Tour of Duty
Choose an active pilot
Choose another Pilot
Enlist a new Pilot
Restore a Pilot KIA or POW
Discharge a Pilot
Clear Roster
Review A Pilot's Stats
Show Top Aces
Mission Types
Ground School
Enemy Fighters
Battle Damage
Fighter Tactics
Fighter Sweep
Pull out keyboard map
Bomber Escort
Strafing Run
Special Weapons
V1 Intercept
The Yoxford Boys
Appendix of Airplanes:
About the Artists
Brian Hilchie
Dan Hoecke
To play Heroes of the 357th, you need 640K of memory and an EGA, MCGA, or
VGA compatible video adapter.
Before playing, you must install the program onto a hard drive. The easiest way
to do this is to use the install utility that comes with the game. The install utility
creates a directory named P51 on the disk and then copies the contents of all
disks into that directory. You need 1.5 megabytes of free space on your hard
drive. If you have a problem installing the program, you might not have enough
memory available.
1. Boot your computer with DOS (any version 3.0 or greater).
2. Insert Disk No. 1 into drive A (or any appropriate floppy drive). Note: If
you're using the 5.25 inch high density version, there is only the one disk
to insert.
3. Type A: and press Enter. (Type the appropriate drive letter if you have
inserted Disk No. 1 into a drive other than drive A.)
4. To install the disk, type Install followed by the drive letter you are
installing from and the drive letter you are installing to. For example, to
install from drive A: to drive C: you would type INSTALL A: C:. Press
5. Follow the on-screen directions and swap disks when prompted.
6. Once the game is copied onto your hard drive, put your original disks in
a safe place.
Installing Manually
If you're having trouble installing the game using the above install procedure,
here's how to do it manually. Below is a step by step procedure for making the
P51 directory, copying the files into that directory, and uncompressing them.
5.25" Floppy Disk Users
In the following step-by-step procedure, we're assuming that you want to
install the game on C: drive from floppy drive A:. If your configuration is
different, use the appropriate hard drive and floppy drive letters.
1. At the C: \ prompt, type MD P51 and press Enter.
2. Type CD\P51 and press Enter.
3. Insert the Heroes of the 357th floppy disk into drive A:.
4. Type COPY A:HEROES.EXE and press Enter.
5. Type HEROES and press Enter to run the uncompress program and
install the complete game into the P51 subdirectory.
6. Once the program has been uncompressed, you can delete the
extraneous file from your hard drive. Type DEL HEROES.EXE and press
Scanned and compiled by Underdogs, Home of the Underdogs -
7. Type CD\ and press Enter to return to your root directory.
Starting From a Hard Drive
8. To finish installing the game in your P51 subdirectory, type COPY
A:P51.BAT and press Enter.
If you installed the game using the Install utility that came with Heroes of the
357th, use the following procedure to start the game.
1. Type C: and press Enter. (If your hard drive isn't C:, enter the correct
2. Type CD\P51 and press Enter.
3.5" Floppy Disk Users
In the following step-by-step procedure, we're assuming that you want to
install the game on C: drive from floppy drive A:. If your configuration is
different, use the appropriate hard drive and floppy drive letters.
1. At the C:\ prompt, type MD P51 and press Enter.
2. Type CD\P51 and press Enter.
3. Insert the Disk No.l into drive A:.(Note: Type the appropriate drive
letter if you inserted Disk No.l into a drive other than A.)
4. Type COPY A:HEROES1.EXE and press Enter.
5. Remove Disk No.l and insert Disk No.2 into the A: drive.
6. Type COPY A:HEROES2.EXE and press Enter.
7. Type HEROES1 and press Enter. When the computer is finished
executing, type HEROES2 and press Enter. This will uncompress both
files and install the complete game into the P51 subdirectory.
8. Once the program has been uncompressed, you can delete the
extraneous file from your hard drive. Type DEL HEROES1.EXE and
press Enter. When the computer is finished executing, type DEL
9. Type CD\ and press Enter to return to the root directory.
10. Insert floppy Disk No.l into drive A:. Type COPY A:P51.BAT and press
Enter to finish installing the game onto your C: drive in the subdirectory
called P51.
3. Type P51 and press Enter.
4. The game will load the logo screen. Press any key to continue.
When you start Heroes of the 357th, the program automatically detects the best
graphics mode for your computer and starts the game in that mode. However, if
you want to start the game in a different graphics mode, you can do so by
adding a few extra characters (called arguments) to the start command.
EXAMPLE: Let's say you want to load the game with EGA graphics mode and
music generated with an Ad Lib board (you must have an Ad Lib board
installed). You'd type P51 adlib and then press Enter.
The order of the extra arguments doesn't matter as long as there's a space
between each argument and they are typed in lower case.
These are the arguments you can use:
Loads game with VGA graphics.
Loads game with EGA graphics.
Loads game with joystick flight control.
Loads game with keyboard flight control.
Loads game in low graphics detail mode (less detail speeds up
game play).
Loads game in medium graphics detail mode (less detail speeds
up game play).
Starting Heroes of the 357th
The program automatically detects the best graphics and sound modes for your
computer and starts the game in that mode. If you want to play the game in a
different graphics mode, see Startup Parameters.
Loads game in high graphics detail mode.
Loads game with sound on.
Loads game with neither music nor sound.
Loads game with PC internal speaker sounds.
Loads game with AdLib sound card sounds.
Loads game with Tandy sound (VGA required).
Loads game with neither music nor sound.
Loads game with music on.
Loads game with music turned off.
Note: You may need to remove TSRs present in your system (Terminate-andStay-Resident programs, such as Sidekick®) before starting Heroes of the 357th.
These utility programs can take up space needed to run the program. You can
temporarily avoid these TSRs by booting from your original DOS disk. See
Problems With The Game? for instructions on removing TSRs.
Note: When you quit the game, the program automatically remembers all of
that game's startup parameters, as well as all of the options selected from the
Options menu (except Time Factor, Unlimited Weapons, and Unlimited Fuel).
The next time you start the game, just type P51 and press Enter, and those same
parameters and options will be in effect.
Before you can fly, you have to sign out a fighter. Type in a name (no more than
14 characters) and press Enter.
Hand Controllers
There are several hand controllers on the market which plug into the joystick
port. Most models have a directional pad on the left and four buttons on the
right. The directional pad works exactly like the handle on a joystick. The top
button toggles the cockpit and enemy views. The left button fires the machine
guns. The right button fires the missiles. The bottom button fires the cannons.
After you install and start the program, the Midnight Software Inc. company
logo appears. Press Enter to go to the title screen. The title screen flashes the
credits. Press Enter to go to the Opening Menu. Select Practice.
Now you're in the briefing room, awaiting orders. Since this is only practice,
you can choose what kind of mission you'll fly.
The names of the mission types should give you some idea of what they call for.
See Mission Types for more detailed descriptions of the mission types. If this is
your first time using this simulator, you should select Free Flight. The Free
Flight mission is a strafing run in Paris in which you can't crash or be shot
down. Fly this mission to get a feel for the controls and the weapons.
Picture of enemy ground target
Mission Briefing
The Briefing Report informs you of your orders and provides useful facts about
the mission, such as the name of the city where the target is, the kind of target,
the expected level of opposition, who leads the flight, the date the actual
mission occurred, etc.
Since Free Flight is only a training mission, there are no actual targets on the
briefing film. Press Enter or the joystick button if you wish to skip past the
Briefing Film.
When the Briefing Film ends, the Fighter Configuration screen appears
The Fighter Configuration screen lets you outfit the P-51 with the armament,
ordnance, and fuel tanks you require for the mission you've selected.
Target site
Once you've read the Briefing Report, press Enter to enter the Briefing Room.
Your commanding officer shows you the target site — the location is indicated
by a white box on the map of Europe. Note the distance between the target site
and your base in England and use this determine how much fuel you should
After the commander shows you the target site, watch the Briefing Film. The
Briefing Film consists of pictures of the various targets you'll have an
opportunity to destroy on the mission you've selected. The film runs at a
constant rate unless you speed it up manually by pressing the spacebar. After
the film begins, you can cycle through all the targets on the film screen as fast as
you like.
Press the up/down arrows or move the joystick up/down to highlight an item;
press the right arrow or move the joystick right to select. The moment you select
an item, the P-51 rolls over and displays the underside of its fuselage, where the
tanks and weapons are mounted. Items are added in pairs to maintain the
airplane's centre of gravity. The items you select appear on their hardpoints
under the wings.
You can remove items as easily as you added them. Press the up/down arrows
or move the joystick up/down to highlight the item you with to remove. Press
the left arrow or move the joystick left to remove the item.
Notice that the combined weight of the pair of items you have highlighted
appears at the lower left hand corner of the menu, where it says weight. To the
right of that number is the avail. weight, which indicates how many more
pounds can be added to the P-51. Keep in mind that the heavier you make the
P-51, the slower its maximum speed and the more sluggish its handling.
It's important to choose the proper configuration for the mission you're going to
fly. For example, if the target site is very far away, you need the 110 gallon drop
tanks to complete the mission and return safely home. For hints on configuring
your fighter for different missions, see Fighter Tactics.
The pilot uses the flight stick to roll, climb, and dive. In Heroes of the 357th, the
flight stick is automatically coordinated with the rudder to produce even turns.
You can control the flight stick with a joystick or the keyboard. A joystick is
highly recommended.
Joystick — The default control. Press Ctrl-J to activate the joystick.
Pitch down
Pitch down & roll
Roll right
Roll left
When you've finished configuring and examining the P-51, you're ready to taxi
onto the airstrip. Press Enter or the joystick button to watch the takeoff
sequence. If you want to bypass the takeoff sequence altogether and go straight
to the air, press F1; if you just want to speed it up, press Enter.
The takeoff sequence followed by a map of Europe and a depiction of your
formation heading to the target site. Now is your last chance to change your
mind — press Esc to return to the Fighter Configuration screen.
Pitch up & roll right
Pitch up & roll left
Pitch up
Keyboard — Press Ctrl-K to activate keyboard.
You need to develop a"second-nature" familiarity with all the instruments and
controls at your fingertips to get full use out of the P-51.
Pitch down
Once in the air, press H to call up the Help Menu. The Help Menu lists all the inflight key commands. This section explains all the commands in detail. When
the Help Menu is up, the action is paused.
Pitch up
The G-Meter shows the number of g-forces you're pulling. If you pull more than
3 g's, you'll begin to blackout. Ease off to let more blood flow into your brain so
you can see. Blackouts are not available in EGA.
Artificial Horizon
The artificial horizon shows the attitude of the wings to the ground. Think of
the wings as a line and the ground as a plane. Whichever way the line in the
artificial horizon is tilted, that's the way your wings are tilted.
