America Accidentally Attacked the Soviet Union and Other Lesser Known History Moments

Thousands of American manufactured P-39 Air Cobras were given to the Soviet Union during WWII under the terms of Lend-Lease. Soviet Hammer

39. “Look at That Airfield – It’s Loaded!”

Targets and resistance had been scarce in the days preceding his mission, so F-80 pilot Alton Quanbeck was surprised to see the flashes of antiaircraft guns from a small town nearby. Soon thereafter, he spotted a truck on a dirt road, and heard his wingman Al Deifendorf urge “Let’s go in and get it!” An instant later, Deifendorf spotted a juicier target, and exclaimed: “Look at that airfield, it’s loaded!

As Quanbeck described it decades later: “It was the kind of target that fighter pilots dream about. Parked in two rows were about 20 aircraft of the P-39 or P-63 type. Thousands of them were built and flown by Americans in World War II, and some were sent to our Soviet ally. Those below us had large red stars surrounded by a narrow white border painted on the side of their dark brown fuselages.”