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From: cdb100620@AOL.COM (CDB100620)
Subject: Re: bombers in dogfights
Date: 23 Jul 1997

Duel between a B-17 and He-177:
Feb. 20, 1944, a weather recon B-17 flying out of Scotland encountered an
He-177 that was orbiting over the North Sea transmitting a false homing
radio beam to lure American planes flying the Atlantic off course so that
they would run out of fuel far out at sea.  When his radio operator picked
up the signal, the B-17 pilot, Guy Reed, assumed it was being broadcast
from a submarine close by and decided to follow the beam and send a
location report.    Visibility was about a quarter mile when the crew
spotted not a sub but a big He-177. Reed decided to try to shoot the
He-177 down and a maneuver fight began.  At one point the B-17 actually
collided with the He-177, smacking the belly of the German with its tail
fin.  The two bombers traded gunfire for some minutes.  At one point Reed
was able to position his plane behind and below the German and his gunners
ripped it with heavy fire.  The He pilot threw his plane into a dive.  The
B-17 followed, then, at low altitude the He-177 deployed its dive brakes
and  dropped its gear, slowing dramatically as it pulled up.  The B-17
shot past it and it was the turn of the He-177 gunners to rake the B-17
with fire.  The top turret plexigas was shattered.  The right waist gunner
was killed.  At that point, the two planes, flying at about 3,000 feet
flew alongside each other blazing away like two battleships trading
broadsides.  The He-177 pilot decided to break away to the right.  As he
did so, the ball turret gunner on the B-17 was able to pour gunfire into
the right engine nacelle (housing two engines), apparently knocking them
out.  The He pilot lost control and the plane went into a spin and crashed
into the sea.  No one got out.  Reed was able to nurse his plane home with
some judicious throttle jockeying---the collision had damaged the rudder
so that the plane wanted to turn to the left and would not flying straight
and level.   This story is recounted in "Big Week" by Glen Infield.

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