4th Fighter Group: Debden Eagles (Aviation Elite Units) by Chris Bucholtz

By Chris Bucholtz

Formed round a nucleus of pilots already pro via their event as volunteers within the RAF's Eagle Squadrons, the 4th Fighter workforce was once validated in England in October 1942. at first flying Spitfires, the Debden Eagles went directly to fly the P-47 and P-51, turning into in July 1943, the 1st 8th Air strength fighter staff to penetrate German air house. The group's list of 583 air and 469 floor victories used to be unrivaled within the 8th Air strength, and the crowd produced a solid of characters that incorporated mythical aces Don Blakeslee, Pierce McKennon, 'Kid' Hofer, Duane Beeson, Steve Pisanos and Howard Hively.

While basically a bomber escort team, the 4th additionally performed roles in helping the D-Day landings, Operation marketplace backyard, the conflict of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine. The group's achievements got here at a value, despite the fact that, for 248 airplane have been misplaced in wrestle, with a hundred twenty five pilots killed in motion and a hundred and five being taken prisoner - a forty two percentage casualty price. full of first hand money owed, certain plane profiles and entire wrestle histories, this booklet is an exciting perception into the best-known American fighter unit in international warfare 2.

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He fired and 'saw strikes on me wings and cockpit. The aircraft headed For the clouds. ] was about to fire when he blew up. ' 1Lt Charles Anderson picked our the 04 man in the Formation and fi red, 'seeingonestrike right in me cockpit', he reported. 'He Fell oFFon his left wing and did a spiral dive into rile deck. The plane did not explode, but the aircraft broke up into small pieces. I men went after 02. 'While firing at him, Isaw 01 comingat me From "nine o'clock". Icould see he was not getting any deflection, so I kept aFter 0 2.

Kolrer perished when his P-5] B crashed. AJso losr during rhe mission were Capr Willard Millikan and ILr Sam Young, who collided while dodging flak. Borh men baled our and became PoWs. Poor wearher made rhe escorr mission on 3] Maya somewhar confused affair, so 2Lr Hofer broke off on his own and joined up wirh rhe 357rh FG. He arracked Luxeuil airfield wirh rhe group, srrafing 15 Bu ]31 rrainers and serring rhree ofrhem on fire. Unforrunarely, Capr Carroll McEII'oy and I Lr Roberr Homurh, borh from rhe 335rh F , failed ro rerurn.

Buzzi ng the field or doi ng victory rolls was Forbidden by Blakeslee because of the danger of battle damage. 'Gentile knew that, but did it anyway', his 0 recalled in 1999. entile Failed to anricipate the gentle crown ofthe field, so halfway down its length his prop chewed a 50-yard Furrow. The ace pulled the crippled aircraft up, then hit the ground dire r1y in Front of the photographers who were there to film the buzz, just mis ing them and the operations hut, and demolishing his P-5\ B hangri-La.

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