68 years ago: the 357th FG nails 7 – including two by a would-be abort

On October 6, the group was back over Berlin. Capt. Richard Peterson’s flight saw a large group of German fighters attack the box of bombers behind them. “We immediately dropped our tanks and turned to engage them,” said Lt. Gilman Weber. “I spotted an Fw 190 and gave chase. He was quite a bit below me and I got too damned eager. I closed in on him as he leveled off at about 5000 feet. I realized I was overrunning him and lowered flaps as I pulled alongside of him. The 190 started a sharp turn to the left and evidently saw Pete coming in, because he immediately jettisoned his canopy and bailed out,” said Weber.

The 362nd scored the bulk of the day’s kills, with Capt. John England scoring two kills and single victories falling to F/O Otto Jenkins and Lt. William Gilbert. Lt. Thomas Martinek aborted with a rough engine, but then turned back to follow the group and soon encountered 100 enemy fighters closing on some bombers. Martinek went after the Germans, shooting down two Fw 190s before wisely turning for home.


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