Epic Flights of WW2 time frame: Late 1930's to August 1945

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I have long had an interest in and an intent to start a thread to discuss and learn about epic flights made by pilots (aircrew) and aircraft during years around the war.

    I am sure there are many epic and heroic efforts to transport men and material across vast distances of the globe, frequently made in an environment threatened by both enemy action and natural elements.

    As two examples:
    I thought there might be interest in this account of an epic flight made by the pilots of Patwing 10 (VP-101) during Operation Gridiron at the start of WW2. A resupply and rescue mission flown from Perth to Corregidor and back including a near-disastrous landing in Lake Lanau on Mindanao in the PI. They extracted something like 50 people in two PBYs.

    AGOM\PBY-TP

    There are two books written that describe Operation Gridiron in some detail:

    Escape from Bataan: Memoir of a U.S. Navy Ensign in the Philippines, October 1941 to May 1942.
    by Phillip Hoffman

    and In the Hands of Fate by Dwight Messier

    Also a you tube video:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uscEbFYl_Vs


    Another epic journey made over sea and land by USAAF fighter pilots at the start of the war is recounted by Bill Bartsch in Every Day a Nightmare, his account of the defense of Java by the FEAF's 17th pursuit squadron and others in February to March, 1942. The epic flight is by a squadron of P-40Es from their training base in south eastern Australia to Java.

    In another thread, RCAFson appropriately mentioned a flight by Spitfires from Gibraltar to Malta and the epic distance flown by A6M's escorting IJN strike aircraft during attacks on Guadalcanal. I would add both to this list, not restricted by nation or aircraft type.

    Just pre and during the war. (Truculent Turtle's epic flight doesn't qualify due to it occurring outside the time frame.)
     
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  2. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    How about the Swordfish attacks on the Bismarck

    The early transport flights from Goose Bay to Greenland to Iceland to Scotland and many thereafter might be deemed epic. Most over the "hump" as well.
     
  3. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a great thread - I'll buy a subscription!
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    A Ford Trimotor helped evacuate personel from Bataan, carrying 24 people at a time. The distance was 500 miles each way and it did this twice a day for several days, always evading Japanese aircraft.

    The Trimotor was a civil 4-AT-E, s/n A45-2, pressed into service with the RAAF, and later destroyed on the ground by strafing A6M2 aircraft at 7-mile Drome near Port Moresby, the morning of 13 March 1942.

    Also notable, was it's sister ship, s/n A45-1, used as an air ambulance to evacuate wounded from the Kokoda Trail. It was destroyed in a hard landing on 24 November 1942.
     
  5. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    The movement of the 1st Fighter Group during Operation Bolero had to be nerve racking. Flying the North Atlantic in P-38s.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Good topic! A couple spring to mind.
    F/O Tom Jacklin flew his heavily damaged P-40N 200 Miles back to base in this condition

    75sqnRAAF18.jpg

    RAAF mosquito A52-2 flew 1450Km back to Australia on one engine when it lost an engine over Sourabaya in June 45. It took 10.5 Hours for the pilot to make it home.

    549 sqn RAF flew this mission in late 44 which was claimed as the longest spitfire raid at the time.
    Longest Spitfire raid of WWII.

    The 380th BG's long range missions to Balikpapan flown from Darwin are reputed to be the longest flown during the war.

    On 9th Jan 42 a lone RAAF Hudson flew a reconnaissance of Truk Island for a distance of 2260Km.
    Air Power Development Centre
     
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  7. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    The Rome-Tokyo raid (1942)

    In January 1942 Italians suspected that the British had managed to force the transmission codes between Italy and Japan, so had to be delivered in Tokyo the new codes to communicate with safety. Excluding transportation by land, considering the risks, and the timing of a sea transport of both surface ships and submarines, Autorities decided to transfer codes by air, this also far from easy task.

    For this purpose was prepared an S.M.75 GA (GA: Grande Autonomia), equipped with Alfa Romeo 128 RC engines, MM 60537, that on May 9, 1942 carried out a propaganda and a training raid throwing leaflets on Asmara, and then returned to Rome –Ciampino airport, on May. Unfortunately the plane was shortly afterwards smashed during a takeoff and was replaced by MM 60539. Commander was Lt. Col. Antonio Moscatelli, crew captain Mario Curto (pilot), Lieutenant Ernesto Mazzotti (radioman), the Ernesto Leone Marshal (engineer) and Captain Publio Magnini (navigator), who for the whole mission had to wear a leg cast for a fracture he had suffered in the incident of 11 May.

    The Japanese government feared complications with the Soviet government in the event that the plane had fallen into their hands, so they tried to block the mission, but now the decisions had been taken, so the transport of ciphers in Tokyo began.

    Guidonia - June 29, 1942 5:30 - Zaporoskje (Ukraine) same date 14.20


    Zaporoskje - June 30 18:00 GMT - Pao Tow Chen (Mongolia) 1 July 15:30 GMT

    A Pao Tow Chen plane was repainted with Japanese signs for recognition requirements and to prevent any Soviet spies discover the raid.



    [​IMG]



    Pao Tow Chen July 3rd 10:35 GMT - Tokyo (Japan) the same day at 20.00 GMT

    The Japanese authorities avoided to inform the public of the fly and, after a few days, they requested the crew to return to Italy as soon as possible



    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]


    Tokyo, July 16 at dawn (12:20 GMT) - Pao Tow Chen July 17 00:40 GMT


    Pao Tow Chen July 18 21:45 GMT (the S.M.75 had taken up the banner of Italian nationality) - Odessa (Romania) July 20 02:10 GMT


    Odessa July 20 11:00 GMT - Guidonia (Roma) that date 17.50 GMT.


    A good fly, for those times.


    More, in english:


    THE SECRET ITALIAN AIR RAID ROME-TOKYO – SUMMER 1942
     
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  8. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    #8 pinehilljoe, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
    For a damaged aircraft, "Ye Olde Pub" flown by Charles Brown, coming home from Germany, while being escorted part of the way by Oberleutnant Franz Stigler.

    If you haven't read A Higher Call its a good book. Stigler ended the War flying jets with Steinhoff and Galland.
     
  9. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks GG, I'd read a bunch about the 'general aviation' light aircraft of the Bamboo fleet and their long distance aerial running of the Bataan blockade (performing many epic flights) but never heard about the Ford Trimotor's participation.

    The “Bamboo Fleet” Shuttle Service to Corregidor | Defense Media Network

    Also from the same period are the somewhat confused P-40E rebasing efforts flown between Bataan and the Del Monte plantation field on Mindanao that needlessly depleted the fleet of aerial defenders due to accidents. Each 500+ mile leg flight flown by the fully combat-loaded P-40E was an epic journey. I believe they were flown without external fuel tanks.
     
  11. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    Read the book. Loved it all the way.
     
  12. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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