Angels Eight

Peter Lecoq, Peter Lecoq’s son, sent me this…

Excerpt from “Angels Eight” Normandy Air War Diary by David Clark (Pages 231-233)

The day was uneventful for 416 Squadron who flew an armed recce around 1430 and a patrol around 1900 hours, but there was  action for 403 Squadron.

After taking off at 1615 hours, they broke into two groups of six – red section led by F/O Doug Orr and blue section led by F/L Mac Gordon. F/S Ken Harvey’s aircraft ML248 developed engine trouble so he turned back leaving blue section with five aircraft.

Red section patrolled the western area and blue section patrolled the eastern section of the lodgement area. A half hour after take-off, blue section ran into 15 FW 190s of III./JG 54 heading straight for them about 300 feet below. The German formation was led by Gruppekommandeur Hauptmann Robert Weiss – the same opponent they had battled six days earlier.

Weiss was a baby-faced pilot who had claimed six victories in Normandy and a career total of 106. Flying as the second in command of the group was Leutnant Alfred Gross who had just been promoted to command 8 Staffel of III./JG 54. Just three hours earlier Leutnant Gross had shot down a Spitfire of 229 Squadron bringing his claims in Normandy to four, and his career total to 50. Although half the German pilots had little or no experience, III./JG 54 had more than half a dozen high-scorers, but this day the best of them all, Geschwaderkommodore Hauptmann Hubert Lang, was not with them.

By contrast, the two F/Ls, Mac Gordon and Pete Logan, had distinguished themselves in dive-bombing and attacking ground installations since the beginning of the year, and they both had claimed a couple of damaged aircraft, but they had claimed no kills.

Logan’s real name was Pierre LeCoq. When advised by an intelligence officer that it may be a disadvantage to use that name if he were ever shot down in France he changed his name to Peter Logan. This had happened back in April.

The story of what happened at this encounter with III./JG 54 begins with Pete Logan’s combat report.

“Five aircraft of 403 Squadron led by F/L Gordon were flying a patrol east of Caen at about 2,500 feet when from 12 o’clock and about 300 feet below we saw 12-plus FW 190s flying towards us. They were carrying either bombs or jet tanks and these were
dropped before the ensuing engagement began. We broke up and around and I got on the tail of one and from about 300 yards fired a 2-to-3-second burst with 20° deflection. I saw strikes on the fuselage and wing roots.

The enemy aircraft poured black and white smoke and half-rolled and went straight down from about 2,000 feet. I was unable to follow him as by this time I had four FW 190s on my tail.

“I broke up and then down again getting behind another 190. I fired a 2-to-3 second burst with 15° to 20° deflection and saw some strikes on his starboard wing. When my guns ceased firing I discovered later that my guns had jammed.?”

Here is Gordon’s account of the action:

“We were flying east at a height of 3,000 feet when approximately 15 FW 190s were sighted flying towards us from head-on and around 300 feet below us. We passed each other then broke around. The 190s also broke around and a dogfight ensued. The enemy aircraft were using a defensive circle and it was almost impossible to get anything more than a l-to-2-second bursts at four or five of them but observed no results. The defensive circle formed by the enemy aircraft had now been broken and I managed to get onto the tail of a 190. He was breaking tightly to starboard and I gave him a short burst from 200 yards range giving him full deflection under my nose. No strikes were seen. I closed to about 100 yards and gave him another 2-second burst allowing full deflection. I saw a group of strikes on his tail and the port half of his elevator and stabilizer broke off. He slipped over to port and started to go down apparently out of control and I broke up into another 190 who was attacking me. F /L Logan saw the attack and part of the enemy aircraft blown away. After returning to base we established the vicinity and time of the combat as U.13 72 at 1640 hours. Later in the day the Second Army reported two FW 190s as going down in flames in the same vicinity and at the same time.

“I followed the second 190 who half-rolled onto the deck and headed east. After a long chase I closed to about 200 yards and from line astern J fired but only my machine guns were working. After a short burst they ran out. The 190 began to pour black smoke and he almost went into the deck clipping about 10 feet off a tall tree. However he regained control and continued at a much reduced speed still smoking. As I was out of ammunition I broke off the attack.”

Peter also shared this…

Flight Lieutenant Cecil Brown

Not much information or pictures about Flight Lieutenant Cecil Brown on the Internet.

