Originally Posted by Mein Duff
Sounds Like Bob Stanford Tuck to me?
Right you are, Mein Duff; Tommy Tuck it is! And, you're up! Tuck was about as good as they get. Although he had the luck of the devil, he was also badly shot up by German gunners a number of times. Either the German gunners were very lucky, or very good, or Tuck was somewhat unlucky. One of these days, I'd like to see some research as to how the German gunners scored so many hits with a single 8mm machine gun. Take it away, Mein Duff. Thanks; Ernie P.
Question: What warbird pilot do I describe?
(1) Even before being shot down and taken prisoner, the question often asked about this pilot was (para) “How has he managed to stay alive?”.
(2) He had already been shot down four times.
(3) He had been wounded twice.
(4) He had bailed out.
(5) He had crash landed after being shot up.
(6) He had survived two midair collisions.
(7) He had come down in the water.
(8) He had a long, visible scar from a pre-war accident.
(9) On one occasion, enemy fire had set his aircraft on fire.
(10) On another, enemy fire had shattered his windscreen.
(11) On yet another, enemy fire had shot his throttle out of his hand.
(12) And on yet another, enemy fire had struck and deformed loose coins in his pocket.
(13) An enemy bullet had knocked his oxygen mask off his face.
(14) Yet, after all that, he was still eager for the fight.
(15) When shot down the final time, he was a noted ace; perhaps the best his country had.
(16) As a college student, he was never a noted scholar. He couldn’t sit still long enough to learn anything. But, he had a knack for languages and excelled in sports. A good gymnast and boxer, outstanding swimmer and by far the best on the rifle team.
(17) Even as a boy, he had quite a collection of firearms.
(18) As a student pilot, he came very close to washing out. Then, on the point of being sent home, he finally learned to fly instinctively, without thinking about his actions and how his hands should move.
(19) After that, he was always rated as an “above average or exceptional” pilot; although one who was apt to be “over confident”.
(20) Two mid air collisions, both with friendly aircraft, changed his outlook and taught him to channel his recklessness. Neither incident was his fault; but one incident left him trapped in the cockpit of a crippled and out of control aircraft for a (relatively) long time. His escape was a near thing.
(21) Although his personal luck always seemed to hold, it didn’t extend to friends or family. He once damaged an enemy bomber, which jettisoned its bombs. One of the bombs landed in an army training base… and killed his sister’s husband.
(22) He was shot down by enemy ground fire, after violating the old rule against crash landing or bailing out near an enemy you have just bombed (in this case, shot up with cannon fire). One of his cannon shells actually went straight down the barrel of one of the AA guns. The AA gun was the same caliber as the guns he carried on his fighter!
(23) In his first 24 hours of actual combat, he destroyed five enemy planes.
(24) When he was shot down and captured, he was his country’s leading ace.
(25) He is credited with 29 enemy aircraft shot down, and multiple “probables”. And this in less than two year’s combat.
Answer: RAF Wing Commander Robert Stanford Tuck, D.S.O., D.F.C. and two bars.