Lou Lenart. American Marine. Hero of Israel’s War of Independence. Known as “The Man Who Saved Tel Aviv.” dies at 94.
“On May 29, 1948—just two weeks after the fledgling Jewish state was invaded by the armies of five Arab nations—Lenart led the newly-formed Israel Air Force’s (IAF) first combat mission, stopping a massive Egyptian army column less than 30 miles away from Tel Aviv.
In what can only be described as one of the greatest fake-outs in military history, Lenart—who, as the most experienced pilot, led the assault—and his three buddies flew four junk Czech-built German Messerschmitt fighter planes for a country that had no actual airforce. Dropping 70 kilogram bombs on the Egyptian column and attacking them with gunfire, this bit of daring-do managed to convince the Egyptians that there was enough competition in the sky to warrant a retreat.
There can be no doubt that Lenart helped to turn the tide of the war.”