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Heroic figure: Gao Zhihang

PLA Daily 2005-08-31

  

  Gao Zhihang was born in Tonghua County of Liaoning Province on May 14, 1907. In 1924, he was admitted into the Education Class of the Northeast Army Officers. Later, he went to France to study. On August 14, 1937, he shot down an enemy bomber in the first China-Japan air battle, becoming a famous air hero all over the country. In 1938, his unit was sneak-attacked at the Zhoujiakou Airport in Henan Province by the enemy fighters, and he sacrificed his life for the country at the age of only 31.

  On August 13, 1937, the Wusong-Shanghai Battle broke out. On 14th, Gao Zhihang, leader of the No. 4 Group of the Air Force, was ordered to go with his unit to defend Jianqiao in Hangzhou.

  At 15:30 on that day, heavy bombers from two trump wings of the air force of the Japanese Navy flew to Hangzhou and found Jianqiao Airport, in the hope of snuffing out the Chinese Air Force at the Jianqiao Aviation School. Upon receiving the information, Gao Zhihang led his group to take off to fight against the enemy right away. As soon as hearing the bombing at the altitude of four thousand meters, they quickly descended through the clouds, and found the enemy bombers in loose formation above the Hangzhou Bay. Gao Zhihang pinpointed a Japanese bomber in camouflage painting, and rapidly locked on it. At the moment, the bomber also found Gao Zhihang's fighter. The bomber dived down to escape while releasing out the rear gun and was ready to open fire. Gao Zhihang pressed the throttle and followed it closely. " Bang, Bang, Bang…" Four 0.5-inch-caliber machine guns rattled away at the bomber at the same time. The auxiliary tank on the right wing of the Japanese bomber was hit and the bomber turned into a fireball in no time. Then the bomber crashed onto the bank of the Qiantangjiang River. With an earthshaking explosion, a flame flared up into the sky.

  The Chinese Air Force won the first air battle against Japanese Air Force, and the No. 4 Group led by Gao Zhihang was named the "Zhihang Group". Japanese pilots both hated and were afraid of Gao Zhihang. When they swore, they would say: "If I did a discreditable thing, I will run into Gao Zhihang the moment I step out."

  By Wu Xuxin and Su Liangbo

  (Aug. 31, PLA Daily)