View Full Version : Silly combat pilots...

07-19-2008, 11:01 AM
My first flight with the 63rd Fighter Squadron was on May 11, 1943. From then until June 20, I went on twenty-nine training flights, usually two each day if weather permitted and if a combat mission was not scheduled. Mostly, the training emphasized correct formations for takeoff, climb, and combat. Special emphasis was placed on the importance of a wingman staying with his element leader and being constantly alert to prevent attacks, especially from the rear. The wingman's head was to be turning constantly from one side to the other, and looking up and down, in order to spot possible attackers and give the alarm in time to meet the attack...

... A wingman on takeoff concentrates on his leader's plane since the leader sets the speed, course, rate of climb, etc. For all practical purposes, when in close formation, the wingman is a mere mechanic who moves the controls and throttle as needed to stay in position with the leader.

1st Lt. John "Lucky" Truluck, USAAF
63d Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group

__________________________________________________ ______________________

I arrived in England in August 1943 and was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group. After getting squared away, fellow classmate 2nd Lt. Robert "Shorty" Rankin and I reported to our squadron commander, Maj. Francis "Gabby" Gabreski [Highest Scoring U.S. Ace in Europe with 28 victory's] He had a habit of checking out the newcomers...

...Gabby said, "when we take off, we're going to fly some formation, and I'll introduce you to some battle formation[s] and tactic[s]...."

... We went through our formation drills and other tactics and then returned to base.

Walking back to operations, I asked Rankin, "Well, how do you think we did?" He replied, "By God! I think we did all right!" I nodded in total agreement. I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for my outstanding airmanship!

Reality hit me right between the eyes when we met Gabby in the operations shack. His teeth were clenched and his expression dour. "Where in the hell did you two learn to fly formation?" he barked...

... Rankin tried to explain what we had learned in the States and during our training in England. I don't think Gabby heard a word. Instead, he described in great detail what we had done wrong. I was back too far on takeoff; I was too high on this and too low on that; I was too slow on moving out. Rankin was this and that. He went on and on! Before he dismissed us, he said we would do it all again the next day.

Col. Frank W. Klibbe USAF (Ret.)

__________________________________________________ _______________________

I can't figure out why these guys were wasting so much time and effort on all of this nonsense in a combat zone. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif [/sarcasm]



The JSAWG is recruiting pilots who crave OPERATIONAL REALISM (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/48310655/m/9771043336).

07-19-2008, 04:45 PM
Heh, talk about silly pilots... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif




07-19-2008, 04:54 PM
just recently finished reading a book about the 56th.
it was called: WOLFPACK WARRIORS
The Story of World War II's Most Successful Fighter Outfit

by Roger A. Freeman

it was quite good. unfortunatly it described Gabriesky as not the most friendly nor popular Officer.
but he's gotta have been one helluva Pilot with 28 kills http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

07-20-2008, 09:41 AM
Pilots in all airforces seem to have been quite eccentrics.

In 1939 when a Finnish pilot had to force land his Bristol Bulldog he met some friendly foot patrol. The patrol however didn't recognize the pilot's nationality and therefore the pilot was "captured" by them. The pilot was brought to some interpreter and because he knew some Russian he played the game until he was busted.

07-21-2008, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by BWaltteri:
Pilots in all airforces seem to have been quite eccentrics.

Eccentric? Maybe he just realized that it would be much safer sitting through the war in a P.O.W. camp in his home country than in a manned target drone with just a few hundred liters of highly flammable kerosene as company... Kind of a like Finnish Catch 22.