Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lufbery is Shot Down by Germans -- May 19, 2018

Manitowoc Pilot, 23-May-1918
100 years ago today, on 19-May-1918, Raoul Lufbery, the most experienced American fighter pilot, was killed in action.  Lufbery was born in France, but his father was American. He had 16 confirmed victories while flying for the French Lafayette Escadrille and one more for the Americans.

Huns Kill the U. S. Air “Ace” Over the American Lines.
Airman’s Only Wound Was a Hole Through the Thumb—Yanks Take Revenge by Destroying Hun Planes.

Paris, May 22.— Maj. Raoul Lufbery, the first American ace to be killed as the result of an aerial fight, was burled on Monday with full military honors by French and American detachments.

With the American Army in France, May 22. — Maj. Raoul Lufbery, who has been regarded us the best aviator in the American service, was shot down in flames and killed Sunday morning by a big German triplane which he was attacking. Lufbery jumped from his flaming machine when 800 yards above the ground. He had 17 victories to his credit. Lufbery's home was in Wallingford, Conn.

The German machine which brought Lufbery down was armed with two machine guns, with an operator for each piece.

Lufbery's only wound, aside from those he received when he crashed to earth, was a bullet hole through the thumb. Apparently the same bullet punctured one of the gasoline tanks of his machine.

The German machine was under heavy antiaircraft fire several times both before and after the air fight, and one explosion of a shell upset the enemy plane, but it managed to straighten out again.

It was about ten o’clock in the morning when a German triplane suddenly descended from the clouds, apparently because of engine trouble, until it was only some 1,500 meters over the city of Toul. The American flyers were on the alert and some of them headed for the fighting line to await the enemy on his return.

Lufbery and the pilot of another machine made after the Germans, who quickly ran away from the direction of the line, the two American machines following him. Eight miles away from the enemy’s line Lufbery was seen to attack from under the tall, but then he drew off, as if his machine gun had jammed. Two minutes later he attacked again from the same position, and almost immediately his machine burst into flames.

With the American Army In France, May 22. — A French aviator shot down a German plane back of the Lunevllle sector. Two men from the plane were captured by the Americans. The Germans came from somewhere in the rear. It is reported, although not confirmed, that this is the machine which brought down Major Lufbery. There has been extraordinary aerial activity all day in this sector.

Two hostile airplanes have been brought down by American aviators, says an official announcement issued at American headquarters. One of the airplanes shot down carried two officers. Both bad been riddled with bullets.

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