Augertine over Faluja

The Spitfire had come to symbolize Britain's aerial victory in WW2. Israel's first Spitfires were patched together from scraps and pieces of Spitfires that the British had left behind. Additional Spitfires were brought to Israel in Operation 'Velveta' towards the end of the War of Independence.

The IAF Spitfire's baptism of fire was on October 15th 1948, when Israel raided El Arish Airbase. It also proved its accuracy in strafing runs carried out during Operation 'Yoav'.

On November 17th 1948, Mahal volunteer Rudy Augertine (who would later become the First Combat Squadron's commander) found himself up against three Egyptian Spitfires. The dogfight took place over the 'Faluja Pocket' in Sinai: the enemy planes were trying to provide cover for an airdrop of supplies to an Egyptian force trapped in the Pocket. Augertine, an experienced pilot who was considered to be one of the IAF's aces, proved he desrved his reputation by shooting down two of the Egyptian Spitfires.