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HistoryVP-204 HistoryHistory

Circa 1947

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-44 during the late 1940's was based at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone. I was attached to this squadron flying PBM-5 type aircraft. VP-44 was formerly a PBY squadron (VP-43) in FAW-4 during the late 1930's and was split off as VP-44 in the Pacific during WWII. VP-44 was later reformed during the Korea Crisis and was designated as VP-204; then VPMS-4; then in 1947 became VP-44. VP-40 (old VP-74/VP-56) was next hangar in NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone. VP-3 one of the first P2V squadrons took up residence across from us in the same hangar. I departed in 1949 for NAS Operations, NAS Norfolk, Virginia. I lost track of VP-44 after that..." Contributed by ADC(AP) O'LAUGHLIN, Francis M. "Red" Retired FMOL2@AOL.COM [27JAN2001]


Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VPB-204 History ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 Certificate "...VPB-204 Cross the Equator Jupiter Rex Certificate - Issued May 3, 1946. When you crossed the Equator, you became a member of the Realm of Jupiter Rex! To All Aviators, Flyers, and Other inhabitants Above the Surface of the Earth, Let it Be Known: on this 19th day of Sept., ROY C. GOUGE, in the 2nd year of his flying time there was borne across the Equator at Longitude 88.30 on the Wings of Airplane no. 59146 of PATROL BOMBING SQUADRON 204..." Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net [18JAN2003]


Circa 1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 History "...Circa 1945. Came across this in Dad's (PATTON, LCDR E. Douglas Retired) personal collection..." Contributed by Susan Hamersky hamersky@earthlink.net [12JUN2015]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-204 Crew ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 Naval Training Certificate "...Picture came from the estate of former Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Roy C. Gouge. He served in the Navy from 20 November 1943 to 10 May 1946. After boot training at Great Lakes, NATTC NAS Memphis, Tennessee, and NAS DeLand, Florida he joined VPB-204 in NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina around March 1945. VPB-204 was transferred to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone in May 1945. Gouge remained with the squadron until his discharge in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana in May, 1946. According to his discharge, Gouge is entitled to the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, and Victory medals. The photos show him wearing Aircrew wings, Air Gunner distinguishing mark, and a radarman distinguishing mark. The jumper I had only had the rating badge, air gunner mark, and an honorable discharge emblem on it..." Contributed by Pete Killie gyrene2044@yahoo.com [05JAN2004]


Circa 1944

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-11 - History from 00AUG42-00DEC44 - Submitted December 19th, 1944. Squadron's Assigned: VP-31, VP-32, VP-53, VP-74, VP-81, VP-83, VP-92, VP-94, VP-98, VP-99, VP-130, VP-131, VP-133, VP-141, VP-147, VP-204, VP-205, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214 and VP-215..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [04DEC2012]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 11 Jan 1944..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [29SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7, VJ-8, VJ-9, VJ-10, VJ-11, VJ-12, VJ-13, VJ-14, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15, VP-16, VP-17, VP-18 and VP-19

VP-20, VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52 and VP-54

VP-61 and VP-62

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-115, VP-116 and VP-117

VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150 and VP-151

VP-201, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-204 Crew ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 Post Card WebSite: EBay http://www.ebay.com/ [03APR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-204 Crew ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 Movie Theater Pass "...Picture came from the estate of former Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Roy C. Gouge. He served in the Navy from 20 November 1943 to 10 May 1946. After boot training at Great Lakes, NATTC NAS Memphis, Tennessee, and NAS DeLand, Florida he joined VPB-204 in NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina around March 1945. VPB-204 was transferred to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone in May 1945. Gouge remained with the squadron until his discharge in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana in May, 1946. According to his discharge, Gouge is entitled to the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, and Victory medals. The photos show him wearing Aircrew wings, Air Gunner distinguishing mark, and a radarman distinguishing mark. The jumper I had only had the rating badge, air gunner mark, and an honorable discharge emblem on it..." Contributed by Pete Killie gyrene2044@yahoo.com [05JAN2004]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VPB-204 History ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 Temporary Liberty Pass "...VPB-204 Temporary Liberty Pass November 20, 1944..." Contributed by PADGETT, ARM2 Carl L. Carjyky2nv@aol.com [06JUN2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...28JAN44: VP-HL-5 was relocated from NAF Recife, Brazil to Ipitanga Field, Brazil, located approximately 30 miles from Bahia. At this station the squadron was involved in coorperative efforts with ZP-42 (an LTA squadron), VP-204 and VP-211 (both PBM-3S Mariner squadrons)...." Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/index.html [28APR2001]


Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailCamera "...Report of Antisubmarine Action By Aircraft. Report No. 12-43. 6 August 1943 - VP-204 - NAS Trinidad, British West Indies - 205-P-8 - FAW-11..." WebSite: U-Boat Archive http://uboatarchive.net/U-615ASW-6Dresbach.htm [12MAY2007]

S_E_C_R_E_T

Attack Narrative

Lt. (jg) O. R. Christian 2nd pilot's seat Lt. (jg) E. A. Hilbert (1st pilot's seat after Lt. (jg) Dresbach killed.)

O. R. Christian giving the narrative:

We sighted the sub at about the same time the radar man had a target, about 1820Q. The range was about 13 miles. We headed towards the sub. Lt. Crockett, who was organizing the attack procedure, told us to get in position for an attack, and he and the PV pilot would sweep the decks with machine gun fire for us as we came in.

We got about two miles back of the sub and notified Lt. Crockett that we were ready to come in. Lt. Crockett told the PV to "lets go, PV, and sweep the decks." At 1825Q, 120 58' N & 640 55' W, we attacked on course 3000 (approximate). At the time of release our altitude was between 200 and 150 feet, 190 K IAS, diving angle of plane about 0080. The sub was on course about 3000, but he turned slowly to starboard as we came in on him. Bombs spaced 60 feet, 180 K GS by intervalometer.

The sub started firing at us from the conning tower and aft of the conning tower at 1000 feet range. As we were approaching the sub, Lt. (jg) Dresbach was shot in the chest and arm. Lt. (jg) Hurley grabbed my shoulder, and as I looked I saw Dresbach sort of slump in his seat. Dresbach looked at me and motioned for me to take the controls.

I pulled the plane out of the dive. Dresbach was removed to the forward bunk room. When I was out of range of the sub's gun fire, I began climbing to make a demolition run. Lt. Crockett said "proceed with demolition attack". Lt. (jg) Hilbert got into the first pilot's seat to help me. At 1830 we came out of the clouds and Lt. Hilbert started in a 50 dive to drop our demolition bombs from 1900 feet. The air speed indicator had been shot out by the sub's fire so I don't know what speed we were making. The demolition bombs were spaced at 150 feet, 180 K GS. Only one demolition bomb released. It exploded about 100 - 200 feet on the port beam of the sub. The distance could have been more. It did no damage to the sub. The sub fired at us the whole time we were making the demolition run, but the sub's gun fire ceased after the explosion of the demolition bomb. The explosion probably shook the gun crew aboard the sub momentarily. I told Lt. Crockett we were going home. He said "So long. Good work".

Casualties:

Lt. (jg) J.W. Dresbach, PPC, killed in action in first pilot's seat.

E. H. Baites, AMM1/c, bow gunner, shot in leg. Serious loss of blood. In hospital.

H. E. Kerr, Sea 2/c, bombadier's panel. Shot in left side, 3 ribs broken; in the leg; in the hip.

Lt. (jg) T. M. Hurley, hit in face with splinters from instrument panel and bullet.

P. R. Lanigan, RDM3/c, hit in wrist with piece of casing of 30 cal. round.

The men who were hit were given first aid by Lt. (jg) Hurley, who was hit in the face by splinters. It can be said that we had trouble finding out that Kerr was hit. He stayed right at the bombadier's station after he was hit three times and wouldn't say anything about being wounded. Finally we learned that he was hit.

The plane has 14 bullet holes, all apparently made by 30 calibre fire.

2 holes above bow gunner's window.

2 holes above bombadier's window.

2 holes in port bulkhead by bow compartment.

1 hole in glass above second pilot's seat.

2 holes in radar housing.

2 holes in port nacelle.

2 holes in starboard nacelle.

1 hole through blade of starboard propeller.

First pilot's air speed indicator, rate of climb indicator, radar, absolute altimeter, both artificial horizons, fluxgate compass, automatic pilot.

Q. You spoke of observing gun fire aft of the conning tower. Can you give the exact location of this gun and its size?

A. Well, I could just see a gun firing at us aft the conning tower. Whether it was on the conning tower or located on the deck I can't say positively. I don't know the calibre. I was too busy with other things to note exactly where the gun was located. But I think it was aft the conning tower on the deck.

Q. Do you know why the second demolition bomb did not release?

A. No.

R. E. Lehman, Sea 1/c, Flight Deck



I was watching the sub during the D/C attack run. As we approached I could see the men on the sub firing at us. There were so many men on the conning tower that I don't see how they were able to move around. The gun fire at us seemed to be coming right out of the conning tower. I don't know how many guns were firing at us at the time. I could see little puffs of smoke going out from the conning tower.

When Mr. Dresbach was hit I looked away from the sub to him. So I didn't see anymore of the action. I helped Mr. Hurley cary Mr. Dresbach back to the forward bunk room.

During the demolition run I was helping take care of Mr. Dresbach, and I didn't see any of the action.

P. R. Lanigan, RDM3/c, Radar

On the D/C run I was on the flight deck, standing up beside the radar. When we were quite a way from the sub, I saw puffs of smoke coming from the port side of the conning tower. When we got closer I saw tracers coming at us. I could feel the plane being hit. I could see men on the sub. The conning tower looked crowded with people. These people obscured my view of any guns on the sub. I saw our gun fire. The first couple of bursts were to starboard and then to port of the conning tower. I didn't see any of the men on the sub fall, but I don't know how they kept from being hit. The bullets were going right into them

On the second run, the demolition run, I went back into the tail to relieve the tail gunner as he could man the radio. I didn't see the demolition bombs explode.

Q. I believe you were hit during the D/C attack?

A. Yes sir, but it didn't amount to anything. Just a splinter.

Q. What scale did you have the radar on at the contact?

A. The 20 mile scale, sir.

Q. Any tilt to the antennae?

A. No, sir.

E. J. Ruff, ARM 2/c, Tail Turret

I saw the explosions of the D/C. Instead of four explosions, there was just one huge explosion. It was 25-30 feet astern of the sub. The explosion shook the sub violently and the sub turned over to starboard at a sharp angle. I believe the knocking over of the sub upset the gun crews because the sub ceased firing at us as we pulled away. I returned the sub's fire with about 100 rounds from the 50 calibre machine gun. The tracers were hitting the conning tower of the sub.

I saw one demolition bomb explode off the port beam of the sub. I poured about 50 rounds into the sub this time. I got hits on the conning tower.

While we were pulling out of the dive over the sub, I saw men standing on the conning tower with their hands wrapped around their heads, and I also saw two or three men lying on the deck by the forward deck gun with their hands wrapped over their heads. I guess they were afraid of the tracers and splinters from the D/C bombs.

Q. Did you get an accurate view of the armament of the sub?

A. No, sir. We were traveling so fast and I was so busy with my 50 calibre machine guns that I didn't get a good look at the guns on the sub. The sub wasn't firing at us when we pulled out of the dive. Somehow, the way these men were covering up their heads with their arms caught my eye and just stuck in my mind.

Intelligence Summary:

Note:

The initial interrogation of this tactical crew was accomplished by Lt. Sommerville, A.C.I., who is attached to the Fleet Air Operations Office, N.A.S., Trinidad. Additional interrogation was done by the squadron A.C.I. officer. To acquire a full picture of this attack ASW-6 Nos. 10-43 and 11-43 V.P.-204 should be studied.

This attack was monitored throughout its duration by receivers tuned on the voice scene of action frequency. Lt. L.D. Crockett, the central figure in ASW-6 No. 11-43, V.P.-204, had assumed command of strategy and operations at the scene of action.

Lt. Crockett was heard to exclaim over the air as soon as this plane (204P-8) had delivered its D/C attack, "That's a beauty, Dresbach!" And a beauty it was, particularly under the circumstances of its delivery.

The strategy at the scene of action with this crippled enemy submarine was for 205P-11, (Lt. Crockett of V.P. 204 P.P.C.) and the PV, both aircraft having expended their bombs on the submarine, to sweep in from each bow of the submarine in an effort to clear the decks of gun crews, while the third plane (204P-8 in this instance) made a depth charge attack from astern.

Although Lt. (jg) Dresbach had foreknowledge of the accurate and voluminous fire power of this submarine, he did not hesitate to engage this stubborn, difficult enemy. He dove right into the fray.

At the critical moment of his attack, he was shot through the chest and shoulder by two 30 calibre rounds, which entered the bow of the plane, and burst through the instrument panel. Whether as a last conscious act or an act already begun at the time the bullets struck him, Lt. (jg) Dresbach pressed the firing button, releasing 4 MK 44 D/C. He then slumped back in his seat, looked across to Lt (jg) Christian, in the second pilot's seat, and motioned him to take over the controls.

The ordinary firing key, which is usually held in one hand by the pilot in the first pilot's seat, is an awkward gadget to hold, leaving him with only one hand and arm to work the yoke. The pilot needs both hands and arms to apply to the yoke while the plane is diving at about 200 knots in order to hold the plane true and bring it out of the dive over the submarine. Hence, to enable the pilot to apply both hands to the yoke and still have the ability to release his bombs at the desired moment, a button has been installed on the yoke with electrical connections running to the bomb release installation on the pedestal. It was this button which Lt. (jg) Dresbach pushed.

Although the D/C were spaced at 60 feet, 180 K.G.S. by the intervalometer only one tremendous explosion was observed about 30 feet astern of the submarine. The submarine was observed to shake violently, heel over to starboard, rock back to port, and continue to rock. The submarine was apparently badly shaken up by this attack. The tail gunner is of the opinion that the gun crew were certainly pitched off balance, if not thrown to the deck of the sub.

Credit for this attack must go to Lt. (jg) Dresbach.

Commendation must go to Lt. (jg) Christian, in the second pilot's seat, who took over the controls of the plane with less than 200 feet altitude at a speed of 190 K IAS, and who brought the plane safely out of the dive and through the storm of the gun fire which was still finding the plane. It was a cool piece of work.

Lt. (jg) Dresbach was removed from his seat by Lt. (jg) Hurley, who was bleeding in the face from splinters off the instrument panel and 30 calibre rounds. Lt. (jg) Hurley was standing by to replace either of the pilots who might be hit. However, he took charge of first aid in the forward bunk room and Lt. (jg) Hilbert got into the first pilot's seat in order to deliver an attack with demolition bombs on the submarine.

On this attack run, E.H. Baites in the bow turret was wounded in the leg and was brought into the forward bunk room for first aid. Also P.R. Lanigan, who had now risen from the radar set to witness the action, was wounded slightly in the wrist. However, H.E. Kerr, at the bombing panel, made no murmur of his wounds, one in the side, one in the leg, and one in the hip. He remained on station to set up for the bombs. It was only after the attacks were completed on the sub that it was found out that this man was wounded. Both Baites and Kerr are expected to recover from their wounds. In fact, both men report they will deliver another attack within ten days.

Only one of two demolition bombs, 2 MK17 TNT D/C equipped with an instantaneous nose fuse, released. It exploded off the port beam of the sub apparently out of damaging range. Accurate bombing from 1900 foot without a bombsight is difficult business.

All bombs expended, with exception of a hung Mk17 D/C and the MK 24 bomb, which is for a particular operation; and, with 205P-2 standing by waiting for its turn to attack, 204P-8 returned to base.

It is possible that 204P-8 added some damage to the already crippled submarine. The nature and extent of this damage is unknown.

A plot of the explosion of the D/C and the demolition bomb is appended.

One of the remarkable aspects of this attack is the high morale of the officers and men participating in it. Besides being willing to engage the enemy as soon as possible, the officers and men are eager to engage the enemy. The two men in the hospital, Baites and Kerr, are exceedingly anxious to get into another engagement.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Report of Antisubmarine Action By Aircraft. Report No. 11-43. 6 August 1943 - VP-204 - NAS Trinidad, British West Indies - 205-P-11 - FAW-11..." WebSite: U-Boat Archive http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-615ASW-6Crockett.htm [12MAY2007]

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S_E_C_R_E_T

Attack Narrative:

A chronological account based on the interrogation of officers and men aboard the plane and the radio log kept on the action from monitoring the voice scene of action frequency at the base.

This is the narrative of one of the greatest battles fought in this war between aircraft and an enemy submarine. The central figure of this action is Lt. L.D. Crockett, VP-204, who was flying 205P-11. All available operational planes of VP-204 were on assigned missions, in the air, or undergoing repairs from recent engagements with enemy submarines at the time the order came for another plane to proceed to the position of an attacked submarine. Lt. L. D. Crockett and his crew were on a ready status. To fulfill this urgent mission VP-205 loaned 205P-11 to Lt. Crockett.

The engagement with this enemy submarine is believed to have begun 5 August, 1942 at 2015Q. Lt. J.M. Erskine in 204P-6 attacked a submarine decks awash at 1218N-6510W. For details see ASW-6 No. 10-43 from VP-204. The amount of damage done to this submarine by this attack is unknown.

During the night and the morning of 6 August 1943 a hold down was conducted by 204P-5, which had relieved 204P-6, and which in turn was relieved by PV and B-18 aircraft. At 061103Q Lt. A.R. Matuski, VP-205, in 205P-4 was sent to the scene of action to relieve the PV and B-18 aircraft.

Shortly before 1330Q 205P-4 sighted this sub and attacked it at 1233N - 5415W. This plane sent in a contact report. Another message reported sub damaged, with bow out of water making only 2 knots. At 1335Q this plane reported that "sub bow sank." At 1337 this plane reported "no casualties to plane or personnel." At 1348Q this plane reported "Damaged Damaged Fire." This was the last message from 205P-4. The plane is presumed to be lost. It appears that a fire broke out in the plane after the first attack was delivered, or while the plane was delivering another attack.

Lt. L.D. Crockett of VP-204 flying 205P-11 was in the air at the attack position at 1525Q. Distance from NAS Trinidad about 190 miles.

205P-11 began searching for the sub and for 205P-4. At 1539Q 205P-11 had a radar contact, relative bearing 270 degrees, range 12 miles. The plane was on course 000, altitude 1500 feet, 120 K IAS. The plane homed on the target. At 7 miles range a submarine, stern down bow up, was sighted making about 2 knots. The sub was putting out a light blue smoke occasionally near the stern. (Apparently Diesel smoke) 1545Q: 205P-11 circled the sub twice at 3000 feet, range 3 - 4 miles. The sub opened up with a 3 inch forward deck gun. Four bursts exploded about 100 yards astern of the plane. The bursting shells gave off a white puff of smoke. The pilot reports that this was the most rapid firing 3 inch gun he had ever observed. He wonders if this gun was hand loaded. On further interrogation Lt. Crockett is of the opinion that this forward deck gun was probably a 37 MM. The bursting shells produced a white puff of smoke. However, no positive identification of the forward deck gun has been made. The plane squared away, after losing altitude to 1500 feet, for an attack with 2 MK 17(TNT) depth charges which are turned into demolition bombs by the installation of an instantaneous nose fuse. This type of weapon has become standard arming in this area because of so many recent engagements with enemy submarines that have chosen to remain surfaced to engage the aircraft. One purpose of those instantaneous nose fuse bombs is to try to clear the gun crews of the sub from the guns, so a depth charge attack, always delivered at a low altitude which offers the sub a perfect target, can be made without encountering AA fire from the sub. Another purpose of those bombs is to induce the sub to submerge so the MK 24 bomb can be employed.

From an altitude of 1500 foot, plane in a 035 degree dive, speed 240 knots IAS, two MK 17(TNT) depth charge with an instantaneous nose fuse were dropped on the submarine which was slowly turning in the water apparently not under absolute control. Plane course about 350 degrees, sub's course about 340 degrees.

The plane attacked the submarine on the sub's port quarter. Only one bomb was seen to explode in definite relationship to the sub. It exploded 100 - 150 feet off the port quarter of the sub. The demolition bombs were spaced at 150 feet, 180 K G.S. The whole time the plane was squaring away for this run and during the diving attack, the submarine was firing at the plane with perhaps, a 3 inch deck gun forward of the conning tower, at least 2 30 calibre machine guns, located on the conning tower, and one 20 mm located aft on the conning tower near the rails at the aft end of the conning tower. The explosion of the demolition charge must have shaken the sub because its gun fire ceased for about a minute. During this attack the bow gunner of the plane was slugging the conning tower section of the submarine with 200 rounds of 50 calibre fire from 2 guns. On the next run, a depth charge attack, the bow gunner, W. M. Thomas A.C.O.M., who has had much experience with armament, gained a fairly accurate view of the sub's armament, plus the personnel manning the guns. The above armament was noted and this additional information gained. The 2 30 calibre machine guns are mounted on pedestals or posts and the gun fits against the shoulder of the man. It is aimed, therefore, like a rifle. Thus far, it is the 30 calibre fire which has proved most damaging to the planes and which has accounted for the deaths of two officers of this squadron and the serious wounding of two enlisted men. The rounds are now definitely believed to be incendiary as will be brought out below.

Again the explosive bursts from the forward deck gun were astern of the plane. Where the 20 MM fire from the gun aft on the conning tower was directed is not known. This 20 MM gun fire appears to have been well astern of the plane. However, the 30 calibre fire hit the plane. As the plane was approaching the sub, a 30 calibre round, apparently an incendiary, ruptured the gas line between the hull and wing tank. The inside of the starboard wing became a mass of flames. Smoke poured through the plane and drifted on to the flight deck.

A.S. Croider, Machinist U.S.N., grabbed a shirt that was convenient and crawled into the starboard wing to try to smother the fire. C O 2 bottles were passed to him. The five pound C O 2 bottle was empty. Two two and one half pound C O 2 bottles proved effective.

Lt. Crockett, realizing that there was a likelihood of the plane exploding, decided to deliver a depth charge attack before the plane was ineffectual.

1555Q: Immediately Lt. Crockett got astern of the sub and attacked on course 200 degrees, the sub was on 180 degree course now, still turning to starboard apparently out of control. 4 MK 44 D/C were released at 200 knots IAS, diving angle 030 degrees, 300 feet altitude. Bombs spaced 90 foot 190 K G.S. During this swift dive, Croider was still combating the fire in the starboard wing. At 1000 foot range, the plane's bow gunner opened fire with 2 50 calibre machine guns. The pilot and the bow gunner saw the tracers pouring into the conning tower of the sub. The sub returned the fire of the plane.

After the release of the D/C the pilot made a tight climbing turn to port, and the pilot saw three-fourths of the submarine lying in the subsiding turbulence of the depth charge explosion. The pilot reported seeing a tremendous explosion about fifty feet astern of the sub and slightly to the port quarter. The submarine which had been running with stern down was now settling by the stern. The whole hull, from conning tower to stern, was wholly submerged. Water was breaking around the forward part of the conning tower. The bow was at a sharp angle out of the water.

Croidor was now beginning to get the fire in the starboard wing under control. Lt. Crockett now decided to circle at 1500 feet, 3 - 4 mile range and await the sub's submergence so he could deliver with the MK.24 bomb. But the sub would not go down. It continued circling slowly out of control. Lt. Crockett radioed the base for help, which was immediately dispatched.

1608Q: 205P-11 radioed the base that the fire in the starboard wing was out and that the plane was remaining on station to guide other planes to the sub.

1635Q: Until 1635Q Lt. Crockett circled the sub. Every now and then the sub would fire its deck gun. But the bursting shells were always astern of the plane. At 1635Q a PV1 from Bomron 130, Edinburgh field, Trinidad arrived at the scene of action.

With the arrival of this plane Lt. Crockett took charge of the battle. From his plane, he directed the next several attacks. A constant watch was maintained by this intelligence officer and those from other squadrons, plus NAS personnel, on the voice scene of action frequency. An accurate chronological log of the orders from Lt. Crockett, the replies of the other planes involved, and most of the voice communications were taken down verbatim.

Lt. Crockett ordered the PV to deliver a depth charge attack from astern of the sub, while he swept the deck of the sub with 2-50 calibres in the bow of the plane. The planes assumed their positions, the PV about 8 miles astern, Crockett 3 to 4 miles off the starboard beam of the sub. At Crockett's signal a simultaneous approach was commenced.

1640Q: The PV came storming in at such a high speed that he passed through Crockett's tracers and delivered a beautiful attack. The four depth charges released by the PV exploded as Crockett passed over the sub in a tight climbing turn. The depth charge explosion jolted Crockett's plane, however, Crockett had a clear view of the depth charge explosions. The depth charge explosions were a perfect straddle. Two depth charges exploded off the port quarter of the sub. One depth charge exploded within 20 feet of the port quarter of the sub, one within 20 feet of the starboard bow. The columns of water completely covered the sub.

The depth charges also knocked the sub beneath the surface. Lt. Crockett maneuvered to release his MK 24 bomb. As he was approaching, the submarine bobbed to the surface just like a cork, indicating that it had been blown below the surface and then bobbed up. Lt. Crockett estimates the sub was below the surface 15 seconds.

On the strafing run by Lt. Crockett, the bow gunner believes he cleared the guns of the crews because the firing from the sub ceased abruptly and the PV was not under intense fire as it closed the range with the sub. After passing through Lt. Crockett's tracers, the PV pilot checked up on his personnel and plane and found no hits. It has been reported that the PV had 4 MK 17(TNT) D/C instead of 4 MK 44(torpex) D/C. If MK 44 D/C had been used it is believed the sub would have been destroyed.

1645-1815Q: Lt. Crockett and the PV circled the sub awaiting fresh arrivals for the battle. The PV had expended its D/C load, and Lt. Crockett had only his MK 24 bomb. Lt. Crockett reported that the sub's damage control must have been excellent because the sub remained on the surface and gradually brought up its after portion slightly, although the sub still remained in a marked stern down condition, slowly turning out of control to starboard.

1815Q: 204P-8 Lt. (jg) J.W. Dresbach, PPC, arrived. Lt. Crockett set up the next attack. Lt. Crockett was to sweep the sub with gun fire from the starboard bow; 204P-8 was to deliver a D/C attack from astern of the sub. The planes deployed and commenced the attack.

1825Q: The PV swept in with a vicious attack and pulled out. Lt. Crockett rushed in, strafing with the 2 bow 50 calibres. The conning tower seemed to be splattered with tracers from the PV and Lt. Crockett's plane. The bow gunner believes he secured hits among the sub's personnel. However, the sub kept up a continuous fire at 204P-8 which was bearing down from astern.

The bow guns of 204P-8 were going full blast and raking the conning tower section of the sub also.

Lt. Crockett saw the depth charges from 204P-8 make one huge explosion about 30 feet astern of the sub. However, he believes he caught a glimpse of these 4 D/C striking the water in a spaced train. The stern of the sub seemed to lift slightly at the explosion of these D/C, and the sub rocked violently.

During the diving approach of 204P-8, Lt(jg) J.W. Dresbach was shot through the chest and shoulder with 30 calibre fire. Just before he lost consciousness, Lt(jg) Dresbach released his D/C. Lt(jg) Oren Christian, in the second pilot's seat, took over the controls of 204P-8 with less that 200 feet altitude and pulled the plane out of its dive.

1830Q: Although the pilot of 204P-8 was mortally wounded and dying, and with two enlisted men wounded, 204-P8 delivered a demolition attack on the sub from 1900 feet. But the one demolition bomb which released exploded at least 200-300 feet off the port beam of the sub.

While the attack by 204P-8 was in progress, 205P-2 had arrived, Lt. Comdr. Null PPC., Lt. Crockett told this plane to standby; that it would be used immediately after 204P-8 had attacked.

205P-2 circled the area. When no destruction of the sub resulted from the attack by 204P-8, Lt. Crockett set up the next attack.

1834Q: Again the PV swept in on the port bow for strafing attacks. 205P-2 made a D/C attack from the astern. Involuntarily the pilot while opening his bomb bay doors, released the D/C, which exploded 600 yards astern of the sub. Lt. Crockett had difficulty telling Lt. Comdr. Null to turn away out of the gun fire of the sub.

1840Q: PV announced that it had reached P.L.E. The PV departed for base after delivering a nice attack and rendering wonderful aid in strafing.

1842Q: 205P-2 made an attack on the sub with demolition bombs. These demolition bombs exploded 500 feet astern of sub. No bomb sight in plane.

1850Q: A B-18 arrived at the scene. Approaching darkness prevented the B-18 from delivering a high altitude attack. Although the B-18 had no guns aboard the pilot of the plane twice tried to deliver two D/C attacks, but nightfall prevented the delivery of an accurate D/C attack. The B-18 postponed the attack until the sub could be definitely located. From 1900 to 1955Q Lt. Crockett dropped 4 flares from 5000 feet, which ignited at 4000 feet, but the sub could not be found on the surface for a D/C attack by B-18 in the flare light.

1957Q: 205P-15 Lt. Comdr. Joster arrived at the scene. The B-18 agreed to remain on the scene until 2300Q.

1958Q: Lt. Crockett departed for base, as his compasses were out of commission, and there were numerous bullet holes in the plane.

2300Q: Sometime about 2300Q the B-18 got in a D/C attack on the sub. Its effectiveness is unknown.

A destroyer was dispatched to the scene from Trinidad at 2200Q. As dawn broke over the Caribbean, the DD found a mass of enemy survivors floating in the water. Covered by planes from VP-204 and VP-205, the DD began gathering in the survivors. The enemy survivors, 40 odd in number, were brought to this base.

Lt. Crockett in 205P-11 suffered no casualties, although the plane sustained six hits, all but one apparently by 30 calibre fire.

During these operations, a blimp from Edinburg Field, Trinidad, hovered north of the scene of action. Lt. Crockett ordered the blimp to remain at a distance observing the action and watching for any disabled planes that might go into the water. The blimp wanted to get into the fray, but Lt. Crockett believed that the gun fire from the sub was too lethal for anything but a plane capable of around 200 knots.

Damage to 205P-11:

One 30 calibre hole in the port wing tip.

One shrapnel hit in the port wing tip.

One 30 calibre hole in port float.

One 30 calibre hole in port engine cowling, beneath the No. 8 cylinder. Caused a slight oil leak in this cylinder - about 4 gallons an hour.

One 30 calibre in starboard gull wing. This bullet caused the fire inside the starboard wing.

One 30 calibre hole in starboard bulkhead just forward of the starboard waist hatch. This bullet cut the Fluxgate compass cable. This bullet passed out the top of the plane.

Statement of: A.S. Croider Machinist U.S.N., Hedron 11.

The plane was hit on the first run and caught fire. I climbed up into the starboard bomb bay. 2 C ) 2 bottles were passed to me. These smothered the flames, and I used somebody's shirt to drag the smoldering bits on to the hard bare metal. The gasoline was on fire and the rubber matting on the starboard wing were burning. The aluminum tubing of the gas line was also burning.

After I got the fire out I was near the bow turret. Chief Thomas did a wonderful piece of shooting.

Q. What type of bullet caused fire to break out in the starboard wing?

A. It was apparently an incendiary bullet. There was a small amount of white smoke amidst the black smoke of burning rubber. I believe this was from the incendiary bullet. The flames were reddish-orange.

Q. How effective did you find the C O 2 ?

A. The fire couldn't have been extinguished without them. After I got the fire to smoldering, I raked the smoking bits over on bare metal and let them cool off. One bottle of C ) 2 had no gas.

Statement of: W. M. Thomas A C O M, Bow Turret

I manned the bow guns continuously during the bombing attacks and strafing attacks on the sub. I expended in all about 700 rounds of 50 calibre from the two bow guns. I aimed for the personnel on the conning tower. The conning tower was so crowded with men I don't believe you could tell who was hit and who wasn't. I saw tracers going into the men on the conning tower. I don't know how effective the strafing runs were.

