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Scorpion vs Hellcat in the Battle of Palmdale

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posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 09:16 AM
In the summer of 1956, an F6F-5K drone, formally an F-6 Hellcat from WWII vintage, decided it was tired of being a lowly target drone for the fancy new fangled jets of the day. This Hellcat had other ideas and went on a grand walkabout in stead touring the countryside. Things seamed to be going swimmingly, until that is a pair of ruthless Scorpions (F-89D's) came to kill.
The Scorpions had a few issues though that day as outlined in the accompanying article.

For all the Scorpions effort, all they had to show for it were 208 expended rockets, two destroyed vehicles, burned oil sumps, 13 dud rockets sitting on the ground, multiple shrapnel holes in the local's dwellings, over 500 burned acres and two empty Scorpion fuel tanks.


Although the pilots hit nothing in the air, the ground was another thing completely. Fifteen rockets didn’t go off but the rest did. Castaic saw 150 acres go up in flames. At Placerita Canyon, one rocket bounced along the ground, setting off a series of fires, one of which ignited some of the Indian Oil Co.’s oil sumps. At Soledad Canyon, 350 acres were set ablaze. Newhall wasn’t hit, but it had to deal with the smoke.

The Hellcat hadn’t hit Palmdale, but some of the rockets had, starting fires in and around the city. A piece of shrapnel shot through the window of Edna Carlson’s house, bounced off her ceiling, burst through a wall, and finally parked inside one of her kitchen cabinets. More fragments punched through JR Hingle’s garage, shot through his living room, and nearly hit his wife.

Larry Kempton was driving on Palmdale Blvd. with his mother when a rocket exploded in front of his car. It took out his left tire, radiator, hood, and windshield. At Placerita Canyon, two men had just left their truck to have lunch when a rocket blew it up.

It took two days and 500 firefighters to put all the fires out, and explosive ordnance disposal teams to remove 13 duds around Palmdale. Incredibly, no one was seriously hurt or killed.

The Battle of Palmdale confronted the US Air Force with an embarrassing fact – that two of their latest, state-of-art interceptors couldn’t bring down an obsolete, pilot-less propeller-driven plane.

California faced a red menace that day, but it wasn’t communist.

edit on 17-12-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 09:26 AM
a reply to: Sammamishman

I was in tears the first time I heard this story. And the second time too.

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 11:06 AM
First time I've hear of this. The author needs to check his facts. The Mighty Mouse rockets were never guided and were notoriously inaccurate.

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 02:25 PM
a reply to: Sammamishman

As far as I can tell, I'm the one who coined the term "Battle of Palmdale." There are certainly better written accounts, many of which I wrote or was involved with.

Someone on another board found a good photo of the crash site from 1956.

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 02:40 PM
a reply to: Shadowhawk

I figured you were heavily involved in preserving the history of the event but didn't want to step on anyone's toes.

Thanks for the added links.

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 03:55 PM
I'm surprised that they didn't just get a wing tip under it and roll like they would against the buzz bombs in WWII. Was it an issue of the P-89 unable to go slow enough for the Hellcat?

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 04:37 PM
a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

I wonder if they were concerned with damaging the rocket pods on the wing tips.

posted on Dec, 17 2015 @ 09:13 PM
I guess because of the jet's speed and lack of gun sights, they couldnt get close enought to hit the "small" hellcat.

posted on Dec, 18 2015 @ 10:57 PM
Has happened in Australia as well.
Sea Fury vs Auster

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