Flaps indicator
Throttle handle
Artificial horizon
Fuel Gauges
Airspeed indicator
The left fuel gauge shows how much fuel remains in your internal tanks. The
right fuel gauge shows how much fuel remains in your drop tanks, when you're
carrying them.
Drop tank fuel gauge
G-force meter
Internal fuel gauge
There are four different kinds of weapons to choose from.
Throttle Handle
Machine guns
The throttle handle indicates the percentage of maximum power your motor is
putting out. For example, when the needle on the handle points at 75, the
engine is putting out 75% of it's total power. Each key press increases or
decreases the throttle by 5%.
The P-51 comes factory-equipped with six Browning machine guns, three in
each wing. You can't get rid of them and you can't add more. They are your
primary weapons; you'll rely on them in every mission. The machine guns are
mounted to fire in a line directly to the point at the centre of the gunsight. In
level flight, destroying a target is not difficult. Aiming your guns while rolling,
diving, or climbing is another matter, as you have to lead your target using a
deflection angle.
Press the + (plus) key on the numeric keypad to increase the throttle; press the (minus) key to decrease the throttle.
Flaps Indicator
When the flaps indicator is highlighted (red), the flaps are down. Putting the
flaps down increases the wing's surface area, thus increasing both lift and drag.
When the flaps are down, it's easier to pull out of a steep dive. Also, when
you're flying low and slow, as on a strafing run, having the flaps down makes
the P-51 more manoeuvrable.
Press F to toggle flaps down/up.
The altimeter indicates your altitude. The small hand shows feet above the
ground in thousands. When the long hand is turning clockwise, the P-51 is
gaining altitude. One complete revolution of the long hand indicates a change in
altitude of 1000 feet.
Press the spacebar or the firing button on your joystick to fire machine guns.
20mm Cannons
The cannons pack a much stronger wallop than the machine guns, but they
have a slower rate of fire. It's difficult to use them effectively in a dog fight,
since you can squeeze off only two rounds at a time. Cannons are best used
against larger ground targets — such as bridges or a locomotives — where too
many machine gun rounds would be required. They fire along the same line as
the machine guns. Each cannon carries 43 rounds.
Press 4 on the keyboard to fire cannons.
5 inch Rockets
Airspeed Indicator
There are eight hard points under the wings for rockets. The rockets are
unguided and therefore very hard to aim at moving targets. They're more
powerful and have a greater range than the cannons, which makes them good
for taking out the largest ground targets — industrial buildings, etc. Be aware
that the rockets fire alternately from either wing. The ones from the right wing
will fly to the right side of the gunsight, the ones from the left will fly to the left.
The air speed indicator shows your forward velocity in miles per hour.
Press 1 (one) on the keyboard to fire a rocket.
The compass indicates your heading. North is at the top.
Chase Plane View
There are two sizes of bombs to choose from: 250 lb. and 500 lb.
Press 2 on the keyboard to drop a bomb.
The Chase Plane View shows a view from directly behind the P-51, as though
you were in another plane chasing yourself.
Drop Tanks
Drop tanks are intended for use as auxiliary fuel tanks, but when dropped they
can cause destruction. Generally speaking, you'll drop the tanks to make the P51 lighter so you can manoeuvre more deftly in combat, and the tanks will fall
harmlessly onto the wide terrain below. But if you find yourself flying low over
enemy territory, you might try to hit a target of opportunity with your drop
Weapons View
When you fire a weapon, the Weapons View follows the bomb or the rocket to
its target, or until it explodes. You can press F1 to get back to your cockpit after
watching the bomb or rocket.
Front View
Press 3 on the keyboard to release a drop tank.
The Front View shows a view from directly in front of the P-51 looking back.
Left View
Heroes of the 357th comes with numerous different flight views. The two views
used most often are the Pilot View and the Combat View. Accordingly, the
program uses the number 2 button on your joystick as a toggle switch between
these two views.
The Left View shows a view from the left side of the P-51.
Right View
The Right View shows a view from the right side of the P-51.
Top View
The Top View shows a view of the P-51 from above. The Top View is
particularly useful in formation flying, allowing you to keep track of your
bombers and wingman.
Pilot View
At the beginning of every mission, you see the Pilot View with the instrument
panel. The Pilot View is the only view that offers the gunsight, so you should
return to it often when in combat to fire at the enemy.
You can also hide the instrument panel to give you a wider view of the combat
environment. Press backspace to remove/replace the cockpit.
Combat View
As stated above, the Combat View is critical. If there is an enemy in the vicinity,
the Combat View shows you the enemy in his position relative to the P-51. If
there is more than one enemy in the vicinity, the Combat View shows you the
enemy nearest to your P-51, unless you have selected a different enemy using
the E key (see Engage Enemy), in which case the Combat View defaults to that
The Overview continuously pans clockwise a wide circle around the P-51 from
slightly above the plane. This view is useful for taking stock of your general
surroundings, both on land and in the air.
Moving View
The Moving View offers a rapidly changing pan of the P-51, from close up to far
away, from beneath the wings to overhead. If you're between dogfights and you
want a full appreciation of the 3-dimensional world, try the Moving View.
Wing Leader Views
Foreground plane - you
You are the Wing Leader (also called Red Leader and Red One by your
wingman). The Wing Leader Views command reverses the Shift-F6 command
and restores the F keys to their primary functions. You can accomplish this also
by pressing Shift-F6 until you return to your P-51's view, but Shift-F5 is usually
a little faster, especially when there are more than two planes in the air.
Bottom View
The Bottom View shows the underside of the P-51.
Background plane = your
View to Target
Reverse Combat View
The Reverse Combat View shows your enemy in the foreground and you in the
background. It gives you a chance to predict just how your enemy might choose
to manoeuvre into an advantageous position.
The View to Target shows the P-51 in the foreground and the nearest major
ground target in the background. Major ground targets are indicated by icons or
flags on the flight map (for more information, see Flight Map). Some missions,
including all bomber escort missions, do not offer any major ground targets, in
which case this view remains inactive. The major targets on bomber escort
missions, while indicated by icons or flags, are assigned to the bombers.
As with the regular Combat View, the Reverse Combat View shows the
perspective of the nearest enemy fighter, unless you have chosen a different
opponent with the E (Engage Enemy) command. (See Engage Enemy for
description of Engage Enemy command.)
View from Target
Your wingman automatically engages an enemy at the beginning of an air
battle, but if you would rather have him protecting your rear or protecting the
bombers, you can command him to regroup. Remember, on escort missions, this
command orders him back to the bomber formation, and on all other mission
this orders him to fall in behind you.
The same circumstances apply to View from Target as to View to Target (see
above.) You see the target closest to the P-51 in the foreground and the P-51
itself in the background.
Fly-by View
The Fly-by view show the P-51 and your wingman (if present) approaching the
camera and flying past it. The camera then follows the P-51 from behind.
Other Plane Views
This key command toggles through the cockpit views of all the fighters in the
air. Note that this is a mode change, in which all view commands work for the
plane whose view you chosen. The name of the selected plane is listed on the
left side of the screen.
Even though you're looking out of the cockpit of another fighter, you maintain
control of all the functions of your P-51- flight stick, weapons, bail out, etc. To
return to your own Cockpit View, keep toggling through the Other Plane Views
until you come to yours, or press the joystick button 2 twice.
Press Shift-R to Command Wingman to Regroup.
When you issue this command, your wingman disengages from the enemy and
regroups. If, on his way back, the wingman encounters a new enemy, he will
engage that enemy. When this happens, you must issue the command again if
you want him to break off combat. When there are no more enemies in the area,
the wingman returns automatically. (See the Bomber Escort for more about
Command Wingman to Regroup.)
This command serves two distinct purposes. First, the Engage Enemy command
countermands the Regroup command. If you ordered your wingman to regroup
and then decide you want him to re-engage his nearest enemy, go ahead and
use this command.
Press E to countermand the Regroup command.
Secondly, the Engage Enemy command works in conjunction with the Combat
View (F8) and the Reverse Combat View (Shift-F8) by giving you the
opportunity to select from among more than one enemy for viewing.
Press E to toggle through separate Combat Views (or Reverse Combat Views) of
active enemies.
When there is more than one enemy in the sky, pressing E shows you the fighter
nearest you, just like the F8 (Combat View) command, except the F8 command
does not give orders to your wingman. Pressing E again shows you the next
nearest fighter, and so on. Now, when you switch to the Combat View or the
Reverse Combat View during that same engagement, you see the last fighter
selected by the Engage Enemy command, as long as that enemy fighter is still in
the air. When the engagement is over and the next wave of fighters arrives, the
command is reset to default to the nearest enemy.
The Autopilot is active only on Bomber Escort missions. Press A to activate the
Autopilot. To deactivate the autopilot, move the joystick, change the throttle, or
move the flaps.
By activating the Autopilot, you command the P-51 to fly the shortest route
back to the bomber formation at top speed. This is useful when you get lost, or
find yourself too far away from your bombers and want to get back to them as
quickly as possible. If all the bombers have been destroyed, the Autopilot
becomes inactive. (See Bomber Escort for advice on Autopilot.)
The airplane silhouette on the flight map represents the P-51. If you lose your
bearings, you should zoom the flight map out to get a larger perspective. When
you go down low to strafe, you might like to zoom the flight map in to find
targets more easily.
Press Z to zoom the flight map in; press Shift-Z to zoom the flight map out.
You can eject anytime you want, but it's always bad form to bail out too early.
When you bail out, you will either be taken prisoner or escape capture. Press
Shift - B or Shift-J to bail out.
You can replay the last few seconds of any mission at any time. The replay tape
shows a wide-angle panning view of the action. Also, you can change to
different views during the replay. The action is paused while you're watching
the replay, but resumes automatically when the replay ends.
Press R for a replay view. If you want to change the replay view, press F9. If
you want to end the replay early, press R.
The flight map is useful in virtually every mission. At high altitudes, use the
flight map to locate cities and target sites and to track V1 "buzz" bombs. Target
sites are marked with colourful icons — when you destroy a major target, the
icon representing that target disappears from the flight map.
At low altitudes, use the flight map to locate both major targets and targets of
opportunity on the ground. A target of opportunity is defined as an enemy
target whose destruction is useful but not critical. Targets of opportunity do not
appear as icons on the flight map and their point values are relatively small.
(See Ending A Mission for a complete explanation of the scoring.)
Press M to toggle the flight map on/off.
Major targets
Press P to pause the action. Press any key to resume flying.
Heroes of the 357th comes with a variety of useful game options. Press O to
bring up the Options Menu. When the Options Menu is up, the action is paused.
Shaded Horizon
Available only with VGA graphics. The shaded, or dithered, horizon gives the
illusion of distance. If you turn the shading off, the speed of the simulation
increases slightly.
Automatic Replay
When you select this option, the program automatically pauses the action
whenever there's a kill and replays the dramatic moments of the battle.
View Cuts
With the view cuts option on, the program automatically switches to a brief rear
view of enemy fighters as they show up to engage you. First you receive the
message telling you how many"bandits" are approaching and from what
direction, and then you actually see the bandits from behind for a few seconds.
When view cuts is on, you can identify the enemy fighters long before you
engage them.
Press the up/down arrows to highlight an option, and then press the left/right
arrows to change the option's setting. When you're ready to resume flying,
press Enter to confirm your choices, or press Esc to exit without saving changes.
Weapon View
Turn this option on to automatically follow your bombs or rockets to their
targets the moment you release them. The view will follow the bomb or rocket
until it explodes or disappears.
Turn engine and weapon sounds on or off.
Turn the theme music on or off.
Warning Beeps
Warning beeps signal you when the P-51 is in danger of crashing or stalling.
You will hear them when the P-51 is descending too rapidly at too low an
altitude, or ascending too steeply at too slow an air speed (a stall).
For example, when you're flying at 20,000 feet, you can go into a steep dive
without hearing the warning beeps. But if you're at 5,000 feet and suddenly fall
into a vertical dive, the warning beeps will come on. This option is particularly
useful on strafing runs, when you need to fly low to the ground. If you think
you're going to crash, pull back on the flight stick and put your flaps down.
When the warning beeps alert you that the P-51 is about to stall, point the nose
downward, pull the flaps in if they're out, and kick the throttle up to 100 %.
When you're in a stall you can't manoeuvre, and this can cost you your airplane
and your life if an enemy has you in his sights.
Detail Level
This option allows you to select the amount of graphic detail on the screen. The
greater the detail, the slower the screen updates the images.
Available only with VGA graphics. When you have the blackout option on, the
screen becomes dark when you pull too many g's, as the blood is forced out of
your head and you begin to lose consciousness. These days pilots wear special ,v
suits to reduce the effect of g-forces, but you don't have the benefit of that
Time factor
The time factors (l/2x, lx, 2x, and 4x) control the speed of the simulation. When
you start out, you are always on lx. You can use the Options Menu to change the
Time Factor, or you can use the keyboard. Press T to decrease Time Factor;
press Shift-T to increase Time Factor. To automatically reset the Time Factor to
lx, press Ctrl-T.
As soon as enemies come into view, the time factor immediately drops to lx. If
you choose to make the action slower still by setting the time factor on 1 /2x, the
program will keep it there until you change it. Otherwise, it will default to lx
when you engage the enemy.
Unlimited Weapons
This option automatically gives you unlimited use of all the weapons in the
game: machine guns, cannons, rockets, and bombs. You don't need to select any
weapons from the Fighter Configuration screen to have them on board when you
select this option.
Unlimited Fuel
When you choose this option you have an endless supply of fuel, regardless of
whether you outfitted the P-51 with drop tanks.
Press Enter or the joystick button to turn to the next page of the Debriefing
Report, where you receive a written account of your success or failure, and how
it will effect the war.
Once you've read the report, press Enter or the joystick button to go to the
Squadron Room. Your buddies will make remarks about your performance for
the day. If you're not upholding the reputation of the illustrious boys from the
357th, then you are tarnishing it and deserve their scorn. If you are KIA or
POW, naturally you won't be there to know what they said about you.
Press Enter or the joystick button to open the latest News Bulletin. Read the News
Bulletin to find out h o w things are going in other parts of the war.
You can end a mission at any time. Press Esc to bring up the Exit Menu. When
the menu appears, press Y to end the mission; Esc again to resume flying; or X
to exit to DOS.
If you complete a mission, crash, or get shot down, the program automatically
returns you to the base, where the debriefing takes place. Bomber Escort
missions, V1 Intercept missions, and certain Strafing Runs end on their own
after all the enemy fighters and major targets have been hit and you receive
the"mission accomplished" message. Fighter Sweeps and Strafing Runs without
major ground targets go on as long as you want them to, or until you run out of
At the end of a mission you'll see the landing sequence, as long as you didn't
bail out or perish. If you want to bypass the landing sequence, press Enter.
If you shot down one or more enemy fighters or bombed a major target, you get
to paint a symbol of your kill on the left side of the fuselage.
Next comes the Debriefing Report. In the Debriefing Report you learn all the
significant facts about your mission and are given a score. The mission score can
be positive or negative, depending on how many aircraft you shot down or lost,
how many civilian and enemy targets you destroyed, etc. The mission score is
added to, or subtracted from, your Total Score.
Once you've read the news, press Enter or the joystick button to return to the
Opening Menu. Once you've flown a mission, a new option appears on the
menu: Replay Last Mission. This selections allows you to turn back the clock
and try the previous mission again, as though you had never attempted it.
The Tour of Duty consists of thirty-four separate missions in the same
categories found in the Practice mode. You can't alter the sequence in which the
missions are flown — call it fate or the forces of history.
Pilots created during Practice are not saved and so cannot be used in Tour Of
Duty. When you enlist a new pilot for the Tour of Duty, that pilot remains on
the pilot list unless he is discharged. Pilots are either Active, Killed in Action, or
Prisoners of War.
The program automatically saves the stats for each pilot when you quit the
game. The next time you select a pilot for the Tour of Duty, you will begin
where that pilot left off, without the option to replay his last mission.
After you select Tour of Duty, the Pilot Selection Menu appears. Use this menu to
choose an active pilot, create a new pilot, get rid of a pilot, bring a pilot back to
life, erase all the pilots, look at a pilot's stats, or check the list of top aces.
The menus display eight pilot names per page. If the pilot you want is not on
the first page of the menu, press the down arrow to highlight the last name on
the menu, then press the arrow once more to bring up the next menu. To bring
up the previous menu page, highlight the name at the top of the page and then
press the up arrow once.
When you select Choose an active pilot, a list of all the active pilots appears.
Select the pilot you want to be.
The Briefing Screen appears, followed by the Briefing Film, etc — just like in
Practice mode.
When you return to Tour of Duty after performing a mission, you have the
opportunity to choose that same pilot again from the top line of the menu. Or
you may choose another pilot. If all the active pilots are either killed in action or
prisoners of war, none are active. In this case, you must either restore one or
enlist a new one.
There is one secret ground target in a certain patrol over Berlin
which does not appear on the flight map: Adolf Hitler's bunker.
Find and destroy Hitler's bunker and you'll receive a huge bonus.
Create a Pilot
If this is your first time attempting the Tour of Duty, you need to create a pilot
before you can begin flying. The program automatically saves all the pilots you
create, so they will always be available unless you delete them. The program
prompts you to enter your name if there are no pilots available. If there is at
least one pilot available, the program brings up the Pilot Menu.
Select Choose another pilot for a list of all the pilots. Select one of the pilots and
Select Enlist a new pilot to bring up the pilot naming box. Type in a new name
and proceed.
Select Restore a pilot KIA or POW to bring up a list of all the pilots killed in
action or taken prisoner. Select a pilot and proceed.
Select Discharge a pilot to bring up a list of all the pilots available for discharge
appears. Select the pilot you wish to discharge. The program asks you to verify
your selection. Press Y to confirm the discharge or N to cancel it. Remember,
discharged pilots are gone for good.
The list of top aces appears at the end of each Tour of Duty mission, but you can
also take a look at it at the beginning of a new mission by selecting Show top
Select clear roster to delete all pilots, scores, and statistics. The program asks
you to verify your selection. Press Y to clear the roster or N to cancel it. If you
press Y, you're asked to name a new pilot. Type in a name and press Enter.
Select Review a pilot's stats for a list of all the saved pilots. Select one of the
pilots from the list.
The aces are ranked in order of points. The pilot with the most points is at the
top of the list.
When you distinguish yourself in battle, the high command offers you a hearty
congratulations for doing your part in winning the war.
A box appears showing the pilot's name, number of missions flown, number of
targets destroyed, the number of kills in the air, and his score to date. Press
Enter or Esc to return to the Pilot Selection Menu.
There are 34 missions contained in the categories below.
Fighter Sweep: A well-executed fighter sweep rids an area of enemy fighters.
Here you will focus exclusively on air combat tactics. You'll probably need to
consult the Enemy View (F8) often to get your bearings during the many
dogfights you'll have to win to complete the mission. Between waves of enemy
fighters, or after the last wave, you can strafe ground targets if you want to. The
program will not end a fighter sweep automatically. You must press Esc when
you want to return to the base.
Bomber Escort: On a bomber escort mission, your job is not only to keep enemy
fighters from shooting down your bombers, but you might also find time to
drop a load of ordnance yourself. Use the autopilot feature to return to your
bomber formation if you become detached during a fight. Bomber Escort
missions end automatically after the bombs are dropped and all enemy fighters
have been shot down.
Strafing Run: On a strafing run you are responsible for eliminating ground
targets with your guns, cannons, rockets or bombs. Enemy fighters will
probably try to thwart your efforts — eliminating them should be your first
priority. When strafing, make sure to cut your throttle a little and put out your
flaps. This way you can fly slowly and low to the ground while still maintaining
lift. Strafing Runs selected from the Practice menu do not end automatically,
though when you run out of fuel and/or ammo it's time to return to the base.
Press Esc to return to the base.
Special Weapons: Special Weapons missions are just like Strafing Runs and
require the same tactics. The only difference is that on a Special Weapons
mission you must take out one or more major ground targets in order to
complete the mission. Major ground targets are indicated by colourful icons on
the map. When you destroy all the major ground targets, the mission ends
V1 Intercept: The V1 "Buzz Bomb" is an unmanned, unguided, jet-propelled
missile. All you have to do is catch up to it and knock it out of the sky, but the
longer you wait the more likely it is for the V1 to crash over friendly territory.
You may also have to contend with enemy fighters. When you destroy the V1
and kill all the enemy fighters, the mission ends automatically. If you miss the
V1, you might as well strafe targets of opportunity until your fuel and/or
ammunition runs out.
Free Flight: Fly to Paris in an indestructible airplane. In Free Flight, you cannot
be shot down or crash. Roam the skies over Paris, dogfighting and strafing at
will. Practice gunnery, bombing, aerial manoeuvres without fear of dying. This
is not a real mission as there are no objectives — press Esc when you want to
return to the base.
The following section offers general information about the enemy and the
different mission types, and specific advice on how to deal with the more
difficult situations you will encounter.
The Clock
Ever since pilots carried radios in their planes, the clock has been used to
communicate the general direction of bogeys (unidentified aircraft) relative to
the pilot. Imagine your aircraft as the fixed point in the centre of a huge clock.
