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War Stories

Dogfight

The true stories of Dutch Pilots

 


During the short war in The Netherlands from 10 - 14 May, 1940 the small Dutch air force had to perform an uneven fight against Hermann Goerings mighty Luftwaffe.
One of the pilots from the first hour, Bob van der Stok, has described his part of the dogfighting.


2nd Lt. Bob van der Stok (left)
1st Lt. Foquin de Grave(middle)
2nd Lt. Jan Bosch(right)
The last one was "seriously" wounded....a scratch on his little finger!
"May 10, 1940.
During dawn that morning we were already in the air over Air Base "De Kooy" near Den Helder.
We now had radioís , that - at least in short distance - performed reasonably.
We saw the Messerschmitts-109 coming. Obviously they did not know that we already had a whole "JaVA" (JachtVliegAfdeling = Fighter Squadron) in the air; at least they attacked the buildings of the air base. It seemed that they did not see us as opponents of any importance. But that proved to be a little different!

Fokker D-21
Within a few seconds twelve of our D-21 fighters were involved in dogfights with obviously sixteen Messerschmitts. Those had already used a considerable amount af ammunition on ground targets and their distance to fly back home was pretty long.
There was problaby a slight hesitation.
I saw four Messerschmitts with a D-21 on their tails and there was shooting. Everywhere we saw German tracer-bullets flashing through the air. One "Hun" had already a long white petrol-tail and dived vertically into the water.
I suppose Doppenberg was flying alongside me; just in front of us was a Messerschmitt in a slow turn. We both opened fire at the same time and again there was a tall petrol-stripe behind the Huns plane and he went off quickly in Eastern direction.
Hardly this was passed or I saw a Me-109 from the left coming straight towards me. Just in front of me I saw his propeller-nose, antenna-rod and rudder in one line, so his bullets couldnít hit me: every fighter-pilot knows that a
deflection angle is needed to hit a moving target.
I maneuvered my D-21, that was still in perfect condition, in a curve to the left as sharp as possible and the German tried to follow me. Three complete circles were necessary to come on his tail, but you cannot fire anyway. You need this deflection angle. The German pilot, realising that the D-21 made a narrow curve, changed course to the right and performed a dive. A very big mistake! Changing course means loss of velocity and so he put himself exactly on the right angle for me to shoot. The additive velocity of the dive came too late.
This time I saw a white plume and a black stripe of oil; even some of it came on my windscreen. The Me pulled up in a jerk and started to spin (what we called a "vrille" in those days).
Everywhere above De Kooy I saw the Me and D-21 fighters. Again an Me-109, now with flaps down but gear up.
Much further away, two Meís, one with a white plume, the other obviously as escort. At the horizon some black spots towards the East.
I saw a couple of us landing and suddenly all was quiet.
My fuel tank was still filled for a quarter, my "ammo" not yet all used and my "crate" was flying perfectly.
At my side "Spanky" van Overvest appeared with a heavily damaged D-21; full of bullet holes and his flaps half lowered. He made "thumb-up" and I understood that he had made hits too.
Now the ridiculous message came on the radio: "German Army troops have passed the borders of the Netherlands and the Government considers our country in state of war with Germany".
We landed at De Kooy and the chaos was of course discussed extensively.
A Messerschmitt had performed a belly-landing on De Kooy Airport. A "Hauptmann" descended and said, in an arrogant way, that it would be useless for us to offer resistance against the Luftwaffe. He changed his tune very quickly as he was grabbed firmly by a pair of strong Dutch hands and was carried off as a prisoner of war. The rest of the war he stayed in a camp.
Spanky supposed he had shot the aircraft and so did Doppenberg. Finally I saw him hit a German. Jan Bosch had also made hits and nobody knew who had downed the first plane that dived into the water. I knew that I had hit two Me-s.
We believed that the German "Geschwader"(=squadron) lost at least five pilots and their aircraft during the first attack.
Who exactly did what damage to the enemy, I donít care at all. We had no cameras in the wings and couldnít prove anything; so lateron in the war a prove of any "Air Victory" was very necessary.
What impressed me deeply was that we had pilots like Dop, Jan Bosch, Spanky, Jaap and many others, who immediately and without any hesitation accepted the action and that those people were my friends.

The next four days were unreal like a dream.

De Kooy had been destroyed after several attacks with " Stuka-s"(dive bombers); most of the planes were damaged and only a few still flying.
Coming back from a flight and just after my landing I heard some hits in my tail. I taxied to the bombed hangar as quickly as I could, jumped off my "crate" and ran for shelter.
A bullet ricochetted from the concrete and hit my shoulder - fortunately only in my leather coat.

