• Last modified 6977 days ago (April 20, 2005)
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Remember that Nazi ME-109 shot down on Elsenborn Ridge? years ago

Bob Piller, F/395, of Lawrence KS, reminds of the Me-109 shot down one afternoon on Elsenborn Ridge.

It came over and made a couple of passes, strafing the ammo train of Service Battery, 371st FA Bn., was fired on by men from several units, and eventually swung north then circled back south and crashed in the snow in front of F/395.

When the German airplane, with Nazi swastikas on the tail rudder, strafed the ammo train, members abandoned their trucks and took to the ditches.

Emilio Flippo, ran back to his canvas cab GMC 6x6, grabbed the ring-mounted .50 cal. machine gun and fired away. The airplane began to smoke and Flippo yelled, "I got him!" when it crashed in the field in front of F/395

Historians of some stature claim it never happened, but many 99th veterans remember the incident as if it were yesterday.

Piller said, "He made at least two passes and was shot down by someone to our right. The Aammo train was on the road north from Sourbrodt, to the right of F/395.

Some members of the ammo train say they recall Flippo firing at the airplane, but can't confirm that he was the one who hit it. Later in the war, Flippo was hit in the leg by a .45 cal. slug which came from a GI grease gun, accidentally fired by one of the ammo train sergeants while the men were huddled in a cow shed. The so-called "million dollar wound" sent Flippo home. There were no charges.

Piller said the pilot didn't parachute, he was too low. He crashed in the snow and came to rest in front of F/395, "threw open his canopy and started to run toward us." He soon realized he was running toward the American lines, so he reversed his course and headed back."

Piller added, "It was too late because some of our guys, a fellow from North Carolina named Moody was one of them, caught him and brought him to our position. By the time we had him he was down to his underwear because Moody and the others had stripped him of his flight suit and parts of his uniform.

"I was assigned along with a couple of others to take him back to HQ. As we waited for Regimental Intelligence to pick him up several people came into the room to question him," Piller reports.

Moody, who now lives in Charlotte NC, was contacted by telephone and confirmed that he recalled the incident, as did members of the ammo train.

Do you recall the Me-109 shot down on Elsenborn Ridge?