäßig kommt es im Mecklenburgischen Raum zu letzten Feinberührungen mit der russischen Luftwaffe. Die Verbände erringen noch einmal sieben Luftsiege, ehe sie dann nach Holstein aufbrechen. In Unaften und Handewitt bei Flensburg und Leck erleben sie den endgültigen Zusammenbruch, doch bleibt ihnen als kapitulierende Truppe eine Gefangennahme erspart. 53

No evidence has yet been found that +25 lbs boost was employed in service by Spitfire XIV squadrons prior to VE day. Even at +25 lbs. the Spitfire XIV still fell short of the sea level performance of the Tempest V and highly boosted Mustangs. There is clear documentation that 2nd TAF Spitfire XIVs had their Griffon engines set to +21 lbs boost. Its also clear that the Griffon engine was eventually approved for +25 lbs maximum combat boost. Although the Spitfire XIV's strength was in the medium and high altitude role, the paucity of Luftwaffe opposition led to the Squadrons engaging in ground attack, where flak was a much larger threat than Me 109s.

Ian Ponsford who was credited with 7 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 probable and three damaged whilst flying Spitfire XIV's with 130 Squadron recalled:

The Spitfire XIV was the most marvellous aeroplane at that time and I consider it to have been the best operational fighter of them all as it could out-climb virtually anything. The earlier Merlin-Spitifre may have had a slight edge when it came to turning performance but the Mark XIV was certainly better in this respect than the opposition we were faced with. The only thing it couldn't do was keep up with the FW 190D in a dive. It could be a bit tricky on take off if one opened the throttle too quickly as you just couldn't hold it straight because the torque was so great from the enormous power developed from the Griffon engine. One big advantage that we had over the Germans was that we ran our aircraft on advanced fuels which gave us more power. The 150 octane fuel that we used was strange looking stuff as it was bright green and had an awful smell - it had to be heavily leaded to cope with the extra compression of the engine.


Spitfire XIV of 402 (RCAF) Squadron with 126 Wing, 2nd TAF, Heesch, the Netherlands, March 4, 1945

Combat Reports

610 Squadron's Intelligence Officer recorded on 7 March, 1944 what may be the Spitfire XIV's first aerial combat:

     Black section, (P/O Hussey and F/Sgt. Harding) were patrolling on an east west line about 20 miles south east of Start Point 500 feet above sea level, under the control of Kingswear C.H.L. Station.
     At approx 17.30 hours the Section was told to investigate unidentified aircraft 15 miles ahead, on a vector 120 degrees. After two minutes this vector was changed to 150 degress (At this time Black one was using only plus 12 lbs boost with his jet tank still on, and the A.S.I. was clocking about 350 miles per hour.) The section was now outside G.C.I. cover, but after about a minute 3 F.W. 190's appeared from 9 o'clock approx 200 feet below, flying in a fairly close vic on a rough vector of 240 degrees; visibility was bad owing to haze, and the section had hardly seen the E/A before they had passed underneath to 3 o'clock.
     Black Section immediately pulled round to the right, and it seemed that the E/A saw them at the same moment, for as our section turned on their tails, black smoke was seen pouring from their engines as they pushed everything forward and dived to sea level. The F.W. 190 on the left of the section turned south, and the other two turned away and disappeared into the haze and glare of the sun. Our section gave chase to the single F.W. 190 which at this time, was about 800 yards ahead, right on the deck. We closed without difficulty but when 400 yards away, Black 1 noticed a F.W. 190 making a quarter attack on him from between 4 and 5 o'clock, so gave the order to "break right". As he pulled up he saw the E/A fireing at him with insufficient deflection, and it appeared that the turning circle of the Spitfire XIV was better than that of the F.W. 190. Black 1, at 1,000 feet, was now in the haze and lost sight of the F.W. 190 and his No. 2.
     Black 2, who was on the left of Black 1, saw the F.W. 190 break off his attack on Black 1, and dive south west to sea level, so he rolled down to the left and got on to the tail of the F.W. 190 at a distance of about 800 yards (The F.W. 190 that our section had been chasing originally, had disappeared by this time)
     At first Black 2, did not close on the F.W. 190 as fast as he would have liked (probably due to the excitement, he forgot to jettison his tank with Black 1 at the commencement of the first chase. The addition of the jet tank would probably take off 30 miles per hour.) Another F.W. 190 now appeared ahead at about 11 o'clock, and joined formation on the left of the aircraft that Black 2 was chasing.
     Black 2 now found that he was closing in quite fast, around 400 I.A.S. and opened fire on the left hand F.W. 190 from dead astern at 300 yards he saw strikes on both wing roots and panels flew off the port mainplane as he closed to about 100 yards. Not until the strikes were observed did the other E/A take any action. Even then he did nothing for some time, then pulled straight up and round to the left, and tried to get on the tail of Black 2. Black 2 took a final squirt at his target whose only evasive action was pitching slightly up and down, before he broke into the other E/A which was trying to get on his tail (although clocking 360 m.p.h. the turning circle of the Spitfire seemed superior to that of the F.W. 190) The F.W. 190 fired at Black 2 but allowed insufficient deflection then broke off his attack and disappeared into the mist. The E/A was not seen again. 60

F/L J. B. Lawrence of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 6th October, 1944:

     We were scrambled after Huns coming in from Venlo - Wesel area. I was flying Red 1 and led the squadron south. On following the vectors from Kenway we came up underneath the Huns as they were approaching Nijmegen. We climbed under a loose gaggle of 15 plus 109's when I sighted one 109 alone crossing in front of me. I turned into line astern and closed quickly. I fired one very short burst and the 109 went into a diving turn to starboard. I turned inside him and at about 20° off 200 yds. range I fired another burst of about 2 secs. Strikes were observed on cockpit and engine. Pieces flew off, and white and black smoke poured out. The enemy a/c turned into a steep spiral to port. He dived into the ground two or three miles S. of Nijmegen. I saw no parachute. I claim one Me 109 destroyed. All observed by Red. 2.
     After this engagement, five of us reformed and headed S.E. climbing. Red 2 and myself observed a lone 109 flying east at about 18,000 ft. We headed towards him and he went into a dive which steepened to the vertical. When near ground level, he attempted to level off. On pulling out, his aircraft disintegrated and fell in just N.E. of Cleve. I claim this for the squadron. 61

F/O W. H. Whittaker of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 6th October 1944:

     When at approx 17,000 ft. a Me 109 passed above and in front of my No. 1 who turned towards the e/a while in a steep climbing turn. Red 1 however was not able to get a shot at the e/a which then passed directly in front of me turning and climbing steeply. I fired a two secs. burst from about 200 yds. at 40° - 50° angle off. The a/c seemed to shudder and stall and went down in an almost vertical spin. The e/a then disappeared under my nose as I climbed to regain Red 1.
     F/Lt. J.B. Lawrence however saw the action and saw the strikes near the cockpit. He saw the e/a go down in the spin and hit the ground 5 miles south of Nijmegen near a small wood. I claim this e/a destroyed. 62

F/L A. R. Speare of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 6th October, 1944:

     I was flying as Yellow 1 when Kenway reported Huns at 25,000 ft. S.E. Nijmegen. Soon afterwards we sighted them at 12 o'clock above and we climbed into them. I picked out two that were diving away. I lost one of them but followed the other FW 190 from 20,000 ft. down to the deck. The Hun took evasive action by doing steep climbing turns to starboard and then diving down again. I kept on his tail and took one 1 sec. burst when he was in a turn but did not allow enough deflection. I finally got to within 100 yds. range line astern and as he was doing a climbing turn I gave him a 2 secs. burst. I saw strikes on the engine, cockpit and wing and black smoke began to come from the e/a. He half rolled to port and dove striaght into the ground where he exploded. I claim this e/a destroyed. 63

F/O Harry Walmsley of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 8 December, 1944:

     On 8th December I was Yellow 3, and my squadron had been detailed on armed recce to cover Dulmen, Hamm, Munster. There were 9 aircraft airbourne at 1409 and W/Cdr. Keefer was leading. About 1505 we approached Burgstein. Red and Blue sections went to one side of the town and my section went to the other. We saw a locomotive with about ten trucks. We had made one attack on the loco. and two on the trucks and were preparing to make another when about a dozen aircraft appeared from the east and they dived straight past us as if they wre joining in the attack on the train. These aircraft had cigar-shaped drop tanks slung under the centre of the fuselage and I thought at first they were American aircraft. I then saw the crosses on the wings and I could see that they were Me 109's and FW 190's. A dog fight started with everyone milling round. After about five minutes I found myself alone. I saw another train pulled up in a station so I went down and had a squirt at it and saw strikes on the locomotive. When I pulled up I saw a Spitfire in trouble. It was smoking and the undercarriage partly down. I joined up with it to protect it. There were five Spitfires there. I do not know what happened to the damaged Spitfire for suddenly six e/a probably some of the ones I had first seen came diving down out of cloud. They had obviously climbed and reformed after the initial attack. This second attack made from 10/10th. cloud at 1,500 feet was obviously directed against the damaged Spitfire. Some of the others in the Squadron chased them off. I went for two which were making an attack. I made a quater attack on one of them, an Me 109, closing to 300 yards and giving a two second burst with all guns. I saw strikes behind the cockpit the e/a dived straight into the ground. I found I was being fired at by two e/a so I used full evasive tactics for about five minutes and finally got away into cloud. I landed at Heesh as I was short of petrol and made my claim to the Intelligence Officer there. I then returned to base. I claim this Me 109 destroyed.
     I am sure that on the sides of the fuselage there where white roundels. The e/a were very persistant, the leaders certainly were very well clued up, I have never seen Huns fight so well. Their tactics were good in that obviously after the first attack they climbed to cloud and reformed. They definately caught us by surprise. I think they had either been on patrol, or had been scrambled, and when they saw smoke from the train they knew where we were and attacked out of cloud. The Spitfire XIV is definitely better than the 109 as I could do a better climbing turn even with my tank on. With my tank on the e/a could almost follow me but could not get a deflection shot at me. The e/a were using tracer and self-destructing ammunition. The camouflage was earth green and brown and blended well with the cloudy weather. 64

F/Sgt. G. W. Hudson of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 8 December 1944:

     On 9th December (actually the 8th) I took off with the squadron (nine aircraft) on G.C.17 (armed recce. to Dulmen, Munster and Hamm). I was yellow 2. Near Burgstein we found a train and my section which was led by F/L. Hume and which comprised F/L. Walmsley and myself went down to attack. I was last to attack and as I flew through the smoke my windscreen became badly covered. I flew around for awhile and then I saw some aircraft coming from the S.E. at about 500 feet and they were diving on the train. I could not see very well and at first I thought they were Mustangs. They looked as if they were camouflaged silver-gray. Someone then called up and said they were Huns. I looked round and found that one of them was on my tail firing at me. I did a steep climbing turn to the right and evaded them by getting into cloud. I flew above cloud for a minute or two and then came down again but could see nothing of the e/a. I then heard some one call again saying "There are Huns up here". I went up but saw nothing. By this time my windscreen had cleared so I came down again and then saw a dog fight going on about two miles away behind me on my port side. I saw two Me 109's going away on the deck. I could now see they were 109's. They had black spinners and there appeared to be a black ring behind the propeller. I went after them and I attacked what appeared to be the No. 1 of the section. I came in from the starboard side and fired from about 300 yds., but my first burst was behind. My angle of deflection had been about 35°. I pulled the stick back hard and my next burst of about 1 1/2 seconds from 200 to 250 yards. at an angle off of 25-30° hit him. I saw strikes all over the wings and the fuselage. The e/a broke left and the other broke right. The one I had attacked was wobbling very badly. I nearly overshot as he broke and I got above him. I could see the machine wobbling, the pilot had the hood open, there was smoke coming from the starboard side and I could see the holes in the wings where I had hit him. I broke away to the left as the No.2 was now attacking and I climbed away into cloud.
     I claim this Me 109 as probably destroyed, as when I last saw it it was wallowing around and appeared out of control at about 150 feet.
     I could not get rid of my drop tank at first, but I found that even with the tank on I could turn inside the e/a. 65

F/O K. M. Lowe (AUS) of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 8 December 1944:

     On 8th December, 130 Squadron led by W/Cdr. Keefer were engaged on an Armed Recce coevering Dulmen, Hamm, and Munster (G.C.17). At 1505 when just N.E. of Burgstein yellow section was attacking a train. F/O Lowe says " I was Blue 1, and my section, with Red section, were patrolling at deck level as Yellow section attacked the train. Yellow section reported Huns, so I turned my section to starboard and flew towards the train. I saw five e/a. at 2,000 ft. in line astern turning to port and I climbed up and picked the last one and came in at a rate two turn. I opened fire with all armament from 250 yards, using 1½ rings deflection. I saw no result from my 3 secs. burst. I closed in to about 150 yards, the e/a. which was a 190 taking no evasive action. Allowing 10 - 15° deflection I again opened fire with all armament. I saw strikes on the engine and this caught fire. I pulled out to the side of the e/a. It hovered in the air and then dived straight into the ground. I saw what appeared to be the pilot get out, but no parachute opened. The e/a. was camouflaged dark green and appeared almost black. I claim this FW 190 destroyed. I lost sight of the other e/a. in cloud.
     W/Cdr. Keefer who was Red 1, substantiates this claim. He says:- "I saw the aircraft attacked by F/O. Lowe hit the ground. It did not catch fire". 66

P/O F. C. Riley (AUS) of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 8 December 1944:

     I was Red 2 to W/Cdr. Keefer. I was with the squadron which was on an Armed Recce in the Dulmen, Hamm, Munster area. Between 1505 and 1510 we were near Burgstein when e/a appeared. I covered my No. 1's tail as he went up through cloud firing at one of the e/a. The cloud was thick so I came down below it again and while doing an orbit at about 1,000 ft. below cloud about six Me 109's came from the east in a gaggle. They obviously saw the Spitfires and they at once started to make for the cloud. I followed one 109 into cloud, got within about 300 yds climbing and in a slight turn to port. I fired with all guns at a slight angle and saw strikes on the cockpit. Smoke began to pour from the engine. The e/a dived very steeply through the cloud and I was unable to follow as I was occupied pulling out myself. I lost sight of the e/a. I do not think this e/a could have got home as he could not have pulled out of his dive. F/Lt. Walmsley confirms that he saw a 109 dive into the ground from cloud and crash south of Burgstein at approximately the time and place of my combat. I claim this 109 destroyed.

F/Lt. Walmsley says:- "I stayed to the south and south east of the railway lines and was no-where in the vicinity of F/O Lowe's combat. I saw a 109 dive straight into the ground and crash at approximately the time and place of P/O Riley's combat." 67


Spitfire XIVs of 130 Squadron with 125 Wing, 2nd TAF, B82/Grave, Holland, October 1944

F/Lt D. Sherk of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25th December 1944:

     The Squadron was flying on a sweep at approx. 13,000 ft. S.E. Aachen. F/Lt. D. Sherk states: "I was Blue 4 flying number 2 to F/O Whittaker who was Blue 3. An e/a was sighted diving S.E. and Blue 3 and 4 broke off to follow. The e/a was chased down to 500 ft. where he started to level off and turn North. I closed to about 400 yards and gave a 1 to 2 second burst at an angle off of 30°. No results observed from this burst. I continued to chase the e/a throught a turn of 180° judging for deflection. While on a Southerly heading I gave another 1 to 2 second burst at an angle off of 15° and saw an explosion somewhere around the engine cowling. Parts of the e/a flew off and then I saw the e/a pilot jettison his coop top. At this instant I gave the e/a another short burst and saw the pilot bale out. The e/a crashed into a forest. I did not see the Pilot's parachute open. I claim 1 FW 190 Destroyed. Cine gun was used" 68

F/L F.A.O. Gaze of 610 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 January, 1945:

     I had been split up from my section by intense accurate light friendly flak from just N.E. of Leige and was returning alone to base.
     When 1 mile east of base at 2,000 ft. I sighted 8 FW 190's heading N.E. on deck. I dived down behind them and dead astern. I closed in on the last one to 800 yards range before he saw me. He then opened up. I closed to 600 yards. Much light and accurate flak came up from the river and I fired a 2 second burst. This missed and only hit the ground. I fired again and missed and much white tracer came up. I fired a third burst as he climbed over a clump of trees. I saw strikes on fuselage and belly. His flaps came down and as I passed over him I saw him crash into a field at a speed of about 250 m.p.h. Because of the flak I banked sharply away and flew back to base being continually fired on by American flak. I claim this e/a destroyed. 69

F/Lt L. J. Packwood of 2 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 January, 1945:

I was flying as No.2 to F/Lt. YOUNG on a Tac/R of Amersfoort area. East of Amersfoort we sighted 2 Ju. 88's escorted by 30+ mixed Me. 109's and F.W. 190's flying west. We turned up sun of the formation and attacked the last section. I attacked a Me 109 from dead astern and above, the enemy a/c took no evasive action. I gave it a 5 sec. burst with cannon and machine guns, closing from 400 - 150 yds. I observed strikes on the cockpit and fuselage, the enemy a/c disintegrated, the starboard wing broke off and flicked over on its back and hit the ground in flames at E.3596. This was also observed by F/Lt. YOUNG. I pulled vertically upwards and broke off the engagement.