The nose of your plane always points to 12. Enemy aircraft are identified as
being located at positions on the face of the clock, with relative altitude
indicated as low or high. For example, "Bogey at 3 o'clock" would indicate an
aircraft to the right; "Bogey at 3 o'clock low" would indicate an aircraft below
and to the right.
Below are descriptions and flight characteristics of all the enemy fighters you
will face. In general, the enemy fighters are dark on top and light on the
underside, and friendlies are light on top and dark on the underside. If you
want to see a close-up of the enemy fighters, press Shift-F8 when the enemy is
present in the skies. The briefing reports for some of the missions specify only
the expected level of fighter resistance, not the actual type of fighters you will
be engaging.
The Messerschmitt 109 is a light, highly manoeuvrable fighter. Somewhat
slower than the P-51, the Bf-109 can neither outrun nor outclimb you, but at
lower altitudes you'll have a hard time drawing a bead on it in close combat.
Few of the enemy pilots will climb to engage you when you have a significant
altitude advantage, and the Bf-109 pilots are particularly leery of high-altitude
combat. For armament they carry two MG-17 machine guns and one 20-mm
MG-151 cannon.
Although slower and somewhat less manoeuvrable than the Bf-109, the Me110's powerful cannons can make up for its performance deficiencies. Avoid
head-on passes in general, and especially head-on passes with Mel10s, as you
will almost certainly sustain heavy damage if not lose the P-51 altogether. When
a flight of Mel10s is approaching, point your nose upward to attain greater
altitude, or turn inside toward the angle of their approach. Using this latter
tactic, you should be able to take out some or all of the Mel10s as they pass to
one side of you, without taking any hits. If one or more get by on the first pass,
you should be able to outmanoeuvre them and take them down without
exposing yourself to too much danger.
The Focke-Wulf 190 is more dangerous than the Me-110. It performs nearly as
well as the P-51 at any altitude and is more heavily armed. In dogfights with
Fw-190s, the better pilot usually prevails.
The Messerschmitt 262 Sturmvogel is a thorn in the side of the Yoxford Boys.
With its two wing-mounted turbojets, it's much faster than the P-51, and its four
cannons can rip you (or one of your bombers) to shreds in seconds. On bomber
escort missions, try to keep the 262s occupied and away from your bombers if
you can't actually shoot them down. As long as your bombers reach the target,
site and drop their load, your mission is accomplished.
When the P-51 takes too many hits, a series of messages appears from your
wingman warning you to return home while you can still save your plane. If
you wish to follow your wingman's advice, press Esc and then Y to return to
end the mission. If you haven't completed your objective, the mission will be
counted as a failure.
Even though you've been hit, as long as the P-51 hasn't burst into flames you
can still fly it normally. You just have to be careful not to take any more rounds
or run into any flak. And there's an off chance that, even without being hit
again, the P-51 will burst into flames from the damage it's already absorbed.
There's nothing you can do against flak, except take care of business as quickly
as possible and get out of the area. If you are forced to fly low, as on a strafing
run, and the enemy is firing off a lot of flak, you have little recourse but to pray
you don't get hit. The chances are good that the P-51 won't be brought down by
flak, but there are no guarantees in war.
Weapons Controls
Flight Views
Pilot View
The purpose of a fighter sweep is to clear an area of enemy fighters. There are
no bombers to protect, so your auto-pilot and recall wingman commands are
not functional. As in all missions where your first encounter is a gaggle of
bandits flying toward you, it's important to take out as many of the enemy as
possible in the first pass.
Chase Plane View
Weapons View
Drop Bomb
Front View
Drop External Fuel Tank
Left View
Fire Cannon
Right View
Top View
Combat View
Over View
Moving View
View to Target
View from Target
Fly-by View
Wing Leader Views
Other Plane Views
Bottom View
Reverse Combat View
After the first pass, use necessary tactics to position yourself to get a good shot
on the enemy. Tactics during fighter sweeps vary according to the kind of
airplane you're facing and your skill as a pilot — see the fighter descriptions
above for general comments about the different enemy fighters.
If you're skilled enough, you can earn a lot of extra points during fighter sweeps
by taking out targets of opportunity on the ground. Fighters come in waves, so
if you wipe the first wave in short order you have time to swoop down and
strafe ground targets before the next wave arrives. There is a risk inherent in
this practice, though; if you return to dogfighting altitude too late, the enemy
fighters will have the drop on you. Experience makes all the difference in most
of these missions.
Fire Machine Guns
Flight Controls
End Mission
Show Help Menu
Show Options Menu
Toggle Haps up/down
Pause Game
Command Wingman to
Show Replay
Toggle Map on/off
Zoom Map in
Zoom Map out
Toggle Cockpit on/off
Decrease Time Factor
+ (keypad)
Increase Throttle
Increase Time Factor
- (keypad)
Decrease Throttle
Normal Time
Pilot Eject
Select Keyboard Control
Pilot Eject
Select Joystick Control
Center Joystick
(Autopilot) Regroup
With Bombers
Engage Nearest Enemy
Command Wingman
to Regroup
The Yoxford Boys fly bomber escort missions primarily. The most important
objective in a bomber escort mission is to keep the enemy from shooting down
your bombers. As a rule of thumb, never stray too far from the bomber
formation in pursuit of an enemy fighter.
Enemy fighters come in waves, often approaching head-on or nearly head-on.
With the help of your wingman, try to take out all the fighters in the first pass.
Sometimes you will miss one or more of the fighters. You wingman will always
pursue an enemy (unless you command him to regroup), and it's up to you
whether to help him, stay with the bombers, or pursue another enemy if one is
Don't let an enemy fighter take you too far away from the formation. If you're
having trouble finishing off the survivors of a first pass, return to the bomber
formation using autopilot and wait for them to come to you. Press the F8 key
often to keep track of where enemy airplanes are.
It's most important to remember to keep your flaps down and your throttle up
when flying low. But watch your airspeed; pull your flaps in and lower your
nose it if falls below 200 knots. Stalling this low is often fatal.
A strafing run can be easy or difficult, depending on whether or not the enemy
sends up fighters to defend his territory. If there are fighters in the air, you
should get rid of them first, as the low altitude required for a successful strafing
run leaves you in no position to dogfight.
If there is flak in the air, you might find it wise not to hang around too long after
finishing your business. Getting killed by flak is kind of a fluke, but it does
happen, and the longer you fly around in it, the better chance it has of taking
you out.
All weapons are useful in strafing runs. A few rounds from the machine guns
can destroy the smaller targets. The cannons are good for barges, bridges, small
buildings, and other medium size targets. Rockets are more powerful still, and
have a long range. Bombs and drop tanks, accurately placed, will destroy major
This is a fantasy strafing run on the river Spree near Berlin. There is no enemy
opposition, and you are encouraged to carry weapons no Yoxford Boy ever
fired from a P-51. Practice flying low and aiming rockets and cannon-fire at
distant targets, and see if you can guess right with your bombs. No special
advice here; just use your throttle to control your speed.
The V1 Intercept missions are among the most difficult in the simulation.
Typically, the V1 won't arrive until you're well into your patrol. While your
waiting to spot it, you'd do well to drop down and strafe as many targets as you
can. But don't drop your flaps here, as you will need a lot of speed climb back
up when the V1 arrives.
V1s usually come from the East at 10,000 feet. It's best to be at between 10,000
and 12,000 feet before it appears. If you're still strafing when you get the
message that a V1 has been sighted, drop your bombs and tanks, switch on your
flight map (if it's not on), and beat it quickly up to 10,000 feet.
The P-51, not carrying any drop tanks or bombs, is slightly faster than a"buzz
bomb". The best way to take out the V1 is to position yourself due west of it and
then fly east, straight toward it. The buzz bomb appears on the flight map, so
you can line yourself up easily, especially if you kick the time factor down to
1 /2x. If you're lucky, you can take it out in a head-on pass.
If you find yourself behind the V1, make sure you drop all bombs and tanks and
then jam the throttle forward. At top speed, you'll eventually catch the V1
before it explodes in a London suburb, as long as you have enough fuel.
If you're too close to take it head-on, but not yet behind it, pull back on the stick
until you are inverted, roll to level yourself out, and then come in from behind
at top speed.
Adapted from a work by Merle
Olmstead of the same title
There can be no doubt that
America's entrance into the European
theatre during World War II hastened
Germany's demise, if not thwarted
Hitler's dream of
global domination.
For the first time in
military history," air
superiority" was
victory. Whereas in
the Great War
legendary pilots
uncoordinated and
largely insignificant
skirmishes in the
skies above the
armies, the pilots,
gunners, and bombardiers in World
War II manned aircraft of great
speed, with the power to cause
massive destruction. Gone were the
days of chivalrous knights jousting
for honour and glory in motorized
kites, while on the battlefields below
enemies and compatriots alike died
by the thousands of disease,
starvation, exposure, and battle
wounds. Now air forces had a potent
hand in ending conflicts and sparing
lives. And the primary role of fighter
pilots in World War II was to escort
bombers safely to strategically
selected targets, where the bombers
would attempt to destroy the
enemy's ability to make war.
When the U.S. Air Force arrived in
Europe in 1942, Britain's beleaguered
Royal Air Force was barely holding
indomitable Luftwaffe. But a few
years later the Luftwaffe was so
crippled that it could offer only a
token resistance to the Allies'
relentless bombing runs. During the
last year-and-half of the war, one
fighter group of America's 8th Air
Force distinguished itself as most
formidable—the 357th—known to
friend and foe alike
as"The Yoxford
The 357th began
operational training
December 1, 1942 at
Hamilton Field on
the shore of San
Pablo Bay, just
Francisco. Four of
assigned early in
the training period
were to remain with the Group
throughout most of its existence:
Major Donald Graham, Major Robert
Romaine, Captain Alfred Craven, and
Captain Irwin H. Dregne. Combat
elements of the Group consisted of
three fighter squadrons: the 362nd,
363rd, and 364th. In command of the
squadrons were Major Hubert I.
Egnes, Captain Stuart R. Lauler, and
respectively. That two of the three
commanders ,-Egnes and White, -were
combat veterans was a rare
distinction indeed for the embryonic
unit. The original cadre had little to
work with apart from the men
themselves. There were no aircraft at
all, nor vehicles of any kind for that
matter; and office furniture consisted
of empty crates. The Group was not
intended to do any flying from
Hamilton Field. Nonetheless, the
357th began to take shape.
In March of 1943, the Group now
formed into some semblance of order,
the 357th was transferred to the
desolate surroundings of the Army
Air Base at Tonopah, Nevada for inflight training. It should be noted that
during World War II more American
pilots died (and more aircraft were
lost) in training than in actual
combat; and 357th's stint in Tonopah
bears that out. In a one month period
during June and
July, there were
numerous bail-outs
frequency of such
calamities soon
decreased, and by
the end of the
summer the pilots
and ground crews
had gained the
experience it would
take to make a first-class fighter
In October, for their last phase of
training before transferring to
overseas for combat duty, the
Group's three squadrons were
separated. The 362nd went to
Pocatello, Idaho, the 363rd to
Ainsworth, Nebraska, and the 364th
to Casper, Wyoming. It was at these
three bases that the pilots learned to
serve as escorts to bombers, mostly B24s. This would be their primary
function. It's important to note that
such a protracted and specified
training regime proved instrumental
for the United States Air Force's
success against the Luftwaffe. While
it was important to join in the war
against Hitler without adieu, it was
necessary to make sure that the pilots
maintain a high level of excellence.
Indeed, the Allies pressed the war to
its conclusion by bombing Germany's
petroleum refineries; and the
Luftwaffe Command, short on fuel
for training operations, sent up
young, poorly-trained, though wellindoctrinated Nazi flyers to combat
well-trained American fighter pilots.
This fact accounts, at least in part, for
the astounding success of the 357th
Fighter Group in Europe.
On December 7th, trained
exclusively in the
obsolete P-39, the
pilots of the 357th
arrived at a newly
constructed airbase
in Raydon Wood,
England. The group
commander was Lt.
Col. Edwin S.
Chickering. Once in
place, the Group
was assigned to
General Lewis H.
Brereton's 9th Air Force under the
700th Fighter Wing as part of the IX
Fighter Command. The first North
American P-51B Mustangs began
to arrive a few weeks later, painted
olive-drab. The Royal Air Force
(RAF) had been using the American
designed P-51 for some time, but
for the pilots of the 357th it was a
new species altogether. The
Mustangs were slow in arriving, and
while the pilots waited for their
mounts, they took ground-school
courses in aircraft identification,
communications, and weather
By New Years Day, the 357th had
15 P-51Bs. The principle virtue of the
B series was its improved power
plant: the Packard-built Rolls Royce
Merlin. These new motors offered
superb high-altitude performance,
something badly lacking in the
Allison powered P-51A. Outfitted
with two 75 gallon drop tanks, the P-
51B ensured an unprecedented radius
of action, allowing bomber escort
missions deep into the heart of
Germany. By mid-January, at least
one veteran squadron-the354th-had
used the new P-51B to full advantage.
Soon the pilots of the 357th would get
a chance to show their stuff.
Late in January, officers from the
358th Fighter Group arrived in
Raydon Wood and
announced that they
were to take over
the airbase. This was
commanders of the
357th, as they had
received no official
transfer orders. In a
resulting confusion
subsided as the
confirmed unequivocally by the top
brass. It seemed there had been highlevel debate concerning the best use
of the P-51. Initially, all the P-51s
were slated for the 9th Air Force to
help in the upcoming invasion of
occupied France; but General William
E. Kepner thought they would be
best used for bomber escort missions
into Germany. His arguments won
out, and on January 14 the RAF and
AAF agreed that the majority of the
P-51s would go to the 8th Air Force.
Hence, the 357th swapped their base
in Raydon Wood for a base 40 miles
away, near a village named Yoxford
just three miles from the coast of the
chilly North Sea.
By February 5th, there were 74 P51s on hand, bringing the 357th
nearly to full strength, and making it
the first P-51 fighter group in the 8th
Air Force. On February 9th the
Group, now a little more than a year
old, was placed on full operational
status, and its first mission was
scheduled for two days later.
The Group's first few missions
were uneventful, except for one bail
out over the North Sea due to
mechanical failure. Lt. Robert W.
Brown of the 262nd Squadron, unable
to re-start his failed engine, jumped
from his cockpit at 6000 feet, striking
his legs on the tail group as he
fell away. It was his dubious
distinction to be
the first of many
rescued by the
RAF's vigilant Air
Sea Rescue service.
Brown contracted
pneumonia from
bobbing in the
frigid water for 30
minutes (twice the
normal survival
time) with one leg
broken and the
mangled. Soon after rescuers pulled
him into the boat he slipped into a
coma, which lasted for more than two
weeks. Happily, Lt. Brown survived.
It wasn't until a change in
command that the 357th saw any real
action. On February 17, Lt. Col.
Chickering was transferred and
replaced by Col. Henry R Spicer,
formerly Executive Officer with the
66th Fighter Wing. Col Spicer,
sporting a fierce moustache, had
risen rapidly through the ranks. A
lieutenant when the war began, it
took him scarcely a year and a half to
become a full colonel. A consummate
pilot and undauntable man's-man,
Col. Spicer checked out a P-51 for the
first time on February 19. The next
day he flew a long combat mission to
Leipzig, Germany.
Since the previous Autumn, plans
had been underway to mount an allout campaign to wipe out the
German fighter force, or at least
cripple it substantially, as a
prerequisite for the coming invasion
of Europe. Operation ARGUMENT
emerged in November 1943 as the
main plan through which this goal
could be achieved. The plan needed
one week of clear weather for the
heavy bombers to carry out a
systematic series of attacks on the
German aircraft factories. The
months afforded no
conditions. Then, on
February 19, 1944,
word came down
from the Weather
Section of the USAF
that clear weather
over central Europe
was probable for
the next seven days,
soon to be known
by the Allied forces
as"Big Week." The
operations during Big Week were
directed at aircraft factories in
Germany and occupied Poland. The
first day of the attack was an overall
success, with 941 heavy bombers
dropping their loads at a cost of only
21 killed. Against modest opposition
from the Luftwaffe, the pilots of the
357th claimed just two enemy
fighters destroyed and two damaged
on the their first day of real action.
Only four P-51s were damaged, all
from flak.
Their next escort mission was more
successful in terms of kills, with a
total of seven Bf-109s brought down,
including one by Col. Spicer; but the
Group paid the price of two pilots.
Col. Spicer claimed two more
victories on February 24 on an escort
mission to smash an Me-110 factory
in Gotha, establishing himself as the
group leader in more ways than one.
On the last day of Big Week, Col.
Spicer lead 47 P-51s to Regensburg,
where they were scheduled to
rendezvous with bombers. The
unusually high number of aborts that
day illustrates some of the problems
often faced by airmen of this era. Two
pilots turned back because their wing
tanks would not feed, one for a lost
wing tank, one because his prop was
throwing oil, two for rough engines,
and one because he misread a hand
signal. The 362nd
Squadron ran into
all the action that
day, scoring five
kills and losing two
hard to
accurately gauge
the effects of Big
Week's concerted
attacks on German
fighter production
facilities, but as it
beginning of fullscale long range fighter escorts into
Germany, it represents a turning
point in the air war over Europe. Far
from beaten, the Luftwaffe remained
dangerous for months to come, but it
was unable to respond in significant
numbers to the Allied invasion four
months later. Importantly for the
357th, that week marked their
inauguration into the war. Untried at
the beginning of the week, by week's
end the group was well on its way to
being a battle tested unit. It had
inflicted losses on the enemy, and it
had paid the price in its own losses.
On March 4, the 357th escorted one
formation of 31 B-17s to Berlin. Cloud
cover was heavy, and the
bombardiers used radar to target
their ordnance, with insignificant
results. Against light fighter
resistance, the 357th downed just
three enemy aircraft and lost only
one P-51. As a bombing run, the
mission is barely worth mention; but
since it marks the first time U.S
Forces had struck the German capital,
it's noteworthy in the records of the
Yoxford Boys. One day later, Col.
Spicer, group commander for
scarcely two weeks and already very
popular with the men for both his
leadership skills and his airmanship,
would fly his last mission. The 8th
Fighter Command had called for the
357th to escort
Bordeaux, France, a
very long haul to
southeast corner of
the country. On the
whole, the mission
was a success, with
most of the bombers
dropping their loads
on target and the
357th claiming seven
killed and four
damaged. Col. Spicer
and his wingman, Lt.
John Pugh of the 362nd Squadron,
were heading back home from the
battle over the target area when
Spicer's P-51 was hit by flak. Spicer
radioed his wingman that he
intended to climb up as high as he
could and ride as far as possible
before bailing out.. When the
Mustang caught fire, the colonel
bailed out and was picked up by the
Germans, who sent him to a POW
camp. Toward the end of the war, the
colonel was sentenced to death for
uncomplimentary remarks about his
captors. But the sentence was never
carried out, and Spicer survived the
That same mission to Bordeaux
marked the beginning of a harrowing
episode in the life of another hero of
the 357th: First Officer Charles
Yeager. Yeager, who had notched his
first kill the previous day, was hit in a
brief engagement with enemy
fighters and forced to bail out.
Wounded in both feet, he was picked
up by the French underground and
spent three weeks in several French
homes recuperating from his
wounds. Finally, he made it across
the border into Spain on March 28,
with one companion, a Lt. Patterson.
Patterson was hit in the leg by a rifle
round during the escape, and Yeager
later received the Bronze Star for
staying with his
wounded fellow
Meanwhile, the
untimely loss of
Col. Spicer did not
duties of the 357th
for even a day.
The mantle of
command fell on
the shoulders of
Commander, Lt.
Col. Donald W.
Graham, and on March 6, before his
promotion had been made official,
Graham lead the group out on its
biggest day yet. Believing that the
skies would be clear, the High
Command deemed it a perfect time
for a visual bombing of Berlin, the
German capitol being all but
unscathed by previous aerial attacks.
Specifically, the bombers were after
the Erkner Bearing plant, the BMW
engine plant, and the Bosch electrical
works. But, as it turned out, the skies
over Berlin were cloudy, and the 1626
tons of bombs brought by the 8th
were badly scattered across the city.
Being the only fighter group in the
area, 48 pilots of the 357th bore the
brunt of a fierce Luftwaffe resistance.
When the fighting was over, they
claimed 20 enemy planes destroyed
and suffered no losses, by far the best
showing of any fighter group that
day. As it happened, a flight of five
from the 264th Squadron found
themselves at treetop level near the
airfield at Ulzen after downing a lone
Bf-109. These five pilots took this
opportunity to strafe the airfield,
including several aircraft, the control
tower, and a nearby locomotive
for good measure. This was the
357th s first successful ground attack,
unplanned as it was.
Two days later, the Yoxford boys
assigned to escort a
box of bombers to
Berlin. This time
the Luftwaffe put
up a much weaker
claims for the day
amounted to six,
one of which went
to Major Thomas L.
Hayes. The victory,
plus two earlier
Japanese planes
shot down in the Pacific Theatre,
made him the first ace in the Group.
