Unforgettable WWII Engagement: One Pilot Against Insurmountable Odds

A photo of a World War II airplane

On December 13th, 1943, Second Lieutenant Philip R Adair was instructed to scramble in his Lulu Bell to engage what he thought were four enemy planes.

Upon getting closer to inspect the enemy formation, Adair came to understand that his original perception was incorrect: what lay before him constituted a group of four squadrons each containing half a dozen bombers which were accompanied overhead and underneath by combat aircraft. He knew that over 60 Japanese planes were heading straight for his home base and the US complex there, including the hospitals. He targeted the bombers first due to their status as the largest concern. Attacking from way up above gave Adair the advantage of rendering defenses by the enemy planes difficult. With his aim, he caused an engine from one bomber to catch on fire. Adair then executed an evasive maneuver to avoid the attacking Zeroes. Despite releasing their bombs, the bombers fell short and missed the target area. Adair later decided to attack the formation again and managed to get above and behind them.

This incredible engagement is a must-watch, and you can see the video on the War History Online page on Facebook.

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