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Heinz Knoke (Luftwaffe Pilot)
Heinz Knoke, the German pilot who shot down Robert Post's plane wrote an account which was published after the war. The English translation of Knoke's book is called "I Flew for the Führer" and is available in a paperback version published by Greenhill Books. The translation here is one I did from the original German version published by C. Boesendahl. Here is an excerpt from Knoke's account:
The enemy group draws nearer. Involuntarily I have gone up to full throttle. Attack! I can distinctly see the individual planes. They are for the most part Liberators. They appear plump with pregnant bellies full of bombs.
I select a target. I will attack from the front. Clearly the American sits in my sights. Quickly he becomes larger. I feel the buttons on the control stick. Tracer bullets fly over my cabin. They're shooting at me!
At the same time I open fire, pressing both buttons. The recoil of my cannons and heavy machine guns leave my bird shaking lightly. My aim is not good. I can see only a few hits on the right wing.
I swoop under the fat stomach of my opponent. The draft of his four propellers shakes me around in such a way that I think for a second that my tail assembly is torn. The combined speeds of our two approaching planes is over 1,000 kilometers per hour.
Steeply I pull above to the left. Tracer bullets from the guns of the Liberator follow me.
Damned iron-filled air! 300 four-engine bombers carry 4,800 heavy machine guns. If only a third of those are firing, that still means a hail of fire for us.
For the second time I attack, this time from the front and below, and shoot until I am within ramming distance. My shots hit! I let myself fall away below. In falling away I turn my head. My Liberator is burning underneath. It turns in a wide curve to the right away from her group. We are about 8,000 meters high.
From behind and above, once again I attack. Strong defensive fire comes toward me. My high explosive shells hit in the top side of the fuselage and the right wing. With both hands I clasp the control stick.
The fire has overcome the right side of the wing. The inside engine has stopped. The wing has ripped away! Perpendicularly the huge fuselage falls heavily to the earth, turning along its long axis. A long black flag of smog follows it.
A crew member tries to climb out of the upper part of the fuselage. He gets free, but his parachute is burning. Poor fellow! His somersaulting body falls after the spinning fuselage of the fatally hit Liberator. At 1,000 meters above the earth a violent explosion rips the wreck. Burning single parts fall two, three hundred meters along the runway of Zwischenahn airport near a farm that is immediately set on fire by the gas from the plane's tanks.
In its insane descent to the ground, I follow my booty and land on the runway below me. I roll my machine in the direction of the burning farm, turn my engine off, and swing out of my seat. I hurry to the crash site. There is a crowd of people there trying to put out the barnyard fire. I help move furniture, animals, and appliances out of the smoke and flames to safety. The smoke bites my eyes, takes my breath, and the flames singe my flying suit as I pull a pitifully squealing pig on its hind paws out of a burning stall. The stall burns to the ground. The house and the barn are saved.
What is left of the Liberator is scattered in an animal enclosure. When the machine exploded in mid-air, the crew were blown out. With limbs broken a hundred times they lay close to one another among the smoking rubble.
100 meters further on the other side of an earthen wall, I find the pilot's seat along with the nose wheel.
Undamaged, a doll, a mascot, sits next to the splintered cockpit glass.
An hour later I land in Jever. My men carry me on their shoulders to the dormitory.

Heinz Knoke, Luftwaffe pilot
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Copyright 1996-2003, Jim Hamilton
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