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Chuck Yeager Is Shot Down Over Enemy Territory And Escapes

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by PzJgr, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    On the morning of March 5, 1944, Flight Officer Charles Yeager strapped himself into his P-51 fighter and joined a mission to attack targets in the Bordeaux area of France. The twenty-one-year-old Yeager occupied the “tail end Charlie” position of his four-plane flight the most vulnerable place to be. However, Yeager was no novice. He had three months’ experience in combat and had already shot down two German aircraft. On this day his luck was to change.

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    As the flight neared its objective, three German FW 190 fighters suddenly attacked from the rear, targeting Yeager’s P-51. Caught by surprise, the young pilot tried to evade his attackers but to no avail. The enemy’s gunfire slammed into his aircraft, severing his control cables and forcing Yeager to jump for his life.

    Successfully escaping his plane, his parachute open, Yeager was still not out of trouble. As he floated to earth, one of the FW-190s turned and dove on the vulnerable pilot with the intent of finishing him off. The enemy fighter grew larger and larger in his vision but Yeager could do nothing but hang helplessly suspended from his silk canopy. Suddenly, the German plane burst into a fireball – its pilot so intent on his deadly mission that he had not seen the P-51 on his tail.

    Within minutes after his landing, Yeager was surrounded by French Resistance fighters and beginning his escape journey that would take him to Spain, Gibraltar and back to England. Three and a half years later, the young pilot would make his mark in history as the first to break the sound barrier.

    Read More: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/shot.htm
     
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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Good story , nice to see how he made it, so he could break the record in 1948!
     
  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Yeager found himself in a bit of a pickle when he arrived back in the UK, Standard policy was that no pilot who had been shot down and escaped would be sent back into combat. This was to protect those who smuggled him (or others) out of Europe from the Nazis if the pilot were to be shot down a second time. He went (I think) all the way to General Doolittle to get a waiver from that rule so he could get back in the fight.

    Don't quote me on the General who gave him the waiver, been donkey's years since I read his autobiography
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Was wondering about the timeing so looked this up:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Yeager
    Note that Yeager returned to England on 15 May then:

     
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  5. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Along with all of his other accomplishments and acts of unbelievable bravery, I believe Yeager shot down an ME 262, as well.
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    This was standard for UK airmen , not systemactic for Amercans , they were usually sent to different theatres. Another famous example is Pilot Mahurin who was also shot down in France and sent to the PTO.
     

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