I claim 1 Me. 109 destroyed. 70

S/L D. I. Benham of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 23 January, 1945:

     I was leading Red and Blue Sections when flying along railway to MUNSTER on an Armed Recce after shooting up locos and MET when 12 FW 190's carrying 2 x 250 lb Bombs appeared on the deck flying S.W. from Munster. The a/c made for DETTELN and WALDROP Ballons in a gentle curve to their right at 360 M.P.H. We followed and just overhauled them with 18 lbs boost having previously dropped tanks.
     I closed on a FW 190 to 200 yds on a slight turn to port and opened fire 200 yds, with a half ring deflection. The FW 190 struck some trees, crashed and blew up at A 9543. Seeing other of our a/c chasing an e/a I looked in my mirror and saw an e/e firing at me, causing one hit on my starboard wing. I pulled back and climbed vertically, turning to starboard. My No.2 (F/O Hegarty) saw the FW 190 try to follow my manoeuvre but it flicked over and after stalling on its back, during which time the pilot baled out, the FW 190 spun in from 500 ft at A 9038.
     I claim 2 FW 190's destroyed. 71

F/O Hegarty of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 23 January, 1945:

     After witnessing the Squadron Commanders combats I was chased by a FW 190 and broke very sharply to port, so that I was able to see the 190 trying to follow my maneouvre which he failed to do and flicked out of his turn and went straight into the ground from 500 ft. I took Cine pictures of the wreckage. W/O P. H. Hale confirms the destruction of this e/a and saw it go up in flames at A 9130.
     I claim one FW 190 destroyed. 72

F/Lt J. R. MacElwain of 2 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 10 February 1945:

      I was flying as No. 1 with F/O JEFFERIES on Tac/R in ARNHEM and had pulled up to 8,000-ft. when I saw 2 unidentified a/c at 200-ft. flying S.W. along the Canal towards LOCHEM.
      I went down followed by my No. 2 in order to identify the a/c and recognized them as ME.109Gs with L.R.T. They were camouflaged dark and light green with the dark crosses showing clearly.
      As I positioned for attack the section broke to port – one very sharply and the other more slowly, dropping their tanks. The latter was the one I attacked. As we did a series of turns I gave him several short bursts and he finally flew straight with full throttle, climbing slightly. I opened up and held him quite easily and from slightly on his starboard allowed ½ ring deflection, seeing strikes on his starboard wing; I closed to about 150 yards dead astern and saw further strikes on tail and fuselage. The E/A pulled up to 400-feet., jettisoned his hood and baled out. The a/c went straight in and was seen blazing on the ground by No. 2. The pilot’s chute failed to open.
      I claim 1 ME.109G destroyed. 73

F/Sgt Moyle of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 14 February, 1945:

     I was flying Yellow 4 on an armed recce to Lingen area, when just south east of Rheine, "Music" a/c reported Me.109's above, in Rheine area. Yellow 1 immediately made for the area & a gaggle of a/c was sighted at approx. 6000 ft, own height was 4000 ft., east of Rheine. Yellow 3 and myself pulled up and climbed in a port orbit, into th a/c. The E/A continued to orbit port and climbed above us. We overtook on the climb & came on the same level as E/A at approx. 15,000 ft. Four short nosed Fw.190's slightly above to my port turned in towards me & I broke left. The fourth E/A was lagging slightly & I got on to 30° & opened fire at 450 yds., saw no strikes, increased deflection to 1 1/3 rings, still at 30°, I saw strikes on wing root, continuing firing with more strikes, still at wing root & E/A burst into flame, with black smoke issuing from under fuselage. E/A flicked over on back and dived earthwards in spirla, with black smoke issuing from under fuselage. E/A continued to spiral down to low scattered cloud, went through quite a large hole & a couple of seconds later I saw large explosions on ground, almost immediately below point of combat. The other three Fw.190's dived away north as I broke to port. Being alone I asked for homing, but battery was flat & I could not receive, so headed west on safety course 260°, crossed Mass & sighted Y.32 & landed at Y.29.
     I claim one Fw.190 destroyed. 74

W/O I. T. Stevenson of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 14 February, 1945:

     While on armed recce we met 486 Squadron who were orbitting under 12 or 16 E/A. They asked us to climb up & chase these down. Yellow 4 & I climbed up & engaged about 12/16 E/A who were now at 18,000. Just before we got up to the E/A they came down to bounce us, we kept on turning & I got a shot at one FW.190 & observed many strikes on the cowling & wings. The E/A sent out black oil smoke & flicked. I last saw him going down pouring smoke. I could not watch this a/c as there were about another 5 or 6 e/a around us. I engaged another a/c & observed strikes but had to break off as there were two more Fw.190's on my tail. I shook them off & was able to get a short burst in on another e/c, before my ammunition gave out. Just as I finished my ammunition the e/a cleared off & I returned to base.
     I claim one FW.190 probably destroyed & One FW.190 damaged. 75

F/Lt J. Lavigne of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 21 February, 1945:

     I was Red 1 and I was leading nine aircraft of 350 Squadron on an armed recce. We had chased several Me 262's which were all heading N/E towards the aerodromes at Rheine and Hopsten, so I decided to re-form the squadron and orbit these aerodromes. I re-formed the squadron at 8,500 feet and at 1730 hours we had reached Hopsten. I saw two Me 262's going in to land E/W. I was preparing to attack them when I saw three aircraft below me at between nought and 500 feet. I went down and had picked out No. 2 in the gaggle. The pilot of the e/a saw me and broke left. I followed him in his turn and allowing about one and a half rings deflection I opened fire with all armament from 200 yards closing to 100 yards, finishing up dead astern of the e/a. I saw a big explosion in the right wing root and the e/a which was then at 500 feet flicked over on its back and slowed up. It was smoking badly and dived in in the circuit south of the aerodrome. I claim this aircraft as destroyed. During the dogfight I saw about 20 e/a. 76

F/O A. Van Wersch of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 21 February, 1945:

    I was Blue 1 and I was flying with eight other aircraft of the Squadron on an armed recce to the Rheine area. With others of the Squadron I had chased several ME 262's but with no luck. They were all heading N/E and the squadron reformed to recce the aerodromes at Rheine and Hopsten. Just south of Rheine I saw two Me 109's right on the deck and as I pulled up one passed underneath me going in the same direction as myself. I dived on to him from behind and opened fire at 400 yards allowing slight deflection. Closing to 250 I fired with all armament and saw many strikes on the left main plane. The e/a climbed to cloud which was at 5,000 feet and I followed. The e/a came down again pouring black smoke. I followed and opened fire again from 400 yards astern. I gave him a long burst and the e/a turned over and went right into the ground south of the town of Rheine, between Rheine and the aerodrome. I claim this e/a as destroyed. The e/a was camouflaged light blue grey. 77

P/O Louis Lambrechts of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 21 February, 1945:

     I was flying as Red 3 with eight other aircraft of the Squadron on an Armed Recce to the RHEINE area. The Squadron had reformed above cloud after several of the pilot's had chased ME 262's without result. At about 1730 we were near to the RHEINE Aerodrome when I saw an ME 109 at 600 to 700 ft. There was a dog fight going on and as I went after the e/a the pilot pulled up and went above cloud which was between seven and eight tenths at 5,000 ft, with clear patches. I went after him and at about eight or nine thousand feet attacked. I came up behind him and I had closed to between 75 and 100 yards. I was dead astern and opened fire with all my guns. There were strikes all over the cockpit and engine. The aircraft went on its back and dived vertically down out of control smoking badly.
     Soon afterwards I saw 2 more ME 109's at 3,000 ft and one of them was chasing F/Sgt Brahy. I got behind this e/a and opened fire at about 500 yds from dead astern, closing until the e/a broke away from F/Sgt Brahy. I saw strikes on the left wing. I had no more ammunition left and as another e/a was then attacking me I pulled up and left the one I had been attacking. I claim the first 109 destroyed and the second damaged. 78

F/Lt. D. J. Reid of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25th February 1945:

     I was leading Blue Section of 4 a/c on a sweep to the Rheine - Dummer area. In the region of Gronau a large formation of aircraft, believed to be hostile, was sighted above, and flying in the direction of Wesel. When the e/a saw us they scattered and dived away to the east. We gave chase to beyond Munster but were unable to overtake them, eventually losing sight of the e/a in the ground mist and poor light. I then reformed my section and returned to Rheine, where my No.2 P/O Fleming, reported an aircraft flying below us. I identified this as a FW.190 (long nosed) amd attacked from the port quarter. I fired a short burst with machine guns (.5) and cannon with no result, the e/a taking evasive action by diving to the deck with turns from side to side. I closed to approx. 100 yds and fired another burst of about one second from dead astern. There was a violent explosion in the centre of the fuselage and the tail came off. The e/a crashed benath me and was completely destroyed by explosion and fire.
     I claim One FW.190 destroyed. 79

W/Cdr. George Keefer flying with 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     I was flying with 130 Squadron and was leading them and 350 Squadron on a fighter sweep to Rheine, there being fourteen aircraft altogother. As we neared Enchede at 0755 Control warned us of enemy aircraft at Rheine. We turned towards Rheine immediately and when just north east of Rheine I saw a glint below me. At first I could not see wheter there were e/a there so I left 350 on top and led 130 down. As we went down I saw about 15 109's flying s/w.
     I picked one out and the e/a dived away. I closed and got in behind him and gave him a burst with all my guns and I saw strikes on his hood. The e/a flicked over on his back, went down through the cloud and I saw a parachute come out.
     I fired at the e/a from dead astern and I gave him a fairly long burst. I claim this 109 destroyed. 80

F/Sgt Clay of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     I was flying Red 4 with 130 Squadron, which was engaged on a fighter sweep with 350 Squadron to Enchede, Rheine and Munster. W/Cdr Keefer, who was leading the formation went down on enemy aircraft which had been reported and which were sighted just north-east of Rheine. I spotted one 190 and came up on him from a long way off. The Hun pilot must have spotted me because he immediately dived away after rolling on his back. I was able to go down inside him and when I caught him up the Hun did a spiral turn. I came in line astern and from 300 yards opened fire with all guns. I saw strikes and either the cowling or the coup top came off. The e/a started to spin. I followed the e/a down and he continued to spin out of control. I followed to 5,000 feet and the e/a continued to spin down until I saw it hit the ground and blow up. I claim this FW 190 destroyed. 81

P/O Louis Lambrechts of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     I was Blue 3 of 350 Squadron and we were being led by W/Cdr Keefer on a fighter sweep to Rheine. Huns were reported by control when we were near Enschede, and the Wing turned towards Rheine. The W/Cdr who was with 130 Squadron led 130 down and 350 were told to stay above. As 130 went down a dog fight started below at about 12,000 feet so I went down with F/Sgt Pauwels who was Blue 4. I picked out a Me 109 which was turning very steeply. After about two or three turns I got in behind the e/a and the e/a then dived to the deck. I followed and the e/a then pulled up again in a steep turning climb. I followed him and when at about 2,000 feet I managed to get in to about 150 yards behind the e/a. I opened fire with all guns at a 10 degree angle off. I saw strikes all over the engine and the cockpit and the e/a immediately dived away out of control. I followed and the e/a crashed to the ground.
     I claim the Me 109 destroyed. 82

F/Lt Hoornaert of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     My Squadron was operating with 130 Squadron on a fighter sweep to the Enschede-Rheine area, and the W/Cdr was flying with 130 Squadron. 350 had seven aircraft airbourne and I was Blue 1. Just N/E of Rheine 130 went down on about fifteen e/a which were flying at about 11,000 to 12,000 feet and these Huns were flying S/W. I joined in the dogfight and there were aircraft turning everywhere. I started to turn in the middle of them. I found that there was a Me 109 trying to get on my tail and there began a game of hide and seek in and out of the clouds. Finally I stayed underneath the clouds and I saw the e/a quite a long way away so I opened up to full throttle and went after him. I caught him up and closed in behind to between 50 and 100 yards and I gave him everything I had. There was a big explosion and my wind screen became covered with oil and muck from the explosion. The e/a pulled up and I went underneath him. The e/a after pulling up dived down out of control and I saw it crash into a wood.
     I claim this enemy aircraft destroyed. 83

F/Sgt Jacques Groensteen of 350 (Belgian) Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     I was flying Blue 2 to F.Lt Hoornhaert, and the squadron was operating with 130 Squadron led by W/Cdr Keefer on a fighter sweep. We were N/E of Rheine and we were giving cover to 130 who had gone down to attack. When at about 10,000 feet I saw a gaggle of e/a at about seven or eight thousand feet. I followed my No. 1 down and I picked out a Me 109 which was flying at an angle of about 90 degrees to me. I turned and got on to his tail and the e/a began to turn. I kept on to his tail and I opened fire from 400 yards closing to about 100 yards. I was dead astern and I fired with cannon and machine guns. I had closed to what I estimate about 50 yards when the pilot of the e/a jettisoned his hood, turned the aircraft on its back and baled out.
     I claim the Me 109 destroyed. 84


Spitfire XIV of 350 (Belgian) Squadron, Lympne, September 1944

F/Lt. H. Walmsley of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 13 March, 1945:

     I was flying as Spinner Blue 1. We had passed South of Munster heading east at 11,000 feet when I saw 8 plus aircraft flying South at 2,500 feet. I called up and went down after them, intercepting over Hamm, and, finding that they were long nosed FW 190's, engaged the one on the extreme left. He broke down and proceeded due East at zero feet. After chasing him for 10 miles, firing occasional short bursts, I hit him around the cockpit with several cannon shells and quite a bit of debris came away. The range was 200-250 yards; angle off 5°. He pulled up steeply to port and the pilot baled out at 1,500 feet, the aircraft crashing close to where the pilot landed and lay on the ground without releasing his parachute. Both the e/a and I had long range tanks, neither of which were dropped, and at no time did I have to go "through the gate" in order to stay on his tail. 85

F/Sgt Clay of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 13 March, 1945:

     I was flying as Spinner Blue 3 at 11,000 feet South of Munster, heading East, when F/Lt Walmsley led us down on 8 long-nosed FW 190's which were flying South at 2,500 feet. I had no time to jettison my tank, but the Hun I attacked dropped his as I was closing in from behind and slightly below. He started to weave gently when I was about 500 yards behind. I opened fire at 400 yards closing right in; he turned sharply to port and I followed, still firing. Then I had to slide over to port to avoid hitting him as he slowed up very suddenly. His hood flew off and his aircraft was wallowing badly, out of control. We were now down to 700 feet and suddenly he nosed straight in and blew up in a railway siding in or very near HAMM. I could not see my strikes owing to a sheet of oil which covered my windscreen as soon as I went through the gate. My ringsight was almost obscured and sighting was difficult.
     Immediately after the E/A crashed, I was hit in the port wing by a cannon shell from a 190 which appeared on my tail with his No.2. I broke hard to port and they did not press home their attack, so I returned to base. I claim one e/a destroyed. 86

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 13 March, 1945:

     I was flying as Spinner Blue 4, and when approximately 10 miles East of Hamm, Blue leader called that he was going down. I followed and saw 4 e/a in line abreast at 2,500 feet. The whole section chased the e/a for about 3 minutes. I selected one and when at 400 yards dead astern I opened fire but saw no strikes. The e/a commenced to weave and I closed to 250 yards firing another 2 - 3 second burst at about 10° deflection at which the e/a started to smoke. I noticed tracer passing over my port wing so I broke and, as I did so, the e/a started to burn. Almost immediately afterwards I saw a large explosion and fire on the ground. Whilst doing tight turns following this combat at 2,500 feet I saw 4 e/a orbiting at 1,000 feet. I selected one and dived. The e/a saw me and tightened his turn but I got in one burst at 80 yards with full deflection and saw a cannon strike on the left wing. I had no more ammunition and broke away. I claim one FW 190 destroyed and one FW 190 damaged. 87

S/Ldr F. Woolley of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 13 March, 1945:

     I was leading Black Section of 4 aircraft on a bomber escort. The Wing was flying as four independant sections of four aircraft. The bombers were flying over 8/10 ths cloud at about 16,000 ft when I saw a gaggle of a/c through a gap at 6 o'clock travelling in the opposite direction, in the HAMM area. I rolled over and dived after them. On breaking through the cloud I saw a gaggle of about 20 a/c 1 mile ahead. They were travelling very fast and it took me about two minutes at full throttle to catch them up. I was not certain of their identity, so I attempted to pull up alongside the outside aircraft on the starboard side. The a/c turned into me and I recognised it as a FW 190. I got on to its tail and the e/a climbed up into a layer of wispy cloud. I opened fire from dead astern at 100 yds. I saw many strikes on the wing roots and fuselage. The aircraft then burst into flames from the port wing root and base of cockpit. I had to break sharply away to avoid flying through the debris.
     I claim this FW 190 Destroyed. 88

F/O G. Lord of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 19 March 1945:

     I was Blue 1 and was with the Squadron on a sweep to the Rheine-Osnabruck area. When Huns were reported at about 0930 I dropped my tank and went down and saw a number of e/a circling the aerdrome at Rheine at about 1,000 ft. I went in behind one ME 109 and closed very fast. The e/a took no evasive action and I opened fire with all guns from dead astern from about 200 yards closing to 50 yards. I saw strikes behind the cockpit. I overshot this e/a and I saw him crash land on the aerodrome. I claim this e/a damaged.
     After this I pulled round and saw another 109 but as I closed in I overshot him. The e/a was trying to turn so I pulled round on to him a second time and got behind him. The e/a was trying to do a tight turn. I turned inside him and fired from 200 yards. I saw strikes behind the cockpit and the machine blew up in the air. The pilot was able to bale out and I saw the parachute go down and finish up in a tree about a quarter mile to the east of the aerodrome.
     I claim this E/A destroyed.
     W/Cdr Keefer reports that after his combat he saw a parachute going down over the east end of the aerodrome. 89

F/Sgt G. Hudson of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 19 March, 1945:

     I was flying Red 3 with my Squadron sweeping to Rheine-Osnabruck-Munster. We were at 12,000 ft when Red 2 (W/O Edwards) reported e/a orbitting the aerodrome at Rheine. I saw the e/a about 10,000 ft below and went down with my No 2 (W/O Miller.) We were the first in and we went for six 109's which were orbitting the aerodrome. I picked out one e/a and attacked from almost dead astern; opening fire from about 200 yards. I saw strikes on the jet tank and on the underside of the fuselage. There was a terrific burst of flame and the e/a went straight into the aerodrome and crashed. I claim this e/a destroyed.
     A general melee ensued and I fired at several more e/a as they came into my sights but I did not hit them. Eventually I got on to one and I fired at him from about 30 degrees off decreasing to 15 degrees at a range of 300 yards. I saw strikes on the fuselage. Almost immediately I was hit by flak which had been intense and I had to break away. I saw no more of the second e/a which I claim as damaged.
     F/Sgt Hudson adds that during the combat he had time to see an enemy aircraft land wheels down on Rheine, but as it landed it pulled up over three others which were parked on the 'drome and it hit two of them as it passed over. 90

W/Cdr George Keefer of 125 Wing and leading 130 Squadron this day recorded in his Combat Report for 19 March, 1945:

     I was leading 130 (Punjab) Squadron on a sweep in the Rheine-Osnabruck area and at about 0930 when we were at 12,000 ft between the aerodromes at Rheine and Hopsten e/a were reported below. I led the Squadron down and a dog fight began at deck level near Rheine aerodrome from which there was intense light flak. I found two ME 109's going round in a turn. Eventually one straightened out and flew due east. I gave him a quick squirt from dead astern and saw strikes on the starboard wing. Closing in further I fired again and this time there were strikes on the top of the cockpit and I saw that the hood was dragging. The e/a slowed, pulled up and he stalled in from about 20 feet. I saw the e/a crash into a field. I claim this enemy aircraft destroyed.
     W/O Miller who was Red 4 adds that he saw the W/Cdr attacking this machine and that as he passed over it he saw the tail assembly was badly damaged. Glycol was also pouring from the e/a. 91

Lt. Helmut Beckmann of 3./JG 27 described the combat with 130 Squadron on 19 March 1945:

In den letzten Tagen war es schon sehr schwer, überhaupt dem Platz herauszukommen, da der Tommy vom frühen Morgen bis zum Abend fast ununterbrochen unsere Plätze ausserhalb der Flakzone umflog, um uns möglichst gleich nach dem Start zu erwischen. Um diesem Übel abzuhelfen, sollten wir auf einen Platz bei Lippstadt verlegen. Heute war es nun ruhig geblieben, da angeblich auf den Feindflugplätzen qbi wegen nebels herrschte. So rollte ich mit meiner 3 Staffel zur befohlenen Zeit, etwa gegen 10.00 Uhr, an den Start, nachdem mir vom Gefechtsstand versichert wurde, dass unser Gebiet feindfrei sei. Nun weiss ich nur noch, dass ich Gas gegeben habe, einmal nach rechts rausschaute um festzustellen, ob alle acht Maschinen mitkamen, und dann riss der Film.

