World Battlefronts: High Guns

"I'm a sa-a-ad sack!" proclaimed Lieut. Colonel Francis Gabreski. The 25-year-old pilot had just brought his Thunderbolt fighter back to its British base. His outfit had not sighted a single German plane that day.

Previously, Gabby had shot down 27 foes in air combat, was thus tied for top U.S. scoring honors with Majors Dick Bong of Wisconsin and Bob Johnson of Oklahoma. A Pennsylvania boy himself, Gabby wanted to be high gun when he took a 30-day leave and went home to Oil City to marry his girl.

Next day, coming off an escort job near Evreux, Gabby spotted three low-flying Germans,...

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