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PBY's

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Old 27th Jul 2002, 21:35
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Yank Carriers Purged Fuel Lines with CO2

IME, Agreed bombs penetrated to Yank hangar decks, but did not cause the same uncontrollable fires as in Japanese carriers because they purged their fuel lines with CO2 (or other inert gas) when attack reported on way -- among other precautions.
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Old 28th Jul 2002, 04:43
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Anti Flash Protective Clothing

Lu, the USN not having this clothing at the time of Pearl is incredible. This snippet I picked up from a documentary.
I'm fairly certain that anti flash gear developed from lessons learnt in WWI & most Navies were equipped well before WWII.
I understand from your post that this equipment was not introduced in the USN during WWII, or have I misunderstood?

RBF & IME, how do you feel the Jap torpedo, dive & high level bombers would have gone against the battle ships in open waters ? Were the the battle ships well equipped with anti aircraft defence ? It seems the Royal Navy ships were not at that stage of the war, in fact the Australian desroyer in company with Z Force, Repulse & Prince of Wales, was incapable of any anti aircraft defence whatsoever!! In adddition the force commander Vice Adm Sir Thomas Phillips was contemptuous of air attack as a threat to battle ships, an attitude widespread in the
Royal Navy at the time. Consequently the AA gunnery control system in service was useless on a good day.
The USN on the other hand had opted for the tachymetric system which was far better equipment. Would it have put the balance in favour of the battle ships ??
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Old 28th Jul 2002, 14:49
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Question Anti flash clothing.

To: Capt. Crosswind


Quote:

Lu, the USN not having this clothing at the time of Pearl is incredible. This snippet I picked up from a documentary.
I'm fairly certain that anti flash gear developed from lessons learnt in WWI & most Navies were equipped well before WWII.
I understand from your post that this equipment was not introduced in the USN during WWII, or have I misunderstood?

There is a possibility that gunners in the turrets of large ships may have worn anti flash masks but the average sailor was not so well equipped. I have seen many documentaries about the British Navy and it was shown that sailors at their battle stations wore anti flash masks and I can only assume that the clothing was anti flash as well.

On one of my jobs I had to do the maintainability analysis on the propulsion system of the LHA, which, was steam powered. I got a chance to go aboard several large steam powered ships to talk with the sailors in the “Black Gang”. They indicated that on occasions during the light off there was a flash back where flames were ejected from the light off port on the boiler. I asked about protective clothing and they indicated that there was none.

As a result I wrote an article in a US Navy Safety Magazine outlining my findings. I recommended that at the least the black gang crew be issued Nomex clothing and some face and hand protection. Although the article got critical review nothing was done about my recommendations. At least, not at that time. Now when the ships are in a combat situation some of the crew will wear anti flash clothing.
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Old 29th Jul 2002, 08:53
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Anti Flash Protective Clothing

Thanks Lu, for a very interesting story.
My sea time was in a destroyer at the end of the Korean War.
Gun Crews & Damage Control Crews were equipped with anti flash hoods & gauntlets, other positions with anti flash hoods.
Artificial fibre ( nylon ) clothing or underwear was prohibited as were shorts or short sleeve shirts.
The denim working rig was supposed to provide protection from flash. Wool long socks & wool pullovers were part of the rig, environment permitting for the latter. Engine room crew from memory had anti flash hoods & gauntlets.
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Old 29th Jul 2002, 14:37
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I was on DE's in 1950 and 1952, and only the engineers and gunners had protective clothing.
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Old 29th Jul 2002, 23:11
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I have read an account of pilots using their Catalinas as dive bombers-apparently no dive brakes were needed and they would top out at about 240 kts. I now have to find the book for better details to share.

Chuck-have you ever tried that ?


Apologies if this is already in the thread-I scanned for it but can't read the whole thread right now...
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Old 30th Jul 2002, 04:03
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Ahh...240kt seems a mite warm for a PBY. I don't think all the parts would be in formation at that speed.
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Old 30th Jul 2002, 15:41
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http://www.warbirdalley.com/cat.htm
Max speed 179 MPH.
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Old 1st Aug 2002, 04:42
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Lunkenheimer, I once flew with an instructor who in WWII had been involved in a low level dawn bombing raid against Jap shipping in Rabaul Harbour. The raid was mounted from Port Moresby which is a long haul, and caught the enemy defences flat footed. I'm trying to research the details for the forum at this time. Not a divebombing attack but a bombing raid none the less.
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Old 1st Aug 2002, 05:52
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Catalina - Aviation's first act of armed piracy

The world's first act of armed air piracy occured on July 16 1948 with the attempted take over of a Cathay Pacific Catalina enroute Macao to Hong Kong. The attempted hijack went badly & the aircraft crashed into the Pearl River estuary with only one survivor,Wong Yu, who was also one of the hijackers.

The Background:
Macao was not a signatory to the Betton Woods restrictions on gold trading, and had quickly become an important gold trading centre after WWII. The Catalina was the ideal aircraft for operations between Macao,Hong Kong & Saigon for this trade, Macao lacking a suitable airfield but having an ideal harbour for flying boat operations.

