View Full Version : Colored Photos, pilot accounts book

10-15-2005, 12:25 AM
I found a really interesting book at the library called Motorbooks Classics World War II Fighters by Ethell and Sand. Has about 170 pages of TONS of colored photos and only has pilot accounts of their experiences in planes and in the theaters they operated in. Worth a look for those who like to make skins.

There's a few I just had to post up.

"Robb Satterfield, AT-6 pilot:

I was on the morning schedule as a recently commissioned pilot, which meant from about 0600 till noon on the flight line. Just at noon a beautiful brand new P51D, first bubble '51 any of us had seen, came over the field at about 1500 feet, did a roll, entered the pattern, landed and parked at base ops about 150 yards away. As the super fighter enthusiast in the gang, I grabbed up about four or five friends and we headed down to ops to see the Mustang. As we got within about 100 feet of the bird, the pilot in summer flying suit, stepped out on the wing, took off the helmet and shook her long blond curls! That did it. We halted in our tracks, spun on our heels and strode back to suadron ops, five very unhappy 19 to 22 year old 2nd lieutenants."

"William J. Skinner, Spitfire pilot, 31st Fighter Group:

Our spitfires and the P-51Bs that replaced them had the same Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, but the P-51 had a laminar flow wing which gave it 10 mph more speed straight and level and much greater fire power with the .50 caliber machine guns. When strafing a target with the Mustang it seemed like I'd never run out of ammunition while the Spit had the 120 rounds each for the two cannon and 350 for the .303, which was a good gun but didn't have much power. But the Spit had excellent maneuverability and rate of climb and no restrictions on maneuvers perfomed. The British never gave us any flight manuals, just word of mouth. We'd ask these guys what we could or couldn't do and they'd say, "hell, you've got a fighter plane; you can do anything you want...straight down, full throttle...put your feet on the upper rudder pedals and pull back as hard as you can. Nothing's going to happen." You couldn't do that with many other planes.

However the Spit was short ranged, even with the 90 gallon auxilary belly tank. It was good for escorting A-20s, B-25s, B-26s, but we didnt have the range to escort the heavy bombers, and that's where the '51 came in.

For the average fighter pilot, if you got in trouble, you were better off in the Spit than the '51. Your chances of surviving were beter becuase you could maneuver out of tight spots. I got in a situation where I was tangling with six Me 109s and I didn't get a bullet hole in the plane. Four I could keep track of...they bounced us when I was flying on a friend's wing. My radio was out and I kept trying to tell him these guys were coming in...I just couldnt wait any longer so I broke into them. We went head-on for several passes and I got a couple of hits on one of them but it didn't seem to bother him too much. We finally broke it off. I wasn't too happy but I didn't feel as uncomfortable as I would have in a '51.

The Spitfire was a fun plane to fly---there was nothing to worry about. It looked nice, it felt nice, it flew nice--it didn't take very long before you felt very comfortable in it. The narrow landing gear didnt seem to make any difference on landing---the AT-6 was much worse. The spit had no tendency to ground loop.

The pilots in my squadron weren't too happy about giving up their Spits for the '51s. They were used to the Spit and knew what it would do while the Mustang was sort of an uknown thing. Unfortunately, the 31st Group had to build up P-51 time on missions without any real transition...thats not really the place to learn your limitations. But they were looking forward to the '51 in another way because it had the range...after all, we were fighter pilots and we wanted to get into a fight. Flying patrol to get into a fight. Flying patrol so much and never getting into a dogfight could get pretty old...the '51 assured you were going to run into something on almost every mission. You had a well-built plane, good firepower, the range and if you kept your head up and didnt let the Germand get behind you, your chances of surviving were pretty good."

"Barrie Davis, P-51 pilot, 325th Fighter Group:

New pilots coming to our fighter group were invariably cocky to the point that they were dangerous to themse3lves. They tought the Luftwaffe was finished and that the P-51 could quickly and easily kill anything else that flew. To modify the attitude of newcomers, we used a war weary P-40 which our squadron somehow acquired. I was in charge of putting new pilots through a quick, intensive training program, and the final flight included a mock dogfight with the new pilot of a P-51 pitted against one of us flying the P-40. I can tell you that until a pilot knows the strenghts and weaknesses of both airplanes, the P-40 can make the P-51 look outclassed. Using all of the pilot P-40s strenghts, an innovative pilot could outfly a P-51 at low altitudes until the P-51 jockey finally realized that there was smoething more to fighting in the air than simply having the best airplane. At that point the new pilot became ready to listen to everything we had to say."

10-15-2005, 09:21 AM
You got to love Kodachrome. It keeps its color image quality over time. I went to a lecture many years ago where Ethell was discussing his quest to find the Kodachrome slide collections WW II veterans. He lamented that many collections have been lost when the veteran dies and the family discards the pictures, thinking they have no value or significance other than to the departed vet. This included several boxes of slides taken by a Navy pilot during the battle of Midway.

10-15-2005, 01:01 PM
sounds interesting indeed http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif