How The Mustangs Finished The Luftwaffe
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To win the battle in the French countryside, air supremacy should also be maintained. This was the job of the pilots of the Air Force and brave men like Ed McNeff.
At this point, McNeff was a seasoned veteran and had been on the front for six months. He had a shared kill to his name and was then the leader of the Custard Blue flight and the 355th fighter group.
On the morning of June 24th, 1944, the Mustangs of the 355th fighter group were doing a routine patrol. Shortly before turning back to England, they spotted an airfield- a well-disguised airstrip with planes camouflaged as well. This would turn out to be a Luftwaffe airstrip that currently housed the once-great JG-53 Squadron.
With little fuel and ammunition to spare, McNeff orders a quick strike, utilizing all of their remaining ammunition before returning home. In the initial pass, they batter the anti-aircraft in placement.
But they’re not done yet. Upon landing in England, they hatched a plan and went back as soon as they reloaded and refueled. Another attack on the same airfield will be made but this time, with two full squadrons to strike the airfield.
A Turkey Shoot
For the next 20 minutes, the P-51s of the two squadrons poured lead into almost every Messerschmitt on the airfield. It was quite a turkey shoot with many pilots claiming ground kills.
According to German records that day, 14 Bf 109s were destroyed in the attack with many others significantly damaged. It was a monumental victory.
On July 7th, 1944, McNeff and his squadron would soon find themselves in a major clash with the German Me-410s escorted by Bf 109s, becoming one of the largest aerial battles over Europe that entire month.
McNeff got into an intense dogfight with a Bf 109 which ended up with him and his P-51 as the victors. This would be McNeff’s first full confirmed victory of his career.
Second Combat Tour
After finishing his first combat tour, he would later go back for a second tour of duty after a brief break. The P-51 Mustangs from the 355th Fighter group also continued dominating the air and destroying enemy targets on the ground until just a few months later, the Germans surrendered, ending the war in Europe.