Messerschmitt Bf109E-4 ‘Yellow 1’ Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel, Staffelkapitan 9/JG26, Cafﬁers, France, August 1940
By the early stages of the Battle of Britain, Luftwaffe pilot Gerhard Schopfel had already achieved the status of ﬁghter ace, but during August 1940, he was to increase his victory tally signiﬁcantly. His most successful day came on the 18th August, whilst leading an independent hunting patrol of Messerschmitt Bf 109E ﬁghters across southern England. Whilst over the Folkestone area, he spotted the Hurricanes of No.510 Squadron climbing out of Hawkinge, but rather than immediately attacking the RAF ﬁghters, Schopfel and his wingman dived underneath the aircraft to approach from their blind spot. Unnoticed by the Hurricanes, Schopfel shot down the two tail-end-Charlies, expecting to see the remaining aircraft immediately breaking for cover, but they carried on their course. He managed to shoot down a further two Hurricanes, including the aircraft of RAF aces Donald McKay and Kenneth Lee, who both managed to successfully bale out of their stricken ﬁghters.
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