Als ich nach 36 Stunden im nahen Krankenhaus Neuenkirchen aufwachte, glaubte ich zunächst, ich sei in einen der frisch zugeschütteten Bombentrichter geraten und hätte mich überschlagen. Wie erstaunt aber war ich, als ich mir am nächsten Tage von meinem mich besuchenden Staffeloffizier z.b.V. erzählen lassen musste, was alles passiert war:

Wir waren also mitten im Start, als ganz unangemeldet eine Staffel Spitfires über den Platz raste und genau hinter uns sass. Bis auf die letzte Maschine, Uff Horst, der noch beim Rollen war und in Tiefstflug entkommen konnte, sind wir alle in kurzer Zeit abgeschossen worden, da wir ja wegen zu geringer Fahrt noch gar nicht handlungsfähig waren. Mein Katschmarek Oblt. Roth ist brennend abgestürzt und war sofort tot. Alle übrigen sind mit Knochenbrüchen und Verstauchungen, teilweise nach Fallschirmabsprüngen, noch glimpflich davongekommen. Mich hat man im flachen Winkel in einen gegenüber dem Platz liegenden Wald fallen sehen, wobei es so krachte, dass man annahm, es sei "kein Auge trocken geblieben". In der Nähe meiner Absturzstelle arbeitende Häftlinge haben mich dann zuerst gefunden und, bevor die Wachmannschaften heranwaren, gründlich gefilzt. Von einem, der die Absturzstelle später gesehen hat, erfuhr ich, dass meine Machine zwischen zwei Bäumen hindurch raste, an denen die Flächen hängen blieben, dann mit dem Motor durch den Stamm eines mittleren Baumes schlug, wobei er ausgerissen wurde, und mit dem Schwanzende des verbleibenden Rumpfes so auf den Boden aufprallte, dass dieser hinter dem Tank noch einmal durchbrach. An dem Mittelstück mit dem Tank hing ich dann, zum Glück fest angeschnallt, mit dem Kopf nach unten im weichen Moss, während mir dass Benzin des geplatzten Tanks den Rücken herunterlief, was durch das Ätzen Verbrennungen 2 Grades auf dem ganzen Rücken zur Folge hatte. Ausserdem hatte ich eine starke Prellung an der Innenseite des rechten Unterschenkels, wahrscheinlich durch das Herausbrechen der zwischen den Beinen liegenden Kanone hervorgerufen. Der Arzt, der mich untersuchte – ich soll mich dabei so gewehrt haben, daß mich vier Mann halten mußten, - sagte mir, dass aus meinem linken Auge einem stecknadelkopfgrossen Splitter enfernt habe. Ob das die Ursache meiner Bewusstlosigkeit war, ist mir allerdings nicht klar geworden. Als wir am folgenden Tage wegen Fliegeralarm in den Keller mussten, hörte ich, wie hinter mir jemand, auf mich deutend, zu seinem Nachbarn sagte: "Das ist der, der immer geschrien hat: Lasst mich doch los, ich bin ja längst tot." 92


Photograph of Rheine Airfield taken on 5 April 1945 shortly after its capture by the British. The Me 109 being bulldozed was likely shot down on 19 March. On that day 3./JG 27 had taken off from Rheine to transfer to Lippstadt when Spitfire XIVs of 130 Squadron shot down all but the aircraft of Uffz. Horst, which escaped the onslaught.

F/Lt H. Walmsley D.F.C. of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     I was Red 1 and was leading eight aircraft of the Squadron on an armed recce to the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area. At approximately 16.45 we were at 3,000 ft and were flying north when I spotted about 12 aircraft approaching head on. They flew through Yellow Section so I called up and asked the Section what they were. The reply came "Huns". We broke into them and I could see that they were FW 190's of the long nosed variety. The Huns climbed into cloud, the base of which was about 4,000 ft. We went after them and a dog fight followed with us chasing the Huns in and out of the cloud. Finally I got on the tail of one and from line astern opened fire. I saw strikes all round the cockpit and the engine and the e/a went over on its starboard wing and down to the ground. I saw it crash in a field just East of a little village and it caught fire.
     I claim this e/a destroyed. 93

F/Lt P. E. Sibeth of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     I was flying Red 2 on an armed recce with the Squadron to the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERLOH area when at 3,000 ft we saw enemy aircraft approaching from the north at the same height a ourselves. We broke into the aircraft which were FW 190's. I fired at three of them but saw no strikes. I was coming down when I saw another one and this one was trying to get a beam shot at me. I turned and got on his tail and he went up through cloud. He came down again and was just to the port of me. I slipped in behind him and from almost dead astern opened fire from about 250 yds. We were then at about 900 ft. I gave him a long burst and saw strikes where the port wing joins the fuselage. The e/a immediately flicked over on his back and crashed straight into a small wood where it caught fire. I saw the aircraft burning in the wood. I claim this enemy aircraft destroyed. 94

F/Sgt P. H. T. Clay of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     I was Red 3 and the Squadron was doing an armed recce in the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area. Yellow 1 and 2 had left the formation leaving six of our aircraft. At about 1645 I saw aircraft approaching us as we were flying north. They were about 3,000 ft and they approached us to port. Red 1 called up and said "Watch these" and we broke round after the aircraft which were FW 190's of the long nosed variety. I chose one and he started to turn going down and I went through cloud after him right down to about 200 feet. I got in behind him and opened fire and I saw strikes to the engine. I closed right into him firing all the time. I broke away to one side and then I saw the pilot jettison his hood. He climbed to 500 ft and then he rolled over on his back and he baled out, but the parachute did not open. The A/C went straight into the ground and I took a photograph of it was it was burning.
I claim this aircraft destroyed.
After this I climbed above cloud and found a number of Spitfires circling there. I saw one FW 190 on his own so I chased after him and caught him easily. I opened fire from dead astern at 300 yards and I saw strikes on the port side of the fuselage and engine. The aircraft flicked over and went down through cloud. I tried to catch him but lost him in cloud.
I claim this aircraft as damaged. 95

Sgt G. D. Warren of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     The Squadron of eight aircraft was on an armed recce to the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area and I was flying Red 4. We were near WARENDORF flying north at 3,000 ft when the Huns appeared coming from the opposite direction at the same level. We turned into them and we all picked one for each. My Hun climbed at first and then did a half turn down. I went after him and opened fire from line astern at 800 yds closing to 200 yds. I saw strikes round the fuselage and on the wings and smoke began to come out. Down he went and I followed him. When near the ground the port wing of the e/a hit the ground and the aircraft turned over and crashed and blew up.
     I claim this aircraft destroyed. 96

W/O J. A. Boulton of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     I was flying Yellow 3 with F/Sgt Woodman as Yellow 4, and the formation of eight aircraft was on an armed recce to the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area. We were at 3,000 ft flying North when I saw about 15 aircraft at the same height coming towards us. I do not think they saw us and they passed us on our port side about 1,000 yards away. I identified them as FW 190's and my No 2 (F/Sgt Woodman) and I turned into them. We were then the first to attack. The Huns climbed for cloud, we climbed and passed through the Huns and they then came round back into us. I completed the circle and got on to one. I opened fire from about 300 yards at a angle off 30° and following strikes parts of the aircraft began to fall off. Then it caught fire and it went down vertically out of control with black smoke pouring from it. I last saw it at 1,000 ft going down vertically with flames and smoke coming from it and it would have been impossible for the pilot to have pulled out, that is if the pilot was still alive. I claim this e/a destroyed.
     Just as I broke away from this combat my guns stopped with the exception of one. I therefore climbed to 5,000 ft and I hung about up there. FW 190's kept popping up out of the cloud and I kept jumping on to them trying to get really on to one. Eventually one came along and from 20° angle off I fired from 250 yards. One cannon only was firing and as a result of my two second bursts I saw between 15 and 20 strikes all over the engine. Flame came from the engine and the Hun immediately went down into cloud and I lost him. I claim this second aircraft as probably destroyed. 97

F/Sgt B. W. Woodman of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 March, 1945:

     I was Yellow 4 and we took off at 1547 with eight aircraft for an armed recce in the Dummer Lake - Gutersloh areas. Yellow 1 and 2 had left us as Yellow 1's engine was giving trouble so W/O Boulton and myself comprised Yellow Section. Just after 1645 we were flying North when aircraft, which I identified as long nosed 190's passed us on the port side travelling in the opposite direction. We broke round into them and I found there were three of them in front of me. I picked on the last one of the three and climbed after him. I opened fire from about 800 yds and I saw strikes on the wing. The e/a rolled away. I claim this e/a damaged.
     I then got on to the second one and from 30° angle off opened fire again from about 800 yds. I closed in to about 400 yds and fired again from dead astern whilst climbing. I saw strikes on the wing roots on the port side. There was a burst of yellow flame from where I had seen the strikes. The aircraft went over on its back and it went down out of control and I saw a trail of smoke right down until the aircraft hit the ground. It finished up in a field where it continued to burn and there was just a mass of red embers. I claim this enemy aircraft destroyed.
W/O Boulton states:- I saw this combat and after F/Sgt Woodman's attack the e/a came down falling to pieces and burning furiously. As it went down to the ground it passed within 50 yds of me and the whole thing was on fire. 98


Spitfire XIVs of 130 Squadron at Eindhoven.

F/L H. Cowan of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 March, 1945:

     I was flying Red 3 in 402 Squadron on Sweep/Armed Recce when I saw a single aircraft passing under our formation and going N.E. at 6 o'clock. I called Red 1 and we both gave chase to investigate. I recognized the a/c as a FW 190. Red 1 fired without results and then the e/a broke port. I turned after it, closing to 50 yards when I opened fire in my turn from line astern for a half-second. The e/a suddenly blew up into flames around the cockpit. I gave another burst, still from 50 yards, line astern, for one second without seeing further strikes. The e/a rolled over on his back and went straight into the deck. The pilot did not get out.
     I claim one FW 190 destroyed. 99

F/O R. W. Lawson of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 31 March, 1945:

     I was flying Yellow 3 in 402 Squadron on Sweep/Armed Recce when I saw two aircraft passing under our section. Heading S.W. I called Red 1 and half-rolled down after the aircraft. I recognized them to be F.W. 190's. I picked out No.2 and fired from 150 yds. a second and half burst from approximately 10° port and slightly above. I saw strikes and a burst of flame from near the cockpit. He then half-rolled into a woods and exploded.
     I closed to 200 yds. on the leading enemy a/c and gave ½ second burst, saw no results. Then moved to 100/150 yds. dead line astern and fired 1½ second burst, saw strikes and the jet tank & coop-top fly off, a burst of flame, the enemy a/c then did a slight wing over and exploded in a field.
     Fixed gun-sight and Cine camera used. I claim two F.W. 190's Destroyed. 100

F/L B. E. Innes of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 31 March, 1945:

     I was flying Red 3 in 402 Squadron on a Sweep Armed Recce. I heard Yellow 3 call up that he was going down at 3 o'clock. I watched his line of attack and saw him after 2 FW 190's. I saw him shoot down one of the aircraft and was at 3000 ft when I saw a FW 190 about 500 ft making for low cloud turning SOUTH. I immediately dived from above at 800 yds 45°, fired a short burst into the enemy A/C which had just reached the low cloud. It burst into flames so I broke off my attack. The aircraft was seen burning on the ground by F/L Burrows and F/L Drummond. Fixed guns sight and cine camera used.
     I claim one FW 190 DESTROYED. 101


Spitfire XIV RM727 of 402 Squadron was flown by F/L H. Cowan when he shot down & killed Fw. Hans Eisenberg
flying a FW 190 D-9 of 13./JG 26 on 30 March 1945

F/O A. G. Ratcliffe of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 5 April, 1945:

     I was flying Red 6 on patrol over LINGEN/RHEINE area when twelve plus E/A ME 109's and FW 190's were sighted flying westerly course at about 2,000 ft. We broke starboard into them. Red 5 went for the last one in a section of three and I closed in on the leader as they circled anti clock wise. I opened fire at about 400 yds about 20° starboard and held fire until 50 yds. I saw tracers going into cockpit and watched him go down. The plane on hitting the deck burst into flames. It was a Me 109, did not see the pilot get out. Fixed sight, C G G used. I claim one ME 109 DESTROYED. 102

F/L W. F. Peck of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 5 April, 1945:

     I was flying Red 5 on a parol of the Lingen area when I sighted and reported 12 plus e/a flying towards us on a westerly course. We broke into them and I attacked a ME 109 giving him a 3 second burest from 4/500 yards, 20° port deflection. I saw strikes on the fuselage, the e/a them pulled up into cloud and disappeared.
     I attacked the second 109 giving a 1 to 2 second burst from 300 yards, 30° port, seeing strikes on port wingroots. He started down in a gentle spiral trailing black smoke. At this time I had to break sharply to avaoid a long-nosed 190 who attacked from above.
     I engaged a F.W. 190 firing a 3/4 second burst from 150/200 yards 10/15° deflection port. Bits of his starboard wing flew off, he flicked and went straight down. The e/a was at 1500 feet when the flick occured. I then noticed 3 more 190s to port and turned into them, selecting the No. 3 to attack. We half rolled right down to the deck and I caught up to him on the deck after covering about 5 miles. I closed in to 100 yards but had no ammo left. I broke off and rejoined to formation. Fixed sight and C.G.G. used.
     I claim 2 ME 109s damaged and the F.W. 190 dest. as a result of further intelligence information. 103

F/L H. Cowan of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 5 April, 1945:

     When on patrol over LINGEN on course 350° we sighted about 20 F.W. 190 and 109 e/a. We broke into them to starboard, they broke and we followed. I chased one F.W. 190 into cloud and subsequently lost him. I and my No. 2 came below cloud and circled. A F.W. 190 broke cloud behind us during our second turn and I pulled up after him decreasing our range until the e/a fitted well into my Gyro Sight. On opening fire from line astern and long range (about 700 yards) I got in a 2 to 4 second burst seeing strikes all over the cockpit and wingroot, whereupon he started pouring thick black smoke and flicked to starboard and vanished into a cumulus cloud in a downward turn.
     I looked around to see if all was clear to follow him when I sighted a second 190 sitting right over the top of my a/c. I pulled up steeply and was closing too fast and steeply to use Gyro Sight. I just lined e/a up in the glass of the sight and fired from about line astern and 50 yards, observing strikes on both wings. E/A spun to starboard and I pulled my a/c to port to avoid him as my speed had dropped to less than 100 m.p.h. I claim 1 F.W. 190 damaged. No more e/a were seen and we proceeded to base. I claim 1 F.W. 190 probably destroyed and 1 F.W. 190 damaged. 104

F/O Robert Muls of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 5 April, 1945:

     On April the 5th I was leading Yellow Section of 350 Squadron which was on an armed recce in the QUAKENBRUCK area. At 10.55 hrs whilst Yellow 3 & 4 had detached themselves to strafe ground targets I went down at V.8885 followed by Yellow 2 F/Sgt. NEULINGER, from 3000' to attack a vehicle. After hitting it I climbed and levelled out at 1000' on a Westerly course. At that moment I saw a F/W.190(long nose) coming towards me at my port side. I called No.2 and turned port towards the E/A; he turned also port but after 180°, I had him in my sights and opened fire at 200 Yds. I observed strikes on fuselage. The E/A rolled on its back and I closed to 50 Yds astern firing all the time. To avoid collision I broke away and climbed. Then No.2 came in and fired; at this moment the enemy pilot bailed out.
     No.2 and myself saw the parachute open and very near the ground.
     I clain the E/A destroyed, shared with F/Sgt. NEULINGER. 105

F/Sgt Neulinger of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 5 April, 1945:

     On April 5th I was No. 2 to Yellow section of 350 Squadron engaged on an Armed Recce in the Aschendorf-Quakenbruck area. At approximately 1055 hours, the section split into two and I went down with my No. 1 to strafe a car on the Boerger-esterwegen road. After the attack on the car, my No. 1, F/O Muls, climbed and levelled off at 1,000 feet and I followed him. Soon afterwards I saw the enemy aircraft and then my No 1 called up on the R/T saying that a bandit was coming in towards us on the port side. We then went in to attack and I broke to port and climbed up to 2,000 feet. Meanwhile, No. 1 was attacking the e/a. I saw him close in, give a few bursts, and then break away to avoid a collision. No. 1 then climbed up. The e/a then turned slightly to starboard and I dived down on him, opening fire at 250 yards closing to 100 yards firing all the time. The e/a turned on its back and as I kept on firing I observed shell bursts in its belly. I then saw the pilot bale out. I climbed to follow No. 1 and I saw the parachute going down. I claim this e/a destroyed, shared with F/O Muls. 106

F/L Warren M. Middleton of 430 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 15 April, 1945:

     While on a Tac/R Mission flying South at 4500 feet on April 15, 1945, at 0930 hours, I sighted a F/W.190 flying North at 5000 feet. I broke port and closed on his tail. I opened fire at an opening range of 450 yds. dead astern and closed to 250 yards. I saw strikes on the fuselage, the coup top flew off, the aircraft trailed black smoke and then burst into flame and I saw it crash and blow up on the ground. The pilot was seen to bail out and his parachute open. F/O Anderson, the No. 1 of the Section, saw the enemy's parachute open. No. 1, F/O Anderson, fired at enemy aircraft from 450 yard range with cine gun exposed but makes no claim. The attack took place near Uelzen.
     Camouflage - Very dark colour with enemy crosses.
     Cine gun used and exposed.
     I claim one (1) F/W 190 Destroyed. 107

S/Ldr J. B. Sheperd of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 April, 1945:

     When flying Kudos Black 3 Fighter Sweep PARCHIM - SCHWERM area section was flying S.W. towards HAGENOW when I sighted 3 F.W.190s flying a parallel course about 3000' below at 3 o'clock. Informing section leader, I dived on the e/a. They saw me coming and two broke Port, the third dived for the deck. I followed this one and got strikes on his engine, which immediately started pouring smoke and appeared to stop as I had to break away to avoid him. The Pilot baled out about 500' and the aircraft hit the deck and exploded. The pilot's chute did not open.