 
When I looked behind me, I saw my D-21 in fire with perpendicular raising black smoke clouds and a Messerschmitt climbing into the clouds.
We made several attack flights on ground targets where the Germans had already fixed positions, but I donít believe that we delayed the progress of the already long planned attack of the mighty German Army.
A large number of Dutch pilots fulfilled heroic actions that were almost unbelievable.
The old Fokker C-V and C-X reconnaissance planes were brought into action and downed Germans.
A member of my class, Rozenboom, was attacked by three Me-s and it is supposed that he shot two of them before he himself was shot down and killed.
The T-5 bombers could do hardly anything but yet they downed Germans. Those were pilots, like Van Steenbergen and Swagerman!
We have dealt losses to the Luftwaffe, much more than Goering had supposed. One of our attacks is staying sharp in my mind: the raid on Waalhaven Airport, which was already in German hands. With all we had - D-21s with bullet holes, lost windscreens and leaking brake-systems - we attacked with the sun in our back. Waalhaven was full of Junker-52 transport planes, a few of our G-1s an many other equipment. Those planes just stood there in rows on the grass of the airport; I suppose there were a number of fourty to sixty of them. With about ten fighters we did a raid on those easy targets and fired our entire ammunition what no doubt caused a lot of damage.
There is a story that the Luftwaffe lost in our four days war more than sixhundred aircraft during dogfights, AA-gunning, by demolition on the ground and by their own failing landings on the beaches and other places from where they impossibly could take off.
On the last day we were at Schiphol and the message of capitulation (to avoid further losses) did not come unexpectedly. We brought our remaining damaged fighters together and shot them in fire. The chaos of the surrender was bad enough, but to have to look at panic, desparate weakness and impotency of some of our own militairy leaders, made me sick. Never will I speak the names of our weak brothers, because their miserable cowardice was improved in an excellent way by the Schmidt Cranses, Spankies, Jan Bosches, Doppenbergs, De Haasís and hundreds of other pilots and ground crew, who fulfilled their duties and not despaired.
One of our best friends, an excellent pilot and a strong Oranjeklant (Orangeist - dedicated to the Queen) , who took part in almost any fight, asked permission to visit his family in ..... Rotterdam. My friend returned after a couple of hours. His home was a ruin of rubbled brickstones, his father, mother and eight brothers and sisters were killed.
This was the only moment in our 4-days-war that tears came in my eyes, not only for sympathy, but also for anger."
Translated from the book:
"Oorlogsvlieger van Oranje"
by Bob van der Stok.
Bob escaped after the May-war to England, became a Spitfire pilot. He was shot down over France, Prisoner of war in Stalag-Luft, from where he escaped and again went to England. There he was Flight Commander and eventually Squadron Commander of the Dutch 322 Spitfire Squadron.



Regards from Col.Lt Klu_MelRoos
Wingcommander of the virtuel Klu_Sqaudron

 

 

War Stories in the Netherlands

The following tale was sent to me by a friend on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I received permission to use it, so here it is! The donor of this incident is Larry Dissette who lives in Florida, and who really had his hands busy for a few minutes.

PEE 51

Non Fiction
A day in mid winter 1944-45, with a bright and clear sky over Europe at 28,000 feet. Below us lies solid snow white strataform clouds. Three hours has brought my fighter squadron, escorting heavy bombers on a mission, deep into enemy German Territory. The air temperature outside on the canopied cockpit of the Mustang fighter, is at least -40 degrees Fahrenheit at this altitude. Body comfort in the cockpit depends on having at least two layers of clothes under the flying suit, and heavy boots with leather gloves under the gauntlets.

My bladder has been sending urgent messages for the last half hour to evacuate the remnants of last night's over indulgence in English beer. Responding reluctantly to the "Maximum Tolerance Pressure", I prepare. I sweep the sky visually, move the other members of the flight into a loose formation, and trim the plane for straight and level flight.

The second part of the drill is: loosen the restricting crash straps, impatiently locate the funnel shaped relief tube clipped under the bucket seat, then hopefully place it between my thighs.

Finally I probe through two zippers and long underwear for the organ of my discontent. The offending organ's head retracts in terror and revulsion when it feels the cold glove. Precious moments are lost warming the rejected hand and enticing the reluctant digit to pour forth its voluminous donation into the receptive relief tube.

OH, NO!! The exterior exhaust end of the relief tube is iced up. There I sit, half finished, holding a container of steaming urine in my hand. My dilemma is abruptly terminated by an urgent radio call from my wing man.

"Red leader, bandits, seven o'clock high, coming in on your tail. Break
left!"

