A colour picture of "Mustangs" of the 8th AF 361st FG. They stationed at
Bottisham, but soon headed for a baze in France - St. Dizier.
Second Lieutenant Urban Drew began World War Two as a flight instructor, in
seven months flying 700 hours in P-51 "Mustangs", while his cadets out had all
of 60 hours in the P-51. After making an 'accidental' low pass over a parade of
Army troops headed for the Far East, Drew got his chance for combat with
atransfer just after D-Day to the 361st Fighter Group, which was flying ground
support to Patton's Third Army. Drew flew 76 missions with the 361st, and says
his hours of training gave him confidence he might not have had otherwise. Drew
says when he gotto Europe, five kids in his group were pilots he'd trained and
were already aces. Some were Captains and Majors yet they still called 2nd
It was on a mission in October, 1944 that Drew first saw a German jet. Drew
pursued the aircraft in what provedto be a futile chase. All he could do was
fire his guns at a distance, to no avail, while the jet outran his "Mustang".
Wanting to know more about the Me 262, Drew contacted his intelligence officers,
who said they could not divulge secret information. From British intelligence,
he found out, among other things the new jets were based at Achmer and at
On a mission soon there after, Drew shot down an Bf 109. Performing a victory
roll before landing, Drew was grounded for the maneuver. He and his squadron
mate Billy Kemp, who'd also been grounded, were in their billet starting a
bottle of bourbon, when Drew's squadron commander came in. "Put the bottle away"
he said, because we're going on a mission to Brux, Czechoslovakia. There are Me
262s operating in the area, and you know more about them than anybody in this
squadron. So, you're leading the mission."
October 7th. Drew was flying with wingman McCandless when he spotted the
German airbase at Achmer and went down for a look. Two "Schwalbe's" were just
taking off when Drew dived on them, McCandless keeping right with him. The first
Me 262 exploded when hit by the .50s of "Detroit Miss". Drew says he was
surprised when the second Me 262 tried to climb away, allowing him to turn
inside and shoot away the jet's control surfaces. When Drew returned to base, he
found that not only had his wingman failed to return after being hit by flak
following Drew's victories, but the gun camera also failed. Only after the war
did Drew learn his wingman had survived.
More than 40 years later, an Air Force clerk noticed Drew's claim for two Me
262 victories on the same mission. She contacteda custodian of German war
records, who knew former Luftwaffe pilots whomight be able to shed light on the
claim. Georg-Peter Eder had been set to lead the Me 262s of JG 7 that day, but
when his aircraft had problems taking off the two-ill-fated pilots took off to
lead JG 7. Eder says he saw a yellow-nosed P-51 dive on the Me 262s and shoot
them down. Eder couldn't read "Detroit Miss" on the nose of the "Mustang", but
his account was sufficient to confirm Drew's two Me 262 victories.
Drew says two of his three victories over Bf 109 pilots came relatively
easily. "It's who's in the cockpit that counts." The third proved his toughest
Flying at about 23,000 feet, he saw a flight of P-38s fall prey to Bf 109s.
The Germans dived past Drew and his wingman, and Drew pulled a hammerhead stall
to come around behind one Messer. The German pilot saw him, went into a Lufbery,
and Drew followed, the two aircraft in a tight cork screw down to 10,000 feet.
That's when Drew asked himself, "Is this guy better than you? I had to put it
out of my mind immediately, because if you don't, the wrong mother's son is
going to come home that night."
Spiraling closer to the ground, Drew kept some altitude on the Messerschmitt,
until the German pulled out. The G forcesin the Lufbery (about 7Gs) had jammed
five of his six guns, but the one gun proved enough to down the Bf 109. Drew
says this was the one time in his combat career he felt remorse over a victory.
"I felt very bad, because I said, Drew, there was one of the great fighter
pilots of all time. Who ever was flying that 109, he almost got you. And I was
the best, as far as I was concerned. Maybe he was a big ace and maybe he wasn't,
but by God he could fly that Messerschmitt."
Here is P-51D "Detroit Miss" flown by Lt. Urban L. Draw of the 357th FS, 351