6. A Heroic Pilot So Good He Scared an Enemy Flyer Into Killing Himself
Bruce Carr’s previous flight experience got him sent to Spence Airfield in Georgia, for an accelerated pilot training program flying P-40 Warhawk fighters. After 240 hours in the air, he graduated as a flight officer in late August 1943, and was sent for additional specialized training. It included qualifying in early models of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter, and its ground attack and dive-bombing variant, the A-36 Apache. Carr was sent to England in early 1944, and was assigned to the 380th Fighter Squadron, 363rd Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force.
Until then, Carr had never flown above 10,000 feet. When he took his P-51 to 30,000 feet, he was so impressed by its handling that he named his airplane “Angel’s Playmate“. He notched his squadron’s first kill, and his first heroic deed of the war, on March 8th, 1944. That day, Carr attacked a Messerschmitt Bf 109 near Berlin and chased it to near-ground-level while firing his guns. Only one hit the enemy fighter, but its pilot panicked. Unable to escape from Carr, the Luftwaffe airman decided to abandon his plane and parachute to the ground. Unfortunately for the German, he jumped too close to the ground for his parachute to fully open.