Tail gunner set record for German jets felled
Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:17 PM
On a March day in 1945, 20-year-old Babe Broyhill found himself sitting exposed as the tail gunner on "Big Yank," a B-17 Flying Fortress in the skies over Berlin.
The plane was bringing up the rear in a 28-plane formation. Near the mission target, the Daimler-Benz tank works, Broyhill watched Luftwaffe ME-262 jet fighters swarm like hornets toward Big Yank's tail.
"They were about 1,000 yards away when I started cutting loose with my guns," he recalled for a military history. "The first made a pass at 200 yards, and my tracers were going right into its fuselage.
"Suddenly it went down in flames. The second came into my sights after the first had dropped. I kept shooting away, because he was getting into my hair. Suddenly it also spiraled down."
Broyhill, who in the years after the war became a Virginia real estate developer, died Nov. 21 of congestive heart failure at his home. He was 83.
The Big Yank crew set a record for the number of German ME-262 jets destroyed by one crew on one mission — three — and Broyhill individually set two records that day over Berlin: most German jets destroyed by a single gunner in one mission (two) and most German jets destroyed by a single gunner during the entire war (two).
Posted 30 November 2008 - 07:40 PM
I'm covering such events in my future book
the date is suppose to be March 24, 1945 though approved in the 15th AF history books it does not seem to co-incide with the correct mission reports from JG 7 who met them attacking jet bases in Bavaria, but in a short note it mentions tank factories being attacked near Berlin. the 15th AF history says only 2 B-17's were downed but JG 7 claims some 10 B-17's of the massive group. JG 7 attacked in two separate waves. 8 262's were claimed by 15th AF Mustangs of the 31st and 332nd though some 3 jets were actually shot down. no jets shot down by the 15th AF heavies.........
in effect the 15th AF bomber unit that Broyhill was attached to mentions shooting down 6 262's with short .50 cal bursts on the 24th of March 45.......
history isn't it fun ? !
Edited by Erich, 30 November 2008 - 08:06 PM.
Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:19 PM
the assumption can easily be made by the tail gunner when the 262's swooped over and down that indeed he shot down the 1-2 -- 262(s)
Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:25 PM
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