Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14

Flown by Haptmann Alfred Grislawski, Stab III./JG 53, Paderborn/Germany, September 26, 1944


North American P-51D Mustang

Flown by Colonel Hubert "Hub" Zemke, 479th FG, Wattisham/England, September 26, 1944

On Tuesday 26 September Colonel Hubert Zemke (17.75 Kills) shot down Hauptmann Alfred Grislawski (132 Kills) in the skies over the German town Münster.

At 16:25 hours Alfred Grislawski took of from Paderborn and led 38 Bf 109:s from III./JG 53 towards the heavy fighting in and above the Nijmegen area. Flying at 13,000 feet the Germans was suddenly bounced by twelve Mustangs of the 479th FG led by their commander Hubert Zemke. Vectored towards the battle the Lightnings of the the same unit, the 434th Sqn also joined the battle, attacking the turing and twisting Messerschmitts down below. The sky was soon filled with burning german fighters and in the ensuring battle the Luftwaffe lost 17 planes, which twelve was from the third Gruppen and the rest from JG 1 and JG 300. In all ten german pilots was killed or MIA, with a further three pilots WIA, including Hauptmann Grislawski.

Alfred Grislawski recalls in one of my interviews with him "Suddenly, at four thousand meters hight and with the red fuel lamp blinking a lone Mustang open fire from astern and on my right hand side, my first thought was that this guy must be a beginner, as he open fire, only one burst, at a distance of about half a kilometer (over 500 yards), But he was lucky, a few bullets slammed into my engine cowling and the engine stalled".

Studying Zemke's battle report for this day it correspond well to Grislawski's account, Hub Zemke wrote: I opened fire at 400 yards with a 20 - 30 degree deflection, got hits on the fuselage, canopy came off, and the pilot bailed out.

What Grislawski knew by long hard fought experience was that shooting a deflection shot from 500 meter range was fruitless, so from his perspective this Mustang pilot "just got of a lucky shot". However what he could not have know was that this pilot was an fighter ace and that his P-51 Mustang was equipped with the new revolutionary K-14 gunsight which calculated the lead angle, a gunsight that the Allies called "the ace maker".

However Grislawski's ordeal was not over, after witnessing one of his Feldwebels being gunned to death while he hung in his parachute, he decided to fell free only to opened his parachute in the last moment. However Grislawski had problem to calculate his hight so he opened his parachute all to late, and the impact to the ground was very hard. He landed on his back and overwhelmed by pain he blacked out.

Finally a doctor arrived and commanded the people that stood around Alfred, "keep your distance, this one has got spinal injury". The doctor then kneeled down an punched Grislawski with an needle and he screamed in pain, "thats good" the doctor comment. In his dazed state, laying on the ground, he wondered angrily why the dammed doctor had stick a large needle into him, wasn't it enough with the terrible torments he already had? Then he was carefully loaded on to a ladder and was carried over some fields to a ambulance that rushed him of to a hospital. His injuries was later found to be so severe that his flight career was over.

As Alfred Grislawski comment to me "this lucky shot and severe injury must have saved my life". So perhaps the fact is that Grislawski, this fantastic character, owed his life to the most competent unit leader in USAAF, and one of their best fighter pilots, Hubert "Hub" Zemke.

Please note that there is not any known photos of Grislawski's brand new G-14, this profile is therefore based on other machines from this unit and period.

© Claes Sundin 2015