I claim 1 F.W. 190 destroyed. 108

F/Lt. Wilkinson of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Black 2, in a South Esterly direction from SCHWERM when S/Ldr Shepherd saw 3 F.W.190s flying on a parallel course, to Starboard and ahead of us at 4,000'. The F.W. 190s broke to Port into our attack, we followed round diving and turning inside them. I picked the Starboard e/a and fired a two second burst at fim from about 250 yards, in his turn. I saw strikes on the Port side of the engine and cockpit. Having too much speed, I overshot, under his tail, but tightened my turn and pulled in behind him again. He straightened out and I gave him a seven second burst, getting strikes on engine and cockpit. The e/a turned Starboard streaming oil which covered my windscreen. I fired one two second blind burst at him and he crashed from a gentle dive, into a field between two woods at T.2644 and burst into 200 yards of flame.

I claim 1 F.W. 190 S.N. Destroyed. 109

F/Sgt A. Kicq of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 17 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Blue 3 on an Armed Recce in the WITTENBERGE - LUBECK - HAMBURG area.
     I had just been attacking a tug S.E. of HAMBURG and whilst climbing up, I saw Blue one and two preparing to go down and my number two with a strange aircraft with him. At that time my No. 2 reported E/A I was two miles from him but opened everthing up and began chasing him.
     The E/A began climbing in a N.W. direction. I caught him up after a three minute chase at 22,000 ft. I closed to 100 yards and gave a short bursts, 1 and a half seconds, approx: up to 50 yards. I saw hits on both wing roots and a small explosion.
     The E/A half rolled and began spinning down. I followed him down but lost him at 6,000 ft. F/Sgt Gigot who was flying Blue four saw him crash and explode on a house on the Southern suburbs of HAMBURG. I claim one ME 109 destroyed (Identified on film as FW 190.) 110

130 Squadron attacked Me 109s at Parchim Airfield on 18 April, 1945

     W/Cdr George Keefer states: I was leading 130 Squadron of 12 aircraft on an armed recce. At 19.30 hours whilst flying at 6,000 ft I saw 11 ME 109's parked at the end of the runway on PARCHIM Airfield. I dived to attack followed by my No.2. I levelled out at 50 ft and when 1,000 yds from the nearest E/A opened fire with all my ammunition. I saw strikes all over five of the E/A which caught fire and explosions took place. The E/A burned fiercely.

     F/O T. L. Trevorrow states: On April 18th I was flying No. 2 to W/Cdr Keefer in Red section on a free lance sweep. At approximately 19.45 we were passing close to PARCHIM A/D when from 7,000 ft I saw a bunch of 11 E/A on the ground at the end of the runway apparently about to take off as the fans were turning over. The W/Cdr led our section up sun where we waited for the E/A, which were ME 109's to take off. The E/A did not get airborne so the W/Cdr and I went down, whilst the others covered us from above. The W/Cdr went in first and I saw him start a fire in one of the aircraft and I fired into the middle of the bunch. I saw strikes immediately and there was a big flame and then an explosion. Debris flew up about 200 ft and as I flew through it my A/C was hit. I set course for base and on looking back I saw another explosion and there was a pillar of black smoke rising then to about 500 to 600 ft. I claim six of these eleven A/C destroyed and W/Cdr Keefer claims the other 5 A/C destroyed.

G/Capt. J. Johnson states: I was flying Blue 1 and saw W/Cdr Keefer and F/O Trevorrow make their attack on the eleven 109's. Four A/C were hit and commenced to burn. I then orbited the aerodrome at 6,000 ft and saw several large explosions as the remainder of the tightly packed formations caught fire. (In my opinion they were all bombed up). All eleven aircraft were completely burned out and as we passed the aerodrome twenty minutes later a dense pall of smoke reached 10,000 ft. 111

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 19 April, 1945:

     On April 19th Blue Section of 4 A/C were airbourne on an Armed Recce and I was Blue 2. Blue 1 had to go back because of trouble with his aircraft. F/Sgt Clay took over the lead. We were flying at 5,500 ft on a north easterly course when near HAGENOW we saw 20 plus FW 190's of the long nose variety flying on a reciprocal course at 6,500 ft two miles away to the starboard. We turned to starboard and chased after them and the E/A started to climb. When we were about 500 yards behind they broke down left on to us and a dog fight ensued. I had lost the leader in the chase as I could not jettison my tank. We all milled round and finally I found myself alone in the sky with one of the E/A. It immediately dived and pulled out on the deck. I chased him for about 15 miles on the deck and then I fired 4 bursts from line astern 15° angles off, the range being from 300 to 100 yards. He then made a turn to port and I turned inside him and gave him a burst from 50 yards from dead line astern. I saw strikes all over the wings and the E/A went straight into the ground. This was at 18.55 at WISMAR and the E/A went in from about 50 ft. I saw E/A hit the ground and it disintegrated.
     I claim this E/A destroyed. 112

F/O H. C. Dutton of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 19 April, 1945:

     I was flying Red 2 and climbed to attack a long-nosed F.W. 190 above broken cloud at 5,000 feet. I closed to about 300 yds. fired a short burst from a little below and line astern and did not wait to observe any results as I turned to port after another F.W. 190. S/L Gordon, Red 1, witnessed the attack, saw many strikes and the pilot bale out, so I therefore claim 1 F.W. 190 Destroyed.
     I turned to port after this second F.W. 190 and fired a short burst from 400 yards at 90° angle off but saw no strikes. I closed to line astern and fired again at about 200 yds. I saw black smoke and pieces fly off from Wing roots.
     I claim this F.W. 190 damaged. 113

S/L J. B. Shepherd, D.F.C. of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was leading Kudos Squadron (seven aircraft) as Yellow 1, on a sweep around NEURUPPIN/WITTSTOCK area. At a position approx. halfway between ORIENBURG and NEURUPPIN 10 A/C were sighted, identified as FW 190's and attacked. In the ensuing dogfight five FW's were shot down by the Squadron. I fired at one from approximately 200 yards getting strikes on cockpit and engine. This A/C went down in flames.
     Reforming the Squadron, we continued a northerly course to WITTSTOCK and without sighting any other E/A. I patrolled around WITTSTOCK for a short time, then decided to return to NEURUPPIN area. Approaching ORIENBURG more E/A were sighted mostly on the deck. Various chases occured, resulting in an ME 262 being hit by W/O Rossow, and made to crash land at a high rate of knots on NEURUPPIN Airfield. The other E/A made best use of the haze and got away.
     At this time a FW 190 was sighted by my No.2 which we chased. Closing on him, I opened fire from about 200 yds, range decreasing, I got strikes on his cockpit and engine, causing him to catch fire, and his undercarriage to drop. I broke away when this happened, and F/L Wilkinson my No. 2 carried on the attack and followed him down. This A/C went down in flames and crashed in the woods N.W. of ORIENBURG Aerodrome.
     I claim one FW 190 destroyed, and one FW 190 destroyed (shared with F/L Wilkinson). 114

F/Lt. Wilkinson of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Yellow 2 in a northerly course over Teschendorf Woods at 7,000' when F/O Grey saw an aircraft flying south at 4,000' behind us. On investigation we found there were ten FW 190s (S.N.). When we attacked they broke up, some rolling over and diving for the deck. One e/a pulled up in a starboard climbing turn and started shooting at me not allowing nearly enough deflection. As I pulled round behind him I saw F/Sgt Scott get a couple of strikes on the engone before overshooting. I closed in to 200 yds and gave him a three second burst. The e/a burst into flames and dived straight into Teschendorf woods. After this combat we reformed, F/Lt Fisher set course for base with a rough engine. After a few minutes I saw one aircraft flying in the opposite direction to us about the same height and to port. We chased it and found it to be a FW 190 (SN). The e/a started to dive and we followed. I was on the port side of our section. As the e/a pulled up in a port climbing turn I gave him a very short burst but with insufficient deflection. I was gaining on him and was right in behind him at about 200 yds when I opened up with a long burst, about six seconds. I saw strikes on the engine, starting a fire. His port undercarriage leg fell down and then he suddenly burst into a mass of fire round the engine and cockpit. I stopped firing and broke upwards to see him dive into a wood near Neuruppin. At no time did I see S/Ldr Shepherd who was apparetnly firing at the e/a from below me.

I claim 1 FW 190 (SN) Destroyed shared with F/Sgt Scott, and 1 FW 190 (SN) Destroyed with S/Ldr. Shepherd. 115

W/O I. T. Stevenson of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Yellow four to S/L Shepherd D.F.C. when we saw 10 E/A at 6 o'clock below. We did a steep turn and dived down on to the E/A. I got on the tail of one and gave it a short burst at about 400 yards 45°. I saw strikes on the fuselage and wing roots and the E/A tightened up his turn. When about 60° I gave another burst observing strikes on the cockpit, engine and starboard wing root. The E/A went into a shallow starboard dive and exploded in a sheet of flame on hitting the ground. The pilot did not bale out. I claim one FW 190 destroyed. 116

P/O P. J. Coleman of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Kudos Blue 5 on an Armed Recce in the area south of the MURITE LAKE. The section was flying north of a point about 32 miles up the BERLIN / WITTENBERGE road, when W/O Boscow reported an aircraft below at three o'clock. I saw the aircraft on a northerly course and recognized it as a long nosed FW 190.
     Blue 3 and 4 peeled down but overshot and were attacked by the FW 190, I followed down and using a gyro- sight fired a short burst from 40° astern to port at 200 yds seeing strikes. The FW 190 turned hard to port and I followed switching on my camera which I had omitted to do losing distance in the turn. I closed easily and opened fire from dead astern. At 300 yds at 1,000 ft, a 2 seconds burst, during which he flick rolled on to his back and baled out.
     The aircraft plunged into the BINENWALDE LAKE (U 3907) and the pilot landed in the trees of a wood to the S.E. and verge of the lake.
     I did not jettison my 45 gal. tank.
     FW markings and camouflage as usual.
     I claim one F.W. 190 destroyed. 117


Spitfire XIV RM797 of 41 Squadron at Eindhoven. This aircraft is extant.
F/L F. A. O. Gaze is credited with three enemy aircraft destroyed whilst flying this aircraft.

P/O Watkins of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     The Squadron was flying in formation as two sections. Red section consisting of 4 A/C and led by F/L Muls, and Yellow section consisting of 3 A/C of which I was the leader, on a fighter sweep in the NAUEN - NEURUPPIN Area. At approx: 19.40 hours whilst on a north easterly course at 9,000 ft, Red 3 reported E/A below coming from the opposite direction. Yellow 2 immediately went down and I was on the point of doing so when I noticed 2 FW 190's coming towards me and my No. 3 slightly below us. I selected the one on the port side and made a sharp turn to port and gave a quick burst as E/A was overshooting me. I observed strikes on starboard mainplane. E/A then rolled on its back and in the process caught a long burst in its belly. E/A turned into a tight spiral and spun towards the ground when I saw it blow up.
     I claim this FW 190 destroyed, confirmed by my No. 3. 118

F/O Doncq of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was No. 3 to P/O Watkins who was leading Yellow section of 350 Squadron engaged on a fighter sweep on the NAUEN - NEURUPPIN Area. We were on a course of 050°(M) at about 9,000 ft when Red 1 leader F/L Muls ordered Yellow section to go down on 2 E/A which had been sighted by Red 3. Yellow 2 F/Sgt Kicq went down and we were about to follow him when we noticed two more coming towards us on a reciprocal course and slightly below. Yellow leader and I went in to the attack - the leader taking the E/A on the port side and I selected the other one. The time was then about 19:40 hours. As soon as the E/A which I identified as a FW 190 saw me, it made a sharp turn to starboard and jettisoned its auxiliary tank. I turned to port and opening full throttle followed it as it started climbing very steeply. It then went on its back making a half roll during which time a had closed to within 200 yards. I fired twice a 2 second burst and E/A blew up.
     I claim this FW 190 destroyed, confirmed by Yellow leader P/O Watkins. 119

F/Lt Howarth of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying Red 3 in a section of 8 A/C, consisting of two fours, on a sweep round the West of BERLIN. When in the NAUEN area I saw four F.W. 190's going in the opposite direction South below, but owing to R/T being in use was unable to report them for the moment. Eventually Yellow Section went down on them, and I was about to follow when I saw a F.W. 190 coming down on me from above. I pulled to one side skidding and he overshot me. I turned in and gave him a two second burst at about 100 yards closing and climbing slightly and turning starboard. I saw strikes on the engine and cockpit. I broke away to avoid the debris. The pilot of the F.W. 190 left the cockpit but no parachute was seen to open. I was at about 8,000'. There being no more enemy A/C I climbed above cloud (about 12,000') and rejoined the rest of the Squadron. I claim this F.W. 190 destroyed.
     This report is confirmed by my No.2 who stayed with me throughout the action (P/O Pauwels). 120

F/Sgt Kicq of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Yellow 2 with 350 Sqn on a fighter sweep to NAUEN. We were on a Northerly course at the time when Red 1 reported E/A at 3 O'Clock. I turned to starboard and caught sight of two F.W. 190s some 3000' below me proceeding on a South Westerly course. I continued to turn and dived down on them. As soon as the E/A observed that I was chasing them, they dropped their jet tank and dived onto the deck. They were in line abreast at 30 yards interval some 300 yards from me. Every time I closed in the one on the Port side turned to Port followed 3 or 4 seconds afterwards by the other one. Whilst turning after them I fired many short bursts and observed strikes on the fuselage of the starboard E/A. I then climbed and waited until they were again below me and I resumed the chase once more. That happened four times. On the fourth occasion they split up and I dived from 4000' on one of them and fired line astern from 250 yards for a second. E/A again turned to Port but crashed into a tree.
I claim this F.W. 190 Destroyed and the other F.W. 190 Damaged. 121

F/Lt H. Walmsley D.F.C. of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     On April 20th, I was leading Blue Section of my Squadron on an armed recce in the KREMMEN area. At 1510 hrs. when we were at 5,500 ft. I spotted 3 aircraft at 2 o'clock to us and slightly above. We turned in behind them and I saw that they were 190's (long nose). I got on to the tail of one which was climbing slightly. I fired a burst from 600 yards from line astern and saw strikes; whereupon the undercarriage came down. I closed to 300 yards and firing again, saw strikes all round the cockpit. Debris flew off narrowly missing my port wing. The enemy aircraft went into a vertical dive, pouring smoke and I saw him go down and crash into a lake. I claim this e/a destroyed. 122

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was Blue 3 in a section of 4 aircraft on an Armed Recce to the KREMMEN area, and at 1510, when at 5,500 feet I saw approximately 8 aircraft above approaching on our starboard side. They were FW 190's of the long-nosed variety. We broke round on them and two of the e/a broke upwards and started to turn together. I got in shots at one of them from 100 yards at about 20 degrees angle off and I saw strikes round the wing roots and cockpit. The e/a caught fire and the pilot baled out. I claim this e/a destroyed.
     Afterwards I called Blue 1 and asked him where he was and he said he was down below with two of them. I dived down and started to turn with them. I got behind the second one and gave him a short burst from about 75 yards from 20 degrees off. I saw strikes round the cockpit. We were then at 3,000 feet and the e/a dived down at an angle of 40 degrees with smoke pouring out and it was still diving when I last saw it at 1,000 feet. I claim this e/a probably destroyed.
     I did not follow this aircraft down any further because I wanted to get the other one which was still turning with Blue 1. When the pilot of this e/a saw me coming up behind, he broke down. I fired at him as he was going down and I saw strikes on his starboard wing. My cannon ammunition had run out but I chased the e/a for about 10 miles firing with my machine guns only. I saw strikes on the fuselage and then my .303 ran out. I followed him for about another 5 miles and then gave up the chase.
     I claim the first e/a destroyed, the second probably destroyed and the third damaged.