Hayes was one of the five pilots who
had strafed the airfield at Ulzen the
day before, which whetted his
appetite for ground attack. He lead
his flight down to deck again, where
he and Capt. Glendon Davis V each
destroyed a locomotive on the main
line west of Brandenburg.
During these early missions, some
of those who would become the
Group's high scorers had begun to
show their ability. Lt. John England
and Capt. Joseph Broadhead of the
the 362nd, Capt. Clarence Anderson
and Lt. Donald Bochkay from the
363rd, and Lt. Richard Peterson of the
364th had all scored multiples, but
none had reached the mythic
pinnacle of ace. The end of the first
month of operations showed claims
of 59-3-17 (59 destroyed, 3 probably
destroyed, and 17 damaged) in the
air and 0-4-0 on the ground.
The Group got a week's respite
in March, during which pilots
and ground personnel alike enjoyed
the unprecedented luxuries of ample
sleep and unhurried breakfasts.
The vacation ended on the 16th
with a mission to Munich. 42
Mustangs set out, but by the time the
Group reached the rendezvous point
at Stuttgart
pilots had
aborted because
problems, leaving
only 32 fighters
bombers. It was
over Stuttgart that
most of the combat
took place. The
some 40 or more
Focke-Wulfs and
Dorniers. Beside the
characteristically lopsided victory
score over the Luftwaffe (12 kills vs 2
in this battle), most noteworthy on
this day was the triple scored by
Capt. Jack Warren, who singlehandedly shot down two Me-110s
and one Bf-109. Coupled with two
previous victories, these three kills
made Warren the first pilot to reach
ace status with all five scores as a
35th pilot. March continued quietly,
with frequent missions but little
action. A few pilots increased their
kill totals, a few died from severe
weather conditions, and the war
On March 28th, the 362nd
Squadron conducted its first strafing
attack on an airfield, ten miles south
of Paris. While less glamorous and
knightly than dogfighting, strafing
runs could be just as dangerous.
Airfields surrounded by automatic
weapons, competently manned, saw
the deaths of many fine pilots. Events
on March 29th, last mission of the
month, underscored the constant
threat posed by the elements. A few
seconds of poor visibility and a
moment of uncertainty sometimes
lead to disaster in the air. Soon after
takeoff, while climbing through
overcast skies, two flights became
mixed and Lts. Gutierrez and
McGinley collided and crashed into
the Channel. Air
Sea Rescue units
were on the scene in
short order but
found no survivors.
To cap an already
bad day, Lt. Edwin
Sutton did not
return for unknown
April started off
very slowly. On the
8th there was a
sortie with about 15
German fighters
over Brunswick. Five enemy planes
where shot down. The eventual
leading ace of the Group, the renown
Leonard "Kit" Carson, shared his first
career victory that day with another
flyer. Three days later, in the same
familiar area, ensued one of the most
spirited and violent engagements of
the entire air war. The battle was so
confusing that some of the many kills
went unattributed. The fight started
near the target area after two German
spotter planes picked up the
formations at the enemy coast line on
the way in. As Luftwaffe fighters
began to swarm around the bombers,
a group of unwitting P-38s bounced
the 357th while it was still in
formation and carrying drop tanks.
Luckily, there was no immediate
harm, and the 52 Mustangs were
prepared to defend their charges
when 50 single-engine enemy
fighters attacked from below while 8
others attempted to create a diversion
by diving in from above. Instantly,
the squadrons broke up into flights
and elements and went after the
enemy planes. As battles swirled
across the skies, the still present P-38s
got involved in the melees, and it
quickly became apparent that P-38
pilots were operating on the theory
that" if it has one engine, shoot at it!"
As the air battle moved to
Brunswick and on
the Magdeburg,
several P-51s were
fired on by P-38s,
which was busy
destroying a Bf-109
that had just fired
on a bomber crew
descending in their
parachutes. This
illustration of the
identifying friend
or foe in the confused and rapidly
changing events of aerial combat.
Later in the month, the Allies'
tireless bombing of German military
targets and the favourable margin of
air-to-air combat victories appeared
to be taking some of the bite out of
the Luftwaffe. For two consecutive
days in mid-April, the group escorted
bombing runs to Germany without
missions, coming on the heels of
some of the most intense fighting
experienced by the Group thus far,
had a calming effect on most of the
pilots' nerves. But in every air force,
regardless of uniform or nationality,
there are a few pilots who thrive on
the thrill of combat, and these few
often extend their tours voluntarily.
John England, the Group's fourth
leading scorer at the end of the
war, extended his tour five times,
so attached was he to the exhilaration
of air-combat.
To the large majority of fighter
pilots, however, it was a job to be
finished as soon as possible. (There
was at least one man who joined the
profession to impress a woman.) To
most of them, a long combat mission
was a grueling experience. Strapped
into a seat for five to eight hours,
usually with an oxygen mask
rubbing the face raw, head
continually on a
fighting bad weather
and temperamental
instruments, sweating out the flak- it
was tough on the
nerves, even when
the Luftwaffe chose
not to fight. The
continued into May
with good results.
The third full month
of operations ended on May 9th, and
it was the most successful month to
date for the Group, with 73
destroyed, 3 probables, and 20
damaged. The three month air totals
were 152-8-44.
By the early Spring of 1944, Allied
planners had reached a decision
which would have a devastating
effect Germany's ability to continue
the war-the"oil campaign" was about
to begin. Well aware of their
precariously low supply of petroleum
products and of the vulnerability of
oil refineries, the Nazis had long
feared the coming attacks. The
campaign was begun by the 15th Air
Force during April, with the 8th
scheduled to join in on April 21st. But
continuing bad weather delayed its
initial participation until May 12th.
Late as it was, it was a spectacular
beginning, with over 1,700 tons of
bombs falling with excellent results
on synthetic oil plants deep in
Germany and occupied Czechoslovakia. The Luftwaffe reacted
violently and in force, inflicting
heavy losses (34) on the bombers. 100
single engine fighters, in waves
of about 30, tore through the
bombers and then reformed for
another pass. When the 357th arrived
the 2nd wave of enemy fighters
were attacking. In the melee that
followed, ten Bf109s and four Fw190's were shot
down. Once again,
the pilots of the
themselves admirably, losing only
two P-51s, the pilot
of one surviving as
a POW. Later in the
the month they
attacked targets in
occupied Poland for
the first time and
shot down a few Me 410s.
The latter part of May was as full of
action as the former was devoid of it.
Lt. Bob Foy, who with 20 kills would
end the war two kills behind Kit
Carson, scored a triple on May 19th
on a now familiar but seldom dull
run over Berlin.
On the 21st, the 357th set out on a
ride across Germany for its first"
Chattanooga Choo-Choo" ground
attack mission. For a change there
were no bombers to watch over, as
the job was to shoot up any ground
targets worthy of a burst of 50 calibre
ammo. The three squadrons split up
North of Berlin and set out in
different directions. Most of the
flights encountered little or no enemy
fire and merrily strafed whatever
they could find: train cars, airfields,
oil trucks, etc. But one group stirred
up a hornet's nest at Tarnewitz
Aerodrome. Ground fire was so
heavy that the flight had to head back
almost as soon as it arrived, and even
so two pilots were killed, three P-51s
were lost, and some nine or ten
aircraft returned with damage.
Except for the 26th of May, the
Group flew a mission every day for
the remainder of the month. In
addition to continuing its campaign
against Nazi oil, the 8th Air
Force began lending assistance
to the tactical air
Operation Overlord.
Normandy's heavily
fortified coastline,
and transport lines,
emplacements stood
ready. While largely
unmanned, these
targets needed to be made
unserviceable in preparation for the
Allied invasion of German occupied
D-Day came on June 5th, 1944. The
357th flew eight missions that day
and four the next, most without
event. The Luftwaffe was all but
absent from the fighting, and, as it
became apparent that the tactical air
forces could handle ground support
on its own, help from the 8th Air
Force dwindled. The Luftwaffe's
limited resistance during the week
following D-Day testifies to the
effectiveness of both Operation
Argument and Overlord. Normandy
now secure, the 357th continued
flying missions to France and
Germany in an effort to further
weaken the Nazi war machine.
After the 16th, the 357th returned
to its usual escort duties. German
planes were scarce for the most part,
and the Luftwaffe squadrons who
braved combat usually fared badly.
On the 20th the Group added a new
type to its list when two pilots shot
down a Fieseler Fi Storch. The
downing of the inferior Storch by a P51 is indicative of how the air war
was going and would continue to go
for the Nazis. Four days later, Lt.
Nicholas Frederick became the first
357th pilot to land at an Allied air
strip in France and
then fly home.
German occupation
forces were losing
mission occurred
on June 29th, when
the 8th Air Force
escorted 1150 B-17s
and B-24s on a
bombing run over
multiple kills against the Luftwaffe,
and only 17 bombers were lost—none
to enemy fighters. In an enthusiastic
message at the end of the day,
General Kepner ("Old Man" of VIII
Fighter Command, as he signed the
groups," particularly the 357th and
the 361st, for the most outstanding
escort job ever performed." With
almost five months of combat behind
it, the 357th claimed 3841 /2 airplanes
destroyed, all but 27 in the air. Two
pilots were on the ace list, with
one Clarence Anderson at the top, for
The Group spent the remainder of
the year primarily on escort missions,
which were becoming more and
more routine. Due to the poorer and
poorer turnout by a reeling
Luftwaffe, the kills tapered off
slightly; but by January of the next
year the 357th had its 40th ace and
held the 8th and 9th Air Force record
for the most enemy aircraft shot
down in one day, with 56.5 kills on
January 14. On that historic day Capt.
Chester Maxwell and Lt. Raymond
W. Bank scored triples, and a host of
pilots scored double kills. Lt. Gen.
Jimmie Doolittle, Commander of
the 8th Air Force, recommended
the 357th for a Distinguished Unit
Citation:"You gave the hun the
most humiliating
beating he has
the air. Extend
congratulations to
each member of
both ground and
air, for a superb
victory." At the end
of one year in
England the Group
score stood at 545
enemy aircraft destroyed in the air
and 54 on the ground.
By February 1945 the Luftwaffe
was dying under the steamroller of
overwhelming Allied air power. It
was short of everything except
aircraft, the most critical shortage
being aviation fuels and, as a result,
the near elimination of training hours
and a drastic reduction in operational
flying. But contrary to the declining
activity of the Luftwaffe as a whole,
the frequent and aggressive attacks
on the bombers by Me-262s increased
markedly during March. The pilots of
these jets made every effort to avoid
combat with escorting fighters,
concentrating instead on the bomber
boxes. To counter this new threat,
new escort tactics were devised:
Instead of the former loose perimeter
around the bomber boxes, the
fighters now moved in closer to the
bombers, permitting them to turn
into attacking jets and drive them off
before they could break through. It
was found also that the escort could
not permit itself to be lured away in
pursuit of the jets, because the latter,
with their superior speed, were able
to turn back into the bombers,
leaving the slower Mustangs far
On the 19th of March the Me-262s
scored heavily on the B-17s, sending
four of them down.
