As you’ll see in this historical footage, a B-17 squadron gets attacked by Nazi fighters.
B-17s dropped 640,036 tons of bombs over Europe in daylight raids alone, mainly targeting Axis airfields and arms factories but also rail yards and bridges.
Crew members dealt with very cold flights in the non-pressurized cabins, with temperature gauges in the cockpit frequently reading -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Crews stayed warm in fleece-lined uniforms.
Defense of Bratislava
Date: June 26, 1944
Situation: Air defense of Slovakia is provided by the elite emergency squadron, located at Piestany airfield.
It's members, many of them Eastern front veterans, have completed an intensive training program, consisting mostly of quick alarm starts in flights and as a squadron, simultaneously, these pilots are trained to fight against US heavy bomber formations.
Slovak airspace is under eminent threat from US Air Force. It is necessary to defend the important industrial suburbs of the capital Bratislava, and the ammunition factories in the Pezinok area.
Despite increasingly intensive USAF air activities over Slovakia, no direct encounters between the Allied Air Forces and let 13 fliers up to now. This is due to unofficial order of Headquarters to avoid fights with American planes, and keep the Slovak planes intact for an upcoming anti Nazi uprising.
No contact with American bombers was made even June 16, 1944, when the 15th USAF equipped with B 24 liberators and B-17 Flying Fortress, escorted by P 51 Mustang's and P 38 lightning's carried out a raid Bratislava. Their primary target was the Apollo oil refinery where the Civilian casualties reached 711 and an additional 585 were injured.
After the attack, members of the squadrons were accused of cowardice by the national defense ministry and the German military mission. This serious accusation was announced directly to the deputy fighters commander, nor. Let. Jurassic Puskar.
Mission: Time: 0900 hours weather: clear visibility:
German radio broadcast has announced that a strong bomber formation is approaching the southern border of Slovakia. There are B-17 flying Fortress is and B -24 Liberators bombers, escorted by P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustang fighters. One part of the formation was headed for the Reese factory in the Hungarian city of Gyor.
Axis Defense forces have taken off already to meet the attackers, consists of Bf 109 G's six each from JG 27 and JG 302; Bf 110 G-2's from JG 1 and 9 Bf 109's from Let 101 fighter squadron of the Hungarian Royal Air Force.
After evaluation of the situation and the information that enemy planes are approaching Let 13 air space, the base commander ordered 8 Bf 109's of Let13 to take off immediately.
Puskar, an experienced Eastern front fighter pilot who is very unhappy of being the target of an accusation of cowardice leads Let 13. This time he has decided to act. His plan is as follows: the flight is to gain a height advantage, release the drop tanks over the bomber formation, dive on them, attack quickly and escape immediately afterwards to avoid tangling with the fighter escort.
Objective: attack the heavy bombers nearing the southern border of Slovakia.
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