Some successes of air gunners

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Juha, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Successes of gunners
    While it is true, that LW bombers during the BoB were lightly armed they were not helpless against fighters. On the night 18-19 June 40, ca 70 He 111s from KG 4 attacked England. Night was clear and there were numerous combats between the bombers and British fighters. KG 4 lost 6 bombers, one in crash-landing in France but RAF lost one Spitfire and 3 Blenheim Mk IF fighters and one damaged beyond repair. Gunners of one Heinkel shot down a Blenheim and hit another so badly, that even if managed to return to its base it was found to be Damaged Beyond Repair, before its demise and gunners of another lost Heinkel shot down a Spitfire and a Blenheim. One other Blenheim disappeared after exchanging fire with a Heinkel.

    And them my favourite, 6 Spits from 65 Sqn attacked a Ju 88 from 4(F)/121 near Selsey on 12 Dec 40, the bomber escaped unscathed but 2 Spitfires were lost.

    Juha
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  3. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Flyboyj
    Impressive but in fact I was looking kills that are possible to verify from enemy’s documents.

    One Allied case, A Blenheim of 60 Sqn attacked alone Akyab a/f in Burma, 5 Ki-43s t/o to pursuit it, but the air gunner hit the first 2 so badly that they disengaged straight after being hit, then he shot down LtCol Kato, the leading JAAF ace at the time, who was killed. The last 2 Ki-43 pilots had had enough and turned back.

    Juha
     
  4. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    John ('got a zero') Foley flew with 19th BS, 22nd BG. Since all their air combats in New Guinea in 1942 were against just two Japanese fighter units, the Tainan Air Group, and later a few against 2nd Air Group or formations of pilots from each of those units, and since Tainan and 2nd's records for that period are virtually complete and pretty detailed (and now online at JACAR.go.jp), all the combats between 22nd BG and Zeroes in that period can be evaluated from both sides. The 22nd claimed around 27 Zeroes in its period of B-26 operation to late '42 (somebody else counted that, seems about right by the incidents given in "Revenge of the Red Rippers" history of 22nd BG). In fact one Zero was destroyed in a collision with a 22nd BG B-26, one was probably downed by B-26 gunfire, and one possibly downed.

    Collision: July 4, 1942 Sea1C Mitsuo Suizu collided with B-26 40-1468. 1Lt Milton C. Johnson and crew were killed along with the Japanese pilot. Sakai's 'autobiography' implies this was on purpose, but it was apparently viewed officially as an accident since Suizu was not posthumously promoted.

    Zero probably downed: PO1C Sakio Kikuchi June 9 1942. On this mission 39th FS P-39's ambushed Zeroes while they were chasing B-26's home from Lae. It appears Kikuchi was downed by the B-26's (which claimed 9 Zeroes) before the P-39's arrived and the P-39's only downed PO1C Satoshi Yoshino (the P-39's claimed 5 Zeroes), but that split of the two losses isn't absolutely certain, though there were clearly only two losses. This was, incidentally, the mission on which future US Pres Lyndon Johnson received a Silver Star for flying as personal observer on behalf of then Pres FDR, though Johnson's B-26 aborted the mission with mechanical problems! He was willing to go though, and the B-26 he was originally to ride, 40-1508, was lost w/ all crew. 40-1363 bellied in on return and was repaired for use as transport. The Tainan claimed 4 B-26's destroyed. Foley's usual pilot was on that mission but I don't know if he was or if he made any of the claims.

    Possible Zero: The Tainan/2nd in a joint mission August 27 over Milne Bay lost 4 pilots and a/c. Several people have studied that combat closely, but the causes of each of the 4 losses can't be determined certainly. E Kakimoto was almost surely downed by AA since he was captured and for some reason had written down notes on the battle indicating so, which he tried to rip up but were put back together. Photo's were taken from the ground of strafing Zeroes, and AA gunners claimed several. He apparently said Lt. J Yamashita was with him. S. Yamashita and K. Ninomiya are generally assumed to be the two pilots downed by Kittyhawks which surprised and claimed 2 Zeroes. Some seem to believe J Yamashita also engaged the B-26's but the Japanese report doesn't say anything about the 4 missing pilots, and does have a claim by 2nd AG pilots v the B-26's which happened along hunting for Japanese invasion shipping as the Zeroes were escorting Type 99 Carrier Bombers (Val) to attack Allied installations at Milne Bay. Foley was apparently not on that mission.

    In every other case of 22nd's claims the Tainan or 2nd's records include the same combats and they didn't lose any Zeroes. The records include damage though, often number of bullet holes per plane, and the B-26's managed to hit Zeroes on some other occasions. On the other side of the ledger, if the B-26's weren't intercepted before they dropped their bombs, Zeroes found them hard to catch while diving away toward the deck after their bomb runs. The 22nd only lost 5 B-26's to Tainan and 2nd AG Zeroes in 1942, including the collision.

    Joe
     
  5. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    A pair of successful engagements of Allied bombers v. Japanese Navy fighters, verified on both sides, occurred May 16 and 17, 1945. In the first case a pair of VB-118 PB4Y-2's were attacked by 4 Shiden-kai (George) of the famous 343rd Air Group. They downed one Shiden and damaged another without loss, being credited with a pair of 'Jacks'. The next day two PB4Y-2's of VB-109 was attacked by 11 Shiden-kai of the same unit, downing 2 without loss though both Privateers were hit and one badly shot up. Again the PB4Y's were credited with a total of two 'Jacks'. Besides good performance of the PB4Y-2 gunners, it also shows bomber claims weren't *always* greatly exaggerated, just usually were.

    Joe
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  7. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    My favourite example for this is always the Sunderland. The flying porcuipine, slow but no easy task shooting it down. It would be quite a hairy exercise attacking a heavily defended bomber.
     
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