The gun on the deck forward of the conning tower would shoot out a puff of black smoke every time it was fired. The fire of this gun, in my opinion, was to rapid to be a 3 inch gun. It was in my opinion either a 20 or a 37 MM. Now I am not sure of the calibre of this gun. It could have been a 3 inch. It was a large gun. I didn't see any of the bursting shells from this gun. They always exploded behind the plane; I heard this over the interphone.

The sub had at least 2 30 calibre guns on the conning tower. I don't know about the other armament. I was too busy to pick out many details.

The sub seemed to lead us about right with his tracers. How he missed killing us I don't know. It seemed that every time I looked out the window there were tracers flying in pretty close.

Q. Describe the 30 calibre guns?

A. Well, sir, I got a pretty good look at them. The was a 30 calibre machine gun mounted on a up right pedestal or post on either side of the conning tower fairly well forward. These guns can swing 360 degrees. It looked to me like the gunners were leaning against the guns like you lean against a rifle that's rested on something. I don't believe any of their guns can fire a 80-90 degree angle because when we were directly over the sub, the sub was not firing at us.

Q. Did you see any men firing a sub calibre machine gun at you from the shoulder?

A. No, sir, I didn't. It's possible that some of the men on the conning tower had a sub machine gun, but I didn't observe any.

Statement of: D. P. Jones AMM3/c, Flight Engineer

I was on the flight deck. As soon as the plane caught fire, I went looking for the fire. Then I returned to the flight deck looking for a flashlight to use in the starboard wing. The flight engineer told me to take over at the flight engineer's panel. Monotto, the flight engineer then went back to help put out the fire. The large 5 lb. bottle of C O 2 didn't have any gas in it. Two small 2 and 1/2 pound bottles of C O 2 were used. The reason for the empty 5 lb. C O 2 bottle is not known.

Statement of: A. L. Houchin AMM2/c, Starboard Waist Gun.

I fired the 50 calibre in the starboard waist hatch on all runs at the sub. I used about 400 rounds in all. Most of my firing was downward at a steep angle. I know I hit the sub amidships several times, but I couldn't see whether I hit any of the men on the sub.

The only place I saw gun fire from the sub was the conning tower. But I noticed that the sub didn't fire at us at all while were were directly over it. In my opinion the sub can't elevate the guns straight up.

Coming in on the first run I saw several bursts off the starboard wing of the plane. The bursts gave a dirty white smoke. The shells made a soft, poofing noise. These bursts were every bit a 100-yards off the starboard wing and 100-150 foot higher than our altitude.

I saw the explosion of the D/C/ from the PV. The explosions were very close to the sub. Two explosions were right about the beams of the sub and were within 20 feet of the sub. These explosions completely covered the sub with water.

Every time we went over the sub I could see all the men in the conning tower crouching down and trying to press up against the sides of the conning tower. The conning tower must have been armored and they were seeking protection by getting up close to its sides.

Statement of: L. G. Bruner ARM3/c, Beaching Gear Hatch.

I stood near the fuel connections in the beaching gear hatch with a C O 2 bottle to extinguish any fire that might break out here. I didn't get to see any of the action.

Statement of: R. A. Holt RDM3/c, (Ser # 603 41 99) Radar.

I was operating the radar. When we picked up the target it was bearing 270 degrees relative, 12 mile range. Plane on course 000, 1500 feet altitude. The radar was on the 20 mile scale, and the antennae had 002 degrees tilt downward. When we turned to home, the radar lost the target, but it was sighted visually soon after.

About dark when we went away from the sub to try to pick it up by radar and to drop flares, the sub could not be picked up.

The reason for this, I think, was that the engines were revved up to about 2000 RPM's, and this increased vibration interfered with the effectiveness of the radar.

Nearly every time the RPM's go above 2400 RPM's the radar begins to lose its effectiveness. The increased RPM's causes dots to appear all over the scope, and these interfere with getting a target indication. Whenever the plane is transmitting, dots also appear on the scope.

Statement of: W. Kurolich S1/c, Bombardier.

I saw just about everything from this station. I could look straight down through the bombing window. On the first run, the demolition run, I saw four guns firing at us. There was one gun forward of the conning tower on the deck. Every time this gun was fired there would be a red flash from the gun and then a puff of black smoke. This was a single shot gun. It fired at us four times on this demolition bomb run. I only saw one man at the gun.

The conning tower was in this shape and the guns placed in the following manner.

The two 30 calibre machine guns were the ones that did the most damage. The after 20 mm. gun did not give us enough lead to hit us.

I never did see a gun aft of the conning tower on the deck. The only men I saw outside the conning tower was the one at the forward deck gun.

I saw the D/C explosions from the PV. The explosions straddled the sub. You couldn't see the sub for a minute after these explosions.

When we got to the scene of action the sub was pretty well on the surface, a little stern down, but when we left, the bow was up at a sharp angle and the sub from the conning tower to stern was completely under the water. There was water breaking over the rails on the after end of the conning tower.

After the PV attack, the sub would stop dead in the water, and then the sub would start up again. It looked like the sub was about to go down. Every time the sub would look like it was going to sink, I would set up for the MK 24 bomb and Mr. Crockett would say, "Stand by to release MK 24 bomb."

On several runs the gunfire from our bow was hitting right inside the conning tower. The way the men were packed and jammed in the conning tower you couldn't tell when one was hit, and I doubt if a wounded man could have fallen to the deck.

Intelligence Summary

Elaboration of the details of this attack is felt to be unnecessary in view of the complete narrative appended. However, a few matters of interest should be reviewed.

Lt. Crockett voluntarily assumed command of the attacks at the scene of action. He and the PV pilot made strafing runs for the other attacking planes. Lt. Crockett's plane was hit six times by the sub's gun fire. He made a strafing run for the PV on its attack, and strafing runs for 204P-8 and 205P-2 also. He made exceptionally fine observations.

Lt. Crockett' carried four U.S. Navy photographers who made both stills and movies of the action.

Once again accuracy with a demolition attack from 1500 feet without a bomb sight was found difficult.

The 90 foot spacing at 190 K G.S. by intervalometer instead of the standard 60 foot spacing as required by Cominch was set up in order to compensate for the short spacing given by the intervalometer. How many of the 4 MK 44 D/C exploded is unknown.

The reason for only one tremendous explosion from D/C attack by both 205P-11 and 204P-8 is not accounted for. Three reasons for this phenomena are advanced. (1) The intervalometer spaced erroneously, producing a relatively salvo effect instead of a train. (2) On both occasions the fountain of water thrown up by one of the D/C may have obscured the other upheavals of water from exploding D/C, the various torrents of water merging before they could be distinguished one from the other. (3) The angle of viewing the explosions may have been such as to prevent sight of the separate explosions.

This engagement demonstrates that the enemy is still full of determination and will fight to the last. It further demonstrates that the pilots of this squadron and other squadrons show no hesitancy in pressing home the attack even in the face of intense and accurate AA fire. It further demonstrates the necessity of joint action by planes, and lays the ground work for the development of future coordinated tactics.

This attack, within a relatively few hours run by a DD, shows the possibility for coordinated work between surface craft and aircraft. If DD's are available and their obligations amenable to emergency employment of this type, DD's would prove indispensable in finishing a crippled submarine and in rescuing the enemy survivors if the submarine should be destroyed by the aircraft before the arrival of a DD.

It might prove fruitful to despatch some type of relatively fast surface craft capable of dealing with an enemy submarine, whenever an attack is made on an enemy submarine by aircraft within 300 miles of the base provided the submarine is not positively destroyed without survivors. The attacking plane and the relief planes could maintain a thorough hold down or tracking procedure sufficient to enable surface craft to deliver a lethal attack on the submarine and/or retrieve enemy survivors who may during interrogation provide the anti-submarine warfare forces with valuable information concerning the enemy.

Inasmuch as three - fourths of the submarine was observed to be surrounded by the subsiding turbulence of the D/C explosion and since the after portion of the sub from conning tower to stem was seen to be awash with the sea breaking around the forward part of the conning tower, it is believed the sub was damaged by this D/C attack of Lt. Crockett in 205P-11.

