Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

Wesjohn2 t1_jcsb64l wrote

On 10 May 1945 over Okinawa, Marine First Lieutenant Robert R. Klingman and three other pilots of VMF-312 climbed to intercept an aircraft they identified as a Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu ("Nick") twin-engined heavy fighter flying reconnaissance at 25,000 feet (7,600 m), but the "Nick" began climbing higher. Two of the FG-1D Corsairs ceased their pursuit at 36,000 feet (11,000 m), but Marine Captain Kenneth Reusser and his wingman Klingman continued to 38,000 feet (12,000 m), expending most of their .50 caliber ammunition to lighten their aircraft. Reusser scored hits on the "Nick's" port engine, but ran out of ammunition, and was under fire from the Japanese rear gunner. Klingman lined up for a shot at a distance of 50 feet (15 m) when his guns jammed due to the extreme cold. He approached the "Nick" three times to damage it with his propeller, chopping away at his opponent's rudder, rear cockpit, and right stabilizer. The Toryu spun down to 15,000 feet (4,600 m) where its wings came off. Despite missing five inches (13 cm) from the ends of his propeller blades, running out of fuel and having an aircraft dented and punctured by debris and bullets, Klingman safely guided his Corsair to a deadstick landing.[47] He was awarded the Navy Cross.[48]