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Old 14th July 2016, 12:39
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Alfred.MONZAT Alfred.MONZAT is offline
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Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

Hello,

I am curious after reading this :
"The group returned to escort duty on 14 February [1945] with Lieutnant Colonel Elwyn Righetti leading A Group and Major Edward Giller leading B Group to Magdeburg. The mission went well with no B-24 lost. Finally leaving the bombers, the group dropped down on a lumber yard and two adjacent factories in Wahrenholz at 1225, releasing their fuel tanks and straffing them, a technique called the 'Righetti Inferno'. All three sites were left burning. A short time later at Gardlegen, the group toggled off more drop tanks on box cars in a siding, a warehouse, and a factory, firing them and leaving a heavy black cloud over the city."
The 55th Fighter Group vs The Luftwaffe - John M. Gray - Pages 97-98

Is that a common use of the drop tanks ? Did this technique was used by other units ? Which pilot/unit used it/invented it in the ETO ?

Well, if you have any information on the subject, I am interested.

Here's also something similar mentioned for the 20th FG :
"The Eighth Air Force attacked marshalling yards and an armoured vehicle factory on 20 February [1945], when the lack of any opposition left the fighters free to attack ground targets. The 20th FG went after road and rail traffic from Nuremberg [...] [Lt Kenneth] McNeel and Lt William Peel set four vans on fire using their drop tanks. [...] They used the drop tank technique to douse the trucks with fuel and then attack with machine gun fire. [...] Machine gunning and use of the drop tank technique accounted for seven locomotives destroyed and 15 trucks damaged."
Aircraft of the Aces 51 - Strafing Aces of the Eighth Air Force - William N. Hess - Pages 49-50

Regards

Alfred
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Old 16th July 2016, 18:54
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

There is mention of using drop tanks in an attack here:
https://books.google.com/books?id=Tm...rafing&f=false

The narration is by James L McCubbin (44-15672, MACR 12506, 364th FG). The "Lt Berry" he refers to is actually "Lt Jack T Barrie" (44-13657, MACR 12502, 364th FG). In the MACR for Barrie there is an eyewitness statement by Francis X Radley. Radley mentions dropping his tanks "as bombs" on the train being attacked. Then Lt Berrie followed him, also dropping his tanks. Lt Berrie was hit during his attack.

All the examples found so far seem to occur in February, 1945. I wonder if this technique was being widely discussed in Fighter Groups at the time and it appears perhaps several groups were actually trying it.

Last edited by RSwank; 17th July 2016 at 00:10.
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Old 16th July 2016, 23:28
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Re: Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

None in the 352nd, 355th 357th or 4th FG histories but several mentions of one nalpam offset by 75 gal tank on the other wing between late July 1944 and mid February 1945
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Old 16th November 2016, 14:23
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Re: Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

Here's another example this time quoted from "Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe - The U.S. Army Air Forces Against Germany in World War II" by Jay A. Stout - Page 313

Joe Black of the 357th Fighter Group was one of the well-prepared replacement pilots who were arriving in England during the latter part of the war. Despite his excellent training, he was particularly anxious during his first few sorties-typical of virtually every aviator who has flown combat.

"It was February 1, 1945, and we escorted a group of B-17s to Wesel, where they were supposed to hit one of the bridges going over the Rhine," Black remembered. "It was actually pretty boring as there wasn't much going on. And the bombers missed the bridge." Following the ineffective raid, the group turned their escort duties over to another batch of fighters and began hunting for targets of opportunity. Black was flying on the wing of Leonard 'Kit' Carson, a leading ace. "Carson spotted a lumber yard that was serviced by a railroad spur," said Black. "He briefed us very carefully. We were supposed to make a low, fast pass and drop our wing tanks on the yard. The tanks would split open and spill fuel all over the place. Then we were going to make a second pass firing our guns. The idea was that our tracer rounds would set the fuel on fire and all that lumber would go up in a huge inferno. Well, I was so nervous that I fired my guns on the first pass and dropped my wing tanks on the second !"

Source : Telephone interview with Joe Black, 18 October 2009

Last edited by Alfred.MONZAT; 16th November 2016 at 16:20.
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Old 20th December 2016, 18:21
jayastout jayastout is offline
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Re: Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

I do mention this in my recently published book on Righetti (Vanished Hero). Although I am a great admirer of Righetti and his accomplishments, I have a hard time believing that this concept wasn't tried before he started flying combat in earnest during November 1944. I mean, men just past teenager-hood (I made that up) with hot aircraft and machine guns and extra fuel...it's not too difficult to get from A to B, where B is setting things on fire.
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Old 21st December 2016, 10:06
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Re: Strafing drop tanks as attack tachnique

Thanks for the teasing, I have not yet reached this point in my reading of the book
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