V1 Flying Bomb Aces
Shortly after the Allied landings in France the Germans unleashed the first of their so-called 'revenge weapons', the V1 flying bomb. Launched from specially constructed sites in northern France, the fast, small, pulse-jet powered pilotless aircraft were aimed at London with the sole intent of destroying civilian morale to the point where the British government would be forced to sue for peace. This dangerous new threat drew an immediate response, and the Air Defence of Great Britain (as Fighter Command had been temporarily renamed) established layers of defence that included a gun line and balloon barrage. The main element, however, were standing patrols by the fastest piston-engined fighters available to the RAF – the new Tempest V and Griffon-powered Spitfire XIV. Other types were allocated too, most notably the Polish Mustang wing, while night defence was left in the capable hands of several dedicated Mosquito squadrons. Although pilotless, the V1 was no easy foe thanks to its speed, powerful warhead and sheer unpredictability. Nevertheless, 154 pilots became V1 aces, 25 of whom were also aces against manned aircraft.
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18 June ace Flt Lt ace status ADGB airborne aircraft anti-‘Diver anti-V1 attacked August Beamont become a V1 blew bomber brought Burgwal cannon chased claimed closed crashed credited crew dive Diver Doodlebug Dutch engine exploded fell flew Flg Offs flight commander flown Flt Lt Flt Sgt flying bomb four V1s future V1 ace guns Heinkel intercepted Joe Berry July Kent killed last V1 launched Lympne Manston Maridor Mellersh miles minutes missile Mosquito XVII Mustang Mustang III Newchurch night nightfighter opened fire operations Oxspring patrol Pol RAF RCAF RNZAF rockets Russ Bannock shared shooting short burst shot sortie speed Spitfire XIV spotted Sqn Ldr Sqn’s Sqn’s Flt Lt squadron starboard successful pilot target Tempest Terry Spencer three V1s Typhoon unit unit’s USAAF V1 ace V1 ace Flt V1 campaign V1 Victories V1s destroyed West Malling Wg Cdr whilst wing wingtip yards