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Trejtnar vs Faber Jun 23 1942

The ´Chronicle of Aviation´ was first published in 1992 by Chronicle Communications Ltd, UK. One can see the incorrect report as follows : ´Having encountered Spitfires of a Polish Wing over Devon the pilot apparently got disoriented´ .This evening the No 5313 Fockewulf 190 A3 piloted by F/O Armin Faber inadverently landed at the RAF Pembrey on the South West coast of Wales.      

Also an ´Air Clues´article by W/Cdr M.V. Blake DSO, DFC shows that as a CO of a Wing based at Portreath he took part in the long distance raids on Luftwaffe´s bases of Lanion and Morlaix together with a Polish Wing based at Exeter on June 23, 1942. The likewise wrong report found in No 3 Profile Publication made an ex-pilot of the Czechoslovak No 310 fighter squadron Mr Valousek to set the things straight.

An article ´Exeter Airport´ by Peter M. Corbel in the Air Pictorial March 1968 omitted to mention No 310 Sqn stationed at Exeter from May 7, 1942 to June 1943 too, going after the Polish No 308 one. Mr Ladislav Valousek investigated for several years and assisted by a Prague British Embassy´s list of the English wives of the Cz RAF men he came into contact with Trixi Trejtnarova who lent Mrs Valousek  her husband´s  Flying Book.

The records of Oblt Armin Faber´s interrogation were kept under lid at that time so advised by his English friend Mr Valousek asked the MoD´s Defense Air Historical Branch/RAF for information. Their response was posted on Sep 22, 1987, five years after F/Sgt Fratisek Trejtnar´s  death. Thanks to Mr Vaclav Tikovsky the ´How it was with the first Fw 190´ and ´Both the Sections Scramble´ articles were published by the Letectvi and kosmonautika fortnightly in Nos 23-24 issues of 1969.

In 1992 an Mr Valousek´s article ´Faber´s Fw 190 after fifty years´ was published in two issues of the L+K fortnightly. Recalls of F/Sgt Frantisek Trejtnar, Miroslav Liskutin DFC AFC and Josef Stivar could be seen in these articles.

The Brits were shocked by the first Spitfire Mk V´s and Fockewulf 190´s engagement on Sep 27, 1941, when a ´ Hit and Run´ style was applied by this fighter plane of a new type. Fw 190´s combat superiority of a worrying level  made the Brits to consider seizing this E/A intact. The situation even inspired a test pilot Jeffrey Quill to speak to the Commandos´CO Philippe Pinkney. The CO proposed to raid a Luftwaffe´s airbase in the vicinity of the Channel and Mr Quill should have flown a Fw 190 to Britain. The preparation for the raid was in process when the RAF was presented an unexpected gift on June 23, 1942.

Oblt Faber´s turning up over Devon was no matter of chance. Twelve Boston bombers bombed the Luftwaffe´s  air base Morlaix, escorted by Spitfire Mk Vs of the Czechoslovak Fighter Wing commanded by W/Cdr Alois Vasatko DFC. Nos 310 and 313 Sqn were tasked by a close escort of six Bostons each prior to the bombers´ run while No 312 was in charge for top cover. While on their return leg, an starboard engine of a Boston commenced belching drawing one Fw 190. The attack was warded off by a NN-W Spitfire Mk VB.

The Fighter Wing´s CO ordered No 310 Sqn´s CO to cover a straddler, so four Spitfires joined the Boston with her starboard engine just estinguished and flew on over the waves. The bunch was caught up by the Fw 190s flying from Cherbourg close to the coast of Devon. W/Cdr Vasatko provided the top cover and was turning towards E/A. While climbing, Vasatko´s BM 592 collided with a Fw 190 piloted by Unteroffizier Willy Reuschling, who baled out. A personage of the  Czechoslovak AF on British soil and the first CO of the Cz Fighter Wing W/Cdr Alois Vasatko DFC lost his life. 

 No 19 Sqn was despatched by Ground Control to help the Cz Wing. Also a pilot  from this Sqn went missing. The Germans lost four fighter planes, one of them landed in Wales. All twelve Boston bombers returned to their base.

F/Sgt Frantisek Trejtnar was not tasked with a op over Morlaix that evening. Two Spitfires from No 310 and two ones from No 312 Sqns were ordered to wait at the Bolt Head air strip in readiness for the Wing on its return leg starving for petrol and provide it with cover if necessary. Vera sent all four Spitfire Mk VBs airborne. They joined dogfighting, but Fw 190s were just turning back to Brettony. So F/Sgt Trejtnar escorted the Boston bombers to the Exeter RAF station and was circling the base until all the bombers and fighter planes  landed with dry tanks. Suddenly he noticed an yellow belly of a Fw 190 above him.     

F/Sgt Trejtnar fired a burst at the Fw 190, but E/A disengaged flying towards the Sun in the West. So both the fighter planes proceeded westwards. Anytime Fw 190 wanted to turn towards France, F/Sgt Trejtnar was turning out his opponent. At 25,000ft Oblt Faber made his decision to turn towards France definitely. But he noticed that Trejtnar´s Mk V BL 517 flying about 300ft below can attack him from astern, Faber dived down on BL 517. Both the fighter planes opened fire while on head on run. The Trejtnar´s Sptifire Mk VB was hit in her engine and becoming a sitting duck while turning downwards.

