down an ME 262
The action that day went like this: it was on April 4th, 1945. We headed for Wesendorf A/F. Near the target, they announced, "Bandits in the area!" An ME 262 began a tail attack on our squadron. Herb Weibrecht, our tail gunner, fired a short burst. I glanced at Herb's back from the right waist gun, he yelled out, "A bogey at six o'clock level, breaking to nine o'clock low". I was on the left waist gun and picked up the 262 as he appeared under our left tail fin. I fired from the time he came into range until he lined up even with us, but above the number 4 bomber in the bucket, the two P 51's side by side swung in behind him with guns blazing. They nearly slid into the left waist window of Patriotic Patty as our pilot held tight formation.
I could plainly see the rivets on the under wing and fire was trailing along the width of the wings. That's how close they were to our plane. I recall calling out "Fifty-one wing on fire!!" The fire that I saw was trailing from each muzzle of the six fifties on each P 51, back beyond the width of the wing.
The ME 262 continued under our number one engine. He was met there by three of our fighters coming up from twelve o'clock low. I, along with the two P-51's, continued to fire. The jet, seeing the American fighters from below, rolled to the right under "Patty". I stepped to the right waist gun. Ralph Clark, our other waist gunner, was on the floor pushing chaff out of the chute.
From the right waist window looking forward under our number 3 engine, I saw the German rolling into view and into range of most of our squadron's guns. They were to the right of us. I began to fire as tracers galore began pouring into him. He exploded in a big flame and black smoke. It just hung there, a beautiful but deadly picture against a spotless blue sky. The pilot emerged below the smoke and fire below us, slowly sailing from our six o'clock. He appeared lifeless in his harness. Head down and to the side, his arms were limp at his sides. Probably ejected automatically.
From the Beach Bell Echo, March 2000 issue