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 Author  Topic: Airplanes in the Solomon Islands ... 1943
Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 - 9:50pm
Thanks C. J. for setting me straight on the subject of Bombers. It is always a plus when you can get the dope on something from someone who was actually there.


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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 - 1:56pm
I agree with Frank in that it is always great to hear from a veteran (CJ) of the Solomons engagement during WW-II.

On the Wildcat and Avengers for instance- one who was in the Solomons, or read about the war there would know that although carrier capable, many USMC squadrons ( for example) were there using land based fields (only)- this to include other SBD squadrons. If I recall the the Wildcat I found there in the Solomons did not have the tail hook assembly visible in the tail area.

On the B-17, again I was not PT Boat crew and I was not there in the war (nor can I say for certain what servicemen then did, or did not see) and I'm by no means a expert on all pertaining to the Solomons in WW-II, yet reading Squadron diaries, books and even talking to locals of the time- there has been many mentions of the B-17, oftentimes now older locals there even recognized the die cast model B-17 I carried vs/against a B-24 model etc.

As mentioned here on the forum, there are several known B-17 wrecks in the Solomons, and many, many more waiting to be found. I was told of one I could not visit (due to time) in somewhat shallow water. I've never seen any mention of this plane in readings, however since I did not visit it I cannot say what type of plane it is, although some locals insisted it was a B-17. Note: as mentioned, many B-17 units were being rotated out in 1943, to be replaced by B-24's, the vast distance's of the Pacific made the B-24 more practical.

For GP, the USAAF B-17 I id'd in 2008 was downed (all crew KIA) in 1942 as result of a dogfight with a Japanese Mavis. From accounts it sounds if much of this engagement may have been well below 4,000 feet I reckon. The ex-pat reverend who recorded the clash- knew it was a B-17 at the time, as did the locals who watched the battle and all thought the US plane would win.

All the Coastwatchers knew of the B-17 and there is in writings mention that Martin Clemmens knew of the plane prior to the Guadalcanal landings, as they were snooping all over the place in the Solomons and doing a job of bombing Tulagi.

Naval PB4Y-1's were using Munda by early 1944, having moved from Guadalcanal. They Navy guys in those planes were fairly aggressive in attacking the Japanese at low altitude even mast height- both day and night a interesting book "We flew Alone" covers some of their feats.

To the OP of this post question > I would suggest visiting pacificwrecks (which I am not a part of), and at Search > Airfields > Solomons- there one can see the locations and many of the units/plane types that passed through those fields. I'm afraid otherwise you may stumble upon the occasional person here who may steer you (unintentionally) on a meandering course in the formation of their professional opinion on/about these aircraft in the Solomons,

-Regards






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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 - 9:04am
Shaneo;
This might be the plane you are talking about:
B-17E "Bessie The Jap Basher" Serial Number 41-2420
Ditched: September 24, 1942.
Wreckage
This wreck rests in about 60 feet of water, in good condition. Located offshore at Domo (Ndomo) Village, twelve miles from Henderson Field. All the engines are intact on the plane, the nose is collapsed, but cockpit still in good shape, with even the pilot's seat intact. The top turret is easily visible, as is other scattered wreckage. The fuselage from the bomb bay back is missing, salvaged on January 31, 1944. The ball turret lies on the sand behind the fuselage.

Jeff Johnson dove the wreck in 1999:
"I dove the wreck 3 times and it is relatively intact. Talking with the local dive master, he said that the locals witnessed the crash and the Japanese captured two survivors who they later executed. Another thing I noticed is that two out of the four engines had been feathered."
Take care,
Ted




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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 - 12:53pm
Ted,

It is not the one you mentioned- it is in another Province.

Cheers-


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Nathaniel Smith

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nathaniel Smith   Send Email To Nathaniel Smith Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 - 4:22pm
Thanks for all the help! This is what all of you suggested.





natsmith

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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 - 7:13pm
Nat;
I realize images are limited but the B-17 should be E and F models, no chin turret(late F model and G model). Also the P-40 Kittyhawk(Camo with white tail) is left out, which the New Zealanders flew at this same time period in the area.
Take care,
TED


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Nathaniel Smith

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nathaniel Smith   Send Email To Nathaniel Smith Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 - 7:31am
Ted thanks for the help. I found a good Kittyhawk as you described ... but I 'modified' the B-17.


natsmith

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TheBridge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TheBridge  Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 - 9:13pm
Nat,

What an outstanding piece of work, And the help of the PTBOATS team really put in some details and validation to this collection!

Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

Bridge


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