Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 28, 2012 1:00:25 GMT 12
The very sad Green Island Tragedy that the RNZAF's No's 14 and 16 Squadron suffered was bad enough, but this is a huge loss of Corsairs in a storm in transit too. hankfully withe the majority of pilots rescued, but not all.
LONDON, Feb. 2. Twenty-two Corsair fighters were lost in a severe storm on Friday while returning from the Gilbert Islands to the Ellice Islands on a routine flight. One crashed on an island in the Ellice group and the other 21 planes were forced down at sea. All but six of the pilots were rescued. At an advanced South Pacific air base Vice-Admiral Fitch. Air Commander in the South Pacific, told war correspondents that an almost unbelieved number of Allied airmen had been rescued after being shot down over Rabaul. He added that 1500 had been saved. This was more than 80 per cent of the number forced down at sea.
Post by rwright142 on Nov 11, 2012 23:50:02 GMT 12
Greetings, I was researching BuNo 17833 and came across this post and just had to join this board. I never know of this storm taking out so many planes and men. Thanks for sharing! If anyone is interested, I have a free forum dedicated to the Corsair here: f4ucorsair.freeforums.org I would like to post this information on that forum with your permission. Thanks in advance! Richard
Another weather disaster to overtake American single seater fighters in latter part of WW2 in Pacific occurred on 1st June 1945 when P-51Ds of 20th Air Force engaged in escorting B-29s from Iwo Jima to Japan (target Osaka) attempted to punch through a massive weather front which blocked their path. Bad idea, the front was a monster, filled with extreme icing and violent up and down draughts. The pilots would never have attempted to break through this wall of cloud on their own initiative, which reached from sea level up to 27,000 feet, but they were assured by a weather reconnaissance plane that they would only be in cloud for a short time before breaking through. Unfortunately this information was faulty, and twenty seven of the fighters failed to return to Iwo Jima, with only three of the pilots rescued. I can only presume that the P-51s were climbing en route after departing Iwo Jima, as they were quite capable of climbing well above the front had they the time to do so, and were probably keen to catch up to the B-29s which were flying over at high altitiude from their more southerly airfields in the Marianas. No doubt there was a big inquiry into the circumstances of this effort. The Japanese also occasionally suffered severe losses of fighters during ferrying trips to the combat areas, the best known one involving 30 Army Type 3 fighters ("Tony") at about the end of April 1943, between Truk and Rabaul. This flight got off course, and 18 of the pilots were forced to ditch their aircraft alongside a reef, although most of them were saved. A later delivery (probably within a week or two) of a similar number of these fighters over the same route ended even more distastrously, when the cut-off valves leading from the drop tanks failed to function as advertised, and most of these aircraft also landed in the sea half way to Rabaul. Very few of these pilots were saved due to the inefficiency of the make-shift Japanes rescue arrangements, which were anyway probably greatly overtaxed by so many aircraft ditching in the middle of the ocean. It made the RNZAF ferrying efforts (14 Squadron Kittyhawks and the New Caledonia incident) far to the south a few weeks previously seem like a picnic, although each group would have been quite unaware of the other's difficulties. David D