The Black Scorpions

Being there . . . . on 29 June 1942 under the scorching sun on the oven-baked Egyptian Qattara
Depression sands to watch in utter delight “Desert Fox” Marshal Erwin Rommel’s promise to
Benito Mussolini that within hours he would marching triumphally into Cairo strangle
suffocatingly on the burning desert terrain. Like so many of Il Duce’s dreams, and Hitler’s casual
orders, all came to naught 150 miles short of Egypt’s capital on a series of high, hot, trackless
rocky wastes known since ancient times as El Alamein. Here, the British Eighth Army under Field
Commander General Sir Claude Auchinleck, also Commander in Chief, the Middle East, made a
sensational, heroic last-ditch stand against the infamous German Afrika Korps. Then, stick
around to nod and smile as Lt General Bernard Law Montgomery (1887 – 1976), in the second
Battle of El Alamein a hundred days later, orders the sudden unleashing of over 1,000 artillery
pieces, followed by the release of half a thousand roaring tanks to crunch over the ridges, crawl
along the ravines, and press forward. Earth had never heard such ear-splitting, deafening
noises, or witnessed sun bright accumulating flashes. Hitler, kit and kaboodle, was kicked out of
North Africa. Few knew that months earlier, on 6 December 1941, an American secret project
of air support had been sent to help Monty’s 8 th, joining the nucleus of officers in charge of the
64 th Fighter Squadron, 57 th Fighter Group, landing outside of Cairo just in time for the Battle of
El Alamein. What happened next was an incident so trivial in the annals of World War II, no
one, absolutely no one, other than the participants, knew, or gave a single fig, about describing
it until this 2023 year.
HEY, WORLD WAR II BUFFS, ESPECIALLY YOU AFICIANDOS OF U.S. AVIATION, EVER HEAR
OF THE 64 th FIGHTER SQUADRON, 57 th FIGHTER GROUP, KNOWN AS THE “BLACK SCORPIONS”?
WELL, DAMN IT, YOU SHOULD! THEY DROVE ROMMEL’S AFRIKA KORPS ACROSS TOP OF AFRICA.
Just arrived, reviewed and highly, highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“THE BLACK SCORPIONS – – Serving with the 64 th Fighter Squadron in World War II”, by General
James A. Lynch and Gregory Lynch Jr. CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2023, 329 pages, 6 ¼” x 9 ¼”,
hardcover; $39.95. Visit, www.casematepublishers.com.
“A lot of thought was given about the squadron name from the day we started to operate
out of Landing Ground 174, EGYPT, September 16 – October 26, 1942. Most of the squadron
wanted a good name that would identify us because we had a great group of fine pilots. They
were young and full of fight and wanted to fight. I am not sure whether this was the day the
name was decided upon, but it was on this field that the name of ‘The Black Scorpions’ came
into being. It was on this field that the squadron really came to life. They received their first real
combat training from here and, as we move through this story, you will understand what I
mean.” General James A. Lynch to his grandson, Gregory
On Palm Sunday of 1943, the Scorpion squadron helped shoot down 74 Luftwaffe aircraft in
a single engagement. Soon thereafter, the unit switched from P – 40s to P – 47s, changing from
fighters to bombers, disrupting German and Italian lines throughout Italy. Throughout all the air
battles James kept an unauthorized diary. He also collected daily intelligence reports,
newspaper stories, American and English, German souvenirs, photos, and letters from home.

Upon returning home, he reminisced with fellow veterans about their experiences, eventually
feeling it was time the story of the amazing unit was made public, resulting in one of the most
captivating WWII aviation memoirs thus far published.