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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

More on Lou Lenart

A couple of days ago, I mentioned an unusual coincidence of several circles of my life, and I promised more on Lou Lenart. Lou, one of Israel’s first fighter pilots and one of the first two co-commanding officers of 101 Squadron, has spent decades trying to get his story on film.

After my e-conversation with Peter Mersky, I did a little research. I found Lou’s latest project here. I recognized the name to which the Web site belongs, Lorin Roche. Lorin first e-mailed me in November 2005 with compliments about my Web site, although he hadn’t at the time mentioned his involvement with Lou.

I touched base with Lorin after I found his site and we corresponded a bit. He pointed me to a Hebrew article whose English translation can be found at Ynet news. Lou didn’t appreciate the journalism – from the headline down, it spotlights Lou’s accomplishments and all the men involved who I’ve spoken to profoundly appreciate the group effort (although I know Lou would make an exception for one particular supply clerk). Lou is aghast and apologetic about the headline “How I saved Tel Aviv….”

But read that article, and I dare you to disagree that this story is a natural movie waiting to happen.

Lorin’s Web site also pointed me to these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgubAjV6eTk

That’s Lou, mostly, but the gentleman with the raspy voice and blue dress shirt is the late Aaron “Red” Finkel. I could, and often did, listen to him for hours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w-xjSv_6pk

Here’s my first draft of that attack.

One of the topics Lorin and I went back and forth on was the true size of that Egyptian invasion force. Lou says 800 and 10,000 men but I doubt it was that many.

The Egyptians invaded with about 6,000 soldiers and 2,000 irregulars. Some of these attacked toward Beersheva and held the central Negev, so the force at Isdud was smaller. I’d say 5,000-6,000 is a decent estimate, but these would have been strung out back to Majdal and/or Gaza.

In total, Egypt had about 200 tanks and armored cars, plus another 300 Bren Carriers. If we figure half of Egypt’s vehicle fleet were used in the attack (probably a gross overestimate), the 500-800 estimate (including trucks) might not be that far off, but I’d be inclined to guess 300-500 (including trucks).

Bonus advice on tools:

I’ve been using Bubbl.us to help me brainstorm screenplay ideas. It’s a Web-based application that lets you create linked index-card like windows into which you can type anything you want. You can freely position the windows how you like, although you can’t shift the links between mother and daughter cards – although that’s a limitation of small practical importance. Registration and use is free.

MyIdeaMap looks similar, but I haven’t tried it.

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