TimelineMaps

Follow us through the World War I centennial on Follow wwitoday on Twitter

Frank Luke

Frank Luke, the Balloon Buster, on a 1933 National Chicle Chewing Gum card, Sky Birds Series Number 12 of 48.
Text:
Frank Luke
Reverse:
No. 12
Frank Luke
Hot bullets from a German Spandaus, roaring "Archie" shells held no terrors for Frank Luke, the Balloon Buster. To shoot down a balloon in a roar of flames was his one desire. On September 29th, 1918, he went out after three German "sausages" as the balloons were called. Observers saw the three go up in flames and smoke, but Luke was downed behind the German lines. Before being killed he took the lives of six of the enemy with his pistol.
This is a series of 48 cards
Sky Birds
National Chicle Company
Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.
Makers of Quality Chewing Gum
Copr. 1933

Frank Luke, the Balloon Buster, on a 1933 National Chicle Chewing Gum card, Sky Birds Series Number 12 of 48.

Image text

Frank Luke

Reverse:

No. 12

Frank Luke

Hot bullets from a German Spandaus, roaring "Archie" shells held no terrors for Frank Luke, the Balloon Buster. To shoot down a balloon in a roar of flames was his one desire. On September 29th, 1918, he went out after three German "sausages" as the balloons were called. Observers saw the three go up in flames and smoke, but Luke was downed behind the German lines. Before being killed he took the lives of six of the enemy with his pistol.

This is a series of 48 cards

Sky Birds

National Chicle Company

Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.

Makers of Quality Chewing Gum

Copr. 1933

Other views: Larger, Back, LargerBack

American ace and 'balloon buster', Frank Luke was credited with 18 victories, of American fighter pilots second only to Eddie Rickenbacker.

Luke was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron which had the mission to destroy German observation balloons. With no defenses of their own, observation balloons were heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns and fighter aircraft.

Flying a Spad XIII, Luke paired with Joseph Wehner in fulfilling their squadron's mission, with Luke attacking the balloon while Wehner provided cover from enemy aircraft.

Their partnership was short-lived. Wehner was killed in action on September 18, 1918, Luke 11 days later.

Fourteen of Luke's eighteen victims were balloons. All of his victories were achieved between September 12 and September 29, 1918.

September 29, 1918

United States

Roles held by Frank Luke

Role Start Date End Date
Combatant - Pilot

Books by or about Frank Luke (1)

Title Author
The Balloon Buster Norman S. Hall