Ted Elvan Lines was born in Mesa, Arizona, on 4 May 1921. He graduated from Aviation Cadet Training on 1 October 1943. He was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 335th Squadron in April 1944, and in May he shot down an Me-109 for his first victory. In August he shot down two more 109s while returning from an escort mission to Misburg, Germany.
On 10 September he became an "Ace". Excerpts from his combat report paint a remarkable picture:
"With engine trouble, I was alone, trying to catch up with our Group near Strasbourg. I saw seven 109s pass beneath me, a group of four followed by three, one of which was smoking. I called for help then dove on the one that was smoking, firing from 600 yards to 100 yards when the Hun went into the deck and exploded. I then turned to the one on the left which also exploded as he hit the deck. In the meantime, two got on my tail and I went into a tight orbit. At that time, six P-47s appeared and drove them off. I then turned on the third 109 which tried to do a short landing on an airdrome. He hit the ground with his wing flying off as I ran to avoid the flak. My R/T was out so I headed for home. I soon encountered a Ju-88 and as I fired on it three chutes appeared and the plane exploded".
On 17 September Ted was leading a section near Bucholt, Germany, when 15 Fw-190s bounced them from the rear and above:
"I broke, trying to discard my right external wing tank, and found myself head-on to five Fw-190s. I immediately started firing and one of them burst into flames. Still trying to drop my tank, two 190s flew under me going in the same direction as I. I got on the tail of one and started firing and the pilot bailed out. At this point a 190 closed on my tail, firing, hitting my tail and wing, and my wing tank finally came off. I went into orbit and after three orbits I was on the 190s tail. He broke for the deck with me close behind and I fired from 500 yards to 100 yards, hitting him all over his fuselage and wings. He burst into flames, exploding on impact with the ground".
Ted overcame two misfortunes, a faulty engine and a reluctant external wing tank, to achieve stunning victories over seven Luftwaffe plane in two missions.
Promoted to captain, he continued to destroy Luftwaffe planes - three more in October - to end his combat victories. He had completed his combat tour in November and was assigned to the 70th Replacement Depot.
Although Ted is officially credited with ten victories, examination of combat reports indicates that he actually destroyed 14. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
Ted subsequently left the Air Force and retired in his hometown.
Units served with
The 335th Fighter Squadron was the offspring of No. 121 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. Formed on 21 May 1941, No. 121 was the second of the three Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteers flying out of England. They were known as the "Chiefs" and were...
Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One-time personal aircraft of 2nd Lt Ted Lines. On fighter sweep to Northern France and having strafed a train, section set upon by 15+ enemy fighters, shot down in ensuing melee at le Neuborg, 6-Jun-44. F/O Walter...
Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.
Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. This was the penultimate P-51D Mustang assigned to Captain Ted Lines of the 335th Fighter Squadron.
Military site : airfield
RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...
||4 May 1921