Commander of the 101 squadron Modi Alon.
S-199 D-111 under the masking net at the Herzliya airfield.
On another ground support mission of the
following day, a third Messer was put out
of action, leaving only D-106 (the letter
was painted as the Hebrew character that
reads dalet; it is the fourth letter of the
Hebrew alphabet and thus corresponds to
the letter D in the Latin alphabet; editorial note) airworthy. In an attempt to seek
and destroy Israeli fighters on the ground,
REAF Spitfires bombed the former RAF
base at Ekron, where Israel’s sole Messer
was based. To avoid its loss, the 101 squadron moved its operations to a small orange
grove located at the outskirts of Herzliya.
Under open skies, Israel’s single operational Messer was hidden under dense
camouflage netting spread between the
trees, the adjacent strip of unplowed dirt
was used as a runway and a water tower
situated next to the orange grove served
as a control tower.
In the late afternoon hours of June 3, 1948,
a pair of Royal Egyptian Air Force Dakota
bombers, escorted by a pair of Spitfires
REAF Dakota bomber prior to be shot down by Modi Alon
on June 3, 1948.
made their way to Jewish settlements in
the area of Rishon Le Tzion and Tel Aviv.
As they approached their destination, they
were attacked from the sun by 101 squadron commander Modi Alon flying the only
available combat plane of the Israeli Air
Force wearing a blue fuselage number
D-106. The first Dakota was downed over
Jaffa and the second over the sands of
Rishon Le Tzion. These were the first air
to air kills to be credited to the Israeli Air
In order not to compromise the upper surface camouflage of the airplanes hidden
between trees, underneath camouflage
netting, blue and white Star of David roundels were applied only to the sides of the
fuselage and the bottom surfaces of the
wing. In July of 1948, ex-USAAF volunteer
pilot Stan Andrews drew up the squadron’s
red, white, and black insignia of a winged
skull of death wearing a flight helmet and
goggles. The squadron insignia was printed on billboard paper and applied to the
left side of the engine cowling. The insignia
was seen photographed on airplanes
D-108 and D-111, which were operational
prior to the July 9, along with D-107 and
A second cease fire went into effect on
July 18 and lasted until October 15, 1948,
with the outbreak of Operation Ten Plagues, later to be renamed Operation Yoav.
The aim of that operation was to root out
the Egyptian army headquartered at the
Iraq El Sudan fortress situated along the
Gaza – Hebron – Jerusalem road. During
this offensive, World War II vintage combat
planes from opposing forces were flown
together in one squadron wearing the
identification roundels, the Jewish Star of
David of the Israeli Air Force. Czechoslovakian built Avia S-199s, Jumo 211 powered
Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs, Supermarine
Spitfires and North American P-51D Mustangs flew together for a short time between October 15–22, 1948.
Preparations for Operation Yoav began in
the summer of 1948 with all airworthy aircraft including light and heavy transport
planes, bombers, and fighters. They were
fitted to deliver bombs brought from abroad or manufactured locally. Most missions during operation Yoav were concen-