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HistoryVP-58 HistoryHistory

Circa 1943

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00JUL43--On the night of 21 December, two PBY-5A's, 58-V-3 (Bu.No. 34029) and 49-V-3 (Bu.No. 33966) departed to NAS Attu, Alaska (the farthermost outpost of the U.S.A. on the northern march to Tokyo) to conduct night bombing and photographic reconnaisance of the Paramishiru - Shimushu area. Rendezvous was affected south of Nassacre Bay and base course set for the target. "How goes it" curves with precomputed courses and distances were used. The frist 259 miles out were flown at an altitude of about 800 feet, speed 90 knows indicated, automatic lean and 35 inches manifold pressure, with RPM's to give desired air speed. Frequent snow squalls were encountered during this part of the flight, contact between planes being maintained by use of IFF and radar. At about 300 miles from base solid overcast and continious snow were encountered, but altitude and speed were maintained for another 100 miles. In accordance with previous agreement at the end of the third hour, climb to 8500 feet was commenced, heavy icing was encoutered. The temperature drop was terrific and no heaters had ben installed in the planes - non available. Wing and tail de-icers worked very well, and rendesvous was accomplished on top. Celestial navigation used exclusevely through-out the entire trip, and success of this mission and the others that were to follow are directly attributable to the skill of the pilot, and crew and the outstanding ability of the navigators. The target was picked up by radar and showed the planes to be a few miles to the north of target. The pilots changed ocurse and crossed the coast line of Russia Kamchatka peninsula at Cape Lapatka. Araido, an extinct volcano just north of Paramushiru, was then picked up by Radar and taking departure from there planes skirted the northwest coast of Shimushu and turned in over Imai Zaki area dropping bombs in stick, heading toward Kataska. There was very little anti-aircraft action and no fighter opposition. The planes were over target area for approx. one hour, and after dropping all bombs and flash bombs for photographics, planes headed for NAS Attu, Alaska, 700 miles to east. Planes landed NAS Attu, Alaska at 1135, on the morning of 22 December, after thirteen hours of the coldest, most uncertain hours in the air that any of the two crews had ever known..." Archive: NARA-San Bruno Record Group: 321534009, SubGroup: TBD, Page: 09, Unit: VP-43..." Contributed by Eric Mitchell eric_mitchell@ccmail.com WEBSITE: www.pby.com


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