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25-5 06-03-2013 07:02 PM

Greatest shot with 1911
Best Shot with a 1911. Ever.

By Philip Bourjaily

While compiling the timeline for Pistol of the Century, our tribute to the 1911 in the June issue of Field & Stream, I read through many accounts of the 1911 in combat.

The most unusual shot (and possibly the best ever), made in wartime with a 1911 pistol, had to be the one fired by a USAAF B-24 co-pilot named Owen J. Baggett in March, 1943, in the skies over Burma. Of course, I am biased toward this one, as it involves a flying target.

On a mission to destroy a railroad bridge, Baggett's bomber squadron was intercepted by Japanese Zero fighters and his plane was badly damaged. After holding off the enemy with the top turret .50s, while the gunner tried to put out onboard fires, Baggett bailed out with the rest of the crew.

He and four others escaped the burning bomber before it exploded.

The Zero pilots circled back to strafe the parachuting crewmen, killing two and lightly wounding Baggett, who played dead in his harness, hoping the Japanese would leave him alone. Though playing dead, Baggett still drew his .45 and hid it alongside his leg…just in case. A Zero approached within a few feet of Baggett at near stall speeds.

The pilot opened the canopy for a better look at his victim.

Baggett raised his pistol and fired four shots into the cockpit. The Zero spun out of sight. Although Baggett could never believe he had shot down a fighter plane with his pistol, at least one credible report said the plane was found crashed, the pilot thrown clear of the wreckage with a single bullet in his head.

If Baggett really did shoot down a fighter with his 1911, it has to count as one of the greatest feats ever accomplished with a .45. Baggett survived two years in a Japanese prison camp in Singapore and eventually retired from the Air Force as a colonel.

Your Freedom Wasn't & Still Isn't Free!

DFlynt 06-03-2013 11:11 PM

Even if it isn't true that was a great read!

CA357 06-03-2013 11:13 PM

True or not, it's a good story.

Rentacop 01-27-2014 02:03 AM

From : Piper Cub crew attacks Fiesler Storch with .45 pistols
" On April 11 Francies and his observer, Lieutenant William Martin, took part in Francies' 142nd mission and one of the most unusual aerial actions of the war. The 71st Battalion was now the closest American force to Berlin-48 miles. Out on an observation mission some 100 miles west of the capital city, Francies noticed a German motorcycle, with the customary sidecar, speeding along a road near some of the 5th Armored tanks. When he and Martin went in to take a closer look at the motorcycle, they also noticed a German Fieseler Fi-156 Storch artillery spotting plane about 700 feet above the trees.

Francies later wrote: "The German Storch, with an inverted 8 Argus engine, also a fabric job and faster and larger than the Miss Me!?, spotted us and we radioed, 'We are about to give combat.' But we had the advantage of altitude and dove, blasting away with our Colt .45s, trying to force the German plane into the fire of waiting tanks of the 5th.

Instead, the German began circling."

Firing out the side doors with their Colts, the American crewmen emptied their guns into the enemy’s windshield, fuel tanks and right wing. Francies had to hold the stick between his knees while reloading. He late recalled, "The two planes were so close I could see the Germans'eyeballs, as big as eggs, as we peppered them."

After the Storch pilot made a low turn, the plane's right wing hit the ground, and the plane cartwheeled and came to rest in a pasture. Setting down nearby, the Americans ran to the downed plane.

The German pilot dived behind a huge pile of sugar beets to hide from them, but the observer, who had been hit in the foot, fell to the ground. When Francies removed the observer's boot, a .45 slug fell out.

Then Martm fired warning shots that brought the pilot to his feet, hands raised. Francies confiscated the pilot's wings and Luftwaffe shoulder insignia, as well as a Nazi battle flag.

"I never found out their names," Francies later recalled. "They could have been important, for all I know. We turned them over to our tankers about 15 minutes later after the injured man thanked me many times for bandaging his foot. I think they thought we would shoot them."

25-5 01-27-2014 03:11 AM

I like that one too. 1911 stories from both theaters of War.

nitestalker 01-27-2014 04:14 AM

Here you go. This is a long list of famous 1911 Pistol Facts and Legends. :)

shadecorp 01-27-2014 03:57 PM

Great stories of
a Great Gun,
Great Men.

Rentacop 03-20-2014 05:57 PM

My grandfather, alone in a trench in WWI, shot three rats with his .45, placed them on a piece of paper on his Captain's desk and wrote out a casualty report on the rats .

My father, training in the Florida Everglades, shot rats out of trees with a .45 .

When he commended my shooting with a .45, I remarked that my groups didn't compare to hitting a target the size of a rat .
My father replied, " I didn't say I hit them every time ."

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