The time a P-51 shot down a perfectly good C47 on purpose
Lt. Louis Curdes, USAAF in his P-51D “Bad Angel.” The markings are from the 3rd Air Commando Group, 4th Fighter Squadron, from Laoag Airfield, Luzon, Philippines, 1945. Proudly displayed on the fuselage of “Bad Angel” were the markings of the pilot’s kills: seven Nazis; one Italian; one Japanese…and one U.S.
The US plane was not a mistake, or friendly fire, he intentionally took it down.
Curdes arrived in the ETO with 82nd Fighter Group, 95th Fighter Squadron in April 1943 and was assigned a P-38 Lightning. Ten days later he shot down three German Messerschmidt Bf-109s. A few weeks later, he downed two more German Bf -109’s– making him an ace in a month. Over the next three months, Curdes shot down an Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore fighter and two more Messerschmidts before his luck ran out, being splashed by a German fighter on August 27, 1943 over Salerno, Italy.
Escaping, he made it back to Allied lines and after training on P-51s, was sent to the Pacific where he dusted a Mitsubishi reconnaissance plane near Formosa.
Then came the American.
It was an unarmed C47 cargo plane that was attempting to land at Batan air field which had recently been taken over by the Japanese, it would have been certain death or worse for the 12 passengers and crew. Not being able to raise the plane by radio and attempts at waving the C47 off ignored, the C47 still continued with it’s landing plan. At that point Lt. Curdes choose to shoot the C47’s engines out and force them to do a water landing where they were picked up by a Navy ship in the area.
It’s an odd story for sure, but left Curdes as the only American WWII pilot to down at least one of each major enemy’s planes– and one of his own.