Mission Date: 24-07-1940
Aircraft: Bf-109 E1
Markings: Black 2
Pilot Status: Heavily wounded, crash mid channel, bled out KIA.
Aircraft Status: Destroyed
While waiting for our turn to take-off, Schwarm 2 of 5 Staffel were witness to the ballet dance of death that was Schwarm 1 5 Staffel and 6 Staffel getting (or trying to get ) airbourne.
It was like that poorly choreographed ballet we once witnessed shortly after invading Poland. POW's, malnourished, some missing limbs, dressed as woman in tutu's made from old hessian cloth sandbags trying to pirouette.
How awful. One cannot unsee this.
I think I even heard some muffled comments over our Schwarm 2 VHF to the effect of, ‘amateurs, pupes, noobs, etc’, but a request to repeat the messages for clarity was met with blank crackling static
Once this show had reached its crescendo and the dust had settled 2nd Schwarm got moving.
With a crosswind from the left all 5 planes of 2 Schwarm made it up and into formation in good order, with lead only having to circle the runway twice for all to form up.
We moved on to Calais where we bade France adieu and the devilish handshake of the channel waters passed beneath our wings.
It’s fucking freezing up here today!
Beads of sweat spurned from fear ran down my forehead through the ill fitting worn out flight goggles and into my eye. I found myself drifting off and reliving happier times in my youth when I first caught a glimpse of the ocean. How different it was back then.
I was 11, it was 1925 and Aunt Ute and Uncle Otto had kindly taken me along to Italy for a week. We were all supposed to go along courtesy of Uncle Otto. He had business to take care of there but Father was not doing well at all, still suffering severely from a hip injury he sustained in the 1st great war. He could hardly walk and was in great pain, so mother said I should go along anyway while she tended to Papa.
The azure waters of the Mediterranean sea, the white sands and bustling sounds were all to wonderful.
For many years after I pondered over how such thin fabric, that was Aunt Ute's bathing costume, could possibly withstand the forces it was subjected to as Aunt Ute frolicked in the shallows like a floundering wildebeest, such was the wonder of her ample bosom and the enormity of her derriere.
The sweat is now burning my eye, how long have I been daydreaming here?
The radio crackles to life and the bombers are spotted heading out over Dunkirk to deliver a crushing blow to the Tommys. Focus dammit!!
We turned towards the Dunkirk harbor heading up the coast and soon enough spotted the wave of bombers split in 4 formations. They were only a minute or 2 out over the channel and we were instructed to take up position high six on the tail formation.
As we were approaching 6 Staffel reported Hurricanes high over the bombers, we were passing 3500m (bomber alt) in a climb when we caught our first glimpse of the enemy.
We were to low, we had no speed to engage so 2 Schwarm headed off to the left of the bombers and continued to climb while observing their left flank.
How the hell did the Hurricanes know where we are, how did they know? It seems we cannot leave the coast these days on a mission without being jumped by the bloody Tommies!!
There are rumors of some new technology called radar they have, but this is sorcery at best, I think there are spies at mission command.
Damn Goering, Damn Hitler, damn them all for this fucking mess!!!
6 Staffel was seen engaging the Hurricanes and from VHF comms 1 Schwarm 5 Staffel were in the mix as well.
As the fight was driven down, we reached equal altitude and turned in towards the bombers. On the first pass through I lost my wingman Grey. So many planes!
I could hear frantic calls from Lee saying he was engaged, Spitfires had appeared as well, coming in fast front in front of the bombers.
It was the inevitable chaos of war presenting itself to us bluntly, in its cold and merciless fashion as it had done so many times in the past.
I am so tired of this war!
It was every man for himself, stay as high as you can lads I shouted, keep checking you six!
I made some fleeting deflection shots at a number of aircraft managing to clear a 109’s tail in one instance but with no damage to the enemy.
Lee had engine failure.
Follow the bombers lads, don't get caught up here!!!
Turning back towards the bombers heading towards Manston 2 Spitfires engaged me, then a 3rd.
I maneuvered carefully but with intent to try and gain some advantage, but had to dive away a few times as there were just to many to handle.
Calling for support Krass answered and tried to find me. I was north of Margate now near the ships, above the clouds at 4000 - 5000m.
I just can't shake them!!!!
Krass is getting close, but I have to dive again as the Spitfires are within firing range on my 6. The constant changes of direction and altitude are making it difficult for my comrade to find me, but I have no choice, the devils are breathing down my neck.
I head for the clouds, only 1 follows. I make a hard right as I exit and keep my eye on the clouds. He has lost me briefly so I turn back on him to return the warm welcome I received however he picks me up as I am forming up to make an attack and turns hard towards me.
I climb again, but see the other 2 Spitfires coming back for me and break away again to extend, willing the E1 to fly faster.
Krass is close thank God. The 3rd Spitfire is no longer around. I am spending as much time looking at the 2 I can see as well as for the one I cannot see.
Were there even 3, am I going mad, I can’t think anymore!
The engine starts belting out a high pitched whine. Fuck, look at the rpm’s!!!! I pull back the pitch and try and refocus! I find myself pleading with my aircraft not to give up on me yet as the prop pitch comes back under control and I cast my eyes down to the temperature gauges.
How long was it even revving like that, Jesus!!
I get sight of Krass but he is equal FL in front of me, about 1km. I call and he turns 180 and engages the 2nd trailing Spitfire on his first pass, missing the one that is practically camping on my tail We break and try again, this time Krass gets him off with some fine interference shooting, but the other 1 is now forming up on him.
Check your six, check your six, I shout over the radio as Krass climbs to follow the Spitfires that was shooting at me.
I am almost within range but alas to late, as Krass is fixated on the target ahead and the other one gets his rads. If only I was a bit closer!
A valiant effort, worthy of a commendation for a brave Luftwaffe pilot indeed. I wonder if he made it back to dry land?
I was alone again in a very 2nd hand E1, 2 Spitfires on my 6 and not much hope. A sense of calmness came over me, as the .303 rounds ploughed into my aircraft and flew past the cockpit.
I unbuckled my straps to get a better look behind me.
I could see streams of white and grey fluid side by side bleeding from my aircraft as if its jugular had been violently yet clinically cut, providing perfect aiming references for the hunters in trail.
Despite my impending fate, there was a sense of serenity about it all. The grace of the Spitfires behind me jostling for position, the magical wing and how it transformed from being so graceful in flight to so menacing breathing streams of fire from each when nose on target. Time slowed down, seconds seemed like hours, and for a brief moment the only sound I could hear was my heartbeat.
Governor failure!!!! My ears almost exploded as another burst hits my plane!
No more power, a few last violent twists and turns in absolute defiance is all I can muster like a wounded antelope on the hunt trying futilely to escape when all is completely lost.
I am thrown around like a ragdoll all over the cockpit with the straps unbuckled, more rounds hammer into my aircraft.
My head hits the cockpit frame violently ripping off my goggles. Everything is red! The burning in my eyes and stabbing pain is intense as blood gushes from a wound in my throat over my face and across the shot out instrument panel in front of me. My vision fades, and the dark beckoning ocean races only meters below the fuselage.
Fleeting in and out of consciousness my mind wanders, for the last time, to that vacation in Italy where as a young boy I had first seen the sea, and the realization that it was indeed a whole lifetime away.