It cannot be definitely stated that any one attacking plane was responsible for the eventual sinking of the submarine. It appears that the sub was destroyed by the cumulative effect of the several attacks precipitated upon it. Much credit, an untold amount of credit, is due the first plane (205P-4) which attacked this sub, apparently damaging it so critically that the sub could not submerge. It is tragic that the officers and men aboard this plane are apparently lost and cannot enjoy the fruits of their attack.

Both planes and surface craft are hunting the water of the scene of action in the hope of finding survivors from this plane crew.

Q. Lt. Crockett, you have been in two engagements recently with enemy submarines, one at night and one during daylight. Give a little summary of the situation encountered at night and in the daylight.

A. In the first place at night you can't see as well, even though you drop several flares to assist your vision. Therefore, judgments of distances is faulty. You are likely to release your depth charges either too short or too long. Hence, if night attacks are to be effective, we've got to have more brilliant artificial lighting.

Q. What about the installation of a search light on the PBM?

A. A search light on a PBM would be a very imprudent addition of equipment for attacking an enemy submarine which is full of fight. It would aid the pilot in illuminating the target, but it would also present a very easy target for the AA batteries on a sub. I have found the enemy gun fire at night uncomfortably accurate without any illumination of the plane itself. I had one of my pilot's killed in a night engagement and my gas tanks shot up. Other planes without a light showing have suffered damage while attacking an enemy sub at night. The enemy personnel manning the AA guns on the sub are accurate shots, indicating that they are trained gunners.

Also at night the plane's gun fire gives the plane's range and altitude away to the alert gun crews on the sub.

Now during daylight, even though the plane is a clear target for the enemy gunners, the pilot and his crew gains certain advantages. Since depth charges are our primary weapon, daylight gives the pilot his best opportunity for the accurate judgment of distance in order to release his depth charges at the proper moment. And even with a train of depth charges a pilot still has to make an accurate drop so the depth charges will be placed lethally with reference to the sub whether surfaced or submerged. Daylight also affords the plane's gunners with a clear view of the target and thus promotes more accurate firing. Daylight also affords the opportunity to observe damage to the enemy. Also during daylight you feel more comfortable flying into a Fourth of July celebration. During daylight the tracers from the enemy don't show up so ugly and purposefully.

I'll take a day light attack anytime in preference to a night attack. But if I find a sub at night, I'll attack him regardless of the difficulties.

Q. What do you think of the PBM3's aircraft in comparison to the PBY aircraft for anti-submarine warfare!

A. Well I've had about 1500 hours in PBY's and I've had about 400 hours in PBM's, and I choose the PBM for anti-submarine warfare over the PBY. In the first place the bomb capacity is greater in the PBM than in the PBY. The PBM's fire power is greater, but it still needs more fire power to combat effectively the gun fire of a submarine that is determined to fight it out with a plane. In this connection I believe we need at least 4 - 50 calibre machine guns in the bow of a PBM. At present I am working on such an installation. The bow guns are the principal weapon for strafing. Waist and tail guns are worthwhile, but we need concentrated fire power forward.

The PBM is faster than the PBY. And you need all the speed possible during an attack. I have attacked a submarine at 240 knots IAS, and had no difficulty with the PBM.

Inasmuch as enemy submarines now show a tendency to remain on the surface to fight it out with aircraft, the bow stations and pilots' cockpit should be armored. Our planes have no armor at present, and in one of them during an attack on an enemy submarine, the pilot was killed and two men manning the bow stations were seriously wounded. Since it is the .30 calibre fire from the submarines that is proving fatal to personnel and damaging to the planes, armor would protect the personnel. The damage to the planes thus far has not been critical.

Since the .30 calibre fire from the enemy submarines contains incendiary qualities, it is essential that we have C O 2 smothering systems for all our fuel tanks.

Q. Do you have any reason to believe from the observation of an enemy submarine or from the observation of the enemy subs' gunfire that the sub is equipped with any sort of fire control?

A. No. As far as I have been able to determine the guns on the sub are fired manually.

Q. How have you found the radar on PBM-3S planes?

A. The radar on the PBM-3S planes is our best weapon to aid in offensive action against an enemy sub. The ASG-1 and ASG-3 radars have a good range for the detection of enemy subs and they are invaluable instruments for accurate homing.

Q. Do you think PBM's should be used against surfaced submarines?

A. Judging from my two recent attacks, one at night and one during the day, on surfaced submarines, the PBM has not enough fire power; it is too big a target; it has no armor, it does not have enough speed for a level attack; it requires a steep angle of dive to get above 200 knots out of the plane.

Q. How do you suggest they be employed against submarines?

A. Now with the PBM, with its extremely effective radar and fairly long cruising range, can detect enemy submarines very well. If the submarine attempts to submerge then the PBM can make a depth charge attack. However, if the sub chooses to fight it out on the surface, the PV-1's and B-25's should be sent out to the scene of action immediately, homing on the M O's sent by the PBM. This squadron has one PBM-3C which is equipped with a Norden bomb sight and loaded with eight 500 pound demolition bombs. This plane can deliver a high altitude demolition bombing attack and then the PV's or the B-25's can deliver a depth charge attack at a high speed.

The PV-1 from Bombron 130 that attacked the sub as I strafed the decks ahead of him was making about 300 knots as he released his depth charges. Although the enemy directed fire at him, the PV was unscratched. The only way to account for this miracle, since all the other planes attacking while I was at the scene of action were hit by the sub's fire, is the fact that the PV presented a smaller target and its tremendous speed made it too difficult a target for the gunners on the sub.

Q. Four photographers were aboard your plane to record the attack by both still and motion pictures. It is understood that they had difficulty finding an advantageous position in the plane from which to photograph the close action successfully.

A. Although the PBM has various hatches none are really suitable for the photographing of action with an enemy submarine. The squadron Intelligence Officer who has had experience with photography experimented with the K-20 cameras from every hatch in the plane during practice sessions with the S type submarine in the sanctuary, and only the waist hatch gave him a fair opportunity to get the submarine and the explosion of the miniature bombs in the same picture. Even then he had to lean out of the waist hatch into the slip stream to get the shots.

The photographers aboard the plane during the attack on the sub found that the plexiglas in the tail turret interfered with the sharpness of their pictures. They tried to photograph the PV's attack as we passed over the explosions at a low altitude. The photographer was held by hand at the waist hatch, and he leaned out of the hatch to get the picture. The picture shows only part to this beautiful straddle.

In my opinion no satisfactory photography of a depth charge attack from a low altitude can be made from the PBM.

But I want to say that the four photographers who tried to get a pictorial account of this attack, risked their lives to get good pictures. I think they did a splendid job under great difficulties.

At present there is no provision for night photography except by flare light, and I am afraid this lighting is not adequate for photography.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 31 May 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [02OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU

PATSU

VD-1, VD-2 and VD-3

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-7 and VJ-10

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14 and VP-15

VP-23

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127 and VP-128

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-142, VP-144 and VP-146

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 16 Jan 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-6, VJ-7 and VJ-8

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-3

VP-11 and VP-12

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81, VP-82, VP-83 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92VP-93, and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110

VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-131, VP-132, VP-133 and VP-134

VP-200, VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-210, and VP-216


History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft - Dated 09 Nov 1943..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [01OCT2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

CASU and PATSU

VD-1, VD-2, VD-3 and VD-4

VJ-1, VJ-2, VJ-3, VJ-4, VJ-5, VJ-15, and VJ-16

VP-6 Coast Guard

VP-1

VP-11, VP-12, VP-13, VP-14, VP-15 and VP-16

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-43, VP-44 and VP-45

VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62 and VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-84

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101, VP-102, VP-103, VP-104, VP-105, VP-106, VP-107, VP-108 and VP-109

VP-110, VP-111, VP-112, VP-113, VP-114, VP-115 and VP-116

VP-125, VP-126, VP-127, VP-128 and VP-129

VP-130, VP-131, VP-132, VP-133, VP-134, VP-135, VP-136, VP-137, VP-138 and VP-139

VP-140, VP-141, VP-142, VP-143, VP-144, VP-145, VP-146, VP-147, VP-148 and VP-149

VP-150

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208 and VP-209

VP-210, VP-211, VP-212, VP-213, VP-214, VP-215 and VP-216


History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-204 History "...This photograph was taken in 1943 at the Officers Club, Macripe, Trinidad. The dinner and toast in progress are in memory of Ltjg R.K. (Bob) Hershey. Lt. Hershey was KIA on July 30, 1943. He was struck in the chest and stomach by fragments of a 30 cal AA machine gun while standing at the navigation table during an engagement with a German submarine..." Contributed by CALLOWAY, William F. c/o His Son Dr. William Calloway twomudbugz@aol.com [01MAY2002]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: APPENDIX 3 Submarines Sunk by Patrol Squadrons During World War II - Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/dictvol2.htm [04MAY2001]

