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First Allied Gunner to Shoot Down
a German Plane From German Soil

  ABOVE: Pvt. Russ Eick in Basic Training at Camp Davis, North Carolina, in Feb., 1942. Later as an anti-aircraft gunner with the 486th AAA Bn, 3AD, Eick entered the history books with the shoot-down of a German fighter-bomber on September 18, 1944.



Tec 5 Russ Eick and the other members of an M-16 half-track crew from Battery C, 486th AAA Bn, gave the Spearhead Division another "'first" in its assault on the Third Reich. On September 18th, 1944, a small flight of enemy planes attacked the 67th Armored Field Artillery positions southeast of Brand, Germany. Eick, as the main gunner, was ready, and, as one plane broke through the clouds, he made some last-second adjustments with his quad-.50's turret and opened fire.

Eick's aim proved dead on, as smoke instantly began pouring from the engine of the FW-190 fighter-bomber. The plane took a sharp dive into a nearby field and crashed and burned, killing the pilot. War had come home to the Luftwaffe. The First United States Army awarded Battery C credit for (of all Allied units in Europe) shooting down the first German plane with guns emplaced on German soil. The crew consisted of crew leader Cpl. Stanley J. Zyza, Pfc. Stephen J. Spirounias, Tec 5 Russell A. Eick, Pfc. Marcus C. Palombi, and Tec 5 Donald M. Dean.

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