Eduard 1/48 Spitfire IXe
This is actually the “high-back” version of the Spitfire XVI Dual Combo kit, but the difference between a Spitfire IXe and a “high back” XVI is internal, and they can only be distinguished externally by reference to serial number.
Dick Audet – “Ace in a Day”:
French Canadian Richard “Dick” Audet enjoyed a spectacular if brief career as a Spitfire ace in the closing stages of the war in Europe. While gaining his wings in October 1942 and being sent immediately to Britain, he would spend the next two years flying with second-line units, including an Army Co-Operation Squadron towing targets for anti-aircraft gunners. These humdrum missions, however, allowed him to build experience.
Flt. Lt. Audet was posted to 411 Squadron in September 1944, based in Holland. He was appointed a flight commander the next month. The squadron flew Spitfire IXs in support of the Allied campaign in Holland following the failure of Operation Market-Garden. He had flown 52 missions by 28 December.
On 29 December, with the Battle of the Bulge in full swing, 411 Squadron’s spitfire IXEs were scrambled from Heesch Airdrome in Holland, with orders to patrol Rheine Airdrome to watch forthe take-off of Me-262s. Shortly after their arrival, Yellow Flight Leader Audet spotted four Bf-109s and eight Fw-190s at low altitude. Audet led his flight down on them, attacking the rear Bf-109 from 200 yards. The enemy fighter quickly caught fire and went down. He then spotted an Fw-190 and attacked from 250 yards down to 100, when he saw the enemy pilot slumped in his cockpit as the fighter nosed over and went down. Ahead was a second Bf-109. Audet gave it a burst and the pilot baled out though his parachute failed to open. Spotting an Fw-190 being pursued by a Spitfire being pursued by a second Fw-190, Audet called the Spitfire pilot to break and attacked the rear Fw-190 which caught fire and went straight in. During this fight, his canopy flew off! Several minutes later, as Audet attempted to reform his flight, he spotted another Fw-190; when he dove on it, the pilot turned into him. Audet opened fire and the Fw-190 flipped over and went down. The others in his flight also claimed three other enemy fighters shot down. Evidence suggests that all three Fw-190s Audet shot down were from 9.III/JG 54.
All this high-angle gunnery was possible by use of the gyro gunsight Audet’s airplane was equipped with. His five victories were witnessed by the other pilots and confirmed by his gun camera film. Dick Audet was the only Spitfire “Ace in a Day” in the ETO. He was awarded the DFC for this action.
During January 1945, he demonstrated his success was no fluke, shooting down five more enemy aircraft including an Me-262. On 3 March 1945, during a low-level strafing attack on a German train on a siding, Audet was hit by flak; his Spitfire exploded when it hit the ground.
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.