Peter Engbrecht

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Tiger Squad Ace Gets Another

London, June 12, 1944 - (CP Cable) - Sgt. Peter Engbrecht, a mid-upper gunner flying with the City of Hamilton Tiger Squadron, claimed his third and fourth fighters destroyed in two weeks as a "large number" of R.C.A.F. bomber group squadrons attacked the railway yards at Versailles-Matelot near Paris last night
Engbrecht, from Whitewater, Manitoba, engaged in three combats. The outcome of the third clash was not known.
Sgt. G.C. Gillanders, a rear gunner, of Vancouver, was in on one of these engagements.


Born in Poltavka, Russia, 1923.
Of German Mennonite parents
Family emigrated to Canada in 1926
Home in Whitewater, Manitoba
Worked with father as a Blacksmith
Enlisted in Winnipeg, 17 November 1941
Medal presented by the King
- at Leeming on August 11



Headquarters, Allied Armies, June 12, 1944 - (AP) -Led by a record 1,400 United States heavy bombers, Allied air fleets flew up to 10,000 sorties today in the greatest blow since D-Day, smashing at 16 enemy airfields, six bridges and other targets despite rising German air force resistance.
The heavyweights, in the greatest force ever sent on a single mission, lost seven planes to flak while their fighter escort shot 17 of the enemy from the sky at a cost of 14 fighters.
The Supreme Command threw every class of bomber and fighter into close support of the expanding Normandy beachhead, and the Germans, putting up their stiffest opposition since the Channel crossing, were unable to check this whirlwind of Allied aerial might which came after R.A.F. - R.C.A.F., night attacks.
Cologne was reported by D.N.B. tonight to have been bombed just before midnight in an after-dark sequel to daylight invasion attacks. Many Nazi-controlled radio stations in France and Germany shut down, suggesting widespread activity by the R.A.F.
During the day German fighters offered their fiercest aerial resistance since the invasion began, but still failed to throw great numbers into the battle, possibly because of the beating the Allies have given their bases immediately behind the front lines.
Incomplete reports on today's operations showed 53 German planes destroyed in the air and 17 on the ground. Allied losses were placed at seven bombers, one medium bomber and 31 fighters, four pilots of which were safe.

Airfields Scourged
United States heavy bombers scourged airfields from St. Nazaire to Lyon, to which the Germans had been shuttling their lean air force and one pilot declared that "every airfield within a radius of 50 miles of our target seemed to be under attack.”
Other heavyweights planted explosives on six bridges and other installations, while clouds of lighter bombers, fighter-bombers and fighters filled the skies over Northern France, some engaging in dogfights with as many as 20 enemy planes.
Airfields pounded were at Lille-Nord, Montdidier, Evreux-Fauville, Dreux, Vitry-en-Artols and Beauvats-Lille, all landing fields the Germans need for any sort of serious defense against the Allies.

Night Raids Huge
R.A.F. and R.C.A.F. heavy bombers, out in force for the seventh straight night, ranged over France from the Paris area to the west coast of Nantes, while R.A.F. Mosquitos hit Berlin.
Targets included the Versailles-Matelot railway yards near Paris, hit by a "large number" of R.C.A.F. bombers; the rail junctions at Evreux, Nantes, Tours and Massy-Palaiseau.
Nantes and Tours, respectively 225 and 130 miles southwest of Paris, are junctions through which Field Marshal Rommel might receive reinforcements from the South of France. The Evreux and Massy-Palaiseau junctions are potential channels for German reinforcements to the Caen area.
Sgt. Peter Engbrecht of Whitewater, Man., flying with the City of Hamilton Squadron on the Versailles-Matelot raid, claimed his third and fourth fighters destroyed in two weeks.

Low-Level Attacks
American light and medium bombers hit road and rail junctions at Aunay-sur-Odon, southwest of Caen; Condo-sur-Noireau, south of there; and La Haye de Puits, west of Carentan, some flying so low a gunner said "you could pick out German lieutenants from sergeants and shoot the lieutenants. All planes returned.
Fighters and fighter-bombers of both British and American sections of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force plastered many of Field Marshal von Rundsted's installations with bombs, rockets and bullets.

