Air Force

November 8, 2013

This Week in History

Lt. George Hall, 63rd Fighter Squadron

1943: 100th aerial victory for 56th Fighter Group

Col. Hubert Zemke, 56th Fighter Group commander, made a promise to his group, which was to be the first fighter group in the European theater to reach 100 aerial victories by Sadie Hawkins Day, Nov. 6, 1943. Lt. George Hall, 63rd Fighter Squadron, helped fulfill the commander’s promise Nov. 5 when he downed the last kill of the day.

Just 206 days earlier on April 13 the group flew its first combat sortie from Royal Air Force Horsham St. Faith, near Norwich, Norfolk County, England.

As the Americans honed their skills, their combat effectiveness improved and they began to rack up victories beginning with Capt. Walter Cook who earned the group’s first aerial victory on June 12.

The group flew a bomber escort mission Nov. 3 and tallied three kills. Zemke influenced 8th Air Force planners to also put the 56th FG on another mission Nov. 5 to Münster, Germany, in support of two combat boxes of B-24s. Bomber combat boxes were designed to provide mutual supporting defensive firepower against enemy fighters.

Two minutes after the 56th crossed the Dutch coast, they jettisoned their fuel tanks. Five minutes later they joined the bombers. The 63rd FS flew on the right side of the lead bomber box, with the 61st on the left side. The 62rd FS covered the rear bomber box.

Just south of the town of Rheine, Germany, 30 enemy fighters flew in from the north at about the same altitude as the bombers. When they saw the American fighters, they hesitated in their attack. That pause gave the two lead squadrons a chance to gain the advantage and attack the German fighters.

The 56th Fighter Group recorded six kills that day, including one each for Zemke, and Maj. Francis Gabreski. The last aerial victory for the day went to Hall.

During the fray, Hall saw a Messerschmitt Me 210 about 5,000 feet below and to the right of him. Diving out of the sun, the enemy gunner did not see Hall until he was within 5,000 yards. The Messerschmitt turned left. Hall fired at a 300-yard distance and watched his bullets strike the aircraft around the pilot.

The Messerschmitt flipped to the left and then to the right, causing Hall to make an evasive hard right turn. Even so, his aircraft was struck by debris, but he was close enough to see the enemy pilot who appeared dead and the gunner who jumped from the aircraft. Hall watched as the enemy aircraft spiraled toward the earth.

With Hall’s victory, the 56th FG’s tally was 100.5 aerial victories.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

F-35 pilot training underway

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Travis Byrom, Lockheed Martin instructor pilot, briefs students in the first F-35 Lightning II training course before the start of class May 5 at Luke Air Force Base. The students are Lt. Col. Sean Ho...
 
 
Senior Airman 
DEVANTE WILLIAMS

Wild Weasels reunite

Senior AirmanDEVANTE WILLIAMS The Wild Weasels gather for a group photo during their reunion May 1 at Luke Air Force Base. The Wild Weasels were formed during the early days of the Vietnam War. Their mission was to seek out and...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

LRS Airmen undertake unusual engine repair

Courtesy Photo Staff Sgt. Kyle Saunders, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance journeyman, works on a destroyed valve inside the engine of a 2006 Ford Bobtail at Luke Air Force Base. The type of maintenance on t...
 

 

Air Force News – May 15, 2015

Germany Gen. Frank Gorenc, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, presented the 86th Airlift Wing in Ramstein a $250,000 check and a trophy May 1, for winning the USAFE-AFAFRICA Innovation Madness tournament. The tournament-style match determines which wing promotes the best innovative culture. Bulgaria The 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron was...
 
 

People First – May 15, 2015

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, click on the link in the title. AF establishes four new key reporting identifiers...
 
 

Next Week in History, May 21, 1960: B-25 retires

Editor’s note: The Thunderbolt will not be published May 22 due to the holiday down day. The following was provided for that edition. Fifty-five years ago next week, the Air Force retired its last World War II North American Aviation B-25 Mitchell bomber. The B-25’s first flight was 20 years earlier on Aug. 29, 1940....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin