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

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By Chris Bucholtz

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

While essentially a bomber escort staff, the 4th additionally performed roles in helping the D-Day landings, Operation industry backyard, the conflict of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine. The group's achievements got here at a cost, despite the fact that, for 248 plane have been misplaced in wrestle, with a hundred twenty five pilots killed in motion and one hundred and five being taken prisoner - a forty two percentage casualty price. choked with first hand debts, special plane profiles and whole wrestle histories, this ebook is an fascinating perception into the best-known American fighter unit in international struggle 2.

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The 13 April mission was Capt Don Genrile's last operation beFore rotating home, and to celebrate in Front of the assembled media at Debden he beat up the field with a low pass. 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.

We split them up, but due to the Fact that we were outnumbered 50-to-8, we were not able to destroy any. My wingman and myselF ended up alone on the deck. As 1started to climb up, 1 observed 24 Me 109s and Fw 190s in lose Formation in six vics of Fours line astern. I told my wingman we would try to sneak up b hind and knock oFF the last section and then run away in the haze. A we were closing on the last section, all the Huns broke, and a lengthy dogfight en ued, with the Fw 190s showing amazing fighting ability and aggres iveness.

The aircrafr rhen wenr inro a spin, and I kepr ralking him, rhinking ir was an evasive manoeuvre. ' Carpenrer pulled up and gor behind anorher Fw J 90, ricking ro him despire his evasive manoeuvres. 'I gor a couple of good bursrs inro him, wirh several srrikes in rhe cockpir area. He jenisoned his hood, bur I did nor see him bale our. ' J Lr Pierce McKennon and his Righr waded inro whar he esrimared ro be 85 enemy aircraft; 'I cannor give a very coherenr descriprion because ir's rhe f1rsr f1ghr like ir I have ever been in.

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