VP-91 Alumni Association
Contributed by George B. Winter firstname.lastname@example.org
09FEB43-"Statement of action between a Mitsubishi 96 and a PBY-5"
George B. Winter email@example.com
From: Lieut. Paul W. Kimball, Jr.
To: The Commander Patrol Squadron NINETY-ONE
Subject: Statement of action between a Mitsubishi 96 and a PBY-5
1. On February 5th, while on routine patrol, at 9035 and 200 miles north of Vanikoro, I was attacked by a Japanese twin engine army bomber of the type Mitsubishi 96, the attack lasting 20 minutes. This plane was of regular U. S. Army color and had a greyish green band around the fuselage, just forward of the tail section, with a red circle on the center of the band. It had red circle on the underside of each wing tip. The only two places of gun fire were: (1) from the 20 mil. Cannon in the tail which has a low area of swing (about 30 degrees) in a horizontal plane, and none in the vertical plane, and (2) place of firing was from a turret on top of the fuselage, just aft of the trailing edge of the wing. I believe this had twin 7.7 mil. Guns in it. There was never any gun fire from the bottom of the fuselage or forward of the wing at any time nor did any guns show in these places.
2. He approached me from the port quarter, at an altitude of 800 feet. At the time, I was flying at 500 feet and then went down to 200 feet or less. He flew a parallel course to mine and stayed at 350 to 400 yards to the beam. He always stayed on the port side and, in this connection, only our port .50 cal. was fired - the starboard 50 cal. was not used. He never made a cross-over run and never got forward of my bow. I turned toward him to get closer and also to give the waist gunner a better shot. Each time I did this he would pull up and turn away putting his tail cannon on me. Finally, my port waist gun jammed. He saw this and pulled off to the left in order to make a run on my tail. Meanwhile, the gun had been fixed. I let him come in on the tail to about 200 yards, then turned toward him. This gave the port gunner a good shot. He then pulled up and away on a due North course, and I never saw him again.
3. It appears that at least 30 rounds of 50 cal. ammunition fired by Beck, went into the fuselage and tail of the plane. Also about the same number of 30 cal. ammunition fired by Pedelsky from the bow guns, went into the forward part of the plane. Our plane was adapted with electric continuous feed 50 cal. ammunition and twin 30 cal. guns in the bow. The advantages of this over the usual type of armament of the PBY are tremenduous.
4. The only hit on our plane was one 7.7 which entered the navigators compartment below the nav. Table. We obtained no hits with his tail cannon.
5. In order to enable the pilot to know at all times where the plane was, and also to avoid unnecessary noise on the interphone, a fire control man was stationed between the waist gunners. The information he was able to give the pilot was invaluable.
6. I wish to commend, highly, the entire crew for their extreme coolness and ability while under fire. They all kept their heads and did their jobs ably and efficiently.
7. The names of the crew members are as follows:
Ens. L. C. Drye - 2nd. Pilot in starboard seat
Pedelsky, V. F., AP2c - Bow gun
Grumbles, V. D., AMM2c - Plane Captain Fire control man
Lindquist, A. T. AMM3c - In tower
Eckstein, J. G., ARM1c - On duty at radio
Silvers, F. J., ARM3c - Assisting Eckstein
Gagnon, O. A., AM2c - Starboard 50 Cal. gun
Beck, F. J., AOM2c - Port 50 Cal. gun
Signed: P. W. Kimball, Jr., Lieut., A-V(N), USNR, VP-91[09JUN98]
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