Captain Chuck Yeager USAAF
Chuck Yeager pulled on the stick of his P-51 Mustang and re-adjusted his height. He loved his ‘cadillac of the sky’ but it sure was a pilot’s plane – you had to handle her gently if you wanted the best from her. He was leading a flight of four Mustangs around Essen, Germany spoiling for some action, looking for a fight. Scuttlebug was there was new German jet fighter flying in the area, their pilots were sure and arrogant – they knew they had the fastest machines in the skies. Not even the powerful engine of the Mustang could catch up with them. Yeager kept his eyes peeled if just one those planes wound up on his tail there would be no more Glamorous Glennis – and no more Chuck Yeager.
The Glamorous Glennis
He thought of his planes’ namesake and longed to back with Glennis. He remembered when they first met – she was working as a USO social director back in the states, he’d asked her to arrange a dance for him and his buddies so they could meet some of the local girls in their new home in Oroville. She looked annoyed: “You expect me to whip up a dance and find thirty girls on three hours’ notice?”. Chuck smiled and said “No, you’ll only need to come up with 29, because I want to take you”. Their first date went well, Chuck only knew the 2 step so they had to sit out the fast ones. He made her laugh, she thought he was cute even if she struggled to understand him through his thick West Virginian accent: “That’s how they talk in your neck of the woods?”. They promised to write to each other. Later Glennis wrote: ‘I sensed that he was a very strong and determined person, a poor boy who had started with nothing and would show the world what he was really made of – the kind of man I wanted to marry’.
The Me 262
Chuck forced his attention back into the cockpit – he had a mission to complete and his flight to get back home safely. He looked around scanning the heavy cloud cover, nothing. Then, as if the Luftwaffe had read his mind, he saw the planes that were causing all the hubbub. 3 German jetfighters flying at low speed about 3,000 feet below. They hadn’t spotted the Americans above them. He banked the Glen up and over and drove down on top of them firing a few bursts of his machine guns. They scattered into the fog bank. Damn. The element of surprise had been lost. He continued to scan the fog bank to try and find them, he guessed they’d hit the gas and ran. Hitler couldn’t afford to lose even one of his technical marvels, their pilots were under strict orders not to get involved in dogfights with Yankee ‘hot-shot’ pilots.
As the fog cleared he spotted something on the ground. It was a German aerodrome. Chuck was in trouble. No doubt their flak crews had been alerted of an air raid. He than saw another jet fighter. It looked as if it was on finals for landing. It was Chucks only chance. He came in from above again and fired off his machine guns at the hapless German plane. His good shooting scored him hits across it’s wings clipping it, he didn’t have time to watch it burn. Flak was banging all around him, the Germans were giving him hell for taking out one of their ‘war winning’ fighters. He hit the gas and pulled up back into the cloud cover. He turned around to see what happened to the jet fighter. It crashed landed short of the runway, shearing off a wing. Well that was one less plane the bomber boys had to worry about. He set a course back to where he hoped his buddies were flying a little shaken. He got damn lucky the flak hadn’t hit the glen anywhere vital, at 300 feet off the ground there would have been nothing he could of done if the flak hit his fuselage. Later Chuck wrote: “I’d rather have brought down the son of a bitch in a dogfight, but it wasn’t an easy kill – one quick accurate burst with flak banging all around me”. He wrote the following in his after-action report: ‘I claim one Me-262 destroyed’.