F/Lt Walmsley who was Blue 1 says: "After F/Lt Ponsford's first attack I saw a parachute going down. I also saw him attack the second e/a and I saw him get strikes all round the cockpit. The e/a went down with smoke pouring out. It was badly clobbered." 123

F/Lt C. J. Samouelle of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

I was blue 3 and at 1930 hours we were at 5000 ft going North East near WITTSTOCK. I heard Red 3 (F/Lt Walmsley) report two aircraft at 12 o'clock. I saw these two aircraft at about 6000 ft going in the same direction as ourselves. They were ME 109's and they began to climb immediately. I opened up and gained height rapidly. I caught one of the e/a at 8000 ft and closed in and opened fire at 300 yds from astern and I saw strikes all round the cockpit and on the back of the e/a. There was a big red flash white smoke came out and I found myself flying through debris. I had to pull up sharply to avoid hitting the e/a. When I was able to look again the e/a was in a flat spin and at 4000 ft the pilot bailed out. I saw the aircraft go down and crash in a wood. I claim this e/a destroyed. 124

W/Cmdr George Keefer D.S.O. D.F.C. flying with 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying with 130 Sqn and was leading Red Section. Our mission was an Armed Recce. About 1930 hrs we were in the WITTSTOCK area at 5000' going N.E. when we spotted two M.E. 109s slightly above us at 12 oclock to us and going the same way. We opened up and caught up with the e/a. I picked one and opened fire at dead astern. I saw strikes on the fuselage. I gave him another burst at closer range whereupon the e/a caught fire, crashed into a field and exploded.
I claim this E/A Destroyed. 125


Spitfire XIVs of 130 Squadron

F/L R. J. Taggart of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Red No. 2 to S/L Gordon. We were on an Armed Recce in the HAGENOW-PARCHIM area. After an hour's patrol we were called back to HAGENOW aerodrome by Blackout leader who said that there were Huns scambling. I went down on a F.W. 190 that I sighted at 800 ft. and he dove down to the deck. I gave him a 3 sec busrt from astern and just above and I saw strikes all around the cockpit and he burst into flames and crashed into a field. Cine camera gun and fixed sight were used. I claim 1 F.W. 190 Destroyed. 126

F/O T.B. Lee of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 April, 1945:

     Flying in a direction N.W. of HAGENOW Airdrome at about 500 feet. F/O Ratcliff, 402, Yellow one, sighted it first and went in on the attack. He fired several bursts in a running fight and broke away. I, 402 Yellow 2, pressed into the attack from 400 yds. and after several steep turns near the ground pressing to 200 yds., I obtained hits in the cockpit which produced a sizeable flame. The aircraft proceeded into a German house and exploded, spreading fire all over the immediate vicinity.
     I claim one Focke Wolfe 190 Destroyed. C.C.G. and fixed sight used. 127

F/L E. R. Burrows of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 21 April, 1945:

     I was leading McDuff section on a patrol in the HITZACKER area when McDuff No. 2 reported a/c at 8 o'clock, we turned into them. My No. 3 shot off his ammo at one and I gave cover. I went into the same a/c, his evasive action was turning steeply. I kept on his tail and to avoid a spin he straightened out. I opened fire from 50 yards line astern. Part of his wing disintegrated and his a/c caught on fire. He jettisoned his coupe-top and baled out. His parachute never opened. His a/c was seen to crash by myself, No. 2 & No. 3. Fixed sight and cine used. I claim 1 ME 109 DESTROYED. 128

F/Lt C. J. Samouelle of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 April, 1945:

     I was leading Yellow section of 130 Squadron and we were at 7,000 ft when Yellow 3 (F/Sgt Woodman) reported an A/C at 9 o'clock to us. We were flying East at the time. I immediately gave chase and we steadily overhauled the E/A which was diving towards the aerodrome at NEUSTADT. Just as we approached the A/D F/Sgt Woodman got within range and gave the E/A a short burst. It rolled over to starboard and crashed into a field. I also saw F/L Bruce (Yellow 5) attack a FW 190 on my starboard side. There was a great red flash from the E/A and the pilot baled out. This A/C crashed into a field S.E. of the aerodrome.
     By this time there were two or three FW 190's round the circuit I saw one with wheels down at about 1,000 ft going round the circuit. I closed in to about 300 yds and just as the E/A got its wheels up I opened fire from dead astern. I got strikes all over the rear of the fuselage and the E/A crashed immediately into a village N.W. of the aerodrome.
     I broke to port and saw another 190 south of the aerodrome at about 200 ft coming in to land. I pulled round and attacked from the starboard quarter. I saw strikes on the starboard wing. The E/A continued to fly on a straight course with wheels and flaps down. I continued to hit him and the E/A went in to land with white smoke pouring out of the starboard wing, at the end of his run he went slowly up on his nose.
     I claim the first E/A destroyed and the second damaged.

F/L Corbett states: I saw the A/C shot down by F/L Samouelle. I saw it crash into a house in the village and about 10 mins. later there was a big explosion from the same spot. I also saw F/L Samouelle firing at the second one. 129

F/Sgt B. W. Woodman of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 April, 1945:

     I was Yellow 3 and was with my section on an armed recce. We were flying at 6,000 ft in an easterly direction and when near PRITZWALK I sighted a FW 190, 500 ft above going N.W. towards NEUSTADT. I called up my leader but as he did not receive me I broke over the top of him to attract his attention. As I finished my break I saw the E/A about a mile ahead diving. I closed to within 100 yds of him and then pulled out to one side to make certain of the E/A's identity. I saw the German markings. The German pilot then saw me for the first time and started a slow break to port. I pulled in behind him and opened fire. As a result of my first burst I saw strikes on the wing roots and fuselage. I missed with my second burst, but with my third burst I clobbered him all over the cockpit and the fuselage. The coop top came off and the E/A rolled to port. As I broke away from him I saw a parachute open about 50 ft from the ground. The E/A crashed into a wood in the S.W. corner of the airfield and it caught fire.
     I claim this E/A destroyed.

F/Lt Samouelle confirms this claim, he states:- Just as I got to the aerodrome I saw F/Sgt Woodman get within range of E/A and after he had fired the E/A crasehed into the S.W. corner of the aerodrome. 130

F/Lt Bruce of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 April, 1945:

     My section was on an armed recce in the PLITZ WALK area and we were at 7,000 ft going East when Yellow 3 (F/Sgt Woodman) reported a F.W. 190 at 7,500 ft going N.E. As we approached the aerodrome I saw another F.W. 190 at a 1,000 ft with its wheels down about to make its approach and land. I pulled up to the right to lose speed and then came down behind the e/a opening fire at 300 yds, at 30 degrees off. I saw strikes on the fuselage near the cockpit. The e/a had retracted his undercarriage and turned to port. I closed to 50 yds and saw him jettison his hood. He turned tightly across me. I fired again as he crossed me and I saw more strikes on the starboard wing. The e/a slowly rolled on its back and went down vertically to about 500 ft at which height the pilot bailed out. The A/C went down and crashed about 2 miles from the A/D.
I claim this E/A destroyed.

F/LT Samouelle confirms the claim. He says: I saw the e/a claimed by F/LT Bruce crash into a field on the edge of a wood on the South East side of the Aerodrome. There was a big red flash as F/LT Bruce attacked and the pilot bailed out. 131

W/O R. E. Coverdale of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 April, 1945:

     I was flying Red 6 and we were on an armed recce in the LUBECK - WISMAR area. At about 17.35 we were at 6,000 ft when I saw a F.W. 190 at 1,000 ft going West near HAGENOW. It was first attacked by Red 3 (F/O Trevarrow) and Red 5 W/O Miller without result. The e/a had gone down to about 50 ft when Red 5 broke away and the e/a broke right. I fired at once from about 150 yds full deflection and I saw strikes on the wing roots and cockpit. The e/a turned and went down in a gradual dive. I fired at him again as he went down and I saw him crash into a field. I claim this e/a destroyed.

     W/O Miller confirms the claim: He says: I saw W/O Coverdale firing full deflection. I saw the e/a crash into a field and turn over on it side. 132

F/Lt W. N. Stowe of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 April, 1945:

     I was leading Blue Section at 1935 hrs we were 6000' West of RECHLIN Airfield when I saw 2 E/A crossing over the 'drome heading N.E. The Section started to attack these when I observed three or four F.W. 190's with wheels down about to land. I went for these and closed in on the last one firing from dead astern. I just had time to observe strikes and a big flash from the tail of the E/A. I was closing so fast I had to pull away. I did not see the E/A crash but Sgt Lewis who was orbitting the arifield saw the E/A which I had fired at, go in, crash, and catch fire.

Sgt Lewis says: I saw the E/A fired at by F/Lt Stowe go into the 'drome and catch fire. 133

P/O Edwards of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

     I was Blue 3 flying on and Armed Recce and when in the PRITZWALK area I saw six A/C in the circuit of an airfield. They were FW 190s. We dived down on them and I chased several of them without any luck. Eventually I singled out one and chased him across the field at 0', firing at him at 15 degrees angle off. I followed him round on a left hand turn and I fired at him again. He steepened his turn and I pulled up and concentrated on another one and then the first one that I had attacked turned into me and started firing. I pulled my nose up and gave him a short burst from about 150 yards at 120 degrees. He started to smoke so I turned and followed him and came in on his tail. I was about to give him another burst when the Pilot of the E/A baled out. I saw the E/A crash into a field just off the aerodrome. I took a picture of the crash.
I claim this E/A destroyed. 134

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945

     I was leading Yellow Section and at 0825 we were over RECHLIN aerodrome when Yellow 4 (F/Lt Bruce) reported A/C taking off. I told him to go down and saw him attack an E/A without results. I then went down with my No.2 (W/O Coverdale) and I saw a 109G with its wheels down making a slight turn to Port. I closed to about 50 yards and started firing at 20 degrees off. I saw strikes all round the cockpit, engine and wings. The E/A began to pour white and black smoke and it rolled over slowly onto its back, crashed into some woods and exploded as it hit the ground. We were reforming when I saw a F.W. 190 about 3000' above us and I climbed with my No.2 When the Pilot of the E/A saw me it rolled over and spiralled down, pulling out at about 1000'. I had followed it and I closed with it and started firing from about 150 yards closing to 100 yards, at 30 degrees off. I saw strikes on the side of the fuselage by the cockpit. I broke away and the E/A went into a steep spiral dive for the aerodrome and I thought it was destroyed. It pulled out just above the ground and I saw the E/A getting light flak from its own defences. We circled the aerodrome waiting to see if it would crash, but it did not.
     I claim the first E/A destroyed and the second Damaged. 135

P/O E. Pauwels of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

     On the 25th April I was Red 4 in a section of 4 A/C led by S/L Walmsley and engaged on an armed recce in the WISMAR - ROSTOCK area. At approximately 12.50 hrs. a gaggle of 20+ E/A was sighted some 15 miles west of MURITZ LAKE at 8,000 ft. We were flying at 7,000 ft at the time on a course of 140° (M); apart from the four rear ones flying as a four two abreast, remaining E/A did not seem to be flying any particular course nor in any sort of formation. I had jettisoned my auxiliary tank as soon as E/A were reported. I opened full throttle and followed Red Leader as he went in first to attack. I selected two E/A on the port side which I identified as FW 190's, flying in line astern and started chasing them as they dived down. I closed in very quickly behind them and fired one long burst 5 sec. at the rear one from dead astern within 250 - 200 yds. I observed strikes on cockpit and on wing roots and debris flew off E/A with black smoke pouring out. The E/A went on its side and pilot baled out - a fraction of a second aferwards E/A blew up in the air. I claim this FW 190 destroyed.
     I resumed the chase for the front E/A which was at the time some 400 - 500 yds in front of me. I closed in and when within a range of 300 - 250 yds I gave another long burst with cannon and .5 machine gune fire - 6 second -, and saw strikes on fuselge and mainplane. E/A flicked and spun in towards the ground where it blew up. I did not see the pilot bale out. I orbitted the spot where the E/A crashed to make doubly sure the E/A was destroyed.
     I claim this FW 190 also destroyed. 136

S/L H. Walmsley of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

     I was leading Red Section of 350 Squadron of 4 A/C on an armed recce in the WISMAR - ROSTOCK Area on the 25th April. We were flying at 7,000 ft in a south westerly direction when at 12.50 hours 2 E/A were reported by Red 2 at 12 o'clock at 8,000 ft flying in the same direction. We closed in to attack and noticed that the 2 E/A were in fact the reargaurd of a gaggle of some 15 + Fw 190's in a disorganized formation. I approached the starboard rear one and fired at at 15° angle of attack from 250 - 200 yds as E/A began a gentle turn to port. I observed numerous strikes on the cockpit and mainplane and debris flew off E/A. The pilot subseuqently baled out and the aircraft went diving towards the ground.
     I claim this FW 190 destroyed, confirmed by my No 2 F/Sgt Neulinger. 137

W/Cdr. George Keefer of 125 Wing recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

     I was leading Spinner Blue Section on an armed Recce when just East of an Airfield in the Pritzwalk area Blue 3 reported A/C in the circuit of the airfield. We dived down on them from 6000' and as we went over the field, more were taking off. I picked out one and fired on him from 30 degrees angle and saw one strike. The E/A turned to Port and went down to the deck, straightened and flew straight and level. I gave him another burst and got strikes all over him. He crashed into a wood. I claim this enemy aircraft Destroyed.
     F/O Trevorrow confirms this. He says: I was Blue 2; I saw the W/Cmdr firing at the F.W. 190. The E/A rolled over onto his back, dived into a wood and burst into flames. 138

F/Sgt Gigot of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 26 April, 1945:

     I was Red 4 in a section of 4 A/C led by S/L Walmsley engaged on an armed recce in the PRITZWALW - WUSTROW Area. At about 13.00 hours whilst flying North at 7,000 ft in the PLAUER LAKE area, Red Leader reported E/A at 2 o'clock some 4 - 5,000 yds ahead flying North, north east and climbing, Red leader ordered the chase and we started climbing after them. We caught up with E/A, three of them, and still climbing, and when within a range of some thousand yards and some 1,000 ft below them, the E/A on the port side made a 180° turn to port to attack us from above. We allowed E/A which we identified as a FW 190 to come within range of 600 -700 yds and then climbed steeply and got on its tail. The E/A then made a 360° climbing turn but in doing so stalled. We then saw the pilot bale out and the FW went spinning down towards the ground. This FW 190 is claimed destroyed by the four pilots of Red Section.
     We had by then lost sight of the other E/A. We set a course south and after a few minutes flight, slighted the two E/A at our own height (8000 ft) at 2 o'clock some 3,000 yds away. They did not seem to be steering any particular course but appeared to be orbitting a point some 5 miles N.W. of WITTSTOCK. We closed in towards them and as soon as they caught sight of us, they flew a south easterly course line abreast gradually losing height. I had jettisoned my auxiliary tank when E/A were first reported and so I was able to catch up with these, also identified as FW 190's, the chase went on around the NEURUPPIN Aerodrome, which we reached at a height of less than 100 ft. When within a range of some 300 yds the E/A on the starboard side broke starboard with the apparent aim of getting on my tail. Meanwhile I had opened fire at some 300 - 250 yds at a 5° - 10° angle off on the port side E/A. I observed numerous strikes on the port wing. E/A then flicked violently to port and crashed into the trees at Z 4885.
     I then broke port as I thought that the other E/A was on my tail but it had disappeared. I called to Red Leader and rejoined the formation at 5,000 ft west of NEURUPPIN whence we set course for base. I claim this FW 190 destroyed. 139

F/Lt. Wilkinson of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 28 April 1945:

     I was flying as Blue 2 orbiting SCHWERIN aerodrome at 8,000' when F/Lt. Gaze saw 10 plus FW 190s. We tried unsuccessfully to drop our tanks and dived onto E/A that were about 3000' severeral of which promptly dropped their bombs on SCHWERIN. I saw F/Lt Gaze get into the tail of one but overshot as the E/A rolled over and went down. I throttled right back and went into fine pitch as I rolled over and followed E/A, which pulled up in a steep port climbing turn leaving wing tip trails. I fired a 3 second burst at him in the turn, but with incorrect deflection. I still had too much speed and had to roll around his tail as he straightened up. E/A was still doing gentle turn to port, when I fell in behind him again firing a two second burst from 250 yards, but missed. Opening up I closed to 50 yards, where I could clearly see that the E/A had a bomb under the belly. I gave him a two second burst, seeing strikes over the engine and cockpit. E/A immediately blew up and I ducked in my cockpit as I had to get through the wreckage. I felt the intense heat on my head and shoulders and everything was red. As I looked up, there was a bit of blazing wreckage falling into the buildings of SCHWERIN aerodrome and bits of flame trickling off my wings. The engine was vibrating badly so I got an emergency homing. On returning I had to land fast as my A/C was wallowing. When I got out, one propeller blade tip was missing and most of the fabric on the elevators and rudders was burnt off. There were also little dents and holes all over the A/C.
     During the combats the E/A panicked and went into cloud. One of them presumably lost control and spun in bursting into flames which I claim shared with F/Lt Gaze.

