Download Aces of the 78th Fighter Group by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver PDF
By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
Dubbed the 'Eagles of Duxford', the 78th Fighter workforce (FG) was once special in being the single fighter unit within the 'Mighty 8th' to fly the P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang operationally. Arriving within the eu Theatre of Operations (ETO) in November 1942, and at last dedicated to strive against 5 months later, the 78th, besides the 4th and 56th FGs, 'wrote the ebook' on long-range fighter escort by means of VIII Fighter Command within the ETO. This quantity charts the group's highs and lows in the course of its years in motion from Duxford, targeting the exploits of the fifty one pilots who completed ace prestige with the 78th in the course of international battle 2. those males integrated Capt Charles London, the first actual 8th Air strength ace, and Maj Quince Brown, who used to be the 78th's so much profitable aerial ace sooner than being murdered by way of the SS after he was once shot down over Germany. through VE Day, the 'Eagles of Duxford' had downed 316 plane and destroyed yet another 320 machines at the floor in the course of strafing attacks...
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Extra resources for Aces of the 78th Fighter Group
One such individual was Harding Zumwalt, who recalled; ‘On 11 February 1943 I reported to Eighth Air Force Combat Replacement Center 7 at Atcham airfield, in Shropshire, where we continued proficiency in Spitfires until transferring to Goxhill and the 83rd FS. There, I saw my first P-47, and it was quite impressive. The “Jug” weighed twice as much as the Spitfire and appeared large enough to house a couple of waist gunners in the rear. ’ The Eighth Air Force had sent a request to the RAF in January 1943 that it be allowed to base its fighter groups at established British fighter stations, since there was a shortage of bomber-sized airfields in East Anglia and a need to access the more elaborate communications facilities found at such sites when conducting fighter operations.
Roberts and Koontz came across a gaggle of Fw 190s; ‘Dead ahead of me was a single Fw 190, at the same level as Koontz and me, about 1000 to 1500 yards ahead. He was racing in the same direction as the bombers so he could get ahead of them, swing around in front and make a head-on pass. The bombers were most vulnerable from dead ahead. ’ Roberts dove slightly below the enemy fighter to avoid being spotted, then closed to around 400 yards, where he opened fire, hitting the German heavily with a three- to five-second burst.
The ruggedness of the Thunderbolt saved him when he then hit a second tree, the fighter staying intact long enough for McTaggart to pull up to 1500 ft and bail out. He successfully evaded capture, however, arriving back in the UK on 21 June. ‘Mac’ McTaggart had been gone for just five weeks – a USAAF record for escape, evasion and return prior to the D-Day invasion. On 15 May, the 78th FG flew to the coastal field at Horsham St Faith, in Norfolk, to refuel before setting off on a ‘Rodeo’ (the codename given for a mission composed of fighters only) off Amsterdam that saw flak down 2Lt Jack M Sandmeier of the 82nd FS – he was killed.