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Shooting down a Junkers JU-88

Heroes Remember

Shooting down a Junkers JU-88

I knew I was a good shot by then although I had never shot anything down but I knew I had practiced so much as a deputy flight commander and anyone else that wanted to go doing all the camera gun and got it worked out I knew, totally confident, because I was with the squadron a long time, that if I (inaudible), I’d hit it right away and I came in behind this one and there was cross fire, machine gun, you know, they fire at you with a machine gun, used tracers to scare you off and anyway, you just have to ignore it. I came in behind this guy in the range about 300 yards and instead of, well I’ll take his left engine, port engine because it’s big, bigger in cross section than a 109 and after all and the fuel tank is on each side of the engine. So I laid out deflection, you know, shoot ahead of the engine a bit because I was still curving and I fired. The two armour piercing incendiary rounds in the belt and next to those are two high explosive incendiaries and that just keeps repeating through your belt. The engine just...flame, black smoke, white glycol, black smoke and then flame. And most surprising about the flame, it was white. I thought it would be yellow but, you see, at that speed it’s like a blow torch, shows you how fiercely hot it was. Anyway, I could see that engine was done and I moved the gun sight over into as I got further behind him, through his wing route and into the fuselage. It all caught fire, the whole damn thing, and I didn’t hit the starboard engine, the port engine, the four wing route and the fuselage and it was all streaming flames of smoke. And then I fired the whole six seconds round, then I had no ammo and then I violently broke down where you knew that right away you got down and put your rudder in your control so that you get away quickly so that the escort won’t get a good shot at you and you do a corkscrew dive downwards and 109’s could not rotate fast, they get stiff when they build up speed, so anyway I got down safely away from the sky.

Mr. Smith describes his strategy for successfully shooting down a German JU-88, and then describes his evasive measures.

Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in March, 1922. He was the second of four children. His father, who had served in the First World War, was a land surveyor. Mr. Smith had been fascinated by propaganda leading up to the Second World War, so he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 following the completion of his Senior Matriculation. After pilot training in Canada, he was selected for overseas flying duty. His first tour of duty was on Malta and Mr. Smith’s impressive list of enemy aircraft destroyed began here. He was also shot down himself while on this tour. After returning to England, he joined 401 Squadron piloting new generation Spitfire 9's. Mr. Smith was in action on D-Day, and later did strafing runs in German held France. Later at Nijmegen, he destroyed several more enemy aircraft, including the shared kill of a prototypical ME-262 jet fighter. Mr. Smith retired with the rank of Flight-Lieutenant, DFC and Bar, with thirteen destroys, 1 shared and ½ possible to his credit.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs CanadaAnciens Combattants Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roderick Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
401 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant

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