U-615, 7 August 1943 (shared with VB-130)
Type: VIIC Laid Down: 20 May 1941, Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Commissioned: 26 March 1942, Oblt. Ralph Kapitzky
Commander: March 1942 August 1943, Kptlt. Ralph Kapitzky
Career: Assigned: March 1942 August 1942, 8th Flotilla (Danzig); September 1942 August 1943, 3rd Flotilla (La Pallice)
Successes: Four ships sunk for a total of 27,231 tons

Fate: Sunk 7 August 1943, in the Caribbean southeast of Curacao, in position 1238'N, 6415'W. Lieutenant (jg) John M. Erskine, pilot of a PBM-3S Mariner of VP-204, attacked the surfaced U-615 on 6 August, causing moderate damage. The squadron aircraft maintained contact with the submerged submarine and kept it down over night. On the morning of the 7 th , Lieutenant Anthony R. Matuski spotted the U-boat when it surfaced and made an attack run. His aircraft was damaged by return fire and crashed with the loss of all hands. Lieutenant Lewis D. Crockett, flying a VP-204 Mariner, located the U-boat and conducted a bomb run that further damaged the vessel, but resulted in severe damage to his aircraft from AA fire. He remained on the scene until Lieutenant Holmes, pilot of a PV-1 Ventura of VB-130, arrived to assist him. The two aircraft conducted a coordinated bombing and strafing attack. Lieutenant (jg) John W. Dresbach, in a VP-204 Mariner, arrived and made a bombing and strafing attack on the U-boat. This attack resulted in mortal wounds to the pilot, Lieutenant Dresbach, and the final blow for the submarine. A U.S. Navy destroyer from Trinidad reached the area the next morning and rescued forty-five of the U-boat's crew of 49.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "06AUG43--German submarine sunk: U-615, by naval land-based aircraft (VB-130, VP-204, VP-205) and Army aircraft, Caribbean area, 12 d. 38' N., 64 d. 15' W...." http://www.cyberplus.ca/~chrism/chr43.txt

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-204 Crew ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 History "...Picture came from the estate of former Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Roy C. Gouge. He served in the Navy from 20 November 1943 to 10 May 1946. After boot training at Great Lakes, NATTC NAS Memphis, Tennessee, and NAS DeLand, Florida he joined VPB-204 in NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina around March 1945. VPB-204 was transferred to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone in May 1945. Gouge remained with the squadron until his discharge in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana in May, 1946. According to his discharge, Gouge is entitled to the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, and Victory medals. The photos show him wearing Aircrew wings, Air Gunner distinguishing mark, and a radarman distinguishing mark. The jumper I had only had the rating badge, air gunner mark, and an honorable discharge emblem on it..." Contributed by Pete Killie gyrene2044@yahoo.com [05JAN2004]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-204 Crew ThumbnailCameraVPB-204 History "...Picture came from the estate of former Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Roy C. Gouge. He served in the Navy from 20 November 1943 to 10 May 1946. After boot training at Great Lakes, NATTC NAS Memphis, Tennessee, and NAS DeLand, Florida he joined VPB-204 in NAAS Harvey Point, North Carolina around March 1945. VPB-204 was transferred to NAS Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone in May 1945. Gouge remained with the squadron until his discharge in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana in May, 1946. According to his discharge, Gouge is entitled to the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, and Victory medals. The photos show him wearing Aircrew wings, Air Gunner distinguishing mark, and a radarman distinguishing mark. The jumper I had only had the rating badge, air gunner mark, and an honorable discharge emblem on it..." Contributed by Pete Killie gyrene2044@yahoo.com [05JAN2004]


Circa 1942-1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...My Dad, William L. Hall, served with VPB-204 from 1942 to 1946. Here are few pictures from Dad's collection..." Contributed by Bill Hall bill.hall@sunlife.com [06MAR2012]

Left to Right:

    Dad's Plane (Martin PBM), Al Sollo, McGee, Aviator Log Book (Inside Cover), Aviator Log Book (Inside Back Cover), Log Book (Name Page) and Dad's Plane Description.
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Circa 1942-1945

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...History of FAW-12 - History from 16SEP42-30MAY45 - Submitted May 30th, 1945. Squadron's Assigned: VP-63, VP-81, VP-125, VP-132, VP-143, VP-145, VP-201, VP-202, VP-204, VP-208 and VP-213..." Official U. S. Navy Records (National Archives and Records Administration) via Fold3 http://www.fold3.com/ [05DEC2012]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail 

Circa 1942

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Op-40-A-KB - (SC)A6-4/VZ - January 6, 1942 - Location of U. S. Naval Aircraft..." WebSite: Naval Historical Center http://www.history.navy.mil/ [23SEP2006]

VP SQUADRONS MENTIONED

VP-11, VP-12 and VP-14

VP-23 and VP-24

VP-31, VP-32, VP-33 and VP-34

VP-41, VP-42, VP-43 and VP-44

VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54

VP-61, VP-62, VP-63

VP-71, VP-72, VP-73 and VP-74

VP-81 and VP-83

VP-91, VP-92 and VP-94

VP-101

VP-201, VP-202, VP-203, VP-204, VP-205, VP-206, VP-207, VP-208, VP-209, VP-210, VP-211 and VP-212


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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:

Op-33-J-6 History Unit - Office of Editorial Research, Aviation Training Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

The History of Patrol Bombing Squadron Two-Hundred Four

15 October 1942 to 01 January 1945

Story contributed by Chester Lech clech@prodigy.net Sect'y/Treasurer - Squadron VPB-204 [E-Mail Updated 12OCT99 | E-Mail Updated 05APR99]

NARRATIVE

This is the history of a PBM Squadron which helped win the Battle of the Atlantic. Commissioned during that frenzied period marking our first year of war, Patrol Squadron TWO HUNDRED FOUR cut its teeth on actual combat with the German U-boats. This was the critical period; this was the turning point of the submarine warfare. The over-aged destroyers and tiny PC's and SC's had done their task well, but it was air power which threw the balance in our favor.

The commissioning ceremony for Patrol Squadron TWO HUNDRED FOUR was held at 1000 on Thursday, October 15, 1942 on the east side of hangar SP-31, U. S. Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. All squadron personnel in the Norfolk area were assembled for the occasion - due to various training activities, there were many officers and men at different training schools on the east coast. At this time Lieutenant Commander Warren George Corliss, U. S. Navy, assumed command and became 204's first Commanding Officer.

The immediate outlook was none too cheerful. The squadron was commissioned with one plane which was used entirely for routine training. Flight time was obtained by flying OS2U's and SNJ's. There were twenty-one officers aboard; the complement called for seventy-two. There were fifty-six enlisted men aboard; the complement called for two hundred and forty.

The majority of the squadron personnel were unfamiliar with the Martin Mariner. This necessitated an extensive training program during the first four and a half months. Certain men were selected to attend factory schools and learn maintenance and operating procedures. Upon returning, they in turn served as instructors for others in the squadron.

During the period from 15 October, 1942 to 8 December, 1942 our training was carried on with Fleet Air Detachment, Norfolk, Virginia. At this time both officers and crews were put through a thorough check in the Transitional Training Squadron Atlantic Fleet. The training consisted of one month in ground school at Norfolk and from one to three months flight training at the Transitional Training Squadron Atlantic Detachment at Banana River, Florida. Many of the senior officers in the squadron came from the fleet and thus had little difficulty in checking out in the new plane. These were the men who formed the backbone of the squadron.

