Attack on a Ju 88 over the Irish Sea

A Junkers Ju 88 bomber in flight, pictured over North Africa later in 1941.

Rene Mouchotte had escaped from France to join the Free French and was to become the most senior French officer in the RAF before his untimely death. He was based at Prestwick flying Hurricanes, on 26th August he was on patrol over the Irish Sea:

I recognized an unmistakable Junkers 88. The monster was black all over. I saw its round nose and thin tail. It shape was as clear as if I had a model in front of me. I was surprised that I was so calm and at the preciseness with which I prepared to attack.

The moment of action came. He was to port of me. A rapid turn in that direction, followed by a steep diving turn to starboard and I found myself in a dead straight vertical dive upon the Boche. The speed became incredible. The swastikas grew bigger and bigger in my sights. I opened fire. I just had time to avoid a collision.

I was concentrating so hard on aiming that I forgot to pull out; I cannot have missed the Boche by much. I realized my companion had followed me into the attack when I made a steep turn as I climbed and noticed him behind me. The speed was still so high that as I turned I blacked out. I was blind for seconds, with my eyes open, desperately striving to see.

At last daylight came back and I just had time to see my Junkers disappearing into the cloud. I shot after him at full speed. Unfortunately it was a thick black rain cloud. Stay up or go down? I decided to go down. Three thousand feet. It seemed a long time.

At last there was the sea below me. I turned then and looked everywhere, without success.

Mouchotte returned to the aerodrome with “rage in my heart that I had lost such a lovely opportunity”.

At first he was only awarded a “damaged” but confirmation that the Ju 88 had crashed in Ireland came through a couple of hours later and he was awarded his first “kill”.

See The Mouchotte Diaries 1940-1943

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