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FPerkin
09-02-2004, 12:01 PM
Don't know if this is true, but interesting.

One of the more interesting stories in the MTO was of the phantom P-38, which was causing trouble for many crippled bombers. Beginning on June 4, 1943, a crippled bomber was coming back from a mission against the island of Pantelleria. The crew was considering bailing out of their bomber when they spotted a P-38 coming closer. They immediately relaxed knowing it was coming to their aid. The crew continued to dump extra weight from the aircraft, including the guns and ammunition. Before the crew realized what happened, the P-38 erupted in gunfire and destroyed the B-17. The only survivor was the pilot, Lt. Harold Fisher. Fisher was rescued and was the target of fury from the fighter pilots by suggesting it was a friendly P-38 that shot them down.

Several weeks before Lt. Fisher's ordeal, a P-38 pilot was low on fuel and was lost. He actually made an emergency landing just outside of Sardinia. The pilot was captured before he was able to destroy his aircraft. Italian pilot, Lt. Guido Rossi came up with the idea of using this P-38 against the American bombers. Rossi's strategy was to wait until the bombers made their attacks. Rossi would then take off and scout around for stragglers. He actually used this technique to shoot down several bombers. Until Lt. Fisher, no other crews survived to tell of the P-38 shooting them down. The American commanders were under the assumption that these missing bombers just did not make it back just as many before them. Nobody thought a friendly aircraft was the cause.

After Fisher told his story, bombers crews were alerted to look for a lone P-38, which was posing as a friendly. Fisher came up with the idea of using a decoy B-17 to attract Rossi. Fisher's idea was approved and he took off in the experimental YB-40 gunship. This was simply a modified B-17, which had more armor and guns. He flew several missions lagging behind the rest of the formations, but never encountered Rossi. Intelligence was being gathered and the Allies finally learned the identity of the pilot. They also learned that his wife was living in Allied occupied Constantine. An artist actually used a picture of his wife to paint a nose art picture on Fisher's bomber, and included her name, Gina. On August 31, a B-17 raid struck Pisa. Fisher was flying among the bombers, and was actually damaged by enemy fighters. He recovered at a low altitude and had to feather two engines. Before lone, a lone P-38 was approaching and the crew was on high alert. Rossi, using very good English, contacted Fisher, just as he did on previous occasions. Rossi immediately noticed the nose art on the aircraft and spoke with Fisher. Fisher was still uncertain the pilot was Rossi and was chatting with Rossi normally. Fisher decided to bait this pilot to see if it was Rossi or not, and began talking about Gine and her location in Constantine. When Fisher was describing intimate details of their "relationship", Rossi lost his cool. He peeled off and began his attack. Fisher ordered all guns to open up on this P-38, and Rossi had to peel off trailing smoke. Rossi intended to ram the bomber, but began breaking up and could not maintain flight. He was able to ditch in the water and survived. Rossi was later picked up and taken prisoner. Fisher was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his efforts. Fisher would survive the war, but was killed in a transport accident during the Berlin Airlift. Incidentally, Rossi was one of the mourners at his funeral.

FPerkin
09-02-2004, 12:01 PM
Don't know if this is true, but interesting.

One of the more interesting stories in the MTO was of the phantom P-38, which was causing trouble for many crippled bombers. Beginning on June 4, 1943, a crippled bomber was coming back from a mission against the island of Pantelleria. The crew was considering bailing out of their bomber when they spotted a P-38 coming closer. They immediately relaxed knowing it was coming to their aid. The crew continued to dump extra weight from the aircraft, including the guns and ammunition. Before the crew realized what happened, the P-38 erupted in gunfire and destroyed the B-17. The only survivor was the pilot, Lt. Harold Fisher. Fisher was rescued and was the target of fury from the fighter pilots by suggesting it was a friendly P-38 that shot them down.

Several weeks before Lt. Fisher's ordeal, a P-38 pilot was low on fuel and was lost. He actually made an emergency landing just outside of Sardinia. The pilot was captured before he was able to destroy his aircraft. Italian pilot, Lt. Guido Rossi came up with the idea of using this P-38 against the American bombers. Rossi's strategy was to wait until the bombers made their attacks. Rossi would then take off and scout around for stragglers. He actually used this technique to shoot down several bombers. Until Lt. Fisher, no other crews survived to tell of the P-38 shooting them down. The American commanders were under the assumption that these missing bombers just did not make it back just as many before them. Nobody thought a friendly aircraft was the cause.

After Fisher told his story, bombers crews were alerted to look for a lone P-38, which was posing as a friendly. Fisher came up with the idea of using a decoy B-17 to attract Rossi. Fisher's idea was approved and he took off in the experimental YB-40 gunship. This was simply a modified B-17, which had more armor and guns. He flew several missions lagging behind the rest of the formations, but never encountered Rossi. Intelligence was being gathered and the Allies finally learned the identity of the pilot. They also learned that his wife was living in Allied occupied Constantine. An artist actually used a picture of his wife to paint a nose art picture on Fisher's bomber, and included her name, Gina. On August 31, a B-17 raid struck Pisa. Fisher was flying among the bombers, and was actually damaged by enemy fighters. He recovered at a low altitude and had to feather two engines. Before lone, a lone P-38 was approaching and the crew was on high alert. Rossi, using very good English, contacted Fisher, just as he did on previous occasions. Rossi immediately noticed the nose art on the aircraft and spoke with Fisher. Fisher was still uncertain the pilot was Rossi and was chatting with Rossi normally. Fisher decided to bait this pilot to see if it was Rossi or not, and began talking about Gine and her location in Constantine. When Fisher was describing intimate details of their "relationship", Rossi lost his cool. He peeled off and began his attack. Fisher ordered all guns to open up on this P-38, and Rossi had to peel off trailing smoke. Rossi intended to ram the bomber, but began breaking up and could not maintain flight. He was able to ditch in the water and survived. Rossi was later picked up and taken prisoner. Fisher was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his efforts. Fisher would survive the war, but was killed in a transport accident during the Berlin Airlift. Incidentally, Rossi was one of the mourners at his funeral.

Tooz_69GIAP
09-02-2004, 01:43 PM
Bizarre story. There seems to have been a lot of that sort of clandestine stuff going on. Pokryshkin often flew captured 109s to do recon, and I think that the germans might have used B-17s to shadow bomber groups during raids. And there are many more things besides, I am sure.

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berg417448
09-02-2004, 03:53 PM
That story is by Martin Caidin and is largly fictional.

The real Italian pilot's name was Colonel Angelo Tondi.

There was no Harold Fisher killed during the Berlin airlift. Check the memorial to all those killed during those flights and that name is not there.

The captured P-38 was not shot down.

More info at these links:

http://www.1stfighter.org/photos/Misc/P38%20Captured%20by%20Italians.html

http://www.luftwaffe-experten.co.uk/axis.html

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p38_19.html

http://members.aol.com/dheitm8612/gp382.htm

http://www.usafe.af.mil/berlin/memorial.htm

http://www.aviation-booklist.com/interviews/ferdinando.html

[This message was edited by berg417448 on Thu September 02 2004 at 03:05 PM.]