Discarding everything, I grab the throttle and control stick, and snap into a defensive tight Lufberry turn. The unconfined liquid, splashed on windshield and canopy, freezing instantly. Tearing the gloves off my hands with my teeth, I frantically scratched at the yellow coated ice restricting my visibility. At the same time, I kept my aircraft trembling on the edge of a high speed stall. My unrestricted visibility returned, after the longest and busiest five minutes of my life, to reveal an empty sky. The lonely flight back to base, plus landing, proved uneventful.

My crew chief waited dutifully as I taxied back to the revetment area. After I parked and opened the canopy, this imperturbable mechanic stood on the wing and leaned into the cockpit to help me unbuckle all the straps. He sniffed the air, like a bird dog, and casually remarked, "It smells like you wuz awful scared, cap'n".

Regards, LT. Col Melroos.
322sq, 323sq, 315sq, 313sq, ROYAL DUTCH AIRFORCE.

(de verhalen mogen door iedereen ingeleverd worden, indienen bij Peete)

Evaluatie van de gevlogen oorlog dag in mei 1940 op de luchtbasis Soesterberg museum.  (fictief dus gevlogen in CFS) 

Op zondag 18 feb op vliegtuigmuseum Soesterberg heeft de KLu in CFS meegedaan aan een demo Bombrun. 
Tigersquadron was daar met 10 PC`s aan elkaar gekoppeld door een netwerk met een man of 12 vertegenwoordigd (en dat helemaal uit Bergie) Wij waren zo als de meeste weten uitgenodigd om een Nederlandse dag namelijk 10 mei 1940 na te spelen. De KLu werd vertegenwoordigd door KLu WIJERS , KLu Bob, KLu Devil en KLu Peete Speed. 
Wij hadden vooraf een echte briefing in een staf kamer van de echte KLu! met een CO. die de boel aan de tigers en aan ons mededeelde. De Tigers waren allen in een echt vliegers overall van het tigersquadron gekleed! wij in een KLu T-shirtje. De bedoeling was dat wij in de Fokker D21 vlogen en het veld Deelen verdedigden tegen de Duitsers, gevlogen door het Belgische squadron. Wij spraken af om laag te blijfen omdat de D21 nu niet zo heel fantastisch vliegt en op die manier de ME109`ens de grond in te laten vliegen.
De missie gaat van start en er staat 50 man publiek op ons neus te kijken (das toch heel wat en dat doet toch iets met je) Er was ook een presentator die alles aan het publiek uitlegde en het verloop samenvatte. (verry good job Tigers!!) 
De Duitsers moesten met 3 junker transport kisten landen op Deelen en 2 escorts me109 moesten de boel beschermen. Wij wachten op de grond met zijn drieen echter kwamen we er achter dat KLu Devil veel brandstof bij zich had en die kon hij maar beter kwijt raken vandaar dat ik besloot hem alvast de lucht in te sturen. Wijers en ik spraken af om ieder een kant aan te vallen, wijers rechts ik links, toen ze op 20 afstand waren stegen wij op, devil was al bij een ME109 die dan ook snel in gevecht raakten (de ME109 Piloot was een vrouw ,ja ja! het kan dus wel)
Ik kreeg de eerste junker in het oog en dook er op af en jaagde een aantal kogels er in en vloog op volle snelheid door naar de volgende junker! Zo pakte ik ze stuk voor stuk aan. Wijers had een gevecht met een ME die hij wist te raken en deze vloog al rokend weg, daarna ging ook hij over op de junkers52. Deze hadden geen wapens en waren dus aan de goden overgeleverd. Ik schoot er 2 neer en Wijers 1. zodat de duitse missie mislukt was!!! 
Goed gedaan KLu WIJERS ,KLu Bob,KLu Devil en ik. 
Ze hadden het niet zo verwacht was de latere reactie van de Tigers maar ja wij zaten natuurlijk niet te slapen dit keer. Dit was een missie in Hardsettings last alive en iedereen vloog goed , mijn complimenten heren. er was nog een tweede missie interlaken bern waarin KLu bob mee vloog inplaats van peete. Deze verloren wij in die Fockewulf daar het geen echte fighter is.

Nogmaals Tigersquadron bedankt voor de invite , en we hopen dit nog eens te kunnen herhalen. 
===========================================
De prijzen die werden uitgedeeld voor de meeting waren niet mis heren!! joysticks , trottle`s pendalen hele simulator spellen , een vlucht met een HARVARD ja ja. Een vlucht in een F16 simulator bij het 323sq etc niet mis dus!!

Volgende keer toch maar met wat grotere aantallen komen heren KLu ers!! want dit speelde zich af op ons terrein in ons land en in ons KLu meuseum en wij waren in de minderheid!! 

Gen Majoor der Nederlandse Luchtmacht internet CFS

KLu P.Speed.

21-2-2001.