By Christopher Miskimon Lieutenant Robert Samuel Johnson looked around for some friendly planes to fly with to get back to England. His wingman flew nearby, but the two young American pilots had become separated from the rest of their squadron. It was October 8, 1943, and they were on their way back from a mission over Europe. Soon they found a group of bombers returning from their own mission. Johnson decided to escort them back home. As they flew alongside the bombers, Johnson spotted an enemy plane several thousand feet below. He wasted no time turning his P-47 Thunderbolt fighter over. He dove on the target, firing at it with his .50-caliber machine guns. The German plane, a Messerschmitt Me-110, went down; it was Johnson’s fourth kill. One more and he would earn the coveted title of ace. As he pulled out of the dive, he reminded himself not to get too eager in his desire to get a fifth kill. A pilot could get killed chasing that goal if he was not careful. As Johnson gained altitude, he spotted four Focke-Wolfe Fw-190 fighters attacking the bomber formation. One Fw-190 made a firing pass at the bombers, but he had a P-47 chasing him. In turn, another Fw-190 was chasing the P-47. All of them fired long bursts at their targets as they dove past Johnson, who went into another dive to track them. Lining up on the first Fw-190, Johnson tried to lead his target as he opened fire. As he fired, another German plane lined up on him and fired as well. Keeping his plane point


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