Into the Teeth of the Tiger By William S Phillips - Aviation Art


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Into the Teeth of the Tiger

By William S Phillips


On December 12, 1943, 1st Lt. Don Lopez experienced his first jing bao, or scramble, just after dawn; soon he and his comrades of the 75th Fighter Squadron were at 6,000 feet over South Central China. Lopez ripped his P-40 into the middle of a flight of Japanese Oscars and quickly engaged one of them. The American and Japanese pilots flew directly at one another, firing steadily and scoring hits. Lopez expected his opponent to break off, but he did not.

Head-on only a few feet apart, the Oscar swerved right… too late. Lopez lost three feet off the end of his wing, but the Japanese pilot lost substantially more, including control of his aircraft, which plunged toward the earth. Undaunted, Lopez pressed the attack again, helping to bring down another Oscar with his guns. Countersigned by Don Lopez.

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