I'm well aware of how to track airframes and components. There are times that the MACR will also include the s/n of the engine and guns.MJ: Unless you have all the maintenance records and know that they were kept up to date, there is no way to be sure what the airframe is from those component s/n's. If you have the airframe data plate, or the radio call number plate off the instrument panel, then you have the ID. Engine, gun, radio, oil cooler and so on, serialized parts, generally were not tracked once the aircraft was in the field. At depot level, they might have enough people to track it all, but it really is meaningless, as most of those records were disposed of once the aircraft was stricken from the record. Out in the field, record keeping was not anywhere on the priority list....turning aircraft back to flight status and survival was.
So your theory is that ALL primary source documents (MACR's) are inaccurate? No possible way that the information in the MACR could be correct?The only problem with that is that one don't know how old that data is. The data in the aircraft records could be as much as several months old at the time of loss. It really depended on the unit, where it was located and now far it was from the records. For example, one of my uncles flew in the 1st Air Commandos. He spend most of the time overseas in Burma, operating at times in China and India as well. Their maintenance depot was in Hailakandi, India. Rarely did they get a bird back to there for work, it was the pilots with a few mechanics doing any maintenance out in the field. With them being at times, more than a thousand miles away and working in monsoon conditions, paperwork just didn't get done timely, if at all for some things. To give you and idea of how hectic it was, between October 44, and Feb. 45, he flew about 202 hours and 360 combat missions. I saw one day in the record, where he few 5.5 hours and 24 separate missions....
Something else to keep in mind is that records simply vanished or never existed. I've been involved in chasing certain aircraft over their service time and have found a couple of cases where one gets transferred to a depot and simply vanishes from the records. It wasn't scrapped, wasn't transferred to another unit, it simply disappears from the records.
So your theory is that ALL primary source documents (MACR's) are inaccurate? No possible way that the information in the MACR could be correct?