Somewhere over the town of Ferdinand (nowadays Montana) I spotted a flock of heavy airplanes flying like big fat birds, clumsily in the air, heading for the Southwest, opposite to the direction they had come from. They were coming back having completed a task. "Good luck!Let them pass unmolested" I thought. "Yet, what if they carry undischarged load of bombs? And what if they decide to turn toward Sofia seeing no defence and dump the unexpended bombs? Who will then forgive me that now, soaring above them, I'm letting fatal minutes slip by?"

My decision is firm: " I will press an attack"

I increased my airspeed and began overtaking the flock of bombers from behind. The clouds were thickening, helping the enemy formation to be able to hide before long. The sun had come quite low and I dashed towards it, making it impossible for the enemy's look to follow me. Thus, I pushed about ten miles ahead of the bombers , then I swung sharply around into a head-on attack from the direction of and at the same height as the sun was. They were floating calmly in the air, not expecting such a bold assault , which was an exception of the established norms and tactical requirements for an attack.

I am not very religious although I have graduated from a seminary but, just in case, I crossed myself. After seconds I must aim my guns . I single out the lead B-24. If I manage to put it out of action, I would probably prevent their eventual wish to hit the capital.

The last seconds are slipping by. The flagman's nose fills my aiming sight- a glowing circle in front of my eyes. My fingers feel the weapons triggers and my palms become sweaty. I am holding my breath and the tension is burning me. I press triggers of cannon and of the machine guns and watch how my gunshots are making fire traces and sink in the glass nose of the heavy bomber. The B-24 was not accepting the attack passively and shoot in response. Something like a magic game started: I throw fireballs to the nose of the big plane, which is approaching me and the same fire balls immediately come back on me. Some of them pass very close to my plane but still do not touch it.

The whole thing takes only few seconds. In a second or two the winner will be determined. Tension grows to its highest point but I still cannot see any visible damages. I have to break off the attack. But where ? How ? I would better slide very closely over or under the heavy plane swooping down on me like a big, terrible monster. If I am even a second late, it will crush me. I decided to pass just over the top of the B-24, so that neither it, nor the other bombers could fire at me.

In this very moment the outcome comes. The bomber, I had damaged lowered its nose abruptly and with my last machine gun and canon fire I stitch it all along its length, from the nose to the rear. The giant sank down literally before the nose of my plane and disappeared from my view.

Immediately, I made use of the space it had freed among the bombers and knifed over onto my side , then I dropped down into a vertical dive. Fiery hail was gushing forth on me from the rest of the bombers. I was awaiting to be hit in any moment and I curled up in the cabin ready to jump with a parachute in case that this happens and my plane loose control. Thus, I dived down for several seconds. After that I leveled off and climbed into the safety of the clouds which fluffy saving arms embraced me. I could now take a breath calmly and felt myself strong enough for a new attack. When I leaved the clouds, I looked back and saw the flock of enemy bombers flying southwest without their flagman!



...The returning B-24Ds of the 98th Bomb Group were to experience an even more menacing enemy after the Avia B.534s had ended their attacks. As the pilots of the 612th and 622nd (Sqwadron)Yato's were returning to their airfields, a flight of four Messerschmitt 109G-2s being led by a little known poruchik (Lieutenant), by the name of Stoyan Iliev Stoyanov, followed after the retiring B-24Ds of the 98th Bomb Group.

Leading the flight of Messerschmitts, Poruchik Stoyanov commenced a frontal attack on a retiring section of 98th Bomb Group bombers, heavily damaging the B-24D "The Witch" (sin 41-11840) being flown by Lieutenant Julian Darlington. , destroying both middle engines on the aircraft.

Another attack by Poruchik Hristo Krastev and his wingman Poruchik Petar Bochev from the rear of the bomber formation,hit the B-24D "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" (sin 42-40364) which was under the command of Lieutenant James Gunn. Prior to this Lieutenant Gunn heroically and deliberately cut the airspeed of his B-24D to come to the aid of the stricken "Witch " of Lt. Darlington, however all was to be in vain.

From their crippled B-24, the crew of "The Witch" could see that the mid-section of Lieutenant Gunn's aircraft was engulfed in flames and smoke. They watched Lieutenant Gunn' s B-24 diving into the ground out of control, where it would crash and bum. The only survivor from "Snow White " was the tail gunner Stanley Horine who miraculously survived after parachuting while engulfed in flames. On Poruchik Stoyanov and his wingman Poruchik Bonev making a second run on Lieutenant Julian Darlington's B-24, and riddling the aircraft with more cannon and machine gun fire, its fate was decided. With the controls shot away and the aircraft emitting smoke, lieutenant Darlington grounded the B-24D into a wheat field where he, along wIth 5 of his crewmen, were quickly captured by Bulgarian border police. The other four men of Lieutenant Darlington's crew escaped across the border into the mountains of Yugoslavia and joined Tito's partisans.