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After the D-Day landings at Normandy, the Allies drove relentlessly towards Berlin. From the West and South came the Americans, British, and other allies. From the East, the Russians. By 1945 the Luftwaffe was crippled by the lack of supplies and fuel but their presence was still felt on occasion with attacks on allied air and ground forces.

During the last months of the war, Col. Richard Asbury was flying P-51 Mustangs in the 354th Fighter Group of the 9th Tactical Air Force. Previously assigned to the escort role with the Eighth Air Force, they were now tasked with providing ground support for General George Patton's Armored Divisions in the push towards Berlin.


On April 14, 1945, Col. Asbury spotted a single Focke-Wulf 190 strafing one of Patton's armored columns near Gusten, Germany. Approaching from above and the rear at about the 7 o'clock position, Asbury fired a long burst into the Fw-190 at close range, striking the left wing root. The German aircraft began to billow black smoke and headed towards a field of yellow flowers in an attempt to crash land but the aircraft exploded in the air before it reached the field.
Col. Asbury finished the war an ace with five German planes to his credit.

"The Sword and the Shield"

  • Jim Laurier