A Second World War RAF Intruder Personal Combat Report
given by F/L. K.D Vaughan, Pilot and F/S. R.D McKinnon, Navigator (B Flight, No. 85 Squadron) relating to events on 13th/14th April 1945.
Stamped 'HEADQUARTERS ROYAL AIR FORCE SWANNINGTON' and dated 16th April 1945. This incredibly interesting report documents a fight that ensued on a High-level support mission of the bombing attack on Kiel and describes the downing of one He219.
Research shows that the German aircraft claimed as destroyed in this report was the one flown by Air-Ace Leutnant Otto Fries during night operations for Axis home defence. The chase described concluded with the right-hand engine of the He219 exploding into flames and following the loss of control of most of the aircraft, Fries jettisoned the aircraft's canopy. His wireless operator Feldwebel Alfred Staffa baled out first and was severely wounded on landing with his parachute. Leutnant Fries could not regain sufficient control of the He 219, which was now burning, so he also ejected and landed, unhurt, by means of his parachute. The He 219 ultimately crashed approximately 3 km south of Hertogenbosch and was destroyed. At the time, this was reputedly only the third such ejection of a pilot during combat known in the world. This was to be one of four times Leutnant Fries was shot down during the war and he is documented as scoring 18 victories in total.
The full account on this document reads:
One Mosquito, 85/S., F/L.K.D. Vaughan, Pilot and F/S.R.D. McKinnon, Navigator, was airborne Swannington at 2158 hours 13th April 1945 on High level support of the bomber attack on KIEL. At 0020 hours, 5 to 10 miles west of KIEL a contact was obtained, which resulted in the destruction of a He 219.
"We planned to cross the enemy coast at WESTERHEVER at 2320 hours and then proceed to a point 20 miles S.W of KIEL, which was the target for the main bomber force. We had originally intended to cover the bomber route out from the target area to the enemy coast line for a period of 35 minutes. We were then aiming to do a free lance patrol in the LUNEBURG area. After being on patrol for 40 minutes we were still getting groups of bomber contacts. As there was apparent ground activity with searchlights and ground flashes on the bomber route which were definitely not gun flashes but some sort of indicating aid to the Hun nightfighters, we decided to continue patrolling the same area. However, this area quietened down considerably and after many alterations of height etc., on patrol, at 2020 hours, height 18,000ft, just when our time limit on patrol had expired, my navigator obtained a crossing starboard to port contact at 5 miles range 35 degrees above. We chased our target in a port on to a southerly vector with the range rapidly reducing to 9,000ft and the target losing height at a rather low air speed, 220-230 I.A.S..
The target kept up a continuous weave but settled down at about 10,000ft height. We closed range to 1,000ft but experienced difficulty in getting behind him owing to his weaving activities. I got a visual on a pale blue light. But the aircraft did a peel off to port and range went out to 5,000ft. We followed on A. I. which, incidentally was very ropey, in turns. Again we closed in on the hard weaving target. I got fleeting visuals on bright exhausts at one stage, at about 2,000ft range, but still could not get comfortably settled astern. Three times we closed in to 1,000ft, the target peeling off on every occasion. The blue light was visible on most of these occasions from just astern but I was unable to follow visually owing to the target's activities.
We could identify target as a twin engined aircraft on our very few opportunities. On one occasion, my navigator confirmed this with night glasses. On the third occasion that we closed range to 1,000ft, the target, to me anyway, appeared to catch fire underneath the fuselage. I got my navigator's head out of the box to confirm this, and very quickly and brightly he yelled "That's his jet", which jolted me out of my fire theory very quickly. The Target again started one of his routine turns and I immediately pushed the throttles fully open +12 and already using 28,000 revs, and gave a second deflection shot on his jet at about 900ft range. However, this burst produced no strikes, so I got dead astern in the turn and, at 700ft range, fired another burst which caused a large explosion and strikes on his starboard side. I gave him another burst for luck and another explosion appeared on the port side and the E/A burned from wing tip to wing tip, going down in a spin to starboard and hit the deck at 0031 hours in an approximate position 5350N 1000E.
From it's general appearance and behaviour, particularly the use of a jet we consider this A/C was a He 219, and we claim it as destroyed. We then set course for base. No Perfectos throughout patrol. The Hun did not seem to have any tail warning device, but was apparently carrying out the usual evasive action".
CLAIM: 1 He.219 destroyed.
A/C. landed Swannington 0211 hours.
Ammunition expended – S.A.P.I – 40, H.E. I – 40. Total 80."
Estimated at £140 - £180
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