I claim FW 190 Dest. and 1 unidentified A/C (Presumably FW 190) Dest. shared with F/Lt Gaze. 140

S/Ldr Shepherd of 41 Squadron got lucky, encountering a by then rare ME 109 late in the war, recording in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

    I was flying as Kudos Red 3 on ELBE bridgehead patrol; Ground Control reported Huns approaching bridges. Just then our A.A. opened up and I saw an FW 190 bomber, slightly above and 12 o'clock, coming towards me. I pulled up and around on to his tail as he passed and gave him a short burst; he immediately caught fire and crashed in flames a few miles North of LAUENBURG. He jettisoned his cockpit hood, but no pilot appeared to get out.
    Returning to bridgehead, I climbed to 6,000 ft and patrolled between two layers of cloud: A.A. fire started to burst a short distance away and an ME 109 appeared through cloud. I chased the E/A and opened fire from approx. 400 yards, obtaining strikes and causing a thick trail of Glycol smoke to pour from underneath the E/A. He immediately jettisoned hood and dived for the deck; I followed giving him about three more short bursts and getting strikes each time. He finally crash landed heavily in a field a few miles N.W. of RATZEBURG LAKE. I gave another burst on the ground causing wreckage to catch fire. No one appeared to get out of the wreck.
    I claim 1 FW 190 and 1 ME 109 destroyed. 141

F/L F.A.O. Gaze of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was leading Kudos Red section of four aircraft on a patrol of the bridgehead area at LAUENBERG when bandits were reported to be approaching from the North East. We sighted an FW 190 which we chased and which S/L Shepard destroyed. I then sighted another FW through a gap in the clouds and climbed up through the cloud and attacked it. I fired two bursts of approx 1 second each. The first above cloud when he jettisoned his bomb and the second as he entered it. There were many strikes and the E/A caught fire behind the cockpit, pieces fell off and it dived straight into the ground and exploded at a village about three miles north of LAUENBERG. I then attacked one of 8 ME 109's which jettisoned their bombs whilst turning into me. I had to break off as they formed a circle and the leader fired at me as I was about to fire on the last one. They then made for cloud and I chased them but was not quick enough and they disappeared.
    I claim 1 FW 190 (short nosed) destroyed. 142

S/Ldr F. G. Wooley of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was leading red section and we were at 2,000 ft patrolling just south of Lauenberg when I sighted a short nose FW 190 flying west at 2,500 ft. I gave chase and caught up with the e/a just west of Winsen, pinpoint S 6233. The e/a turned to port and I gave it a two second burst from 400 yds at an angle off of 20 degrees. I observed many strikes in the cockpit and on the port wing roots large pieces came away from the e/a which caught fire and fell away out of control. I saw it crash in a swamp. This was observed by other members of the section. I claim this enemy aircraft destroyed.
     F/Lt Corbett who saw the combat says: I saw the C/O attack this FW 190. He obtained a large number of strikes and I saw the aircraft go up in flames and fall out of control into a swamp. 143

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was leading Yellow Section and we were out on patrol in the Wittenburg-Ludwigslust area. At about 1130 hrs when we were at 4,000 ft about a dozen short nose FW 190's were sighted in the circuit of a landing ground at Banzkow to the south of the lake at Schwerin. I had seen Yellow 3 (P/O Edwards) go in to attack and one FW 190 went down into a wood and exploded. I went after another of the e/a and he imediately went down to the deck. I followed him down and opened fire at 100 yards astern. I saw strikes on the wings and cockpit. He pulled up sharply and I came up behind him, closing to about 30 yards. At this point the belly tank of the e/a exploded and the aircraft burst into flames. The Hun pilot baled out but his parachute streamed and did not open.
     By this time I was at about 500 ft and looking down I saw two more e/a. I went down and got on the tail of one of them and closed in very rapidly, firing from about 100 yds down to 50 yds. I saw strikes on the fuselage and the e/a immediately caught fire in the air. I broke hard left and watched him going down. The e/a crashed and exploded on the ground. The pilot did not get out.
     I claim both of these enemy aircraft destroyed.
     P/O confirms the first e/a destroyed. He says: I saw the first aricraft attacked by Yellow 1 crash into a wood. I also saw the pilot bale out but the parachute did not open. 144

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford & P/O Edwards of 130 Squadron shared a kill recording in their Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

P/O Edwards says:
     I was flying No 3 in Yellow section and we were on patrol between Wittenburg and Ludwiglust. We were at 4,000 ft and when near the lake at Schwerin I sighted an aircraft at zero feet flying across the lake going west towards Schweriner. I recognised it as a short nose FW 190. I came in to attack it and opened fire at 600 yards at an angle off of 20 degrees. I came round to dead astern and closed to 200 yards and when the aircraft was about at 100 feet I saw strikes on the fuselage. I pulled up and my No 1 came in and gave the e/a a short burst just as it was obviously going in in an attempt to make a forced landing. I saw it hit the ground and went back and straffed it. I claim this aircraft e/a destroyed, shared with F/Lt Ponsford.

F/Lt Ponsford reports:
     I was Yellow 1 and after Yellow 3 had fired and pulled away to starboard I saw that the e/a was very close to the ground and was apparently going to make a force landing as it was going so slowly. I opened fire at 200 yards and got strikes on the wing and engine. Almost at once it hit the ground and cartwheeled over in a cloud of dust. Afterwards it was straffed by Yellow 3. I claim this e/a destroyed, shared with P/O Edwards. 145

F/Lt I. R. Ponsford & P/O Edwards of 130 Squadron shared another recording in their Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

P/O Edwards reports:
     I was Yellow 3 and my No 1 (F/Lt Ponsford) and I had already been engaged with enemy aircraft which we had sighted in the circuit of a landing ground south of Lake Schwerin. Between us we had already accounted for four between us when I went for another one head on. I fired but saw no strikes, but I noticed he was streaming a small amount of smoke. I immediately turned and went after him and chased him round the landing ground. My cannon ammunition had run out so I fired at him with my .5's until this ammunition ran out too. I saw no strikes, but as I followed the aircraft I called on my No 1 to come down. F/Lt Ponsford came down and took on the e/a. I saw the pilot bale out and the aircraft crashed into a wood. I claim this e/a destroyed, shared with F/Lt Ponsford.

F/Lt Ponsford, Yellow 1 says: My No 3 called me up to come down and attack an aircraft as he had no more ammunition. I had just finished off two of the 190's so I went down and saw my No 3 and the e/a heading south east. I opened fire from 200 yards from above, at a 20 degree angle off. I saw no strikes. I rapidly overshot the e/a so I pulled up, did a sharp turn to the left and came down on the e/a again, firing at him with my .5's as my 20 mm had run out. I saw some strikes round the wing roots and the engine. I overshot him again and I had to break hard to avoid colliding with the e/a. The next thing I saw was a parachute come out and the aircraft crashed into a wood.
     I claim this e/a destroyed shared with P/O Edwards. 146

F/Lt W. N. Stowe of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was leading Blue section on a patrol in the Wittenburg-Ludwigslust area. We were flyig at 2,000 feet going south, when at 0945 I saw nine FW 190's short nose at zero feet going S/W. We were near Banzkow. We dived on to them and attacked them from astern. They continued to fly straight and level. I selected the last one in the bunch and opened fire from 700 yards and saw strikes on the tail and the fuselage. I gave two short bursts, closing to 300 yards and saw more strikes. I must have caught the engine because the e/a slowed right down, turned to port and made a force landing, wheels up, in a field near Salstorf. I then went after another e/a, and again making use of my gyro sight opened fire from 600 yards at an angle off of about 20 degrees. I saw strikes on the tail. I closed to about 400 yards and fired again from the same angle off. As I saw strikes so the e/a blew up in the air. I then returned to where I had seen the first one force land, and with my No 2 went in to finish it off. I fired but saw no strikes. My No 2 (F/O Trevorrow) attacked and as he fired and got strikes the aircraft caught fire. I claim one FW 190 destroyed and one FW 190 destroyed shard with F/O Trevorrow.

F/O Trevorrow says: I was flying Blue 2 to F/Lt Stowe. I saw him get strikes on the first e/a. He hit it on the tail and in the fuselage. It emitted smoke and force landed in a field. I followed my No 1 and he got on the tail of a second e/a. He gave it a short squirt and it blew up in the air. It went down into a field where it dissmeinated. We then went back to where the first one had force landed. I fired at it and it immediately went up in flames. I claim one FW 190 destroyed shared with F/Lt Stowe. 147

F/O Lord of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was flying Blue 3 and we were on a patrol at 2,000 feet. Near Banzkow I saw about nine short nose FW 190's flying fairly close together, line abreast going south west. We dived to attack and I picked out the middle one of the formation. It broke to port and I broke with it and got behind it. I opened fire from dead astern from about 200 yards and I saw strikes on the tail and on the cockpit. Pieces came off and the e/a flicked over and went into a wood at Pampow. I claim this aircraft destroyed. 148

P/O D. J. Watkins of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April 1945:

     I was leading Red section of 3 A/C on a Patrol in the WITTENBURG - LUDWIGSLUST area. Due to cloud I flew North of the Patrol line in the SCHWERIN area. At about 1045 hrs Red 3 (F/Lt Bangerter) reported A/C at zero feet flying S.W.; We were at about 8000' at the time and flying N.W. On investigating I saw some 30 plus E/A flying in two loose boxes. I led the section down out of the sun and engaged the E/A in the first box. I and No. 2 (F/Sgt Gigot) closed behind 3 E/A which I identified at F.W. 190s (Long nosed) to a range of about 100 yards. I opened fire on the Port E/A with a short burst dead astern. There were many strikes and No. 2 states that it rolled over and crashed into flames. At the time an E/A landing on a strip East of a wood at T/4554, worried by our arrival, cartwheeled and broke up on the strip. I claim the first F.W.190 Destroyed, and the second one claimed destroyed, shared by myself, Red 2 (F/Sgt Gigot) and Red 3 (F/Lt Bangerter). Meanwhile the main body of E/A had formed a great defensive circle over the strip. I made a series of passes at them; I was now alone. Shortly after Red 3 joined me and flew my No. 2. I engaged a FW 190 (short nosed) fires a long burst from dead astern and covered its starboard wing with strikes. It wallowed badly and crashed into the wood by the strip in flames. Confirmed by F/Lt Bangerter. I claim this FW 190 Destroyed. I turned across the strip and strafed another FW 190 which was standing surrounded by personnel. I observed strikes and some smoke. I claim this FW 190 Damaged. 149

F/Sgt G. Gigot of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April 1945:

     I was Red 2 in a section of three aircraft led by P/O Watkins and engaged on a patrol in the WITTENBURG-LUDWIGSLUST area. At about 1045 hours e/a were reported by Red 3, flying at zero feet in a south-westerly direction. We were at the time at a height of 8,000 feet and flying N.W. We went down to investigate and identified them as FW 190's flying in two loose formations. Red 1 picked the port one of three aircraft flying in line abreast at the rear of the first box, and I chose the starboard one. When within range of 100-75 yards I fired a three-second burst from dead astern. I saw strikes on port wing root. E/A then rolled on its back and crashed in flames south of BANZKOW. Pilot did not bale out. Meanwhile I had overshot and the middle e/a of the three got on my tail and was firing at me. I was not touched and made a steep climbing turn to starboard with the intention of getting after that third a/c but it had disappeared. At that moment a FW 190 which was coming in to land, apparently thought we were going to strafe it and went into a cartwheel and broke up on the strip. I claim the first FW 190 destroyed, and the second one destroyed shared by myself, F/Lt Bangerter and P/O Watkins. 150

F/Lt. P. M. Bangerter of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April 1945:

     On the 30th of April I was flying as Red 3 in a section of 3 A/C led by P/O Watkins on a Patrol in the WITTENBURG - LUDWIGSLUST area. Flying N.W. at 8000' from the Patrol line I reported A/C below flying S.W. very low. Red 1 and 2 dived to attack and shortly afterwards Red 1 reported a second Gaggle of some 10 plus E/A behind the first gaggle. I positioned myself to attack an E/A on the extreme starboard side of the second formation. I dived on it - E/A identified as F.W.190, turned to Port. I gave a long burst but failed to obtain strikes. An attack on another E/A was unsuccessful. After this Red 2 called up saying he was returning to base as he had run out of ammo, so I found No.1. Shortly afterwards I saw an F.W.190 which he had been attacking, crash in flames in a wood nearby. I fired at another F.W.190 just as it was turning to Port some 300 yards ahead of me using two rings of the ring and bead of the Gyro sight. It straightened out, and then crashed in flames in the wood, confirmed by Red 1. Whilst I had been attacking an aircraft of the second gaggle, most of the remainder of both gaggles had formed a defensive circle over a landing strip at T/4854. After joining Red 1 I found myself astern of a FW 190, so throttled back, it commenced to weave violently, I followed without firing until it flicked and crashed in a clearing by the strip and went up in flames. I took a camera shot of the burning remains. I climbed up to join Red 1 and returned to bae. I claim 2 FW 190s Destroyed and 1 FW 190 Destroyed (shared with P/O Watkins and F/Sgt Gigot). 151

F/L D. R. Drummond of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was leading 402 Squadron on an Armed Recce in the Schwerin-Lubeck area when Control informed me that there had been a combat near the Schwerin aerodrome. I went there but could find nothing. Then they vecored me south of the lake where I found a F.W. 190 orbiting a field containing burning aircraft. I fired one burst of about 1 second from about 600 yards at about 60° or less deflection when he started turning into me. I then closed in to about 100 yards or less and after considerable manoeuvering managed to get in a 1-2 sec burst from about 10 plus degrees during which I saw the a/c begin to burn and pieces come off. It then went into a diving turn to port burning all the time and crashed in the woods in flames. Fixed reflector Gun sight and Cine camera gun used. I claim 1 F.W. 190 Destroyed. 152

F/L S. M. Knight of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was flying Blue 1 with 402 Squadron on an armed recce in the SCHWERINER LAKE area. I saw a F.W. 190 flying at 100 ft. over the lake in the direction of SCHWERIN. I attacked from line astern at about 250 yard range and after a short turning tussle, I observed strikes on the engine, fuselage and wing roots. The e/a started to smoke and dive toward the ground. I saw the pilot bale out and he landed in the town. The a/c crashed in the town also. Gyro Gun Sight and Cine Camera Gun were used. I claim 1 F.W. 190 DESTROYED. 153

F/L F. E. Hanton of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 30 April, 1945:

     I was flying as Blue 2 in 402 Squadron on an armed recce East of SCHWERINER LAKE when I sighted 5 F.W. 190's below us at 200 ft. Being in the wrong position, I called Blue 3 to go down on the port F.W. who was dragging behind. I broke around behind him and 2 F.W. 190's pulled up sharply in front of me when I was 3/4 of the way around the turn. I climbed steeply after them and got a 1-2 second burst from dead astern and from about 250 yards at one, seeing a few strikes on his port wing. He broke sharply down towards the ground and the other continued climbing. I claim 1 F.W. 190 damaged.

     I continued after the latter F.W. and after going through one layer of cloud, managed to get a good shot at it from about 300 yards range and astern and at about 5,000 ft. I got lots of strikes on the starboard wing-root and more than half of his wing broke away. The e/a flicked over and spun down into cloud and I tried to follow him down. A few seconds after I broke cloud I saw and explosion below me in a woods and F/L Knight (Blue 1) confirms this, as he saw the fire burning below him. Fixed Gun Sight and Cine Camera used in both combats.
     I claim 1 F.W. 190 Destroyed. 154


Bubble canopied Spitfire XIV of 402 Squadron

F/O Lord of 130 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     At 16.15 hrs the Section was flying South at 5,000 ft., just North of the town of SCHWERIN when Blue 1 (F/Sgt STOWE) reported an E/A at 7,000 ft. also going South. Blue 1 attacked first but lost the E/A in cloud. I had followed him after the E/A which was an ME 109 and it made off to the East. I chased it in and out of cloud which was about 5/10 from 4,000 to 8,000 feet. I got to within 500 yards of the E/A and began firing short bursts at him through breaks in the cloud at an angle off of 5 degrees. I saw strikes on the cockpit and smoke began to appear. The E/A started to go down, half rolled on its back and crashed at the edge of a small lake S.W. of HOLZENDORF. As the aircraft crashed I saw white smoke on the ground and little fires were burning. I claim this E/A destroyed. 155

S/L J. B. Shepherd, D.F.C. of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1st May 1945:

     I was flying as Kudos Blue 1 in Schwerin Lake area. Various individual Hun aircraft were seen flying in and out of cloud. Blue 3 and 4 chased after one and myself and Blue 2 chased after two others diving east. Looking around to ensure that nothing was making a pass of us, I spotted a FW 190, about a 1000 ft above and coming around on our tail. We broke around on this aircraft and quite a dog fight ensued amongst the three of us, the E/A pilot appeared to have lots of clues and made use of cloud cover as much as possible. This went on for 5 to 8 minutes before we finally managed to shoot him down and he crashed and blew up a few miles East of Schwerin Lake. A paracute appeared on the ground near the wreckage so it would appear the pilot got out although he wasn't seen to bale out.

I claim 1 FW 190 (Long Nose) destroyed shared with F/O Gray. 156

F/O G. Gray of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     I was flying as Kudos 2 when I noticed two aircraft at same height at about ten o'clock of us. I reported these and we gave chase. Kudos Blue 1 noticed another aircraft coming towards us and on our starboard. We turned into this one to have a look. It was a FW 190. We gave chase. I got to within 300 yds and opened fire observing strikes on front of cockpit. E/A broke to starboard and went into cloud. I turned and went over this cloud. E/A came out of cloud on my port. Blue 1 had also attacked E/A and got strikes on it. E/A broke away again and I followed it. It was heading for a small cloud. I closed to within 150 yds as it entered cloud. I opened fire with a burst of three seconds. Did not see strikes due to cloud but black smoke was pouring from E/A. E/A came out of cloud in a very fast spin. I followed it down for a few hundred feet when pilot baled out. I observed E/A hit the deck and explode.

