Ralph Kidd "Kid" Hofer


DFC (US x7),    AM (x4)

Croix de Guerre (Belgium)

Born 22 June 1921 in Salem, Missouri as Ralph Halbrook.
His name was changed when his mother remarried after his father's death.
Joined the RCAF in July 1941.
To No.1 Manning Depot, 19 July 1941.
In March 1942, he posed for the "Welcome Friend" photo used in a Coca-Cola ad.
Sent overseas in October 1942.
Sent to OTU.
Posted to No.286 (Army co-cp) Squadron RAF.
Transfered to the USAAF, 11 June 1943.
Reporting to the 334th FS, 4th FG on 22 Sept. 1943.
He named his first plane, a P-47, "The Missouri Kid - Sho Me" the rest all being called "Salem Representative"
Not much for discipline, promotions came slowly, he wasn't promoted to 2Lt. until late in April 1944.
Kid Hofer & his dog Duke
Killed In Action on 2 July 1944 - shot down (probably by flak) while strafing Mostar Airfield in Yugoslavia.
He had just turned 23.


7,000 Planes

London, Thursday, 25 May 1944 —(AP)— Berlin was bombed just after midnight —its second blasting within about 12 hours— as RAF night raiders followed history’s greatest aerial assault by 7,000 bombers and fighters upon Hitler’s Europe yesterday from bases in Britain and Italy.
The tremendous daylight offensive spread all the way from the English channel to the Balkans and early today, after fresh waves of RAF bombers had been heard roaring toward the continent, the German radio reported that Berlin was attacked anew, along with the Rhineland industrial city of Aachen, 35 miles west of Cologne. The air ministry announced the RAF was over Germany and enemy-occupied territory, but did not identify targets.
The Reich capital, raided Tuesday night by RAF Mosquitos, was subjected to its 11th American assault of the war by nearly 1,000 Flying Fortresses and as many escorting fighters in the climax of Wednesday’s daylight operation.
From the Atlantic wall to points deep in the Balkans, more than 5,500 tons of explosives were dropped by British-based and Italy-based squadrons in the daylight attacks.
Seventy-seven German fighters were shot down in fierce sky battles along the route to Berlin, which was attacked by a strong force of Flying Fortresses from above a cloud cover, while from all British-based operations by Americans, 32 bombers and 16 fighters were missing, a U.S. air force communique said tonight.
A Liberator wing pounced on the Paris area, undefended by the overmatched Nazi air force, and hammered enemy airfields at Melun and Orly to the south and Creil to the northeast, making its bomb runs against light to moderate flak.
In a gigantic coordinated assault, allied bombers and fighters from bases in Italy flew 2,700 sorties, striking in the vicinity of Vienna, at rail links in northern Italy and at other targets in Austria and Yugoslavia.
Other fighters and fighter bombers in this sixth straight day of aerial invasion raked railyards and airfields behind the channel fortifications in occupied France and Belgium. These, with the bigger raids on Berlin and Paris, added up to 3,800 sorties from Britain.

Nazi Reserves Whittled Down
The day's kill was the largest since May 15, when 125 enemy aircraft were destroyed in attacks on Berlin and Brunswick, and cut further into the plane reserves the Germans are hoarding for D-day.
Fortress gunners claimed 48 Nazi planes in combat over Berlin and fighters bagged 28 more. The bomber loss was the heaviest since May 12 when 12 were downed smashing synthetic oil plants around Leipzig.
The Budapest radio broadcast an air raid alert late tonight, signaling the beginning of the seventh day of aerial blows.
British Typhoons made a highly successful twilight attack on large oil storage installations near Amiens.

Yakima Pilot Gets Triple Kill
Capt. Donald Larson of Terrace Heights, Yakima, Wash., set the pace with a triple kill today as American fighter pilots shot down at least 29 German planes in air combat. Larson previously had a single German plane to his credit.
A double kill was scored by an eighth air force Mustang ace, Lt. Ralph Hofer, Salem, Mo. ,who bagged a pair of FW-190s in a 20-minute dog fight over Berlin when a fleet of 75 to 100 Nazi planes attacked Flying Fortresses just after they dropped their bombs. Hofer now has 16 (13 -jf) air kills to his credit.


Kid Hofer and Goody Goodson
Kid Hofer and Goody Goodson

Lieut. Ralph Hofer Ties With Canadian Ace at 15

A FIGHTER BASE IN ENGLAND, May 31, 1944 (AP) - Lieut. Ralph Hofer, Mustang pilot of Salem. Mo., destroyed three German training planes on the ground today, tying Maj. James Goodson of Toronto, Canada, for the leading ground score of fighter pilots in the European theatre of operations, with fifteen planes destroyed.


... and then I went up like this ...

Only Five of Old Eagle Squadron are Left

From BETTY KNOX - The Old Eagle Squadron hatched a brood of fledgling flyers and pushed them out of the nest in the fighter-bomber Mustang on D-Day.
Only five of the original Eagle Squadron are left now. Once there were 75 members of the unit that flew with the R.A.F. before America entered the war.
Don Blakeslee's fighter group, transferred to the U.S.A.A.F. in the fall of 1942. It is the highest scoring group in the U.S. Air Force, having accounted for 200 enemy airplanes in the air and 186 on the ground in the three months before D-Day.
Of the five veterans who remain, only three flew with the old outfit on "D" day.
The bulk of the squadron is made up of relatively new boys. Some of them in fact arrived the day before "D" day; since then these 19 and 20-year-olds, young in comparison with the old hands, are now flying from one to three missions a day.
In the ranks of Blakeslee's group are four of America's top five Fighter aces, none of whom has less than 27 kills to his credit. They are: Major James A. Goodson, with 30; Captain Don Gentile, with 30; Captain John Godfrey, with 29; and First Lieutenant Ralph Hofer, with 29.
The fifth, Major Bob Johnson, with 27, flies a Thunderbolt.
D-Day was an unlucky day for three of the big five.
After flying in all the major shows since the tough old days, Gentile, Godfrey and Johnson could not keep the most important date in their flying lives, because they were on long-overdue leave in the United States.

As for Lieutenant Hofer, D-Day was different.
Two enemy troop trains did not get where they were going, or anywhere, because at 7 a.m. Hofer stopped them - with our bombs.
Major Goodson says it was a good day considering everything. With Goodson, "everything" includes almost not getting back. But he thinks he's pretty lucky. He is the only one of the five aces who is in Britain today.
That is because yesterday Hofer crash-landed on an emergency strip on the Allied beach-head. Hofer is doing O.K.


Victories Include :

8 Oct 1943
6 Feb 1944
16 Mar 1944
18 Mar 1944
21 Mar 1944
23 Mar 1944

1 April 1944
8 April 1944
11 April 1944
18 Apr 1944
1 May 1944
12 May 1944
21 May 1944
22 May 1944
24 May 1944
28 May 1944
29 May 1944
30 May 1944
31 May 1944
21 June 1944
one Me109
one Me109
one Me110
two Me109s
one FW190
one FW190
one Me109
one Me109
one Me109
one Me110
two He177s
one Me109
1/2 Me109
1/2 Bu131
one Me109
two FW190s
one Me109
  3  He177s
2.5 Fw190s
  3  Bu131s
one Me109
destroyed OTG
destroyed OTG
destroyed OTG
destroyed OTG
destroyed OTG
Meppel-Zwolle area, Neth.
West of Paris
Munich Area
SE of Mannheim
Fliegerhorst Langendiebach
E of Hamm-Munster
NW of Lake Constance
Celle (Germany) area
20 mi s/e of Stettin, Ger.
Heeresflugplatz Fassberg
Cologne area
20 mi N of Coburg
Rathenow area
Hamburg area
E of Hamburg
Magdeburg area
Mackfitz airfield
Oschersleben airfield

near Siedlce, Poland

15 / 0 / 2


11.5 / ? / ?   On The Ground

He is usually credited with 14 or15 OTG so I must be missing a few


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On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

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