around 1000h, their charges had been in the air and over enemy above and located about halfway between them and an unspeciterritory for some time. Despite each squadron operating inde- fied group of American bombers. The latter were most likely B-17s
pendently, their rendezvous with the bombers at the designa- from the 1st Bomb Division headed for Merseburg/Lutzkendorf.
ted location was almost simultaneous. The group with the call The squadron leader, Lt. Col. John C. Meyer, later reported: ‘They
sign ‘Balance One Four’ was to come in from the North Sea, over were pulling contrails and appeared to be forming up. We headed
Holland and the Ruhr to the area south of Hanover and from there towards them and as we got closer they dove out of contrails
continue on southeasterly towards Plauen, where they were to level in ones and twos. Contrail level was 28000´plus. At 29000´,
meet up with their ‘big brothers’. Although the assumption was I identified them as Me 109s and attacked one as he headed down
that meeting the Luftwaffe was unlikely, the route to meeting the in a 60° dive. The whole squadron then engaged small groups of
bombers was several times interrupted. The first encounter with the E/A after their original gaggle had been split up. At about
the enemy occurred at around 1130h when the 328th FS stumbled 17000´ the E/A I was chasing leveled off and I closed rapidly.
upon a fight in progress between the 4th FG and German fighters. He saw me and started in a steep climbing turn, my first burst
Although subsequent reports put this event at 20 miles east of was about 20° deflection at 300 yards. I observed few hits.
Meiningen, it was in all likelihood actually in the area of Eisenach, I closed on him in the climbing turn and at 30° deflection and 200
over 50km away. The engagement proved successful especially yards I got hits on the rear portion of his fuselage, pieces coming
for Blue Flight of this squadron, with its CO Capt. William E. Hen- off. He split S´d, recovered and turned into me. I had little diffidrian and his Number 2, Lt. Richard F. Semon, each claimimg an culty in overtaking and in turning inside of him. At 20° and 300
Fw 190. However, this came at the cost of the unit’s Number 3 man, yards I got good strikes on wing root and E/A started to smoke.
Lt. Garland Rayborn, who was shot down and taken prisoner. It rolled over and crashed straight into the deck from 8000´.
The bad guys in this fight, which lasted over a half an hour, were Pilot seemed inexperienced, his breaks were conspicuously nonBf 109s and Fw 190s from I./JG 76, JGr. 10, II./JG 27, and -violent. He was hesitant in all his maneuvers.’
II.(Sturm)/JG 300. Besides the aforementioned 352nd and
John C. Meyer did not get the described kill while in the coc4th Fighter Groups, the American side also included the 359th
kpit of his iconic Mustang s/n 44-14151 HO-M, named ‘Petie 2nd’,
and 364th FG.
which remained on the ground. Good fortune on this day was
Shortly after that, at around 1150h, and further to the north
bestowed on Meyer by a borrowed, and a little orphaned, Mustang
near Gottingen – Nordhausen – Mulhausen, pilots of the 328th named ‘Stardust’, which carried the serial 44-13597 and code
FS, dubbed ‘Meyer’s Maulers’ spotted a group of around thirty HO-F, who’s pilot, Lt. William E. Fowler, had just completed a comGerman fighters forming up. These were, no doubt, connected to
the German units taking part in the battle described immediately
Sudetenländische Treibstoffwerke AG Brüx, September 11th, 1944, was the target for the 93rd Combat Wing (490th and
493rd Bomb Group) with fighter escort provided by the 352nd Fighter Group.