68 years ago: The 4th FG sweeps up eight Bf 109s

On 30 May, Maj. James Goodson led the 4th Fighter Group on a free-lance sweep that found a gaggle of 30 to 40 Bf 109s and Fw 190s near Genthin. When the 4th attacked, they discovered these fighters were covered by 20 to 25 more fighters flying top cover; these came down and bounced the Mustangs.

“We were at 34,000 feet where I saw two Bf 109s in a circle,” said Oscar LeJeunesse. “I made a pass at the second one but a green-nosed P-51 came in from my left and almost hit me and when I pulled up out of the way, I lost the Hun. I kept turning and got a little lead on the first one. I waited until I was about 50 yards away so I wouldn’t miss him. I hit him in the cockpit and on both wings. A big cloud of smoke came up and the plane started down in a wide turn. I followed it and when the pilot did not bail out I gave him another squirt. He let his canopy go then. Still he didn’t bail out so I urged him with another burst. That time he popped out and the plane went straight down.”

Lt. Thomas Sharp dove to the deck and forced an Fw 190 to crash-land southwest of Brandenburg. Sharp was then joined by Lt. Osce Jones, and they saw four enemy aircraft landing in trail on an aerodrome. “There were 15-plus Fw 190s on the Oschersleben Aerodrome as we attacked,” said Sharp. “We made about five passes when we were joined by Lt. Ralph Hofer. On my first pass, one of the Fw 190s, located at the runway intersection, caught fire and burned. I then set another Fw 190 on fire on the south side of the field and damaged others that would not burn.”

Lt. Jones also made runs at the aerodrome. “On my second pass, I hit one enemy aircraft that caught on fire and burned, giving off a large column of smoke,” he said. “Several passes later, I hit another one that burst into flames. This one was later finished off by Lt. Hofer, who left it burning fiercely.” Hofer destroyed an Fw 190 on his first pass. “On my second pass, I set one of those at the runway intersection on fire,” he reported.

In the fray, eight Bf 109s were destroyed, falling to Lt. James Scott, Hofer, Jones, LeJeunesse and Sharp. Unfortunately, Lt. Mark Kolter was killed under mysterious circumstances. He was heard calling for a homing, but he never responded. Kolter died when his P-51B crashed. Also lost during the mission were Capt. Willard Millikan and Lt. Sam Young; while dodging flak, the two collided, with both men bailing out and becoming POWs



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