This is what I found…

F/L Cecil Brown 403 Squadron, 127 Wing :

“July 16 was a most interesting flight. Just one squadron of us went out to do a patrol to see if we could run into anything, shoot up anything on the ground or in the air. One fellow had engine trouble and had to go back. That left 11 of us. Andy MacKenzie was leading one group of six Spitfires and I was leading the other six as Deputy Flight Commander.

“We had found shortly after we got to France that the best way to operate was to get enough pilots for two teams – 24 pilots – 2 Flight Commanders and Squadron Leaders and Squadron Commander. Each flight had a deputy commander so we made two teams up, and we took everything that went on from 1 o’clock today to 1 o’clock the next day and then we’d have a day off. We began rotating like that.

This particular night, I was a deputy flight commander. I think Andy was a flight commander and he happened to have the other six since we were flying in two sixes. But one turned out to be five planes.

“And I looked over and below us and I saw some Typhoons heading back to our lines hell bent for leather. I wondered what was chasing them. I looked behind and I saw a whole mass of German 109s coming. I thought this was a good chance for us to go down and have a go at them. So I called Andy: ‘Come on over, we’ve got some joy (Germans) over here.’

“And Andy said: ‘No thanks. I’ve got all I can handle here.’ And he ran into the same thing.
“We found when we got back that it was quite a well known German formation led by the Jerry ace Walter Nowotny and he flew a Focke-Wulf 190 and led two groups of 55 Messerschmitts. And this was what we had tangled with. We really hadn’t planned on that many. Once into it, there was nothing much you could do but fight.

“So when we got back, the Intelligence people reported they’d been listening on the radio and monitoring the German transmissions and told us who we’d been fighting. I knew too who we’d been fighting when I saw the 190 and the mass of 109s.

“Eleven of us got in a hell of a scrap with those Messerschmitts. We were west of Argentan for this one.

“F/O H.V. (Harry) Boyle, of Toronto, got 3 planes; Andy MacKenzie got 2; and Jim Collier was credited with 1. We lost one, Drury O’Kelly who was shot down early in the fight. He was flying No 2 to me and his job was to protect the guy in front.
“I looked around when I saw all the bullets (tracers) coming by me and my guy was gone. He never said a word, so I don’t know what happened to him. We never saw him again. So we got 6 and lost 1. This was the biggest scrap I was ever in.

“S/L Jim Collier did two tours, one in the North African Desert and the other with us. He was an accomplished artist and when he got home, he set up a business called ADS-Art & Design Studio. His group did all the design and art work for ad agencies, and at one time, he had about 60 artists working for him. He served in Squadrons 250 and 403.”

from “We Were There – RCAF & Others” by Jean E. Portugal

Peter Lecoq had this picture where we see F/L Cecil Brown.

What about Mac Gordon?

Click here.

What about Harry Boyle?

Click here.

About the pilot shot down…

In memory of
Flying Officer
who died on July 16, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: J/18246
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Burial Information:

Orne, France

About Walter Nowotny…

Reading about Walter Nowotny’s career in the Luftwaffe, I don’t think he was in that fight…

He was Geschwaderkommodore from April 1944 to September 1944.

Source: Wikipedia


This is what is said about Jagdgeschwader 101 (JG 101)

Jagdgeschwader 101 (JG 101) was a Luftwaffe fighter-training-wing of World War II.

Formed at Werneuchen from Jagdfliegerschule 1, JG 101 was created in December 1942 and were stationed from 27 January 1943 at Pau, southern France. An operational training unit, the Geschwader was never officially deployed in combat, although on 5 March 1944 Jagdgruppe West and JG 101 defended Bergerac, Cognac, and other airfields in south west France against a raid by 8th Air Force B-24s.

On 24 May 1944 Hptm. Scholtz of 1./JG 101 claimed a B-17 shot down.

The unit operated several training types, including the Gotha 143 and Bucker 131 biplanes and the French-built fighter Dewoitine D.520. JG 101 also operated the first two seater Bf 109.The G-12 was a modified G-2, with a second seat behind the existing cockpit for the instructor. The two seat Fw 190F-8/U-1 trainer was also employed.

The Geschwader was disbanded on 16 April 1945 and 2,400 personnel were transferred to the 10. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division and 11. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division.