A Dauntless Dive Bomber sunk in Lake Michigan is being restored at our very own Pensacola NAS. Read about it here.
Aircraft participating in D-day wore black and white stripes. This was to reduce the risk of friendly fire. On June 1, such airplanes flew over the invasion fleet so that the crews could formalize themselves with the markings. In July the markings on the upper surface was ordered removed and by the end of 1944 they were completely gone.
On April 4, 1943 1st Lt. William J. Hatton, pilot of B-24 Liberator Lady Be Good, and his crew set out on a bombing raid bound for Naples, Italy. After meeting up with high winds and obscured visibility the plane aborted the mission. To make matters worse the automatic direction finder went out. The plane then missed the base at Soluch, Libya (modern day Suluq) and after heading south for a couple more hours the crew bailed out. They were never heard from since. Then in 1959 the wreckage of the Lady be Good was found by a British oil surveyor. Then in 1960 eight out of nine of the crewman’s bodies were found. Bombardier John Woravka was thought to have died on impact due to trouble with his parachute opening and his body was found later in 1960. The rest of the crew met up and began an amazing trek through the desert. They walked 80 miles in scorching heat for eight days sharing only one canteen of water. As all hope began to fade three of the crew man strayed from the group to find help. Two of their bodies were found 20 miles away from the others. The Lady be Good had crashed landed on her belly and was mostly intact. Over the years pieces were hauled away by souvenir hunters. One propeller can be seen in front of the Village Hall in Lake Linden, the home of Robert E. LaMotte. The plane was finally moved to Tobruk for safekeeping in 1994. The crew’s names are posted below:
1st Lt. William J. Hatton – pilot
2nd Lt. Robert F. Toner – co-pilot
2d Lt. D.P. (initials only, also seen as “Dp”) Hays – navigator
2d Lt. John S. Woravka – bombardier
T/Sgt. Harold J. Ripslinger – flight engineer
T/Sgt. Robert E. LaMotte – radio operator
S/Sgt. Guy E. Shelley – gunner
S/Sgt. Vernon L. Moore – gunner
S/Sgt. Samuel R. Adams – gunner
The P-38 Lightning was one of the best fighters of WWII. It was instantly recognized by it’s twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. The German nickname for it was the “der Gabelschwanzteufel”- Forked Tail Devil. Though they were fighters they could also serve as bombers. All and all they were awesome at intercepting the enemy. On 18 April 1943, American codebreakers found out that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was heading to Bougainville Island. 16 P-38 were sent to intercept the enemy in two bombers serving as transports and six Zero fighters. The next day searchers found Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s body at a crash sight in the jungle.
As you might have noticed I have added a new page to my blog. On this page I will be putting WW2 Aviation resources. Right now all I have on there is a widget you can post on your blog! If you don’t know how to do this keep reading. Right below the widget I have a embed code first, you need to copy this code. Second you need to go to your blog and edit your sidebar. Add a text box and paste the code. That should do it!
I plan to be updating the new page continually so check back often and tell your friends.
The Yamato, one of two 65,000-ton battleships! At over 800 ft. long it was the terror of the enemy and a symbol of Japanese Naval strength in the Pacific. Yamato and her sister ship Musashi were the biggest, must powerful battleships ever built. Her size wasn’t what made her so powerful but her nine 18.1 inch guns.
Both the Yamato and her sister took part in the battle of Leyte Gulf where Musashi was sunk by U.S. planes. Yamato was sent home to have her anti-aircraft guns upgraded.
But the end was near for the Yamato. On April 6, 1945, she was to participate in Ten-gō sakusen (Operation Heaven One) or Operation Ten-Go. Operation Ten-Go was the last Japanese navel operation in the Pacific. Yamato and nine other ships were to procede to Okinawa and attack U.S. navel forces there. Operation Ten-Go was a suicidal mission and the Japenese knew it. The plan was for the ships to destroy as many U.S. ships as possible and then the Yamato would beach herself and act as a ground battery. When destroyed Yamatos surviving crew would attack U.S. ground forces.
Fortunately Yamato and the nine others would never make it to their destination. The destroyer, Asashimo, had engine problems and had to turn back. The rest were soon detected and U.S. planes where on their way! The first wave of planes including mostly F6F Hellcat fighters, SB2C Helldiver dive-bombers, and TBF Avenger torpedo bombers, began their attack. The Japanese began evasive maneuvers, firing their anti-aircraft guns up at the approaching enemy. The light cruiser Yahagi was hit and stopped dead in her tracks. A destroyer, Isokaze, tried to help the Yahagi, (which sunk soon after) but was hit and later sunk. Though most of the bombs missed the Yamato, two of them, and one torpedo, started a fire that was not extinguished. The second and third waves of U.S. aircraft attacked the Yamato with no mercy and she was hit by 8 torpedo and 15 bombs. The torpedo mostly hit the port side of the mega-ship which meant that soon, if nothing was done, the Yamato would capsize. The crew succeeded in keeping her afloat for about 30 more minutes, soon though they began to abandon ship. But before she capsized a huge explosion rocked the waves around the sinking ship and a mushroom cloud bellowed into the air. The explosion was probably caused when fires reached the main magazines. Only a few of the Japanese ships participating in Operation Ten-Go made it back to Japan. Losses where 3,700 Japanese and 12 Americans.
So the Yamato joined her sister, Musashi, in Davy Jones locker.
This clearly showed that without air cover ships could not survive long, that air superiority is worth having even if the enemy has the biggest ship in the world. It also showed Japan’s willingness to sacrifice even their biggest ship and national symbol to keep the enemy from taking their land.