Page 1

Osprey Aviation Editor since 1989, TONY HOLMES Is a native of Fremantle, Western Australia. Responsible for devising the Aircraft of the Aces, Combat Aircraft and Elite Units series, Tony has also written more than 20 books for Osprey In the past 17 years.

CHRIS DAVEY has illustrated more than 20 titles for Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces, Combat Aircraft and Aviation Elite Units series since 1994. Based in Mansfleld, Nottinghamshire, and one of the last traditional airbrush artists In the business, he has become the arti st of choice for both USAAF fighters and RAF subject matter.



Twelve to One 1

V Fighter Command Aces of the Pacific War


'Twelve to One' V Fighter Command Aces of the Pacific War Compiled by Tony Holmes

Front Cover 'On 2 November 1944, I was leading a squadron flight of 14 P-38s out of Tacloban airstrip on a dive-bombing strike against Japanese shipping in Ormoc Bay. on the west side of leyte. Intelligence reported a concentration of troop transports, with destroyer and cruiser escorts. landing t roops in the area. 'Our strategy was to take the first six aircraft across the bay at low level, drawing naval ack-ack. This would permit the remaining ai rcraft, carrying 500-lb bombs, to make their attacks with minimum opposition. Although reports of enemy aircraft in sizeable numbers came In, we went unmolested during the first portion of the attack, and one of our pilots got a direct hit with a 500-lb bomb on a troopship. 'About the time decoy flights were pulling up at the far end of the bay, and the dive-bombing runs were almost over, enemy aircraft were spotted in several directions by our pilots. One was sighted at "six o'clock" to me. I went into a tight climbing turn to meet the enemy head-on. Since my wing man stayed glued to me during the turn, the enemy pilot lost his enthusiasm and broke off into a climbing turn. My position was better now, and the chase continued 'Gradually I gained on the Jap, climbing in the process to 16,000 ft. He was identifiable now as one of the new • Jack* fighters. He elected to enter a shallow dive, which against the P-38 was decidedly unwise. I needed full power for quite a while to catch him, but at 10,000 ft, and indicating 400 mph, he was right in front of me at point-blank range Two short bursts produced no apparent effect, but on the third burst the Jap disintegrated with a violent blast. Flying debris thundered against my P-38. My windshield was smothered in Japanese engine oil. I had to use my side vision and the careful direction of my wingman to get back to base. 'During the disassembly of my P-38, a large portion of one of the pilot's maps was found in one of the oil cooler scoops. This momento Is today a prized possession. Another m omen to of this combat is a copy of orders s ending me Stateside from the Philippines after 22 months overseas. They are dated 1

firs! puhli\hcd in Gre.n Britain in 20(H hy Ospr~y Puhlishmg Elms Cou n , Chapd W;t)'• Botley, Oxford. OX2 911'

© 2004 {hprc' Puhlishing Limited Al l right\ rc\crwd. Ap•trt from any f.1 ir dea ling fo r the purpose of p m\ttc study. rest:".uch. aiticism or rc\'iC\\, as permitted under rhc Copyright. Oc,ign Jnd Parent' A~;l I ?88. no p.1rr nf 1hl$ publi~;Jiion mar be reproduced. \IOrcd m .1 reuic:vJI 'Ptem. or u.m,mmed in any form or bv anv ll1L':lns, electromc., chemical, mc:dt .m ~~;a l, o, photocopyi ng, recordi ng nr otherwise wi1hout pnor written pcrmi,sion. All enq uiries shou ld be addressed to the publi,hc:r

ISHN I 1!41 76 784 0 Fditcd b) Tony Holml"' Page dc:'i~n by ~lark Hnh Cover \mmrk by Mark l'osdcrhwaitc Ai rcraft l>rnflles by C hrb Oavcy I ndcx oy \I an That~;h~r Ori~mation b~ GrJJ.mcrc Digital lma~ing. Leeds.

L f...

Primed in China thmu~h Bookbutldcr'

o4 O'i oc,



1o 9 8 - 6 'i 4 J 2


Th" 1-.diwr wishc> to both Hess and John Sranaway l(>r ~uppl> ing tht: bul k of the phowgraph, contained with in rh is volume. I hank you al\o to Jim Do" for the provtsion of photograph~ and information rcl.uing to his late f;tther. Col Edwin Do,~. lt ( :ol \mhom 1\upfercr also generously lent phow' of his wammc ( 0, Col Edw01rd Rodd,, for inclusion in this volum~. f; ina lly. thanb w 3'irh FC h i,tc>rian Carlm ' ().m' Dann.Khct,Jim Stcrlang .1nd Carl \lobwunh for the pro"ision of photographs and infomtation relating ro pilm~ profiled an rh is book.

For Jct.1 il '

ornil O~prc:y Publishing mb please co nt.1ll m .u:

O sprey Direct UK, P.O. Box 140, Wcllingborough , Nonhams NN8 4ZA, UK £ -m ul : info@' Osprey Direct USA, c/o MBI Publishing, P.O. Box I , 729 Prospcc1 Avc, Osccola, Wl 54020, USA [-nuil: info@' Or \ 't\11 uur \\cb\ile:

November 1944. My most memorable mission had been unknowingly on my own time.' This account, written by 14·kill ace • Bob De Haven. details the demise of his penultimate victory on 2 November 1944. Assigned to the 49th Fighter Group's 7th Fighter Squadron. OeHaven was. on this occasion, flying an unidentified P-38l that had almost certainly been

commandeered from either the 8th or 475th FGs as an attrition replacement during the Philippines campaign. Seen here just seconds after flying through the fireball created by the exploding Mitsubishl J2M3 'Jack' fighter. OeHaven's P-38 is also featured in profile in the colour section of this volume (Cover artwork by Mark Postlethwalte)








z 0



:::> 0 0

a: 1-






10 UJ

his volume i' the rhird, and fin31. 'unofficial' war manual produced by rhe Unitl•d !>tares Army Air ForCl' during World War 2. lr followed \Jmilar hooks created by the Eighrh Air force\ Vll1 Fighter Comnund tn 1944, enrirled '/.nng Rtarh' and 'Dou•n to /;arrh: which served as 'bible~ for budding fighter pilots newl} arrived 111 the European Theatre of Operations. Compiled bv officers assigned ro the ~t.tlf of\111 Fighter ( ommand, the rexr for the~e books was provided b) both the leading aces and veteran fighter group leaders that were in the proce55 of securing' icrory in the bloody skies over' hmress Europe'. Almost certainly in,pired by the production of VII I Fighter Command's ' Rtnch 'and 'D11u'11 to Earth' manual\, the Fifth Air f;orcc\ V Fighter Command \C:I about compiling ir.s own report in the final momh, of the Pacific War. Th(; ta\k of producing the book was given to Col Roy R Bri.scherro, A~\1\t•UH Chief of Staff of V Fighter Comm.mJ\ ( .eneral ~wff Corps. He duly set about contacting a number of the lc.:ading ace~ in-rhearre, a.~ well ::1\ ~everal group commanders and a handful or b.ser known, bm no lc.:ss expcncnced, fronrlinc lighter pilots. \ome 26 airmen even wally submitted wriuen reports for tnclu.sion in the published d<><:umcnt, which was rirlc:J lit•tlt·t to Ont 'w denore the kill r.uio achieved b) the fighter units as.signcd to V Fighter Command in World War 2. 'J he booklet, subrided 'FiKhraCombllt Tactics mthrSWPA · and clearly marked 'confldcncial ' on irs cover, wa.s published on I August J 94 5. By rhen rwo of ir~ comriburors had been killed. The h rst to die was ~econd-ranking •\merican ace Maj Tom McC.uire. who losr his life when lm P-38 snap- mlkJ into the jungle and exploded when he rned ro manoeuvre with .1 Ki-43 o,·er Los Negro\ Island on 7 January 19·1 ). F-our months later rhc V5th FG's Maj 'johnny' Young was killed in a freak accidenr at Clark held, in the Philippines. One of his unit\ P-'i J, lost a napalm mnk on r.1ke-off, the store ~kidding across rhe runwa) until 1r hir MaJ Young's jn:p. De~pire the pilot'~ best efforts to evade thl· tank, he received mas'J\'C: hurm when it exploded upon impact wirh the jeep and died a week brcr. hnally. just five day' after the publicanon of 'Jit•rlz•r to Ont', ranking U~ ace ~laj Dick Song wa~ killed when his P-80A jet .suffered an engine fl.tmeout \Oon after taking oiHrom Burbank, Californi.t. Along with Ainmfi ofthe ,.-lm 31- VI 11 1-iglurr Command tU W'.J1r 'I ong /?e(lrh' and Aircraft o.f tiJI' Aces 51 - 'D()IIIfl lfJ Earth' Srrnfing Am o.f the • F1glnh ,.-lir fnrcr, thi\ volume serves as a tribute ro the memory uf these hra\'C men.

T ony Hulmc' 6

'\evenoaks December 200)





0 0 '"0 :JJ


Brigadier General PAUL B WURTSMITH US Army Air Force Thi~

report i' prc\cntcd h~ \ ' F"ightcr Command combat pilots for the helpful hint~ for combat replacement p1lot~ who are a:.signcd to dur~¡ in the Sourhwe\r Pacific Thearer. This pamphlet i~ not inu:nded LObe a text dcvot.:d to air tactics, and the reader mu\t bear that in mind. I'he n:port is w1itrcn by th.:combar pilcm as rhcy seeaircombaragaimr the japan~\e. ( hesC pdor\ include men who hav.: logged an average of 500 comh:H hour\ m more, and liH .tmong rheir number~ Bong. Joh n~on, MacDonalcl, McCuire, Kcarhy. l ynch and many others of the team. Th~ir record - over 2500 conllrm..:d vicrorits. Crcdi1 fell¡ their success i~ shared in a large pan by (he men working on rhe line and in the various departmenrs who arc a major parr of any flying rcam. lt ha, been found by experience in this theatre that three rule' mu\r be followed by all fighter pilms who wish m be successful: purpo~e of making avaibhle

I. Ncver be: \Urprisctl. 2. Alwan fight aggrcssivdy in 3. ::-.Jc:ver Circle: combat. PACL B \X lJIUS\11 1'1 I Brigadier General


Brig Gun Paul ' Squ eeze' Wurtsm ith (left) poses with 475th FG Lt Col Charles MacDo nald. and the latter's famous P-38J-15 42-104024, at Hollandia in the spring of 1944. Head of V Fighter Command fro m late 1942 until rel ieved by Brig Gen Freddie Sm ith in March 1945, Wurtsmith was a career av iat or who had enlisted in the Army i n 1928 and earned his wings four years later. Given command of the P-40Cequlpped 49th Pursuit Gro up five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he had led t he group into action in the defence of Australia in early 1942. Despit e being promoted 'upstairs' to Fifth Air Force HQ, Wurtsmith would period ically sneak off in his personal P-38 in order t o perform combat sorties with the '49ers'. Such flying earned him the unswerving devotion of his pilots. Awarded a second star, and promot ed to major general, Wurtsmith w as made co mmander of the Thirteenth Air Force on 1 March 1945 He was subsequently killed in a peacetime flying accide nt (via Willis m Hess)

-n l>


m (I)






u.. LU

a: a.. 0 0

a: w a..

Brig Gen Freddie Smith replaced Maj Gen Wurtsmith as Commanding General of V Fighter Command on 1 March 1945. Smith, the former Chief of Staff to Fifth Air Force CO Gen George C Kenney, returned to the Southwest Pacific: following a year of attached duty In the Pentagon with the USAAF Chief of Staff. He was well liked by the veteran fighter pilou who now occupied the various staff positions within the Fifth Air Force, and his inheritance of V Fighter Command from Wurtsmlth had long been expected (via Will/am Ha ss)

Brigadier General FREDERICK H SMITH JR Commanding General V Fighter Command Thts combat report of the V Fighter Command is an ourgrowth of the hard and ofren blood}¡ lessons which have been learned bv fighter pilors and fighter units in rhis theatre since the early days at Darwin and Porr Moresby. The men who have contributed ro the text are those who have been through those difficult ~ituarions and conditions which arc inhcrenr in che Southwest Pacific Area. rheir constant and aggressive teamwork have accomplished a rare of attrition against the enemy in excess of 12-ro-1. Similar textS published in rhe European rhearre of operation haw outlined barde conditions and siruarions rhere. h is hoped that readers of the V Fighter Command report wiU be able ro visualise, and thus .1rm rhc:mselves <lgainsr rhe probable enemy counters to our operations, and through lessons learned in rhe birrer engagements which have gone before, ro enhance chances of vicwries and survival.

FREDERICK H SMITHJR Brigadier General, Commanding V Fighter Command August 1945



..,., C)



m :c


:c C)

c: -o


8th FG In considering the tactics employed by this unit, I would like ro divide them into rwo general tYpes. Those employed against aerial rargers, and those employed against ground target~. In eirher rype the our~r:mding criterion of succes~ is leadership. When planning a mission. iris impo~~ible ro go imo roo much derail. Briefing of pilot~ by imelligence and operations officers should be very thorough so as ro leave no doubr in rhc mind of any pilot as to what rhc mission calls for, and what his specific job will be throughout rhe mission. As a good football pla)â&#x20AC;˘er must car. sleep amlli,â&#x20AC;˘e football, rhinkang ho" he can best improve his playing, so must the combar pilot ears sleep, and live his flying tactics, The formation that we use is rhe convcmional two-ship element, wirh fou r aeroplanes in a flight. lr is desired that our wingmen will be well up forward, wirh enough inrcrval eo the side so as nor ro hamper rhe manoeuvrability of rhe element, .md yer close enough so rhar rhe two aeroplanes can offer mumal protection. This hold~ rruc also wirh the elcmenrs and nights. In group flights, rhe squadrons should be within vi:.ual di~rance of the leader. A four-aeroplane flight is the smallest desired unit when engaged in aerial combat with the enemy. When over the target, where ack-ack and inrerception are likely and a lot of turning or weaving is done, rhe squadron will usually end up with the elements in a srring formation. Long-range escort has gained ever increasing importance in rhe last few months, and this importance will cominue ro grow. Knowing your aeroplane is essential in any form of aerial combat, bur this knowledge becomes increasingly important in long-range escorr. Rendezvom musr be made dose ro the rargcr area, since;: the mosr economical speed for fighters is much faster than that of rhe escorted bombers. Because of the.: limited rime over targets, when enemy opposinon is expected, we like ro send a small force in high so as ro attack any enemy formation. This causes them to break up into small units which can then be easily taken care of by the main body ofescorting fighters. This group of aeroplanes should be abour five minute~ ahead of rhe main srriking force. While en roure ro the rarger on long missions, fuel is used from one belly rank at a rime, and the empty rank is jerrisoned, which curs down on rhe amount of drag. Arracks on ground or surface targets by dive-bombing arc made either individually or by four-ship flights, depending on the nature and size of rhe rarger. When strafing, individual passes are never made unless no ack-ack is encountered. Four-ship flights arc generally used, with all ships nearly line abreast. I lowever, if the size of the rarger permirs, more llighrs





a: w

10.. <{

::c u


The 8th FG's trio of squadrons (35th, 36th and 80th FSs) operated a number of fighters during their time in the Pacific, before finally settling on the P-38 in the s pring of 1944. P-39s, P-400s, P-40s and P-47s were all flown in combat by the 8th, with the latter fighter replacing the Airacobras of the 36th FS during October-November 1943. This particular machine, P-470-3 42-22604, was assigned to the squadron's 1lt William ' Kenny' Giroux upon its arrival in Port Moresby in late October. Marked with a 'winged G', the machine w as used by Giroux to probably des troy three Ki-21 'Sally' bombers north of Nadzab on the morning of 7 November. These were his only claims in the P-47, and this s hot shows Giroux's fighter optimistically bearing two victory decals. Note the distinctive flat 200¡ gallon ' Brisbane' tank fitted to the fighter's centreline pylon, this store solving the range problems initially associated with the Thunderbolt in the So uthwest Pacific. The tank's name was derived from its place of invention - the capital city of Queensland, Australia I via John Stanaway)

arc brought up on line. Every advamage ~hould be taken of the 'un and clouds for use as elemems of surpri~e. However, ir should be remembered that the Japanese can use the same tactics, and &equendv do. In closing, 1wish to stare rhat the best offensive is in keeping together and hining hard. Also, the best defence is obrained through rhe same procedure. A fighrcr pilot is an ind ividual, and his thoughts and actions mu~t be complete and insramancous. Only un usually gifted persom muM be singled out ro lead, and as )c;tdcrs they must suive for perfection. lt is only rh ro ugh experience that this perfection can be obtained.

CAPT WILLIAM K GIROU X 36th FS/ Bth FG Our mctics are very simple, and though we have had little chance to prove them, rhey worked our very well in the fight~ we had from 2 to 15 November 1944. During this period wc shot down .?2 cm¡ my aeroplanes for the loss of only one P-38 and no pilots. Ar rhc time. only four members of the squadron had seen previous aerial comhat, bm during November we ran imo almo~t C\'ery possible situation. (n some fights the enemy had every possible advamagc. ~uch .1~ .1hitude (which is the besr advantage they could ever hope to have). the) fought over their own airfield\, which gives their pilots a feeling ofsafet)'. and they had clouds in which ro hide. Many rimes they ournumbcred u~. On other days we mer rhcm ar C(lual altitude. and on occasiom we sat above their strips warching them as they rook ofT- bur in cvcrv ca~c we were Lhe winners.


William K Giroux William K 'Kenny' Giroux was born on 15 November 1914 in Chicago, Ulinois, alrhough he was raised on a farm in nearby Momence. FoUowing graduarion from high school in 1932, he worked ar various occupations during the Depression, prior ro joining rhe Army Reserves in the wake of rhc Pearl Harbor acrack. When it came rime for 'Kenny' to enter service, contrary ro popular practice, he had to lower his age rather than raise it in order ro qualify for fl ighr rraining! He accomplished this, and graduated wirh Class 43- B ar Luke Field, Arizona, on 6 February 1943. Giroux was inicially a.~signed to the Panama Canal Zone, where he flew P-39s with the 37th FG's 30th and 22nd FSs. Transferring to V Fighter Command in August 1943, he was assigned to the Porr Moresbybased 36th FS/8rh FG rhe following month. Issued with a P-47D-3. 'Kenny' fi rst saw combar on 5 November 1943 when his unit intercepted a large formation ofKi-21 'SaUy' bombers norrh ofNadzab. While his attacks were apparenrly successful, he had to settle for three bombers probably destroyed, as their final demise could not be confirmed. Shorrly afterwards, his squadron was equipped with P-38s, and it was in a Lightning char he destroyed his firsr two victories - an A6M ' Zeke' on 15 March 3J1d a Ki-43 'Oscar' on 27 July 1944. Giroux would have ro wait unci( the invasion ofLeyte for his next successes, the future ace downing three A6M 'Hamps' during a B-24 escort mission on 2 November. Now a regular Aighr leader, he 'made ace' just 48 hours larer whilst on yet anorher escorrmission, destroying rhree 'Oscars' over Alicame airfield. 'Kenny's' ninrh kill-a Ki 61 'Tony' -came on 6 November, and his final aerial vicmry - ycr another 'Oscar' - was claimed nine days larcr. Post-war, Giroux stated that his rally of ten victories was not really his total score, for he losr another duee kills on the 'cur of the cards'. V Fighter Command did nor permit rhe sharing of victories! Giroux was forced ro bale our of his mechanically-crippled P-38 on Christmas night 1944 whilsr en roure to Lcyte, the ace discovering that the cool am shutters on the Lightning's right engine had seizedthis may have been caused by Japanese 3J1ci-aircrafr fire. He managed to coax his terminally ill fighter to San Jose island, where he baled our andswan1 ashore. Evadingcaprurc by the Japanese, Girotrx evenrually managed to locare American forces. Deemed tour-expired after this escapade, he rerurne<.l home in February 1945. Maj Willian1 K Giroux left the service post-war and enjoyed great success as a businessman in Kankakee, Illinois, unril his rerlremenr. He passed away at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Manreno on I September 1993.

::r G")

:r -t


:0 G")

:0 0



'Kenny' Giroux poses for a semiform al portrait, his A-2 flying jacket adorned with a 36th FS 'Flying Fiend' patch (via John Stanawayl





a: w


<t ::1:



We had drilled uuo our pilOt\ the advamage offighting as a ream. which mually mcam that we 'Plit up inro rwo-ship elemems. \Y/e srres\ed thar anybod~ cm -.hoot down an aeroplane if he gers in range. We (()Id rhc pilms. ·Hold your fire unril you an: sure of your aim-sure rhar rhe huller, will hir rhe r.1rgc:r. You .m: luck} if you get a second shor at an aeroplane more manoeu\ rabic th.m your own. Aim eo hir his gas rank, and a onesecond bum will bring him down in flame~·. The viral importance of keepin~ a rwo-ship de me: m wa~ poinred our again and ag:un. ~ighring the enemy fim almost alway~ gives you an advanragc. If he is above you, stMt climbing away from him - nor at 180 degrees eo hts cour~e. bur our w the side where you can watch him. Keep a comtanr lookout to make sure rh at it is not a rrap to draw your arremion so another enemy aeroplane can attack yo u from the rear. Use a fasr climb with <111 airspccd of better rh an 200 mph. If he dives on yo u, make a head-on pass. You have more.: llrc.:powcr, and the chances are you arc a berrer shor. After your pass, pu ll.1tight wrn. which forces him ro lllrn and kills off the speed advantage ht• gatm:d in the dive. A 270-degrce [Ufn should do it. Then climb away unril you an.: f.u enough apart tO rurn back and arrack in rhe way that best fir, the t ircumM.mccs. Alwav' mainr;lin pl.:my of ~pced in a flghr, rhen if you should miss a ~hm vou can pull up for anod1er pass. 'ever rry ro rurn more rhan 90 degrees with .111y enemy aeroplane. or you will lose your speed. If you h.we a \tmnv da\. me the ~un LO your advanrage. lr is one of[he besr place~ m htde. The Jap.mesc ~cldom tr) ro keep rheir alrirude ad\·amage. Although .t fight m,l\ mn .u 20.000 ft, it will invariably end up on the deck, whic..h is,\\ good .1 place .1~ .my. They seem ro have poor judgemenr in rhe tUrm .u lo\\ level. On two Jjffcrem occasions I have seen them hook a \\ ing in the tree~ or water a~ the\' '~ere rurning. One of rhcir

'Kenny' Giroux Is seen with his P·38J· 15 at Owi, in the Schouten Islands, in September 1944. This aircraft carried the names WHILMA 11 (left) and Dead Eye Daisy (right) on either side of its nose, and its propeller spinners were painted white overall, with two black bands. A colour profile of this machine appears on page 65 (via John Stanaway)

Like the P-38 seen opposite, the exact identity of this machine remains unclear. lt is almost certainly not the same Lightning photographed at Owi, as the Dead Eye Daisy script has been applied in a different style of lettering The dog motif on the nose is similar in style to the animal featured on the Owl P-38. but the latter did not feature a 36th FS 'Flying Fiend' emblem. Finally, the canine on the engine cowling is significantly different in style to the one that adorned the Owi Lightning . The name Elmer is also a new addition (via John Stanswsy)

favourite tricks is a 路~plit-~' when you ger near rhem, and the\ have ar lc.tM 2000 It alcirude. You can't 'split-~' with an enemy fighter, hut turn so you can warch him while he performs hi~ m.uweuvre\. M.tkc another P"" when he straightens out. \~'hen flying in formation, enem\ pilot\ get flustered under attack and u~uall) split up, so if you .m: on one you have to watch c.m:full) for other en em) aeroplanes. If cvcr you are caught from the rear. use a sctssors manoeuvre with your wingman. Whichever rhc Japanese fighter attacks should turn very sharply. allowing the other atrcr.tft to get a shot .u the enem\'. Always shoot. even though you .H\: our of rangt.路, when the enemy is on the tail of one of your aeroplane\. 路\ lcw tracers may scare him oiT. Never bc too proud to run for home or pull out of a fight if thlllg\ are not going your way. Alw,t)'\ \tay in pair~ ;tnd never get <lllt alone. If you lose your wingman. or he loses you, join up with rhe nearc:\t friendly .1eroplanc. Ke\:p tn a weaving string so that vou t.ul cover tht blind spur on your wingman. and he can cover your~. All new pilots should be briefed 111 the advantage~ Wl have over the enemy and the advantages he has over u~. There are sp\:clh ;lnd altitude\ at which our aeroplane~ can our-turn rhcirs. Mo~t of our ~hip\ ''ill out-dimb and out-dive theirs. Kno\\ the limitation~ of your \hip and of the enemy's ship. Complicated tactic\ will work. but it would take month~ of practice for which we haven't time. Our wingmcn :\re, for the most p.m, men with .tbout 300 hours of llymg time, and \Ome have as low as 20 hours in fighrc:r aircraft whrn they rake ofr on their fim combat mission A programme of complic.:.ued tactic~ wtrh pilors of 'o lmle expcrient\: would be useless. I have nor said anything about srrafing .1nd dive-bombing .ts yet, bur in realin路 I think it is as imporrant, if ntn more so. than aerial

00 ::T

., ..., :I: -i

m ::0

..., ::0





A fighter pilot serving his tour of duty in this theatre will be \cry lucky if he is tn more than h.tlf a dozen fights, but he will be requirc:d ro do a great deal of dive-bombing and srrafing. His targets will be ~hipping. airfields, trains, highway traffic, gun emplac(;mcnts. camp :uea~. ere. The~e missions as a whole arc far more dangerous than aerial c:;ombar, hut with correct training and briefing. they can be made fairl} safe. Pilot\ should study maps and photos of the areas rhc) are to arrack. Again they should fire only when within range, and endeavour to destroy the target in one pass. The pass must be fast and the breabwa) low. The pilot should stay on the deck unril out of range of rhe grounJ fire. !le muse know the limitations of the ship so a~ nor ro mush inw the ground. Care should be taken nor roger so intcm on the targer thar the pull-out comes too la re. Dive-bombing with fighters is accurate, and our aeroplanes are very hard targe~ for their ant1-.11rcrafr fire. After relcastng his bombs. the pilot \hould break away and hir the deck. Io sum it up, combat flving can be made almo~r as safe as ,tn OTU if the replacement pilots arc FIGHTER PI LOTS. and properly trained bdore they enrer the sttuadron. Being well bricf~d before and after e:1ch mi\\ion is also a very imponam irem . .rhc kind of replacement pilor we like is one who has tramed in tighter~ because he knows it is the besr flpng training in the field of aviation, one who knows his ship wdl enough ro respect it, but nor fear it, one who h;t~ had .t( k'3Sr 50 hours of gunnery. both aerial and ground, one who can nr



er: w



:c (.)


llt 'Kenny' Giroux enjoys a cigarette whilst standing alongside his P-38J-15 at Owi in September 1944. A future ten-kill ace, Giroux's scoreboard at that point denoted his probable victories w ith the P-47 in November 1943 and his two confirmed kills in May and July 1944- the latter vict ory (an 'Oscar', claimed on 27 July). Note the eight bomb symbols, each of which represented a successful fighter-bomber mission (via John Stanaway)

,1 good formation ,111d who h:u. had lol\ of \O-called 'rat-racing'. A pilot with rhat background who enters a squadron with an open mind. and who is incent on ~ucce~s will, with the hdp of the operarions ofllcer and flight leaders. have no trouble adapting hi mself ro combar and will have every chance of returning ro rhe Srares someday. A pilot who do<:.!>n't can: for, or who h:u. no great inrcresr in pursuit flying, or who lacks the proper training. is starring with rhe cards stac~cd .1g.1imr him.



-t m

:rJ G')





8th FG 1\ly first comacr~ with the enemy were in the latter pan of 1943. The Japanese lighter formations were lou\C, and could be recognised in the distance as a swarm of flies. ,\tany of rhe aeroplanes would flip momenraril) onto their backs for a good look underneath, and others woulc..l be rolling. In early 1944 there seemed ro be a change in Japanc~e air tarries. Thm bombers were doing mo~t of their operating at night. and the fighter-bombers .md lighter~ were trying our formations. On 16 January I was flying with a formation of 16 P-400is covering a landing at O..,aidor, New Guinea. Our four flights were stacked from 8000 tO 14,000 fr.

Capt Bill Gardner (second from right) of the 35th FS explains how he became the first US pilot to land on the recently liberated airstrip at Tacloban, on Leyte Island, on 27 October 1944. Standing directly opposite him i s Gen George C Kenney, Commander-in-Chief of the Fifth Ai r Force. Gardner was forced to make the impromptu landing at Tacloban after his Ughtning was badly damaged by flak fired from a Japanese destroyer that his unit had attacked off Cebu (via John Stanawayj





William A Gardner

a: w



< :z:



William A 'Bill' Gardncr was born on 3 March 1920 in Gorham, New Hampshire. He graduated with a Bachelor ofScience degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hamp~hirc in 1941, immediately after which he joined rhe Army Reserves as a ~econd lieutenant in the Coasral Artillery. Gardner transferred to the Army Air Corps in early 1942, and successfully completed pilot training on 10 November rhat same year. Undertaking his P-40 conversion training with the 1Orh FS/50th FG, the young pilot was posted ro the Pon Moresby-based 35th FS/8th FG on I September 1943. Flying P-40N 42-105307 in the defCJlce of New Guinea, he scored his first victory - a G4M 'Beery' bomber near Finschhafen on 22 September. Gardner's next successes came on 16 January 1944, when he and 14 other P-40 pilots from the 35th FS engaged a mixed force of 40 Japanese fighters nonh of Saidor. Gardncr downed three A6M 'Hamps' during rhe melee, which cost the enemy 19 aircrafr in total- this was a record single mission score for a V Fighter Command squadron in World War 2. The 35th FS re-equipped with P-38s in February 1944, and it was not umil 16 June that Gardner got to score his all-imponam fifth kill (an A6M 'Zcke' whilst on a sweep of the Durch Easr Indi~) to give him ace srarus. I le claimed a Ki-61 Tony' on 27 July for his si~rh victory and a K-21 'Sally' bomber on 17 August for his sevenrh. Gardner's final success rook the form ofanother 'Zeke' (or possibly a 'Tojo') on I November, claimed over Negros lslaJld during the l..eyt:e campaign. With 172 combat missions behind him, Gardner was transferred from the 35th FS ro 8th F(.. HQ as group operations officer shortly afterwards. He remained with the 8th unril Aprill945. Posr-war, Gardner left the USAAF and joined rhe Curtiss Propdler Division of Wrighr Aeronautical Corporation, where he served as its chief of flight testing until 1948. He then became involved in defence contracting with the fledgling US Air Force, overseeing numerous advanced weapon systems projects as the director of Sands ational Laboratories in Albuqucrque, C\\ Mexico. until his retirement in 1984.

A young 1lt Bill Gardner is seen with his P-40N·5 (possibly 42·105307) at Cape GlouceS1er sometime after claiming a trio of 'Hamp' victo ries on 16 January 1944. The future eight·kill ace had opened his account with a solitary 'Batty' bomber on 22 September 1943 just three weeks after joining the 35th FS. A great advocate of the N·model Warhawk, Gardner was almost willing to declare that the fighter was the equal of the Merlin· enginad Mustang at lower altitudes (via John Stanaway)

Approx1mareh 40 Japanese flghrers - 'Tony~· . 'Hamps' .md '/.eke:,' came in from about I 6,000 ft m near four-ship formanons The top and ne.trest flight called them m fi~t. and turned imo them. Our other flight, srarted to gain altitude and turned into rhe enemy fighrers a' the~ c.tme down through us. The Japane'e m.tde the m1srake of losing their .thitude advanrage, and in the &cc-for-all that ensued. they lost 19 aeropl.tne~ we had ju\t two holed. They kept their four-ship flight rogerher, bm thc:ir \up port ~eemed ro go no further tll.ln that. In combat again~t fighters, it is .1lmo~r impossible to keep more than .111 demcm of rwo together. and frequently even this element m,l\ be broken down eo climax a combat, but all aeroplanes are close enough together w the llighrs can be reformed after the light. Th1\ can be in .1 l ulhery. It matter\ nor who assumes rhe lead of the fl1ghrs JUSt get together. A four ship, with each a1rcraft in mutual support of the other. is the hest defemive formation. bur I beltC\e char the minute this defenCl 1s turnnl into an offence (which should he .1s soon as comacr is made). 11 1\ un" i'e ro trv ,1nd keep four-sh1ps rogc:ther. Keep vour head on a sw1vcl and know what is going on around and behind you. If you see the enemy llr\1, or when rhey are \!ill a good UIStanc.;e away, vou arc never Jt a disJdvanrage. Keep up plenty of speed. A jap.tnese flghrer pilot can out-m;tnoeU\ re rou .H ltm speed. bur at high speeds hi\ c.;omrols ger hard. A high-speed turn w the right will shake tht• hest of them. Don't fire too soon. You might 'care ofT a good k.U bv ~hooringover hi~ wing. and also was re shell\ that might come in handy larer on. \1an) lessons have been learned from rhe strafing and dive-bombing anacb we have earned out. Att.Kks on :urfields and other heavilr defended rargers should bl: well pl.tnned. I·ighters should come in abrca\t givmg J\ much firepower and coverage as po~~ible. Japanc'l: light .1nd medium ack-ack gunners arc good, and rhey get more accurate .1~ the:\' get more practice. On recent dive-bombing nm~ions I have ~een endenn· of prc-cur fuses. where bursts of mcd1um ack-ack follow or lead you in a dive all rhe way from 8000 ft do" n tO 2000 fr. I have one more irem which ha\ meant as much, or more, then all the others 111 coming back ro fly another da\ This is fuel conservation. of our missions in P-38s have been trips of800 miles eo thl· target. light, and rc.:turn with nothing but cncm)· territory or water to set down on if you miscalculated on rour gas load. If you can't get ro rhe target on vour drop r.tnks then rum back, bcc.lllse vou won't be ,,ble to make 11 back an\'\Vay if you use up gas in a scrap. Whtn you do ser C;tughr up ~hort reduce RPM to as low as I600, pull manifold pressure down to 2l or lS inche~ ofHG and bring vour mixture comrol back beyond Jllto·le.m tO a potnt where you srarr to get a drop in RP\1. Relax artd head for home.


..., c;,





c;, :0




M AJ CYRIL F HOMER 80th FS/Bth FG All individual evasive action may vary greatly depending on the enc.: my\' srrength, their position to you .111d the rypc of aeroplane rhey .m: flying. h is sometimes hard ro disrmguish one rvpc of enemy llghrer from



z 0

a: w


<t :I:


Aces 1Lt Cy Homer (in P路38G-1 42-12705, coded 'V') and Maj 'Porky' Cragg (In P路3BH路 1 42-66835) escort 501st Bomb Squadron/ 345th Bomb Group B-250-15 41 -30594 as it heads for the Japanese stronghold of Rabaul on 2 November 1943. Cragg, who was CO of the BOth FS, claimed 8 'Vel' and 8 'Zeke' probably destroyed during this mission. He was posted missing In action on 26 December 1943, having claimed 15 kills. Homer's score stood at five victories when this photograph was taken (vis John Stanaway)


anorher. Consequently, in any case it is adv1\ablc m maincain an air speed of 300 m ph or more until an altitude of at least I 0.000 fr 15 anained, giving you room to dive our of trouble. hen rhough you may find yourself badly out-numbered. it is not nece~\af)' ro le:~ve <H once. Attack is your best defence in the case of your being jumped. After a p~ or two it will be easier m break away. for this willusuallv surpri~e the cncm\'. Looking around, keeping your ship rolling and turning, is the best possible defence. As long a\ you ~cc the enemy. hi\ chance~ of nailing you are very slim. Bur in rhe case where you hav~ not done this and find your rail is dirty, then is rhe dme m get violcn1 on the comrok A violent combined push-over and roll to the vcrrical position will likely thro" him off uncil you can pick up diving ~peed. I wbt. roll, reverse and jink umil you havc:400 mph or mort:- in case it\ aTony'. 500 m ph - rhen pull Oll[ level. Then you can easily outdistance him at this angle:. or bener yet, pull up inro a shallow climb. Judge your lead carefully and reverse 180 degrees to him for a head-on pass, unless he is followed by ~ome of his friends. When caught just above the tree-cops or warer .u slow speed, you can only hope ro thro>'' his aim offby jerking and ~kiJding, ar rhc same time striving for altitude. Drop full flaps if necemry - anything ro make him overshoot. Any of these cases can be eliminated a~ long as a pilot remains alerr with a little altitude on his side. Join any friendly ships whenever possible, and keep your runs pointed at the cncmv not your rail. Before taking on anything alone, give the: situation a good looking over. Make sure that ifyou do attack, you .uc nor ,1lso being followed. No maner how well you look around you, you will nor see all the aeroplanes in the area. You sometimes feel as if the) come: out of nowhere. In rheca$e of the enemy being below, judge hi~ ~pc:ed before coming down, then as you come down. roll around clearing yourself. Do nor rry ro di\路e on him - instead, dive under and up from rhe rear. for this is hts blind spot.

Cyril F Homer Cyril Filcher 'Cy' Homer was born on 29 April 1919 in West New Jersey, Nnv Jersey. Moving to the wesr coasr as a yout:h, he anended the University of California before joining rhe Anny Reserves. Homer rhen transferred ro the Army Air Corps for Aighr rraining. and graduated as a pilot from Luke Field. Arizona, as parr ofClass 42-J on 30 Oaober 1942. He transitioned omo rhe P-38 Lighrning at Muroc Field (larer renanu:d F.dwards). in California, and was rhen sem to the 80th fS/8th FG at Marl'Cba, in Queensland, Australia, in Fcbruaf} 1943. just as rhe squadron was transirioning from rhe P-39 to rhe P-38. Homer's arrival raised some eyebrows amongst the bardc-hardcned veteran~ of the 80th FS, including flight commander Norbert Ruff. who remembered thinking that thar the Army Air Force was scraping rhe borrom of the barrel by making a fighrer pilot of this severe-looking man with a pronounced limp (jusc rwo years earlier an aviation cadet had had to be in perfect physical shape). llomer had raced motorcycles pre-war un1il he had been badly injured in a crash. All reservatiom vanished. however, when Ruff saw rhe mo~t unbelievable manoeuvres executed by Homer's P-38. evenrually coupled wirh some c.xcellem shooting once the unit was sent back into combat. The 80th FS returned to action from Pon Moresby on 16 \If ay 194 3, and five day~ later Homer probably destroyed a Ki-43 ¡o~car' north-east ofSalamaua while flying 'his' P-38G-I 42-12705, christened COTTON DUSTER. He finally claimed his first confirmed kills- in P-38G-15 43-2386- on 21 Augusr when he dcsuoyed two A6M 'Zekes' and a Ki-61 Tony' over Wcwak. Another 'Zeke' fell m his guns on 4 September, and Homer¡ made ace' nine days later when he destroyed an 'Oscar. Both kills were again claimed in 'his' P-38G-1 42-12705. Accompanying the group from Port Moresby eo irs new base ar Finschhafen in December 1943, llomer continued eo find rhe enemy ro his liking over Wcwak in 1he New Yc:ar, when he accounted for rwo 'Oscars' (on 18 and 23 January) and a 'Tony' (al~o on 23 January). Another 'Tony' was desrroycd on 30 March, and Homer enjoyed !lis career high on 3 April when he downed rwo 'Oscars' and rwo 'Tonys' over Hollandia whilst flying a brand nnv P-38)-15. 'Lncle Cy', as the ace became known within rhe 80rh FS, chalked up his 14rh kill (a Ki-43) on 27 July and rounded out his aerial victories wirh yec another 'Oscar', over Leyre, on I 0 November. By then he was CO of rhe 80th FS, having assumed command from 22-kill ace Capr Jay T Robbins on 4 October. Homer remained in rht~ post unril9 May 1945, and he returned home later char same monrh. Maj Cyril Homer left the ~ervice at the end of rhe war. and p~ed away on I 0 August 1975. shortly after anending an 8rh FG reunion.

