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Tom Cleaver
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Last one for 2020 – practice allows one to get closer to fewer mistakes made

December 31, 2020 · in Aviation · · 12 · 1.7K

Practice makes perfect? Hah!
kit. Vallejo metallics. Barracuda Studios " Mustangs Part 1" decal set.

1st Lt. Arthur Cundy, 352nd Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group. On March 2, Lt Cundy shot down a Bf-109 and two Fw-190s to double his score to six and become an ace. A week later, he "failed to return."

Cundy's account of his fight reveals a person it would have been interesting to know, had he survived.

I'll quote:

"Vicinity of Dessau, SW to Halle. I was leading Jockey Red flight. Someone called in many 109s above us. In the immediately following confusion and disorder, a lone Me-109 came screaming down past our flight and attacked a Jockey flight low and 10 o'clock to us. Instantly I rolled over and split-essed after him, saw that I could catch the bum, and dropped my tanks. This particular 109 pilot must have been Adolf Hitler Junior in a brand-new Superman suit, because not satisfied with his unsuccessful pass at four of our fighters, he pulled up very steeply and began giving a bomber box the works from their six o'clock low. That's when I tacked on behind and cut loose. I began to get a few scattered and unsatisfactory strikes around his wings and tail, not concentrated because I was at the moment having great difficulty with the great trim displacement from the extreme of vertical dive to stalling vertical climb. For this reason I had not accomplished a darn thing when I was right on him, overtaking, and about to ram into him. Just as I booted hard right rudder to avoid collision and passed barely under his right wing, the 109 stalled out and began to tumble and spin. At the very same time I found myself in a similar situation, spinning. As we spun down side by side out of control, I was extremely gratified to note that a 109 has a more rapid rate of descent in a spin than does a P-51, and the 109 was below me in about one turn. This fact allowed me to see the guy in my gunsight on every turn, so every time my nose swung around for a split second to bear on my adversary, I gave him a short squirt. It was good for my morale. In this manner I got a few more strikes on him before he made a faltering recovery from the spin. I was able to recover easily and did so, coming out of it right behind the 109. I followed him down to the clouds, which were rather thin. Having lost the guy temporarily I went straight on through and found him down there again. As soon as he saw me this time, he bailed out without delay, and I got set to strafe him in his chute. Before I squeezed the trigger however, I changed my mind and took his picture instead."

He then spotted the first 190, came up behind, gave a squirt and the plane caught fire and exploded. Departing, he spotted another following him, then lost it when he turned toward it, but another 190 appeared, heading right at him. "That suited me just fine so I flew on waiting for him to make a nice fit in my gunsight. I gave him just a short squirt right in the kisser just when he was plenty close. His engine exploded and he whizzed past me in flames, pulled up steeply and bailed out like an old hand at the game."

Arthur Cundy is 2nd from right in the photo, with his wingman on his right and his two ground crew to either end.

And closing 2020 with the Christmas Mustangs done in the past 12 days.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

12 responses

  1. Beautiful looking model, Tom.

  2. Great looking pony Tom.

  3. Practising makes all the difference and it shows. My old piano teacher used to practise eight hours every day...

  4. Beautiful job on the models, and a great story to go with! Happy new year!

  5. Happy new year. I hope things go well for SWMBO.

    Excellent Mustang and story. Colorful and a good writer cut down too soon.

  6. Love the marking on this one

  7. Great model and story, Tom.
    Dan is right: cut down too soon.
    Happy New Year!

  8. Beautiful Mustang, Tom.
    That last picture is a nice triplet.
    Best wishes for 2021

  9. Great model and as usual a great story Happy New Year Tom!

  10. As always inspirational build Tom!

  11. another great build Tom!

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