Specialy modified catalinas

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Staff Sergeant
Sep 19, 2005
Phoenix, AZ
Ok, I already have some pictures from http://www.daveswarbirds.com/blackcat/ but can anyone help me find more pictures for the crew modifications that allowed the "Cats" to carry 4 or more forward firing machine guns or other weapons? The site provided has good pictures for the cannons, but I can't see where the MGs are located. Another thing, anyone know what the standard loadout for a Black Cat was in terms of ordenance? My books keep listing four 1000lb bombs or torpedoes or deph charges of similar weights. My question is, could the Cat carry many small bombs? For example, in lieu of 1000lb bombs could it carry 8 500lb bombs?
I believe all the weapons on the Cat were carried underwing as it has no bombay because it of the fact its an amphib and the bombay would be hard to construct in the hull
I'd like to hear about the Black Cats. As I understood Black Cat PBY-5As were just painted mat black and, using radar, hunted enemy shipping at night from December 1942 onwards in the Western Pacific.

What alterations did they have?
Plan_D check the site I have in my post, it has some very informative stuff on the Black Cats. However, I would like some better pictures of the forward facing gun mod. As per pbfoot's remark about the lack of bomb bay, I was not clear enough in my initial post. What I was asking is if the Cat could carry 8 500lb bombs under the wings in lieu of 4 1000lb bombs in the same storage area. All my sources site the Cat's maximum bomb load as between 3000 and 4000lbs of ordinace, depending on the range neccissary and the weapons loaded (i.e. torps, bombs, deph charges).
At a quick glance he gives me the indication that the "Black Cat" was no different from the PBY-5A, only painted mat black and that they hunted at night.

I did find however that the "Black Cat" tactic was to carry two 500-lbs and two 1000-lbs bombs. I think the PBY-5A only had racks enough for four bombs, so eight 500-lbs bombs was out of the question.
Lets not forget that the black cats also carried mines. The RAAF was quite successful in these operations and in one raid, 25 cat's from various squadrons flew a 14 500 Km round trip to mine Manila bay with 80 mines!
As a side note,the RAAF mainly used non amphib cats in the "black cat" role to increase bomb load over a longer distance as opposed to the USN's use of PBY 5A's. On top of this about 29 RAAF PBY 5A's were modified by removing their undercarriage and associated gear, therefore enabling them to carry a greater bomb load and fly further distances. They were designated PBY 5A(M).
Sys I can't give you an exact date but it took place in late'44 with 25 catalina's from 11, 20, 42 and 43 squadrons. The missions was flown from Australia with the Cats staging through San Pedro Bay. The raid was a total distance of 14 500 Km. This made the raid the RAAF's longest mission of WWII.

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