Plane assignment was slow; however, by December, Patrol Squadron TWO HUNDRED FOUR possessed six PBM3C's. On 8 December, 1942 we started moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico where we were to do additional training. On the above date, Lieutenant (junior grade) Francis Gibbs LaMotte, A-V(S), U. S. Naval Reserve, with eleven officers and seventy-three men departed Norfolk, Virginia aboard the U. S. S. Albermarle. The planes and remaining crews departed Norfolk, Virginia on 24 December, with Lieutenant Commander Warren George Corliss in charge, and arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 27 December, 1942.

Little did this group realize what awaited them in the future. Long hours of training were to be replaced only with longer hours of operational flying; attacks on enemy submarines which fought back bitterly to the very end; twenty three months before the squadron was to come back to the United States; and, there were some in that group who were never to come back.

Our training period in San Juan lasted until March 1945. During this time we emphasized night flying, strafing, bombing, instrument flying - any and everything which would smooth out the squadron and make it a highly efficient and effective anti-submarine weapon. In March, 1943 Patrol Squadron TWO HUNDRED FOUR took over the anti-submarine patrol and convoy duty in that sector. At long last we were on our own; only time could judge if we were ready.

ADVANCED BASES

Upon assuming an operational status, we were located first at San Juan, Puerto Rico and later at NAS Trinidad, British West Indies. These were to be our main bases for the next twenty-one months. During this time we also operated detachments from many advanced bases. The following short descriptions of each of these bases will enable the reader to appreciate some of the operating problems faced.

ANTIGUA

Has a well protected but small landing area making night landings comparatively difficult. Our voice control was worked through the Army (Coolidge Field Tower) and via telephone to the Naval Air Station, a slow but satisfactory means of communications. Our planes remained at the boys; however, one set of beaching gear was on hand and was used several times for emergency maintenance work. Minor discrepancies were repaired on the water if practical. Flight crews did a commendable job of keeping their own planes in commission with a minimum of tools and equipment.

Gassing was accomplished by securing the plane to a buoy near the beach, the gas line being brought out by boat from the gas truck on the beach. A considerable amount of time had to be allowed for this process. Oil was brought out in cans. Quarters and food were satisfactory and daytime recreation unusually good. Horses, a swimming area, athletic equipment, fishing gear, and two small sail boats were at our disposal. A nightly outdoor movie was the only night recreation.

A large percentage of our detached duty operations was conducted from the Naval Air Station on the Essequibo River in British Guiana. Night take-offs but very few landings were assigned for this area as no voice control and limited lighting facilities (shoals and shallow water added to the dangers) made night operations hazardous. When were possible we took off for an all night mission before dark and landed after sunrise. Occasionally we had missions assigning a night take off in NAS Trinidad, British West Indies and daylight landing at Essequibo or daylight take-off at Essequibo and night landing in NAS Trinidad, British West Indies. Our planes were normally kept at the buoy but took turns using the single set of beaching gear for gassing or maintenance work. We brought spare men and equipment from NAS Trinidad, British West Indies to standby for post flight inspections, servicing and repair work.

Food and quarters were good. Recreational facilities were naturally poor in this secluded locality, but the nightly movie and card games presented some welcomed diversion after flying a twelve to eighteen hour mission the previous night and sleeping most of the day. The Air Station was very cooperative in furnishing guns and guides for a few hours of hunting, or a rearming boat excursion across the river to view the native villages, whenever operations and the intermittent downpours permitted.

Most of our pilots who were in the squadron in 1943 and up to our transfer to Key West in November 1944, gained some invaluable experience operating with the Seaplane Tender U. S. S. Pelican anchored both in the Cayenne River at Cayenne, French Guiana and the Surinam River at Paramaribo, Surinam. Both places had sufficiently large landing areas for daylight or night operations with the prevailing easterly winds making the course fairly permanent. The Pelican had good voice equipment which was well tuned and guarded at the proper times. Full night operations were unhesitatingly assigned here with never an accident by any of our pilots. Driftwood and submerged logs were a nuisance at times but were quickly taken care of by the Pelican's small boats. Making a buoy up stream in the six to ten knot current and up, cross, or downwind was about the most difficult task at either place from the pilots viewpoint. Locating either place at night was facilitated by the city lights from Cayenne or Paramaribo. Night or day gassing was accomplished by securing the rearming boat alongside our PBM's and towing them to a buoy streamed form the Pelican's stern. All maintenance work had to be accomplished on the water with work stands or on the wing. We usually took two to five maintenance men in addition to our flight crews with a three plane detachment.

If more than one crew was on board at any time it naturally overloaded the bunkrooms, but bunks on the forecastle easily took care of the overflow. Wholesome, well prepared food was always furnished at hours convenient to our flying schedules. The ship's crew was very considerate and quiet at times when we had to sleep during the day.

Each crew usually had their sightseeing desires satisfied by liberty trips to Cayenne or Paramaribo.

Night operations were never attempted at the Pan American Anchorage. Daytime gassing was accomplished by making a buoy close to their ramp and being pulled in alongside a padded section for servicing. When requiring quarters there, we paid our own expenses at some local hotel. The Naval Attache usually paid us a visit while there.

We had a two plan detachment at Naval Air Station, Coco Solo, Canal Zone for three weeks during the latter part of March and the first part of April in 1943. This was our only detachment at Panama, but since both planes were kept flying almost every night, we found out a great deal about their operations, maintenance, flying conditions, etc. We were the first planes to come to the Canal Zone with searchlights. The other squadrons there had encountered submarines and had had their planes badly shot up just prior to our arrival. On our sweeps at night we were given the areas where subs were more likely to be, while planes from the other squadrons were assigned areas which were further from likely sub positions.

The weather at Panama was far from favorable for searchlight attacks; at least, this was the case for the particular time of the year that we were there. There was a constant misty haze in the air, and the searchlight beam could not penetrate through the mist clearly enough to identify targets at our previously experienced ranges. In many cases we could not make out the target until we had closed in to within one-third or one-quarter of a mile.

The maintenance and repair facilities at Coco Solo were the best we had experienced at any of our detached bases. This however, may have been largely due to the fact that the maintenance of our planes was given priority over planes from the other squadrons. Our planes were usually in commission and ready to fly again within a few hours after return from an all night mission. In onc case, a complete engine change was conducted in a period of about six hours. This usually took at least three or four days at most places.

The living conditions for both officers and men were of the best. Many of the officers living in the furnished Navy apartments had an opportunity to brush up on their cooking.

After the slacking off of missions, when there were hours for leisure, we found that the station offered a full line of recreational facilities. Many an enjoyable hour was spent at volley ball, tennis, pool, bowling, swimming, touch football and golf. In the evenings, movies were shown at both the Air Station and the Sub Base.

We had very few operational difficulties at NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, inasmuch as it was a well established seaplane base. Beaching gear was furnished us and the servicing and maintenance work was very satisfactory. Complete engine overhauls were accomplished several times. We had to bring our own searchlight maintenance specialist with us here as well as at all other detached duty bases, as we were the only searchlight equipped squadron in the area.

Good food and quarters were furnished. All crews were impressed by the exceptionally wide selection of goods offered at the Ship's Service Stores here and also enjoyed recreational trips to Guantanamo City when operations permitted. Transportation around the large base was a problem, however.

Since Patrol Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FOUR arrived in Key West in November 1944, each of our pilots had had at least one or more operational flights based at the Seaplane Tender U. S. S. Christiania, anchored at Royal Island in the Bahamas. There is an almost unlimited landing area, during calm weather. Inasmuch as the low island doesn't give full protection against the winds, planes on operational flights take enough gas to proceed on to Miami if the area is rough for landing.

Returning to the Christiania at night after a mission is good practice in pin point navigation, since the ship's light are only visible from five to fifteen miles, depending on the atmospheric conditions. The ship has no direction finder or homing equipment, but the Nassau Radio Range, forty miles away, is an invaluable aid to navigation as are the flashing navigational lights at numerous points in the Bahamas. Gassing is accomplished by making a free floating buoy streamed from a gas barge at anchor near the CHRISTIANIA. On a two day standby, there is no recreation other than lying in the sun, playing cards, or hanging a fishing line over the side; however, most of the plane crews enjoy the taste of shipboard life as a change.

The food is good and quarters slightly crowded, but adequate. So much for our advance base operations.


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