Col Evans' mission
report indicated
19 chutes were
observed from the
four bombers. But
March 24th showed
the return of Allied
superiority, as the
357th scored 16 kills
with no losses and a
good number of
destroyed during
an area patrol over
the Ruhr Valley. The 8th Air Force
continued its escort and strafing
missions, gradually reducing the
of functional
As in many parts of the world, in
mid-April there was considerable
dismay at the death of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt; and memorial
services were held in the base chapel
on the 15th. Across the Channel in.
Europe, Hitler's Third Reich was.
tottering and would soon fade into:
history as another dark page. With
the number of airfields available to
the Luftwaffe severely reduced, the
remaining fields were packed with
aircraft and provided lucrative
targets for strafing. One was
Neuruppin, about 40 miles north of
Berlin, where an estimated 150
aircraft were dispersed in the woods
north of the field. The 357th arrived
on the scene just as the 339th Fighter
Group and other assorted flights
finished beating up the area and
quickly joined in the action. Col.
Dregne, the last to leave the area,
reported 50-60 fires burning at that
time; and claims submitted were for
23 aircraft destroyed, including a lone
He 177. The description of this action
gives a good picture of the state of
the war in early April- an almost
defenceless airdrome under attack by
so many Allied
fighters that the
biggest danger for
the P-51 pilots was
were escort missions
on the 11th, 16th
and 17th of April.
Dregne led 64 P-51s
to Aussig, where
the b o m b e r s hit
the chemical works.
The 19th of April 1945 was the last
time the 357th was to fire its guns in
anger, and it was to be the Group's
best day against the Me-262s. It
was, appropriately enough, a bomber
escort to Pirma, Czechoslovakia in
two formations led by Lt. Col. Jack
Hayes. The Germans sent up a slew
of Me-262s, but most of them avoided
combat. And late in the afternoon of
April 25, four Mustangs led by Lt. Ed
Hyman in his"Rolla U-Bar" G4-P
flew the last wartime mission of the
357th. Thirteen days later World War
II in Europe also ended.
By the middle of July advance air
and ground parties had left for
Germany and the Army of
Occupation. The move to an exLuftwaffe station at Neubiburg, near
Munich, spelled the end of the "old"
357th. Great numbers of old-timers
and officers began departing for
home. Because of the lack of
maintenance personnel, the number
of P-51s in commission dropped
to about ten. In August 1946, the
357th Fighter Group reached the end
of the line when deactivation
orders became effective. The
following day, the unit was
redesignated the 121st Fighter Group
and assigned to the Ohio National
Guard. The orders concluded with
the statement that the 121st was
"entitled to history,
and any colours
by unit
active service. "The
present 121st Tactical
Fighter Wing, with
Force Base, is a fully
combat ready unit
assigned to the
In fifteen months of combat, the
accomplishments of the 357th Fighter
Group had been varied and many. It
had flown 318 combat missions and
had claimed 592-15-118 enemy planes
in the air and 120-74 on the ground.
Of the enemy planes destroyed in the
air, 314 1/2 were Me 109s, 181 1/2
were FW-190s and 20 were
unidentified in Group records,
though most were 109s and 190s. In
accomplishing these claims, 43 pilots
became air aces and 9 became
a i r / g r o u n d aces. Cold statistical
figures cannot adequately picture the
cost of these scores, but they do show
that it wasn't easy. A total of 144
pilots were lost, either in action or
through accidents, but almost half of
them returned from prison camps
after the war. In June 1945 there were
73 pilots known dead or still missing
in action. This did not include the 13
killed in training in the States. May
they all rest in peace.
North American P-51D Mustang
Without a doubt the most famous fighter plane of World War II, the P-51
Mustang was originally rejected by the USAAF. It was originally designed and
built as a ground attack aircraft for the RAF. North American's president
promised the British a fighter superior to the P-40, in spite of its being powered by
the same engine. And he was able to deliver on that promise because of the P-51's
revolutionary new airframe. On its first test flight the Mustang exceeded the top
speed of the P-40 by a full 25 mph. The RAF got its first P-51s in November of
1941, but before North American could go ahead and sell them to the British the
USAAF wanted to take a look at them. But after extensive testing by experienced
combat pilots (who unanimously favoured the new fighter), the USAAF did not
place an order.
The Mustang's one shortcoming lay in its Allison motor, which performed poorly
at medium to high altitudes, where most air-combat took place. For this reason,
the RAF outfitted its first Mustangs with cameras and used them for
reconnaissance. Realizing that the superior airframe of the Mustang was being
cheated of its full potential by a sub-standard motor, in November of 1942 the
RAF sent five of them to Rolls-Royce to be outfitted with the best Merlin
supercharged engines. Predictable as the result might have been, the airplane
astonished pilots and engineers alike. The marriage had produced a plane at least
50 mph faster (440 mph), with a much swifter rate of climb and a substantially
greater range. Equipped with drop-tanks, the P-51D could traverse up to 2,300
miles, making it ideal for long range escort. Its six .50 calibre machine guns made
it both a formidable opponent in the air, and an effective troop and airfield strafer.
Also, the Mustang could carry 2000 lbs. in bombs, and it was occasionally called
upon to do so. Mainly, though, the P-51 Mustang was an awesome fighter. In the
course of its service in Europe Mustang pilots destroyed nearly 9,100 enemy
aircraft both in the air and on the ground-a full 49 percent of all his lost aircraft,
not counting the some 230 V-l "buzz-bombs" it shot down. So fast and agile was
the fighter that it even notched several victories over Germany's first jet-aircraft.
After the war, the Mustang saw duty in Korea, where it performed well until the
MiGs showed up.
Specifications: Type: Single-seat fighter; Power plant: One 1,590 hp Packard-built
Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7 liquid-cooled engine;
Wingspan: 37.0 ft; Length: 32.2 ft; Height: 13.7 ft; Weight: 7125 lbs; Maximum Speed:
437 mph; Climb: 3,475 ft/min; Ceiling: 41,900 ft; Range: 950 to 2,300 miles;
Armament: Six Browning MG53-2 machine-guns in wings.
P-51 Mustang
Hoeing B-17F Flying Fortress
Originating as a private venture by Boeing, the B-17 got off to a shaky start when
the prototype crashed on takeoff in military trials. But evidence showed that
human error was to blame, and the USAAC placed a small order in 1936. The first
B-17 powered by a turbocharged engine was the B-17B, 39 of which the USAAC
took delivery of in 1938. As war became imminent in Europe, the RAF ordered 20
versions of the subsequent B-17C, which they tested and helped improve. The
next two models had better armour and self-sealing gas tanks.
It was the B-17F that best befitted the appellation"flying fortress". It carried one
.30 inch and twelve .50 inch guns positioned from nose to tail, and up to 17,600 lbs
of bombs. Despite its heavily armoured airframe and wealth of defensive
weaponry the B-17F suffered severe losses against the Luftwaffe fighters over
Germany, where it bore the brunt of U.S. daylight bombing missions. Numerous
variations on the Flying Fortress cropped up, including transports, air-sea rescue
aircraft, even pilotless, radio-controlled bombers. In all, more than 12,700 B-17s
were built.
Specifications: Type: High altitude bomber; Power Plant: Four 1,200 hp Wright R1820-97 Cyclone nine-cylinder radials with exhaust driven turbochargers.
Wingspan: 103.8 ft; Length: 73.8 ft; Height: 19.1 ft; Weight: 31,150 lbs (loaded);
Maximum Speed: 317 mph; Ceiling: 35,000 ft; Range: 1,100 miles; Armament: 13 0.50
machine-guns and 17,600 lbs in bombs.
B-17 Fortress
Focke-Wulf FW-190 A-8
Patterned after the Hughes racer which had broken the air-speed record in the
U.S., the FW-190 was a marvel in compact design. The bulky but reliable aircooled radial engine posed a challenge to engineers, whose task it was to reduce
drag and increase manoeuvrability; and the engineer, Kurt Tank, succeeded
admirably. What he and his team came up with was a very small, light-weight,
all-metal fighter-bomber capable of carrying heavy armament. Indeed, it was the
most heavily armed single-engined fighter of its day. Although the first 190s were
in service before the war began, the RAF knew not of their presence. Their first
appearance in the air-war over France in 1941 caused a great deal of alarm to the
Allies. Not only was the FW-190 a far superior fighter to the Spitfire V, but it outnumbered her as well. Curiously, it never supplanted the Me-109, which it was
designed to replace.
Not until the Mustang arrived on the scene did the Allies have an effective
counter to the FW-190A, versions of which first appeared in June, 1941. The last
version of the A-series, the 190A-8, was produced in greater numbers than any of
the previous sub-types and modified to accommodate a power-booster, which
could be used for ten minutes at a time at five minute intervals. The only
drawback of the A-8 was its relatively poor handling at high altitudes, and for this
reason it served mostly as a ground-attack aircraft. Of all the Luftwaffe's different
weapons, the FW-190 in its dozens of versions had the greatest utility. It was
adapted to long-range missions, to fire anti-ship weapons and 21 cm. mortars,
and to a dozen other purposes. There was even a ramming sub-type outfitted
with armoured leading edges. Arguably, it represented the crowning
achievement of German aerial combat technology.
Specifications: Type: Single-seat fighter-bomber; Power Plant: One 1,700 hp BMW
801 Dg 18-cylinder two-row radial engine; Wingspan: 34.5 ft; Length: 29.0 ft; Height:
13.0 ft; Weight: 7,055 lbs; Maximum Speed: 408 mph; Climb: 2,350 ft/min; Ceiling:
37,400 ft; Range: 497 miles; Armament: Two 13mm MG 131 machine-guns above
engine, four 20mm MG 151 /20 cannon in wings.
Focke-Wulf EW.190
Messerschmitt BM09G Gustov
By far the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe's potent arsenal, the first Bf-109
came off the line in 1935 and subsequently developed during operations in the
Spanish Civil War, where 109s dominated the air. Perhaps the most advanced
aircraft of its day, the Me-109 was one of the first low-wing monoplanes. The
definitive 109E was ready in great numbers by the time Germany invaded France,
and time and time again it showed its superiority over all of its opponents, save
the Spitfire. The 109G enjoyed a fuel-injected power plant, which improved its
performance greatly. As g-forces became greater, fuel-flow to the motor became
more and more of a concern for pilots engaged in dogfights. Naturally, fuelinjection eliminated that problem.
