Hadnagy Gyözö ’Cickány’ Vámos
Vámos served in the 2/3. “Richie” vadászszázad (Fighter Squadron) operating Fiat CR.42s in the summer and autumn of 1941 during this units operation against the Soviet Union.
On 10 July 1941, Vámos section provided air cover for advancing units of the Hungarian Fast Corps. There were no enemy aircraft in the air but, not wishing to return without firing their guns, the three Fiats attacked and dispersed a retreating Soviet column in the Smotricz area. Almost immediately, five Soviet I-16s appeared and, in the ensuing dogfight, Vámos shot down one of them. The section severely damaged another and sent the other three fleeing eastward.
On 12 July, alezredes (Lieutenant Colonel) Béla Orosz, commander of the air contingent attached to the Fast corps, ordered százados Aladár Szobránczy, commander of 2/3. vadászszázad, to provide escort for two short-range reconnaissance squadrons, which were to bomb an enemy transport assembly point west of Zwanczyk. Szobránczy, föhadnagy László Pottyondy, hadnagy Vámos (CR.42 V.265), szakaszvezetö Péter Soós and szakaszvezetö János Balogh took off at 10:00 and soon joined the formation of WM 21 Sólyom aircraft of the VIIth and Xth közelfelderítö-század. On the way to the target, Szobránczy caught sight of three twin-engined Soviet bombers. As the Fiats dived on them, seven Soviet I-16s appeared suddenly and engaged the Hungarian biplanes. Szobránczy selected a Soviet fighter and soon saw his tracers penetrating the cockpit. The machine began to trail thick smoke and hit the ground west of Zvanchyk. Pottyondy also attacked an I-16 but, at the same time, he was jumped by another I-16. He noticed with satisfaction that Soós took over his victim-to-be and he was able to concentrate on his attacker. Despite the Soviet machine’s advantage of altitude, thanks to the superb manoeuvrability of the CR.42, Pottyondy managed to get behind the Russian and his bullets tore pieces of the fuselage. The Russian pilot steadied his plane only to fly into the machine gun fire of the oncoming Vámos. The two machines raced towards each other and in the next second, they collided head-on. Pottyondy saw two parachutes floating downward but he was immediately attacked by another I-16. It took some time to get behind this opponent but he finally did it. The bullets hit the tail and then moved forward on to the section between the engine and the cockpit. Pottyondy knew that he finally had got his first victory out of three chances since smoke poured out from the I-16s engine as the Fiat’s machine guns kept pounding the fuselage. Finally, it spun towards the earth near Dunayevtsy, out of control. Meanwhile the WM 21 Sólyoms had completed their task and turned for home. Despite being fired upon by effective ground fire, all but one Sólyoms returned, although two of them had to be later written off due to the amount of combat damage received in the low-level attack. The exception was the WM 21 of hadnagy Ferenc Málnássy (pilot) and zászlós Pál Mónucz (observer), which was posted missing at noon. It turned out that they force-landed east of Zvanchyk and eventually returned to base.
Pottyondy and Balogh, who also had shot down an I-16, were the last to leave the area yet they were the first back in Kolomea. Soon Soós arrived and also reported an air victory. On the return, he had got low on fuel and had to land to refuel at another airfield. However Vámos, who they know had bailed out after the collision, and Szobránczy were still missing. After shooting down his opponent and watching Vámos’ collision, Szobránczy had decided to try to find him. Circling around the parachute, he noticed that Vámos hung motionless. When his body hit the top of threes, a Russian patrol appeared at the edge of the wood. Szobránczy sent the Russians running with a few well-aimed bursts. Looking around he saw a meadow along the south-east edge of the forest and put the Fiat down. The machine came to a halt after about 250 feet and the undercarriage sank into the soft ground. A group of horsemen appeared galloping towards him and Szobránczy draw his pistol but, to his great relief, it was not needed for they were Hungarian hussars who had watched his landing. Szobránczy detailed a hussar to guard the plane, mounted the hussars horse and began to search for Vámos. They found the parachute quickly, but it took ninety minutes to find the pilot, who they found sleeping in an abandoned forester hut! The happy Vámos explained that he lost consciousness upon the impact and did not remember pulling the ripcord. He came to when he hit the foliage. At the edge of the forest, he was fired on, so he went farther into the woods until he saw the hut where, exhausted, he fell into a deep sleep. In the meantime, a Hungarian armoured unit reached the scene and then towed the Fiat on to solid ground. Szobránczy landed back at Kolomea at 19:00 and the unit could claim five victories during the day with no losses of pilots.
According to some sources was the I-16, which collided with Vámos credited as an unconfirmed to Pottyondy, who fired at this aircraft before the collision.
After the combat on 12 July Aladár Szobránczy and Vámos were decorated with the bronze Signum Laudis while László Pottyondy received the silver Signum Laudis.
A few days later the “Richie” vadászszázad was pulled back to Hungary.
Vámos was tragically killed in a hunting accident in 1942.
At the time of his death Vámos was credited with 2 biplane victories.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||10/07/41 (a)||1||I-16||Destroyed||Fiat CR.42||Smotricz area||2/3. vadászszázad|
|10/07/41 (a)||1||I-16||Shared damaged||Fiat CR.42||Smotricz area||2/3. vadászszázad|
|2||12/07/41||10:00-||1||I-16 (b)||Destroyed||Fiat CR.42||V.265||W Zwanczyk||2/3. vadászszázad|
Biplane victories: 2 destroyed, 1 shared damaged.
TOTAL: 2 destroyed, 1 shared damaged.
(a) According to some sources this combat took place on 11 July 1941.
(b) Claimed after a collision. According to some sources was the I-16, which collided with Vámos credited as an unconfirmed to László Pottyondy, who fired at this aircraft before the collision.
A magyar királyi 1. honvéd éjjeli vadász repülöszázad Magyar Repüléstörténeti Társaság Konferencia Közleményei 1999 - Csaba Becze
A magyar légiero teljesítményei a Kárpátoktól a Dnyeperig - Béla Orosz, 1942 Budapest kindly provided by Csaba Becze
Biplane Against The Red Bear - Julius R. Gaal, 1974 Air Combat Spring/1974 kindly provided by Santiago Flores
Elfelejtett Hősök - Csaba Becze, 2006 Puedlo Kiadó, ISBN 963-9673-064
Harcok az orosz égen Budapest - László Tomor, 1942 kindly provided by Csaba Becze
“Kőr ász” Egy vadászrepülő század története 1936-1941 - Csaba Becze, 2007 Puedlo Kiadó, ISBN 978-9639673854
Additional information kindly provided by Csaba Becze