Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Fight for the Pyrenees Skies
8th FIGHTER SQUADRON, 49TH FIGHTER GROUP
ARMY AIR FORCES
September 2, 1946
INDIVIDUAL COMBAT REPORT OF First Lieut. Richard Gardner
A. Mission No. 633, September 1, 1946, 8th Fighter Squadron 9 P-80s
B. Combat Air Patrol, Break Heart Pass Pyrenees Line
C. Time of attack: 0730/K Altitude, 8-10,000 feet
D. I was element leader in White flight an we took off at 0615/K to when radar picked up incoming aircraft. We circled at 15,000 ft. over the pass until being vectored to the targets . At 0730/K we intercepted 5 Yaks of the 15 jet type. We were above them at 8 o'clock. Two of them climbed on me and I dove to make a head on pass. I was hit by a cannon shell that passed right through my left aileron. I pulled up and climbed to 8,000 feet and make a 45 degree head-on pass at two more Yaks with no observed results. Shot once at another on 90 degrees defection and missed. I found myself on the tail of a lone Yak 15 who was unaware of my location. I made a 45 degree deflection shot from the rear and above until he turned almost into me. It was a long burst and he slid off on one wing and crashed east of the pass.
Two more Yaks chase me as I started for home and they finally gave up because they couldn't catch me. I left the area a 0925/K and joined up with the remainder of my flight and we came home and landed at 0955/K
E. I claim one Yak15, destroyed.
1st Lt., Air Corps
There, done with that one. Man I hate typing those things.
Well at least you have something to type about. Those Yaks are hard to hit. We’re faster and can climb better but man you just can’t turn with em. Kind of like the Jap Zero. Say did you notice that those ones today had more power than the earlier ones we encountered?
Yeh I did notice it was a little harder to lose those two on my tail. Oh and by the way don’t go head to head with them. Jees those 30 mms put a big hole in my wing. I guess their improving them just like we’re improving our Shooting Stars. We have to keep one step ahead of them or the will be able to both out turn us and catch us and that ain’t a good thing. This ain’t like it was fighting the Jerrys Jack. It’s just not the same. You could count on one hand when you where out numbered. Shoot with this bunch it’s a 50/50 crap shoot. Man they have as many planes as we do. Luckily we’re better at flying but you can’t let up for an instant out there it’s getting on my nerves. I’m having these dreams and…I…
Hey, hey that’s ok… it’s only natural. Listen we’ll be shipping out soon and you’ll get some real R&R then. Come on Dick just think of those babes in…where ever it is we’re going to. They’ll throw themselves at you. You being and Ace and all. Come on let’s get a beer and forget about it.
It’s hard Jack. Three months ago I was starting school. I was a college freshman. I was going to be an engineer and then they pulled me back in to this hell hole. I just got to know my wife again and my son was starting to play ball. God damn commies… I just want to …
Say come on and look at my sketches for my new nose art. See here… it’s that new dame Doris Day. Now she’s a real sweet heart. I hope she brings me good luck. But we won’t need it soon. Listen Dick don’t worry soon all those new boys will be able to take over. Hell I hear we’re going to be replaced by Spanish Kids. They got bigger plans for us. In the mean time we’ll be living the high life with not a care in the world. Come on what-a-yeh-say let’s get that beer.