Good Flying Weather
Up to 750 fighters escorting the American heavy bombers tangled with German fighters, but not one of the enemy planes got through. Then the fighter escort strafed and bombed 11 locomotives, 63 railway cars, more than 100 vehicles and other targets.
R.A.F. rocket and bomb-carrying fighters attacked radio installations near Le Havre, railway and road communications behind the German lines near the beaches, and German military transport.

Using New Fields
From the new airfields on the beaches, R.A.F. fighters attacked specific targets in rapid succession on orders of ground forces.
A dive-bombing attack on a railway station at Briouze blew up 10 trucks, some containing ammunition. Rocket-firing R.A.F. Typhoons struck German vehicles hidden in woods in this same area. Patrolling fighters sank two ferries across the Seine.
The R.A.F. Second Tactical Air Force destroyed six German planes by early afternoon while losing the same number.
Supreme Headquarters disclosed that elaborate plans to destroy railroads, bridges and immediate German defenses was put into operation as far back as March 7 with an attack on Nantes, and that when invasion came Northern France was a railroad desert.


Award Decorations To Seven in RCAF

Ottawa, Aug. 3, 1944 - (CP) - Air Force Headquarters announced tonight the award of seven decorations to members of the RCAF serving overseas, comprising one Bar to the Distinguished Flying Crass, five DFCs and one Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying). One of those receiving the DFC has since been reported missing. The awards:

Bar to DFC
F/L  J. F. McElroy, Kamloops, B.C.

S/L  H. G. Keillor, Mitchell, Ont.
F/O  C. A. Wondolowski, Bridgeport, Conn.
F/O  J. Bamford, Hamilton,(now MIA)
P/O  L. A. Mann, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
W/O  A. I. Korman, Noranda, Que.

CGM (Flying)
Sgt.    P. Engbrecht, Whitewater, Manitoba


Engbrecht points to the swastikas painted
on his turret. They represent his first
2 kills from the night of May 27/28 1944 (BCM)

Pete Engbrecht


ENGBRECHT, Sergeant Peter (R140754) - CGM (Flying) - No.424 Squadron
Award effective 4 August 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2101/44 dated 29 September 1944.

As mid-upper gunner this airman has participated in several sorties and has proved himself to be an exceptionally cool and confident member of aircraft crew. On one occasion during a sortie his aircraft was subjected to fourteen separate attacks by fighters. In the ensuing fights, Sergeant Engbrecht defended his aircraft with great skill and two of the attackers fell to his guns. In June 1944 he took part in an attack on a target in Northern France. On the return flight his aircraft was attacked on two occasions by fighters. Sergeant Engbrecht engaged the enemy aircraft with deadly effect each time and his brilliant shooting caused their destruction. His feats have been worthy of the greatest praise.


Canadian Bombers Destroyed 116 Hun Planes in 2½ Years

London, June 19, 1945 - (CP) - Peter Engbrecht 22, of Whitewater, Manitoba, was top scorer of the Canadian Bomber Group, it was disclosed tonight in a statement crediting the group with destroying 116 enemy aircraft from its formation Jan. 7 1943, to the end of the war in Europe.
In addition the group, which had 1,312 encounters with enemy planes, probably destroyed 25 and damaged 91. Of these encounters, 701 occurred last year when the Germans sent up fighters in great strength in an effort to halt massed bombing.
Engbrecht, who joined the RCAF in 1941, but did not become a gunner until 1943, returned to Canada last March. During most of his operations he was a flight sergeant, but was commissioned on completing his tour of duty last August. His achievements were recognized by award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
The gunner shot down his first German plane in May, 1944 on his second operation with the Tiger Squadron. Three of his four guns were rendered inoperative and the bomber was damaged severely by an attacking Messerschmitt 110, but Engbrecht destroyed the enemy plane.
Seconds later he destroyed a Focke-Wulf 190 and during this trip he defended his bomber against 14 separate attacks.
Two weeks later he destroyed an ME-109 and an ME-110 on a raid on Versailles-Matelot. The night after his investiture he and his rear-gunner, F/S G.C. Gillanders, DFM of Vancouver, destroyed an ME-210.
In addition to Engbrecht, two Oshawa gunners were potent marksmen. During a raid on Oberhausen, Germany last November F/Ss Sam Shutka and Tom Romanchuk destroyed an ME-110 and an ME-210. The next night they downed another fighter.