I claim 1 Long Nosed FW 190 Destroyed shared with S/Ldr Shepherd. 157

P/O P. J. Coleman of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     I was flying as Kudos Red 4, but became separated from my section whilst identifying an aircraft. I decided to scout round Schwerin airfield before returning to base. I climbed to about 24,000 ft and worked around to the East along the Baltic coast, turning South at Rostock and finally decending to below the 7,000 cloud base and apporaching Schwerin from the East after jettisoning my 45 gallon tank. There was a 1000 ft blanket of thick, dark cloud over the lake area. Flying at 6,000 ft I observed nine plus FW 190's in no orderly formation, nipping in and out of the cloud above. I climbed to attack to rearmost of the gaggle, but found the two leaders on my tail firing at me. I evaded the formost in a climbing turn through the cloud, then swiftly descended again and found one FW in view. I attacked this one using the gyro sight, he climbed and my gyro sight disappeared below my vision, however I contined to pull my nose straight through whilst firing and observed strikes about the cockpit. The e/a went into a tight spiral towards the ground but I didn't attempt to follow up my attack until I saw it straighten out on an easterly course. I then pursued closing rapidly saw him jettison his hood, losing height all the time and finally bale out, I believe too low for the parachute to open fully. The e/a crashed in flames and I observed the pilot a motionless figure on the ground beside his chute. I used the independent camera switch and took film of the e/a on dive towards the ground and also burning on the ground S.W. of Plau. I climbed up above the cloud once again, making towards Schwerinen. Flying at about 200 ft above the layer I was attacked from astern by a FW.190 who I presume had been lurking just below the top of the cloud. I evaded by diving through cloud, the e/a did not follow. Whilst still diving I found myself over Schwerinen lake and observed two aircraft below flying N. in close line abreast, low over the water. I continued my dive towards them and recognised them as FW.190s, preparing to fire at them at 800 yards behind them I saw the left hand e/a turn sharply into the other. The two e/a, interlocked and plunged into the northerly waters of the lake, the cause, presumably, panic. I had informed Kenway control and also my C.O. leading another Kudos section of the Hun's position. I found the maltese cross markings on the first batch of e/a very difficult to discern against the dark green camouflage.
     I claim three F.W.190s destroyed. 158

F/Lt. P. Cowell of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     I was leading Kudos Red section of six aircraft on a sweep round the Schwerin Lake and aerodrome in search of enemy aircraft. We had done one orbit round the aerodrome at about 4,000 ft when Kudos Red 4 reported an aircraft flying in the opposite direction on the deck. Kudos Red 3 and 4 then broke away to attack it and Red 5 and 6 chased another aircraft also flying on the deck. I turned back over the lake with my No 2, having climbed through a thick patch of cumulus cloud to 6,000 ft, and spotted two long nosed FW 190s flying East at zero ft over the lake. I told Red 2 to follow me down as I attacked the e/a flying on the starboard side opening fire at about 300 yds. Strikes were observed and the aircraft streamed smoke and pulled up almost vertically. I closed to about 50 yds and gave it another burst observing strikes on the cockpit and the port wing. The aircraft flicked over on its back and went straight in near the S.E. corner of the lake.
     I then observed the other 190 orbiting to the North of me so I attacked him opening fire at 300 yds and closed to 50 yds. A large piece flew off his port wing and the pilot baled out, the aircraft crashing near the first one. Red 1 and 2 then returned to base.

I claim 2 FW 190's Destroyed. 159

W/O I. T. Stevenson 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     When on patrol over the bridges at Launberg we saw 1 FW 190 pop out of a cloud at 2 o'clock. I opened up and approached him from 5 o'clock. He saw us and half rolled into cloud. I went round to the other side and engaged him as he came out he went into cloud and came out between Red 1 and 2. On seeing them he went into cloud again and repeated the manouever once or twice laterly rolling and going straight down to the deck. I followed and when about 600 yds away gave a short burst which made him weave. When approaching Wittenburg I had closed to 300 yds and gave a short burst observing strikes. The E/A throttled back and I had to pull up. The E/A got on my tail and a dog fight ensued for about two minutes. During the dog fight I pulled up and did a stall turn getting on to the E/A's tail. He did a tight turn dropped his bombs, flicked over and went straight in, exploding at the edge of a wood S.W. of Wittenburg. The pilot did not bale out.

I claim 1 FW 190 destroyed. 160

F/Lt R. Muls of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     I was leading Blue section of 6 A/C on a patrol in the WITTENBURG-LUDWIGSLUST area. At about 1750 hrs. whilst the section was flying West at 10,000 ft. in the Schweriner Lake area, Blue 5 (F/O Leva) reported one aircraft below at zero feet. I asked Blue 5 to go down, and the rest of the section followed him as we had not seen the reported aircraft. At about 5000 ft. I noticed a gaggle of 20+ E/A (identified as FW 190 S.N.) flying west in sections of threes, also at zero ft.
     I chose the section on the extreme starboard side of the gaggle, and selected an E/A on the port side of that section. I closed to within 300 yds. and fired at E/A at a 15° angle deflection closing to line astern. After a 2-second burst, flames appeared in the port wing and the E/A crashed in flames on the ground followed by a big explosion.
     I claim this FW 190 destroyed, confirmed by Blue 2. 161

F/Sgt H. Boels of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     On the 1st of May I was flying as Blue 2 in a section of 6 a/c engaged in a patrol in the Wittenburg - Ludwigslust area, and led by F/L Muls. At about 17.50 hrs Blue 5 reported e/a on the deck flying W just underneath us. We were at the time also flying west at 10,000 ft. Blue Leader told Blue 5 to go down and we followed him since we had not seen the aircraft. At height of about 6000 - 5000 ft we observed that there were some 20 + E/A which we immediately identified as FW 190's, flying in sections of three. I followed my No 1 as he went down on to the section on the extreme starboard side of the formation. He picked the port one of the section and I chased the starboard one as it was trying to break away starboard at tree top height. I fired a 2 second burst at a 20 degree angle off from a range of a 100 yds. I observed hits on cockpit, throttled back as I was going to overshoot, turned into line astern and gave three short bursts from about 80 yds, pieces flew off and I saw a big explosion in the cockpit, the E/A crashed into a field where it blew up. I claim this E/A destroyed. After having dealt with the first E/A (FW 190) I broke away to starboard climbing to about 300 ft when I noticed another FW 190 coming from starboard to port some 200 yds away. I turned into it and gave a short burst with a large angle deflection shot (about 45 degrees) from 200 - 150 yds. I did not observe any strikes and E/A started making a rather steep climbing turn to port. I followed it, and closed in to about 150 yds at 2,000 ft. I gave a quick burst from 25 degrees to 30 degrees off. I saw strikes on fuselage. It turned over and went straight down over Schwerin town, pulled up and started weaving at roof top height I followed it and closed in to about 120 yds and gave a 2 sec burst from line astern slightly above. I observed some more strikes on fuselage and cockpit and black smoke pouring out. As there was much flak at the time I started climbing steeply and when at 8,000 ft made for base. E/A climbed to 800 ft and pilot baled out. I claim this 2nd FW 190 also destroyed. 162

F/O P. Leva of 350 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 1 May 1945:

     I was flying Blue 5 in a section of 6 aircraft led by F/L Muls, and engaged on a patrol in the WITTENBURG-LUDWIGSLUST area. At approximately 1750 hrs as we were flying West at 10,000 ft in the Schweriner lake area, I reported some aircraft also flying West at nought feet below. I went down to investigate, followed by the rest of the section. As I drew near I identified these aircraft as being FW 190s, mostly short-nosed, and flying in sections of three.
     I chose the most forward section on the extreme port side, and selected the port E/A. I overshot owing to my diving speed, and after climbing a short distance to lose the speed, I came back again behind the same E/A. When within a range of about 300 yards, I fired a half-second burst from a 10° angle deflection, without noticing any strikes. At the same time I observed that I was nearer to the middle E/A of the section, so went behind it and fired a three second burst from dead astern at a range of 150 yards. I saw two explosions, one on each side of the fuselage; the E/A then started climbing steeply to starboard and I followed; pilot of E/A jettisoned the hood, rolled his aircraft on its back and baled out from about 1000 ft. The E/A went spinning towards the ground and crashed into a wood at M/R T4569.
     I claim this FW 190 destroyed, confirmed by Blue 6 F/L Bangerter. 163

S/L J. B. Prendergast of 414 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 May 1945:

      I was leading a section of 2 aircraft on a Tac/R mission in the Wismar – Schwerin area. I Tac/R’d the roads from Schwerin to Wismer, flew east of the town and was making a 180° turn over the harbor at 1500’ to get below some scattered cloud, when I observed two aircraft which presumably had just taken off the Wismar Airfield as they were at 800/1000 feet flying in a northerly direction and gaining height. I immediately turned into the aircraft, and recognized them as FW.190’s. I at once closed and made a stern attack on the E/A on the left. When at approximately 400 yds. I opened fire with a 3 second burst of .5 M.G. and cannon breaking off at approximately 250 yds. many strikes were seen along the E/A’s fuselage, from the pilot’s position to the engine. Pieces fell off and the E/A rolled on its back and disappeared into a cloud going straight down with a large amount of black smoke streaming from it.
      The other E/A had crossed beneath me and was being attacked by my No. 2, F/O Fuller. I saw my No. 2’s burst hitting the water and at the same time noticed an oily patch about 75 feet wide on the water and some debris in it which appeared to be parts of wreckage of the E/A which I had just attacked. This was the approximate area that the E/A would have likely gone into. The E/A being attacked by my No. 2 did a steep orbit and my No. 2 being unable to overtake it broke away. I went after this E/A which had straightened out and was heading for the shore. I made an astern attack and when at 300 yards opened fire with .5 MG and cannon using about a 5 second burst and breaking off at 150 yards, owing to pieces of the e/a hitting my aircraft – one cracking my windscreen. A large number of strikes were seen and just before the E/A hit the ground, it burst into flames.
      No evasive action was taken by the first E/A and only moderate by the second E/A, weaving and turning.
      Camouflage – light greenish grey with black crosses.
      Cine gun used and exposed in the automatic position.
      Gyro Gun Sight used.
      I claim Two (2) FW.190’s DESTROYED. 164

F/L D.I. Hall, DFC of 414 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 May 1945:

      I was on a Tac/R mission which I was unable to complete owing to weather. I lost my No. 2 in the cloud and instructed him to return to base. I went below cloud and while flying WEST at 0’ at 1310 I sighted one FW190 flying NORTH at 50’ at 100 plus m.p.h. I broke starboard and rapidly closed on his tail. I opened fire at 250 yds using approximately 25° port deflection and closed to 100 yds. I saw strikes on the fuselage and the e/a went straight in. Immediately in front I saw another FW190 which I overtook very rapidly and obtained only a short burst, opening fire at 50 yds. I saw strikes on the a/c but was unable to observe the results due to the speed at which I passed him. A further FW190 was immediately ahead and I opened fire at 200 yds and closed to 50 yds. I saw strikes and flames and then observed port wing falling off. Once again there was another FW190 immediately in line and I opened fire at 200 yds closing to 100 yds. I saw strikes on the e/a which broke to port began to pour black smoke and broke into flame. I then broke starboard and saw 2 Me108’s flying line abreast, South, at approximately 50’. One broke starboard and one port. I closed on the one which broke starboard opening fire at 200 yds and overshot, but obtained strikes on the a/c. He continued to break starboard and I broke port and closed on the other Me108. I opened fire at 200 yds closing to 50 yds. I saw strikes and the a/c went in and exploded on the ground. The attack took place near and over NEUSTADT GLEWE Aerodrome.
Weather: - 10/10 cloud at 1000’ – Camouflage – Dark green with enemy crosses.
Cine gun used.
      I claim 3 FW190’s – destroyed
      1 Me108 - destroyed
      1 FW190 – damaged
      1 Me108 – damaged. 165


Spitfire XIV of 430 Squadron, Hengelo, Netherlands

Jet Kills

F/L F.A.O. Gaze of 610 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 14 February, 1945:

     On 14/2/45 I was leading Wavey Black section of two aircraft on standing patrol over NIJMEGEN. At about 1630 hours I sighted an Arado 234 pulling up from attacking the CLEVE area. I dropped my tank and attempted to intercept but despite the fact that I cut the corner it pulled away easily at 7,000 ft. After this we continually chased Arados over this area. I fired at two without result. At about 1700 hours when it was apparent that the jets were diving down through the cloud which was from 9 - 11,000 ft. I climbed up through it, leaving Black 2 below, hoping to warn him when they dived. Then I did an orbit at 13,000 ft. to clear off the ice on the windscreen and sighted 3 M.E. 262's in Vic formation passing below me at cloud top level. I dived down behind them and closed in, crossing behind the formation and attacked the port aircraft which was lagging slightly. I could not see my sight properly as we were flying straight into the sun, but fired from dead astern, at a range of 350 yards, hitting it in the starboard jet with the second burst; at which the other 2 aircraft immediately dived into cloud. It pulled up slowly and turned to starboard and I fired obtaining more strikes on fuselage and jet which caught fire. The enemy rolled over on to its back and dived through cloud. I turned 180 and dived after it, calling on the R/T to warn my no.2; on breaking cloud I saw an aircraft hit the ground and explode about a mile ahead of me, at E.9859. I claim this M.E.262 destroyed. Black 2 also witnessed this explosion. 166

F/L F.A.O. Gaze, having transferred to 41 squadron, recorded in his Combat Report for 12 April, 1945:

     I was leading Red section of four aircraft on a patrol DELMONHORST - VERDEN. At about 1700 hours Red 2 sighted an aircraft which I identified as an ARADO 234 and chased, managing to drop my tank. The E/A which was flying South turned North and I cut the corner closing to 800 yds. I opened fire and got strikes on fuselage and starboard wing. I continued firing closing slowly and more strikes were followed by the starboard jet catching fire. I closed to 100 yds and broke away as the E/A flicked inverted after some wild jinking. It spun violently down flicking one way and then another and I last saw it disappear in the haze inverted at about 1,000 ft. Red 3 saw it recover at 300 ft and finished it off.
     I claim one ARADO 234 destroyed shared with F/Lt D. V. Lake. 167


Spitfire XIV of 41 Squadron flown by F/L F. A. O. "Tony" Gaze, Spring 1945

F/Lt. D. J. Reid of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 2 March, 1945:

     I took off from B.80 at 0702 as Blue 1 with F/Sgt Kelly as Blue 2, to patrol Nijmegan. At approx. 0735 Planet reported a Jet aircraft N.E. of Weert. I flew towards Weert in thin layers of cloud, then returned towards Nijmegen still between cloud layers. On emerging near Nijmegan saw a single aircraft about one mile in front and about 1000 ft. above. I immediately gave chase instructing my No. 2 to slow down and drop his jet tank, being unable to do so myself due to high speed. The E/A turned slightly to Starboard and continued towards the North East, weaving slightly from time to time. I kept out of the enemy pilot's view by keeping under his tail plane and slowly overhauled him at an I.A.S. of 340 m.p.h. at 8/9000 ft. Whilst astern of the E/A I was only able to say it was jet propelled and not an Me.262 (or Meteor). I closed to 100 yards or less, firing with .5 M.G. and cannon whilst still overtaking. I saw strikes on the Port wing, Port jet engine and fuselage. E/A immediately emmitted dense clouds of brownish smoke, possibly jet exhaust. I continued firing and saw flshes in the smoke, breaking away at extremely close range, and being hit in the port radiator by debris. I next saw E/A going down in a wide spiral to Starboard with white smoke or vapour pouring from holes all along the Port wing, and dark smoke from the fuselage. I could then see the long nose of the a/c and the straight tapered wings with rounded tips and identified E/A as an Arado 234. A large piece of E/A suddenly flew off, and one person baled out, parachute opening. E/A steepened its dive and crashed somewhere near Enschede, being completely destroyed by explosion. Some fire from the ground was seen at this time. I returned to patrol being rejoined by my No. 2 who witnessed the destruction of this enemy a/c.
     I claim one Arado 234 destroyed. 168

350 Squadron filed a joint Combat Report for 2 May, 1945:

P/O Watkins states: I was leading Flounder section of 6 a/c on an armed recce in the RENDSBERG area. At about 1710 hrs whilst flying at 8000 ft, I saw in the circuit of HOHN aerodrome, a jet aircraft which I identified as an Arado 234 going in to land. I dived from 8000 ft followed by the rest of the section, closed to within 50 yards behind E/A and sprayed the mainplane and side of fuselage with machine gun fire. I broke away port as I saw aircraft smoking.

F/L Bangerter states: I followed after Pink 1 and chased E/A as it was crossing aerodrome boundary at 200 ft approximately, E/A turned port away from the aerodrome with flaps and u/c down. I followed and fired cannons with a 5° angle deflection, and obtained strikes on port wing root and port engine, saw flames. I then broke port.

F/S Kicq and F/O Van Eckhoudt stated that they made simultaneous deflection attacks, saw strikes and had to break away because of overtaking speed. Five seconds later, E/A flipped on its back, port mainplane fell off, and E/A struck the ground in a ball of fire.

We claim this Arado 234 destroyed. 169

F/O Howard C. Nicholson of 402 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 13 March, 1945:

     I was flying Yellow 3 on a fighter sweep in the Gladback area when I sighted a ME 262 at about 5000 feet flying South West. He did not appear to see me. I broke and fired a 3 second burst from 250 yards line astern into his starboard wing and the base of the fuselage. Smoke poured out and pieces flew off the starboard wing. I kept firing, observing many hits and the aircraft tended to fall out of control, regaining slowly. At 2000 ft. he went into a sharp dive to port but owing to the extremely heavy flak from Gladback, I broke to starboard. I did not see him crash, but this is comfirmed by the C.O. of 402 Squadron.
     I claim one ME 262 destroyed. 170

130 Squadron filed a joint Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

F/Lt Stowe states:  I was leading Red Section and at 5000' near Lubeck Aerodrome I saw Red 5 (P/O Edwards) attacking a F.W. 190 in the circuit of the Airfield. I saw at the same time, a M.E. 262 about to land on the runway. I dived onto it and fired at a steep angle. I did not see strikes but as the E/A was half way down the runway I saw something white stream out behind the E/A.