The second Faber´s burst hit an BL 517´s starboard wing and a its half went off including an aileron. F/Sgt Trejtnar was wounded by splinters and his plane spiralled downwards in a spin. First the pilot could not overcome torque of the spin and get out of BL 517, but kicking into a stick proved to be of some help. Having bailed, he observed Fw 190 on approach, but Oblt Faber did not shoot at Trejtnar and spiralled downwards.   

While touching the ground, F/Sgt Trejtnar broke his leg and his right arm was bleeding a lot. He commenced whistling to get the assistence. Soon several civilians turned up armed with rifles. Being shouted : ´ No Jerry´, they did not trust him due to his non British accent. Answering them whether he armed is, F/Sgt Trejtnar had to raise his hands while lying. Luckilly he had his papers with him and letting the civilians see them changed their behaviour at once. The pilot was put on a gate of a cattle pen softened by silk of the parachute and carried to a farm house nearby. An ambulance bringing F/Sgt. Trejtnar to the hospital in Exeter was called for from here.  

Hospitalized there F/Sgt learned from a new CO of Cz Wing, that his oponent  had landed in Wales. Best regards sent by Oblt Faber and congratulations on saving his life were told F/Sgt Frantisek Trejtnar by S/Ldr Frantisek Dolezal. These two fighter pilots never met each other, because Oblt was in a POW camp in Canada at the time of Trejtnar´s leaving the hospital.

Prior to his landing at Pembrey Oblt Faber performed three victory rolls, released the undercarriage while flying inverted, than a half roll and landed perfectly. An erk on duty was amazed by a strange camouflage of the fighter plane and asked Faber what kind of engine oil is used by them, Norvegians. In several seconds ran Sgt Jeffries to the scene handing a Vera pistol. He was on duty at the tower and observed Faber´s landing through binoculars. Sgt. intended to prevent Faber from destroying his plane by setting the explosive made ready in the cockpit off. Oblt. Faber was brought to the No 10 Fighter Group HQ  at Fairwood Common and was at the party given by Station Commander G/Cpt D.F.W.Archerley that evening. Oblt. Armin Faber was sentenced in absentia in Germany and is said to try commiting suicide in captivity.      

No 5313 Fw 190 A3 was dismantled, loaded on a transporter and brought to A&AEE Farnborough. As her engine as airframe were  dismantled into pieces and inspected thoroughly. Having been assembled  both roundels and a new serial number of MP499 were painted on this fighter plane. She was flown by W/Cdr H. J. Wilson on Jul 3 and after ten days ferried to Duxford to be tested by the Air Fighting Development Unit. MP499 was airborne for the last time on Jan 29, 1943 and in September was her airframe used for gunnery tests. Than probably scrapped.

Fw 190 was tested in comparative trials for speed and manoeuvrability against as Mk VB as Mk IX and these reports saved lives of many Allied pilots. Fw 190 was bested  by both Mk VB and Mk IX in the horizontal. That reason for Fw 190´s pilots dived down on Spitfire Mk VBs, gave a burst of cannon and dived away. It was very difficult for Mk VBs´pilots to make Fw 190 accept their tactics.  Mk VBs were outclimbed, outdived and even outrolled by Fockewulf 190s. While diving, they were able to perform aileron turns.

Mk VB´s Rolls Royce Merlin 45 of 1470 hp was outclassed by a Fw 190´s radial engine and the Brits could not afford to wait for three four years for a brand new fighter plane. But a new two stage supercharger engine was flight tested by Rolls Royce Co in Sep 1941. Merlin 61 developed  1,020 hp at 30,000 ft, by more than fourty percent compared with Merlin 45 equipped by single-stage supercharger . Merlin 61 was of 1565 hp, weight higher by 200 pounds and length by nine in. Fitting this powerplant into a Mk VB´s airframe, a new Mk IX with minimum of modifications came into existence. Mk IX was not distinguishable from  Mk V.

The first Spitfire Mk IXs were delivered to Hornchurch in  spring 1942 and on May 19 was a member of the Czechoslovak No 313 Sqn P/O Otmar Kucera offered a trip. He climbed up to 39,000 ft, coming to the conclusion, that this type equal of Fw 190 in combat was.

No 64 Sqn stationed at Hornchurch was delivered the production Spitifire Mk IXs in June and on July 30, 1942 afternoon these encountered twelve Fw 190s over Boulogne. A Fw 190 chased by F/Lt Donald Kingaby tried to escape by diving as usual. But this Fw 190´s opponent  was not Mk V but Mk IX and that reason for E/A was downed. 

Because the Luftwaffe´s  pilots were not able to distinguish Spitfire Mk Vs from Mk IXs while engaging them, they  became less aggressive and Luftwaffe´s   superiority in the skies was never  re-established.

Three Fw 190s inadverently landed at RAF West Malling nr Maidstone, Kent at night of Apr 16/17, 1943. The first of them was the Fw 190 of a A4 sub-type piloted by Uffz Werner Oehn.


The Records of Faber´s interrogation were accessible to the public

on Jul  23, 1992.

Bibliography :  - Nos 23-24 of L+K fortnightly, 1969 and two issues of 1992

                          - Fighter Bombers over Britain by Chris Goss, Peter Cornwell 

                             and Bernd Rauchbach, Nase vojsko Publ 2006

                          -  Otmar Kučera DFC by Jiri Mikulka, Jaroslav Popelka and

                             Vaclav Kolesa , Vaclav Kolesa Publ 2002

Acknowledgments :  We express our gratitude to Mr Jaroslav Popelka and

                                 Mrs Alexandra Kucerova for their assistance.