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Thread: Clostermann - The Big Show

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    Default Clostermann - The Big Show

    Does anyone have a copy of Pierre Clostermann's "The Big Show" who might be able to help me? I'm currently reading Kershaw's "D-Day; Piercing the Atlantic Wall" in which he quotes from pages 150 and 151 of Clostermann's book for the morning of 6 June 1944:

    "It was a nightmare. The night was dark, with low cloud. In the gloom hundreds of aircraft were stooging about without being able to see each other, blinded by the fires raging from Vierville to Isigny."

    What I'd like to check is the reference to the night being dark; Clostermann was flying a Typhoon and I was under the impression these only operated by day during the invasion, especially during the pre-dawn period of 6 June when the Normandy beaches were receiving the close attention of Bomber Command - to say nothing of the insertion of the Airborne Divisions.

    Was Clostermann really flying at night or is the quote in error?

    My interest, as always, is the weather!

    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    I have the Clostermann's book "The Big Show", but I'm not at home for the moment. So, if you haven't an answer to your question, I could reply you, but only from Wednesday 20th of July.

    Bien amicalement

    Pierre

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    Hi Brian,

    I have the Czech translation "Velky Cirkus" and this sentence is there exactly as you wrote.
    BUT at the time of D-Day Clostermann was flying Spitfires!

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Closterman - The Big Show

    Hello,

    From the french copy "le grand cirque" (1948)
    On page 119-150 " 602 sqn was an op at 3h55, an another at 9hr, one at 12h, one at 17h30 and finaly one at 20h35,
    I participated on the 2 last ops , he could not fly before 17h.
    Weather was not good, the clouds are low and we had to descend under the previous "Z altitude" and to go out the security corridors.

    Hope the translation is good

    Best regards
    René

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    Brian

    In my copy of "The Big Show" his descriptions of D-day are to be found on pages 119 and 120. The words you quote are a description of a dusk patrol over Omaha beach on the evening of 6 June. I think at this time he was flying with 602Sqn on Spitfire IXs?

    Steve

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    Hi Brian,
    The quote begins: "My second patrol was a dusk patrol over 'Omaha Beach'. It was a nightmare. The night was..."
    He took off at 20:35 hours.

    In October 1943 P. Clostermann was posted to No 602 Squadron RAF. He remained with the unit - flying Spitfire IX - to July 1944. He never flew Typhoon operationally.

    Regards
    Mojmir

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    Thank you all gentlemen, that sorts it out quite nicely - he was flying a late evening patrol at dusk, but that's not clear from the text. The author has clearly misquoted in respect of Clostermann flying a Typhoon - it's not an honest mistake as later on the same page he refers to 'another Typhoon'. Moral, never believe anything you read.

    Grateful thanks for your quick responses.

    Brian

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