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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Typhoons versus Fw190's



Stills from the gun camera of F/Sgt Erasmus (IWM)

While researching the B17 story yesterday,  I came across this detailed account of a dogfight between the Typhoon Mk1's of 266 Squadron and the FW190's of III/JG2 over the Brest peninsula on 15 August 1943, with obvious potential for a BTH2 scenario. This would involve an initial engagement between six Typhoons a roughly equal number  of Fw190's:


Combat occurred over the Brest peninsula in the afternoon, as Allied fighters swept the area. Circus 51 was flown by bomb-carrying Whirlwinds of 263 Sqdn, escorted by various fighter units. The Whirlwinds were tasked with bombing Guipavas airfield. 193 and 266 Sqdns were to fly together as one squadron, with six aircraft from each unit taking part, and they were to operate in a free-lance role.
However, the Whirlwinds and their escort were recalled before bombs were released due to bad weather over the target area, but 193 and 266 Sqdns did not know that the mission had been cancelled, and continued to Brest peninsula at 5,300 m. Once there, 266 Sqdn spotted an estimated four to seven enemy aircraft approaching from behind, and six Typhoons of the squadron turned back to engage. 193 Sqdn made no enemy contact, and was on the way home when it realised 266 Sqdn had run into FW 190s.

S/Ldr. A.S. McIntyre was shot down and killed early in the combat in Typhoon Mk.Ib JP492, by an FW 190 from about 50 m distance. F/Sgt. Derek Erasmus, a Rhodesian in Typhoon Ib EJ917, and S/Ldr. McIntyre’s Number Two, attacked the FW 190 and shot it down. F/O. J. Small was killed at this time, despite being seen to bale out of Typhoon Mk.Ib DN296.
F/Sgt. Erasmus attacked a number of enemy aircraft, and claimed one damaged, but was attacked several times himself. He submitted the following combat report:

We turned hard through 180º; I positioned myself about 500 ft above, up sun of Red 1, when he called out ‘190’s’. He went for the first of the two which rolled on its back. The second one opened fire at Red 1. I fired at this one from long range and it dived away. I turned hard port to look for Red 1 and was immediately attacked from above and behind, I turned into it and the 190 overshot.
I then saw a 190 about 1,000 feet below on its back, I dived at it opening fire at about 300 yards and saw strikes in rear of fuselage. I then did a climbing turn into sun and called up Red 1 but received no answer. I immediately saw a 190 close behind a Typhoon below me, to port. The 190 opened fire, black smoke came from the Typhoon and the 190 went into about 50 yards, there was a flash from the Typhoon which turned on its back with black smoke and flashes coming from it.
The 190 did a steep climbing turn just as I opened fire out of range. I then closed into about 150 yards firing with 30º deflection. There was a bright flash in the cockpit and it went down burning. I saw it crash near three other aircraft burning on the ground.
I was then attacked by another 190 which I turned with. I turned inside him and before I could fire he turned on his back and dived, I followed him as he had black and white smoke coming from his engine, and wing tip trails, I think he had been damaged before. I was closing rapidly but he was heading in towards France so I gave him a quick squirt and turned hard for home.
On the way over the coast I passed a 190 with long range tank. I called up Red 1 but there was no answer. I also heard ‘Circus Leader calling Finnan Leader.

Judging from his gun camera stills, it is clear that F/Sgt. Erasmus had downed an FW 190 with long-range tanks. There are six shots in total. In the first two, a hit can be seen in the tail. In the third a major hit is seen at the base of the port wing. In shots four, five and six, this hit develops into a major explosion covering the port side of the aircraft.

F/Sgt. Erasmus returned to base alone, and belly-landed at Portreath. The three other 266 Sqdn pilots met up, closed formation, and headed for home at low-altitude. F/Lt. Wright reported:

“I was flying as Yellow 1 and as we were coming down out of France I reported aircraft at eleven o’clock coming around to seven behind, there were about six or seven. Pinnan Leader told us to turn to port and we engaged the aircraft. Two enemy aircraft came up behind us (Yellow 1 and 2), I turned sharply warning No.2, I got a deflecting shot in at the enemy aircraft, saw strikes, enemy aircraft rolled on his back and went down.
I then saw my No.2 flying towards coast with white smoke coming out of his aircraft, I saw him bale out and get caught up with tail plane. His parachute then dragged him free. I then turned towards coast and met Blue section as we were diving towards sea.

There was a subsequent engagement but, to keep things simple I'll stick to the first clash between the six Typhoons and the six or so FW190's before the later action developed, otherwise it ends up being too complicated. It's a simple dogfight scenario but no less interesting, as it pits the Typhoon Mk1b in a pure fighter role against the FW190-A4,  which will be a fairly tight match.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting research which will make a good scenario.

    ReplyDelete