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  #1  
Old 4th June 2005, 08:12
NickM NickM is offline
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Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

It's time for me to ask the perennial question about an first hand account I read in some book who's title I forgot--something about American pilots serving in the RAF...this particular story is a little hazy but the gist of it is: the guy recollecting was one of 8 spitfire pilots patrolling around the time of the El Alamein battles--not sure exactly but DEFINITELY AFTER the death of HJ Marseilles; while on patrol the 8 spits are bounced by TWO extremely well flown Me 109s who down 2 of the spits before the rest even know they're there. The rest of the dogfight is recalled by the witness as the remaining 6 pilots being totally outflown & boxed in by these two pilots, who succeed in shooting down a third Spit & damaging a couple more---in a nutshell, the witness felt that if the Me pilots hadn't either run short of ammo and/or fuel & had to disengage, NONE of the patrol would have survived;

So...the question is: WHO were these two pilots? Given the time it could have been any number of pilots, but probably NOT JG27 experten; I am not sure about JG53 but I THINK that they may have been from JG77...at the time JG77 had flying for it: Munchenberg, Baer, Hackl, Freitag and Reinert among the ones I know...since I can't put my finger on the EXACT date, I am hoping someone 'out there' might either have the book or can make an educated guess as to who these top notch pilots were;

Thanks, ahead of time

NickM
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Old 4th June 2005, 12:10
Andreas Brekken's Avatar
Andreas Brekken Andreas Brekken is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Hi, Nick

I tried to start this message at least 10 times, but couldn't come up with a good way.... earlier experiences has shown that trying to post a message on this board where the 'amis' aren't the best in every respect tends to be quite harshly flamed...

I have been using a couple of weeks this spring researching parts of the Tunisian campaign, the results will be published late this year, must get some more ULTRA in it.

Ok, that's the backdrop, now for the message that no doubtly will not be appreciated:

An averagely trained Rotte from this period would probably be able to cut a non-suspecting formation of Spits to pieces. And the clues to how this happened in this instance is partly in the story already:

Part 1: The bounce! Correct positioning and dive would ensure that the first pass would get rid of (probably) the trailing two-ship part of the formation. Chances are even that the pilots shot down would have been unable to warn their compatriots, and if the zoom-boom was performed correctly, the Bf 109 pair would be at a height and thus power advantage again, unseen by the rest of the formation.

Part 2: Attrition. The rest of the fight would be for the Bf 109's to wait, pick a target and get there, never engaging in a turning fight.

This is not expert flying, it is textbook flying when it comes to tactics for a Bf 109 driver from this period.

We will probably never get to know who these pilots where, but You could probably chalk them up as Fw. This and Uffz. That from JG 27, JG 53 or JG 77, two ordinary guys doing their ordinary job in their Bf 109F-4.

Hehehe!!!

Regards,
Andreas
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Old 4th June 2005, 12:33
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Andreas I'll be going on a limb here, but I doubt that this performance is an exhibit of average Jagdwaffe pilots of the period. That doesn't mean they have to be Ritterkreuzträger with high scores, but they probably were veteran Experten in their own right, veteran Fw and/or Uffz. if you prefer it that way.



To fight in a textbook manner requires above average skills, the shooting and discipline appearant from the limited info also implies that same above average skill level.

The initial bounce isn't the really intersting part of the story, the disciplined continuation of the fight and the final disengagement are what makes it special IMHO.

Lets not forget that to attack a superior number of fighters requires that you recognise your own (superior) position, have certain trust in your personal skill and thorough knowledge of your aircraft's capabilities (and that of the enemy).

Again this points in the direction of veteran pilots.
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Old 5th June 2005, 04:27
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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The story of the desert Spit 5s being bounced by 2 wellflown Bf109s is from the book "The Eagles War" by Haugland.
The story was told by Sgt Leo Nomis, flying with 92 Sq, just before the El Alamein breakthrough.I have never been able to determine the date of this engagement.
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Old 5th June 2005, 07:10
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Kaki & the rest;

thanks for all who replied; Kaki:That's the book--AND the engagement I recalled; well...I suppose someone with access to John Foreman's books on loss for Fighter Command could probably help us pin down the date, place & time;in any case, the event must stand out: how many cases of 92 Sq losing 3 spits & several others damaged in a single engagement in 1942 in North Africa could there be, eh?
Thanks!
NickM
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Old 10th June 2005, 06:30
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Andreas:

Let us not forget that in late 1942 the Axis armed forces would be having problems with fuel, spare parts & other supplies; it would stand to reason that if the LW had a limited number of Me's to put in the air they would no doubt only allow pilots with a record of success to fly those planes--no doubt in order to 'maximise' the effect a limited number of aircraft would have; maybe as you said it would not be a Muenchenberg, a Baer or a Hackl but just an Feldwebel or Unteroffizer---but those NCO pilots would still have to be of above average experience, when it came to shooting & flying;

NickM
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Old 10th June 2005, 14:04
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickM
Kaki & the rest;

I suppose someone with access to John Foreman's books on loss for Fighter Command could probably help us pin down the date, place & time;in any case, the event must stand out: how many cases of 92 Sq losing 3 spits & several others damaged in a single engagement in 1942 in North Africa could there be, eh?
Nick:

I believe John Foreman's book concern only the UK-based Fighter Command and the 2nd TAF, not operations in the Med. or North Africa.
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Old 10th June 2005, 16:21
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

I can't find an exact match in Fighters Over The Desert. Roll on the long-awaited successor!

However, on 26th September eight Spitfires of 92 Sq were escorting Hurricanes when the force was bounced by five 109s. Marseille claimed one Hurricane, followed by three Spitfires. Oblt. Schlang claimed a Spitfire. Two Spitfires were actually lost.


If so, then hardly an ordinary Feldwebel!
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Old 10th June 2005, 16:39
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Another point that should be made, is how JG.27's successes were heavily dependent upon a few star pilots that were cossetted by their fellows to an extent unknown in the Allied forces. This lead to morale collapse when the aces were lost (witness after Marseille's death), and a lack of experience in depth. The "ordinary" feldwebel in JG 27 was probably very ordinary indeed.

The pilots in Loomis's story are likely to be very identifiable indeed, when the actual incident is convincingly established.
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Old 10th June 2005, 21:00
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Me's vs Spits over North Africa: Who were those guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Boak
Another point that should be made, is how JG.27's successes were heavily dependent upon a few star pilots that were cossetted by their fellows to an extent unknown in the Allied forces. This lead to morale collapse when the aces were lost (witness after Marseille's death), and a lack of experience in depth. The "ordinary" feldwebel in JG 27 was probably very ordinary indeed.

The pilots in Loomis's story are likely to be very identifiable indeed, when the actual incident is convincingly established.
I don't think JG 27 was different from any German fighter unit at the time. The German combat made and victory award system both gave more "victories" to aces than pilots with a weak score. Most units had a few star scoring most of the victories of the unit, while new pilots learned their skill by flying wingmen and begin to score victories months after arriving in the unit... and begin to really score and become aces when they became Rotte-leaders or even Scharm-leaders, if they survive until then.
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