J’aimerais bien numériser le logbook de monsieur Corbeil un jour, mais je n’ose pas lui demander.
Je sais qu’il est trop précieux pour qu’il me le confie quelques heures pour le numériser. Il le garde précieusement et il s’en sert quand il écrit à son vieil ami Pep.
Il lui écrit pour faire revivre chaque mission lors de l’anniversaire de celles-ci.
Pep vit encore.
Il reste peu de vétérans de l’escadrille 425 encore en vie. Si Jean-Paul Corbeil est encore en vie, c’est à cause de son vieil ami Pep.
Lors de la deuxième ou la troisième mission de Jean-Paul Corbeil, la nuit du 27 au 28 mai 1944, l’équipage de Jacques Terroux a été attaqué 10 fois au-dessus de la Belgique.
C’était une mission de nuit sur Bourg Léopold. Pepin ordonnait au pilote Jacques Terroux d’effectuer des manœuvres pour éviter les attaques des chasseurs de nuit allemands.
The RAF heavy bomber’s standard evasive maneuver enabled it to continue on course while presenting an attacking fighter with an extremely difficult target. This maneuver is performed any time the attack is from the rear to middle of the craft. The diagram at Figure 1. shows the maneuver following a port fighter attack.
Figure 1. Corkscrew maneuver
1. The pilot (originally cruising at 200-225 mph) opens his throttle and banks at 45 degrees to make a diving turn to port (because the enemy aircraft is on the port – reverse the maneuver if enemy is on starboard.); descending through 1,000 ft in six seconds, the bomber reaches a speed of nearly 300 mph. After the 1,000 ft descent, the pilot pulls the aircraft into a climb, still turning to port.
3. He reverse the turn, halfway through the climb which has caused his speed to fall sharply, possibly forcing the attacking night fighter to overshoot.
4. Regaining his original altitude, with speed down to 185 mph and still in the starboard turn, the pilot pushes the aircraft down into another dive.
5. Picking up speed in the dive, he descends through 500 ft before reversing the direction of the turn.
6. If the fighter is still on his tail, he stand by to repeat the maneuver. The physical effort required by the pilot has been compared with that of an oarsman pulling hard in a boat race.
Je vous ai trouvé cette autre information sur ce site.
Voici un équipage d’une autre escadrille de la RCAF qui a vécu l’enfer de Bourg Léopold.
In May, 1944, Engrecht and Gillander’s crew was posted to No. 424 Squadron flying Halifax bombers.
During the night of May 27 /28 they attacked Bourg-Leopold, Belgium on their second operation. Their aircraft (« Dipsy Doodle« ) was attacked fourteen times by German night-fighters in a running battle from the target back to the English coast. »
Just after we left the target area, » Engbrecht recalled, « Bullets began to whistle over our aircraft and I opened fire in the direction the tracers came from. »
The combat reports for the operation are as follows: « The enemy fighter made a bow attack and the first warning received was his trace, the pilot immediately going into a corkscrew and the mid-upper firing at the trace. The aircraft itself was not sighted, consequently no ranges could be given but the bomb-aimer had a glimpse of the fuselage as it went down and is of the opinion that it was an Me110. The fighter appeared to drop off on one wing and went on down in flames, a petrol tank exploding on the way down and another heavy explosion upon impact with the ground which was witnessed by the pilot, engineer, and bomb aimer.
« Continuous attacks followed, mainly by three aircraft operating together, a Ju88 with two Me109’s on either quarter. On this first attack three guns of the mid-upper turret packed up and all guns in the rear turret. The one gun from the mid-upper turret was the only one serviceable for the rest of the sortie with the exception of one gun working from the rear turret towards the end of the trip and very few rounds were fired from this gun. The attack given on this pro-forma came after several sightings and through the corkscrewing, the aircraft was below the height of the main stream.
« After further attacks after the above first mentioned attack, an FW190 attacked from the port quarter up and started to break away on the port beam, the mid-upper gunner firing almost continuously and observing the fighter to blow up in his sights, observed by the pilot, engineer and rear gunner. The attacks were kept until reaching the English coast. Types seen were Ju88, Me109, nearly all operating in threes. The mid-upper gunner had no time to clear his guns and used only the one to shoot the second machine down. Further hardship was caused by intercom failure from the turret, combat manoeuvres being passed on and given by the rear-gunner. »
Il existait l’année dernière un site fort impressionnant sur Internet, celui de Richard Koval. J’y puisais mes informations à l’occasion. Il n’est plus en ligne, mais j’avais conservé des captures écran de certaines pages dont celles-ci.
Les opérations de la RAF la nuit du 27/28 mai 1944.
On a ici un rapport détaillé de la mission.
Plus d’un million de livres de bombes!
Bourg Léopold était en Belgique. On y trouvait un camp militaire. Richard Koval avait écrit ceci sur des équipages de l’escadrille 425.
D’autres équipages d’Halifax connurent aussi leur part d’ennuis.
J’aimerais bien numériser un jour le logbook de monsieur Corbeil, mais je n’ai pas le courage de lui demander.
Je vous reviens lundi prochain.