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409 Squadron RCAF: The Nighthawks

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THE HAT TRICK

Operating from Rheine Aerodrome in Germany, F/O E. Hermanson, DFC (Pilot) anc F/L D Hamm, DFC (Navigator) helped to administer the Coup de Grace to the fast dwindling Luftwaffe by shooting down three enemy aircraft in one night, a rare feat in a field where outstanding events frequently occured.

Hermy and Doug were carrying out a regular patrol well over German held territory on the night of 23/24th April, when they were advised of trade some 10 miles distant. Scenting the possibility of a kill Hermy closed fairly quickly and at one and a half miles Doug had obtained a contact on a fast moving target. Although the target was rapidly reducing height Doug held contact throughout and at 800 ft. it was recognised as one of Herr Goering's latest creations, a long nosed FW 190. Hermy held his fire until within 400 feet when a two second burst hit the enemy aircraft just aft of the cockpit, causing it to explode and crash.

Their appetite whetted, Hermy and Doug had within three-quarters of an hour obtained contact and shot down two more of the Luftwaffe, this time Ju. 87s.

. When bringing Hermy in behind the targets Doug realized that they were slow flying aircraft and had him reduce his speed to the minimum. In each instance Hermy risked stalling his aircraft and was called upon to display ail his knowledge of aeronautics as with undercarriage lowered and using 30 degrees of flap he closed steadily on these slow flying but highly manoeu- verable aircraft.

A short burst from 400-500 feet sufficed on each occasion to send the enemy aircraft down in flames.

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