Victories Include :

May 27/28 1944

June 10/11 1944

Aug 7 1944

Aug 12/13 1944

Aug 16/17 1944

one Me110
one FW190
1/2 Me110
one Me109
one Me410
1/2 Ju88
1/2 Me210
one Ju88
one Me262
destroyed &  (1)
destroyed     (2)
destroyed &  (3)
destroyed     (4)
destroyed &
destroyed &  (7)
probably destroyed
probably destroyed

5.5 / 2 / 0

Of the 2 probables Engbrecht said, "As far as I'm concerned, I got 'em."

Gord Gillanders was the rear gunner who shared the 3 kills

(1)  "The enemy fighter made a bow attack and the first warning received was his trace, the pilot immediately going into a corkscrew and the mid-upper firing at the trace. The aircraft itself was not sighted, consequently no ranges could be given but the bomb-aimer had a glimpse of the fuselage as it went down and is of the opinion that it was an Me110. The fighter appeared to drop off on one wing and went on down in flames, a petrol tank exploding on the way down and another heavy explosion upon impact with the ground which was witnessed by the pilot, engineer, and bomb-aimer."

(2)  "Continuous attacks followed, mainly by three aircraft operating together, a Ju88 with two Me109's on either quarter. On this first attack three guns of the mid-upper turret packed up and all guns in the rear turret. The one gun from the mid-upper turret was the only one serviceable for the rest of the sortie with the exception of one gun working from the rear turret towards the end of the trip and very few rounds were fired from this gun. The attack given on this pro-forma came after several sightings and through the corkscrewing, the aircraft was below the height of the main stream.
After further attacks after the above first mentioned attack, an FW190 attacked from the port quarter up and started to break away on the port beam, the mid-upper gunner firing almost continuously and observing the fighter to blow up in his sights, observed by the pilot, engineer and rear gunner. The attacks were kept until reaching the English coast. Types seen were Ju88, Me109, nearly all operating in threes. The mid-upper gunner had no time to clear his guns and used only the one to shoot the second machine down. Further hardship was caused by intercom failure from the turret, combat maneuvers being passed on and given by the rear-gunner."

(3)  "At the position given, a fighter flare was seen to drop on the starboard beam, the enemy aircraft came from behind the flare and in doing so silhouetted himself against it. The Me110 opened fire at 400 yards, almost immediately on sighting. The mid-upper gunner ordered combat maneuver and opened fire right after, keeping up his fire until the engagement was broken off, the rear gunner getting in a short burst at 250 yards. The fighter seemed to lose control at 200 yards range, diving straight down and an explosion was seen on the ground a few seconds later."

(4)  "In this combat, conditions were the same as in the previous one, identical ranges etc., except that the fighter was seen to go on fire, flame coming from the engine so far as can be ascertained, and then went down into scattered cloud below, the whole cloud lighting up a few seconds later. The fire did not start until the breakaway, starting with a small glow and growing rapidly. Due to being in a corkscrew the illumination in the cloud was seen by all members of crew except the wireless operator and navigator."

(7)  "Enemy aircraft was first seen by mid-upper gunner and rear gunner as it attacked and shot down another Halifax on their port quarter down. The fighter then turned and attacked from the port quarter level at 450 yards. Corkscrew port was given by mid-upper gunner. Fighter opened fire at 400 yards and both gunners immediately returned fire. Traces from both turrets converged on the enemy aircraft which burst into flames and was seen to explode by both gunners and engineer. The aircraft was identified at an Me210.
Rear-gunner sighted enemy aircraft at 400 yards port quarter down. He and fighter opened fire at the same time. Trace was seen striking the enemy aircraft which burst into flame and shortly afterwards exploded. The aircraft was identified as an Me109 when it burst into flames and was seen to explode by the engineer and both gunners. The pilot also saw the flash and burning parts going down."


Check this article out from the Bomber Command Museum (source of middle photo)




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