W/O Ockenden states:  I followed Red I in and I saw him firing and saw his strikes on the Starboard wing of the E/A. I fired at it from a steep angle and just as I pressed the tit I saw a parachute streaning out behind the E/A, with the air from the slipstream filling the parachute. I could not see anymore as their was intense flak but the E/A was travelling very fast with its wheels down and as the parachute was open the pilot could not have been in control of the A/C.
We claim this E/A Probably Destroyed. 171

F/Lt. Cowell of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 April, 1945:

    I was leading Kudos Blue Section of six aircraft and had finished attacking a train near NEUMUNSTER and was orbitting with the rest of my section at 6,000 ft. prior to turning for a course for home, when I observed two ME 262's flying in line abreast, in an Easterly direction. I reported these aircraft and turned in sharply after them, as they passed over the top of me, at the same time jettisoning my long range petrol tank. The E/A were then 1-2,000 yards ahead and they opened up and dived for the deck. I followed them doing 440 mph in the dive and 400 mph on the deck and was closing slowly. The A/C were heading straight for LUBECK and obviously intended to lead us over flak area and it was obvious that we should not catch them before this happened. I then pulled up to 3,000 ft and observed the E/A making for the aerodrome south of LUBECK. The ME 262 on the starboard side did a turn to starboard and put his wheels and flaps down with the intention of doing a right hand circuit to land west to east. I was therefore able to cut him off and make a short head on attack. No results were observed. I then broke sharply to port and was able to make a 60° beam attack as he continued in his circuit. I observed strikes in the cockpit area and between the starboard nacelle and the fuselage, and a large sheet of flame issued from this point. The pilot of the E/A then landed his machine on the grass beside the runway where it slewed round to starboard and volumes of white smoke issued from it. The other machine landed on the runway in the opposite direction (W-E) and it appeared that either the starboard tyre burst, or the starboard leg collapsed for the aircraft slewed round off the runway on to the grass, dragging its starboard wing tip on the ground. Final results of the fire on the first ME 262 were not observed owing to intense light flak from the aerodrome defences.
    I claim 1 ME 262 probably destroyed and 1 ME 262 damaged. 172


Spitfire XIV of 41 Squadron with 122 Wing, 2nd TAF, Eindhoven, Netherlands, early Spring 1945

Notes

    1.   610 Squadron Operations Record Book, January 1944
    2.   91 Squadron From 541, May 1944
    3.   610 Squadron Form 541, May 1944
    4.   322 Squadron Form 541, May 1944
    5.   350 Squadron Operations Record Book, August 1944
    6.   402 Squadron Form 541, August 1944
    7.   610 Squadron Operations Book
    8.   130 Squadron Operations Report, 30 August 1944
    9.   610 Squadron Operations Book
  10.   350 Operations Record Book, September 1944
  11.   130 Squadron Operations Report, 12 September 1944
  12.   402 Form 541, 12 September 1944
  13.   41 Squadron Operations Report, 17 September 1944
  14.   Strength of Aircraft in R.A.F. as of 26th April 1945
  15.   Spitfire XIV Aircraft Data Sheet
  16.   A.F.D.S. Level Speed Runs
  17.   RAE Tech. Note No. Eng. 316
  18.   Rolls-Royce Level Speed Chart, Mustang & Spitfire XIV
  18b.   Spitfire F.Mk. 21 Climb & level speed performance trials
  19.   No 610 Operations Record Book - July 1944
  20.   Leistungen Me 109 G mit DB 605 AS, Messerschmitt AG., Augsburg 22.1.44
  21.   GL/C-E 2, G-14/ASM
  22.   Flugbericht Nr. M 35/25. Me 109/163 841 mit Wasser-Methanol-Einspritzung., 4.7.44
  30.   Jochen Prien & G. Stemmer, Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in World War II, Vol 1., (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2002), p. 365.
  31.   Niederschrift Nr 6730, Daimler Benz, 24 January 1945
  32.   Höchstgeschwindigkeiten, DB 605 DB/ASB Sondernotleistung mit MW..., Oberammergau, 19.1.45
  32b.    Steiggeschwindigkeiten, DB 605 DB/ASB Sondernotleistung mit MW..., Oberammergau, 19.1.45
  33.   Hinweise für Technische Ausstellen, Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, Frankfort/Oder, 18.10.1944
  34.   GL/C-E 2, K-4 Jäger
  34b.   Bf 109 K-4 Flugzeug-Handbuch, November 1944
  35.   Geschwindigkeitmessungen mit 4 VDM Luftschrauben auf Me 109 K4 mit DB 605 D, Aspera G.m.b.H., Kamenz, 4 January 1945
  36.   Interner Aktenvermerk Nr. 6642, Daimler-Benz, 17.1.4
  37.   Niederschrift Nr 6717, Damiler-Benz, 19.1.45
  38.   Niederschrift Nr 6730, Daimler Benz, 24 January 1945
  39.   Niederschrift Nr 6731, Daimler Benz, 24 January 1945
  40.   Erprobungsbericht Nr. 15 vom 16.1.45 bis 15.2.45, Messerschmitt A.G., 22.2.45
  41.   Reparatur-Anweisung 2. Nachtrag Nr. 191/345, des Reichministers für Rüstung und Kriegproduktion, 14 March 1945
  42.   Jochen Prien & G. Stemmer, Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in World War II, Vol 1., (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2002), p.378-379.
  43.   Jochen Prien and Peter Rodeike, Jagdgeschwader I und II, Teil 3, (Struve-Druck, Eutin, Germany), p. 1526.
  44.   Jochen Prien, Jagdgeschwader 53, Vol. 3, (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 1998), p. 1029.
  45.   Ibid., p. 1063.
  46.   John Weal, Jagdgeschwader 27 'Africa', (Osprey Publishing Limited, Oxford, 2003), p. 117.
  47.   Ibid., p. 119.
  48.   Prien, Rodeike, Stemmer, Messerschmitt Bf 109 im Einsatz bei der III. und IV./Jagdgeschwader 27, (Struve-Druck, Eutin, Germany,
            1995), p. 300-301.
  49.   Einsatzbereitschaft der flg.Verbände im Bereich Lfl.Kdo.Reich, Stand 12.4.1945
          See also: Donald Caldwell, The JG 26 War Diary, Volume Two 1943-1945, (Grub Street, London, 1998), p. 484.
                          Alfred Price, The Last Year of the Luftwaffe: May 1944- May1945, (Arms and Armour Press, 1994), pp. 151-152.
  50.   As quoted in Prien, JG 53, p. 1075.
  51.   Ibid., p. 1079.
  52.  Werner Girbig, Six Months to Oblivion, The Defeat of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force Over the Western Front, (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
          West Chester, PA, 1991) Originally published under the title Start im Morgengrauen, (Motobuch Verlag, Stugart, 1989)
          See also: Heinz J. Nowarra, The Focke-Wulf 190: A Famous German Fighter, (Harleyford, UK, 1993), pp. 112 - 118.
  53.  Hans Ring and Werner Girbig, Jagdgeschwader 27, (Motorbuch Verlag, Stuggart, 1994), pp. 307-311
  60.  610 Squadron Intelligence Form "F", 7th March, 1944.
  61.  F/L J. B. Lawrence, Combat Report, 6 October, 1944
  62.  F/O W. H. Whittaker, Combat Report, 6 October, 1944.
  63.  F/L A. R. Speare, Combat Report, 6 October, 1944.
  64.  F/O H. Walmsley, Combat Report, 8 December 1944.
  65.  F/Sgt. G. W. Hudson, Combat Report, 8 December, 1944.
  66.  F/O K. M. Lowe (AUS), Combat Report, 8 December 1944.
  67.  P/O F. C. Riley (AUS), Combat Report, 8 December 1944.
  68.  F/Lt D. Sherk, Combat Report, 25th December 1944.
  69.  F/L F.A.O. Gaze, Combat Report, 1 January, 1945:
  70.  F/Lt L. J. Packwood, Combat Report, 1 January, 1945. Uffz. Heinrich Braun killed, 2./JG 27, Me 109 K-4 331344.
  71.  S/L D. I. Benham, Combat Report, 23 January, 1945.
  72.  F/O Hegarty, Combat Report, 23 January, 1945. 41 Sqdn downed three 190 D-9's. Either Uffz. Walter Planz 1./JG 26 or
          Lt. Hans-Helmuth Cordt 4./JG 26, both killed.
  73.  F/Lt J. R. MacElwain, Combat Report, 10 February 1945.
  74.  F/Sgt Moyle, Combat Report, 14 February, 1945. III./JG 54 lost three and I./JG 26 one in this combat with 41 Squadron.
  75.  W/O I. T. Stevenson, Combat Report, 14 February, 1945. See above.
  76.  F/Lt J. Lavigne, Combat Report, 21 February, 1945. Probably Lt. Siegfried Dellin killed, 7./JG 27.
  77.  F/O A. Van Wersch, Combat Report, 21 February, 1945. Me 109 of JG 27
  78.  P/O Louis Lambrechts, Combat Report, 21 February, 1945. Me 109 of JG 27
  79.  F/Lt. D. J. Reid, Combat report, 25 February 1945.
  80.  W/Cdr. George Keefer, Combat Report, 2 March, 1945.
  81.  F/Sgt Clay, Combat Report, 2 March, 1945. Uffz. Walter Hähnel 10./JG 26 KIA, FW 190 D-9 400257
  82.  P/O Louis Lambrechts, Combat Report, 2 March, 1945. Either Lt. Horst Nitschke Bf 109 K-4 334 134 or Gefr. Alfred Pölz
          Bf 109 K-4 332 860, both killed, 14./JG 27.
  83.  F/Lt Hoornaert, Combat Report, 2 March, 1945.
  84.  F/Sgt Jacques Groensteen, Combat Report for 2 March, 1945. Either Lt Manfred Stechbarth Bf 109 K-4 333 945 13./JG 27 or Gefr. Robert
         Sonnet Bf 109 K-4 334 154 15./JG 27, both wounded. IV/JG 27 lost 6 aircraft destroyed, III/JG 27 lost another 4, all in the Rheine/Achmer
         area on 2 March.
  85.  F/Lt. Walmsley, Combat Report, 13 March, 1945. Uffz. Heinz Meiss killed, Fw 190D-9 7./JG 26.
  86.  F/Sgt Clay, Combat Report, 13 March, 1945.
  87.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford, Combat Report, 13 March, 1945.
  88.  S/Ldr F. Woolley, Combat Report, 13 March, 1945.
  89.  F/O G. Lord, Combat Report, 19 March, 1945. Me 109's from 3./JG 27. 130 Squadron claimed 3 destroyed and 7 damaged in this raid
          on Rheine Airdrome. 3./JG 27 admitted 3 Me 109s destroyed, Oblt. Walter Harsh killed; Fw. Hermann Wilke and Lt. Helmet Beckman
          wounded. Ring & Girbig wrote that, with 1 exception, the entire staffel was shot down.
  90.  F/Sgt G. Hudson, Combat Report, 19 March, 1945. Me 109's from 3./JG 27.
  91.  W/Cdr George Keefer, Combat Report, 19 March, 1945. Me 109's from 3./JG 27.
  92.  Lt. Helmut Beckmann as quoted in Prien, Rodeike, Stemmer, Messerschmitt Bf 109 im Einsatz bei Stab und I./Jagdgeschwader 27,
           (Struve-Druck, Eutin, Germany, 1998), p. 489-491.
  93.  F/Lt H. Walmsley D.F.C., Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. Fw 190D-9's of IV./JG 26, Uffz. Reinhard Flakowski, Ofhr. Hans-Jürgen &
           Uffz. Harry Kaps killed.
  94.  F/Lt P. E. Sibeth, Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. See above
  95.  F/Sgt P. H. T. Clay, Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. See above
  96.  Sgt G. D. Warren, Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. See above
  97.  W/O J. A. Boulton, Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. See above
  98.  F/Sgt B. W. Woodman, Combat Report, 28 March, 1945. See above
  99.  F/L H. Cowan, Combat Report, 30 March, 1945. Fw. Hans Eisenberg killed, FW 190 D-9 of 13./JG 26.
100.  F/O R. W. Lawson, Combat Report, 31 March, 1945. Oblt. Friedrich Burkhardt and Georg Raith killed, Fw-190D-9s of 5./JG 26.
101.  F/L B. E. Innes, Combat Report, 31 March, 1945. See above.
102.  F/O A. G. Ratcliffe, Combat Report, 5 April, 1945.
103.  F/L W. F. Peck, Combat Report, 5 April, 1945. Uffz. Kurt Söder & Ofhr. Günter Schitkowsky killed, IV./JG 26.
104.  F/L H. Cowan, Combat Report, 5 April, 1945. See above.
105.  F/O Robert Muls of 350 Squadron, Combat Report, 5 April, 1945. Uffz. Friedrich Rohrmann 5./JG 26 WIA, Fw 190 D-9.
106.  F/Sgt Neulinger of 350 Squadron, 5 April, 1945. See above.
107.  F/L Warren M. Middleton, Combat Report, 15 April, 1945. Fw. Willi Niedermeyer killed, Fw 190D-9 5./JG 26.
108.  S/Ldr J. B. Sheperd, Combat Report, 16 April, 1945.
109.  F/Lt. Wilkinson, Combat Report, 16 April, 1945.
110.  F/Sgt A. Kicq, Combat Report, 17 April, 1945. FW 190 D-9 of 5./JG 26. Fw. Hans Marischka killed.
111.  F/O T. L. Trevorrow and W/Cdr George Keefer, Combat Reports, 18 April, 1945.
112.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford, Combat Report, 19 April, 1945.
113.  F/O H. C. Dutton, Combat Report, 19 April, 1945.
114.  S/Ldr J. B. Shepherd, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
115.  F/Lt. Wilkinson, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
116.  W/O I. T. Stevenson, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
117.  P/O P. J. Coleman, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
118.  P/O Watkins, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945. IV./JG 3 lost 4 FW 190's in the combat with 350 Squadron.
119.  F/O Doncq, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945. See above.
120.  F/Lt Howarth, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945. See above.
121.  F/Sgt Kicq, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945. See above.
122.  F/Lt H. Walmsley D.F.C., Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
123.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
124.  F/Lt C. J. Samouelle, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
125.  W/Cmdr George Keefer, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
126.  F/L R. J. Taggart, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
127.  F/O T.B. Lee, Combat Report, 20 April, 1945.
128.  F/L E. R. Burrows, Combat Report, 21 April, 1945. Lt. Hans Junge & Gefr. Horst Moldenhauer, Bf 109 G's of II./JG 27
129.  F/Lt C. J. Samouelle, Combat Report, 24 April, 1945. E/A probably from I/JG 11 which lost 8 Fw 190s.
130.  F/Sgt B. W. Woodman, Combat Report, 24 April, 1945. See above
131.  F/Lt Bruce, Combat Report, 24 April, 1945. See above
132.  W/O R. E. Coverdale, Combat Report, 24 April, 1945.
133.  F/Lt W. N. Stowe, Combat Report, 24 April, 1945.
134.  P/O Edwards , Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.
135.  P/O E. Pauwels, Combat report, 25 April, 1945.
136.  S/L H. Walmsley, Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.
137.  W/Cdr. George Keefer, Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.
138.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford, Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.
139.  F/Sgt Gigot, Combat Report, 26 April, 1945.
140.  F/Lt. Wilkinson, Combat Report, 28 April 1945.
141.  S/Ldr J. B. Shepherd, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
142.  F/L Gaze, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
143.  S/Ldr F. G. Wooley, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
144.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
145.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford & P/O Edwards, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
146.  F/Lt I. R. Ponsford & P/O Edwards, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
147.  F/Lt W. N. Stowe, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
148.  F/O Lord, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
149.  P/O D. J. Watkins, Combat Report, 30 April 1945. I(Pz)./SG 9 lost 6 FW 190F's in the attack by 350 Squadron.
150.  F/Sgt G. Gigot, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945. See above.
151.  F/Lt. P. M. Bangerter, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945. See above.
152.  F/L D. R. Drummond, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
153.  F/L S. M. Knight, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
154.  F/L F. E. Hanton, Combat Report, 30 April, 1945.
155.  F/O Lord, Combat Report, 1 May 1945.
156.  S/L J. B. Shepherd, D.F.C, Combat Report, 1st May 1945.
157.  F/O G. Gray, Combat Report, 1 May 1945.
158.  P/O P. J. Coleman, Combat Report, 1 May 1945.
159.  F/Lt. P Cowell, Combat Report, 1 May 1945. FW 190 D-9's of 15./JG 51; Heinz Marquardt & Fw Heinz Radlauer
160.  W/O I. T. Stevenson, Combat Report, 1 May 1945.
161.  F/Lt R. Muls, Combat Report, 1 May 1945. I./JG 11 lost 5 FW 190's.
162.  F/Sgt H. Boels, Combat Report, 1 May 1945. See above.
163.  F/O P. Leva, Combat Report, 1 May 1945. See above.
164.  S/L J. B. Prendergast, Combat Report, 2 May 1945.
165.  F/L D.I. Hall, DFC, Combat Report, 2 May 1945.
166.  F/L F.A.O. Gaze, Combat Report, 14 February, 1945.  Fw Rudolf Hoffmann killed, Me 262A (500642) I./KG 51
167.  F/L F.A.O. Gaze, Combat Report, 12 April, 1945.
168.  F/Lt. D. J. Reid, Combat report, 2 March, 1945.
169.  350 Squadron Combat Report, 2 May, 1945.  Oblt. Worzech, Arado Ar-234 (4U+EH) 1.(F)/123
170.  F/O Howard C. Nicholson, Combat Report, 13 March, 1945.
171.  130 Squadron Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.  Me 262A 900221
172.  F/Lt. Cowell Combat Report, 25 April, 1945.  Me 262A 900225

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