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Northop P61-B "Black Widow"

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Gebirgsjaeger, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    email Christian Möller the author directly, hopeful it is not Out of print ?
     
  2. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Seems so, but i´ll ask him. One dealer in switzerland has one but to an horrible price + shipping.

    Ulrich
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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  4. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Have the Link thanks! I´ll try it and expect a answer for tomorrow.

    Ulrich
     
  5. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Christian and I had been talking for nearly 3 years in preparation for this particular book and of course it's exciting release, I know he did well with it. In some respect we were able together to figure out which NSGr Ju 87D's the ETO Widows came up against.

    fun stuff ........, there is also some wonderful information out by English author Nick Beele
     
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  6. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Sounds great, hopefully i can get it.

    Ulrich
     
  7. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Hi Erich, got the answer from Christian and he said that this book isn´t availabele since 2008. And a new print isn´t in sight. So i have to look for it at the internet.

    Ulrich
     
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  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes Ulrich Christian wrote me this morning very early about the book and a few other items

    more later on the ETO units flying the Widow
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    let me move ahead just a bit. On August 28th and 29th, 1944 the US 422nd nfs moves to A-39 : Chateaudun, France

    the 425th nfs had been making it's move to Vannes A/F which needed total reconstruction.

    On the 27th of August 44 the 425th nfs sent out 13 Black Widows to strafe German installations, only the pilots flew the R/O were left at base. This was a daylight mission that the CO Lewis was very excited about.

    The US craft hit 9 gun emplacements and shot up supporting tents/houses with 20mm cannon fire.
    Flew west of Hemnebout/Bolz Bridge, circled around towards St. Helen Kergoal and made a raid on guns west of Merlerenez with 300 guns reported and had light Flak availabe as protection. Major Lewis led this raid with
    # 76 Ornsby
    # 85 Montmeat
    # 80 Heflin
    # 37 Buck
    # 46 Stacey

    3 of the Widows caught light Flak damage during the mission and the raiding party of Widows expended some 4,452 rounds of 20mm.

    Although a successful mission, tragedy came in the form of Lt. Nelson Willis clipping a telephone pole and smashing into a bridge, he was killed.
     
  10. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, as you wrote above, the Widows made ground attacks and some were very deep down as the sad example of Lt. Willis showed. How were their tactics to make it? I think they came in very deeply ofthe ground by using theirradars similar to todays airstrikes? The LW had a lot of misses through their groud attacks with their Jabo´s (fighter-bombers). I read some reports that they lost some by touching woods or roofs. It is hard to manouver neer the ground with the speed they had. One day i had a chance to fly with an armor-hunting-helicopter(?) and there were often situations where i thought " OK, you had a nice live say good bye to it!". It was nice but as a pilot you have a lot of stress in such situations!
    Interesting report, please let them come.

    Ulrich
     
  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    ground control could bring them and of course the obvious lights and if light enough ground marks-something recognizable but of course this could also mean the LW night fighters in the intruder role could also follow or loiter around Widow airfields if need be.

    Ulrich the following eve for the 425th nfs on August 29th seems to not be recorded as to how many airacft to part in patrols only the remark that Lt. J. Webb crasehd some 3 miles Southeast of the Base of A-33N - Vannes. was this due to fog coming in or low visibilty, US AA or LW night fighter ? not sure yet. The next 3 nights through September 2nd the statement of bad weather is used in fact 2 nights there were no operations involved by this nfs. Accidents occur we know that due to various reasons I can imagine even with B. Widow crews fatigue has to be high on the list, mechanical problems too.
     
  12. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, the mechanical problems which you stated, where these only the result of less spare parts as you wrote in a former post or had the Widow herself technically problems?

    Ulrich
     
  13. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    not necessarily Ulrich you could say the A-I going you might be more mechancial than technical along with the radio; an oil line rupturing due to wear and tear, gun/round jams which happened often enough but also to LW NF's as well.

    The first couple of nights in September the 422nd nfs was still operating in the north along Orleans, Paris lines. no contacts except for "Friendlies" - other P-61's, B-24's, the case for the CO Johnson on September 4/5 1944: had fleeting targets on the deck but could not pick them up East/West and North of the Loire River flew from 10,000 feet to the deck. flying his craft # 58.
     
  14. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Thanks Erich, now an question to the daily life of an nightfighter. As i know from reports of some German fighter pilots, they had to made the day and the nightshift. That happened more and more to the end of war. How was the daily routine of an US NF sleeping the day than briefing for the night or...?

    Ulrich
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes sleep during the day get up several hours early to confer/talk with the ground crews to make the Widow's ready then squadron breifing the whole squadron pilots and R/O's for the object - target(s) for the evening. the aircraft would take off individually since it was already dark and then given the area to cover. It is obvious from the operations reports that the Widows are of operations overlapped with the view of "Friendlies"
     
  16. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, were the crews special trained men with an airforce background like a fighter pilot or bomber navigator or took they anybody that were able to fly like "Newbies"?
    I think that the took trained and experienced pilots to fly the Widows and not beginners. I read that the allies had recieved the FuG 25a, and i know that they developed the "Perfectos" was it aboard and in use with the Widows?

    Ulrich
     
  17. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    no perfectos was not in use with any ETO Widow squadron that I know of. yes specially trained both the pilot and of course the R/O on the A-I. a pilot friend in the 425th nfs gave me his time training on single engine craft then twin before night training on twins then a complete going over with the Widow on training ops stateside before onward to England a he was onboard with the 425th nfs from the beginning till the end of the war.
    Ulrich the notes I took from his interview are hardly readable not sure what I was thinking but here goes :::

    June 1943 took a peripheral/night vision test, over to B-25 transitions for over 60 hrs of lfight training. went to Orlando Florida and sin September 1943 flew A-20 and the P-70 with A-I radar. flew the P-70 for over 2 months. to Danellon field for more training. Bacak to Orlando Fl. for more training and finally first view of the P-61A. Transferred into the 549th nfs fighter training squad the in January/February 1944 to Fresno California. Flew Black Widows for 4 hours a month for flight pay. I was one of 3 crews shipped overseas, Me, Ben Able and Segal to Hamilton field then 1 week later to Kilmer. Sailed on the ship Tarawa (British) took 13/14 days then reached Liverpool then to Stone, England close to Trent. off to Scorton near Yorkshire and finally put into the 422nd nfs for a real short time. Segal stayed with the 422nd nfs. Abell, Slayton and Bill Bierer went to the 425th nfs and dispersed to East Molling under the RAF learning NF tactics and talking with crews ............
     
  18. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich thanks for the answer and the report! Great to see such documents, bringing those times closer to me. Not only the Widow is extremely interesting, the suroundings things like training daily routine or ground crews work too!

    It would be great if you have more of the reports and you like to share them.

    Thanks

    Ulrich
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes I have more personal interviews Ulrich from J. Slayton and his CO "Gilly" Lewis and others.....

    as a side note will tell you later Slayton nearly took out a KG 200 Ju 290 dropping agents, interesting although brief story and Lewis who almost shot down 3 Ju 87D's from one of the NSGr units, he was in perfect position behind them as they were flying in a 3 wedge formation towards their target but ..........

    lets just say I will keep you in suspense
     
  20. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, that is.........:)

    I am waiting!

    Regards

    Ulrich
     

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