Skip to comments.Valor: David and Goliath : in the skies of World War II
Posted on 03/08/2014 9:14:15 PM PST by virgil283
"The Japanese pilots immediately began strafing the surviving crewmen, ..and grazing Lieutenant Baggett's arm. the pilot opened his canopy and approached within feet of Baggett's chute, ..., enraged by the strafing of his helpless crewmates, raised the .45 automatic concealed against his leg and fired four shots at the open cockpit. The Zero stalled and spun in....
(Excerpt) Read more at airforcemag.com ...
In any event, the pilot opened his canopy and approached within feet of Baggett's chute, nose up and on the verge of a stall. Baggett, enraged by the strafing of his helpless crewmates, raised the .45 automatic concealed against his leg and fired four shots at the open cockpit. The Zero stalled and spun in.
After Baggett hit the ground, enemy pilots continued to strafe him, but he escaped by hiding behind a tree. Lieutenant Jensen and one of the gunners landed near him. All three were captured by the Burmese and turned over to the Japanese. Sergeant Crostic also survived the bailout. Baggett and Jensen were flown out of Burma in an enemy bomber and imprisoned near Singapore.....
... a commander of the 311th Fighter Group told Baggett that a Japanese colonel said the pilot Owen Baggett had fired at had been thrown clear of his plane when it crashed and burned. He was found dead of a single bullet in his head. ...."
Nice shot! One in the head under those circumstances, great dang shot! Probably apocryphal though.
Will be of interest to everybody following him daily.
Sometimes the inability to edit posts is very funny...
On the lighter side.....My father was a WWII paratrooper in the
Pacific. Part of his Div (11th AB) rescued civilian prisoners of the
Japanese at Los Banos prison camp on Luzon. Thru reunions in the 80’s
my parents became friends with Jerry and Margaret Sams who lived
w/in 5 mi in rural NorCal. Jerry and Margaret had been prisoners
of the Japanese at Los Banos. Margaret wrote a book called Forbidden
Family about her and her family’s experience as POWs of the Japanese.
One story was about her being removed from Santo Tomas prison
camp to have a baby in a Manila hospital. She awoke one AM to the
sound of much Filipino laughter from the gardeners outside the
window to the nurses in the hallway. The local Japanese run paper
had a front page story that AM about a Japanese fighter pilot
who had shot down four US fighers. He ran out of ammo w/one
more Yank to kill so he opened his canopy and threw his lunch,
a rice cake, at the enemy. The surprised Yank flew his plane into
Probably true. In my fathers unit a private shot a german pilot through the head with a single shot from his garand. The pilot was strafing the units camp and as he came in low and opened up with his guns the private loaded his garand and took one shot.
A few days later General Patton came by and shook his hand and said “Damned fine shooting soldier.” And the drove off in a cloud of dust.
In those days we were made of sterner stuff.
I’ve got “Forbidden Diary.” Great book !!
That she was able to keep such a detailed diary was simply amazing.
This is the first time I’ve read of a man in a parachute downing an enemy plane but I have read of a number of men who shot down low flying enemy planes with a single rifle shot. I seem to recall reading about a soldier/marine on either Guam, or Wake that brought down a low flying Japanese plane with his Thompson submachinegun.
Margaret’s book is Forbidden Family as opposed to Forbidden
Diary. Margaret did not keep a WWII diary. The “Forbidden”
part comes from the nature of her family structure with Jerry
at the time. Jerry was an important civilian employee of the
US Navy and a compelling, heroic, and rogue-ish figure. For
example as a communications engineer he built not one but
two contraband radios while a prisoner of the Japanese.
In those days we were made of sterner stuff....................................... Not true, we are still made of sterner stuff, its all about leadership. During WW II they didn’t tie your hands behind your back with silly assed ROE’s. You were sent out to win, period!
The Russian Il-2 is the only WWII era aircraft I can think of that had an armored tub for the pilot to sit inside. The Il-2 was tough to shoot down and was highly resistant to .30 call hits.
Many aircraft had little in the way of pilot protection from ground fire and could have been brought down by a single shot .22lr if the shooter was close enough to a plane flying by at treetop level.
I read about a German tank crew shooting down a Mustang that was strafing them with a round from their main gun.
Wow! I guess when it's your time to go it's your time to go.
I don’t know...some of the stories of our men in Fallujah and Afghanistan are pretty inspiring. We have tough guys still.
We just don’t tell the tales the way we used to.
I spend a lot of time around college athletes. They are smart, healthy, and motivated. If THEY are the ones to take care of me when I am old, we will be fine. If THEY are the ones we need to call on (draft, as we did in WWII) we will be fine.
My dad served in the China-Burma-India Campaign.
He flew a C-46 freight hauler over the Hump.
He saw the soldier standing there, completely intact. The pilot surmised that the speed of the aircraft and the propeller spin worked in the soldier's favor and spared his life.
This story was related a few years ago in Flight Journal Magazine.
Sorry Sivad. I find *NOTHING* amusing about this incident.
If I understand it correctly....an American pilot perished.
Ahhhh....OK, now I’m laughing, because I was sitting here thinking “That episode does not happen in this book....this guy is confusing two different books.”
Not too surprisingly....I guess *I’m* the one who is confused :-)
Either you have a very refined sense of humor or you are so
daft that you believe the outrageous Japanese propaganda
that the Filipino gardeners and hospital nurses laughed at
in 1943. Which, may I ask, is it?
And furthermore, *I came through and I shall return.*
Well, then, ha-ha- ha!
BTW, the “.....I shall return” comment made by General MacArthur
was among the things his critics cite as evidence that he was less
than a heroic American figure. Some of those military folks who
became prisoners of the Japanese after the invasion of Dec 41 and
1942 hated MacArthur because he “bugged out” of the Philippines
when the going got rugged. I point out that MacArthur was the
only military figure who argued for an earlier return to the PIs to,
in part, rescue the American POWs. Had the US Navy gotten
their way the PIs would have been bypassed and there would
have been no US POWs left alive to rescue.
In the Great War the biplane jocks shot at each other with pistols a number of times so there could have been some shootdowns then.
Many years back I read an account of a Jap fighter found bellied onto a beach in the Solomons with a single 30-06 round through the cockpit that hit the pilot coming; apparently from an invidual rifleman.
Baggett’s foe was more likely an Army pilot flying an Oscar I would guess.