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View Full Version : Short blurb about Don Blakeslee



GR142_Astro
10-21-2004, 12:26 AM
In histories of the air war over Europe, Blakeslee€s name comes up time and time again. Now 83, he was considered by men who served under him in the Fourth Fighter Group to be a natural leader and fine pilot.

Although a normal tour for a fighter pilot in Europe was 250 hours, Blakeslee probably fudged his records. One estimate states the retired colonel flew about 1,200 combat hours between May 1941 and October 1944 €" a record in the U.S. military.

He was the first pilot to score a "kill" in a P-47 Thunderbolt €" April 15, 1943 €" but considers the P-51 Mustang the better aircraft.

On Thursday, he told of being tailed by two German ME-109s. When he finally landed, his P-47 had 70 to 90 cannon holes in it.

"Had I been in a P-51, it would have never happened," he said, referring to the better speed and maneuverability of the Mustang.

Salute!


http://www.leisuregalleries.com/blakslee.jpg


http://wademeyersart.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/blakesleechair.jpg

Heavy_Weather
10-21-2004, 06:22 AM
great read, thx for sharing http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

GR142_Astro
10-21-2004, 07:00 AM
I think that was from the Duxford air event, maybe last summer. I'd like to read more about this character. Saw him on the HC (P51 special) and he seemed quite the live-wire.

chris455
10-21-2004, 07:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by GR142_Astro:
I think that was from the Duxford air event, maybe last summer. I'd like to read more about this character. Saw him on the HC (P51 special) and he seemed quite the live-wire. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

With all due respect to Mr. Blakeslee, (a childhood hero of mine, BTW) if it had happened in a Mustang, (70-90 holes) he wouldn't have survived at all.
Good thing he was in a Jug- http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Chuck_Older
10-21-2004, 07:45 AM
Well, obviously, the intention of his words was that in a P-51, he never would have been a target or a lead magnet. He simply wouldn't have been in front of the enemy planes, he'd have been behind them

Korolov
10-21-2004, 09:54 AM
Unless they had instead bounced him from a position which he didn't see... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

flyingscampi
10-21-2004, 11:19 AM
I've read about that narrow escape in Goodson's book - he was caught low n' slow and made it back with several cylinders of his R2800 missing.

Some engine that!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0718303296/qid=1098379476/sr=8-

Chuck_Older
10-21-2004, 11:49 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Korolov:
Unless they had instead bounced him from a position which he didn't see... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In which case his attackers are not good combat pilots. they should have shot him down.

The P-47 was tough, not indestructible

bubiH
10-21-2004, 12:12 PM
This gentleman lives very near my home in Homestead, Florida. He lives in a rural area and since my brother is a farmer, he got to know Mr. Blakeslee casually. Evidently the man is very friendly and willing to chat about his experiences. I wanted to stop by his house to pay my respects but never got around to it. Now I am living on another continent so I guess I missed my chance.

flyingscampi
10-21-2004, 12:17 PM
Goodson shot one of the 190's down and scared the other one away by zooming up beside him (because he was out of ammo) so I guess they weren't experten exactly...

Edit - It wasn't Blakeslee who lost his cylinders - someone else.

GR142_Astro
10-21-2004, 04:46 PM
Terrific guys, thanks for the additional comments. flyingscampi, thanks for the book link. I will probably get that one.