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2000 Closed threads from 2000 (read only)

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Old 13 December 2000, 07:28 AM   #1
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I recall reading that, near the end of the war (or maybe after the war?) an American pilot challenged Rene Fonck to a mock dogfight. Apparently the challenger was pretty cocky and convinced that he would get the best of Fonck. As the story is told, this guy ended up eating humble pie, having been surprised by the Frenchman.

Does someone know who the American was? I find this story difficult to believe.
Old 13 December 2000, 01:00 PM   #2
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Not that I find the credibility of this story convincing either, but, besides the lack of documentary evidence, which part of this story makes it difficult for you to believe, just out of curiosity?
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Old 13 December 2000, 02:44 PM   #3
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Concerning documntation, I have seen the story in print. It may have been in 'Heroes of Aviation' by La Tourette Driggs, written before the end of the war. Dont recall whether or not the challenging pilot was identified.

What seems difficult to believe is that two pilots fighting on the same side would either want or be permitted to "play" with their machines just for the sake of proving a meaningless point.
Old 13 December 2000, 03:37 PM   #4
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Hey Mark:
Could it come under the heading of advanced training or manuevers?

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Old 13 December 2000, 04:59 PM   #5
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Such events weren't entirely unheard of. CS Lewis (Sagittarius Rising) related a mock dogfight with Guynemer, which the SPAD pilot won handily. It's pretty easy to understand, especially if you've been in the company of early 20s Type A male egos in the advanced stages of testosterone poisoning. I actually know of one case in WW II wherein a correspondent visiting a marine fighter squadron insisted on interviewing the resident top gun to the near exclusion of everyone else. One of the non-scorers cornered the reporter and said, basically, "You want a story? You want to know who's the best? Tell that egotistical (expletive deleted) there's one sure way to find out: let's load the guns and have at it."
Similarly, in the 1960s two studly F-8 Crusader pilots who'd never had a no-holds-barred ACM contest approached their CO saying that one was due to rotate out of the squadron and they wanted to indulge in "one last training hop." the skipper didn't even look up. He kept signing his paperwork, muttered "No" and pointedly ignored them. Years later one of the contestants admitted, "There's no way that both of us would've landed from that flight." Unless by parachute.
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Old 14 December 2000, 07:24 AM   #6
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I've heard of a number of mock dogfights. An old pen pal of mine used to go to the front and "dogfight" combat pilots. He would have given anything to get to the front but was never able to manage a transfer. He was also a test pilot of captured German machines, and had mock dogfights in them, too.

I don't know that it was common, but it certainly wasn't a rare occurence.
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Old 14 December 2000, 09:00 AM   #7
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I think what you are referring to is a bet between Frank Baylies and Fonck over who would shoot down the most Germans in a day. Fonck won!
Old 14 December 2000, 02:48 PM   #8
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I also recall a story of something similar involving Madon and an Americanm serving in a French squadron....perhaps a true story that has been spread around to where it was an American challenging......Bishop, McCudden, Nungesser etc.

Anyway - thanks a lot now I'm going to spend half the night going through books to find the reference !!!!!!!
Old 14 December 2000, 04:58 PM   #9
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The bet is recounted in Mason's book HIGH FLEW THE FALCONS. The wager-as the chapter is called-is chapter eight in the 1965 edition from Lippencott. DD
Old 22 December 2000, 05:25 PM   #10
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Billy H reports that Harold Hartney of the 27th Aero in his book, "Up and At'EM" admitted to taking up each of the replacement pilots (including Luke) and challenging them to 'get on his tail' before he got on theirs. According to Harold none of the challenged met the challenge. That 'mock' dogfights was common practice is proven by the existence of gun cameras which recorded these events-in training.


rene fonck

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