The Aircraft :
VR-HDT named "Miss Macao" was an ex USN PBY5A purchased in Manila from the U.S. Government Liquidation Commission in 1947,and having logged less than 1,000 hours of operations in her military career, was in good condition.

The Crew:
Pilot in command was Capt. Dale Cramer a former USN pilot who had served in Patrol Squadron 45 during WWII and had left the USN in 1947.
Co-pilot was F/O Ken McDuff a 23 year old Australian.
Stewardess was Miss Delca Da Costa a 21 year old Macanese.

The Hijackers:
The leader was Choi Tok who had some limited amphibian flying experience.
He was accompanied by two clansmen from his village. These three carried pistols.
The fourth member of the gang was Wong Yu a rice farmer , who had local knowledge of the area the highjacked Catalina would be flown to.
He was not armed & took no part in the hijack ,remaining belted in his seat. This is probably the reason he survived the crash.

The Passengers:
Twenty three passengers perished in the crash , some of the passengers were wealthy & prominent Macanese.

The Plan:
Choi Tok proposed to take over the aircraft & fly to a remote coastal location known to Wong Yu, where the aircraft would be beached & plundered. He expected that there would be gold bullion carried on the flight.

The Attempted Hijack:
Information obtained from Wong Fu & forensic evidence gives a picture of events.
Minutes after take off from Macau, F/O McDuff left the cockpit to attend to retraction of the wing floats. The hijackers made their move and at pistol point attempted to assume control. A scuffle broke out when McDuff & some of the passengers grappled with the pirates. Shots were fired & Captain Cramer was hit , being killed instantly. Out of control the Catalina , according to an eyewitness fisherman , went into a spiral dive into the estuary. The same fisherman rescued Wong Fu , the only survivor he could find.

The Conclusion:
The Portuguese took Wong Yu & some of the gang's Macanese associates into custody but had difficulty with the legal apects of charging Wong Yu for an act of piracy on a British registered aircraft in international airspace.
The Macao authorities suggested that he be handed over to the Hong Kong government ,but the Hong Kong authorities doubted that there was sufficient evidence to bring him to trial.
After bring held in custody for three years he was released & he returned to his mainland China village.
Rumour had it that he was subjected to summary justice either by the Chinese authorities who had a zero tolerance policy towards piracy , or perhaps by relatives of the prominent Macanese killed in the crash.

Epilogue:
To prevent firearms being taken on board aircraft it was suggested that metal detectors screen passengers before boarding. It was also suggested that the cockpit door be kept locked but this was finally decided to be not practical.

"--and that which is done is that which shall be done : and there is no new thing under the sun." Ecclesiastes

Last edited by Capt. Crosswind; 2nd Aug 2002 at 10:42.
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Old 3rd Aug 2002, 00:17
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Cat Books

Black Cat Raiders discusses Cats in The Pacific theatre -- very close to home for Oz readers, but very much a history of USA units.

Miracle at Midway discusses the reconnaissance role played by cats -- something was learned after Pearl Harbor.

I don't get money from Amazon, but they are useful.
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Old 12th Aug 2002, 09:24
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Pearl Harbour Attack - PBY sinks sub ??

I have come across a reference to a USN PBY dropping depth charges & sinking a midget submarine in the Pearl Harbour approaches at 0630 on the morning of the Japanese attack.
This is new to me & I wonder if the historian is confused with the attack on a midget submarine at about this time by the USS Ward. The destroyer attacked a partially submerged midget sub with gunfire & scored a direct hit. My info is that it did not use depth charges. Dr. Robert Ballard has carried out a search for this submarine in recent years but was unsuccessful.
Has any Pruner details of this PBY attack, if it did occur?
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Old 16th Aug 2002, 07:47
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PBY Nav technique

To: I M Esperto

IME , you mentioned you had pal who flew Cats in WWII.
I'd be interested to hear what nav techniques were used
on the long range patrols over the Pacific.
I guess the B3 Gyro Stabilised Drift Sight & Bubble Sextant must have been key equipment. The need for radio silence probably would preclude the use of HF/DF & VHF/DF in most areas in the early days of the conflict?
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Old 16th Aug 2002, 12:41
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It was Dead Reckoning, and the bubble sextant, from what I'm told.
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Old 16th Aug 2002, 17:01
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USS Ward or PBY ?

The USN has always claimed this, but other accounts do have the PBY 'attacking'.
The first shot of the Pacific War, fired by the destroyer USS Ward before dawn on 7 December 1941. Ward was patrolling in an restricted zone off the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the minesweeper Condor reported that she had spotted a submarine periscope at 3:42AM. Nearly three hours later, a PBY patrol plane also sighted a periscope and marked the spot with a smoke pot. Ward came over, fired her guns at the sub and dropped depth charges, reportedly sinking it.
Don't think this particular sub is one of the ones found so far.
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Old 17th Aug 2002, 00:31
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Cool

There's an interesting anecdote about the PBY that is probably an urban, or in this case a rural, legend. Chuck could probably either confirm or discount it, since it was supposed to have happened in his neck of the woods.
Back when Queen Charlotte Airlines and Canadian Pacific Airlines operated the PBY, one or the other - I forget which - used to run a sched with it from Vancouver to Prince Rupert BC. At that time there was no road into Prince Rupert, so everything came in either by air or by boat. One day, the company running the scheduled service got a call to rush a crankshaft for a Caterpillar D8 tractor to Prince Rupert. The only way they could fit the thing into the aircraft and maintain the c of g in limits, was to stow the crankshaft vertically in the tower compartment. On the approach to the harbour in Prince Rupert, they encountered some pretty wild turbulence. The crank broke lose and exited the aircraft via the hole it pounded in the hull. It is not known if it dropped into the Caterpillar dealer's garage park.
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Old 17th Aug 2002, 06:03
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PBY Nav technique & Pearl Harbour

Thanks IME - If you think about a 20 hour sortie out of an island base in the Pacific such as Midway, a one degree error through out means you miss the base by 40nm !! Throw in any evasion tactics requiring course changes & flying in/below cloud cover & you can see those Cat Navs must have used sharp pencils on their plot. I guess in emergency you could call up for HF/DF ?

Thanks PaperTiger - Historian L Deighton credits the sinking to the PBY which was the first mention I had heard of a PBY in either books or doco's.This raises an interesting point - Condor spots a sub at 0342 & Ward starts to hunt for it ,finally sinking it at 0630 or thereabouts with the PBY's assistance . Meanwhile they must have been reporting back to Pearl & yet the fleet ( less than 10 miles from this action) remain at normal harbour routine. Looks like someone at HQ was remiss in not having the fleet closed up at action stations, at least for submarine threat ??

Last edited by Capt. Crosswind; 17th Aug 2002 at 06:07.
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Old 17th Aug 2002, 18:41
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pigboat I can't find a reference to that PBY incident in Spillsbury's "Accidental Airline". Pretty sure he would have included it if it happened to QCA - he doesn't pull punches. CBCA also ran PBYs up the coast, and it does sound more like a trick Baker's outfit would pull, if not apochryphal.
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Old 18th Aug 2002, 11:58
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PBY SAR role in USS Indianapolis Rescue

PBY's role in the last major SAR operation of the Pacific War.

When the survivors of USS Indianaplois were found by good luck, four days after being torpedoed, the PBY played a major role in the rescue of survivors & directly saved 59 lives.

By chance the survivors remaining on day 4 after the sinking were found by Lt W.Gwinn flying a Ventura on AS patrol. He initially found 30 survivors & dropped what liferafts he had and radioed the situation to a disbelieving base ops.
There was no record of a ship missing.
His C.O. (VPB-152 ) Lt Cdr Attebury took of from Pelelui to relieve him and deliver more liferafts , arranging for a PBY (from VPB-23) to follow him as soon as possible.
By now more survivors had been found by Lt Gwinn, & ships & acft diverted to the area to assist.
The PBY from VPB23 flown by Lt. R.Marks arrived and dropped liferafts to survivors located by L/Cdr Atteberry. Lt Marks saw isolated survivors were being attacked by sharks & decided to attempt to land & pick them up,despite a 12 ft swell that was running & the fact that he had never made an ocean landing . The landing was heavy, rivets sprung & seams in the hull opened, the acft began taking some water but at a controllable rate.
Directed by L/Cdr Attenberry on R/T he was able to eventually pick up 58 isolated survivors before night fall as well as distribute water & emergency rations to other groups in rafts. The acft was so crowded survivors lay on the wings and were covered with parachutes for the night.
Late in the day another PBY landed from USAAC Emergency Rescue Unit at Palau Island piloted Lt R. Alcorn but he was only able to find one survivor before dark. A few hours after last light, about midnight, the USS Doyle arrived on scene & began to pick up survivors by by motor whale boat taking all survivors from Lt Marks PBY. By searchlight , air dropped parachute flares & star shells Doyle continued to pick up survivors in her whaleboat. In the course of the night more aircraft & ships arrived , by sun up there were 5 ships involved in the search & rescue of the survivors, who were spread over a large area. Before long there were eleven ships & numerous patrol craft searching the area as well as aircraft overhead spotting for the ships.
The search area was 100 nm radius from the initial survivor group.

At first light Doyle took Lt Alcorn's survivor . A rough sea & strong wind made it hazardous to consider taking off with survivors. He took off and returned after refuelling to act as a spotter for the next 5 days for the ships which had now arrived on the scene.

Lt Mark's inspected his PBY & determined it was not airworthy. The crew, & equipment that could be salvaged , were taken off by USS Doyle.
The PBY which had saved the lives of 58 of the isolated survivors was sunk by 80 rounds of 40 mm.
The search lasted 6 days and after the first day only badly decomposed bodies were found. Of the 800 sailors who abandoned ship only 316 survived.
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Old 19th Aug 2002, 00:53
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PT, for the life of me I can't remember where I heard that story.

Capt. Xwind, I just bought the book "In Harm's Way" about the sinking of the Indianapolis. The picture section has a shot of Marks' aircraft and crew.
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