WWII: Describe the first time you were shot down, General.
Galland: This was on June 21, 1941, when JG.26 was stationed at Pas de Calais. We had attacked some >>.="" net="" blenheim4.htm?="" techs="">http://www.tarrif.net/wwii/techs/blenheim4.htm" target="_blank">Bristol Blenheim bombers and I shot down two, but some >>.="" net="" techs="" spitfire1.htm?="">http://www.tarrif.net/wwii/techs/spitfire1.htm" target="_blank">Supermarine Spitfires were on me and they shot my plane up. I had to belly-land in a field until picked up later, and I went on another mission after lunch. On this mission I shot down number 70, but I did something stupid. I was following the burning Spitfire down when I was bounced and shot up badly. My plane was on fire, and I was wounded. I tried to bail out, but the canopy was jammed shut from enemy bullets. So I tried to stand in the cockpit, forcing the canopy open with my back as the plane screamed toward earth. I had opened it and almost cleared the 109 when my parachute harness became entangled on the radio aerial. I fought it with everything I had until I finally broke free, my parachute opening just as I hit the ground. I was bleeding from my head and arm, plus I had damaged my ankle on landing. I was taken to safety by some Frenchmen.
WWII: You survived being shot down twice in one day. How did it affect you?
Galland: I was worried that my wounds might ground me for a long time--that was my greatest concern, not to mention I had lost two airplanes.
Chief Naval Test Pilot and C.O. Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Capt. Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, tested the Mustang at RAE Farnborough in March 1944, and noted, "The Mustang was a good fighter and the best escort due to its incredible range, make no mistake about it. It was also the best American dogfighter. But the laminar flow wing fitted to the Mustang could be a little tricky. It could not by no means out-turn a Spitfire [sic]. No way. It had a good rate-of-roll, better than the Spitfire, so I would say the plusses to the Spitfire and the Mustang just about equate. If I were in a dogfight, I'd prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn't like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!"
Kurt Bühligen, the third-highest scoring German fighter pilot of the Second World War on the Western Front (with 112 confirmed victories, three against were Mustangs), later stated, "We would out-turn the P-51 and the other American fighters, with the [Bf] '109' or the [FW] '190'. Their turn rate was about the same. The P-51 was faster than us but our munitions and cannon were better.""
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