An outstanding fighter in its own right, the Bf-109 occasionally carried bombs.
Along with two 7.9 mm machine guns on the engine crankcase and one
formidable 20 mm cannon firing through the airscrew hub, it could be made to
deliver 1000 lbs. worth of payload. But it was used mainly as a fighter, and
occasionally as an escort. However, as an escort for slower bombers it ran into
trouble. The 109's greatest virtue was its manoeuvrability at high speeds, in the
350 mph range. At slower speeds other fighters, such as the Spitfire and the
Hurricane, could out-turn it; so in a sense it was too fast to be a reliable escort.
Specifications: Type: Single-seat fighter; Power Plant: One Daimler-Benz DB
605AM inverted-V-12 liquid-cooled engine rated at 1,475 horse power for take off
and 1,355 h.p. at 18,700 ft.; Wingspan: 32.5 ft; Length: 29 ft; Height: 8.2ft; Weight:
5,893 lbs; Maximum Speed: 428 mph; Climb: 4,000 ft/min; Ceiling: 38,000 ft; Range:
460 miles; Armament: Two 13mm cannon MG-131 machine-guns above engine,
one 20mm MG-151 cannon in propeller hub.
Messerschmitt ME-109
Messerschmitt Me-110G Zerstorer
The Me-110 represented one of the best of many mostly unsuccessful attempts by
various nations to answer the need for a long-range escort fighter capable of
battling the smaller, single-seaters. The intention behind the Me-110 was to build
.1 fast, heavily armed two- or three-seater that made up in firepower what it lost in
manoeuvrability. The concept might have been sound, but no plane including the
Me-110 fulfilled the theory's promise. A pilot coming up against an Me-110B had
to contend with two 20 mm. nose-mounted cannons, four 8 mm nose-mounted
machine guns, and one 8 mm machine gun in the rear of the cockpit. But most
single-seaters could outmanoeuvre it well enough to minimize the advantage of
its superior armament.
Until the Battle of Britain the Me-110 had made a good accounting of itself, but
when it came up against Hurricanes and Spitfires its woeful inadequacies were
immediately apparent. Before long Me-109s had to escort the M-110s which in
turn escorted the bombers. Such a ridiculous state of affairs pointed up both the
110s shortcomings and the Luftwaffe's growing disorganization and ineptitude.
The one area in which the Me-110G cannot be justly maligned was in its role as a
night-fighter. Its powerful weaponry wreaked destruction on countless Allied
bombers when their escorts were least effective.
Specifications: Type: Three-seat fighter; Power Plant: One 1,100 hp Daimler-Benz
DB 601A engine; Wingspan: 53.3 ft; Length: 42.8 ft; Height: 13.7 ft; Weight: 4,330 lbs;
Maximum Speed: 342 mph; Climb: 2,255 ft. min; Ceiling: 32,800 ft; Range: 520 miles;
Armament: Two 30mm Mk 108 cannons, one MG 151 cannon and one 7.9mm MG
81Z twin machine gun.
Messerschmitt ME-110
Messerschmitt Me-262 Sturmvogel
Another example of bureaucratic interference and delinquency on the part of the
German High Command came in its treatment of the Me-262. Hitler was obsessed
with the idea of having the supreme, jet-powered bomber, when what he really
needed was a fighter that could deal effectively with the myriad Allied bombers
visiting daily devastation on Germany's industrial complex. Had the Sturmvogel
been introduced in time and in sufficient numbers, it could well have re-taken the
skies over Germany and helped prolong the war.
While Hitler undoubtedly wasted precious time insisting that the Me-262 be
developed as a bomber, there were other problems which held it back,
particularly in the development of a reliable turbojet engine. The project began in
1938, but the first flight-cleared turbojets did not arrive until the November, 1941,
and even these proved faulty. In spite of the technological problems and a certain
amount of apparent official indifference, which might have actually been political
overcaution, in 1944 the Sturmvogel succeeded in being the first turbojet
warplane to engage enemy aircraft. But then it was too late to make much of a
difference. Its virtues were simple: superior speed and powerful armament. As an
interceptor is was unparalleled. Indeed, it marked the beginning of a new age in
aircraft. Fast enough at better than 540 mph to obviate the need for dogfighting, it
carried four 30 mm cannons, which packed enough wallop to down the stoutest
Allied bombers. Only 100 or so actually saw operations, and of these only a
handful were shot down, while the rest sent down far more than 100 opposing
Specifications: Type: Single-seat fighter: Power Plant: Two 1,980 lb thrust Junker
Jumo 004B single-shaft axial turbojets; Wingspan: 41.0 ft; Length: 34.8 ft; Height:
12.6 ft; Weight: 8,820 lbs; Maximum Speed: 540 mph; Climb: 3,940 ft/min; Ceiling:
37,565 ft; Range: 652 miles; Armament: Four 30mm MK108 cannon in wings.
Messerschmitt ME 262A-la
Consolidated Vultee B-24 Liberator
The Liberator was conceived five years after the B-17 and, while inferior to the
older bomber in some respects, was produced in staggering numbers. Indeed, the
industrial effort behind it far exceeded that of any previous aircraft. It's
performance advantages over the B-17 were marginal at best, and at top speed it
was actually harder to control, posing problems for the average pilot. Still, it had a
longer range than any plane of its day, being was the first to cross the midAtlantic gap, where schools of German U-boats lurked.
It had a distinctive design, with a slender Davis wing situated above deep bomb
bays. This wing was ideal for cruising which, along with its enormous fuel
capacity, accounts for its terrific range. The"Lib's" great size necessitated that its
correspondingly long gears be retracted outward by electric motors. In fact, just
about everything on board was operated electrically. The first versions were sent
to the RAF, who deemed them unready for combat and used them to start the
Atlantic Return Ferry Service. But improved defenses soon brought it into action,
and by war's end more than 2,738 Liberators served US Bomber Groups in
Europe and the Pacific. The B-24 saw action on every front in WWII for 15 allied
nations. More versions were produced than any other plane, and total production
exceeded 19,200. The accomplishments of these Liberators justified such numbers,
and lent credence to its moniker.
Specifications: Type: Long-range bomber with normal crew of 10; Power Plant:
Four 1,200 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-1830-65 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two -tow
radials; Wingspan: 110 ft.; Length: 62.2 ft.; Height: 18 ft.; Weight: 37,000 lbs.;
Maximum Speed: 290 mph; Climb: 900 ft/min; Ceiling: 28,000 ft.; Range: 2,200 miles;
Armament: Ten .50 inch Browning machine guns and 8,000 lbs in bombs.
B-24H Liberator
If you are having a problem installing or playing the game, we want to help.
First, please make sure you have read the installation and start-up section of your manual
thoroughly, and make sure you have at least 1.5 megabytes free on your hard disk. If you
have followed the directions in the documentation, and are still having trouble installing
or operating the software, here are some hints that might help solve the problem. Before
attempting any of the following suggestions, please make sure you are familiar with the
DOS commands being used. Consult your DOS manual for more information.
TSRs/Device Drivers/DOS shells
TSR stands for Terminate Stay Resident. A TSR is a program, like SideKick® that
automatically executes itself when you start up your computer from a hard drive. They
are generally installed in your autoexec.bat file. Device Drivers and DOS shells also are
loaded automatically. They are usually installed in your config.sys file.
These TSRs or Device drivers sometimes interfere with games, or take up valuable
memory the game may need, and it is generally recommended that you not run any such
programs, device drivers, or shells when attempting to install or play a game.
DOS Boot Disk
If you are having trouble installing, experiencing unusual lockups, or other problems that
do not appear normal, we suggest you try starting up your system with a DOS Boot disk.
Here are the steps for creating a DOS boot disk. Please follow these steps exactly.
To create a DOS disk you will need a blank disk the same size as your A: drive.
Type C: and press Enter.
Place the blank disk into drive A:
Type FORMAT A: /s and press Enter. Note: If you are formatting low density disks
on a high density drive, use the following commands:
5.25 inch low density disk: FORMAT A: /s /n:9 /t:40
3.5 inch low density disk: FORMAT A : / s / n : 9 / t : 8 0
You will be prompted to insert a blank disk into drive A. Do so if you haven't. Press
the Enter key when you are ready.
Once the disk is finished formatting you will be asked whether you wish to format
another or not. Answer N and press Enter.
You now have a DOS boot disk. You can start your computer from this disk by
inserting it into the A: drive and restarting your machine. Your computer will boot
up to the A: prompt. This boot disk bypasses the autoexec.bat and config.sys on your
hard drive and starts up your computer in as clean a DOS environment as possible.
Try re-installing the software if you were having trouble doing so, or try starting the
software from the drive and directory you installed to. If the software you are trying
to run requires a sound driver or mouse driver, don't forget to execute those before
starting your game.
Brian was born in 1962 in Sarnia, Ontario, though he has lived most of his life in
the Ottawa area. He received a bachelors degree in mathematics and computer
science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont., as did his brother and
one sister. His other sister has a degree in fine arts. While at university he lost his
mind and wrote a C compiler and development system for the Commodore 64
and 128 which was sold under the names C Power by Pro-Line Software and
Power C by Spinnaker. After an ill conceived attempt at a masters degree in
artificial intelligence, he joined Aero Animation in Ottawa where he worked on a "
number of games including Thud Ridge. At Aero he met Dan Hoecke, with
whom he later became a partner. In his spare time he enjoys bicycling, reading,
music, and movies.
In 1981, Dan was managing the Graphics Department of Ottawa's Nabu
Manufacturing, when he first began designing graphics for video games. He
knew immediately that this was more fun than producing brochures. Soon he
was designing game graphics and package artwork at Sydney Development for
the Atari CVS and Colecovision Games machines. These included Colecovision
conversions of Activision's"River Raid" and"Keystone Kapers". Graphics for
Commodore 64 titles soon followed which included the best selling"Quest for
Tires" and"Grog's Revenge", based on cartoonist Johnny Hart's"B.C." comic
strip."Quest for Tires" won Billboard's top award for best use of Graphics and
Sound. Other titles followed such as"Desert Fox","Dambusters" and several
educational products, based on the"Wizard of Id" comic strip, such as"Wiztype"
Newly formed Aero Animation was Dan's next stop and here he worked on
games such as"Divebomber" for Amiga, Atari and Dos computers. He met Brian
Hilchie while teamed on"Thud Ridge" and in 1989 they formed Midnight
Software Inc. Dan and his wife Christine have an six year old daughter, Erin, and
a five year old son, Kael. They live in Nepean, just outside of Ottawa, Ontario,