"STRANGE ENCOUNTER"

BY ROY GRINNELL

L/E of 1,250. Signed by Rudy Augarten.

Size: 24" x 30"

Price: $175


American Fighter Aces
Series 1

A lone Messerschmitt was patrolling the battle area at 10,000 feet. Suddenly the pilot spotted a pair of Spitfires 5,000 feet below, heading in the opposite direction. A quick wingover and shallow dive put the Messerschmitt behind the unsuspecting pilot of the rearmost Spitfire. Squeezing the trigger on his stick grip, he continued firing in short bursts until the Spitfire went down.

Another combat over Europe in 1944? No. The date was 16 October 1948, the Messerschmitt was an Avia S-199, the Czech-built version of the Luftwaffe's famous fighter, piloted by Rudy Augarten, an American volunteer for the Israelis, and the Spitfire bore Egyptian Air Force Markings. A "strange encounter" indeed!

Augarten went on to score three more victories in the Arab-Israeli War. Adding the two ME-109's that he shot down while flying P-47s with the 376th Fighter Group in World War II, he became one of six Americans to achieve "ace" status by combining victories from two wars.