Capt Cy Homer, by now CO of the 80th FS, poses for the base photographer at Morotai in late 1944 (via John Stanawa y)



P-38G-1 42-12705 was the first Ughtnlng assigned to Cy Homer upon his arrival in the Southwest Pacific, the fighter having been supplied new to the 80th FS in early 1943 Named COTTON DUSTER, AVA and UU Y NELL, lt was routinely flown by Homer throughout 1943 Indeed, he claimed two kills end three probebles with it between 21 May and 7 November His remaining victories (three I for 1943 were scored in P-38G-15 43-2386 on 21 August A colour profile of 42-12705 appura on page 66 (vie John Stanaweyl




.... UJ


<t :X: (..)

An overhead pass usually gives you wo much speed, and you c.m nor turn as well wirh the nose poinred down ;1s up. Do nor count on him for .1 set evasive .1CIIOn, for .tlthough lw will usuall,· half roll, he mav on rht other hand pull up or m.;ke a diving turn. Give vourself enough speed over him m that you can break away safely in case you miss. and no more. Too mul.h speed \\ill cut your finng time to tero. If he turns, break ;may and down''' soon 1' vou lose your lead. for he may reverse onro vour tail as you go hv. Cltmb h.Kk up as ~oon as you gu out of range. rhen make: .1 180-dc.:grn· h~:.1d-on pa" but make sure you lead enough before .tnemptin~ thiS reverse. On a head-on pass, bore in .md don't hud~e umill.ollision appt:<Hs inevitable. You should have done him in h~ this time. hut if nor, pmh under viOlently. The muJI pilot will re.tu by pulling up or to one side. Although pushmg under ts uncomfort.tblc. I believe there is less chance of him domg likcwtse. Keep going m;ught till you know where he IS. If he rolls coming in. you can expect to find him behind Jnd underneath. A sharp pull-up and then hammerhead down on him ts good, for he ts. or should be, abour sralled oUt. 7ever fire out of range. hring our of range" tll give you a\\J)' every tinw, whl·rc.1\ you mighr h.wc closed tn unobserved. AL WAY') clear your tail hc:fore rlrtng. AI WAYS rry ro use rhc cl cmem of \llrprisc. AI WAYS close in, and rhen use short huNs. Al WAYS rake advantage of \Uil and cloud cover. AL\'V AYS hit the cncmv where they arc thickest. .\L\\A\\ try to jom with anorhcr friendly acrnpl.tnc.



\X'hen using the 16-ship ~qu~drun fiJrm.tuon. c:.Kh flight will be po\it ioned m cover t."ach other and t.-a1.h flight can al'o bt 'l.'Cn and covered by the le:~der. the down-sun flights c:Jch being \lacked .1bmn 'iOO ft or more abo\c cat:h other. The: squadron must he led hy .1 capable man who has the rt.~pe~.r of hi\ men. He should ha\ c 'ccn, and he\\ i~c mat, for there is one \\ay to prove your,c:Jf. and th.u i' in actu.ll combat t\n example should be ~et for the men to foliO\\.

As the fligh ts arc st.tcked. the foregoing flights are well covered, and the most vulnerable flight is the last and uppermost. Should he get bounced, he should take his men down bcnc.uh and behind the number three flight, which can in turn make a 180-dcgree turn imo the aggressors. Element leaders should u~e a sci)\Or~ manoeuvre, with the first element in a flight, as a four-man flight flying do~c cannot protect itself. 1f a fight develops, we ad"ise four-ship flight~ tO )tay together, strung om well, so that the leader may clear number four man's tail by rt.~crsing. lt is sometime~ nearly impos>ible to keep four-ships rogerher, so char lea,¡es elements. Two-ships working together can stand off large odds b} using scissor and reverse manoeuvre~. but their offensive value is low against numbers. I bclie\'e that a wingman shottld fly behind or w the side, spaced enough to .11low the number one man to make a 180-degrec turn ro clcM number rwo \ rail. Squadron leaders should attack aggressively and hir rhe enemy where they arc the thickest, thus en~uring th:u all his men will get imo rhc fighL Trying to pick off srragglers and high ones is not for d1c leader, for unless his flight leaders arc ovcrly eager, rhey will follow him and usually have nothing to shoot al. Before diving into anything, d1e leader ~hould summarise their strength and po~ i tion. If the enemy is strong in numbers, he may want to take his firM eight )hips down, leaving che last eighr ships high and ready ro come down. He should try to come om of rhe sun or use clouds- .tnythang for surprise. Flight leaders will space rhemsclve~ well. with their elements the same, so they can pick off.mvthing the leader may set up. Four-sh1ps flying close together will mually get about the same re~ults as one single ship.


:r C)

:r -I


:D C)

:D 0



Capt Homer is flanked by his crew chief, T/Sgt Me! 'Slim' Gardner (left) and assistant crew chief Sgt Ged Kicker at Morotai in November 1944. The men are standing in front of 'their' P-38J, whose serial remains unidentified. Although 16 victory decals adorn the fighter's fuselage, Homer was in fact only credited with 15 confirmed kills - he also claimed five pro babies and four damaged (via John Stsnswsy)



z 0

cc w



:r u

UNCLE CY's Angel tuies past a pair of P¡47Ds from the 35t h FG at Morotai in October 1944. Soon after being made CO of the 80th FS on 4 October. Homer had the rudders and outer horizontal tail surfaces of his faithful lightning painted in green and white checks. Quite how he got official approval for this personal marking remains a mystery. A colour profile of this machine appears on page 66 (via John Stanawayl



I consider it a privilege m have an opportUOif) ro pass on ÂŁO those who may follow me the following information on combat Aving. I hope rhat th~re might be one bit of experience that will help them. My tactics have changed much from the first day I arrived in rhis theatre. when we were most generally outnumbered ten-to-one, to the presem day when an equal number is hard to find. One must never hang on ro old, obsolete tactics, but should alter th~m day by day to fit new types of enemy aircraft and situations. My squadron, upo n arriving 111 10 an ar~a wher~ combat is expected, is put in long string formation and weaves violcndy so that all at:roplane.s arc covered at all times. In cases where we do the attacking, it is done by nights. Never do we split up in more than two-ship clcme nr~. rr a man fin ds himself alone during a fight, he must join up with tht: ne.1rcM aero plant:, no marrcr who iris. A rwo-ship element is five rimes as powerful as two single aeroplanes flying alone, and ten times safer. Our tactics in fighting are simple- keep up your airspe~d. hit and run, so you can hit again. Ncvcrdogfighr~vithjapaneseaircraft. Remember, his one aim is ro make you lose airspeed so he can then have rhe advantage. Ir is permissible ro follow one in a tight turn as long as vou can hold rourlead, bur as he slips rh rough your sights, break off your arrack immediately. 1 or always are you the arracking aircraft. however. In cases where he is doing the bouncing, always try to make it ar least a head-on pass. A headon pass is \\ithour a doubt rhe acme of fighter pilot rh rills, bur remember

there are some Japanese pilots who will nor break away. so don't hold your fire roo lo ng. You have far greater range and fircpowerand can sray right in there and pitch until the last second. In most cases, if he is going to break, he will do it our of your range. giving you a snapshot as he breaks. In cases where you are really latched. it doesn't matter much what you do, bur do something, and do it violmdy. T he old Japanese trick of 'splir-S'ing' is good, using a violent skid going down. As you pick up airspeed, srarr a fast cli mb away, always maimaining over 200 m ph. Now you are ready for the attacki ng. In cases where a fl ight is attacked, a scissoring movemenr of the elemenrs is a good tactic. Ir makes the attacker commit himself ro one or rhe other. leaving the other element free ro turn into h im. Remember, good formario n is good life insurance. Very seldom is a formation char looks good at tacked b ur lo' rhe man who uails. Nrirude is your greatest asser. h can be turned inro airspeed and surprise at your choosing. Nor only rhar, bm you are Hying an aeroplane that was meant to do its flying upsrairs.


:t: -!

m :0 c;"l





Alien E Hill Nlen E Hill was born on 7 April 19 J 8 in Sterling, rllinois. He joined the Army Reserves in early 1942 and immediately applied for ffighr training wirh the Army Air Corps. Presented with his wings on 4 January 1943 ar Luke Field, Arizona, Hill completed his fighter uansirion in the United Stares and was then posted as an arrririon replacemenc ro the 80th FS/8th FG at Porr Moresby on 3 September. just ren days later he scored his first aerial victory. downing an A6M ' Zeke' over Wewak in P-38G-15 43-2382. Belying his limited combat experience, Hill enjoyed further successes in the coming months over Rabaul, destroying four more ' Zekes' eo ' make ace' in a series of engagements on 29 O ctober and 2 (two destroyed and a thlrd probably destroyed) and 7 November. His run of v icrories then dried up, and he scored jusr a solitary kill during the next eight months- a Ki-61 'Tony' over Wewak on 18 January 1944. Things picked up in July, when he downed a Ki-43 'Oscar' on the 27 th and a D3A 'Val' ..dive-bomber on the 29th. Hill was promoted to captain in September and cransferred ro the 36th FS as commanding o fficer on 15 November L944. He scored his ninth, and last, victory when he destroyed an 'Oscar' over Mindoro, in the Philippines, on 20 December. Promoted ro major in March 1945, Allen Hill was declared tour-expired three months later and sent home. Hc;: left rhc Army Air Force soon after returning to the USA.

1lt Alien Hill and P路38J路10 42路67898 at Finschhafen in late January 1944. Note the chalked outline of the Hill's Angels artwork which would soon adorn the nose of this early路build J -model. Hill almost certainly claimed his sixth kill (a Ki-61) in this aircraft on 18 January. A colour profile of 42-67898 appears on page 66 (via William Hessl



z 0

a:: w


"et :I: <..J


A nude named Wilful Winnle also graced the starboard side of Hill's P-38J-10, as did the salivating Snow White dwarf ' Dopey'. Hill is joined in this photograph by a cigar-chewing Capt Owinell (first name unknown) (via John Stanaway)

One facror which counts more ro the success of rhe mission than anyrhing else is how well each pilot i~ briefed on rhe mission on which he is about ro go. A pilot rhat doesn't know what is going on might as well be back in camp. I rhink I need not go into shooting, :!!. everyone has heard a dozen or more times ro ger inro range. Anyone can shooc an aeroplane down, bur nor everyone can hit them ar 600 yards. Most generally, your first shor is your last shot at Japanese aircraft. I could also go [nro derail on strafing. Strafing wi ll cosr us more p ilots than aerial combat, bur with a litde common sense ir need nor be you. Never get so [mem on your rarget rhat you forget you arc flying an aeroplane. You will be called upon ro strafe many enemy installations where anti-aircraft: guns arc present, so natUrally we can 'r peel up to become sirring ducks, bur instead we peel away flat and on the treetops. Our attacks are mosr generally co~rdinared with someone srraftng rhe gun emplacemems and someone cbe rhe target -each with the same importance. You will bave fun flying combat, and when ir ceases robe fun or hold a thrill for you. look up your Oighr surgeon, because you are no longer a combat pilot.



:X: -4



C> ::0


c "'0


35th FG On offensive sweeps rhe diamond type of squadron fo rmation i~ flown. A fight always St<1rts in one of two ways- either the squadron goes down ro anack, or the squadron is itself attacked, usually from above. The flights should he dispersed to give maximum protection to everyone involved. In the evem that there arc only a ftâ&#x20AC;˘w enemy aeroplane>, rhe squadron leader can despatch one or two flight' ro deal with the: enemy, che remaining fl ights taking a position off to one \idc so that maximum coverage of the fight may be mamtained. The flights should be into rhe sun if possible. In case a large numher of enemy aeroplanes are stghted. a squadron attack should he delivered, provided we have the initial advantage. NEVER starr a fight at a disadvantage. After contact is made, a squadron forma cion is impossible ro maintain, whereupon the fighting breaks down into flights, and even further to elements and mdividuaJ combat. A man fighting alone is at a definite disadvantage and is uncalled for. Every efforr should be made lO maimain a fl ight fo rmation ar all riml:S. Flights arc many rimes unavoiJablysplir up. in which case the de mems should remain in mer, and should attempt to rejoin imo a flight formation as soon as possible. The enemy thinks twice before anackmg a well formed flight. whereas an individual is always m trouble avoiding the enemy. wh~ invariably 'gang up' on rhe individual fighter. In individual fl ight combat, fu ll advantage or the aeroplane must be taken at all rimes, and combat where the enemy is ~uperior must be avoided.

35th FG CO lt Col Edwin Doss (centre) is presented with coffee and sandwiches by 41st FS CO Maj Douglas Parsons after the completion of a successful sortie in 1944. The date of th is photograph remains unrecorded, although a hand-written note by Doss on the reverse of the print stated that the group had claimed 32 victories during the course of the day, hence the smiles on the pilots' faces

(vis Jim Doss)



~ l-

a: w


o.. et

::r (..)

This may seem obvious, but to elucidate, we know that rhe enemy fighters are much superior in turning, and possess a remarkable abiliry ro hang on their props. Our fighters arc much superior in high climbs and shallow dives. Below 15,000 ft. the rare of climb at high angle hl\'Ours the enemy. Bur our fighter~ are capable of climbing from 2300 to 3300 ftfmin at 200 m ph. For the enemy to maintain the above mentioned rate of climb, his indicated speed must of necessitY be in the neighbourhood of 150 mph. H ence we possess a SO-mph speed <ldvamage. In using the speed advamage, and an atrack 1s made. the flight pulls away in a high-speed climb, then rurns abour for another anack. It is a great temptation to follow an enemy flghrer rn a climb, and it is possible to do so for a short distance. Never get below 200 mph in a Edwin A D .:.;os::s_ _ __ _ _ __ Edwin AUen Doss was born in Rector. Arkansa~. on 14 September ( 1914. He graduated from Ponageville lligh School in Missouri in 1932 and Lead Belt Junior College, Dcsloge, again in Missouri, in 1936. Doss emered Army Air Corp5 :tviarion cadet pilot rraining in April 1940, graduating from Kelly Field, rexas, on, 20 Dccc!l'ber 1940 with the rank ofsecond licuren.111t. Hb firsr milirary a.ssignmenr was to the P-35-equipped 41st Pursuit Squadron of the 3 1st Pursuit Group. based at Selfridge Field, Michigan. In April 1941 Doss was promoted ro squadron operations officer. and in January 1942 he accompanied his squadron on Its deployment to the SWPA (Sourh West Pacific Area). Here. the group was i$sucd wath Aaracobras at Port Moresby, and thrown into the defence of the Nc:w Guinean capital. By now a captain, Doss was de.ignated !><JUadron commander of the 41st in June 1942. and he led the unit during the critical air combat phase of the campaign. His rise through the ranks continued in 1943, when he was promoted m major in March 1943. In August 1943 Doss assumed command of the 35th FG. and was promoted to lieutenant colonel the following November. lt was ar around this time rhat his group re-equipped with P-4 7 Thunderboles, which replaced P-38s, P-39s and P-400s. In rhe succeeding months, he led the 35th through the most intensive and bitterly fought campaigns of the Pacific theatre of operation~, from Lae, New Guinea, to Okinawa. l n March 1945, Doss was promoted to full colonel. and during this month his group ~wappcd irs P-47Ds for P-5 1D Mustangs. Rerurning ro the United Statt'S in late July 1945, Doss was assigned to Selfridge Field as Chief ofScafT of the 62nd rW. In August 1947 he was designated ro command the F-5 1 Mu~rang-equipped 27th FG upon its formation at Kearney. Nebraska, before rerurning to Sc:lfridge in JanuaJ)' 1949 to scryc as the Deputy for Reserve Forces, Headquarters Tenth Air Force. The followingjul)r Doss be=e the Senior Air Force Advisor to the 66th FW of che Illinois Air National G uard, and from June 19S I to January 1953 served as an Air Force member of the Weapons System~ [valuation Gro up, Office of the Secretary ofDefense.


climbing combat, and in level flight 250 mph is a good speed which afTords a maximum of protection and manoeuvrability. In combat it is impossible to mai n tain complete coverage of the area, and u~ually when a flight, or individual, gees below 200 m ph, he is scning himself up for rhc enemy. Remember that m:ep anglc, low spccd climbs are nothing shon of shccr suicide. Above 2000 ft the advantage in climb favours our fighters. The enemy alwavs attempts tO get i!HO circle combat. and this should be avoided. 'Fancy' manoeuvres. though prertv tO watch, are invitations ro disaster. The enemy does nor like ro \w,lp head-on passes bccau\c of our superior flrcpowcr. Care should be exercised ro iniriare the breakaway not because of the suicidal imemions of the enemy pilot, but should he be dead, mid-ai r collisio ns are likely to re\ult. l'he breakaway should be After completing a jet uansition cour~e at Craig Air Force Ba.~e. Col Doss was designated as CO of the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing at Kunsan, Korea, in March 1953. Then equipped with 1--84G Thunderjets, the group had been waging war in Korea since 1950, and Doss once again assumed the role of a combac commander as he led his wing through the remainder of the campaign. Having flown over 230 missions in World War 2, by war's end he had increased his taUy to 280, totalling 573 hours. Following the cease-fire agreement, he was assigned to command the B-26 Invader-equipped 3rd Bomber Wing at Kunsan, Korea. Following his return eo the US in Aprill954. Doss held successive assignmencs as Senior Air Force Advisor to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Vice Commander of the 85th Air Division (Air Defense) at Andrews Air Force Base and Deputy Commander of the Washington Air Defense Sector ar Fort Lee, Virginia. In April 1960 Col Doss was designated as commander of che Bangor Air Defc:mc: Sector, and he served concurrendr as CO of che Bangor Continemal and Bangor Norch American Air Defense Sectors. In July 1963 Col Doss was assigned eo Headquarters USAFE. Here, he served as Deputy Inspector General and Inspector General undll July 1964. when he was designated to head the command liaison agency to the government of France, in Paris. He finally retired from the USAF in 1968. Edwin Doss died in 1995. aged 81.


Lt Col Doss (left) poses with his deput y group commander, Lt Col F S Wagner. outside the 35th FG's HQ building at Gusap in February 1944. Wagner led the group from 12 February through to 4 May 1944 while Ed Doss enjoyed well-earned leave in the USA (via Jim Doss)





a: w


<t :X: (_)

affected at high speed~. since rhe enemy has the abiliry to whip onro your rail if another :mack is attempted before a safe distance our has been reached. When rhe flighr is attacking the enemy, should he srarr a severe turn, rhe lead element will u~ually break away, thus giving the second elemenr an opporrunity roger in a ~hot, after which it roo breaks away, then joins rhe lead elemenr agam. !"he same is true for wingmen. There are numerous occasions where the wingman can get in the only effective shor. lr is a bad policy to press the arrack for any length of ume, because while being absorbed in making the attack, other enemy 6ghrers may have rime to make an arrack upon )'OU while you are nor looking. lr is nor considered good policy ro sacrifice a great deal of altitude in order ro press home an attack, particularly when rhere are many enemy fighters in the area. There are usually enough enemy fighters on rhe same flighr level tO afford plenty of combar. Mainraining alrirude is like money in rhe bank - when you don't have any, you usually wish you did have some. Thi~ doe~ nor always hold true, bur ir should be borne in mind ar all rimes. When rhe squadron makes an attack, ir is desirable if possible to have one flight hold back for a wh ile to acr as top protection in case hitherco unseen enemy ftghrers attempt ro join in the fight. When pulling rared power, except in extreme emergencies, rhe flight leader should allow four inches leeway for the rest of the flight. Experience has shown that to be sufficient for well schooled pilots. When the squadron is attacked from above, the only alternative usually open to the top flighr is ro dive away. The squadron should never have so lirrlc warning rhat one of the lower flights cannot make a turn inro rhe attackers. When the formation is of the typical diamond, the flight thar is funhesr away and down has the mosr rime ro avoid attack by turning and forcing rhe enemy inro a head-on pass. The inrermediare ones may have rime ro rurn sufficiently ro ftre a few bursrs, which sometimes scares them off. Thar ruse does nor always work, however, bur the flight can always dive away if the di5advanrage is too great. Owing ro rhe high rare of roll and high push-over rare of the P-47, the best breakaway if attacked from 'six o'clock' ar fairly clo~e range is ro shove rhe stick into the right hand corner. lr i~ impossible for the enemy, despite his grear manoeuvrabiliry, ro apply sufficient lead ro get a good shot. When a rop flight dives away. ir should do so under rhe other flights of the formation in order for the other tlighrs ro ward off the artack. After the combat has gon~: on for I 5 minures, the squadron leader will give rhc radio ~ignal ro r rhe squad ron [0 clear the area and reform. The flight leaders should obey immediately so as eo reduce the forming rime ro a minimum. This saves gallons of gasoline, which is very imporranr if operating at the extreme range of rhe aeroplane. The maximum daily operating range of the P-470-28 is 750 miles. 0J VE-BOMBING T ACJ ICS OF THE P -51JNTHESWPA


During the past fc" months rhis group has done considerable work in close supporr of the ground forces. These missions include divebombing, skip-bombing and strafing. The tacrics employed vary with rhe rype of rargcr and rhe anti-aircraft fire expected.

The P-51 rype aircraft is relatively new tO this theatre. However. from our limited experience with this rypc of aeroplane, we find 1t to be the ideal weapon for this rype of work, as well as being a .superior aircraft for escort missions and fighter sweeps. The following discussion will be confined ro tactics used with t he P-51. Bomb loads and fusing depends emirely upon the cype of target to be anacked. Our best results have been obtained using two 500- or 600-lb ¡fragmentation clusters. For dive-bombing runway~ and landing strips. we use a 11 0-second delay fuse. On all other dive-bombing mimons an instantaneous fuse is used. For skip-bombing missions, a three- m five-second delay fuse is necessary. The rypes of targets we have anacked by dive-bombing and strafing include airfields, bivouac areas, troop concentrations, ammunition and supply dump~. large bridges and mam similar targets. Skip-bombing attacks have been limited to small bridge~. warehouses and important enemy installations. Our approach for dive-bombing is made ar 6000 fr. using evasive action going in. A steep dive is used wirh power ofT. The bombs art released at about 2000 fr. On targers where liule anti-aircraft fire i.\ expected, we have found that ten degrees of flap give5 a slower diving speed and increases the bombing accuracy. Our breakaway is normal, using evasive action on the way our. On dose suppon missions, panel~ are used to mark the location of our troops and smoke is used to mark the target. All arracks are made parallel to our own fromlincs. We have had great success in dest roying many ground targets by coordinated anacks, with half of the flight dive-bombing and the other half skip-bombing at low level. By using these tactics, we have destroyed practically every target withom a loss of pilot or aeroplane.

..,., Ci)

:r -1


:xJ Ci)






35th FG My experience has been varied in the 28 months I have been in thi' the-atre- in fact so vaned that my knowledge IS only general wirh regard' to the usual rypes of combat tactics. Since my only successful kills were on long range fighter ~weep~ coordinated with Liberator strikes, I will mention only the racrics as used on this parricular rype of work. In some cases, sound policy was slightly side-tracked, bur only for the purpose of increasing range, which goes hand in hand with an added safery factor in getting home safely. The missions I use as an example were P-47 fighter sweeps designed to clear the target area of Japanese fighters at rhe moment Liberators were coming in to do their job. This pan:icular target was 835 statute miles from our nearest base. In order to reach the target and lend any assistance to the bombers, ir was necessary eo equip the P-47s wirh three external tanks. The wing ranks were dropped as emptied, while the 75-gallon bell} ranks were kept during the entire combat w1th rhe enemy. It was ob\'ious that even with rhe added gasoline supply, it was neccssar)' for each pilot to use every trick we had developed in conserving fuel to reach rhe target wirh the required fuel to return to base.





a: w fQ_




35th FG Operations Officer Maj 'Johnny' Young hod served as CO of the group's 40th FS from 5 May through to 8 November 1944, before joining the HQ staff. Although the P-47 that he is sat in bears five victory decals, Young was not officially listed as an ace, so these kills may signify probables or ground strafing successes. As previously noted, 'Johnny' Young was killed in a freak accident at Clark Field, in the Philippines, in May 1945. A 35th FG P¡51 lost a napalm tank on take-off, and the store skidded across the runway and hit Maj Young's jeep. Despite the pilot's best efforts to evade the tank, he was badly burned when the napalm exploded upon impact with the jeep. Young succumbed to his i njuries a week later


We used much thought and ran many rem developing our procedure for reaching the target, and it will no doubt be critici<oed by manv. The primary aim was ro produce the maximum striking power over the target area, and remain there as long as possible. ~ince rhe mission required eight-and-one-half hours of Hying ume, it was necessary to .operare rhe aeroplane ar irs most economical power ~etring, for fuel meant striking power. But at the same rime we could mH di<oregard the f.1ct thar a fresh. alert pilot was also needed to produce rhi., <otriking power. lr was proYen by rest that our be<,t range could be ob rained by taking off and proceeding [Q the target very close to the deck. rh is required more flying rime than ir would have at altitude tO complete rhe mission, and also had the disadvantage of tiring the pilot because of the inrcnse heat experienced in the cockpit of a P-47 whilc Hying low in this rhearre.ln the end, we compromised and flew our ar 7000 ft. This altitude had the added advantage of being bclow the oxygen level. The formation, going our, was flown very widt:, thus allowing each pilor w fly his aeroplane in comfort. This :.tlso allowed him to get [he most economical power settings for his particular aeroplane, and it rook only an occasional change in prop scning to keep in place. We began climbing ar a poinr that enabled us to reach 20,000 ft IS minutes from the target area. This was considered ample, for the Japanese does~'t like to'meer us at alrirude, and in thi~ case even provided enough height ro jump them with plenty ofspeed. After levelling our ar 20, 000 ft, we immcdi.nd} went into combat formation. stressing rwo-ship clemem<, with wingmen flying just far enough out to give cover ro his leader and still enable him ro look around. At this poinr the success of the mission depended on one thing - sporting the enemy first. This was a must, and we did. Then we jumped him fast and hit him hard. each pilot dosing for a \Ure kill. thus avoiding waste of fire and time by scaring him off while out of range. Elements immediately pulled up. regaining some of the .1ltitude lost in the jump, reformed and pressed a second attack jusr as ferocious as the first. fhis fast, hard-hitting policy was e~\ential as we had fuel for only ten minutes of combat- even less if forced to scrap our wa; out. From the pilot srandpoim also, it was much more comfortable ro be rhe aggressor while carrying a belly tank in combat. After our second vicious auack, 1he enemy's plan of :mack was broken. Only a few individual passes were made on single enemy aircraft in the area as we proceeded on our long trip home. Because of our hard-hining policy, we were able to kt:cp the enemy entirely on rhc defensive, with the result rhar our pilors bagged a number of aircraft and rhe bombers completed their own mission with less rcsi\t.ulce. In concluding, l would like ro bring our the f.m char rhe superiority of the P-47 over the enemy tn speed and firepower. plus rhe superiority of our pilors in seeing and pressing the .mack, enabled us eo run a mission of this lengrh with such a limited a~ounr offucl.tllowed for actual combat. We must all use this ro irs fullest adv;mtage. 'ice the enemy first and hie htm fasr and hard. By doing rhts, we can pre\<, rhe anack closer and closer ro the heart of the enemy m his homeland. Aggrcssi\'eness is the fighter pilot's ke) to success, so be aggressive ar all times.



I'd like eo start my lerrcr concerning my personal viewpoint on combar tactics by stating just what capabi l itic~ ,lflU knowledge I think a good combat fighter ptlor should have. A valu,thle pilot ro a squadron ~hould be able to see, not jusr \Can the sky, but sec everything. See the encmv before he ~ees you and it's a cinch. With our a~roplancs possessing supcrionpced .1nd climbing ability, it also sets up a perfect defence. A good pilot must be able to fly a good r:tctical formarion. When the leader makes a violent manoeuvre ro gcr <~n opponenr, or t~ gcr away from him. it's berrer ro look around and sec yourwingman prorecringyou rhan to see him off in thcdisrance ar the mercy ofsix or seven Zeros or 'hanks'. A pilot has to know his aeroplane. He musr know what it c.m do against rhe en em~. He must also know how ro operate ir dl'icienth. We have srrerched our range in the P-470-16, P-470-21 and P-47D-23 ro a 750-mile radiu~ of a<.rion. Take 1500 miles. add ro that a good IS-minute fight, and you have ro wareh your step to Mrerch rhar gasoline supply. The righr attitude is essential ro a fighter pilor. When :macking an enemy aircraft [always try ro position myself above and behind. llowever, any approach will work except a sharp climb imo the enemy. whrch would Capt Leroy Gross heusch lend s scale to the sheer bulk of his P·470·23 (42·27877) at Mangaldan. on Luzon, in February 1945. The eight-kill ace adorned all of his fighters w ith the number 33, and he almost certai nly claimed six of his eight victories in this very machine between 30 January and 25 February 1945 (via Leroy Grossheusch) Th e 39th FS/35th FG is seen up i n squadron strength over New Guinea in mid 1944, each four-ship formation being lead by a diagonally-striped P-470 flown by a flight leader (via John StanawayJ


cur down your speed. At a low l>peecl, with our comparatively poor manoeuvrability. we are in the enemy's element. A good Japanese pilot can make you look silly if you give him the chance. I've seen one 'split-S' and end up on his attacker's rail. This happened to a pilot in our squadron whosewingman was asleep. While hewasshooringat the enemy leader, the








:r <..>

Leroy V Grosshuesch

Capt Grossheusch and his crew chief (unnamed) signal t heir delight at the former's three-victory haul over Formosa on 10 Febru ary 1945. These kills boosted his t ally to six, thus giving him ace st at us. A colou r profile of this aircraft appea rs on page 67 (via Leroy Grossheusch)


Leroy Victor Grosshuesch was born on 6 May 1920 in Men no, South Dakota. A graduate of Yankcon High School in Yankton, South Dakota, he attended the University of Maryland and Jackson Srare Teachers' College prior ro joining rhe Army Reserves on 9 January 1942 ar Forr Des Moines, Iowa. Serving in the enlisted ranks of the QuarrermasrerCorps until4 October, Grosshuc.~ch then commenced pilot rraining ar Craig Field in Selma, Alabama. Graduacing on 28 July 1943 and commissioned JS a second licutenam, he was posted to the 439th FS at Dale Mabry Field in rallahassce, Florida, where he undertook his conversion onro the P-47. Grosshuesch was duly sent ro the Southwest Pacific Area ro serve wirh the 39rh FS/35rh FG, arriving in Pott Moresby in early November 1943. Few enemy aircraft were encountered during his first y~r intheatre, and ir was not until 2 1 November 1944 (by which rime he was acring CO of the 39th FS) char he claimed his first kill when he downed a IG-46 'Dinah' over rhe Negros Island chain. Two more kills followed on 30 January 1945 during a long-range fighter sweep of Formosa from the group's new base on l.uzon, in the Philippines. Grosshuescb destroyed two 'biplane trainers' of unidentified type west ofTaicha airfield, and when the 35th FG returned to Formosa on 10 Februarv, he claimed a fUrther two ¡biplane' kills, as well as a lone Ki-46, ro rake his overall tally to six victories. Fifteen days later he achjeved his seventh, and final. kill in a Thunderbolt when he desrroyed a lone 'Oinah' west of Formosa. fhe Ki-46 crashed after

!.m er's wingman d id a lopsided loop and filled our own wingma n full of holes. I underline thi~ fact- keep _Tour .1pred up and n~urr chop _your rhrottle. O ne good burst will finish him anyway. Never. never rry ro manoeuvre with the enemy. If he chandcllcs or J oes a 'splir-S' he makes a perfect snapsho t for your wingman, providing he is


:I: -1 rn



sunset, rhus qualifying Grossbuesch as rhc first (and only?) pilot to score a nighr victory in a P-47. â&#x20AC;˘ J'vtissions ro Formosa had been considered out of the question tor the 'short-legged' P-47 until the 35th FC had hosted Charles Lindbergh forrwo weeks in J uly 1944. He mught tl1e pilots the art of cruisecomrol in tlle 1'hunderbolt, as he had previously done for P-38 crews in-theatre. In a matter of days Lindbcrgh had helped the group extend its radius of our acrion from 350 to 500 miles. Grosshuesch continued to work on rhis procedure. finally increasing the radius of accion for his squadron to a staggering 800 miles. This proved to be a pivotal turning poim in the war for the P-47s in the Southwest Pacific, allowing them to reach the more active areas of combat. The group swapped its much-loved P-47s for P-S 1Os in March 1945, and in its remaining months in combat the 35th FG moved bases on several occasions in an effort to stay in couch w1rh the enemy. The group finally ended up on Okinawa in late J unc 194 5, and on 30 July Capr Grosshuesch was credited with single-handedly sinking a Japanese destroyer off Goto Reno, near Kyushu. Thinecn days later he claimed his last kill when he destroyed a Ki-84 'Frank' wesr of Bofu airfield, on the Japane~e mainl3l1d. By war's end he had flown I 50 combat missions, 624 combar houn and a total of I 021 flying hours in P-47s and P-S Is. Having spent ume m Japan post-war, Grosshuescb returned to the United Smtes in August 1946 and was rendered a regular appoinanent in the US Army with the rank of captain - he was reassigned tO the Gist FS/56th FG at Sclfridge Field, Michigan. flying P- 5 li. In Aprll 1947 Grosshuesch was transferred to the 33Srh FS/4th FG at Andrew~ Field, \X1ashington. DC, where he flew rhe P-80 whilst serving as the squadron's execuuve officer. Ground tour~ in Turkey and Washington, DC followed. unril he returned to the cockpit in July 1954 when he reported for dury as CO of the 452nd Day Fighter Squadron ar Foster AFB, in Texas. Returning to the Pacific in June 1955. Col Grosshuesch served as CO of the 36th Fighrer Bomber Squadron/51st Fighter Bomber Croup ar lrazuke air base, Japan, umil June 1958. flying the 1¡-86F and F-100. Following more ground tours 111 the United Stares. he transferred to the Alr Force Section, US Mission Vietnam, in Saigon and Nha Trang in July 1964, where Grosshue~ch served as CommanJcr, Special Air Operations Group. His final years in the USAF were spenr in stafT positions with the Pacific Air Forces, Grosshuesch finally reriring in May 1973. He was then employed by the \Xfeyerhaeuser Paper Companv of Honolulu. Hawaii. as sales manager, where he remained until his final remcmenr in July 1992. CoiL eroy Grosshuesch and his wife reside in i(ancohc. Hawaii.

::n 0






..... a: UJ

..... 0..

<t I



properly spaced. My advice is if you don'r ger him on your first pass, pull off to the side and climb ar 200 m ph. After you have your altirude come back and do ir again. .!.he wingman and element leaders usually get good chances ar rhe enemv fighter when he breaks, and are then able ro fall righr back inro formation. I'd never refuse a head-on pass - our superior fircpower in the P-47 will take care of that. I'd like ro say here rhar 1believe rhar 50 per cent ofJapanese pilots today are stupid novices. During a recent mission, four 'Franks' flew a beautiful formation while we shor them down one by one. The other five broke up, bur used no evaJ.ive action. They roo were shor down. The other fifry 50 per ccnr arc usually exceptional pilots, and will give you trouble ifyou don 'ruse your head. I observed one thar accidentally meer a flighr head-on. The flighr was cru1smg. fhe Jap starred rurning as he passed alongside and was able ro get enough ofa burst ar the last man ro hole him. As to individual defence, the best defence is to sray on rhe offensive. If one does get on your rail and you are in a desperate siruarion, skid and slip like mad. Their gunnery is nor so hot in my estimation. T his might be some consolation. However, the best merhod of gerring away in rhe P-47 is to climb :H 200 mph at maximum power. You will pull away rapidly, and soon have enough altitude advantage or distance to come back at him. Never allow yourself robe alone for they pick on stragglers. Our squadron usually consists of fottr flights of four P-47s each a flight on each side of the lead fl ight, approximately 1000 yards away, and the lasr flight behind, bur in such a posirion that it can always be seen by the leader. These flights mck up from I000 to 2000 ft. The squadron leader calls rhe arrack and usually makes rhe first pass. However, it has paid us good dividends ro send rhe flight that sees the enemy first down ro save rime. I believe that surprise is jusr another advantage to us. Many rimes I've followed my wingman orelemenr leader inro the attack because l couldn't see his bandit. If the enemy force is near our siu:, or smaller, we usually send down numbers one and two Aighrs. Number three flight comes down a short while later to pick o~T the stragglers and those getting away at the sides of the battle. Number four Aight acts as top cover, bur gets inro rhe fighr ar rhe end if the sky is clear above. This flight can also ger any one our of difficulty char needs ir. We anempr ro keep the flights together. The enemy, however, usually ~plirs up, making it advisable to splir into elemems to get rhem all, but we never get below rhe rwo-man elemenr. The wingman 's job is to protect the leader. He fa lls back a little and to one side. T his gives him rhc opportunity to pick out an enemy aircraft besides the leader's victim, or to ger the enemy when he rurns ro avoid the leader's bullets. For defence, the flights are spaced in such a manner that they can rurn into another flighr. This will break up the enemy's attack because you can wrn inro him, while rhe Aighr that is attacked can dive under you. Number four flighr is in <1 position to prorect any flight. If he is jumped, he can dive through the formation, which gives him speed, and ar the same rime one of the other flights can turn head-on into the enemy, which u~ually discourages them. I'd like ro relate a little incident here. For nearly an hour, eight P-47s protected a group of bombers from approximately 30 Japanese Tonys' and 'Zekes'. The enemy fighters continually made passes with rwo or

three ships from aJj sides. Our defence was to rurn into them. They wouJd immediately break away, and we could continue over the bombers. but after a while their uneagerness and lack of coordination gor the better of them and they left. Our favourite defence, if rhe enemy is seen in rime, is ro climb the whole squadron our of danger, then to come back and attack the Japanese fighters from above. conclusion, 1 would like 10 poinr out a few things that should be known abour rhe Japanese. The ~peed of their fighters is bdow thar of ours. so superior speed is our greare~r advamage. T hey have a good rate of climb, but we can our-climb them if they main rain our speed. The advantages here are obvious. The enemy can our-manoeuvre us easily, so avoid manoeuvring. His fuepower is below ours, so don't hesitate ro make a head-on pass. His protection is poor, rhus a good bur..t in the wing roots will usually cause an explosion. The Jap has a tendency to panic. He doesn't usually use his head, and he's uneager and has poor coordination. If the American pilot uses his head, uses his aeroplane properly and secs the enemy first. he has him licked before the fight begins.


CA PT WILLIAM H STRAND 40 t h FS / 35TH FG The principle fearure of the Japanese fighter pilot in this theatre is the excellent manoeuvrability of his aircraft and his poor teamwork in combat. The following potnts discussed herein arc tactics used by the 35th ~Gin combat, operating with P-47s, With the increasing tempo of the Fifth Air rorce offensive, longer range became imperative, and in the past few momhs the range of the P-47 has been lengthened from 350 miles ro 800 mib, giving new life to heavy bombardment. Through cxperimenrarion, it has been found that the P-470-28 with three ranks is perfecdy capable of escorr or a fighter sweep of 800 miles, bur in rh is the fighter ractics as a group muse be changed eo some extent. We have learned ro fight while retaining our auxiliary ranks, and eo use lower power settings in interception. Mass attacks on interceptors makes rh is possible, which of course leads back to one thing- rhe saving of gas. I r must be remembered chat mass teamwork is rhe keystone oflong-range escort on fighter missions. On bomber escort missions, when jumped from above we have found it best ro rurn into the enemy and spread out into rwo-ship elements and then reform immediate!)' after first contact. Do nor break away from the bombers because you have then losr your protection srrength. lt is best to maintain 200 m ph lAS (Indicated Air Speed) or above, so as to be able ro move about rhe bombers q uickly. Long-range bomber escorr is ticklish work, and gas conservation musr be considered at all times. You can't be roo aggressive toward the enemy before the bombers reach the target because they will end up over rhe rargcr without cover. lfjumped on during a fighter sweep, we hold squadron formation until after first contact, then break up into elements. This war WC have a better chance of doing more damage and remaining in the scrap over the target




William H Strand


a: UJ



et :J:



William H Wild Bill' Strand was born in Pasadena, California, on 22 August I 921 . He arrended Pasadena Junior College prior to joining the Army Reserves on l 0 March 1942. Commissioned a pilot on 12 April 1943 ar Luke Field, in Arizona, he was senr to the 35th FG's 40th FS in Port Moresby as an arrririon replacement in Augusr of that same year. Flying rbe P-39N-5, Strand achieved his first kill near Nad1.ab on 7 November when he downed a Ki-43, and claimed a second as probably destroyed. His unit re-equipped wirh P-47Ds soon after his encounter with rhe 'Oscars'. a nd on 4 March Srrand was credited with damaging anorher Ki-43 over Wewak. In the autumn of 1944 the 35th FG commenced long-range missions against enemy airfields and installations in the Philippines, the Halmahera and Borneo from its base on Morotai. Flown as parr of the preparation for the US invasion of the Philippines, these sorties saw rhe group enjoy great success wh ile escorting B-24s on raids against rhe oil refineries ar Balikpapan, in Borneo. Indeed, 'Wild Bill' Strand 'made ace' during the course of rwo such missions in October, downing three 'Oscars' over Manggar on the I Orb and rwo more over Balikpapan four days later. His final kill can1e on 21 November when he destroyed a B6N 'Jill' naval attack bomber over Bacolod, in the Negros Island chain. Remaining in the Army Air Force post-war, Bill Strand saw further combat flying F-5 1s in Korea. Shot down by flak on 10 Aprill 951, he successfully evaded capture and returned to Allied lines. Having completed his tour of dury, Strand was subsequendy assigned to the USAF's Tesr Pilor Performance School, before returning to fronrline flying with the F-80 Shooting Star-equipped 72nd FS/56th FG at Sel&idge Air Base, in Michigan, in la re 1951. He then served wirh a guided missile squadron, prior ro retiring in 1960. Moving back ro California, Strand became an earthwork contractor befo re raking full re riremenr in rhe l 980s. He passed away in 2002.

longer with rhe limitations which we have. We form up and leave rhe target wiili the squadron leader at h is request. This also holds rrue when • we jump rhe enemy. An airspeed above 200 m ph lAS on fighter sweeps is a must, because in so doing you are main taini ng a speed in the higher range ofjap fighters. Ler me express agai n that effecrive ream work has been the reason for such success as this group ha.~ enjoyed whilst conducting long range fighter operations.

Ranking ace of th e 35th FG's 40th FS. 'Wild Bill' Strand scored a solitary kill in t he P·39N·5 and si x victories in t he P-470. He is seen here climbing ont o t he wing of a w ell-weathered Thunderbolt at Gu sap in early 1944



35th FG l-ighter racrics in general have ba.~ic principles which hold true no maner what rhe rhearre. These principles srem from the nine Princrples of War. bur in rhe air over here, I would stress rhe Offensive, l.conomy of Force.:, ¡surprise and Simpliciry angles. Having served 28 monrhs in rhis area, I have ~c:c:n the V Fighter Command tactics change through progressive ~t.tges. In the c:ark days at Pon Moresby we were srill on rhe defensive, seeking ro protect our lone remaining New Guinea air base. We had just srancd to ~pn:ad our a.s we closed on Buna, and worked our of.Wau row.trds Salamaua and Lae. fhen, we were equipped wirh P-39Ds and P-40s hopelessly ourci.L<i.\ed hy rhe Japanese 'Zekes', 'Oscars' and 'Hamps', except in diving. pilm protection and flrepowc.:r. Accordingly, as did Gen Chennaulr, we .tdopted raccia. of diving imo, or breaking down from any accack. carrying through with speed, climbing, wrning and aHacking again. This mea m many head-on passes. bur we had the enemy on that score with our cannon. Oogfighring or wrning of course were our. Scrambles over Moreshy mc.tnt maximum alrirudc, and with sufficient time we managed to get up to 26,000 By keeping speed up, and by boldness and good feinting. our ~quadron managed to shoor down some bomber\. Of course, we were berrer offbelo'~ I 0.000 fr. bur rhen we often had no choice. The premium was on good formanon and teamwork. alertness and aggrCSSJ\'eness. Can you do bener today? J'he tWO¡ship elemelll was never splir- a form oflife insurance rhar any fighter pilot who lived lt:arned to appreciate. lr called for real discipline. We eventually got P-39 s, wirh more speed and climb, and we could advance our tactic\ a notch. lt was then, in Augusr I 943, rhar our men desrrowd 12 out of ll Helens" over Tsili Tsili in less rhan one-and-one-half minutes. We no longer needed ro break down. because by keeping our airspeed up. we could now out-climb our honourable opponent. Bur we were srill cagey and cautious. To my knowledge, our racrics cost us only one pilot, and he was ofT bv himself. Unforrunarely,l had yet to sec combat. Knowledge gives you more of a safety facror than i~ often realised, particularly when actual experience is lacking, or yet lObe gained. A pilot should constantly be teaching himself. Lying around at night, or while on the alert, he does well to pour rh rough every bit of intelligence material that comes his way. He should read every account of air fights bcrween Japanese and Allied aeroplanes, or of escon tactics, analysing the techniques used by borh sides -and rhcn pracrice them in rhc air whenever possible. He should read rechnical dara on rhc enemy aeroplanes, and learn their defensrve arcs of fire as well as our effective fields of fire. He should learn terrain. to help when rhe compass goes out, or weather makes the return to base a little rougher. He should learn escape routes. etc. He: ~hould know the lmell.igence and Operations file as well as their officers do. He should dream of situations in a theoretical fight. and figure his plan of anack or e\-asion. He should know hts aeroplane. He should have chars wirh his crew chief, the line chief and the engineering ofllccr. All are glad ro help.

Cl :D






He ~hould learn aJI about his RJT equipmenr, and he should plan his conversation for every liHic situation. He should know about his emergency equipmenr, Mac \XIeS[, life rafr and jungle kit, keeping all up to dare and in I 00 per cent working order. All may help him fly another day. He must learn patience. As rhe Allied ground situation improved, so did our air equipmem, for we changed over to P-47s. This gave us added range, and of course porenrial altirude advanrage. We hated to give up our P-39s, but we were beginning to reach our. Lae had fallen, and Wewak was our target. Here. we ran fighter sweeps and escorted B-24s. We starred going over at 25,000 to 30.000 fr (how good it was ro know we could look down for a change), but the Japanese never came up. So we came down, and ironicall) enough. in our first five engagementS, in March 1944, we never ~hot an enemy aircraft down from above 12,000 fr. In fact, we were ~hooting them down on the deck! We found we could out-run him on the deck and we knew we COltld our-dive him, but of course the pull-out and rurning factors were still his. But we fell with confidence that we could now meet the enemy on more even terms, and we let our tactics our another notch for more of the sky was ours. The enemy was still a wily opponent, butT felt that his calibre of pilot was deteriorating. When actually engaged and you got on his tail, he seemed resigned to his fate, which he got. But he would try to lure you into his ack-ack, or try w bait you with single 'ducks'. We were nor often caught. for lessons had been learned. Alrhough he still had a turning advamagc and sreeper climb, he chose less and less to fighr us. With our increasing superioriry in rhe air, and our bombers now neutralising the nearer bases, we were forced to reach out funher and further with our fighters. Whereas my first twO engagements were over Wewak, 250 miles from home, we now began going our 350-450 mib on fighter sweeps. Operating om of Noemfoor, we concenrrared on the Vogclkop and Ceram areas. The enemy could nor, or would nor, come up. so we resorted to dive-bombing and strafing. lt was at rhts rime rhar our B-24s found a target whose prorecnon warranted stiff Japanese fighter opposition, and the Libs clamoured for cover. Sraging from Mororai, and working mosdy on carefully planned theories, we flew our new long-range P-47D-28s w BaJikpapan, 835 \tarure miles away. These were offensive sweeps m precede the bombers imo the area. Tacrics involved going in high (20,000-30,000 fr) and then boiling down imo any enemy fighter formations in the air. After a few passes, everyone headed for home. lt was prerry much of a rat race, bur the tacucs worked for we shor down over 15 enemy aircraft each both time.~ the missaon wa.~ pulled. Two pilors were missing, one of whom ran short of gas less than rwo hours from base. History was made for single-engined fighters on these rwo missions in October 1944. <ihorrly after rh is, operating from Morotai, in the Halmahera, we began_ 'milk-run' missions with the B-24s and B-25s up to the Philippines. Their job was to neutralise the Ncgros strips, and the enemy rose ro rhc OCC3Sion with unusual vigour for awhile. The 'milk-runs' were 700 miles out tO the heart of the enemy isbnd air net! But we had some interesting scraps. fhe Japanese were usually in the area in srrengrh- up ro 30-40 aeroplanes- but they were never in one organised formation.

As close cover, we wanted to give the bombers their protection, bur we wanted to make the most of our numbers and opportunities, and work some son ofamition against Japanese fighter strength. We usually put up 12-16 P-47s ro cover a group of B-24s. We adopted tactics which we called 'offensive defence'. We stayed in relarivdy close squadron formation. and right on rhe bombers. When a Japanese fighter (or fighters) was si glued. I immediately -scarred one flight climbing. The remaining flights were then free w chase down any enemy sighted, yet be able to return again and again eo the Libs- in other words, don't go coo far astray. lr was found that the flights off chasing usually scored. while flights with the bombers likewise had fun. The enemy definitely wanrcd w shoot down our bombers. In one fight, I chased offan initial'scenr', then returned w rhe bombers in rime m see a Japanese aeroplane making a hurried pass on the bombers. I waited on the side, and as he pulled up I sat on his tail and shot him down after a very mild chase. Returning again ro the bombers, I found another Japanese aircraft making a hurried pass- our aggressive area tactics had broken up any organised or leisurely son of attack. Waiting again on the other side. l found myself on his rail and despatched hi m too. If gas had permined, this could have gone on indefinitely. The other Oights were keeping rhe enemy chopped down to size, and although we had only ren P-47s covering 24 B-24s, wirh 25-30 Japanese fighcer5 in rhe area, we scored seven kills, rwo probables and one damaged, and nor one bomber was hit. This 'offensive defence' paid dividends as long as rhe enemy chose ro come anywhere close. We foughr ar altitudes ranging from 5000 to 15,000 ft. and the P-47 really was beautiful. This concluded my combar. Afrcr living on rheones and 'dreaming' my fights, when action took place I felt reasonablv sansfied. Knowledge, like altitude, was money in the bank. I have always felr that if every man in a formation is doing his job, you will never be jumped. or find yourself in an inextricable defensive position. The old adage of'rhe one you don 'r see gets you' kept my head on a swivel. I demanded, and cried to give, air and radio discipline. I tried to keep learning about my aeroplane. and abour new friendly and enemy racrics, ere., even rhough I was now considered a 'veteran'. As squadron CO, I found that operational accidents were ofren caused by lack of knowledge of the aeroplane or poor Aying habits. I tried to develop teamwork and cooperation. We n~ver had rwo-ships shot down, bur we lose a few stragglers or wingmen who didn't srick to their job. I learned. and tried ro reach. rhe importance of sun, borh for offensive and defensive positioning. I alway~ placed aeroplanes or Aighrs inro the sun ar a lower level, and chose away from the sun were stepped above the leader's Oighc. We never Ocw with our backs eo the sun. I allowed pilots full freedom ro weave when in the target area. because with fewer aeroplanes to work wirh. ir gave us better vtsual coverage. Often, a lcill is missed by a pilot rushing in before he plans his anack. In my first fight 1 headed for the nearest enemy aircraft bv the shonest route and got only snapshots wirh nil results. Later, I learned to take a longer course, which, surprisingly, usually led up to rhe rail of my foe! Then just drive up dose, and brother, wirh chose " fifties' you can't miss.


I ~


:n G)

:n a c:




w cc :J: l-

ee w IQ..

<r :J:


49th FIGHTER GROUP LT CoL GERALD R JoHNSON COMMANDING OFFICER 49th FG Dunng my experience~ 'in operating against the Japanese Air Force, there ha\'e been evidenr certain characterisrics and rraits peculiar ro the Japanese ,1\ .1irmen. A knowledge and an undemanding of these characteri~ti~ is necessary in order 10 dTcctively combar rhe cnelll}'· l·irsr, the quality of rhe pilots encounrcred ha~ decreased. h appears th.uthe.Japancse Air l·orcc consoli date~ a group of experi enced pilots into a few 'Hor' oud!t~. inw:ad of spreading the~e men (and their experience) t:\'t:nly throughout all its unirs. One example was rhe 'Cherry Blossom H iko-Semai' which covered rhe Bismarck Sea Convoy in March I 943.


Maj 'Jerry' Johnson (left) and Capt 'Wally' Jordan had both flown P-39s with the 54th FG in the Aleutians prior to being posted to the 49th FG in April 1943. Firm friends, they served together in the 9th FS, Jordan replacing Johnson as CO of the unit in lat e January 1944. This photograph was taken at Gusap just prior to Johnson handing command of the unit over to Jordan (via Willism He ss)

Rccenrly, we have engaged a few Japane~c fighter palm~ who have shown exceptional skill and aggressiveness. Thejapanc~e fighter aeroplane~ have all been very manoeuvrable, and when Hown by an experienced pilot become a most difficult target to destroy. ronunateh, however, the majoriry of Japanese pilots encountered arc not of thi\ calibre. They are excellenr srick and rudder men, bur their weakne~s is that all their manoeuvres are evenly coordinated. The) make me of sharp rurns and "acrobatic manoeuvres, seldom using skid!>, ~lip~ m violem uncoordinated manoeuvres in their evasive tactic~. Anorhcr char.teterisuc of rhe vounger pilob is their definite lack of alertness. In many recent m~tance~ we have engaged enemy fig~ters and rhey made no effort tO evade our initial arrack, evidenrly because they didn r sec U\. Pilors have reponed thar in addirion to being 'surpmed', many of the Japanese pilots are either frightened or bewildered once their formation has been split up, and they make linle or no effort to evade attack. I have destroyed ~evcral fighters rccendy when they have tried to dive <tway or make shallow climbing turns. Any one of these pilots could have taken a shot ar me if he had milised his superior manocuvrabiliry and climb. In order to effectively attack the enemy, YOU MUSl SEI::. HIM FIRST. If he has an altitude advanragc, it islbir,tble to either climb up to his levd or gee above him before attacking. You cannot W<lit to decide what he is going to do- you musr plan your anack as you go HHO acrion. If your arrack is sudden and aggressive, rhe enemr will be at a disadvantage, regard!~ of his numbers and position. Do not wait .mack immediately. and pick your targets with the intent to destrm¡. \VIe anack as a squadron. bur fighr in elements of two. The wingman and his dement leader are inseparable, and form a mo~t flex1ble combar tt!:lm. No maner how the fight progrc~~es â&#x20AC;˘ .11l friendly fighter' mu~r remain in the same relative area in order to give each other mutual protection. If a fighter becomes separated from hil> clemem, he mu~t join another fighter immediately. In anacking any Japanese formation, it i~ e~~emial char vou pick out a definite targer. rhen dose ro effective firing range before cutting loose. Each lime you shoot ar an enemy aeroplane, observe vour errors and correct chem in your next attack. As for idenrificaLion, we have definitely proven thar <I pilot i\n't within firing range unril he can see the roundds on rhc wings and fuselage of the target aeroplane, and certainly if a pilot can sec roundcls. he knowl> that rhe aeroplane is hostile. When arracking a superior formation of enemy fighters, we approach ar high speed, either on rhc same level or from above. Our intent is ro destroy rwo or rhree in rhe initial atrack and scatter rhcir formation. \V/hen the enemy formation ha~ been broken, ir is pos~ible ro pick them off individually. Every effort must be made to reduce rhc angle of deflection while wirhin firing range. Mosr kills are made on enemy fighrers when the arrack is made wirh les~ than 20 degrees deflecuon. Upon meeting a force superior in numbers. it 1s necessary rh at everyone anack together. Hit and run is still a most dTcctive ractic if you h1t fast and hard. When arracking an inferior force, we Ul>e only the strength nect:!>sary, and always maintain a flight or an element as cop cover If we sec a single



-1 m :XI G)










a: w





Although hardly a fan of Republic's heavyweight Thunderbolt, 9th FS CO 'Jerry' Johnson nevertheless managed to claim two kills with the fighter soon after the unit swapped its much-loved Lightnings for P-47Ds in November 1943. Johnson pri marily flew this particular machine (serial unknown) up until he was posted home on leave on 29 January 1944. Marked up with his command stripes, it is seen here at Gusap whilst in the process of having Johnson 's victory tally applied. Note the Vultee Vengeance parked behind the Thunderbolt (via John Stanaway)

Japanese aeroplane and suspect a decoy, we send in an element 50 make the kill, while the remainder of the flight or flights wait for the fighters ro dive our of rhe clouds. ln actual combat rhe pilot must forger his aeroplane and fly enrirely by feel. Ifhe has robe upside down in order ro a track an en~my ai rcr~fr, then he must shoot from that position. Many inexperienced pilots are hesiranr w throw their aerop lane around, bur in a fight they must be p repared w execute manoeuvres rhar rhey haven't tried before. When breaking away from an attack, we maintain speed and make a wrn away from rhe target ship. We never fly straighr and level du ring an engagemem, and are usually 'split-Sing', climbing or diving all of the rime. The reason is that by constandy changing direction, we are never in one position long enough for the hostile pilots to make a successfu l attack. SUMMARY OF OFFENSIVE TACTICS

I. Maintain constant alert, sec the enemy firsr and report him ro the rest of the flighr. 2. Attack as a unit and make your arrack sudden and sure. 3. Pick your rarger and hold you r fire umil his wingrips protrude beyond rhe diameter of your ringsighr. 4. ln anacking an inferior force save your strength fo r cover.

5. Maimain demenrs at all costs. 6. Remember - speed and safety are synonymous.


Concerning defensive racrics, here again rhe pilor must maintain constant vigilance in order to spot the enemy in time ro avoid h is attack. In the evem of an anack by enemy fighters, warn the flight, and at the same rime turn sharply inro rhe arrackers. The higher rheir speed, [he less chance rhcy have of damaging your aeroplane. Never try to 'dive our' of a





:::0 C')





fighr- a dive is robe used onh• to gee initial speed. By diving, you remain in rhe same relative po~ition. except for Ios~ of alcirude - you do not remove yoursclflacerall) from the combat an.-a. Always rurn sharp!) into rhe arracking aeroplane or aeroplanes. then di,·e enough eo obtain a speed of 300-400 mph. Level our in a turn, and if the enem,· is still on your rail, skid, slip and change Jirection continually, main~aining a 500 to I000 fr/min climb. Soon he will be out of range, and you can smooth out your climb. If yo~ arc :mackcd by mrprisc from rhe rear, the most eftectivc manoeuvre I have ever used is a sharp skidding aileron barrel roll to the right. Throw the wheel or stick hard over with a slight push-over added and let the aeroplane do the resr. You will probably pur a crack in the canopy with yo ur head, but you presenr a most difficulr target for rhe enemy. Whenever po~~iblc, meet the anacking aeroplane wirh your fire. fhere are few true head-on passes, .llld wirh the concenrrared firepowcr of our fighters, you have ,t good chance of dc~rroying your opponent. Should you be leading an clement ofa Aighr and anack by hostile figh ters is imminent. move out ro rhe side away from the enemy in order char you will have enough room ro rurn imo them and cover your flight leader. Mosr important in defence is murual protection. Alwa~ maintain the element, and when engaging the enemy in combat stay in the same general combat area. ixry per cent of the pilots we lose have become separated from their element or flight. Abour 25 per cent are killed because they cry

Capt Johnson sits in the cockpit of his well·weathered P·38H·1 at Kiriwina Island, awaiting the signal to take off. This shot was taken in October 1943 at the height of the aerial assault on Aabaul . The Fifth Air Force waged an Intensive bombing campaign against the Japanese stronghold In New Britain in October and November 1943, and the 49th FG was in the thick of the action escorting medium and heavy bombers. The 9th FS inflicted significant losses on the enemy during these missions, but also suHered heavy attrition to the tune of 16 a(rcraft destroyed and others damaged - hence the unit's transition onto the P-47 in late November. Johnson claimed six Japanese kills during this period, as well as an Australian Wirraway which he accidentally shot down on 15 November (via John Stanawayl



w cc

:z: I-






:z: u

Soon to take command of the 9th FS, Capt Johnson points out one of the names which adorned P·38G-10 42·12882 of 11-kill ace Capt James 'Ouckbutt' Watkins. This photograph was taken at Horanda strip in early August 1943 (via John Stanaway) P-38H-1 '83' (serial unknown) was inherited by 'Jerry' Johnson when ha replaced Maj Sid Woods as CO of the 9th FS in August 1943. Note the aircraft's old style national markings lt was marked as aircraft '92' when assigned to Woods (via John Stanaway)


The first Lightning assigned to 'Jerry' Johnson in the SWPA was P-38F·5 42·12655, which he named ·sooNER• and had numbered 'white 83'. This machine was written off on 26 July 1943 when its lower left tail section was ripped away by a mortally damaged Ki-61 which Johnson had just hit with cannon and machine gun fire during a head· on attack over Salamaua. Minutes earlier he had claimed his first official kill when he destroyed a Ki-43 over Markham Valley. John son struggled back to Horanda Strip, escorted by P-39s from the 39th FS. '83' was subsequently 'scrapped out' (via John Stanawayl

ro 11) AWAY from :Hl attack and do not resorr to violenr manoeuvring in order ro <I void rhc hostile fire. This may be caused by any number of things, however. as fear and indecision arc imporranr factors. Su M MAR\ 01- O HENSiv r TAcncs

I. Mamtain comrant alen.

2. Maint:un clement\ at all cmt~.

3. Keep speed .1bove 250 m ph. 4. Always wrn sharply imo the atracking aeroplane. except when he is near or dead ,\Stern.

5. Use a violenr ~ ki dd ing aileron roll if:macked astern from slighdy high or low. 6. If rheanackingaeroplanc is notoverrunningyou, obtain initial speed by a skidding. diving tu rn , then begin a 500 tO 1000 ft:/min climb. using ai leron slips and ~kiddi ng wrn~ to evade fire from the uailing enemy.

Lt Col Johnson (centre, back row) poses with fellow 49th FG HO pilots at Lingayen soon after he had scored his final kill on 1 April 1945. Flanking the group CO in the back row are Majs George 'Choo·Choo' laven lfour kills) and Clay Ti ce, whilst in the front row, from left to right, are Capt Bob OeHaven 114 kills), Maj 'Wally' J ordan (six kills) and Capt James 'Duck butt' Watkins (12 kills). The latter pilot had also claimed his final victory on 1 April 1945. Forming the backdrop t o this group shot is 'Jerry' Johnson's last Lightning -an unidentified P·38l·5 which w as appropriately named Jerry. The fighter boasts his full tally of 25 kills, w hich included his RAAF Wirraway and two Aleutian 'Rufes' which Johnson always claimed, but which w ere not officially recognised by the USAAF (via John Stanaway)


w w

Gerald Rjohnson


:z: l-

a: w



:z: <....>

Gerald R 'Jerry' johnson was born on 23 June 1920 in the small town of Ken more, Ohio. He emered the US Army Aviation Cadet Program in March 1941 and completed his pilot training (almost certainly at Luke Field, in Arizona) on 31 Ocrober 1941. The following day he was posted ro rhc 54th Pursuit Group's 57th Pursuit Squadron, which was chen equipped with P-40s. In June 1942 the group was hastily des parched eo the Aleutian Islands following their invasion by the Japanese. By then the 54th had re-equipped with the P-39, and 'Jerry' Johnson flew a coca! of 58 combat missions in gales, fog, sleet and snow - these conditions were some of the worst encountered by pilots in World War 2. On 25 September and 1 October he engaged A6M2N 'Rufe' floatplane fighters in Kiska-Adak.¡area, and monrhs later be was credited with rwo probable kills by the Fifth Air Force (his conrrolling body in the Pacific), bur nor by the Eleventh Air Force, which ran the air war in the Aleucillns. The ~atter claimed that there was no eyewimess evidence of either fighter crashing into the sea. By O ctober rhe Japanese forces in the Aleutians had been isolated by a sustained bombing campaign, and with aviators urgently needed in the Pacific, Lt Johnson was amonganumberofyoungpilorswho transferred back ro the United Stares for conversion training onro the P-38 with the 329rh FG's 332nd FS at Glendale, in California. He was posted to che 9th FS/49rh FG in April 1943. joining the group at Dobodura, New Guinea. Johnson scored his firsr confirmed victories over Markham Valleywhen he downed an 'Oscar' and a 'Tony' on 26July, and his tally continued ro rise during September (when he was also made CO of the 9rh FS) and October uncil, on the 15th of che latter momh, he downed an 'Oscar' and rwo 'Val' dive-bombers whilst defending an Allied invasion force anchored in Oro Bay. He would score a further three kills (a 'Zeke' on 23 October and rwo more on 2 November) prior m the 9th FS re-equipping wich the P-470. Ironically, Johnson's final Lighrning kill of his first tour in rhe SWPA was an Australian Wirraway, which he shor down in error on 15 November. Forrunarely, the light bomber's rwo-man crew succeeded in baling out unhun, and a few beers at Dobodura managed eo sooth the Australians' ' ruffled feathers'! The 9th FS had received P-47D-4s in late 1943 due to the attrition the LLnit had suffered during the large-scale aerial barrles over Rabaul in October-November- Lockheed could nor supply replacement P-38s quickly enough. Johnson and his pilots despised the large Republic fighter, although the former nevertheless claimed a 'Tony' desaoyed on 10 December and a 'Zeke' on 18 January, before returning eo the United Stares for a three-month spell ofleave.


This official portrait of a fresh-faced 2Lt â&#x20AC;˘Jerry' John son was taken soon after he had been assigned to the 57th FS/54th FG in the Aleutians in the autumn of 1942 (via John Stanaway)


Upon his rerurn eo rhe SWPA. Maj Johnson became deputy commander of the 49th FG. the group having by now rorally re-equipped with P-38]/Ls. He scored his ncxr two kills (a Ki-44 Tojo' and a Ki-43) over Balikpapan, on Borneo, on 14 Ocrober, followed by an 'Oscar' and a '\'al' 13 days larcr during che lead up to rhe invasion of the Philippines. Johnson would enjov great success during the Philippines campaign, claiming two 'Zekes' on 11 November over Ormoc Bar and three 'Oscars' and a Ki-49 'Helen' bomber on 7 December off Cebu - he scored the larrcr victories whilst flying a brand new P-38L-5. One of those rare individuals who managed robe both a 'hot shot' pilot and a tine administrator, nev.•ly-promoted Lr Col 'Jcrry' Johnson was made CO of the 49th FG on I 0 March 1945, aged just 24. A firm believer in rhe P-38 as a combat aircraft, hi~ fierce loyalty ro the Lockheed fighter was demonstrated at around this time when Johnson was challenged eo a mock dogfight by a vereran Mustang pilot from a eo-located unit ar Lingayen, on Lu7.on. Determined to teach his 'foe' a lesson, he reportedly added insult to injury by shurnng down one of the Lightning's engines and flying formation with the astonished Mustang pilot after Johmon had dominated the aerial engagement! He claimed his 22nd, and lm, kill durmg a fighter sweep of Hong Kong on 2 April when he downed a ~olital') Ki-44. Promoted to full colonel in Jul} 194 5. Johnson took rhe 49th f(j to Japan for occupation dury following VJ-Oay. On 7 Ocrober he revealed his ,courage and bravery one last time. Pilocing a B-25, whtch had been pressed inro ~ervicc by rhc group as a rransporr aircraft, Johnson Acw inro a typhoon whilst trying to reach Tokyo from le Shima :md became hopelessly losr in the black skies. He ordered everyone to bale out, but one passenger had neglected to bring a parachute. Johnson immediately gave his away, and then cried to fly the B-25 back to base - his co-pilot also elected to stay behind to help him. However, both men were killoo when the B-25 crashed during an auempted ditching at sea. Lt Gen George C Kenncv. commander of the Fifth Air Force during World War 2, later told 'Jerry' Johnson's father, 'You arc rhc father of rhe bravest man I ever knew. and rhe bravest thing he ever did was the last thing. when he did not need to be brave .

P·38L-5 44-25463 Barbara was yet another late·build Lightning flown by·Jerry' Johnson in the final months of the war. The fighter was named for his Oregon sweetheart, who became his wife during his extended leave In early 1944 (via John Stanaway)


w w

a: :I:

7. Always rake;: definite;: immediate;: action when attacked and kee;:p thinking- neve;:r give up.


a: w


a... <t: :I:


8. Whenever possible, fighr back when you are being attacked. 9. Remember that these rules apply for single engine (P-38) operation, as well as for bQ[h engines, the on ly difference being torque and lower speed. 10. You are rougher, more inrelligem and have a berrer ream than the Japanese. If you remember that you are nor alone, bur as a team you are an indesrrucrible force, you will learn rhat the enemy cannot stand up against your coordinat~d arracks.


49 t h FG Basic formation used is the 16-aeroplane squadron, four-ship flights and rwo-ship elements. An auempt is always made to have a four-ship flight fight as a unir. This combination has sufficient manoeuvrabil ity and firepower ro take care of itself in a fi ght. However, in a big dogfigh r the squadron usually ends up in rwo-shi p elemenrs as the fighting reams. it is imperative that they work rogerhe r and never leave each other.


Dubbed the 'Balikpapan Mob', these men of the 9th FS 'Flying Knights' were amongst the pilots who helped V Fighter Command claim no fewer than 18 kills on 10 October 1944. Photographed at Biak, they are, back row from left to right, Capt Baker (V Fighter Command), Lt Col George Walker (49th FG CO), 2Lt Bob Hamburger, Maj Dick Song (gunnery instructor), Capt Eddie Howes and 1Lts 'Jimmie' Haislip, Bob Wood, Warren 'curton, A Hufford and Carl Estes. In the front row, from left to right, are Majs Robert McComsey (9th FS CO ) and 'Wally' Jordan, 1Lt 'Mac' McEiroy, Capt 'Wewak Willi e' Williams and 1Lt Davis. The Lightning parked behind the pilots is P-JBL-5 'black 83', which Maj 'Jerry' Johnson used to down an 'Oscar' and a 'TojC:' during a lollow up mi ssion to Balikpapan on 14 October. A colour profile of this machine appears on page 68 (via John Stanaway)

This teamwork consists of the wingman flying wide in the attack, which enables him ro cross over at anyrime for a deflection shot if rhe elemenr leader cannot ger rhe proper lead. Thc Japanese fighter, being more manoeuvrable than our aircraft, will turn sharp!) and auempr ro end up on our rail. Thus, as the enemy fighter turns, the wingman positions himself so he gets a deflection shot. The wingman in this combination is as much of a shooter as the elemt.'nt leader. When in a right spot, the element flies almost abreast and keeps turning tO\\ ard each other, forming figure eights, each getting head-on passes ar an} fighter that is on the rail of rhe orher. This method of mutual support is rhe most satisfacrory defence against superior numbers. Japanese pilots rarely fight as a ream, and rhey break up when attacked. In general. he is a poor shot, and if he loses rhree or four aircraft at rhe beginning of a fighr, he is prone ro decide rhar it's rime ro quit. Individual evasive acrion in a P-38 is ro make a high-speed \kidding shallow climb if distance permits. If rhe auacker is within firing range. a violent uncoordinated manoeuvre is the bc~t. Throwing the wheel inro rhe forward corner with a full aileron roll wi ll resulr in a skidding rh reequarrer barrel roll ending up at very h igh ~pced, and then climbing at high speed. l r is almost impossible roger a lead on an aerop lane in such a manoeuvre, and it has proven very effective in losing rhe anacker alrogerher. Another manoeuvre when the attacker is within firing range is ro pur the aeroplane into a turn, and as soon as you expect fire, throw rhe aileron hard into the turn, which causes rhe aeroplane ro \lidc downward. spoiling rhe arracker's lead unril one can get a break ro get.lWa}. Ir is never good to arrempr ro dive away from a Japanese fighter in a P-38, bur as soon as possible ger inro a high-speed climb or our-run him on the level. The Japanese fighrer pilor's evasion is usual!>¡ coordinated acrobatics, which enables our pilors ro determine deflection lead quire easrly. Ours. on the other hand, are always uncoordinated manoeuvre~.



:X: -i

m ::tl Cl ::tl





49th FG J

From rhe experience 1 have gained in individual combat tn this theatre aga inst a number of different types of Japanese flghrers and bombers, t hese facrs srand out. Defence against enemy fighters is resolved around the ~uperior speed of our fighters. If you are jumped from above, d ive ro p ick up an indicared speed of ar least 350 m ph, then level out and start a shallow climb at high airspeed. Generally speaking, a Japanese fighter will not follow you in a high-speed dive, bur occasionally one does, and if this happens. a rum eo the right for 90 degrees will throw rhc enemy pilot behind. The controls stiffen up to excess in high-speed dives, and he cannot follow a sharp diving rum. A turn inro rhe enem}' is always effective because they have a healthy respect for rhe firepower of our aeroplanes. An indicated airspeed never less than 250 m ph in combat is good life imurance. Offensive measures go according to rhc number of rhe enemy. bur rhey are always hir and run because a Japanese fighrer can our-manoeuvre us

I 49

w w


:I: 1-

cr w


<t :I: (.)

Ranking American ace Capt Dick Song is the centre of attention for his USAAF colleagues during his war bond tour of the USA in the summer of 1944. Behind him is P-38J¡20 44¡23481, which was supplied to Song fresh from Lockheed's Burbank plant. The fighter features the familiar image of Song's sweetheart, Marge Vattendahl. along with her name in red and white script. Song's A-2 flying jacket boasts a large 9th FS patch. Note the signatures on the propeller blades (via John Stanaway)


about ~vo-ro-one. Any number of enemy .1ircr:tft. can be safely attacked from above. Dive on the group. pick a definite aeroplane as yo ur target and concentrate on him, pull up in a shallow high-speed climb and come bank for another pass. Single enemy aeroplanes or small groups can be \urprised from the rear and slight!) belm' a large percentage of che rime. He \eems to be blind, or he does not look direccly behind him enough ro spot vou. and your first pa'' should knock bim down. Againsc bombers. ic is quire safe ro driw right up on the rail of any of them with rwo exceptions - the 'Berry' and the 'Hclen'. These rwo aeroplanes have a 20 mm cannon which covers a 30-degree arc ro the rear, and a beam auack broken off before you reach chb cone is the best anack. lt i~ robe remembered that individual combat as mentioned here is a two-aeroplane clemem and not <1 single aeroplane. A rwo-ship clement is our smallest fighting force, and any man by himself is sticking hi' neck our. Squadron tactics as I have experienced them are. generally speaking, the same as those of a smglc element. The leader of a squadron is the commander of the squadron for the period that it is in the air. In a squadron formation. we have 16 aeroplanes in four-ship nights, .md two-ship elemenrs within the nigfm. Number one man in the firsr fltght is rhc leader. Should he snafu, rhe lead resolves to rhe night leader of the second flight and so on 10 rhe Aight leader of the fourth !light. The squadron leader's clement leader takes over his flight and rakes it back to che number rwo flighr position. The number two flight leader move~ his night up and rakes over the squadron command.

Control over the squadron is maintained by radio. and the squ.tdron acts as a single unit until the enemy ha~ been engaged. Then each clement leader becomes the leader of his umr until rhe engagemem has been broken and squadron formation can again be n:sumed. lt has been found that iris extremely dillicult to maimajn a ~quadron formation in any kind of scrap, and so squadron control is broken unril the scrap i~ over. Squadron defence against enemy fighters is comparatively simple, :.ts enemy figh rer~ will generally not attack if rhey are ~een. However, if they

P路38J路 15 42路104012 was the aircraft in which Dick Bong claimed three kills on 12 Apri11944 to become the leading US ace (via William Hess) P-38J-15 42路103993 was Dick Song's mount until another pilot baled out of it in Ma rch 1944 when the fighter suffered mechanical failure in bad w eather (via John Stanaway)


w w

Richard I Bong

a: ::J:


a: w


a... et



Newly-promoted 1Lt Dick Bong gives his best steely-eyed stare for the camera at Dobodura in this 6 March 1943 shot. Sat in a warweary P-38F-5, Bong had claimed his sixth kill just three days prior to this photog raph being ta ken (via William Hess)


Richard lra 'Dick' Bong w~ born on 24 Scpu.:mber 1910 in Poplar, Wisconsin. Upon grac:luming from Superior Cenrral High School in 1938. he enrolled as a .)tudcm at Wisconsin State Teachers' College. Song never completed hi~ tertiary studies, however. choosing instead to enlist in rhe Army Reserves on 29 May 194 I. He then applied for pilot training. and dui)' graduated with Class 4 2-A at Luke Field, Arizona, on 9 January 1942. Bongwas considered to be such a gifted flyer that he was kepron at Luke as an instructor fonhe next three months, before being sem to the 49th !=S/14ch FG in June after rransirioning onro the P-38 at Hamilton Field. He was posted tO the 84th FS/78th FG just four weeks later, and seemed destined for the European Theacre of Operations until he was hastily sent eo Australia to join the bartlc-weaf) 49th FG as an aurinon replacement on 14 October 1942. The group was in the rh roes of converting its lim squadron (the 9th FS) to Lighmings at rhc lime, so Bong, with more P-38 experience than most ofhis new squadron mates, was sent into combat with the 17th Provisional Squadron. The laner had been formed eo support rhe hard-pressed 35th FG in N~ Guinea whilst chc 9th FS completed its rransirion training in Queensland. He duly scored his flrsr rwo kills (and the first for a 49th FG pilor in a P-38, albeit in a 39th FS/35t.h FG machine!) on 27 December 1942, when he shor down a 'Zeke' and a 'Val' over Dobodura in P-38F 42-12644. Bong was still flying wirh rhe 39th FS when he desrroycd three 'Oscars' over Huon Gulf on 7 and 8 Januaf)' 1943 £O 'make ace' (in P-38F-Ss 42-114624 and -124653). He rejoined the 9rh FS in lare January when rhe unit moved ro Oobodura, and now flying brand new P-38G-5s and G-1 Ss, Bong really began to hir his srride. On 3 March he claimed an 'Oscar', followed by two 'Zekes' eight days later and a 'Doris' (actually a 'Dinah', for rhe 'Ooris' was a fictional rype) on the 19rh. A solitary 'Betf)¡', downed on 14 April, was his sole success for the next rwo months, although things picked up again in June and July. Bong got anorher 'Oscar' on rhe 12th, and then no fewer rhan rwo Ki-43s

and rwo IG-61s on 26 July over Markham Valley. Two days later another 'Oscar' was added to his scoreboard, raising his rally to 16. By this time the quiet, young ace was beginning to garner a lot of publicity, Song becoming an icon in the SWPA. His squadronmatcs claimed that his P-38 was identifiable in the swirl of bartlc, and that his presence caused chem eo cake heart. He became an imporranr morale builder wtrhin rh~ 49rh, being seen as a talisman of indestructibility. Song himself remained down ro earth, shrugging off the arrenrion of both the press and his peers. October saw him destroy a 'Oinah' on the 2nd and rwo 'Zekes', over R.abaul, on rhe 29tll. Bong was now flying a P-38H, and on 5 November he again downed rwo 'Zekes' over R.abaul. Six days later, with his score branding ar 20 kills. Song was senr home on 60 days leave. When he rewrned ro the SWPA in February 1944, he (and fellow ace Lt ColTom my Lynch, formerly of the 35th FG) was assigned eo V Fighter Command Headquarters at Nadzab, rather than a specific squadron. This posting suited Bong perfectly, for he could pick his missions and Ay wirh any unit he wished in an effort roseekout che enemy. The primary reason for this 'special operation' was 10 ensure that Song became the first American to pass Eddic Rickenbacker's 26-kill record of World War 1. Issued with brand new P-38)-15 42-103993. he wasred lirrle rime in adding eo his rally, claiming a 'Tony' on 11 February, rwo 'Sally' bombers on 3 March and an 'Oscar' on 3 April. When Song cook off on the morning on 12 April in P-38]-15 42-104012, his score stood ar 24 kills. By the rime he returned ro Nad1.ab he had boosted his tally to 27, having claimed three 'Oscars' in just a matter of minutes over Hollandia. Having beaten Capr Rickenbacker's 26-year-old record, Song wlb immediately promoted to major and senr home on a war bond tour. He eventually rerumed to V Fighter Command, osrensibly as a 'Gunnery Training Officer', in the aurumn of1944, and this rime he was under strict insrruccions not to endanger his life in comba1. Song ignored this directive, and by the end of October be had chalked up five more kills. A furrher three followed in November and four in December, thus mking Song's score to 40 victories- his final success cook the form of a Ki-43, downed o n 17 December over Mindoro. Nine days earlier, he had been awarded the Medal ofHonor, the decoration being presented eo him by Gcn Douglas MacArthur. Deemed too valuable to lose in combat, Song was sent home for good at month-end, having flown an :;dditional30 missions in his final tour. Both a press t:wourirc and an exceptional pilot, it was natural that Song should get involved in the development oflockheed's latest fighter, the Jer-powcred P-80 Shooting Srar. And it was ar rbe srartof yet another routine acceptance flight from Lockheed's Burbank airport on 6 August 1945 chat his P-80A-l (44-85048) suffered an engine Aamcout on cake-off. The fuel-heavy jet crashed imo a nearby parking lot and exploded, killing America's ace of aces.


w w

a: :X: l-

a: w





. J . S. ARMY P·3BJ·IS:Lu IR FORCES s~:;:·.. .. r ., '3''1 REW WEIGHT 200 L1



••• ,\'(J



1'1~ CJ( 1



:1 !J-t:

attack. the formation within rhe squadron is a defence. The four flights are staggered up and bchinJ. each with about 1000 ft difTerence in altitude anJ 2000 li: beh ind o ne ano ther. If one of rhe lower Aighrs is attacked, rhc top flight can put it offand if the top flight is al!ackcd, ir can dive to the ~ide and the lower flights can get on the rail of the attackers. Defence depends chiefly on \ecing the encnn before he stam his anack, and some means can be formulated on rhe \pot to avoid ir. l .ook around and you .m: safe:. Squadron ollence works rhe same way. Depending on rhe number of enemy aircraft. the squadron leader designates so much high cover rp remain up .•llld the rest of the ~quadron hit a~ a unit on the fim p.c.s, then resolve~ itself into combat dcmenrs unrilrhe Japanese have been shot or dispersed. Enemy bomber formariom will be raken on rhe ~a me way, wirh parr of rhe squadron anacking rhc e~corring fighters and the rest attacking the bomber~ a\ dtrected.

P·38J·15 42·104380 wa s yet another Lightning flown by Dick Bong in the SWPA in 1944. This machine bears 27 victory symbols, denoting its assignment to him soon after he broke Ricke nbacker's World War 1 scoring record. Rumour has it that this particular aircraft may have also been flown on occasion by legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh during his lengthy t our of V Fighter Command units in the S WPA in 1944 (via John Stanaway)



7th FS/49th FG

It has been firmly established that in the P-40, the be~t mdividual defensive manoeuvre is the 'splir-S' if the anack is in progress- that i~ ifwe have been jumped. The ability to roll a P-40 on it~ back .md gain \peed quickly srraighr down is usuall} sufficient to evade: the fire of the encm). \X'e have ¡round this manoeuvre to be effective ~low a' 5000 ft.llowevcr, m the dive we adhere to the ironclad rule of nt.-ver pulling out in the \amc direction rhat we go in. Even a half roll i~ enough to dtsntpt rhe enemy fire and confuse him as ro our direction of pull-out. In the ca<.e of the Trpe 3 'Tony' fighter, that Statement must be qualified m the extent rh.u one musr have altirude to dive away. The 'Tony' will dive wirh our aeropl.mes up to speeds of 400 mph. bur it is apparendy allergic to high-speed pull-out\, and we have 'shaken' it in that manner. We have also, on occasicm, used the push-over when jumped by rhe 'Oscar' or 'Zeke' because rheir carburat ion ~yMem will noticed their radial engines on a sudden push-over. However, ;t steep dive i~ difficult to attain in this f.1Shion, and the danger of'rcdding out' make~ it more dc.:uimt:nral than beneficiaL On rop of that. while our aeroplane is g;Ji ninppced ~lowly. the enemy may half-roll and be in an easy position to shoot. In rhe evenr thar the enemy i~ seen ~taning the arratk, tt has bt:t:n our policy ro wait until he commits himself definitely a~ t<l direction and then lllrn into him. The Japanese pilot i~ generally nut overeager for a head-on pass, and a sudden turn into him will usually delay hi' attack long enough for us to get out of gun range and gain altitude using a high-~peed climb. h has been our experience in combar and again~r captured Japanese enemy aircraft that with a slight distance advantage, a shallow high-speed climb will pull us away from rhe 'Tony', 'Osc.1r or 'Zeke'. In case the enemy is above us, but ha~ nor yer committed himself to attack. our practice has been m ger out from under, gain Jltiwde keeping him in sight and then return ro make our own p<hses. Peculi.trly. we have found that the enemy is not likely to follow m either singly or in groups while we are in the process of pulling away and gaining altitude. We have found that with an initial altitude 2000 rt greater than th.u of the enemy. on many occasions four passes can be made before we are fon:ed ro leave the fight and regain alrirude. The last of the individual defc.:nsive manoeuvres concerns bci ng caught on the deck, and, needless to say, that'~ a rough ~pot robe in. If you are alone and the enemy is diving for the a11ack, hi~ speed is wo great for us to rry pulling away. Therefore. the only alrcnmiv~ i~ to put your foor on the throttle. turn into him and/or ~kid the aeroplane v1olently. If he is behind and in gun range, pushing and pulling the stick to get a roller coaster effect has often worked safely. bur other than that. a 'firewalled throtde quadrant and a violenr skid are the only t:hoJCcs we have. Abom that time, a prayer comes in hand} mo. The old adage 'safety in numbers' probably .lpplics betrer on squadron defence than anywhere else. The teamwork must be at it\ peak in order to keep a fighting unit efficient while under auack. Naturally. the formauon a squadron Aies is basically defensive ar all rimes, and Wl' have found the best merhod is lO ha\¡e the Aights stacked up and ,tpproxim.udy 800 fi-


:r --i

m ::0






:c l-

a: LiJ

IC... <(

:c u

apart. Horizontally, they are staggered ro the right and left of the lead flight, and are constantly. bur smoothly. using their flexibility to gain a maximum of visibility and freedom of movemem. Unfortunately, the Japanese are extremely reluctant ro arrack full squadron of fighters. We have had them attack rhe ro p one or two flights, in which cases we tried ro bring the enemy dow n inro rhe bottom flights. If this did nor succeed, we tried to maintain a 'scissorin g' manoeuvre with rhe elemenrsor wirh the flighrs, diving our and sacrificing alrirude as a lasr resort. Which brings up rhe basis of squadro n defensive tactics. We mess Robert M DeHaven

Robert Marshal! DeHaven was born on 13 January 1922 in San Diego, California. He enrolled in the Washington and Lee University in the late 1930s, bur left prior eo graduation in order to join the Army Reserves in February 1942. Earning his wings with Class 43-A at Luke Field, Arizona, on 4 January 1943, DeHaven transirioned onto the P-40 in Florida and was then sent to the Hawaii-based 73rd FS/ 318rhFG. Units in action in theSWPA were desperately short of qualified pilots ar rhis rime, and DeHaven "vas duly transferred ro V Fighter Command's ?rh FS/49th FG in May 1943. Travemng firstly ro Australia and then ro New Guinea, the future ace evemually arrived ar the unit's Dobodura, base after several weeks of rravd. T he by now well-cravelled DeHave.n claimed his firsc kill on 14 July (in P-40K- l 42-45985) when he downed a ' Val' divebomber over Salamaua. Further successes followed in October, when he destroyed an ' Oscar' on the 17th and a ' Zeke' and a 'Tony' ten days later (all in P-40N-5 42-104957) . DeHaven ' made ace' on 10 December wirh the destruction of a 'Tony' in P-40N-5 42-105405, and rwo days later another Ki-43 fell to his guns- both kills were claimed near Alexishafen. The New Year started well for De Haven, with aKi-61 desrroyed on2Januaryand an 'Oscar' on rhe 23rd of the month. Another Ki-43 was downed on 15 March. He claimed a rare 0 4Y 'Judy' dive-bomber as his remh, and last, P-40 victory on 7 May, although he was nor rotalJy sure of the aircraft's type. What was nor open ro speculation, however, was De.Haven's ralJy with ÂŁhe Warhawk, his reo kills making him equal top scorer (with CaptErnesrA Harris of the 8th FS/49th FG) on the type in V Fighter Conunand. There was little oppormnity for De Haven eo add ro his tally during rhe summer of 1944, his squadron ar last rransirioning to cl1e P-38 during this period, and the 49th FG as a whole making ready for the recapture of the Philippines in the autumn. DeHaven's firsr Lighming score came on 29 October when he destroyed an 'Oscar' over Biliran Island, and his final uio of vic~ories swifcly followed on 1, 2 and 4 November, when he claimed two 'Zekes' and a J2M 'Jack' fighter whilst pattolling over Lcyre. Boosting his .final taUy to 14 kills, DeHaven was then sent home o n leave. He rerurned ro the 49th FG as group operarions officer in 1945. bur failed ro add to his score prior




and impress the imponancc of the two-ship element. From char srems the cardinal ru le of combat- NEVER FIG HT ALONE. Thar rwo-ship element is not only protection, il is a polent miking force. Ifjumped, and the arrack is expected, or if caughr on rhe deck, two aeroplanes in constant movement covering one another have a 100 per cent better chance of gerring awav. Inside the flighrs, the wmgmen are flown well up and well our so everyone is covering behind and above everyone else. In case number four man is arracked, he is up far enough so rhat rhe element leader can rurn

ro VJ Day. By war's end De Haven, who was rhe ?rh FS's ranking ace, had Aown 272 combat missions. Choosing ro leave rhe Army Air Force posr-war, DeHaven did not completely sever his lengths wirh the military, however, for he joined the California Air National Guard and acted as irs P-80 acceptance test pilot. He transferred to the Air Force Reserve in 1950, from which he red red with the rank of colonel in 1965. In civilian life, DeHaven found employment with Hughes Aircraft Company in 1948, where he worked as an engineering rest pilot and personal pilot to Howard Hughes. He evenrually became an execurive of rhe company and manager of the flight rest division for over 30 ye-.trs. During that rime De Haven \vas elecreda Fellow in rhe Society of F.xperimemal Test Pilots and also served as President of the American Fighter Aces Association. He currendy resides in Encino, California.


:r -i


:;;JJ G)



c "tt

Joint top-scoring P-40 pilot in V Fighter Command, Bob De Haven continued his run of successes in combat when his unit transltioned onto the P-38Lin the late summer of 1944 (via Wlllism Hess)




a: :I:


a: w


<! :I:



inro the attacker, either head-on or from quarter. The same holds rrue for the elemenrs which are able to curn imo one another for murual supporr. Inasmuch as no rwo combats are identical, iris difficult to make any set ruJes governing ,m attack. The only defin ite advanrages we always try ro gain are altitude, speed and position. l n rhe case of fighters, we nawrally like ro originate our attacks from above and behind, or in the sun. Due ro the 'flying circus' formarion rhe enemy usually flies, rhe elemenr of surprise is eliminated. However, being above gives us opportunity ro gain superior speed. make a pass ro break up their group and rh en pull back up ro alrirude. When arracking groups of rwo, three or four enemy aircraft by oneself, it's safe to say rhar rhey will arrempr to 'box in' rhe individual. One fuvourire manoeuvre by three Zeros is the 'Prince of Wales', in which rhe leader does a loop and the wingmen make opposite chandelles. To fo llow any one is lO invire rhc other rwo for 'Bingo', therefore, so we usually rake a snapshot at one, keep going, regain alciwde and try again. In the case of two or four, they will usually be spread our and stacked up. lf rhc opportunit) is such rhar we can hir the rop man, we do so, bur arrempri ng to arrack low men, even with ~uperior speed, is not conducive ro a safe rrip home. Of l;m:, we have found enemy pilors who wilJ rake a head-on pass, and with our greater Jlrepowcr it's usually disastrous for them. They do, however. have rhe trick of coming in head-on, rolling and firing on their backs. Then as they pass under, they execute a 'split-S' and loop up under

Capt DeHaven poses with his elaborately marked P-38l (serial unknown) at Ungayen in June 1945. All of his aircraft were marked with the number 13, this particular machine being DeHaven's mount during his brief second tour in the SWPA in mid 1945. Note the divebombing guides in the form of black st ripes marked on the wing leading edge inboard of the port eng ine (via John Stanaway}

w.. This is readily counceracrcd by making a tight chandc:llc

a~ won

as rhey roll and pass underneath. In one-again\t路Onl路 fights, a Japanese pilot who knows his aircraft can, and did, make a fool of one P-40 by continuous right turns into the arrack. In such circumstances it is best to bring in anomer aeroplane, or let the enemy go before he has a chance to reverse rhe ad van rage. In squadron anack on fighrers, rhe corner\tone of teamwork is rhe 路element. Once a fight has starred, the ~ituarions change too suddenly and too rapidly ro keep 16 ships- and usually even four - together. When attacking fighters, we use the same tacric~ described before - position, altitude and speed. Afrer rhc first arrack, the enem} is broken up. and namrally ro desrroy him we must separate. However, there have been occasions when only six or eight enemy were \ighted below U\. and then the squadron control was of primary importance. Without excepnon. against small numbers rwo flights arc inst ructcd to mamram a high cover, while rwo fl ights engage the enemy. If he ~ucceed~ in climbing away, the tOp Ajghrs are there tO engage, and li kewi\e enemy fighter~ coming down arc intercepted. This same rype of c<>vcr is used when st rafing or dive-bombing, keeping ar lease four shi p~ high at .1ll times. When cscorring bombers - usua lly close c<>ver - our primary purpose is ro protect them and nor ro force a fighr, unbs ~pecifically instructed to do so. When it is obvious thar rhe enemy will anempt to imerccpr rhe bombers, rhe flights spread our ro more orbs the four sides. In this rype ofincerception, almost always we have our alrirudc advantage which we try to keep up, going down to ~hoot ofT rhc enemy, then pulling hack up to rhe bombers. If, in rurn, we have no high cover, the fliglm arc deployed so rhar at leasr one flight will remain above the en em~. On rhe inrerceprion of enemv bombers, we have found we can aJwa)'5 count on fighters above rh em. In such a ca~c. the squadron leader designates two flight~ ro go high inro the fighters, wh1le two hir the bombers. fhe best anack is considered low front quarre~. We try to coordmate our attacks and plan according ro rhe size of rhc bomber formation. If 'mall, an element pas.~ is best. If large, a flight pas.~ in nearly line .1brcast i\ mmt dh:ctive. If dive-bombers, we usually use a wing formation. In the matter of coordinaring, rwo ship~ w ill go in from the: right front quarter and two from rhe left, dispersing rhe enemy fire by hitting from the rwo di rections at once. Two aerop lanes will go over the bombers and break down and our, and the or her rwo will go under and break the same way. If enemy fighters break through m :mack m, we try ro make our passes regardless, sucking rhem in where they wi ll chance h itting their own bombers and vice versa. Whenever the bombers .Jte turned back or rhe sky is clear of rheencmy, we always try ro rejoin with atleaM one or her person, or a complete flight. in case ofinrcrception on rhe wa} home.


"' ::r ..., C)


-t m ::0 C)




MAJ WALLA CE R JORDAN 9th FS / 49th FG Primarily, one principle which underlies the \Uccessful application of all rhe following fighrer-to-fighter combat tactics with the Japanese i\ the neutralisation of the cxcellenr manoeuvrabilny of his aeroplane. In m~路





W allace RJordan





IC.. <(




Wallace Roberr'Wally' Jordan was born on 22 October 1916 in San Francisco, California. Joining the Army Reserves, he commenced flying training as an aviation cadet on 23 April1941 and received his wings just four days after the surprise arrack on Pearl Harbor- his was rhe first class eo graduate from advanced flying training following rhe raid. T ransitiorung onto r.he P-40 and then the P-39, Jordan was even wally sent w the Aleutians in 1942 co serve wi rh the Ai racobraequipped 54th FG. Here, he barded the enemy and the weather whilst C!SCOrcing B-24s on bombing raids against Japanese bases on Kiska lsland. Like his good friend 'Jerry' johnson, 'Wally' Jordan rerurned ro rhe Vnired Stares in January 1943 and convened onro the P-38 wirh rhe 329rh FG ar Glendale, in California. In April, he and Johnson were assigned to the 9th FS/49rh FG, which was flying P-38s from Dobodw·a, in New Guinea. Promoted co captain on 26 July, Jordan scored his first vicro.y exactly one week later when he downed a.o 'Oscar' sourh of Saidor. [n November rhe 9th FS was equipped with P-47Ds, which ir retained until March 1944. Few victories were claimed in this period, as rhe unit's pilots lacked confidence in the big Republic fighter. However, proving h is ability ro fly virrua.lly any aircraft well, Jordan downed a Ki -43 on 14 March 1944-just days prior ro the unir's conversion back onto rhe P-38]. By rhen he was CO of the 9th FS, having replaced his friend 'Jerry' J ohnson, who had gone on leave on 29 January. The larrer had requesred that Jordan, who he rated as an 'ice man' in combat, rake over 'his' unit while he was in rhe United Scares. Promoted co major on 18 April, Jordan was involved in a jeep accident shortly afrerwards, which left him with a visible scar on his head and the nickname 'Major Sritch'! Later rhar same month he joined rhe 49rh FG's staff, and scored his third victory when he shot down a 'Tojo' on 19 May. Jordan did nor score again until 10 October, when the group undertook the longesr fighter escort mission ever flown up to char point Ln the war in support ofbomberssenr to arrack oil rargecs ac Balikpapan, on Borneo. Flying a new P-38L-1, he demoyed a Ki-45 'lrving' twin-engined fighcer and an 'Oscar' near the target area, rhus gaining ace scarus. Four days later he claimed his final kill, again over Balikpapan, when he downed yec another Ki-43 (he also claimed a second 'Oscar' as a probable on this dare). 'Wally' Jordan transferred ro the Regular Army on 5 July 1946 and larer eo the Air Force upon its formation. Promoted to full colonel on 1 June 1952, he eventually retired in 1964.

Maj 'Wally' Jordan obscures the serial of his P·38L·5 with a strategically placed hand in this portrait, taken at Biak in October 1944. Note the metal case for his sunglasses tucked into the belt of his flying overall (via William Hess)

experience, manoeuvrability is rhe only qua liry in which the enemy excels, and when allowed, he will use it ro irs fullest extent, The neurralisacion is effected simply by fighcing in a manner rhat doe~ not .1llow him rouse his manoeuvrability.

.., c;')




- - - INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE T ACTI CS First. do nor anempt w dogfighr. If you do. your chanc~ are mrnimised ·by allowing the enemy to use manoeuvrabilit)'· When enemy comact is imminent- i.e. over a target - m.timain an LA~ of at least 250 m ph. From this speed, increased scuing~ will quickly g•\·e you the necessary high speed when needed. Upon being anacked. several things can be done <K<:ording to rhe type of attack. If seriously outnumbered, and :macked from above, esrabli~h a shallow dive at War Emergency sening umil out of danger. If auackcd from below, use a high-speed shnllow climb. rhe enemv climbs more vertically and cannot sray with you in this rype of climb. If anacked by a single enemy, allow him to commit himself in his pass -turn sharply in and under ar the cri tical moment. A great many times you will be able eo ger a shorr head-on shor in this situation. Maintain rh is turn through the shorcesr possible period. Get out far enough to regain alrirude and return offensively. Recently. with the use of rhe dive Aaps and aileron boost on the L-scries P-38, the following defensive manoeuvre has been very successful. 'Split-S', roll 180 degrees while going straight down and pull our. This manoeuvre was used by a pilot in rhe squadron ar 3000 fr altitude. Low. it should be used only as a last resorr. since it allows rhe enemy ro use his manoeU\·rabiliry if he so desires, and is good enough w follow. High, it can be used ro berrer advantage, since you will be able 10 hold maight down after the 180-degree straight down roll. building up exce~ive speed w where rhe attacker cannot stay with you. 1 his manoeuvre and the normal 'split-S' should not be used unless absolutely necessary. because the consequent loss of altitude is ro your general disadvanrage. At any rime, your best individual defensive action is m rejoin another friendly aeroplane and use the teamwork of rhe tVo'O·ship clement for your mutual protection.


:0 c;')






When individually auacking an enemy ~ighter, use the speed necessary ro prevenr over-running, come from sun or cloud cover, and do not fire unril minimum range is reached un less rhe enemy aircraft starts evasive action before thar rime. With premature firing, your arnmunirion is wasted by your tracers, prompting rhe enemy tO evasive acrion that you cannot possibly follow. The best pass, if you can ger scr for ir, is to come in directly behind and slighcly low. From this posirion, you can close to minimum range, pull up to level altitude with the enemv and destroy him before he realises you are there. The majoriry of Japanese pilots dislike the head-on pass and will not press ir to minimum. If one does. your superior lircpower will give you a distinct ad van rage. lfattacking superior numbers, pick the most vulnerable rarget, make a straight pass with plenry of speed and keep on going. In this instance.


w w

a:: :I: l-

a:: w


<t :I: t...)

if you turn more than 45 degrees, you will usually be immediately and seriously on rhe defensive. The evasive manoeuvres favoured by the enemy are 'splir-S', I m mclmans, tight loops. steep diving nuns and chandelles. I have seen the double lmmelman used occasionally. The enemy does this difficulr manoeuvre with amazing ease. Most of these rurns will be made to the left. Usually, tht:y are executed so quickly, and the radii of the rurns so short, rhar you cannot follow. Bide your rime, keep alrirudc and make another pass. lfyou try to follow, rhe righr loop ora reversal from any of the enemy's right rurns can easily pur him on your rail. If you anticipate fighting rhe Japanese, be especially proficient in deflection shooting, because rhe majoriry of your shots fired in anger will be rhat rype.

SQUADRON DEFENSIVE TACTICS The squadron formation, both offensive end defensive, is based upon, and expands from, the rwo-ship clement. The flights are four-ship, consisting of rwo f\Vo-ship elements. Within the flight, the wingman of the flight leader and the element fly wide. almost abreast on opposite sides of the flight leader. The wingman crosses under and the second element over. As much of the rime as is possible, the second element is flown high. wirh the first elcmem bef\veen the second and the sun. This makes for easier handling of attacks ftom the sw1. Close checking upon elemem leaders is somctimt:s necessary to see that this is done, since some may rhoughrlessly fly the more comforrable sunward side. The squadron formation, if each flight is considered as a single aeroplane, looks relatively the same as a flight when viewed from above. There is an average deprh, stepped up from rhe lead flight, of 1000 fr. These posirions af-ford maximum visibility, flexibility and ease eo hold. From them, maximum firepower can quickly be brought to bear on an arrack rrom any direction. We insist upon dose show formation around home base before and after missions. This increases alertness of rhe pilots for all formarion flying. In instances where ir is impossible to get away otherwise, flights or elemenrs who are outnumbered and cannot fire- our of ammunition ere. - can usually force rhe enemy to break offby making bluff passes. This has been done successfully a number of times. Recendy, Lr Helrerline, our of ammunition, made bluff passes on three enemy fighters which were arracking an aeroplane with only a single operable engine. They broke off and rhe single engine returned safely. Upon completion of a tight, sq uadron formation must be resumed as quickly as possible in order to conserve gas and ro protect any cripples.



When we are offensive ro start, we strive ro main rain the flight formation, bur do nor insist upon it, since keeping a flighr roged1er in Lhe general melee of a fight is very difficulr. We do, however, insist that rhe wingman stay in and keep the rwo-ship element inracr. There will be a few instances where even this will nor be possible. If a break up of rwo-ship elements occurs. the singles musr rejoin anorher friendly fighter as soon as possible, and where possible, elemenrs rejoin ro form tlighrs.


::J: -1

m :::0 G'l :::0


c "0

A 9th FS photo-call at Tacloban in late October 1944, just days after the unit had flown into the newly· liberated airfield. Aces Jordan, Bong and Johnson stand side-by· side immediately below the nose of P·38L·1 44·23964, which had been Song's m ount during his attachment to the 49th FG as 'gunnery instructor' throughout t he Philippines campaign. The ace w ould claim six kills with t he fighter between 10 October and 11 November 1944. taking his score to 36 victories. 44-23964 was s ubs equently loS1 whilst being flown by 49th FG Deputy Ops Officer Mal John Davis on 28 November, the pilot perishing when the fighter stalled in soon after taking off from Ta cloban. A colour profile of this aircraft appea rs on page 70 ( vilt John Stanawayl

When an enemy formatiOn 1\ s1ghted, the squadron or flight leader Immediately calls in the dock pos1t1on of enemy aircraft. and if thev are higher, arrains an alrirude necessary ro arrack. Ar rhis time the flights must space themselves far enough to avoid following rhe leader\ flight too closely, thus having rime to pick a good target, make an cfTcc.tive pass and avoid collisions with enemy or friendly aircrafr. Once the initial pass has been made and rhe enemy formation ha~ been dispersed. ir is rhe job of rhe variom rwo-ship elements tO mop up the remaining Japanese aircraft. Pilots must be indocrrinared ro rcsrr.tin their eagerness to shoor \'-·here several arc trying to ger in a pa5s. If they all press 111 ar once, none will get a 'hor and collisions will be imminenr. If rwo or more are attacking (this applies especially where there arc several trying to get one aircraft), the formation should spread very wide .md allow one man to attack. If this is done, rhc enemy\ evasive move will usually carry him within range of another member of the formation. Another aspecr of this case is concerned wirh hot guns and rhe rcsult:lnr swirling of rounds thercfrom. After any amount of susrained ~homing. your guns need at le<bt ten mmmes of cooling. lf the} are not given th1s coolmg, rhe rounds will sw1rl, go in every direcrion and you will hit nothing. When the swirl J\ observed, pull off and allow ~omeone else to rake over the artack unril your gum have returned to norm:1l. \ctu.tlly, your guns won't get the chance tO overheat if you coordinate proper!} with rhe rest of the Aighr or element, because the rarger' s evasive actiom will ch.mge his attacker frequently. Recently. we had an enemy aircraft ger aw:1y from a Oight of six P-38s simply bccau~c all members, thinking of their own personal score ofcourse. ~h()l at once, got in each other's way and .u the end couldn'rhir anything wirh overheated guns.


w w


:J: l-

a: w


Incclligencc Officers must continually brief pilots as ro enemy order of barrle, types likely to be encountered and all information concerning them- mainly speeds- because they are necessary to compute lead in rhc oft-encountered deflection shot.






LONG REACH AJI the foregoing information applies fundamentally to the tactics oflong reach. The differences will occur in the formation to and from the target. We use 1600 RPM and the necessary manifold pressure setting to maintain 185 m ph IAS, which is the computed most efficient airspeed for minimum fuel consumption where the aeroplane carrie\ f\\'0 external tanks. The speed without external ranks is 175 m ph. These figures were given ro us by Charles Lindbergh and, since we have no other source of information, we have raken rhem to be correct. Actually, we have never had to cur the IAS back that far on return. Wirhom external rank~. 24 inches and 1600 RPM will give an IAS of200 m ph at I 0,000 fr. Tn order ro reduce drag. the external ranks arc burned our separately and dropped when empry. Most aeroplanes will give rwo hours. or slightly bener. with a climb included. If d1e mission is not over 800 miles. the second rank will last ro the target plus 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes arc ar high serrings since you arc over the wget, so we ass~ me that \~C could probably reach 900 miles on the external wing ranks. The accomplishment oflong radius of.tcrion (over 300 miles) is based upon the following - use of eight-ship section, which I will explain in rhe next paragraph, no interception en route, an advanced rendt.'7vous poinr and good weather. An advance fighter sweep is not e~semial, but is preferable. On a mission where the radius is over 800 miles, we split the squadron and go on course as eight-shâ&#x20AC;˘p sections, which rake off and go on course immediately. The leader will make a turn of nor more rhan 180 degrees after take off, assembling loosd) and going on course wirhour waiting for rhe second eight. A squadron assembly over the field. and mainrenance of it ro the rendezvous, will result in rhe use of too much fuel. Obviously, this condition prevails only where one srrip suitable eo rake off one aeroplane ar a time is available - for example. Mororai during rhe Borneo missions. With proper on-the-ball assembly, a full squadron can perform the mission, but would have a very small fighting and weather reserve. At low scLtings, the changes in speed of rhe aeroplane arc very sluggish. Increase of manifold pressure at the excessively low RPM has very lirrle effect upon increasing the speed of the aeroplane. However, increase of RPM to the necessary amount has the desired effect. For this reason. all pilors use RPM to maintain formation on rhe longer missions. The rype of formation flown is identical to normal combat type except that it is flown much more loosely. rhi~ prevents jockeying of settings and consequent use of extra fuei.-Thc formation is not ~o loosely flown rhar aircraft are ourside supporting disranc;c of one another, These are fighter tactics as we know and use them. Having only recently become a full P-38 group, our squadron tactics mav change somewhat to accommodate operation~ where the group flies as a unit. However, we do nor anticipate any important fundamental change.


1 P-470-3 42-22604 of 1lt William Giroux, 36th FS/Sth FG, Port Moresby, late November 1943

2 P-38J-15 (serial unknown) of 1lt William Giroux, 36th FS/Sth FG, Owi (Schouten Islands), early September 1944

3 P-38J-20 44-23255 of Capt William Giroux, 36th FS/Sth FG, San Jose (Mindoro), January 1945

en CJ1

4 P-38G-1 42-12705 of 1Lt Cy Homer, 80th FS/Sth FG, Port Moresby, November 1943

5 P-38J (serial unknown) of Capt Cy Homer, CO of the 80th FS/8th FG, Morotai, November 1944

6 P-38J-10 42-67898 of 1Lt Alien Hill, 80th FS/8th FG, Finschhafen, January 1944

7 P-38J (serial unknown) of Capt Alien Hill, 80th FS/Sth FG, Morotai, autumn 1944

8 P-470-23 42-2787? of Capt leroy Grossheusch, CO of the 39th FS/35th FG, Mangaldan (luzon). February 1945

9 P-510-20 44-64124 of Capt leroy Grossheusch, CO of the 39th FS/35th FG, Okinawa, August 1945



10 P-38H-1 (serial unknown) of Capt Gerald John son, CO of the 9th FS/ 49th FG, Dobodura, November 1943

11 P-470·5 (serial unknown) of Maj Gerald Johnson, CO of the 9th FS/49th FG, Gusap, January 1944

12 P·38L·5 (serial unknown) of Maj Gerald Johnson, Deputy CO of the 49th FG, Biak (Hollandia), October 1944

13 P-40N-5 42-105826 of Maj Gerald Johnson, 49th FG HO, Biak (Hollandia), October 1944

14 P-38G-5 (serial unknown) of 1Lt Dick Bong, 9th FS/49th FG, Dobodura, July


15 P-38J-15 42-103993 of Capt Dick Bong, V Fighter Command, Gusap, March


en tO

16 P-3BL-1 44-23964 of Maj Dick Bong, V Fighter Command, Tacloban (LeYte}, November 1944

17 P-40N-5 (serial unknown, Possibly 42-105405} of 1Lt Bob DeHaven, 7th FS!49th FG, Gusap, late January 1944

18 P-3BL-5 (serial unknown} of Capt Bob DeHaven, 7th FS!49th FG, Tacloban lleYte), November 1944

19 P-470 (serial unknown) of Capt Wally Jordan, CO of the 9th FS/49th FG, Gusap, March 1944

20 P-38L-5 (serial unknown) of Maj Wally Jordan, 49th FG HQ, Biak, October 1944

21 P-470-16 42-76059 of Maj Ed Roddy, 58th FG HQ, Saidor, June 1944


22 P-47D-2 42-8096 of Lt Col Dick Rowland, CO of the 348th FG, Port Moresby, November 1943


24 P-51D-15 44-15103 of Col Dick Rowland, CO of the 348th FG, San Marcelino (Luzon), early 1945

23 P-47D-4 42-22684 of Lt Col Dick Rowland, CO of the 348th FG, Finschhafen, late December 1943

25 P-470-2 42-22532 of Maj Bill Banks, CO of the 342nd FS/348th FG, Finschhafen, February 1944

26 P-51K-10 44-12073 of Lt Col Bill Banks, CO of the 348th FG, le Shima, July 1945

27 P-470-4 42-22694 of 1lt Marvin Grant, 342nd FS/348th FG, Finschhafen , late December 1943

28 P-47D-23 42-27886 of Capt Marvin Grant, 342nd FS/348th FG, Leyte, November 1944

29 P-47D-23 42-27884 of Maj Bill Dunham, CO of the 460th FS/348th FG, Leyte, December 1944

30 P-51K-10 44-12017 of Lt Col Bill Dunham, Deputy CO of the 348th FG, le Shima, August 1945

31 P-38J-15 42-104024 of Col Charles MacDonald, CO of the 475th FG, Hollandia, May 1944

32 P-3BH-1 42-66682 of Capt John Loisel.

CO of the 432nd late January 1944FS!475th FG, Dobodura,

33 P-3BL-5 44-25643 of Maj John Loisel, 475th FG HQ, Dulag (LeYte), late January 1945

34 P-38H-5 42-66817 of Capt Tom McGuire, 431st FS/475th FG, Dobodura, late December 1943

35 P-38L-1 44-24155 of Maj Tom McGuire, CO of the 431st FS/475th FG, Dulag (Leyte), early November 1944

36 P-38L-5 44-25600 of Maj Elliot Summer, CO of the 432nd FS/475th FG, Lingayen (Luzon), July 1945



:t: --1


::0 G)






58th FG From the actual experience of the past three years' accive service, we know now that the glamorous rimes, so gaily phrased 'A feather in your cap and a moror in your lap', are gone, for fighters, especially in this chearre, have been required to assume a multitude of responsibilities. Our operacions boards, for example, during rhe past 15 momhs have carried eight different rypes of missions, in addition ro rhe traditional alert and intercept activities. Fighter missions are now described as sweep, escorr, srrafe, glide-bomb, ship-bomb, reconnaissance, fire-bomb and dose-support. fighter sweeps are designed ro penerrare an area and clear ir of all enemy aeroplanes. They are more or less cur and dried in planning and execution, since rheir variarions are governed by the known factors of rerrain, enemy anci-aircrafr positions, rargers, with their expected opposition, and the narure of our own 'srrikes'.lncluded, of course, must be the freelancing carger-of-opportuniry rype which raises merry Hell with the Japanese Air Force, nor to mention irs morale. Altitudes will vary from 5000-6000 fr for those looking for trouble, to 30,000 ft for those on the lookout for 'Sitting Ducks'. The Japanese have suffered heavily from these freelance missions. Wewak proved to be a happy hunting ground, as did the Manila area during the Leyte, Mindoro and Luzon campaigns. Escort missions are aimed ar gercing aJl aeroplanes being covered to the rarger and back by guarding them against successful attack. C lose-support and rop-covercomptise cheelemenrs of the mission, with altitudes varying, depen'ding upon char of the escorted aeroplanes. Strafing missions occupy a large percentage of our work, and include everything from harassing enemy troops, trucks, rrains, barges, ranks, gun positions, cankers, oilers, rroop and cargo ships, aeroplanes on the ground, equipment and supplies, ro attacking destroyers, cruisers and banlewagons, both in the daytime and at night. Coupled wirh skipbombing (to be discussed later), I believe that the largest percentage of our losses can be amibuted ro rh is rype of mission. There is no doubt in my mind char the roughest and roughest mission in which I have ever panicipared was a strafing mission which rook place on the night of 26 December 1944. We were ordered to attack and disperse a Japanese naval task force, consisting of one heavy cruiser, one light cruiser and six destroyers, rhar was attacking Mindoro Island, in the Philippines. With nothing more than 50-calibre 'slugs' and 'guts', there having been insufficient rime ro bomb-up, we attacked with our P-47s.



Col Gwen G Atkinson led the 58th FG from December 1942 until he was shot down by flak attacking Clerk Aeld, In the Philippines, on 3 January 1945. Affectionately dubbed 'GG' by his men, Atkinson had guided the 58th through Thunderbolt OTU and then overseen its introduction into combat in the SWPA with the Fifth Air Force in late 1943. Awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for leading his group into action at night against a Japanese naval task force off Mindoro on 26 December 1944. Atkinson had shot down a Ki-46 just moments before his P-47 was mortally damaged by flak. Abandoning his blazing Thunderbolt, ' GG' hit the ground just seconds after his parachute had deployed, breaking several ribs and injuring his back. Despite being in terrible pain, he evaded capture and was eventually helped back t~ US lines by communist Hubkalahaps guerrillas (via Anthony Kupferer)

::::> 0


a: w


a.. <t

:X: <..)


If ir were po~~ible to fly rh rough an open blasr furnace 1 don'r believe ir would comp,tre w rhe gunfire which opened up on us from those eight boars. Twenty-nim: from our gro up participated in t he mission and how any of us came om ,, Jive is srill a mysrc1y ro me. We did lose ren pilots and one badly injured, blll five have ~ince rerurned after baling out all over a 300-mile area. l"he lapancse force finally withdrew after a weak attempt at shelling rhe Mindoro strip. and did lirde damage. Information received since revea led rhar rhe reason lay in rhe fact rhar not only were rwo destroyers sunk on rhe spot, bur also that practically all aiming devices. gun~ and crews of rhe remaining ships were damaged or knocked our. We did nor claim rhar our P-47s inflicted all of the damage, for P-38s. P-40s and B-2Ss were aim in on rhc deal, but we definitely feel rhar our eighr SO calibres contributed greatly ro the successful repulsion of the arrack. The enemy in many wavs is cagey. H e places his anti-aircraft guns in ~orne of rhe damnde~t places, moves rh em frequently, and has accounrcd for manv of our losses in JUSt rh1s manner. In concenaated areas, their

mediwn and lighr guns are wicked. However, we have experienced lirrle difficulry wirh rheir heavy sruff. We have no rroublc turning away from or under ir. We believe rhar surprise, speed, cover of approach, timmg, concemration upon a single rarger and a slipping, skidding breakaway on the deck are rhe essenriaJ facrors necessary for successful strafing. <ipraying of a large area only wastes ammunition, and pulling-up afu:r rhe attack is swcidaJ. The Japanese are aJways full of surprises. One near crick rhcy have pulled on us is ro planr land mines, and when we come in on our strafing runs, set rhcm off in our faces. Glide-bombing firsr enrercd rhc picrure when it was discovered rhat dive-bombing wirh rhe P-47 was nor entirely satisfactory because of the speed picked up in rhe dive. In order ro minimise our losses from ack-ack. we found ir necessary eo begin our dive not lower rhan 15,000 fr. We learned from practice rhar ro achieve any degree of accuracy we had to use ar leasr a 60-degrcc dive, and from thar altitude and ar rhar angle rhe P-47 picked up so much speed rhe pilot could nor concenrrace upon his diving for fear of an unsuccessful recovery. We aJso learned rhar ar speeds in excess of 325 ro 350 mph, aileron buffering was encoumered when wing bombs (1000 lbs) or wing ranks (I 65 gaJlon) were carried. Ar presenr, we begin our glide, usually in rwoship clemenrs, ar 15,000 fr, hold our airspeed down eo 325 m ph. release our bombs between 7000 and 5000 fr. and cirher head for the deck or recover sharply up and ro one side. Attacks arc coordinared from diiTercm directions, and our bomb load varies from one 500-lb bomb under rhe belly ro one 1000-lb bomb under each wing and a 500-lb bomb under rhe belly. Wirh practice, and practice alone, we have arraincd accuracy, for we have no sighr designed for rhis bombing. The repeated pracncc of rhe same roll-in, rum and speed, the same angle of arrack and the same method of releasing has improved our efficiency. To offset lag in releastng our bombs, we have wired our ships wich electrical bomb releases. Though rhe basic method of cxecurion is rhe same, rhere are jusc as many variations of glide-bombing as rhere are pilors' bombing. I have found rhar by approaching rhe rarger from 90 degrees ac 170 m ph. placing che nose of rhe aeroplane on rhe target by execucing a sharp pull-up wing-over turn. graduaJiy reducing rhe angle of my dive as the speed increases and releasing rhe bombs ar 6000 fr. I obrain my best results. Glide-bombing is only effective for area or scrip coverage. Lighr and medium bombers were doing ir successfully, ~o when someone said 'Why not', we tried ir, and anorher label was added- the P-47 skip-bomber. Since rhar rime, dumping them out from masthead level and tree-cop height has become srandard operarional procedure. With the sheet oflead thrown out by our eight 'fifcies' preceding us ro dear the way, we have been able on several occasions co utilise rhis mcrhod extremely effectively. Againsr shipping. it affords unlimtted advanrages. even to raking on rhe interference runners of rhe Japanese Navy. When using a bomb load of only one 500 'pounder' slung under the belly, my approach is a shallow dive at about 370 m ph. levellmg off ar around 50 fr and letting her go. From I 000 yards on in, I like plenry of lead coming from my guns, first ro discourage, and. as I close. ro reduce rheir return ftre. Wirh a much heavier bomb load - we carry up to




2500 lbs-1 use the same procedure. bur keep my speed down ro 32S m ph to avoid buffering. Recendy. one of our pilors dumped one 500 and rwo 1000 'pounders' righr ar the cast entrance ro the large runnel on Corregidor. The great blast blew rhe doors ro the runnel open, and the nexr man in dumped a I 000 'pounder' slap-dab in the mouth of the runnel. Using a four- ro five-second delay fuse, lirde or no ill efTccr from the b last has been encountered. On moonlight nights I believe gratifying resulrs can be obtained, for I am certain that had we been lugging bombs rhe night of rhe 'Tokyo Express' ro Mindoro, we could have sunk all of the destroyers and inOicred much crippling damage tO the cruisers. Keeping tab on the enemy in his movements is very difficult. Hc is more likely to pull the unp redictable than he is ro follow a carefull) laid our plan. Here again, rhe fighters have taken on added jobs. Reconnaissance is nothing more than covering an area wirh all eyes wide open, chaning movementS, shipping, locations of supplies. recording weather dara, shadowing and picking up birs of information rhar will piece rogerher the overall picture. Fire-bombing, or the dropping of napalm bombs, which are ring ranb filled with a highly vola rile mixture, is fairly new. Even so, in the short rime we have been using them, devastating damage has been delivered. ThC) have definitely proved, through rests and resultS, to be a very effective weapon. Good resultS have been obtained against pillboxes. gun po~irions. caves, buildings, troop concentrations and small boars. To me. rh is mer hod of warfare is only in irs infancy. There is no limit ro irs urilisarion. Close-support missions can certainly be said ro cover a multitude of activities. Everything in rhe book can be used- from strafing ro napalm bombing. On the majority of our missions over Luzon we were called upon at one rime or another to ~uppon our ground forces. Beachhead cover flights are often required several times during one mission ro clear out strong points in the enemy Iincs. The~c srrong poinrs may be dug-in forrificarions, gun emplacemcnrs, pillboxes and sometimes even ranb. Close coordination and cooperation are necessary in order ro eliminate rhe possibility ofhirring our own forces. There can be lirde doubr in anyones' mind char 'Fighters arc here to my'. As shore-legged as our 'Jug' (P-470-21) is, we arc capable of carrying one 500-lb bomb a greater di~tance than our light bombers carry

:::::> 0

.... a: w

..... ~


:I: (.)


Very few photographs of 58th FG P-47s have survived, this pa rticular shot having been sourced f rom the logbook of a 311th FS pilot . Like all other Thunderbolt-equipped groups in the SWPA, the 58th initially marked Its aircraft up with all-white tails and wing leading edges. Tasked primarily with flying g round attack sorties, the 58th FG scored just 14 confirmed kills during the Pacific War (via John Stanawayl




.., G'l

:c --l



G'l :>:)



their load . We possess mo re strafi ng power, more speed and bcm:r manocuvr.1b ilicy t han the ' lights' and so nw of' the 'mediums'. Wt¡ havt¡ tangled with everything from row bo,m 10 heavy cruisers, rraining type~ to Zeros. wheel-barrows tO [<In b. 2S calibrcs [0 ' I os~. and WC have come out on top.


This 311th FS/58th FG P-470 was photographed at Dobodura in early 1944. Its nickname appears to have only recently been applied, this machine having perhaps been passed onto the group by either the 35th or 348th FG upon the 58th's arrival in the SWPA in December 1943. Billy Boy was assigned to Lt W M Ritter (via John Stanaway)

58th FG I1 has been several month~ since I have had contact with airborne enenn .1ircrafr. However, [ will endeavour to convc} in this letter the tactics which I used then, and which I tntcnd to use agam soon. To make this lcncr .IS clear and concise as possible. and to keep from repeating myself. I will devote paragraph rwo ro a few of the conceded practices upon entering into aerial combar. t\ rcxr could be w ritten on the .1pproach ro combat, bur the high spots arc - ro sec t he enemy fi rst, then make.: sure rhat you aren ' t being baited, and dec ide upo n a plan of .n mck and put ir into acti on right away. After dropp ing wing ranks and adva ncing the thronle. all combat is commenced on a full tank of gas .u a m tnim um ind icated airspeed o f 250 m ph. My own personal point of view on how ro fight thc Japanese



wirh mm1mum risk to my night and mpelf, wh ile administering maximu m descrucri on ro the enemy, is as fo llows.




a: UJ



When on the defensive, wingmcn, flights. clcmcms or however the case may be arc well up in line abreast, with a lit de more than normal spacing laterally. Whether leading a squadron or ~maJicr umr, there arc: on I) three situations which force me to take the defcmive.


::c (.)

I. When the enemy fighters are above.

2. Men rhe enemy fighters arc of superior number~ at level fl igh r. 3. When the enemy fighters arc firing before their presence is know.

This photograph of Capt Ed Roddy was taken soon after he was made 'B' Flight leader of the 342nd FS/ 348th FG in November 1942. Note the squadron emblem painted beneath the cockpit of his P¡47B. The 348th was destined to be the first Thunderbolt¡equlpped unit to see combat in the SWPA, although this machine was photographed whilst the group was based at Westover Field, Massachusetts (via John Stanaway)


Any situation other than those menriom:d above, whether wi rh fighrcrs o r bo mbers, purs me srricd ) on the.: o!Tcnsive. Na turdll y, the prime o bjective when these situatio ns arise is to reverse the set-up and get o n rhe offensive as soon as possible. T he methods fo r do ing this are explained below. W hen the enem y f1gh tc rs arc above, make them co~mit the~selves before you expose rhe evasive tactics you are going to use. After the enemy Edward F Roddy Edward Francis Roddy was born in Cleveland. Ohio, on 29 June 1919. He entered the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet on 25 Aprill941 and graduated with Class 41 - 1 at Foster Field, Texas, on 12 December that same year. After transitioning onto P-36 Hawk fighters, he was posted ro the 56th Pursuit Group at Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina. Soon after Roddy had joined rhe group. it moved to Mitchel Field to provide air defence for New York. Here, he briefly flew the P-38 before the entire group transirioned onto the then new P-47B Thunderbok On 30 September 1942, the 56th FG was split in haJfin order to form the 348th FG, which subsequently became the first Thunderbolt-equipped group to be sent to the SWPA. Roddy was amongst the cadre of pilors assigned to the new ourfit, helping esmblish the 342nd FS. He was soon made the squadron's operation officer, and promoted

has commirccd himself. turn into him and, if possible, fire a head-on burst. Afrc.:r passing him, keep right on going, as this will pur the greatest amounr of distance berween yourself and che enemy in the shorresr period of time. Then work for altitude and prepare for offensive ractics, When rhc enemy fighters are ofsuperior number at level Aighr, the best defence is an aggressive offence. Make a head-on pass if possible, and go right rh rough them, climbing at high speed as soon as you cease firing, striving again for altitude and a better ser-up for going on the offensive. When the enemy fighters arc firing before their presence is known, 1mmcdiare violent evasive action is called for, diving, if necessary, ro get our of their range. 'I hen srnve to get the advantage on them by use of rhe tactics mcmioncd above.

"' ..., CO



e nemy bombers in thi~ theatre are vulnerable ro nose arrack, being lightly armed fo rward compared m afr. So if the siruacion and rime permit, these arracks ~ho uld be f.1voured, and prc.~sed home ro poinr blank range. Aim for rhe leader and concentrate yo ur fire on his most vulnerable parrs - the engines and wing roots. Since the enemy bombers arc going in rhe opposite direction, the heavy calibre tail guns will be in effective range for only a few seconds, and a violent w rn in that period does nor give them a chance to even swing their guns in rhe general direccion of their attackers. to captain on 26 January 1943. The group continued its lengthy work-ups at a series ofeast coast airfields unci I finally being posted ro the Pacific in May 1943. Travelling by ship ,;a AusrraJja, me 348rh evenrually arrived 111 New Guinea in lace July. and it was nor until 5 November chat Roddy got the chance to score his first kjUs a Ki-61 and an A6M Hamp' shot down norrh-west of \XIewak. He added furrher vicrones me following monm. destroying rwo 'Zekes' on the 16th, a ' Dinah' on the 1.,.eh (giving him ace staws) and rwo 'Betrys' on Bolting Dav over Cape Gloucesrer. V Fighter Command claimed 62 viccones on this day whilst defending the Allied Operarion Alllmo landings in the Arawe secror ofNew Britain. Roddy scored his final victory on 4 February 1944 when he downed a Ki-49 'Hdcn' bomber near Boram airfield. One of rhe 348th FG'~ leading aces, Roddy was transferred to the recently-arrived 58th FG ~oon after scoring his last kjll, joining the group as its operations officer. Promoted to major on 21 May, he served with the 58th FG until war's end, leading che group from 12 March 1945 unril ir returned to the United States. Remruning in the service post-war, Roddy Aew both F-5lsand B-26s in me Korean War, by which rime he had attajned me rank of full colonel. He later commanded the F- 100 Super Sabre-equipped 48rh Tactical Fighter Wing in England in the late 1950s, and also flew F-860/Ls with the I 12th Fighter Group, Pittsburgh Air National Guard, when it was assigned CO Air Defense Command. Roddy rerired from me USAF in February 1970, after wh1ch he arrended me Califorma Scare Universiry and wa.\ employed there as safery director following rhe completion of his course. He retired from this posirion in 1987.


a: :::;)



a: w


<t :X:


Since t.he enemy bomber formations are usually flat Vs, a srern approach should be Haned with a 2000- or 3000-ft shallow dive our of range eo pur yourself at che same altitude wirh a 100 mph advantage in speed. Then approach level, with about 30 eo 40 degrees deflection. concentrating on the nearest aeroplane of the V, using him tO block out t.he guns in the other ,h1ps of the formation. Sray on him until the deflection decre.tses to about ten degrees, breaking sharply away tO che same side on which vour pass originated. Coordinated arracks from any side are very effective in this case, as one aeroplane doesn 'r bear the brunt of the entire dcfemi\'C fire. The target JITordcd h) an enemy fighter is very small, so rhe most effecnvc passes .tre of 1S degrees or less deflection, from head-on or a\lern. Pres~ the~e auacks home umil you have ro veer off eo keep from ramming him. Do not reef rhe aeroplane inro a rurn or rhe indicated airspeed will drop ofT rapidly. Make your pass, fly our a shore distance, turn around and come back for another pass. These deflections may seem to be very small. but I believe the majority of pilots, including myself, aren'r expert deflection shor~.

Copt Roddy po1a1 with his P-470¡ 2


Bsbs IV (serial unknown) at Finsc:hhafen soon after claiming his eighth, and last. kill on 4 February 1944. He was posted to the recently arrived 58th FG as group operations officer after allegedly clashing with senior officers within the 348th FG over the latter outfit's exclusive assignment of tha more 'glamorous' strategic: (bomber escort and fighter sweep) missions. This left the more mundane 'mud movi ng' sorties to be flown by the 58th FG (vis John Stsnswsy)


:r ~


::a c;')

::a 0

c: ~

Capt Roddy smiles for the camera in Babs IV, the fighter featuring kill decals for all eight of his victories (via Anthony Kupferet'j

In m} estimation, newly assigned piiOÂŁs should concentrate on rhe following points: I. Building up a technique for spo11ing 'Bogies'.

2. f¡ucl-saving tactics for long range missions. 3. Building up faith in


especially compas~c~.

4. Homing procedure~ for lo~r aircrafr. ). Radio silence and air discaplinc. 6. Jungle kit essemials, and escape procedures. LEADERSHIP AND CONTRO L O F TilE UNIT

Generally speaking, it is relatively easy ro keep a s_quadron wgcthcr if rhe mission is ro parrol a convoy, escorr bombers, or cover a landmg. In these cases, the fighters have a central reference point, and usually stic.k prcn-y closely to the cenrre of acrivnies. Against fighters, however. rhe squadron usual!) breaks down into the basic two-ship elements, and agaiml]apancsc bombers the four-ship flight remains intact. The radio is no longer a means of conrrolling the flight once the figh t is starred, and pre-arranged tactics and rendezvous points have to be utilised. T he scarcity ofenemy aeroplanes resulrs in rhe over-eagerness of everyone on the flight, and there is often a mad scramble to see who will get ro the enemy fi rst, with all precaution thrown m rhe four winds. Were it nor forrhesuperioriryof ourequipmcm, our casualties would run muc.:h higher.





a:: w 1CL ~ I



348th FG I h" organi\,HI<lll w:l!> ven fortu nate when 1t arnved in this theatro.: 111 rhat we were able tu l1ve with and profit b) rhe experience of other unit\ which had been m comh.u for a year-and-a-half prior to our arrival. Those unns. which were equipped With much more highly manoeuvrable fighcers eh an our P--17~. had learned chac even their ships were no match for the Zero 111 dose-in fighting. I lad we immediatd)' been thrown into combar, our lo\\e\ would probably h.we been high. However, we were given ample cime eo change our \candard t:tcrics as learned in our craining in the States, and to fit them 1<1 th" theatre. Our ongmal t.KtiC\ were all concerned with exaeme high altnude bomber c'cort and ground-controlled interception agaimt an enem) equipped with aircraft h.l\'ing comparable ~en· ice ce1lings and armament and using \imilar tacuc~. We quickly found that the P-•C '~as untouchable as far as j.1pane;e fighter' ''ere concerned in alcicude performance. firepowcr, diving ~pcl.-d and ability ro ah\orh enemr fire, hue thar ,(ow speed climb~ and do~~.:- m fighung nudt U\ eJ\\ pn:) 10 the enem\. During the monrhs of Augu\t )cptembcr .md Octohcr 1943, \\hik 'breaking-in' slowly b) escomng transport' in comparauvcly ,a(e arc.t\, rhe combat racdcs '' hich larer proved thclmdvc\ over\\ t•, Arawe, Clpe Gloucester, Biak and later in the Phihppin~o:\ were evolved.



Lt Cot Dick Rowl•nd flew a succession of Thunderbolts nickn•med M iss Mutt. this p1r1icular machine being P-470-4 42-22684. lt wes Issued to the 348th FG CO as • replacem•nt for banla-weary 0·2 42·8096 In l•te November 1943. and Is seen here at Finschhafen •bout a month later (vl.t John St.tmlwayl

This photograph of P-470·4 42·22684 was taken at Port Moresby in late November 1943, immediately after Dick Rowland's personal markings had been applied including his tally of five victories. These were all scored in a P-470·2, with the last two definitely being claimed in the original MISS MUTT. Eyewitness accounts from 348th FG personnel state that Rowland's final trio of victories were all scored in MISS MUTT 11. Note the Fifth Air Force emblem painted onto the starboard wheel hub. A colour profile of this aircraft can be found on page 22 (via John Stanaway)

The thumb rule which advocates an aggress1ve, well timed. determined and coordinated arrack as the b~t type ofdefence holds doubly true in the air, where you can't telegraph your punches and your opponem does not have a chance to get set. To have the attacker suddenly find himselfbeing .macked was evidentlr not pan of rhe Japanese rrainmg, because their formations quickly di~persed, and once the) lost the initi,uiv~. d1ey never seemed :tble to regain it. If you are surprised from behind and above. rhe he~t defensive manoeuvre is a fast .1ileron roll down and ro the right, coming our 180 degree\ from your course at the rime of the arrack, and at an indicated a1r speed ofarlc.m 300 mph. This manoeuvre should not be executed coo soon, but done JUM as the enemy is coming imo firing range. The F.tsc aileron roll of rhe P-4 7 will give him coo much deflection for accurnte ~hooting. and the ailerons on a Zero become so heavy at 300 mph char he will be unable eo follow you in your diving turn and maintain the proper lead. Ifyou arc a[tacked from above at low level. and the \urprise is complete, the only defence is a flat skid. J'his manoeuvre is very deceptive, and affords a very difficult target. If, however. you discover the arrack before the enemy is within range, your defence is to make a r.lSl turn mro him and go through shooting. A good 'must' on defensive tactics is char ofairspet:d. \Xlhcnevcr:. fight is certain. you should get rid of your external tank~ and build up an indicated air speed of ar least 250 mph by a slight dive, and never allow 11 ro fall below rha1. Ar 250 mph. a P-47 in a high-speed climb will quickly our-distance any of the presenr Japanese fighters·. and as was poinred out before, above 250-300 mph a P-47 possesses a much greater aileron rollabiliry. Without rh is speed, it will be impos,ihlc for you to reverse that position and for you to assume the offensive. The mosr important point is never to be jumped an rhe deck. Always mainrain enough altitude so char if trouble develop\ vou can use d1e superior diving power of the P-47 to its bt:st advantage. the P-47's strong poincs arc used ro their best advantage. the offensive tactics arc rel.uiveh• easy in rhe SWPA. As no enemy fighter has an equal alrirude performance, the most imporcanr poinr is ro go over your target at extreme altitudes- 25,000 fc or higher. When patrolling ar






a: UJ



::c: u

The groundcrew of lt Col Rowland's original Miss Mutt (P-470-2 42-80961 break from their work to pose for a group photograph at Port Moresby sometime after the fighter had been used to claim two 'Hamps' on 7 November 1943. Aside from the Miss Mutt tilling, the Thunderbolt also featured female nose art and the inscription PRIDE OF LOO/ OHIO (Rowland's home townl just forward of the fuselage star and bar Despite the aircraft's heavy useage and open air servicing in harsh tropical conditions, it was kept in immaculate condition, as this photograph clearly shows (via John Stanawayl

rhis ahirude, you have plc:nry of time ro srage your auack, taking advamage of weather, rht 'un. cloud... ere.. so as ro achieve complete 'urprise. The anack is made at very high speed, and if you are badlr outnumbered and you continue right through rhe enemy formarion. you can pull back up in a high-~pcc.:d climb .md be clear before a \hot is fired ar you. You can then conrinue toward home. or regain alrirudc into rhe ~un and repeat the.: acrion. 1-our-~ hip tlighrs of this unit have engaged Japanese fighter formations numbering .20 eo 50, and consistently scored four to six victories in one pass withour receiving a single bullcr hole as long as rhe set rules were obeyed. Nc\¡er try ro assume the ofTenstve while below and um.lcr enemr llghrcrs. Gain an equal or grearer alritudc b\ climbing our ro one side and then coming back inro rhem. An()[her poinr is never to as.. ume that vou have achieved complete surpnse umil you see your mikes on the enemy aeroplane. 1 he enemy will uften mainrain his formation umil jmt prior ro you opening lire. ami d1en spring one of his rrick manoeuvres, such a.\ .1 'Prince ofWab'- a very rapid wrn imo you- or one of his orher Lricks to carch rhc unwar). l'hc only wunra to such manoeuvres is ro keep maighr ahead, maimain your speed and tl) again. Any am~mpr ro turn .1nd fight him close-in is throwing aw.l} rhe bcq characteristics of your ship. and allowing him to use the sttperior qualities of his. Almost all of our air corn bar losses have been due to pilor~ hecoming over-eager and forgccring rh is most tmporrant pomt. Prior w our armal in the Philtppinc>. almost all of our strafing .md skip-hombing mtsston~ were run ag.umt bypassed targets. where there w.ts little or no chance ofbcmg Jumped, and where almoM all hea\'} and ml.'dium ami-aircraft weapom had hccn neutralised. Consequendv,

Robert R Rowland Roberr Richard 'Dick' Rowland was born m Lodi, Ohio, on 8 Ocrober 191 7. He srudied science at Ohio State and rhe University of Maryland, prior ro joining rhe Army and commencing flight {TIIining on 25 January 1938. Rowland completed rhe pursuit course ar Kclly Field, in Texas, on 1 Feb- â&#x20AC;˘ ..-----------------=,........-------.... ruary 1939, after which he served with rhe lsr Pursuit Group (PG) ar Selfridgc Field, Michigan. where he Aew borh rhc P-35 and rhe P-36. lie wa.s then sent ro rhe Panama Canal /.one. where he again Aew P-36s (and also the obsolere P-26 'Peashomer') with the 16th PG at Albrook Field. In December 194 l , I Lt Row land returned ro rhe Unircd Stares to serve as Director of rhc Tuskegee Flying School in Alabama, overseeing the advanced fighter training ofAfrican American airmen. Promorcd to captain on I February and then major on I March 1942. Rowland secured lt Col Rowland receives the a posting back imo rhe fronrline in February 1943 when he JOined cong ratulations of Fifth Air Force CO the recently formed 348rh FG as its execuuve officer at Providence, Gen George Kenney in front of 348th Rhode Island. He accompanied the unu ro New Guinea ~evcral FG at Finschhafen in early 1944. The momhs later. and on 12 October 1943 he claimed hi~ first kill when group had performed remarkably well since first engaging the enemy he destroyed a 'Dinah' over Wewak. Two further combars in in the SWPA on 16 August 1943, this November made him an ace, Rowland downing rwo Ki-61 son rhe success being primarily due to the 5th and rwo ;Hamps' on the 7th. By now a lieutenant colonel, effective leadership provided by Rowland was made CO of the 348rh FG on 17 November afrcr original 348th CO Col Neel Kearby and his deputy Dick Rowland former boss Col Neel Kearby was posted eo V Fighter Command. (via John Stsnswsy) He claimed rwo more kills in December, destroying a 'Berry' bomber on the 26th and a 'Zeke' 24 hour\ later. Rowland scored his eighth, and final, victory on 27 l'cbrual') 1944 when he destroyed a 'Sally' bomber near Cape Hoskins ai rllcld. Rowland wa.~ made a full colonel on 15 May 1944. and he remained in charge of the group through to 8 June 1945, by which rime ir had exchanged irs P-47Ds for P-5 I Os. He srayt:d 111 che service post-war, becoming the first director of operations wirhin the newly formed S1rategic Air Command when it was acrivared in July 1946. A brief spell with rhe Cemral Intelligence Agency followed, afrer which Rowland was made CO of the F-86F-equippcd ll st Fighter-Bomb Wing at George Air l¡orce Base, in California. He also completed a tour wirh rhe militar} advisory group in viernam in 1964, and eventually retired from the l.JSAF with rhe rank of major general injune 1968.




u... cr. UJ

ICL. <(

:r t..J

• Col Dick Rowland prepares to depart on a mission from San Marcellno, on Luzon, in early 1945. He is sat in P-51 0 ·15 44·15103, which was his final mount with the 348th FG. Rowland failed to score any kills flying the Mustang (via Willism Hess)


tactics, outside of mechanics, were never highly developed. However, during this operation we have been called on to arrack well defended convoys. destroyers, operational airstrips and other targets of great value to the enemy. The following points are some of the principles concerning shipping mikes which we have learned. Know your target's disposition, cour~e and strength before take ofT. Plan your attack and have every man know his pan of the plan. Approach your target high. and before you are in their sight circle around so that you come in our of the sun and/or using cloud cover. Before srarting your attack, size up your target again to determine if your pre-Aight intelligence was correc~. The ana,ck should be made on all targets simultaneously, and as a rule, three fighters should be allon:ed to each large uamporr and two to each destroyer. The actual atrack should be made with ships line abreast in a fairly steep dive, levelling out at the point of bomb release and about masthead height. Strafing fire to neutralise ack-ack should be opened at about 800 yards' range, and conrinued all the wa) in. Asr speed in excess of 400 mph is mandatory iflosses are tO be kept m a mmimum. The breakaway is accomplished by individual ships taking evasive action on the deck, and after they arc clear of enemy fire, they reform and climb back to altirude. Should there be any chance of enemy interception, .1 normal patrol is kept at covering altitude m protect the strafer-bombers. The tactics to be used in the maflng of enemy ground installarions vaf), of course, with the rarger and strength of the defence. Against undefended positions. a normal gunnery ~chool parrern is used where individual gunnery is pracriced. This also applies to low-level bombing. Against airfields, store areas and bridge~. however, where srrong defensive measures are robe expected, squadron and Aighr ractics must be used. There are two methods of anacking ~trong insrallarions. One is ro come in high, make use of the sun and cloud cover, and depend primarily on speed ro carry you through. The auack is made our of a steep curving dive, srraighrening our as you enter your mafing and/or bombing run. Every arrempr is made ro keep the night in a line abreast formation, with individual ships firing on different targers. The breakaway is the same as on any other low b·el anack, making individual breaks, sr.tying on the deck and reforming and climbin_g back up when our of ack-ack range. If there is little or no return fire. the deci)ion being the responsibility of the Aighr commander or ~quadron commander. as the case may be. more passes may be made and rargets seen on rhe first pass demoyed. fhis. however, is a very dangerous practice, and against a reported welldefended target should never be attempted unless higher headquarrers deems rhe losses worth the risk. Your surprise may have been complete on

yo ur fir~t pa~\. and no defence wa~ offered. but on your 'econd pa~ they will be set and wailing. The technique of flyeng O\'er the;: target high. picking up .1 comp~ cour5e our and then lcning down to rree-rop le\'el when our of \ight of the target, and turning tO make;: a lo\\ altitude navigation run on the target, is nm bclie,路ed suitable for tht~ theatre. rhe lack of towns, railroads. type of terrain and small site! of our rargct~ make this roo much ofa hit or miss proposition. lt is al\o much more difficult for tht individual pilots eo do accurate gunnery, because on these approaches rhey have no opporruniLy ro pick out and size up their targets until they 'pop up' right at the edge of the field and sran firing. The surprise rhat is achieved may be greater in this rype of anack, but rhe lack of individual target assessment, difficult) of properly lining up on a target for a long accurate bum and the ~lo" speed of breakaway, plus the chance of navigational error~. make it far less destructive and more difficult ro execute than rhe high altitude. high-~pccd tl路chmque. Also. if you arc JUmped in che comparanvely slow run on che deck, you will be in serious trouble. In all chese anacks. flights provide cover for each

C> :I: ~

m :D

C> :D C)



Always one for unique personal markings on his various aircraft, Dick Rowland had P-510路15 44路 15103 adorned with a map of Ohio, complete with two sta rs - the top one was for his home town of Lodi, but the significance of the location of the second star remains a mystery (via John Stanaway)

Col Rowland also abandoned the Miss Mun nickname when his group switched from Thunderbolts to Mustang s, christening his fighters DIRTY 0/CKinstead. P-510-15 44-15103 was the last machine to bear this sobriquet (via John Stanawsy)





a: UJ


<t :J:


orher. half of rhem attacking while rhe resr cover rhem ar 6000 m 8000 ft. Afrer delivering cheir attack, they climb back up and cover the others, who rhen go down and do their parr. lr is nor meant chat any of these racrics are inOexible and absoluce. They are all suhjccr ro ch;lnge due to the sratus of training of the pilots, weather condicions. terr.1in, features, t}'pe of aircraft used, enemy defensive mc;uurc~ and innumerable other conditions. This lerrer was meant merely to trammit ro you ~ome of rhe basic principles, and the reasons for their adoprion, wirh which rh is group has had ~oome measure ofsuccess.


34Bth FG


Looking back on 18 months of combat against the Japanese, we can readily realise how fortunate our group was ro have had a well rounded and conccmr::ucd training programme before leaving the United Srates. However, mo~r of thar training had prepared us to meet an enemy wirh personnel and equipment comparable to our own, and for combat char would force our pilots to make maximum use of the high alcirude ch.tractcristics of the Thunderbolr. Battle experience in the SWPA forced us to modifv our tactics. This was no inwpcrablc problem. for each pilor had acquainred himself ~o thoroughly wirh the P-47 that after a shorr period marked by rrampon com¡o} .md area patrols, plus consranr advice from chose who had fought rhe Japane~c long prior ro our arrival, he learned rapidly to tiwourablv march the ~uperior firepower, high alrirude performance and diving speed of the P-4' against rhc manocuvrabiliry of rhe Japanese fighter. l'he consi,rem air discipline of our pilocs also gave rhem an overwhelming ad,â&#x20AC;˘anrage over rhe enemy. whose lack oforganisation was obvious in so many instances. During the days when the preponderance of Fifth Air Force operations were directed at Wewak, every efTorr was made m send frequent four-acropl.lne fighter sweeps there ro feel our rhe enemy, and ro size up his aerial combat capabilities. From these Thunderbolt sweeps. we learned that the Japane~e had a poor radar sysrem, and that rheir :~ir patrol~ were never above 26,000 ft and seldom above 15,000 fr. Many rimes we sighted enemy aeroplanes approaching their fields ro land, and were able to d1ve ro attack from above, shooting down rhe aeroplanes and climbing wdJ OUt of range before their anri-aircrafr gunners Seemed fully aware of the situarion. When artacking enemy aeroplanes, we always cried to come in from asrern and slight!) above. If the enemy did see us, they would hold rheir formarion until we came into range. Then a few of them would dive . below, apparently ro act as decoys, the or hers generally meeting our attack by execuring a steep climbing turn imo our attack. which forced us to shoor ar maximum deflection. This technique on rhe parr of the Japanese also pur rhem in pmirion to wing-over on the tail of any of our aeroplanes which might follow the enemy fighters whose inirial reaccion to our .mack had been to dtve to lower alricudes.

rhe Japanese loses all his manoeuvrability in a high speed dive, ~o he keeps his speed low by manoeuvring and gradually tncs tO work u~ down £O rhe deck. thus causing us to lose the advantage of a quick diving breakaway. We quickly learned never ro fall for a Japanese \mer', and never ro rurn more rhan 180 degrees wirh a Zero ar any speed. Rather. we learned to fire ar proper range, and to pull away in a high-speed climb not under 200 m ph. Doing this, we could easily our-distance the enemy and get inro position for further anacks. We found ir imperative for our security to stick ro our rwo-.tcroplanc elements throughout combar. We also learned rhat it was wise to break ofT combat at around 6000 fr tO make possible an easy breakawa~. If our formations showed a tendency to become disorgantsed against superior numbers. we broke off combat ar any altitude. Throughout offensive operations, we alwa~¡s Aew with J thorough knowledge of rhe outstanding advantages which our aeroplane had over the enemy. To make use of those advanrages ar every opponunit}' became second nature ro us. They were;

w .... 00 :::r

.., C)

:r ~

m :0 C)

:0 0

c "0

I. High alrirude performance. 2. Firepower. 3. High-speed diving ability. Maj Bill Banks named all of his fighters Sunshine, although the exact Identity of this particular P-470-23 remains unrecorded. Resting on its tail, and with a badly bent propeller, this machine appears to have suffered a forced landing. The photograph was taken at Tanuan, in the Philippines, in early 1945 (via John Stanawayl

4. The invulnerabiliry of the P-47. horn our bomber escon missions we learned thar rhe Japanese pdot, even when in a formation of superior numbers, will not attack our bombers, or our fighter escort generally. as long as our flight\ :~re well spaced and refuse to be sucked our of position. Often, Japanc~c pilot~ have made fake passes at our escort in order m break up the formation .tnd create an opening ro rhe bombers.



> u.

William M Banks

a: u.J


a... <(




William McGowan 'Bill' Banks was born in Raleigh, West Virginia, on 1 September 1915. He joined the Army Reserves and served as a flying cadet at KeUy Field, Texas, from 15 March through eo 31 October 1941. Initially assigned ro the P-40equipped 62nd PS/ 56th PG. and flying in defence of New York following the Pearl Harbor artack, Banks transferred tO the 90th FS/80rh FG (again equipped with P-40s) at Braclley Field, Connecticul, in July 1942. Promoted eo captain rhree months later, he was then sent literally across eo the field to the newly-formed 342nd FS/348th FG and made CO on 2 November. Equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt. the group undertook lengthy work-ups at a series of cast coast airfields before finally being posted to the Pacific in May 1943. Travelling by ship via Australia, the 348ch arrived in New Guinea in late July and soon gave the Thunderbolt irs combar debut in the SWPA. Flying P-47D-242-22532, which he nicknamed SUNSHINE Ill, Banks claimed his first kill (a Ki-43) on 13 September 1943. November saw him add a further three vicrories to his tally, wirh an 'Oscar' and a 'Zeke' destroyed over Wewak on the 15th and a Ki-46 downed in the same area on the 25th. Banks 'made ace' with a second 'Dinah' vicrory on the morning of20 December. He was promoted to major on 31 January 1944. and exactly one week larer Banks demoyed a Ki-6l east of Cape Gloucester for his final kill of his firsr tour. Returning home on 24 May, he rejoined the group several months later as a staff pilot with the 348rh FG HQ. Plying in supporr of the invasion of the Philippines, the group moved ro the recendy Liberated island of Leyte in early November, where it rook up residence ar Tacloban Field. From here its pilots would fly long-range bomber escort missions in their P-47D-23s, accompanying B-24s as they hit Japanese airfields and industrial targets. A grear number of these missions, as weU as fighJcr sweeps, were flown in December, and 'Bill' Banks scored his final kills during the course of the month. On the 11 rh he destroyed a 'Zeke 32', and on Chrisrmas Eve, during a raid o n Clark Field, in the Philippines, he destroyed two more 'Zekes' over Floridablanca airfield. Banks was made a lieutenant colonel on 2 February 1945, and later that month the 348th transirioned from the P-47D ro the P-51 0/KMusrangatSanMarcelino, on Luwn. He was made group CO on 8 June, and remained in command un til 26 November, by which time the unit was based ar le Shima, in Japan. Banks served in the Army Air Force pose-war until finally retiring in] une 1963. He passed away on 6 May 1983 in San Art ronio, Texas.

Maj Banks looks every i nch the SWPA fighter pilot in t his photograph, t aken at Tan uan, o n Leyte, i n December 1944. He would score his final three kills during the course of this month, taking his overall tally to nine victories. This is almost certainly the aircraft seen on page 93 (via J ohn Stanaway)

In a number of instances, our bomber formations had robe esconed by approximately half of rhe original escort because of the snafus en route ro the rarger. This situacion placed rhe remaining c~corr in a doubly responsible posicion, and generally afforded rhe em: my greater opportunity for successful arrack. In such situations our flights would do some faking of their own, firing scare bursrs simultaneously. bur never losing their posicions over the bombers. The Japanese have always respected our ¡firepower, and generally in such cases as these they would break off their arracks wic:hour infliccing damage. lr musr be remembered that fighter escort mu~r StJY with the bombers regardless of loss. Well coordinated close, medium and cop cover is the best protection we can offer bombers and our own escorting fighters. Several rimes on fighter sweeps our fighters have been surprised bv enemy patrols, somerimes of superior strength. Our best reaction ro surprise arrack was an uncoordinated roll, .1 diving get away and a 180-dcgrcc change of direcrion. The Japanese would sddom follow a high-speed dive because they lose their own manoeuvr.thiliry at 300 m ph or over. This manoeuvre on our part placed us in a po~irion for a high-speed climb back to an altitude of advantage. On dive-bombing a cracks, we h:we found rh.n by releasing our bombs from wing shackles our accuracy has been increased 7S per cent over the results of the old glide-bombing technique. Full advamage should be raken of the posicion of the sun and clouds when dive-bombing to crcare surprise and provide for a good breakaway. NEVER attempt to turn more than 180 degrees with J /.ero. NEVER arrempt ro ftght v/trh your wing ranks attached. NEVER fail to scick ro rhe rwo-aeroplanc: clement throughout combat. NEVER alJo,v less than 6000 ft to break away in case of trouble. A skip-bombing rarger must be studied whenever possible before the mission. especially if rhe arrack is to be made against shtpptng or other rargers thar may offer heavy ack-ack. Poinrs ro be 'onsidc:red are number, type and position of enemy vessel:., weather on:r the target, position of the sun at time-on-target, possible enc:my .tir opposition and expected enc:my fields of fire. Wht:n the rarger is sighted, each flight should pick a definite objective. Troop transporrs can be easily knocked our by rwo P-47s making a well rimed anack. Destroyers should be attacked by at least four aeroplanes. Flighrs should approach their targets in a fairly steep dive, flying line abreast. All aeroplanes should begin ro strafe :~little beyond range in order ro neutralise or confuse enemy ami-aircraft fire. The homb~ should be released ar a very low altitude and at rhc pull up point of the dive. Once you commit yourself, press rhe attack and leave the .uea at as fast a speed as you can. Most of the strafing targets rhar have been assigned to our group have been prerry well worked over by heavy and medium bombers before we have reached them, so that most of the heavy and medium ack-ack has been knocked out. However, our aeroplanes have constantly been subjected to light machine gun fire. The anu-aircraft dispersal by the Japanese at many of our targets has been questionable. so we ha,¡e found that playing safe when in doubt pays dividends. W cather. cloud cover and terrain features naturally afford many opporrunities for increasing rhe


::n ::n







a: w

..... Cl...

<t :1:


P-51K¡ 10 44¡12073 SUNSHINE VII was flown by 348th FG Col Bill Banks from le Shim a during the final months of the war in the Pacific. Colourful stripes on the spinner and through the fighter's nickname denoted the four squadrons within the group (the 348th FG was the only group in V Fighter Command to control four units). The three Mustangs behind the lead fighter belonged to the 341st FS (via John Stanaway)

cffi~; iency

and safery wilh which strallng arracks and b reakaway~ can be performed. When undefended rargct~ .m: hit, a normal ground gunnery panern ma) be used wirh grear dl"ccL But it is desirable ro approach heavily defended rargetS from the direcuon of the sun, through the clouds, or wath maximum use of all favourable rerrain features. Hights go 111 in four-aeroplane formanons, gcncrallv lane abreasr. Two-aeroplane arrack.\ arc also effecti\'e. \'(le have tried never to rerurn for another pa.\s at the ~.tmc target from rhe ~amc direction on the same day. It is to be realised that the commcm~ and suggestions appearing in rh is lencr arc nor offered .~s hard and fast rules of conducr. They do grow, however, trom the opinions of du: writer, and of rhose men with whom hc has flown, who have formed thcm after 18 months of Thunderbolt flying against rhe enemy in rhc SWPA. All factors being fairly normal, the techniques described hcrean have proved themselves ro be. rhrough cxpenence, most effective.



342nd FS/348th FG 96

every fighter pilot has undoubrcdlv rcad reams of matcrial on combat and advanced theories of all the technical data, and still wonders what he himself would do under combat.

In defensive combat, unles~ completely surprised, the superior speed rhe P-47 has over the enemy can turn the defensive position in m an offensive one in a matter of seconds. At altitude, a sharp turn downward ro the right will break up an enemy pair, and then a high-speed climb tO gain back the altitude lost will put you in a position ro attack. You praccically have to have your head up all the way to be shot down from the rear by a Japanese pilot. At minimum altitude. violenr cross-controlling will act as a safeguard. If the enemy has a defintte altitude ad,·amage over you, and arracks anywhere from 'four o'clock' to 'nine o'clock', a sharp chandelle imo him will give you a dunce for a deflection shot, as the Japanese pilot will break away. The on I}' type ofenemy fighter that has traded a head-on pass with me ha~ been a 'T ony'. With the superior amount of flrepower rhe P-47 has over it~ opponem, you can fire our of range and the enemy will break. In rhe ofl'ensive (indiviJ uallyl. the wingman musr Ay close enough to rake ::tdvanrage of any error that the leader may make. All tht.' basic insrrucdons arc rhe best suited, but to rake advantage of char split-second opporruniry. one must know ex.1cdy wh::tr he is going eo do. Anyone ca n ~h om down the enemy if he is siuing on his tail , burro gee onro his rail first is what counts. 1-hphazard approaches and fi ring out of ra nge have lost many a victory for the over-eager fighter pilot. In the leadership and control of the unit, nor enough emphasis can be placed on rhc .1bsolure control and confidence rhc leader must have from his men. Minimum excitement can be expected from a flight if the leader shows calmness and cooln~\ before and during an attack. If going on a long mission, it is very essential that a well-guarded flighr must be kept, and yet the flight should be loose enough to permit the least amoum of farigue. The Bight should be well up. and srepped up, to co,•er each orhcr and the elemcms at all time~ within a radius that allows ruming distance into an attack from behind. !lying the element too close ro rhe leader rends to load roo much responsibility onto the flight leader. In the defence of the flight being attacked, the enemy will seldom mike a well balanced llighr, and on the occasions thar they have, rhe fight

w ..,. 00



Capt Marvin Grant's P-470-23 42·27886 sits in the 342nd FS dispersal area on leyte in late 1944, the aircraft carrying a single 500-lb bomb on its centreline rack and tanks attached to its w ing pylons. Although the seven-kill ace failed to claim any victories with this machine, he used the immaculate Thunderbolt to attack Japanese troops on a near-daily basis during the campaign to retake the Philippines (via Wl/liam Hess)




Marvin E Grant


cc w to...


::t: u

Marvin Eugene Granr was bom in Racine, Wisconsin, on 21 Ocrober 19 I 6. A sixth cousin of Ulysses S Gram, the legendary Union general in the American Civil War, Marvin Gram developed a keen interest in aviation aran early age. As a teenager he worked as an apprentice mechanic oo a World War 1-era de Havilland OH 4, and eventually flew solo on this machine. Grant attended the University ofWisconsin upon his graduation from high school and then joined the Army Reserves. Accepted as an aviarion cader in December 1941, he graduared with Class 42-1 ar Moo re Field, Texas, on 9 Ocrober 1942. Gram was then posred ro the newly formed 342nd FS/348th FG ar Bradley Field, Connecticut, rhe unit raking delivery ofirs first aircrafr (P-47Bs) jusrdays later. The J42nd was the firsr unir assigned ro the group, and ir mok some time for d1e squadron w receive irs full allocation of aircraft. The 348th spent eight momhs working up w combat srarus, and in May 1943 it left for the Pacific aboard rhe Army transport vessel Henry Gibbons. After a long and arduous rrip, the unit evencually arrived in New Guinea, afreracdimatising in Aumalia, in late}unc. Flying from Port Moresby, Marvin Grant finally registered hi~ first kill on 16 December when he downed a B5N 'Karc' torpedo-bomber north of Arawe whilst supporting the Allied landings on New Brirain. Ten days later he desrroyed a G3M 'Berry' bomber near Umboi Island. More acrion came rhe 348rh FG's way when the group covered the Allied landings on Arawe and Biak islands, Grant daiming a 'Tony' destroyed over the latter location on 27 May. Eight days later he became an ace when he destroyed two 'Zekes' 40 miles east of Biak, and then scored his ftnal victories (two 'Kares') on 12 June in roughly the same location. Promoted to captain soon afterwards, Grant became the squadron's operations officer in Ocrober 1944 and evenmally completed his rour wirn the unit in rhe Philippines in February 1945. He had flown I 87 combat miSSIOnS.

Grant remained in the USAF until 31 March 1962, by which time he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Entering rhe reaclling profession once back in civilian life, he served as a .school adminisuaror for 15 years in Dcnver. Colorado, before retiring for a second rime in 1977.


1lt Marvin Grant poses with his P-470-4 42-22694 Racine Belle at Finschhafen in December 1944. Aerial success eluded the future ace in this particular machine (via William Hess)

was soon changed into the ofTen~ive by having a well balanced and controlled flight. In the offensive, it is hard ro maintain flights together, although elements work well together, and depending upon rhc rype of formation you arc attacking, two-ships will have the best of success in all dogfights. It is essential that radio contact be kept at all rime~. When arrackingJapanese aeroplanes from the rear, and I am cerrain rh at â&#x20AC;˘ they have seen me, I usually fire a short burst om of range ro make them commit themselves. Their manoeuvrability makes it impo~~ible to get in a good deflection shot at close range. By firing a burst out of range, and making the enemy commit himself, one can still get rhc proper lcaJ b} rhe time he is in range. This has proved successful on rwo JiiTerenr occasiom.



"" :::r "TI

Cl :I: -j

m :::0

Cl :::0 C)




460th FS/348th FG I feel it a privilege eo write ro you about my experience in fighter tactics in che Souchwesr Pacific, and I hope that my corn m ems, along wirh those of other pilots who have had similar experience in rhi~ theatre, will prove helpful in berrer preparing new Thunderbolt pilots for rheir parr in our work. In this theatre, the best individual defensive tactic ¡~ a hard and fast offensive, regardless of the odds. This tactk, used in defence, rakes full advantage of the superior speed and diving ability of the P-4""'. lt perm1rs a pass at the enemy and a fast dive awa} wirh linlc danger of being shoe down. Jf you are arracked from above while you arc at crui~ing speed, and the arracking aeroplanes have excessive speed, the best defensive manoeuvre is a sharp aileron roU to rhe right and down, diving out 180 degrees from rhe direclion of the arrack. This manoeuvre cannot be scarred roo soon. bur must be executed just before the attacking aeroplane is within range. The slow aileron acrion of the Japanese fighters .u high speeds makes it impossible for them ro pull through far enough ro get the proper lead, and by che rime he can change direction you should have enough speed ro easily outdistance him. If attacked from above when yo u are on the deck, and you do nor see the enemy soon enough ro turn into him for a head-on pass, the best immediate dd(msive manoeuvre is a gende skid. The average Japanese pilot will not correct for skid un less it is very noriceablc. In one case, a 'Tony' pilot expended all his ammunition without a single hit while firing from dead astern position at a range of I 00 yards. There are two basic principles for defensive t,tctics. These are alrirude and speed. Airspeed of 250 m ph must be maintained and a sufficicnr altitude should be kept to permit full use of the P-47\ diving speed. This can be considered to be 5000 ft as a minimum. In offensive individual combat there arc rwo principles ro observe. First, never anack unless you have an equal or greater altitude than the enemy. Sccondl)', plan your arrack ro afford the greatest clemenr of surprise. An alcirude advantage of at least I 0,000 ft does not guarantee surprise, bur ir does offer the greatest odds in favour ofsecuring this advantage. While Ay-

, 99




a: w Id.. <{

::.:: u


ing four-ship fighter sweeps wirh Col Kearby, we made ir a policy ro go in at 26,000 fr or above. Ar rh is altirudc, they could neithcr see or hear us on the ground, while it w3s easy for us to sec rhc enemy landing or taking ofT. Our att,tck was invariably from the stern, with rhe sun ro ouradvamage. In every case w~.: wcr~.: firing before rhe c.:ncmy knew we were around. l:.xcc~~ i v~.: 'pccd of th~.: P-47 in ~uch a diving attack permits a rapid recovery of the alwudc advantage begun with. At a speed of 350 mph or more, one can ea~ily pull up and hammerhead back down inco the fight. In such an ;m.tck.•llld in ;tll att.tcks on the enemy, it [s imperative that no turn greater 90 degree~ be arrcmpred before breaking off the attack. When .m.tcked from the rear or side, the Japanese pilot will frequenrly hold his course umil you arc in tiring range, and then turn sharply. making it impo~siblc for you to get a proper lead. A good way to counteract this defence manoeuvre is £O open up at 500 or 600 yards in order to induce him to make rh is manoeuvre in rime for you to get sufficient lead. :\mery per ccnr of the time. the enemy pilot will scan his rum at the first s1ght of tracers. thu~ giving rou time for sufficient leading. In one case my opponent rurncd so sharply char I finished rhe pass head-on. With the additional power afforded by warer injection, one can attack from an equal altitude and climb army in a high-speed climb until sufficicnl d1stancc is acquired to make a head-on pass. One of the main factors in effective leadership and conrrol of the unit in the air i~ proper briefing. Briefing cannot be successful unless only one construction can be mken from rhc informarion presenred. The action contempl.ttcd muse be uniformly imerprered by each member of the mission. lnsm11.:tions cannot be so ironclad as eo prevent flexibility eo mecr unexpected ~itu:Hi ons. But there must be no doubt concerning the cour~e tO be Aown to and from the rarget, nor any lessening of a healthy respect for weatht·r. It is common knowledge.: that weather is che biggest, most m flexible enemy in this theatre. Leadership, of course, cannm be obtained by talk, or maintained by sporadic practic.:e. lt can only be accomplished by consranr emphasis· throughout the tr;tining programme, and afrerwards, a continuance with no opporrunir: g1ven for slackening. All training musr be aimed ar the most srrict air discipline. This alone. however, is nor enough. It can only be considered ~upplcmenral to daih corrcctive action against rhe smallest deviation from complete air discipline. Such action should be immediate.

Above Undoubtedly the 348th FG's most colourful Thunderbolt, P·47P·23 42·27884 Bonnie was the mount of 460th FS CO Maj Bill Ounham for much of the group's campaign in the Philippines. And it was definitely more than just a :show pony', for Ounham used it to claim five kills in two missions on 7 and 14 December 1944, thus taking his tally to 15 victories (as shown beneath the cockpit) (via John Stanaway) Above Right P·51K·10 44·12017 • MRS. 80NNIE • was the final wartime fighter assigned to Bill Dun ham in the Pacific, the aircraft being issued to him at around the same time as he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and made deputy CO of the 348th FG. Dun ham used it to claim his last kill, on 1 August 1945, and the Mustang is seen here at le Shim a soon after being adorned with a 16th victory symbol to mark this event. This aircraft is featured in colour profile on page 74 ( v/a John Stanaway)

w ..,. 00


Below A group of 342nd FS/348th FG pilots assemble around lt Col Dunham's P-51 K for a VJ-Day photograph at le Shima in September 1945. A 342nd FS Mustang is parked behind the Dunham machine (via John Stanaway)

Jfit cannot be accomplished during the flight. it must be taken up as soon afrer landing as possible. One of the most common failings an1ong new pilots is carelessness in formations, in landing patterns and in raxiing. They must be checked promptly. Moreovt:r, among new pilors I've noticed a decided absence of appreciation for the need ro conserve gas, or if apprc::ciared, an ignorance of how the saving of gas can be best accomplished. A wingrnan who plays



the mrns 'smart' can come home with more gas than his leader. It is a worthwhile objective for a new pilot. Squadron defensive tact ics vary greatly according to the type of m1ssion, and the position of the squadron on rhe mission. On a parrol or an area cover mission, it is necessary that the flights in the squadron are in dose support of each other, and thar rhe leader has complete control. On this type of mission, as in individual combat tactics, the best defence is a fasr offence, with the same ad van £age factors ofaltirude, surprise and sun being of viral importance. Once the enemy is contacted, it is almost always necessary to split the squadron in order to use squadron firepower ro irs greatest advantage. Such a division must be an orderly one. not losing by ir the coordinated acrion of flight or clemenr, nor can it be permitted ro


a: UJ



:r (.)

Witliam D Dunham

Bill Dun ham clearly had an active war. claiming 16 kills (the final one was downed some months after this shot was taken). sinking two Japanese vessels and undertaking some 30 bombing missions. This was the scoreboard that adorned his P-470·23 42·27884, which appears in colour profile o n p age 74 (via John Stanawsy)


William Douglas 'Dinghy' Dunham wa~ born on 29 January 1920 in Tacoma, Washingcon. Growing up in NC'Lpeace, Jda.6o, he artended the University ofldaho from 1937 to 1940, before joining the Army Reserves and serving as a Oying cadet at Luke Field, Arizona, from 26 April through ro 11 December 1941. He was then posted to the Panama Canal Zone, where he spe~t nine ~onrhs flying P-39s with the 53rd PG from Howard l·ield. Dunham was chen cransferred back to the USA in November 1942 to join the newly formed 342nd FS/348rh FG, which had just been equipped with P-47 ThunderboltS. Following many momhs working up, the group finally made it ro che Pacific in late June 1943, by which rime Dunham had been promoted to captain. He claimed his firsc kill - a Tony' - on 11 October east of Boram, and followed this up wirh two ' Haps' south ofMalang five days larer. H is final score in O ctober came on the 19th when he engaged a relatively rare fl M ' Pere' observation seaplane east ofWewak, which he swiftly shot down. Dunham had ro wait until21 December ro add ro his score, and he made d1e most of his opporrunity by destroying three 'Val' dive-bombers in quick succession while on pauol over the Japanese stronghold of Arawe. Having achieved 'acedom', Dunham men rerurned home on 90 days' leave. He commenced his second £Our in early March 1944, and claimed his eighth and ninrh kills on the 5rh of rhac month when he destroyed a G3M 'NeiJ' bomber and an 'Oscar' over Wewak. Dun ham was given command of

degenerate inro .1 number of individual, uncoordinated actiom. L¡lemem and flight members mu~t stav with their k-adcr., and in any event the most imporranr axiom of .till~ ro ac least keep m pairs. On escort mission~. especially when flying close cover. it 1s nece~sary tO have your tlighcs in position eo cover another flighr if it is arracked. This is accomplished by carrying your flights in a staggered line abreast, with enough space berwcen flights to work scissors or the 'break and ~lide in behind' principle. lhc enemy will .tlmost mvariably attack the fighter cover flrsr £O disrupt ir, before going afrer rhc bombers. When a squadron of fighters is covering a section of bomber~. the support of flights i~ best accomplished by having ships on eirher side - about 1000 ft above and "iOO to I 000 ft ro either side of rhe bomber rorm:uion. The medium cover

w ~



.., G'J


.... m :rJ

C'l :rJ


c:: "0

the 342nd FS when Maj Bill Banks remrned home on leave in lace Mar. and (WO months later he was made CO of che newly established 460th FS, which lx-came the 348th ~G 's fourth squadron. Promoted to major on 20 September, Dun ham broke his scoring drought on 18 November when he shor down a 'Zeke' off Camotes Island. By now rhe group was conducting long-range fighter sweeps and escort missions over the Philippines in preparation for che coming invasion, and on 7 December Dunham enjoyed his beM day in the SWPA Sup porting che allied landings ac Ormoc Bay. V Fighter Command's P-38s and P-47s accounced for over 50 aircraft shor down. Fifreen of these were claimed by 348rh FG pilots, with no fewer than 14 being credited ro the 460th FS. The squadron's leading pilot on rhe day was none other rhan the CO. 'Dinghy' Dunham, who de.moyed rwo 'Zcke 31s' and rwo Ki-43s. Seven days later he added a ((j-21 'Sally' ro his growing tally. forcing rhe bomber down imo rhe sea offTalisay during an early-morning sweep. On 18 December Dun ham was rramfcrred to the 348th rG !IQas its assisram operations officer, before briefly rerurning home in early 1945 oo artend a gunnery school ser up for future Mustang pilot~. He rejoined the 3'48rh FG as its operations officer in May, by which Lime che group had traded in its P-47D-23s for P-5 I D/Ks. and embarked on a series ofbasc moves that evenrually saw ir end up ar le Shima, on Okinawa, on 9 July. Later that monrh Dunham was promoted ro lieutenant colonel and made deputy group and he celebrated by downing a Ki-84 'Frank' over Kyushu during a long-range fighter sweep of the Japanese home islands on I August 1945. Having finished rhe war with 16 confirmed kills, Dunham chose to remain in rhe Army Air Force. He briefly served as CO of the F-84E Thunderjer-equipped 31st Fighter Escort Wing. based at T umer Air ~orcc Base in Georgia, in mid 1951. and then headed the F-84F Thundermeak-equipped 12th Fighter-Day Wing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, from August 1956 rh rough to its deacrivarion in January 1958. Promoted eo brigadier general on I August 1963. Dunham was rhe Seventh Air Force's deputy chief of staff for operations during the early stages of the Vi ern am War before retiring from rhe USAF in June 19..,0. He succumbed ro lung cancer in Issaquah, Washington, on 3 March 1990.




> a: w


a... <X:



Aside from the addition of a 16th rising sun, the tally board applied to Lt Col Dunham's P-51K looked little different to the one worn on his P-470-23 in late 1944 (via John Stanaway)

must sray in the same area as d1c bomber formation ro give support ro dose cover and break up attacking aircrafi. The top cover is never on the defensive, and should arrack the enemy well ahead of the bomber formation. If d1is is accompl ished, rhc Japanese will always 'run inro the house' wid1our artempting eo attack rhe bomb.:rs.




342nd FS / 348th FG


The tollowing ideas and suggestions are the results of prob lem~ and experience gained by our pilots while flying rhe P-47 Thunderbolr. As individuals. and as a working ream, our best defensive is definitely a good aggressive offensive. lf atracked at an altitude above 10,000 fr. we have always been able ro dive away from the enemy. The dive may be made either a_~ a shallow or steep dive. The steep dive is used when rhc enemy is directly on your rail. Ar any alcirude, we have been able w our-run rheir aeroplanes, bur ir is imporranr nor to let your airspeed gcr low for rhe enemy has a much grearer acceleration at low speeds rhan we do. We have used a high-speed climb ro great advanrage. ln some instances. the climb ca_n be made directly imo rhe sun, and make a wing-over. The enemy is unable ro see the manoeuvre, which will probably pur us in an offensive position. In the event rhar we arc caught on the deck, we skid a_nd fly uncoordinated, and make use of any scud or low cloud cover. When we arrack a fighter, we go in at high speed, and a~ a breakaway we use a high-speed climb. If the fighter should see you approaching him and he srarrs ro rurn. follow only long enough ro gcr lead and open fire ifir is possible for you ro get enough lead. Do not rurn wirh rhem under any circunmance. Climb back up and come in for another pass. lf rhe enemy

should do a half roll and dive, follow him and you can usually ger him. The besr anack unda favourable condirions is at high speed dead asrcrn and juu a lirrlc below thr enemy liglucr, rhen run up his rail before opening fire ro assure surprise. The squadron formation wr use rhr most is four flights of four in exrcnded two-ship drmrnts. The clcmcnrs arc well up ro form a slighrly sraggered line abreast, and the flights are also well up almost in line abreast. The second sccnon is 500 ro rooo ft above the first section. This enables the squadron leader to see all his flights. and also gives him good conrrol of the unit. The importance ofst,tying rogcrher cannot be over-emphasised. Never be lcfr alone, and never lca\'c J man to himself. If you arc broken up in a fighr, always remain in pair~ - wingmen musr stay with their leaders. If you find yourself alone. do all you can ro join wirh a flighror some orher friendly aeroplane. Bomber cover varies greatly with the rype of mission and rhe amount of fighter cover assigned. When we are close cover ro a high altitude bombing mission, we usually keep our nighrs abour 1000 fr above, wirh one sccrion on each side of the bomber forma tion, and rhe lead flights arc slighrly ahead of rhc bomber~. When we arc covering low altitude bombers and srrafers, we usually have a top cover ofllghters, and in addirion provide dose coverwirh rwo flights, abour 500ft away, on each side of the bombers. As we approach rhe targer, we pull up to about 2000 ft, then increase throrrle and go in ar high speed so we can meet any enemy a11ack with minimum disadvantage. On a cover of this rypc, we were usually unable ro turn inro rhe enemy, bur let them fl} rh rough us and then we hit them as they attacked the bombers. This was made possible because of our going in at verv high speed, and flying so rhar we had mmual protection. We ha\'e been lucky in char we have very seldom been on rhe defensive for very long. In one fighr, we had a four-ship formation hit by eighr enemy flgh1crs with a I 5.000-ft advantage. We shor down four with no losses because we \aw them coming and, most imporrandy, srayed in rwo-ship clcmenrs.

c.> .... CX> ;;;r

Future 342nd FS CO Jim Benz flew a series of Thunderbolts and Mustangs christened Dirty Old Man during his three-a nd路a路half years with the 348th FG This P路470路2 (serial unknown) was the most successful of his many mounts. for he used it to claim four kills and one probable between 22 September and 26 December 1943. Seen here at Finschhafen in early 1944, the fighter's olive drab cowling was fitted to a replacement natural metal Thunderbolt several months after this photograph was taken (via John Stanawayj




WaJrerG Benz)r

u.. a: w ~

0.. <{ :I:


Capt Benz gets to grips with his paperwork in the 342nd FS Operations tent at Finschhafen in early 1944. Possibly the 348th FG's longest serving pilot, he would eventually become its last CO. Benz led the group from November 1945 through to its disbandment in May 1946 (via John Stanaway)


Walrer Gordieb 'Jim' BenzJr was born on 27 December 1919 in Sr Louis, Missouri. He joined the Army Reserves on 26 September 1941 and graduated from pilot training on 29 April 1942 ar Ellingron Field, in Texas. following his uansirion omo the Thunderbolr, Benz rransferred eo the 342nd FS/348th FG soon after the group's formation on 30 September 1942. He accompanied the 348tb ro rbe SWPA, arriving in Pore Moresby, New Guinea, in late June 1943. Thrown into action within days of his arrival, Benz scored his first vicrory on 22 SeptCIIlber ((WO weeks after being promoted ro captain) when he desuoyed a lone K-46 'Dinah' conducting a (are-morning reconnaissane>e of Finschhafen. His nexc two kills came during escort missions for B-24 and B-25 bombers, Benz claiming a 'Tony' on 22 October and a 'Hamp' (also lisred as an 'Oscar') on 15 November. He scored his fourth victory whilst the 348th FG was supporring the Operation Alamo landings ar C'tpe Gloucester, in New Britain, on 26 December. More rhan 100 V Fighter Command aircraft were given the job of prorecring rhe Allied convoy moored off rhe beachhead, and they were kepr busy repelling persistent Japanese aerial arracks. Some 62 claims were lodged by US airmen on rhis day, 17 by pilors from the 348rh FG. One of these was a G4M 'Berry' bomber downed by Benz easr ofSakar Island at 1700 hrs. Made CO of the 342nd FG on 26 JuJy 1944 and promoted ro major on 7 October, 'Jim' Benz had to wair almost a full year before he could claim his all-important fifth ki ll. By rhen the group had moved to Leyte, in che Philippines, and was conducting fighrer sweeps across rhe region in supporr of the allied push northwards. [t was during on~ such mission ro Cebu on 1I December rbar Benz desrroyed a Ki-43 to take his rally to five kills, rhus making him an ace. Fom days larer he downed a 'Zeke 52' over Semi r~ra Island, then claimed (WO more on the 20th when he led his unir on a strafing arrack on Mindoro airfield. Remaining wirh the group after ir had swapped its Thunderbolts for Mustangs and then moved closer ro Japan, Benz acrually led the 348th FG from 26 November 1945 through to its deactivation in May 1946. He remained in the Army Air Force post-war, seeing further combat with rhe 8rh Fighter-Bomb Group during rhe Korean conflict here, he flew rhe F-80 Shooting Srar and then the F-86 Sabre. 'Jim' Benz retired from the USAF with the rank of colonel in 1970.

Maj Benz's final four kills were all claimed in this machine, P-470-23 DIRTY OLD MAN 4th (serial unknown). These were scored between 11 and 20 December 1944 while he was leading the 342nd FS from Tacloban (William Hess)


:X: -1



Gl :I)



We generally keep our external tank~ until rheenemy has been sighted, and have always had rime to turn into the attack, or to dive away and then use a high-~peed climb ro get on even terms and come back into the fight. Ifwe spot the enemy below ~. we have found that by sending down one flight of four at a rime, rhe fir~t flight" ill hit and break up the formation. Then the next flight goes down 10 help anyone who has picked up .1 fighter on his rail, and also to catch any stragglers. Each successive flight h.ts the same job - to help anyone in trouble, and roger the stragglers as the Japanese flights arc broken up more with each successive flight in which our pilots arrack. The number of enemy aeroplanes to be aua<..ked has had little effect on us, for with an ;tltirude advantage, or on even n:rm~. we will anack ar odds of tcn-ro-one. rhi~ has been done with succes~. Our operations in this theatre have been long range since our arrival in the SWPA. Most of our targets are from 350 to 500 miles away. and in some instances over that disrance. This has meanr special training of nt:w pilots in the operation of the P-47 in order m obtain minimum fuel consumption. The swearing out of gas over long stretches of jungle or hundreds of miles of open sea is definitely fatiguing ro rhe pilot. The import<tnCe for pilors ro know their arroplane. and w fly ir tO maximum perform:lnce, can nor be over-emphasised. Ir is very imporranr that pilot~ be aggressive, and have a keen desire ro fight. A competitive spirit between flights helps ro develop this anriburc in the squadron.


X Cl)

cc w






475th FG The formation Wl fly Is\\ h.u we call out here the standard US forma non. lt •~ a four-ship flight, with the dcments staggered and flexib le. It is simple .md c.tsy to fly, yet the leader has visual and positive comrol. The dispnsilion of d11.· Sl}Uadmns depend~ on the type of mission. When unc get~ over the ta rget, the fl ight~ fall inro the fighting l"t1rmarion. l'hat i,, each fl ight forms irself imo a loose srring. These strings arc muwally wpporti ng, and when rhey arc weaving and cnss-crmsing, prc:\ent an extremely difficult nut ro crack. l'hat. in hnc:f. ., our dis position going out and over the targer. In rhc flghr, we srrc:ss the tmportance of keeping the flight intact. The wingmen should ne\'c:r lmc the clement leada. l'hc main n:,l\on we beat the: c:nc:my is becau~c we work as a team, using the good qu.tlitic:s of our aeroplanes .md keeping him from using the good qualities of his own. I think if the: Japanese had P-38s and we had Zeros, we could 'rill hear rhcm b~:c-au\c rhe a"crage American pilor is a good team \\ork~:r and j, .th\,1)'' .tggrc:s~in:. ((I were w pi~k our the most \'aluable personal traits of a fighrer pilot, .tggn:ssi\'Ctlc:ss would rate high on the: list. Time and agam, I ha\'C ~een quick .tggrnsivc .tu ion, even from .1\·antageous position. completely


The wreckage of 433rd FS P·38H· 1 'white 193', which Maj MacDonald hastily commandeered in order to engage 'Val' dive-bombers as they passed overhead the 475th FG's Dobodura base on 15 October 1943. The future 27-kill ace claimed his first two victories (and two damaged) during this mission, cutting a swathe through tH'e ranks of the Rabaul·based 582nd Kokutai. MacDonald spotted the 'Vals' just as the wheels of his fighter left the ground, and he proceeded to maul a formation of seven dive-bombers as they retreated back to their New Britain base. Protecting the 'Vals' were no fewer than 39 Zeros from the 204th Kokutai. and one of these set upon the lone Lightning MacDonald had become sepa rated from his wing man soon after take off The P·38's left engine and electrical and hydraulic systems were shot out and fuel tanks punctured, although MacDonald managed to limp back to Dobodura (via John Stanaway)



Each of 'Mac' MacDonald's assigned Lightnings ware named PUTT PUTT MARU. with this particular example being P-38l-1 44-24843. lt was almost certainly used by the 475th FG CO to claim 13 kills between 10 November 1944 and 1 January 1945, thus making it one of the USAAF's most successfulllghtnings in terms of aerial victories. This aircraft was lost on 2 January 1945 whilst being flown by 432nd FS CO, and five-kill ace, Capt Henry Condon. The latter was leading a bomber escort mission to airfields in the Manila area when he spotted a troop train . leading his pilots in on a strafing pass, Condon's fighter began ta trail smoke soon after attacking the train. Despite his attempts to eKit the stricken fighter, Condon perished when the ligh1ning dived into the ground and exploded from a height of 2000 ft (via William Hess)

rout a powerfUl enemy fo rmation. And. co nwr~ely. lhtve seen flights lo~e rheir advamage rhrough hesitarion. O bviomly. aggres~ i on can be 1..arried ro the point of foolhardineSS. J-l.OW(.'Ver, I his \01'! of" JC[JOil IS never SO foolish as poking around looking for an ideal ~er-up •.111d l'ndang up by being jumped yourself. The Japanese pilot, in g.:neral, i~ not aggressive, hm I wuuldn t .lCcept thi~ as a hard and fast rule, for every rcmh pilot ~-ou run uno rrie~ m do ju~t that. lt is exrremely unwise ro consider the jap<tnese pil(m ,t\ not good. If you are unfortunate enough ro h:n·e one on nlur tail. it i~ my opinion that a positive change in direccion is your best c:\·asivc: m.moc:uvre. Don't e,·errhink a straight and level skid will help htm mi\s, I le: i~n 't too good a shot, but he'lllike thar. Do ~omerhing quick thar will make him need a lead ro hit you. Up to the present opc.crarion. our miSSions were averaging around sc:"en hours ofAying. For these missions it is necc\\arr for each pilm m know. unequivocally. the.: maximum pcrformam;c of his .tc:roplanc. 1r is more important for a fighter pilot in the SWPA to kn<m ho'' ro get the most diHance and me most ume from hi~ ga\olinc rhan ro know the 111111imum ~peed from which he can do <ln lmmclman. or course, a good lighter pilot ~hou ld know l'\'l'rything, from the least of which is how to shoot. Never lire long bur\ls. !'his procedure nor

lt Col MacDonald flies his natural

metal P-38J-15 over the Markham Valley in the spring of 1944. The Erap River. seen off to the left of the l ightning, flowed straight through t he 475th FG's new base at Nadzab (vi a John Stanawavl


C harles H MacDonald

X Cl)

a:: w


<ÂŁ :X:


Charles Henry 'Mac' MacDon.1ld was born on 23 November191 5 in Dubois, Pennsylvania. Ht revealed an interest in aeronautics and flymg during his high school yean.. although he actually studied philosophy at Louisiana Stare University. Upon his graduation in 1938, MacDonald was accepted imo the US Aml) Air Corps' flying cadet programme for reservis~. and he undertook his flying training at Kdly Field, in lexas, between 29 June 1938 and 25 May 1939. !he following month he was senr w the 20th PG' s 79th PS, which had been the first unit in the Air Corps to swap its P-26 'Peashooters' for P~36A Hawlc.. His stay with the group, based in Barksdale, Louisiana, only lasted a marter of months. for the MacDonald wa.~ posted 2lsr PS/35rh PG upon its formauon at MofTen Field, California, on 1 February 1940. Here, he again flew the P-36A, and during his rime with the unir he was transferred to the Air Corps on a permanent commission (on 9 September 1940). MacDonald then joined yet another new!) formed squadron when he was sent to the 70th PS/55th PG at Hamilton Field, in California, on I 5 January I 941. He briefly flew the rare P-43 Lancer with this squadron unru being sent to the 44 rh PS/ 18th PG at Wheeler Field, in Hawaii, just 25 days after arriving at Han1ilton Field! Soon after his arrival, the 18th replaced its P-36As wirh P-40Bs, and during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 194 I, he managed to get a damaged Curtiss fighter airborne and patrol the western side of the island. However, his biggest enemy was the flak from nervous gunners, as the Japanese aircraft had already returned ro their respective carriers by the time he started his search. Promoted to captain on 1 March 1942 and then major on I 0 Ocwber chat same year, MacDonald returned to che Un ited Scares, where he undertook conversion training onto rhc P-47 with the 326th FG. H e was then posted ro rhe newly formed 348th FG at Westover Field, Massachusetts, on 17 November 1942, becom ing CO ofirs340rh FS. MacDonald remained in charge of the unit umil I Ocrober 1943, by which rime it had been well and rruly 'blooded' in combar over New Guinea. He was rhcn posted eo the Lighrn ingequipped 475rh FG at Dobodura as group executive officer. Having nor scored a single kill with the P-47D in over three months of combat, MacDonald enjoyed immediate success with the P-38H, claiming four victories over Oro Bay and Rabaul on 15 (rwo 'Vals'), 23 (an 'Oscar') and 25 October (a 'Zekc'). He 'made ace' (in P-38HS 42-66846) near AJcxishafen airfield on 9 November when he


Four of the key personalities in the 475th FG in the summer of 1944 pose for a g roup photograph at Biak. They are, from left to right , Maj 'Tommy' McGuire (431st FS CO). Charles Lindbergh, Lt Col M eryt Smith (475th FG Ops Officer) and Cot Charles MacDonatd, 475th FG CO). Smith would assume command of the group on 4 August 1944 when MacDonatd was t emporarily grounded for 60 days and sent home on leave after letting civilian Lindbergh see combat on a number of missions- he shot down a Ki¡51 'Sonia' reconnaissance aircraft during one such sortie I Promot ed to lieutenant colonel, Smith was killed in combat with Japanese naval fight ers over Ormo c Bay on 7 December 1944, the veteran pilot having downed two 'J acks' just minutes prior to his death (via John Stanaway)


destroyed rwo more 'Zekes', and was rewarded for his effons with a promotion to lieuu:nam colonel the following day. On 26 November MacDonald became CO of the 475th FG, and he would remain in charge unril August 1944. He finished offa memorable year with rwo 'Vals' destroyed over Araweon 21 December, and then claimed a further two victories in January 1944 (aTony' on the 1Oth and a 'Hamp' on the 18th) 0\'er Wewak. TheJapan~e had taken such a beating in lare 1943 and t:arly 1944 that few aircraft were encountered by prowling V Fighter Command fighters during the ~ummcr, and MacDonald- who w:u made a full colonel in May- had to wait until 8 June ro claam his next victOI) (a ?.eke'). He then destroyed a rare A6M2-N 'Rufe' seaplane fighter and a 'Val' on 1 August near Koror Island. MacDonald was posted home on leave three days afrer claiming this victory, numerou\ posr-war historians stating rhar he was senr on a '60-day pass' as punishmcm for lening legendary civilian pilot Charles Lindbergh see combat (and claim an aerial kill) during his rime 'advising' the 47'S rh FG in Junc-J uly 1944. MacDonald returned ro rhe SWPA. and leadership of the group, just in time ro participate in d1e long-range sweeps of the Philippines as part of rhe prelude to invasion. These missions provoked an upswing in Japanese figbrer acciviry, and between I0 November 1944 and J Janu31)•1945, MacDonald claimed 13 kills flying a brand m:w P-38L-l. I lavingboosred hisscoreto26 vacrories, MacDonald scored his final kill-a lone Ki-57 Topsy' transport -on 13 February during a low-level fighterswcepofrndochina. 'Mac' MacDonald left the 475rh FG in June 1945, and remaining in the Army Air f-orce post-\\13r, he served as the legislative Liaison to rhe House Atmt-d Servtco Comminee in Washjngron, DC unril mid-1948. Graduating from Lhe Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1949, MacDonald's later assignments included time as CO of the f--84-equjpped 33rd FG at Otis Field. Massachuserrs, Opera riom Officer at the IstAir Force Headquarters, Mitchell Field, and 4mmander of the 23rd FW, Aying F-86 Sabres, ar Presque Isle, Maine. MacDonald next served as rhe Air Anache m Sweden for three years, and then. in 1956 began a three-year tour, first as a studem and then as an instructor, ar the National War Colleg\: in Fort McNair. His last as~ignmenr was as the Deputy Commander of the 25th Air Division at McChord Air Force Base, Wa.~hington. Something of a nonconformist, 'Mac' MacDonald rctin:d from the USAF in 1961 and ~pem the next ten years rouring rhe Pacific and the Caribbean in hisyachr umil he ended up in Costa Rica. In the final ye:m of his life he lived simply in the wilds ofFiorida with his beloved animal~. until passing away on 4 March 1002.

The fourth PUTT PUTT MARU (P·38L·5 44·25643) has Col MacDonald 's 26 victory flags applied at Dulag, on Leyte, in early January 1945. This aircraft replaced 44·24843, which was lost in combat on 2 January 44-25643 survived less than a month in the frontline, however, for it is listed as having been written off in a taxiing accident on 27 January after it had been passed on to Maj John Loisel (via John Stanaway)


X Cl)

a: UJ


<t :I: (..)

only wastes ammunition, but hears rhe guns eo the point where the bullers lose speed and direction. With the new aeroplanes our enemy is developing, and rhe psychological effect of fighting closer ro his home land, I do not doubt rh at we will have to revise our opin ions and our tactics.



475th FG


Aggressiveness is a quality which must be possessed by every fighter pilot. lt is rhe aggressive pilot.who gives, nor receives, rhe punishmenr. A good combat ourfir will nor coddle rhe weak pilot, bur will build a strong fighting machine around pi lots who have confidence in rhe aeroplanes they fly and in themselves. The importance of teamwork in aerial combat cannot be over-emphasised. If teamwork is to be achieved, and rhe effects of mutual support gained, each flight leader must know the position of every man in his Aighr. This is possible only when strict formation discipline is observed at all times. I prefer to have my wingman at a distance of about I00 yards, and ar a 45-degree angle ro me rear. In combat, he will be more in trail and ar a distance of ten ship lengms behind me. The leader's primary objective is ro shoor down the enemy- it is the wingman's responsibility ro srick with him, and at rhe same rime be on the lookout for possible attackers. The wingman constitutes the defensive part of the unit. and his primary responsibility is the protection of chat unit. I do noc believe in breaking up the basic four-ship flight, and definitely never less than two-ships rogether. Flight leaders should position their Aighrs close enough ro the lead flight ro be able ro effecrively support any attack or defensive manoeuvres. In entering combat, hit the enemy with everything you've got. The inirial anack will generally govern rhe outcome of the fight. A piecemeal enrry inro the scrap will not be as effective as several flights hitting the enemy simultaneously. Head for the main body of the enemy if you are leading a flight or a squadron. Disregard the stragglers. In my experience ar hitring enemy formations, a few wingmen have seen me coming and have taken evasive action, bur where the enemy was most concentrated, there were several who obviously djcln't know of our presence. I well remember one incident in which the squadron leader first turned to pick up rhe highest stragglers of a large group ofJapanese fighters. This gave the main body of the enemy rhe opportunity to gain superior altitude advantage. which rhey urilised by positioning themselves on our rails. Plough imo the largest bunch )'OU see. Afrer such an attack the enemy will be forced to break up. Sray rogether as a squadron as long as the enemy maintains a semblance oflarge flights. If he breaks up in eo singles â&#x20AC;˘ and elements you can best cope with him by breaking down into flights. Always maintain a numerical superiority in size of formations involved and it will pay dividends. Elements are completely satisfactory for attacking singles or other elements. bur in a general melee. as most fights rurn our ro be, you must always be prepared ro conract a larger enemy group.





::n C)





432nd FS CO Capt John Loisel (second from right) enjoys a cigarette in front of his P-38H· 1 42·66682 at Oobodura in late January 1944. Standing at the extreme left is Loisel's crew chief, T / Sgt K E Lawrence, whilst the CO himself is flanked by two unnamed squadron pilots. Loisel claimed as many as four of his eleven kills in this aircraft, which he christened SCREAMIN' KID. P-38s would typically survive less than six months in the frontllne with V Fighter Command, but 42-66682 remained in service with the 475th FG for more than eight (via John Stanaway)

In one particular instance, I chased a night of six enemy fighters wtth just my clement, and was promprly chased our of rhe tlghr for m~ pains. Knowledge of che manoeuvrabilit) limits of your ~hip enables rou to figure o u r just how long you can rum with the enemy in a p.1ss. !'he ne" P-38Ls we are gening have bener manoeuvring characteristiC\ than am· previous P-38 model, bm che enemy can srill out-manoeU\ re .my fighter we have. Dive flaps do nor increase )'Our rare of rurn. \ome fellows have been throwing chem down after rolling inro a rurn and, because back pressure on the conuols is decreased, rhc:y f.1lsc:lv imagine thev're pulling cheir nose through faster. Superior speed is srill our grear.:sr advamag.:. Come down on the enemy, if possible, anack him level, bur NEVER make .1 climbing pass on his fighters wirhout lors of speed. When you zoom, rurn or ~low up in anyway you arc especially vulnernbk The long-range operations of rhc pasr nine month~ have increased rh~: fighter pilor's problems many times. Knowing your aerop lane, and ir~ possibilities and operation under al l conditiom, wi ll greatly help. foo many pilots do nor know how ro get maximum performanc~.: out of thetr aircraf1 and engines. Jusr as an example, on very long nms10ns we.: had trouble ar Grst gerring pilots to u~e l 600 RPM .111d 28 tu .U inche~ of manifold pressure. They'd been accu~romed w u\ing 2100 ro 2300 RP.\1 for che same manifold pr~sures, not knowing that the P-38 operating instructions gave che lower figures for maximum ga~ ~.:conomy. Always press your arracks closely. Don't wasre ammunition or give away your anack until you are within cfTecnvc rang~: 'lhots. e\pecially chose half-hearted our of range snapshots so many of us t.tke.•tre particularly useless. Never rum ,~;rh the enemy. If you can' t hold your on


X (/)

a: w IQ..

et :J:


This unidentified P-38L¡5 was Lt Col John Loisel's mount at war's end, its 'blue 100' denoting his position as group CO. He took over command of the 475th FG from Col MacDonald on 14 July 1945, and remained group CO until18 April 1946. This photograph was taken at le Shima (via John Stanaway) Having gained valuable combat experience flying Airacobras with the 8th FG in the SWPA in 1942, John Loisel was handpicked to join the all new 475th FG in June 1943

(via John Stanaway)


him, break away. Your grearesr assers are speed and fire power. When you are nor using one, use rhe other. When you are leading a flighr or a squadron, your problems are multiplied- if covering bombers, your responsibiliry ex rends ro rh em. Lfyou can maintain radio discipline and formation, and everyone knows what you are expecting of them, your problem is greatly reduced. As ~oon as rh~ enemy (

JohnS Loisel John Simon Loisel was born on 21 May 1920 in Coeur d'Aiene, Idaho. He arrended Wayne State Teachers' College (Nebraska) and the Universiry of Nebraska from 1938 to 1941 , when he joined the Army Reserves. Loisel undertook flying rra.ining ar Marhcr Field, California, from I 0 March to 31 October 1941, and upon graduation became an insuucror with the Army Air Corps. He was eventually posred ro rhe 36th FS/8th FG in New Guinea in September 1942, and flew 83 combar missions wirh the unit in the P-390 and P-400. Loisel remained with the 8th FG unril June 1943, when he was handpicked, along with a bost of other talented V Fighter Command pilors, to form the 475th FG ar Amberley Field in Queensland, Australia. The unit was equipped with P-38H Lighrn.i.ngs. and Loisel assigned to rhe group's 432nd FS. Moving ro Dobodura, New Guinea, in August, Loisel wasted nor time in opening his score wirb rhe Lockheed flgluer when he claimed rwo Tonys' shot down during the course of a bomber escort mission ro Wewak on 21 August. He then destroyed a 'Zeke' near Finschhafen on 22 September, and followed this. up with rwo more 'Zekes' over Oro Bay on 15 October eo gain ace status. Three days later he was promoted to captain. Loisel's final kills in 1943 came on 13 and 21 December, when he again downed rwo more 'Zekes' in the build up eo the Operation Alamo landings on Cape Glouce5ter.

is sighted. the ~quadron goc~ imo string formation ten ship lengths berwecn aeroplanes. Stay cogethcr and don'r allow stragglers. In a string formation, rhe Bights can weave and cross. meering any armck. If with bombers. speed can be maintained, and yet stay wirh them by weaving. In \'ery rare instances does a good squadron get jumped. Keep looking around and be ready for a fight at all rimes. When tackling an enemy formation, try ro achieve rhe element of surprise, bUt don't forger speed and fircpower arc still your grearesr ~sers. \Xfhen enemy fighters are scarce and the missions call for strafing and dive-bombing. don't relax rhe discipline ofyour outfit. Keep up the spirit and teamwork by ne"er allowing sloppy formations, patterns or a low calibre of flying. Give every flight everything you've got and it wiiJ pay di\¡idcnds in combat.

MAJ THOMAS 8 McGU I RE 431st FS/475th FG


:X: ~



G'l :;J;)


c: -o


To completely cover fighter ractics in a single lerter would be impossible, bUt I would like to give a resume of my views on combar tactics - both On 22 January 1944 John Loisel was made CO of the 432nd FS, and one of his first priorities as the new boss was ro raise rhe proficiency of his pilors in 90-degree deflection shooring, rhus preventing them from 'spraying lead all over the air'. Proving chat he bad masrered the rechnique, Loisd destroyed a 'Zeke' just 24 hours after becoming CO of the unit. Over the next few weeks the 475rh flew numerous strike missions against targets in New Guinea and the Halmaharas, and on 3 April Loiscl shot down an 'Oscar' and a ' Hamp' during .1 low-level bomber escort mission against enemy airfields at Hollandia, NC'\\o Guinea. By then his unit had re-equipped with rhe latest P-38J- 15 version of the Lighrning. Promoted to major in la.te April, Loisel returned home on leave on 4 August. The ten-kill ace re[llrned ro the Pacific in January 1945, rejoining the 475th FG as group operations officer. Flying P-38L-5s from the Philippines, Loisel claimed his fina l kill on 28 March 1945 when he demoyed a Ki-84 ' Frnnk' near Tre Island, ofFindochina. Promoted ro licutt:nam colonel on 15 May, he assumed command of the 475rh on 15 July and led the group to le Shima, on Okinawa, and rhen onto Kimpo, in Korea, po~r-war. He relinquished command on 18 April 1946 and reLurned home, having flown 30 I operational missions in the S\XfPA. Going back to his studies in the late 1940s, Loisel graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in physics in 1949. Promoted to full colonel on I December 1951, he returned to combat in Korea in May 1953 when he was made commander of the 474rh Fighter Bomber Group, which 'vas flying ground arrack missions in the F-84 from Taegu. Retiring from the USAF in 1970. he earned a masters degree from the North Texas Stare University rwo years later and then caught in Piano (Texas) high schools until retiring in 1985. 115

>< Cl)

a: uJ


o. <t :I:


The 475th FG's ranking ace 'Tommy' M cGuire flew at least five P-38s named PUOGY (after his f iancee) during his time in the SWPA This particular machine was P-38H-5 42-66817. which was his second assigned lightnong. He used it to destroy three ' Vals' over Cape Gloucester on 26 December 1943, raising his tally to 17 victories. This photograph was taken at Dobodura soon after McGuire had enjoyed his Boxing Day success There is a colour profile of this machine on page 76 (via John Stanaway)


individual and squadron - based on nw cxrcn\1\·e pcr~onal combat experience m me SWPA. On me missions \\'C have bc.:cn flying for the p~t few months. gas economy has been a paramounr consideration. G;u (.'COnomy should ah,ays be pracciced, bur on long-range mission\ it becomes e~\ential to ~a,·e gas. We ha,·e found that a combination oflow RP/\1 and corroponding high manifold pr~ure (i.e. 1600 RP\1 32 inc.hc.:s 1-!G) going eo and from rhe target wiU give maximum miles per gallon. If you .ue to have ~ufficienr ga~ ro cover rhe bombers dear of the target. ;tnd also have sufliciem reserve for weather, gas economy musr be pracriccd. Rendezvous poi ms should be as close ro the rarger as is tacric.1llv pracucal. On individual combar tactics. aggn:ssiveness is the keynote of success. A fighter pilot must be aggrcssivt.'. The enemy on the defcmive gives you rhe .tdvanrage, as he is trying to evadc you, .tnd not to shom you down. Never break your formation into bs than two ship elements. Stay in pairs. A man by himselfis a liability. but a two-ship tcam ban ;tsset. If you arc separated, join up immediately with other fricndly aeroplanes. On rhe defensive, keep up your speed. A shallow, high -~pecd dive or climb is your best evasive acrion again~r a srern attack. Yoummt nc,·cr rc,•crsc your turn -that is asking for ir. Try ro make: the enem) commit him,clf. rhcn wrn inro his attack. Tf forced ro turn, go ro rhe right if possible. On theoffensi,·e, break up the encm) \ form.uion. If you can se;uu:r and split up your foe, mey will be una hie to pr~·ss an .mack on the bomber' and will also be unable w give support w each other when in trouble. Don 'r turn wrm rhe enemy. Ir can. t be done. Your main assets arc speed and flrcpowcr -ust• them. Press \'OUr arracks close-in to a minimum range. Coin dose.: .•tnd thcn whcn \'OU rh ink you are too close, go on in closer.

At minimum r.mge your ,htm count, and there i~ less chance of missing your rarger. On deflection ~hot~. pull your sight through rhe rarger. Most \hOt\ in deflection arc mi~scd by being O\'er or under rather than by incorrect lt.-ad. ~c\'cr turn with a foe p<tit the point where you can't hold your lead. Don'r lc.:r the cncm\' rnck you mro pulling up or rurning until you lose your speed. Alwap clear your~clfbcfore .md during an anack. lr i' alway-; rhc one you don't sec that gets you. On long range missions especiallr. don 'r cha\c .1 ~inglc our of the fight- he is probably tl]1ng tO lure you away from rhc \Crap. Your job 1s m pro\'idc cm•er for the bombers, and you reduce rhc dfccti,·cness of your 'quadron if you ger sucked our of the fight. Squadron formarion multiplies vour problems. You nor only have ro rh ink of yourself. bur :tlso of I 5 men behind you. The S<Juadron commander's responsibility lies nm only ro his own formation, bur also ro

Legendary transatlantic solo pilot Charles Lindbergh and 475th FG 'ace of aces' 'Tommy' McGuire enjoyed a sparky relationship during the former's two-month spell with the group in the summer of 1944. Lindbergh was in the SWPA as a representative of the United Aircraft Corporation, and having spent time improving the range and performance of Marine F4U Corsairs (manufactured by United), he had requested a transfer to a lightning unit to see whether he could also boost the Lockheed fighter's performance. Once with the 475th FG, he asked to fly on combat missions in order see where improvements could be made, and Mal McGuire agreed to take him on his wing . According to eyewitnesses. the two pilots often verbally sparred with each other when out of the cockpit, McGuire persistently taunting lindbergh and making him do small favours, knowing full well that the latter could not retaliate due to his tenuous guest status. lindbergh was an Incorrigible practical joker, however, and routinely got his own back on an unsuspecting McGuire (via William Hess)



-t m


C'l ::0




P·38J·15 PUDGY Ill (serial unknown) was 'Tommy' McGuire's assigned machine for much of the spring and summer of 1944 This photograph was taken at Biak soon after it had been used to claim McGuire's 21st kill. Note the squadron commander's twin vertical stripes forward of the tail (via William Hess)



Thomas B McGuireJr


a: w



:::z:: u

This rare shot of a smiling Maj Tom McGuire shows him devoid of his distinctively battered service cap, which was a permanent fixture atop his head when the 'Iron M ajor' was not flying (via William Hess)


rhomas Buchanan 'Tommy' McGuire was born in R.idgewood, New jersey, on I Augusr 1920. Enrolling in the mechanical engineering course at che Georgia School ofTechnology in 1937. his imer~t in aviation first surfaced m 1940 when he learned to Ay the Piper Cub at nearby Candler Field. \tlcGuire rhen decided that military Aying was for him, and he dropped our of school in Jul) 1941 and enlisted in the Army Reserves .\San aviation cadet. I le completed his training as parrofCiass42-B at Kdly Fidd, in Texas, on 2 February 1942 and was posted ro che 50th PG/313rh PS al Key ridd, Mississippi, three months later. Flying antiquated P-35s, he asked for overseas dury and was posted to the P-39F-equipped 56th PS/54th PG in rhe Aleutians. Weather was rhe greatest enem) facing fighter pilors in this 'forgorren' thearre, and ~lcGuiresoon wanted our. Returning to the USA in mid Ocrober, he converted onro the P-38 and was sent ro rhe 9th FS/49rh FG in March 1943. 'Tom my' failed to score whilsr Aying with this group, and it was nor unril he transferred to rhe newly formed 431 st FS/475th FG chat he began ro make his mark. He claimed hi~ firsr victories (rwo 'Zekes' and a 'Tony') on 18 August over Wewak during his first encounter with the enemy, and followed this up with rwo more ' Zekes' in the same area three days larer to 'make ace'. McGuire ended the month with a further two kills (a 'Zeke' and a 'Tony') on the 29rh, again over Wewak. He would remain in che thick of the acrion for rhe resr of the year, scoring two kills in September, four in October (he was also shot down and wounded on che 17th of this month, bur not before firsrdesrroying three 'Zekes') and three in December. Promoted to captain in late 1943, McGuire was obsessed with becoming the first American pilar ro surpass Capt Eddic Ricken backer's World War I tally of 26 kills. However, he was sent home on leave in early 1944, and this allowt.-d his great rival Dick Song to bcrrer Rickenbackcr's score on 12 April. McGuirc rerurned LO rhe SWPA in May 1944, where he was promoted tO major and made CO of the 4 31 st FS. He soon began making up for lost rime, claiming two kills before month-end, rwo more in June and rhcn asolitaryvictory in - July. The Japanese had suffered terrible losses both on the ground and in the air in New Guinea, and few enemy aircraft were robe encountered by V Fighter Command until ir starred sending groups on long-range fighter sweeps over the Philippines and Borneo in Ocrober. More lengthy missions followed

in November, as the 475th wenc in search ofJapanese fighters in the prelude to the invasion ofl.eytc and Cebu. Fixated wirh matching Dick Bong s, McGuirc aggressivdy sought ouc rhe enem) during these sweeps. claiming three kills (an 'Oscar', a 'Hamp' and a 'Tojo') on 14 October whilst escornng B-24s sem to bomb the • oil refincrie.~ ar Balikpapan, on Borneo. F-our more victories would come rhe wa}· of the group's leading ace in November as he pw.hed pasr Eddie Rickenbacker's 26-kill mark and set off after Bong. By the end of the month, rhc larrcr pilot had 36 kills and McGuirc 28. An 'Oscar' and a 'Tojo' fell to the guns of McGuire's P-38L-1 on 7 December, and a solitary 'Jack' was claimed six days later. Bong. who had received rhe Medal of Honor on 8 December. claimed his 40rh. and last, kill on 17 December. afrer which he was ordered home. McGuire, eager ro emulate Bong on both accounrs, remained in the SWPA as rhe 475th FG's operarions officer followtng he repl:tcement as 431sr FS CO on 23 December. Freed of the responsibility ofleading a untr, McGuire now made sure char he wa.\ on tho!>C mi.~iom deemed most likely ro encounter the: enemy, whose presence in the aJr was becoming rarer by rhe day. On 25 and 26 December McGuire enjoyed his best 48 hours in combat, claiming no fC\ver than "t."\'en 'Zekes' to boost his tally to 38 kilk However. these would prove to be his lasr victories. for on .., January 194 5 he wa~ ro lose his life in combat Aying an unauthorised sweep over Los Negro~ Island. The mt\sion had been speciall)•sraged to push his score past 40 vicrones. and McGutre was trying ro manoeuvre in beh.ind a Ion~ Ki-·13 just above the trce-rops when his fighter- still carrying irs near-fulllong·range external tanks- snap-rolled onto its back and cra5hed into the jungle. Tommy' McGuire died instantly. America's second-ranking ace received a posthumous Medal of Hooor on 7 M:uch 1946, and in January 1948 Fort Dix Field, in New jersey, was renamed McGulre Air Force Base in his honour. A controversial figure who polarised the men rhar Acw with him, 'Tommy' McGuire's personality and leadership sryles have often been commented on in the decades since his death. 'He was an extremely ambirious man. He worked hard, and that's why he got m be squadron commander. He was more a great leader of men in the: air rhan on the ground', commented McGuire's immediate boss (and third-ranking P-38 ace), Col Charles MacDonald, who commanded the 475rh FG for much of rhe rime rhar Tommy' wa.~ CO of the 431 st fS. J\nothcr who remarked on the P-38 ace's qualities \\as 433rd FS pilor Carroll Anderson. 'McGuire was an earchy type or gu}' who led br example. And although he could be abruive and caustic, he fought and led from the from'.

C'l :X: -I

m ::0

C'l ::0 0



"Pudgy IV" is yet another V Fighter Command mystery machine, being used by M aj M cGulre In the late summer of 1944. Photographed at Biak. it boasts 22 victory flags I via John Stanaway)


X V)

a: UJ

.... Q.

<t I


the bombers he: i~ covering. Radio control by the squadron commander can be had on]~, if rhe men in the formation keep their radio conversation eo an absolute: min1mum. I like the squadron to drop from escon formation to Hring formation a~ ~oon as the enemy is sighted. We use a ming of flights made up of four-ship components. Each man should be hack SIX m ten \hip length~. with an inrer\'al abour double that berween flight\. In .1 fight. Olmide of the fir~t pass, the flights are independenr in picking their target~. \taring ofcourse in the same general area. No flight should chaw enemv aircraft out of the fight unless the enemy has been split up and i\ lea\'ing the "icin1ry. \X' hen the \tju.tdron IS on the defemive, stay together. Don't allow straggler\. 1\:n:p up the flights, and have them weave and cross. An attack from any poim can be rurned into and broken up. Your men must look around - there i\ no excme for a squadron being jumped and surprised if everyone does hi, jub. Almost every one of our losses are ships straggling on their own. A squadron th:u keeps up its speed. stays rogether and fighrs as :1 ream will lose vcrv few men. On the oflcnsive, whether attacking bombers or fighters, or defending your own bomhl路rs agaimt enemy fighrers, be aggressive. Break up the Japanese form.Hion, a~ that is half your h:mle. Once the enemy is broken up he becorm:s disorganised and loses all semblance of mutual supporr. When <\!tacking bombc.:r formation~. make your artack, if possible, from l'i degrees hl路.td-on, coming in a~ close as possible and passing wirhin 'iO ft of the bomber\. then pa\sing over or under them, before breaking your pas~. Tlm will break up the formation. enabling you to break into flight\ ro go .tf'tc:r p<Hr\ and indi"idual ships. \\'hen covering bomber\, if it is po~sible. don'r wait for the enemy attack. T.1kc your squadron into the rhickest bunch and split rhc:m up. l路ight over the bomber\ J\ long a\ po~ible. You will nor only prevenr most .mack~. hut .1l~o thll\c rh.u get rhrough will expose themselves ro you . .-\ fighter is most vulnc:r.tblc: when making an attack. A fighter pilot must l1ve up to" hat hi~ name implies. You must be aggressive ro do your job.


432nd FS / 475 t h FG In reply to your rc:cent lcm:r concerning rhe tactics we use in rh is rhearre, the fo llowing is ~ubmim:d. I NDIVIDUAL COMilAl T ACl i CS


A defen\ivc clement shouiJ be: about a quarter-mile w the side (of rhe bombc.:r\), w1rh wmgmen about 7'i yards behind rheir rcspecrive leaders. A speed of at lea\t 2';0 mph should be maimained at all rimes- the faster rhc bc.:ner. Tlm form.nion, by using mutual support, can ward off all rypes of atta1.k. If you arc found alone, 10111 with other P-38s ar once. If caughr by rhe enemy, and you han: plemy of altitude, the trick of chopping one rhrmrlc and .1pplying aileron and rudder will lose him. Alw,l~' try to nuintain four-ship Aighrs and at all rimes. Escort a P-38 on .1 \lnglc.: enginl路.

432nd FS pilot 1Lt Elllot Summer was assigned unknown P-38H·S BLOOD & GUTS Ill in late 1943, and he scored possibly as many as three kills with it in December of that year (via William Hessl

When on rhc offensive, employ the ~amc ~tring formarion as memioned above, but with more flcx ibiliry. The clcmmt le.tder may lead rhe anack ifbcrrcr positioned. When our-numbering the enemy, elcmcms may break, but in doinpu. the wingmen move farther our ro the side ro provide mutual prmection while arracking. You will close fast on the enemy, as he is usuall\' flitung Jround at 180 to 220 mph. Get in clo~c enough to sec hi\ teeth before firing. The wingman can usually ger a good shot by dropping below rhe leader and catching the enemy as he rries ro 'split-S'. SQUADRON FORMATION C OMBAT T ACilCS

When leading and comrolling rhe unit, radio tran~mt~s•on and reception is of rhe urmost imponance. Air discipline mmr never be rcla.xed to insure each pilor reacrs correctly in all circumstance~. Confidcm:e in the leaders abiliry and judgemcm must be maintained by all pilm~. When flying defensively, rhe squadron comim of four flights - Red, White, Blue and Green- flying in a diamond formation. Whin: flighr flies on the right flank, slightly below and behind Red fligh!. Blue.: flies left flank, above Red and behind White. Crccn flight flies directly behind Red. The alrirude difference between the low flight and lOp flight is nor more than 1500 ft. The space between fl anks is ••hm1t thrce-tJU:lrters of a mile. This provides for maximum visibility .1nd prorccrion. When attacked, Red and White provide mutuaf protc,rion, as do Blue and Green. When flying offensively, the diamond fornl.llion ren1.tin~ rhc ~ame. with the flights taking up their offensive strings. This formation is very flexible. allowing each of rhe flight leaders ro me his initiauve. I he flights may separate when outnumbering rhe enemy, but othcrwis<: sray in the same area to provide murual protection. T ACilCS PROBABLE WITH P - 38L AN O G -SUIT

This combination makes possible many nC\\ tacli~ both offensively and defensively. The G-suit, aileron boost and dive brake~ allow for very


high-speed dives, righr rurns, abrupt pull -our~ and a high rare of roll. I found ir impossible for me ro black OU t , although I indicated s~s m ph. dropped dive flaps and reefed in as right a~ possible. The pull-our was so severe as ro buckle the wings. There is a possibiliry char ar speeds of around 300 m ph, the combination ofG-suit and P-38L would allow for turning with the enemy. One rhing is certain. Rolls and right turns when done at indicared airspeeds of 300 m ph and o,¡er cannot be followed by :uw Japan~e aeroplane rhus far encountered in this theatre.

X (I)

a: w



:z: (,)

Elliot Summer


One of the few 'nugget' pilots assigned to the 475th FG upon its formation in Australia in 1943, Elllot Summer learned quickly from the various combat veterans t hat made up the bulk of the group's flying staff. He was an ace by Christmas 1943, and ended the war with ten kills to his name (via William Hess1

Elliorr Summer was born on 22 November 1919 in Providence, Rhode lsland. He was studying architecture ar Columbia University when he volunteered for service wirh rhe US Army Air Corps. Graduaringfrom flight training ar l uke Field, Ari10na, on 4 January 1943, Summer was then scnr to the 360rh FG at Glendale, in California, ro conduct his transition training onto the P-38. His final conversion uaining was carried out with rhe co-locared 329th FG, and on 23 July he was one of the few 'nugger' pilors assigned ro rhe newly formed 432nd'FS/475d1 FG in Amber! C)â&#x20AC;˘, Queensland. On 14 August rhe group moved nonh ro Oobodura, in New Guinea, and Summer claimed his first kill exactly one week larer when he downed a 'Zeke' near Dagua in P-38H- 1 42-66575. He scored rwo furrher "icrories in O crober, destroying an 'Oscar' on the 15rh and another Ki-43 on the 24th. Summer achieved ace Matus on 21 December when he downed rwo 'Vat' dive-bombers over Arawe, and be followed this up wirh a single 'leke' over Wewak the following day. Almost four months would pass before he claimed his next victory, by which rime rbe 432nd FS had swapped its war-weary H-model Lighmings for new P-38J- 15s. Summer claimed a Ki-43 (also lisred as a 'Zeke') while escorting A-20s and B-25s sent ro bomb Hollandia on 3 April 1944. Japanese aircratt rhcn effecrively disappeared from the skies over New Guinea, as the rhearre was effectively cur off from Japan by tl1e allied 'island hopping' campaign elsC\vhere in the Pacific. Like most V Fighter Command pilors in the SWPA, Summer would add further kills to his tally during llghrer sweeps of rhe Philippines in lace 1944. rhe ace destroying two 'Zekes' over Tadoban Bay on 12 November and an 'Oscar' over Ormoc Bay on 7 December. Promoted ro captain in rhe autumn of 1944 , Summer became CO ofthe432nd F on 2January 1945. and he remained in command until the end of July, when he was posrcd back to the United Stares. Pose-war, he entered government service, becoming a noise abatement officer for che Federal Aviation AdminiHrarion.



-o -o ,.,



n ,., (I)




P-470-3 42-22604 of 1Lt William Giroux, 36th FS/Sth FG, Port Moresby, late November 1943

P·38G ·1 42·12705 of 1Lt Cy Homer, 80th FS/ Bth FG, Port Moresby, November 1943

Future ten • 11 ac:e 'Kenny G"oux lodged h1s l1rst aena cla•ms

Th1s panrcular P-38G·I was the hrst L ghtn no ass1gned to

whilst flymg thiS mach•ne on the morn ng of 7 November

15-klll ace Cy Homer upan hiS arnval11' the So~;thwest Pac r c. the frghter havrng been supplied new to the 80th FS when

1943 when he probably destroyed a tno of bOmbers over Nadzab A




of •ndependent corroboration

for these cla1ms resulted m G1roux be•ng credited w1th three

the ul'llt transltroned from the P-39 or11o the Lockheed lighter 1n Queensland. Australia. 1n early 1943 Va11ously named

probabtes only although he opum•st•cally adorned h1s f1ghter


With two v1ctory decals (on both s1des of the fuselage) These were h1s only successes w1th the Thunderbolt The 36th FS

groundcrew, the l.lghtn1ng was routrnely flown by Homer

rece1ved 1ts f1rst P-47s as replacements for 1ts war-weary

lighter 1n the SWPA Indeed. he cla1med two k•lls and three


and LILL Y NELL by 1ts p1lot and

throughout 1943- a ren1arkably long penod Ior a frontl•ne

P-39s and P-400s 1n late October 1943, and by the end of the

probables with 42·12705 between 21 May and 7 November

follow1ng month the unit had completed rts transition to the

Homer's rema1n1ng VICtones (three! for 1943 were scored 1n P-38G·15 43-2386 on 21 August

Repubhc f•ghter G11oux. who professed a hk•ng for the P-47 post-war, had h•s machine adorned with the letter 'G', for obv1ous reasons. As1de from the theatre-standard all-wh1te ta<f


surfaces and w1ng teadrng edges the 36th FS was almost certarnly un.que rn pa1nt1ng the engrne cowhng flaps thrs

P-38J (serial unknown) of Capt Cy Homer, CO of the

"Oio • as well

Cy Homer en,oyed Slgnofttant su ces

80th FS/8th FG, Morotai, November 1944 n t e " dunng the

!1rst half of 1944 cta1m1ng nme I Is, two probables and tt"~ree


damaged between 18 January and 27 Ju v- all were frgh•ers

P-38J-15 (serial unknown) of 1Lt William Giroux, 36th FS/

More than half oj these voctor PS were scored n a P-38J·I5

8th FG, Owi (Schouten Islands), early September 1944

a• though unrt records are not deta ed enough to denote exactly what a rcraft Homer was flyrng for any of :hese kr s

.<:enny Grrou>. had added two 1nf '' 1ed l1ls to h1s probabes by Septemllor 1944, h1s unrt havrng parted w1th ts ThunderbOlts for a batch of decidedly secondMnd P-38Hs m

PhotographiC evidence proves that he was regularly fly ng th s machrne from Morota. rn the autumn of 194•l the frghter

early March 1944 These mach1nes were rn turn replaced wnh

featunng 16 v1ctory decals below the cockp t- Homer was 1n

much hesher P-38Js dur1ng the summer. th1s partrcular

ract only cred1ted w1th 15 conf"rned k1lls Soon a•ter llemg

mach•ne be1ng rssued to G11oux He added vanous personal

made CO of the 80th FS on 4 October, Homer used the

touches to hrs Lightnrng and rt IS presumed that the ongrnal

privilege of rank to have the ta11 surfaces of UNCLE CY'S Angel pa1nted m green and wh1te checks I

WHILMA was one of the veteran P-38Hs 11'1111ally supphed to the 36th FS G1roux almost certa•nly used th1s J-15 to cla1m a Kl-43 destroyed on '27 July and to damage a K•-48 'l1ly hght bomber on 2 September The puppy motrf was present on both engmes. and the name Dead Eye Darsy appeared on the sta1board s1de of the nose Black-stnped sprnners and white f1n t•ps were the unit mark1ngs adopted by the 36th FS follow1ng the squadron's sw1tch to the P·38

P·38J ·10 42·67898 of 1Lt Alien Hill, 80th FS/8th FG, Finschhafen, January 1944 The female form has always proven oopular w1th Amencan pilots 1n combat, and the appeal or a scantoly clad woman proved ~tresiStlble to Alien Hill Issued w•th one of the f11st P·38J·10s supplied to the 80th FS, he had the f1ghter adorned wrth a1 leasI 1wo H t L 's Angels- only the one on the port s•de

3 P-38J·20 44· 23255 of Capt William Giroux, 36th FS/ 8th FG, San Jose (Mindoro), January 1945 'Kenny' G1roux really hit reta~•ng



was actually clothed I H•fl almost certarnly clarmed hiS

s"ti' kill

fa Kl-61) 1n thiS aucraft on 18 January 19-M

straps as a frghter plot dunng the

of the Phrl!pprnes rn late 1944 cfarmrng e1ght k1fls

between 2 and 15 November HIS vet ms were a I hghter a.rcraft. and they a most certarnfy fell to the guns of thrs oartrcu ar P-38J·20 Devoid of personal embell1shment bar

the pdot's name and scoreboard the Ltghtnmg featured the rev1sed 36th FS markrngs -namely thttker sp1nner stnocs and new black and wh.te dragonal w ng stnpes

7 P·38J (serial unknown ) of Capt Alien Hill, 80th FS/ 8th FG, Morotai, autumn 1944 Very nle s knnwn abo •t t s macnrne other than the tact thatlt bore At en H n·s 'H" Jotter code and the HILL'S Angers trtllng on the nose 1t also featured the 80th FS green and wh•te un1t markmgs on the propeller sp1nners and vert1cal ta


suriaces lt was almost certa•nly the last P-38J ass1gned to

follow1ng the attr•t•ona1 Rabaul campa1gn, as Lockheed could


H1l pnOt to h s post•ng to the 36th FS as ur·lit CO 1n m•d

not supply enough hghters to make good the heavy losses





z UJ

a.. a..



sulfered by the 'Fiytng Krughts' There was no such shortage of P-47s. and the 9th duly convened onto Repubhc's


heavyweoght Thunderbolt•n late November 1943 Jot"'son

P-470-23 42· 2787? of Capt Leroy Grossheusch, CO of the

and h1s men were less than 1mpressed w•th the P-47D-4, and

39th FS/ 35th FG, Mangaldan (Luzon), February 1945

the 9th FS was the only un1t wothm the 49th FG to lly the


f•ghter As 1f to prove thelf pomt, only three ol the uM's aces scored k•lls Wllh the P-4 7. •nclud•ng 'Jerry John son who

colourful P-47D-23 was almost certainly 1ssued to Capt

Leroy Grossheusch m June 1944. and 1t rema1ned ass1gned to h1m until well1nto 1945 The e•ght·klll ace adorned all of h•s

managed to cla1m a 'Tony' and a 'Zeke' destroyed 1n

f•ghters w11h the number 33. and he almost certa•nly cta•med

December 1943 and January 1944 respec\lvely The 9th FS

s•'- ot h•s e1ght v•ctories 1n th1s veteran mach•ne between 30 January and 25 February 1945 Note the blue d•agonat

cla•med JUSt e•ght v•ctolles m total dunng 11s f111e-month

command stnpes pa•nted beneath the cockpot Flight leaders'

pan1cular mach ne {senal unknown) up unto! he was POSted

'M1ft boaSted a $ r>g:e Sthpe Ill th S lOCatiOn


assoc•alion W1th the Thunderbolt. Johnson pnmanly flew th1s home on leave on 29 January 1944. tne P-47 featunng h•s lull tally, h•s favounte siCie number '83', standard wh1te SWPA 1dent•f catoon marl(lngs and command stnpes

P-510·20 44·64124 of Capt leroy Grossheusch, CO of the 39th FS/ 35th FG. Okinawa, August 1945


Gro•.sheusct cla•med h1s f1nal v1ctory la K•-8-1 'Frank'l•n thiS

P-38L·S (serial unknown) of Maj Gerald Johnson, Deputy

mach•ne on 12 August 1945 dunng a tong range sweep of the

CO of the 49th FG. Biak (Hollandia), October 1944

Japanese home •stands Marked 1n the 39th FS's diSIIIlCtiVe

Th1s part•cular a~rcraft was used by Ma1 Johnson for muc11 of

blue squadron colours. the a~rcraft was named L•ttle Glfl by 1ts p1lot ThiS was Grossheusch's second Mustang. as he had

no personal mark•ngs other than hts ever-srowmg scoreboard

written h1S f11st P-51 D off on 30 July 1945 anack1ng a

and h•s favounte number '83' on the nose and rad•ator fa1nngs

Japanese destroyer near the naval base of Goto Retto. 1n

- th1s a•rtraft also featured the number '42' on black on ItS

southern Japan He had struc;, the sh•p's waterf1ne With a

tWin ta,ls at one potnt Johnson claomed ten VICtones between

. .

the Phohppmes campa,gn m late 1944 the a~rcraft leatunng

long burst cl 0 50-cat machme gun f"e, and a number ot the

14 Octobor and 7 December 1944, and some of these k1ls

rounas had penetrated the hullmto the magazme 'There was

were almost certa•nly achteved '" thos mach•nc

a terr '•c explos•on', Grossheusch later recalled 'A huge, g•gant•c ball of fue wn1ch I had to lly through because I was too close to avo•d •t One of the guys 1n the flight satd, "What tha hell was that?' Another votce sa1d, "lth1nk Lee dove Into the destroyer" By then. my heart had gotten out of my throat

Upon Johnson'c return to the 49th FG from leave on the

so I told them that I was ol<.av. but clamagecl I had sunk the

late summer of 1944. he had been appoonted Group Ops Execut•ve As a perk of the )Ob. he acqUired a surplus P-40N

destroyer, but my poor P-51 was so rtddled with shrapnel and debt~s trom the explOSIOn thatlt had to be scrapped once we

that had recently been retired by the group's 7th FS- the


latter UM had at last swapped 1ts Warhawks for Ltghtn•ngs '" September 1944 Johnson had the lighter stnoped back. to



to 0•1nawa'


bare metal, and had 1ts armament and protect1ve armour

P·38H ·1 (serial unknown) of Capt Gerald Johnson, CO of th e 9th FS/ 49th FG, Dobodura. November 1943

removeo The end result was a gleammg. h1gh performance

P 18~ 1 '83' w'ls •nhented by Jerry John•on when he

P•lots 1n mock dogf1ghts over nearby Sentan• lake


hac' that he would regularly use to embarrass noV1ce P-38

future ETO ·ace-m-a-day· Mat S1d Woods as CO of

tl1e 9th FS 1n August 1943 it was marked as an craft '92'


when ass1gned to Woods. although Johnson soon had th•s

P-38G·5 (serial unknown) of 1lt Dick Bong, 9th FS/

changed to h•s favoured '83' Command stnpes were also

49th FG, Dobodu ra, July 1943

added 10 the tw1n ta•ls He flew th1s mach•ne on a number of

Rank•ng Amencan ace D•ck Bong reportedly used th•s

tl1e long range bomber escort m•ss1ons performed by the

machme to cla1m a K•-43 destroyed nonhwest of Aeon Bay on

!;ltro FS tn support of tf-Je All ed bomb•ng campatgn aga•nst the

28 July 1943 wh•lst escortJng 3rd All Group B-25s that had

Japanese stronghold oi Rabaul•n October-November 1943

been sent to bomb sh•ppong o'f New Bnta•n and an a<r SHip at

These SOrtieS were arduous for both the P•lots and theor

Cape Gloucester A large formauons of 'Oscars' had sortoOd from Rabau1 rn response to the ra•d. and the ten 9th FS P-38s

aorcrah. and the un11 could barely muster t2 serviCeable P·38s t"roughoiJt th•s penod Nevertheless. 9th FS pilots proved theH ;;eual supet~orotY by dowmng 22 killS 111 JUSt four m•ss•ons at <I"BSt three of these fell to Johnson 1n thiS very machme

and twelve P-39s of the 39th FS were hard-pressed to keep the Japanese f•ghters away from the B-25s Nevertheless. the Amencan P•lots stuck to the~r JOb. <llld no fewer than


seven K•-43s were c1a1med to have been destroyed by the P·38s One of these fell to Dtck Bong /for h1s t G!h kill), but not

P-470·5 (serial unknown) of Maj Gerald Johnson, CO

before the upper surface of his left w•ng had been struck hve

of the 9th FS/ 49th FG, Gusap, January 1944


13 P·40N·5 42· 105826 of Maj Gerald Johnson, 49th FG HQ, Biak (Hollandia). October 1944

hi 9tt

rs was forced to part With liS beloved P-38s

t1mes by 7 7 mm machone gun rounds


by a dtv1ng

'Oscar' Bong's P-38 was the only one to be h•t•n the sort•e.

and 11 was duly taken out of servoce for repa1rs to be effected


ThiS was POSSobly the only ume he flew 'whole 73', tor hiS

P-38L-5 (serial unknown) of Capt Bob DeHaven, 7th FS/ 49th FG, Tacloban (Leyte), November 1944

ass•gned mount at th1s tome was 'who to 79' Note the white

..,.., )>



eyP """I of aaormng the engtne •ntal e fa1nng

7tn FS Ops L ~e ut•vE> Bob DeHaven was a ·h veteran V F1ghter Command ace who entoyed h1mselt tn t~e target



rtch sk•es over Leyte on the autumn of 19·1-1 He cla•med tour


P·38J-15 42·103993 of Capt Dick Song, V Fighter

k•lls and one damaged between 29 October and 11 November.

Command. Gusap. March 1944 Th1s aorcraft was the forst of D1ck Song's P-38 to feature the

and all of these v•ctofles were almost certainly ach•eved on

famous portrait of h•s new sweetheart. Marge Vattendahl. on


thiS P·38L·5 Ou11e POSSibly one of the ex·Sth or 475th FG

ots nose He had met h•s future w1fe dunng h•s extended spell

L1ghtmngs hastily commandeered as attnuon replacements by the 49th FG on early November, th1s alfcraft was marked

on leave tn late 1943 One of the lorst J·model L1ghtnongs to

w1th the appropnate blue squadron colours of the 7th FS. And

•each tne SWPA. 42·103993 was ass•gned to Song follow•ng

although the loghter d•d not feature e1ther De Haven s name or

l11s attachment to V Ftghter Command 1n February 1944 Th•s

scoreboard beneath the cockp•t. someone had still found the

un•Que POSting suoted tne young ace perfectly, for he could now p!Ck hts m•ssoons and fly wtth any unot he woshed 1n an

Bunv•P emblem synonymous the 7th FS durrng 11s

t•me to adorn •IS twm f•ns w th the 'Scream1n' Demons"

effort to seek out <he enemy The pr~mary reason for lh1s

spell1n Darwtn defend•ng northern Australia tn 1942 Also

POStong was to ensure that Song became the I Ifs! Amencan

featured on the cover of th•s volume. OeHaven s P-38L·5 was

to pass Eddte Rtckenbacker's 26·kill record set tn World War

rePOrtedly destroyed 111 an enemy bomb•ng ra•d soon alter •ts pilot returned home on leave 1n mod November

I f0111ally fly•ng pnmanly w1th the 475th FG. Song cla1med at


least three k1lls w•th 42·103993 between 15 February and 3 March 1944 The f1ghter was duly lost m late March when 1t


suffered a mechamcal failure wh1lst be•ng flown by another

P-470 (serial unknown) of Capt Wally Jordan, CO of the

p1lot •n bad weather

9th FS/49th FG, Gusap, March 1944


claom a VICtOry Wtth the P~7, the Uno! CO down1ng an

P-38L·1 44-23964 of Maj Dick Song, V Fighter Command, Tacloban (Leyte), November 1944

'Oscar' on 14 March 1944 Th1s doubled hos score, 'or ho had destroyed a Ki-43 on 2 August 1943 wtulst I Y•ng a P.JSH-1

M rl ed .JP n 8th FS cOlours. P-38~-1 44-23964 was Mat Bong·s mount dunng hts anachment to the 49th FG as

Jordan had taken over command of

gunnery •nstructor' throughout the Pt•ri•PP•nes campa1gnhe had returned to the SWPA 1n t11e autumn of 1944 for h•s

woth Johnson's Thunderbolt. Jordan had h•s machtr-u n1a1ked

Wally Jordan was one of 1ust a nandfu ot 9th FS polots to


9th when 'Jerry

Johnson was sent home on leave on 29 January t944 As woth comn1and Stripes mtd fuselage

th•rd tour. ostens•bly 1n a non-combat role as V F1ghter Con,mand's senior gunnery mstructor Sensmg the


opportunity tor more aenal k1lls with the 1mpend1ng retakmg of

P·38L·5 (serial unknown) of Maj Wally Jordan. 49th FG HQ, Biak, October 1944

the Phtlipp•nes. Bong contacted 49th FG CO Lt Col George Walker :lnd asked hom 1f he could fly auached to h1s old group tor a wh1le The colonel read1ly agreed. and commandeered

Sy the tom • Wally Jordan was •ssued Wtlh thiS aorcralt tn late October 1944 he had cla•med all sox of hiS kuls -three of

brand r.ew P·38L·1•44·23964 from the Strt FS to serve as

these had come earloer that same month 1n a P-38L·1

Bong's personal mount The ace would claom Sill ktlls w•tll tne

Although a member of the 49th FG HO l'oght, he kept hts

l•ghter between 10 October and t 1 November 1944, ta,tng

aorcrafl 'stabled' woth h•S old unot. the 9th FS. hence 11s rea

h•s scote to 36 v•c.:ones 44·23964 was subsequently lost

sponners Also note the f•ghter's 49th FG staff Stropes forward

wh•ISt be•ng flown by 49th FG Deputy Ops Oft.cer Mat John Dav•S ori 28 November, the p1lot perosh1ng when the f1ghter

of the tw•n fins W1th the com1ng of the Ph•hpp1ncs 1nvasoon, pre-war Army Aor Corps trt-colour rudder mark~ngs were

stalled tn soon after tak1ng otf from Tacloban

adopted by several USAAF groups. mclud1ng the 49th FG



P·40N·5 (serial unknown, possibly 42·105405) of 1Lt Bob

P-470·16 42·76059 of Maj Ed Roddy, 58th FG HO, Saidor.

De Haven. 7th FS/49th FG, Gusap, late January 1944

June 1944

Bob OeHaven would score ten of tu•



One of the •a t publiCISed foghter groups •n the SWPA. the

v1ctones on P-40s of the 7th FS/49th FG. mak1ng h•m equal top

58th FG spent much oi ots war POund•ng Japanese targets on

of the hst of USAAF Warhawk aces tn the PactfiC theatre He

the ground Indeed. the group scored JUSt 1d contrrmed 1:. lis dunng the enure Pacofoc War Ed Roddy was already an ace

cla•med hos I liSt voctory tn a P-401.: on 1·1 July 1943 and hts t ith tn th1S aorcraft on 10 December L•ke many a•rcraft •n the

when he was posted to the 58th FG from the 348th FG tn

squadron, 11 earned d1fferem artwor>; on e•ther s•de of ots nose, woth a while and purple orch•d adorn•ng the lower left cowling

February 1944 Made group operat•ons olf•cer, he was ISsued

and the name Rtla applied 1n wh1te sc11pt on the lower nght

58th. and 1t rema•ned hts mount well1nto the

with th1s command·stroped P-470·16 soon alter JOtnong the summ~>r

cowling. DeHaven later flew two other P-40Ns before eventually convertmg to the P-38 1n the autumn of 1944,


ar•d he used the Lockheed f1ghter to Increase h1s scote to

P·47D·2 42·8096 of Lt Cot Dick Rowland, CO of the

14 conformed v•ctones.

348th FG, Port Moresby, November 1943


w u

D1ck Rowland cla1med at least two of h1s f1rst f1ve kills m thiS

Retum1ng to the subdued colours and mark1ngs of the

P-·17D-2, wh1ch was also h1s ong1na1 Mtss Mutt As1de from


th1s l•thng. the Thunderbolt also featured female nose art and

348th FG's New Guonea penod, thos P-47D-4 was the mount of seven-k•ll ace Marv1n Grant for a number of months m

w a.. a.. <t

the nscroptoon PRIDE OF LOO/ OHIO (Rowland's home townl

1943-44 He had claomed two t..dls 1n hos prevoous P-47D-2 Just

tus: forward of the fuselage star and bar Deso•te the aorcraft's

a rnaner of days pnor to replacang •I woth th•s machone tn late

heavy usage tn harsh tropical conditions. 1t was kept •n ">1""3~'ulate cond ton by •ts hardworkmg groundcrew

December 1943. Note the P-47's unpa•nted wmdscreen



fram•ng and blue ta•l strope, the lauer denotong the ftghter's ass1g1'mentto the 342nd FS

23 P-470-4 42·22684 of lt Col Dick Rowland, CO of the 348th FG, Finschhafen, late December 1943 Tt a11 aft "" • o to •he 348th FG CO as a replacement tor battl&-weary 0·2 •12-8096 on late November 1943. and hke us predecessor, 1twas flown devo•d of command stnpes

28 P-47D-23 42·27886 of Capt Marvin Grant, 342nd FS/ 348th FG, leyte, November 1944 Thos unusually mad:ed P-47D-23 features voctory symbols for all seven of Grant's k1IIS, although he fa1led to cla•m any of

These do not appear to have been adopted by the 348th FG

these woth thos parttcular mach1ne He dtd. however use the

at any stage of me SWPA campa•gn

rmmaculate Thunderbolt to attacl Japanese troops on

a near·

da1ly bas1s dunng the bitterly fought campaogn to retake the


Phrltpp1nes The red. blue and whote stnptng along the length

P-51D-15 44-15103 of Col Dick Rowland, CO of the

of the fuselage was an odent1f1cauon markrng Introduced by the 342nd FS on late 1944

348th FG. San Marcellno (luzon), early 1945 P-51 D· 15 44 15103 was Col Rowland's tonal mount dunng hos long tour of duty 1n command of the 348th FG Always one


for unoque personal mark1ngs on h1s vanous aorcrah, he had

P-470-23 42· 27884 of Maj Bill Dunham, CO of the

the f1ghter adorrlld woth a map of Ohro. complete With two

460th FS/ 348th FG, leyte, December 19:'4

stars- the top one was for hos hOme town of Lod1, but the

Undoubtedly the 348th FG' most colourful Thunderbolt,

s1gnofocance of tho locat•on of the second star rema•ns a 'lWStery Rowland abandoned the Mtss Mull nrckname

P-4 7D·23 42·27884 Bonnoe was the mount of 460th FS CO

when hos group swotched from Thunderbolts to Mustangs.

Ma1 B•ll Dunham for much of the group's campa•gn Ill the Phdoppones And ot was delm~tely more than JUSt a 'shOw

chusten1ng hiS f•Q~ters DIRTY DICK onstead 44·15103 was tM 1ast machone :o bear thiS sobnQuet

pony' for Dunham used •I to cla•m f•ve k1lls m two m•ss•ons on 7 and 14 December 1944



P-47D-2 42·22532 of Maj Bill Banks, CO of the 342nd FS/

P-51K· 10 44-12017 of lt Col Bill Dunham, Deputy CO of the 348th FG, le Shim a, August 1945

348th FG, Fi nschhafen, February 1944 Pr O• g trast eo ours and mark.ngs to the late war P-47s f own by the 348th FG. th1s aucralt was almost

P-5 K-1044-12017 M

certatnly used by B 11 Banks to down some. af not all, of has

bemg •ssued to h•m at around tile same t1me as he was


w .... thtfl !lwart1me

t•ghter ass gned to Bill Dunham m the Pac•f•c. the a•rcraft

f1ve krlls •n New Guonca tn the f•nal tour months ot1943

promoted to l•eutenant colonel and made deputy CO of the

However, he did not use 11 to claom has saxth k1ll on 7 February

348th FG Dunham used •t to clam hos last kill la Kt-84 'Frank) on 1 August 1945

1944 despote the voetory .symbol appeanng on 42·22532 By then Banks had been 1ssued w1th a newer P-47D-3. although he appears to have tlown the two frghters concurrently tor a short wh1le


Th•s a1 rcraft was Col M acDonald's ftrst n~tural metal P-38,

P·51K· 10 44· 12073 of lt Col Bill Banks, CO of the

be1ng delivered to the 475th FG 1n February 1944 The f1ghter

348th FG, le Shima, July 1945

was ma1nta1ned by the 433rd FS durong ItS ume w1th the

One of the most trtktngly marked of all Pacohc f1ghters.

group, squadron records 1nd1cat1ng that 11 rema1ned on charge untol August1944 Japanese atrcra ft were rarely seen Ill

SUNSHINE VII was flown by 348th FG Col B1ll Banks from le Shtma durrng the tonal months of the war on the Pacific

the sk•es over New Guonea •n the summer of that year,

Colourful str1pes on the sp1nner and through the fighter's

and MacDonald cla1med JUSt three a11craft destroyed and

ndname denoted the four squadrons w1than the group:t>e 348th FG was the only group 111 V Foghter Command to

cla•m that thts machone was lost1n a land•ng acc•dent soon

control four unots Such mar ..ngs on the propeller sprnner


31 P·38J-15 42· 104024 of Col Charles MacDonald, CO of the 475th FG, Hollandia. May 1944

1 5 damaged dunng th•S perrod Some reports unoff1crally

were standard practice tor the group CO's machme at th1s

alter MacDonald ~as ordered home on enforced 'eave on 4 August as pun shment for lenong legendary CIV•han pdot

stage ol the war, the colours denot•ng the 460th tblackl. 1-l2r1 ob ue) 341 st lye lowI and 340th fredl FSs

Charles L.ndbergn see combat dunng his t me 'aclv•s•ng' the 475th !'G 1n June-July 19-14



P-470-4 42· 22694 of 1lt Marvin Grant, 342nd FS/

P-38H-1 42-66682 of Capt John loisel, CO of the

348th FG, Finschh afen, late December 1943

432nd FS/ 475th FG, Dobodura, late January 1944

Loose! claomed as many as four of hos eleven ktlls rn thos atrcrah , whoch he chrostened SCREAMIN' KID. P-38s would

wtth the more standard CC's strtpes and yellow unrt markangs 'Yellow 140' was always the number asstgned to

)> '"0 '"0

typocally survove less than sox months rn the orontltne wtth

the sQuadron-commander 's aorcralt, and 44-25600's broef


V Foghter Command, but 42-66682 remaoned on servoce woth

reign as the CO's mount ended when Summer rotated ba(k


the 475th FG tor more than eoght Indeed, Loose! claomed hrs

home an July 1945. Just a matter ol days later, on the 20th of that same month, the ftghter was lost on a tratn ng lltg~:


ftrst krlls woth ot as early as 15 October 1943 when he downed two ' Zekes' over Oro Bay He con110ued to fly the aorcratt on

when tts polot. Lt Frazee, suffered complete e ectrrcal fa lure

ano off unttl late January 1944 when the forst o: the vastly "'nproved J-models arrrved rn the Solomons

and was forced to bale out .

m Cl)


33 P-38L-5 44-25643 of Maf John Loisel, 475th FG HQ, Dulag (Leyte). late January 1945


Boyce, Col J Ward (editor). AmeriCan Fignrer Aces Album

Thos a11craft was ongonally ass,gned to Col MacOonald, who marked at up as 'blue 100' PUTT PUTT MARU. Group records

The Amerocan Ftghter Aces Assocratton 1996

mdocate thattt was assued to the group CO as a replacement for 44-24843. whoch was lost on combat on 2 January

Ferguson, S W and Pascalis Will lam K, Prorecr & Avenge -

rhe 49/h Ftghrer Group m World War 1/ Sr.htfler, 1996

lnexpltcably passed on to 475th FG Ops Offocer Ma1 Loose! later that same month, 44-25643 (monus tts dtstoncttve nose

Hess, William N, Pacdtc Sweep Doubleday, 1974

art. and woth ItS sode number changed to 'yellow 10 1') •s ltsted as havong been badly damaged on a taxung acctdent on 27 January. The onc•dent occurred at Dulag on wet condouons

Maloney, Edward T (editor), Ftghrer Tacrtcs of the Aces S. WP.A World War 11 Publtcattons. 1978

when the 432nd FS's Lt Arnold Larsen landed 'hot and flat and skodded onto the statronary Loasel. who had just led a

Molesworth, Carl, Osprey Atrcraft olrhe Aces 55 · P-40

lour-shtp patrol back to base Both ftghters were despatched

Warhawk Aces of me Pacd•c Osprey, 2003

to the 1Oth Servace Squadron for repaors to be affected. and 44·256431ater returned to actron woth the 8th FG's BOth FS.

O'Leary, Michael, Productton Lme ro Fronrlme 3 ·Lock heed P-38 Llghrnmg. Osprey, 1999

34 P-38H-5 42-66817 of Capt Tom McGuire, 431st FS/

O'Leary, Michael, USAAF F•gnrers of World War 2 B anoford

475th FG, Oobodura, late December 1943

Press 1986

?r's partocv 1r P-38H-5 wa! McGwe·s .>econd L!ghtnong. hls ftrst IH-1 42-665921 havong been wronen off followmg

Olynyk. Frank, Srars & Bars· A T,oure to rne AmeriCan

damaged mltcted by eoemy cannon fore dunng a dogfrght

Ftghrer Ace 1920.1973 Grub Street. 1995

near Wewa• on 29 August 1943 -tts ptlot cla•med a ·zeke' and a Tony' destroyed on return 42-66817 lasted untrlot was replaced by a new J-modelm late January 1944 McGwe

Stanaway. John C and Hickey Larry, ArcacA & Conquer Tne 8rh Ftgnrer Group m World Wa' 1/ Sr 1 'fer, 1995

havong by then ratsed hos tally to 16 conformed kalls (tew of these were scored tn thos partocular machtne, however)

Stanaway, John C, Kearby s Thunderbolts - The 348rh Frghter Group m World War 11 Schtfler, 1997

35 P-38L-1 44-24155 of Maj Tom McGuire, CO of the 431st FS/475th FG . Oulag (Leyte), early November 1944

Stanaway, John C, Possum, Clover & Hades - The ·175rh Ftghrer Group m World War 11 Schoffer, 1993

McGuoie's most successful P-38 was undoubtedly PUDGY

M. altas 44-24155. whtch he flew from late October through to early January 1945, when the Ltghtnong was removed from the frontltne and sent to a servacrng untt lor overhaul By then

Stanaway, John, Kearby's Thunderbolrs • The 348rh Ftghrer Group m World War 11 Phalanx. 1992

McGuire had ctaomed at leas t 14 ktlls wath ot, taking hts ftnal

Stanaway, John, Perer Three EtQhl- The Ptlots ' Srory

tally to 38 voctorres 1t os depocted here after he had clatmed

Poctorral Htstor tes Publtshtng Company. 1986

hts forst success fa Kr-44 'ToJo'l with the ftghter on 1 November 1944, PUDGY lVI was sat at Oulag awaottng despatch to a servtctng unat when McGutre sortted for the last ttme 1tn 431st FS P-38L-1 44-24845) on 7 January 1945

Stanaway, John, Kearby's Thunderbolts · The 348rh Ftghrer Group m World War 11 Phalanx. 1992 Stanaway, John, Osorey Atrcrafr of rhe Aces 14 • P-38


L!ghcnmg Aces of rhe PacdJC and CBI Osptey 1997

P·38L·5 44-25600 of Maj Elllot Summer, CO of the 432nd FS/ 475th FG, Lingayen (Luzon), July 1945

Stanaway, John, Osprey A•rcraft of rile Aces 26 ·Mustang

~""sa craft was ttoe r,na mount ol ter>·ko ace E tor Summer.

and ThunderboJr Aces of the Pacrhc and CBI Osprey, 1999

althOugh by the ttme tt was rssued to ham tn early 1945 he had clatmed all of hos aerral VJCtorres The foghter was unusual rn that ot boasteo the 432nd FS s emblem on Its nose, along

Toliver, Raymond F and Constable Trevor J , F,gnter Aces of the USA Scn,tfer 1997







10 Jusllo:.=ns n sh WJ!h page and loc.. ~


bold r ales.,, ""' •

Am.1tan Islands '"· 60 alli:u:!c W.illllage of 81 81 Andll1SOI' Cane!' 119 A•<ollSOil Col G.. enG GG 1a1 78

S.••• 48

Bu' ,. M<· llo!o r I1Coil Wolloam Mc6owan 8<11' 25. 26!13. 1, il q '·'lb. 93 94 96 132243. 638893 B·~· 117 119 0 52 81 113 116 f olt 84 86 89 lOS I 274042 101 114 45 sa I


106 101 1><0 Sir.

dr;..ton:llng 9. 1].14 28-29 95

••e bambo"' 110'19Bn glrtto~l




l;oo 1 lll MJjl Ro If~ 1111lo<t S 48, 49·!>4 SO 51 S2 54 63 14-16<60. TO I 14 1151 118. 19 Rr• .~no L<IRo,~ • Condnn. Ho nr. 1119 Cro.~~q M~J·p.,f,1


Curi~UP lOW p ~·)~ &


16 17 13 . llllhnon 41


Alii! •110!



lot ;o:J SI

51 sa 11, 11


frt~ •


H' ~ -q'"' .t"f10w."' 100 101 1DZ 104



30 14 1



4 45


rltotl m• ,., « 3H 39 59 blos.lto' 11 48



n so 93 95 103· 104



'I Qhlle.JI!e!l l1 !JO

F"""""' ]133 F•3lce ll 117


11 31 u'll. 1001;J!ccn Bru




U1 '22

Ciar:lnel I/Sol Md 21 ~ 11t ta!erC S. 15 • Goto<l• 1Lillt~:t~\ " 10 n 11 12 1·3 5S 113 lioont Ill I~ l• Coli r.l.lrvln E.;· 27.28 • '4 96-99, 98 Grcn huest Cap! rtater Colllt<TtV VoctO< 31 ,1 J:.. 32 I. 9 1;7 1241 gtu1.mdatt.tei 9 10 see•Isobombii"'Q, l'!tpomQ stttkl

12!> m•

'l;u oma K •9


~,. ..-tf1A."Tl8J1CC!\P ~~~

55 SO 'SJ 1 "''li!+4 18

M"'""V ~· "l 24'72. 1(61 90 S1 '1-&1'14 9 61 1241 104 oO 44 1/017 30171 1161. 101 r0441Xl13 26113 1161. 96

l'l:)t!h Amman P ~,

, 1 « lo•o·



P ~lK P·~l~ r~n;


llptoo1oM AIJmo 83, 106, 1H l!.l!1flp H1 J mm e 48 I!JmbUII~ 1lf &b 48 H or tool f..,.,.! A !16 • ,.. M. A.lon E n.,~ 23 24 6. 766. ,7 1z. 1Z4 I I• \ ....j ~ f .C ·21 18 19 20 21 22 4 556. 123 41 ' 41

ldti>CS, defenS••• 17, 42·•3. 45 48 82·83. 87 '19 ~02·113 Jnackod hom beh nd and above 43 81 99 i•vostve atuon 49 •nd1v1dual 61 m.Jnoeuues. P·40 55 S<llJildron 62 taCI>a.ond•;•d•a!cortoat18.2ll.&I·S2 120.121 taclo.ot>ensr.e 17.41,8J.85.99·100, 111·113 onJ~:,~g alone 18. Xl ' otT<K• "0 en•mv a ·crall 32·93 a:uco <>g..:.'llRJ t!I$UIIatQ!!S 90'J2 1ft llso~ head-GI1~ 2223 ll1llMI!ual 61-62 squadt1ln S2.6J racta P >2' :n lati>CS. ~ "' 51 :.: ss-56 S2.6J 121 la,M.o1 11y 45

Puosons MJi Oo "''"'V N 25 37·39 Peaol fl.!oboo 110 poJou

wnbo:l.ghler t"''lh Ves. <ro.<t.eoqe BOil cont•tlled iea<l11111J 31 37·38 ~ ].4 3!> <IJ.-Il. 109 ~~""'"'· 1·'-15:;<;


• ·Som

Jd1n>on 11 • .. ~ 40 44: 4243 63 111-13 01 .og ll~ 4445 ' 4647 • .,., .vrnv 4045 41 Jordan &9-6< 60 61 19, 20 I ~ 1 r., 3 11 Nt 89 .!9 .:t:,,,e-v. (,1 r,, )f[ r 15 ~·"~' Gd 21 ~~r...-as~ ~(<')ob,



Lnr10n l •fM, 1lc 1 1


lam MJJ ~·· o n ,. • laMent~ T/S1p -.. 113 aadenhpSS




I 28. 29-30. 3!> 36 80 • 82 22 31 44 60 19 1 81)'Ao, l1 p -170 42·80!lli 22o7l. 12!'.126 88 47·12537 25113 1261 B.•O• IV 84 8'j O•rf¥ Old M.m 105 P 4/D J.l2·22604 10 1165. 1231 r -110 3 s,.,~ 93 94 P..c/0 • lo 1'14 42·'7"" 2].72 1 - 86 87


~ • J )


92 97

rte. 49lo f Jl•le• Bomber W•ng


!Jn,>e<i S~.>res Army"'" forces

Vfoghwr Command 15,16-&S 70 1251

groop• Brh FG lf•ghret Groupl 4 9·24 35th fG 22. 2!.39 ~9th FG ~0·64 12.13168 69 124!. ~ 71


5611 """"'' Gm"p Ill 58tr FG 21 111. 1251 nes. ao 11 f 22·24! n. 1251161. 26 71 ,,. » 74 l'ib I' 8' 84 86 86-107. 89 90 91 93 96 lOO 101 4i'" fi: 4 7 31 15 116< 337 I 11 109 111



'· •f > ·,.;,-....,.. S;_.,-42 43 F44 4·o 41 17, 18A ~


63 10, 11 V. 12~ 14 59 IL! I, 19 11 ' p. • .. &ouav 49! •.••, 'L. 16 '6 il(.!.1f:>.l!U>ffi 10 "1-15. 11 13 {.<-{4 1·3 65 173) 39·h FS.'JSI'l ffi 31 31·35. I. 9 ii7 12AI 40th fS.'JSth ffi 35·36 4hlPu®•tSquadron/JlstPul ,..,, ;, lllr 26 ~7th Pursuol SQuadron•!i41h """"''Group 46 IIO!hfSi8th f(i 17·21 18 20 22 23 4·76667 1131241 311sl FSi!XIIh fCi 80 81 "'111 fS/3481hFG 96 142nd FS/348thFG 25. 27, 28o;7374 1261 87. 'lt199 97 101 lfl.l 107 105 43151 FSI~7>>h fG 34. 351 16 •271 11~ I '0 l32r<JFSi475thfCi 32i75 116·1ZI 3P 1171113 11S.1ZO.I22. 121 4ndfS.41~ ffi 108 460tnfS.i34St fG 29 '4 Ill. S• . , 100 501!.1 Be (l 18


l'cni.!Qel!ly16 Ja;ll!leSe A

I 8

110 ~

U.'ot>ld St•• A f1 m•IIPOI;•••· l'!ou ol Wales 58·59. 88 1!13not'"•,•. Spl•1 S 12· n SR. 61 ntanoijuvtos dfifen$rve P-40 55 McCnm•ey Ma1 Rooon 41 Mo1dJoo.l'j Captlla!>Y Co11Cha<le$Ht11>r(M• 1 31115 IIGI 108 108 111. 109 110. 119. 127 Mc(l!•'f Ill M¥ 48 McG '" Ca~; 1 1Jf~ Ma1 Thoma.sBtX!l.iJn.Jr T-mm~.Jr 6 34.35061271 110 11!'.120. 116111118 MrCfo bf3n l P J"' 11·711 Ill) I~Wtllosht /W.1 Z -s- 'h<!' !>.. 8 M.::.lblhi Ci-IMil!etty so ~o.CM3 Jack 4 I,JII,llnll ~J ()scar'

15. 16. 11

~all'",. 85 IQU3:bn- 21. so sq-Jidrun laC!CS 50-51. 54. 55-!16. 62-63. 11' s:r•'tl!tj tnlt:•> 9 13-14 24 77·79. 90. 95-96 St1111d, Cat>1 V11U•m li W ,~8• J:>J6 36 Suom'er. lll!latl!! Ma'E' "'' 3&76 127L 121l 22 121 122


32. :n

l<~"lou nea



I 24

figtMr t.\


sllopp•I!CJ "'''' 91' Smi:.,, Btog Gt• <red~!< a H

P Jlll I


25 ;:;.. • 27



31 32. 8'57. 114< 41·T'c.&\ 2914 <161 100 IDZ 4l-1~R'l6 la74 1261. 97 DIRTY OlD /.'A1'14~ 107 P470~ 15 RN '""ba '' :apt Edd>e !iJ 118. 19 125 Rotte< hWM 81 Robb•nl. C.p1 Jitf 1 19 Roddy, C.p!llatt!f Coil Ellwaod lraneos 21171, 1251. 81 fr.; 8284, 8'j Rowland. ll Colllaleo CPII Robert R•cha<d Oocl 22·24112 12&-1261 86 86-92. 87 88 89 90 91 Rurt NoKbM 19 4?·~-·


41 63 IT.;



4166817 :14(16. 127l 116 8l(IO{J& GUTS I 121 P38J 44 1:""- 3 ~ 1'!Jt /1111 >.1--' 7 67 23· o2~ llh f Y' 21 22 5 56 '23 P3 ·~" 23Z46 'i6 Jl P.J 14 1119 I SI u 15 'i9 11 ''' SI iJ 42· 1 .: )11 1 31 I'> 1161 PUt. ,y 117 WHiiM4 tr,p..., E,- Oa•s> 12 Z. 6~ .(31 I J8J· '0 44 1~81 SO 54 P·31lL s1 sa 113.121122

44·73964 63 16(10 1251 44 24155 35176 1271 4424843 1119 Jll·~ 4 60 13 1800. 1251 .... >41~ 47 4415fm J6, 7F 12'' 44 ·<.! 3)75 ?! 111 20 ., 151 ~ • 41 126'1 1 114 45 loc:l. 't'W"'" '"'V St~ loise • • • 11 1' 113 114 lvnc! r 10 , ~

~ l1 1J. IZ6 98

p 410·5 13 11 f"' ./4 P.4J0.11 4>r..o!>9 21

P RlH !>

Be Be<



lnit><t;ll. Cllatl 1:1 54 63 110 'I 111 2 le•l\eedP.'IRL>o g '80' 44 Dud!. ' 13 •1\<11; I 119 p.38f.! S2 421. • 44 p 38G 1 4 1. 18 19. 20 4 6 17.11 P·3AG ~ 1 u .r;g 124 12or p.3flG 104Z· .1!132 44 P-:lllH 1 43 41·66682 32 7, 116-1271 113 41·66835 18 AJ 44 10168. 1241 who! 193' 108



Wa;111f.L! C. f S 27 • Wa '"' ll Cc lierJ<ge A 48 ~4~ ~ Wii~ .. ~M. Cart Jdmes O~.&.,. 4t 45 '/~t;!tP(JI\S

homos. !iOOt1iOO·•b 29 bombs. napalm !Ill gu,.&. rr.erheated 63 Wolloarn•. Cap! Wawa< Wolloe 48 wmqrnon 34 112 Wood llt Bob 48•<h BIIQ Gen Paul8 SQu<elO 7 7

Young M•I JOhn R Johnny 6. 2~31 30

Related titles & companion series from Osprey AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES (ACE) [xpcri cnccs and achievements of ' ace' fighter pilots COMBAT AIRCRAFT (COM) Hbto ry, ted1no logy and crews of military .1in.ratt

FRONTLINE COLOUR (FLC Colour photographs of historic military aircraft

AVIATION ELITE UNITS (AEU) Combat histories of fighter or bomber units

PRODUCTION LINE TO FRONTLINE (PFL) Production hi~torics of historic milltary aircraft

For ru rthcr de tail\ o n these and o t her Osprcv m illlar> hi \ tory series plea\c go to or t·o n tac t u\ fo order any of these title\, or for more information on


Publishing, contact:

0 orey Dwecl (UK) TPI +44 (0 9 4 !3863 Fax +4·1 10)19l3 H 8·19 f ' '' '1lo.'Olospr :hr t Osprey DoreCl (USA) c/o MBI Pubhshong To! 'ree I 800 826 6600 Phone 7 5 294 33·15 F< ~I 1° '1'-18 EM(} '1fo(ao,(JI~ o.luacom




OSPREY AIRCRAFT OF TH E ACE s â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ 61


' Twelve to One' V Fighter Command Aces of the Pacific

Like the USAAF war fighting manuals 'The Long Reach' and 'Down to Earth' that have previously featured in the Aircraft of the Aces series, this volume details the combat experiences of the elite American aces, but this time against the Japanese rather than the Germans. The highest scoring US pilots of World W ar 2 fought over the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines. Flying P-38s, P40s, P-47s and P-51 s, men such os Dick Bong and John McGuire won the Medal of Honor

for their successes in combat in 194345. 'Twelve to One' is a wartime manual detailing the 'tricks of the trade' employed by these men, as well as 24 other crack pilots who fought the Japanese with the Fifth Air Force' s V Fighter Command . This rare document is reproduced in this book, together with concise biographies of each of the men whose tips for success and survival ore also featured. Some 36 all-new profiles and over 90 photographs illustrate this work.

OSPREY AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES SERIES The best-selling aviation series of recent I

years , with over


copies sold

since its launch Comprehensive histories of the elite fighter p ilots, a nd the a ircra ft that they flew A unique sou rce of information researched by recognised experts, and brought to life by first-hand accounts

from the combat veterans themselves Concise, authorita tive text is supported by at least


specia lly commissioned

or1gino l colou r o rtworks, new sca le


plans and the best archival photography from around the world

I 1111


9 78 1841 767840

61 'twelve to one' v fighter command aces of the pacific  
61 'twelve to one' v fighter command aces of the pacific