VB-135 1st Tour, May- November 1943

 

Aircrafts BuNo and movement

 

Format: BuNo, Squadron Code (R=replacement), Date moved out of the Squadron, Destination, Remarks

 

Click on thumbnail to expand the photo

29737/?
6/28? water-looped on landing after mission over Kiska, repaired. (Claude W. Gaskell)
11/1/43 to VB-136/5R2. The first plane to fly Empire Express route 11/16/43
29740/?
10/21/43 to VB-136/8R2
Flown by VB-135 in December at Whidbey
29744/?
 
10/11/43 to VB-136
10/16 to Adak for major repairs
?????/18V
?????/20V
29768/X5
5/4/43 Landing accident in Amchitka. To Hedron 5/5/43. Used as a source of spares. Stricken off the record 8/31/43
29776/23V
6/11/43 damaged on forced landing due to weather, Ogliuga Island. Salvaged for parts. 
(Lt (jg) A. W. Havu)
29806/?
11/17/43 To VB-136/4R
LAC C 6/4/44 while flown with FAW-6, NAS Whidbey Island
(Joseph Dore, Jr.)
 
33129/?
29730/?
29732/?
29734/?
29748/?
29767/?
29796/?
33137/? 
29739/?
5/1/43 Damged by ground fire
5/5/43 To Hedron/X6
29743/15V
6/26/43 cracked upon landing in Amchitka due to landing gear failure, destroyed. No injuries to personnel. 
29746/16V
 
5/16/43 damaged on landing,
Jack J. Kassel
5/23/43 completely destroyed on the ground by the 21​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​V
29769/19V (?)
9/11 Ground-looped and damaged by fire during landing in storm at Shemya Island (Philip G. Marquart)
Flown by VB-135 in December at Whidbey
 
29787/21V
 
5/23/43 Crashed on take-off, destroyed by fire, Amchitka
(Grant T. Anderson)
 
29795/?
December 1943- to Hedron/X10
LAC C 1/20/44 while flown with FAW-6, NAS Whidbey Island (Jack B. English)
29731/?
3/26/45 29731 Lt James Rumford, taking off from Naval Outlying Field in Coupeville, WA (10 miles south of Whidbey Island), lost power in one engine on take-off, swerved off runway causing considerable damage to a/c which later was struck off charge. No injury to personnel. 
 

Planes of VB-135

Click on the photo to zoom. Navigate with arrows.

Commanding Officers, 1st tour:
Lt. Comdr. Cy E. Perkins, 15-26 Feb 1943
Lt. Comdr. Paul C. Williams, 26 Feb-11 July 1943
Lt. Clyde H. Parmelee, 11 July- 5 Nov 1943

The Squadron was commissioned on 15 February 1943 at Ault Field, Whidbey Island,

Washington. The nucleus to the Squadron was obtained from a decomissioned PBY Squadron, VP-42

that had made an impressive record in the defence of Dutch Harbor when it was attacked by Japanese

forces in June 1942. The Squadron became the first one to operate PV-1 aircrafts not only in Western

Aleutians, but in the Pacific theater. VB-135's home port was Seattle, Washington.

.

Planes arrival to NAS Whidbey Island:

 

28 Jan

29744 VB-135 (to VB-136/8R after 9/25)

 

31 Jan

29806 VB-135

 

8 Feb

29737 VB-135, as of 11/1: VB-136/5R2

29739 VB-135 GACF C 5/1/43, to Hedron 5/5/43, renamed X6

29746 VB-135, LACW 5/16/43, destroyed on the ground 5/23/43

29769/19 VB-135 9/11/43 ground-looped, repaired

29776/23 VB-135, FLW C 6/11/43  (salvaged for parts)

29787/21 VB-135, KTOAEX A 5/23/43 (destroyed)

 

15 Feb

29748 VB-135

 

25 Feb

29795 VB-135, to Hedron 5/5, named X10. LAC C 1/20/44 while flown with FAW-6, NAS Whidbey Island

29796 VB-135

 

26 Feb

VB-135 was formed, CO- Lt. Comdr. Williams

 

15 Feb- 25 March 1943: training in PV-1 type aircraft for patrol duty in the Alaskan area, Whidbey Island, WA.

(BuNos 29731, 29733, 29736, 29775, 29796- besides assigned to VB-135 and VB-136)

5 May - 5 November 1943: Primary function- High speed patrol in the Western Aleutians. Secondary function- Radar bombing of Kiska Island

and anti- Japanese aircraft patrol west of Attu.

 

FAW-4 Attu

 

21 March 1943: 15 Ventura's were assigned to the Squadron in Seattle. Blue-Grey/Light Grey two- color scheme (Scrivner, p. 14)

 

22 March 1943 29749 was assigned to the Squadron

 

25 March 1943: the Squadron departed NAS Whidbey, enroute to Adak with 15 Ventura's.

29768 Lt Cmdr Williams

29737 Lt (jg) Bermingham

29739 Lt (jg) Gaskell

29740 Lt (jg) King

29744 Lt (jg) Marquart

29746 Lt (jg) Bingham

29748 Lt (jg) Davidson

29749 Lt (jg) Yund

29767 Lt (jg) Morrison

29769 Lt. Foster

29776 Lt (jg) Havu

29787 Lt (jg) Fisher

29795 Lt (jg) Morse

29796 Lt. Parmelle

29806 Lt (jg) Brower

 

The time allowed for training on the new aircraft type was inadequate. The training program itself left much to be desired. The first pilots completed program with only 60-80 hours in the PV-1. Instrument time consistent in the work under the hood, which was not suitable for flying in Aleutian area. The squadron pioneered cold weather patrol with an aircraft that had originally been designed as a fast attack bomber. They were assigned to an area which consisted of a narrow chain of volcanic islands which had the most treacherous weather found in any combat zone, due to continual fog, low ceiling, and strong variable winds.

 

BuNos (flown by Pat):

29729 (9/5,14,17)

29730 (10/1,5,14; 11/4,10,11,14,19,25,28)

29731 (9/8,12,14,23,29,30; 10/1,7x2,25,26; 11/1)

29732 (9/1,16,32,18,21,22; 10/6x2,8,12,14,20,20,26; 11/7,18; 12/5)

29734 (9/7,8,18,19x2,23,24)

29737, Lt. (jg) Bermingham. Water-looped 6/28, repaired (3/18,19,20,21,25,29,31; 4/9,12,21; 5/3,4,15,21)

29739, Lt. (jg) Gaskell. Damaged by fire 5/1, repaired

29740, Lt. (jg) King (12/28)

29743/15 Cracked up on landing 6/26, destroyed

29744, Lt. (jg) Marquart. (4/14,16)

29746/16, Lt. (jg) Bingham. destroyed on the ground 5/23 (3/16)

29748, Lt. (jg) Davidson (5/7; 12/23)

29749/14, Lt. (jg) Yund.

29767, Lt. (jg) Morrison (5/17)

29768/X5, Lt. Comdr. Williams. Salvaged for spares after a landing accident.

29769/19, Lt. Foster. Damaged 9/11 (4/25; 12/3,11)

29775 (12/29x2)

29776/23, Lt. (jg) Havu. Landing accident 6/11, salvaged for spares. (5/12,25)

29787/21, Lt. (jg) Fischer. 5/23 destroyed on take-off (4/19)

29795, Lt. (jg) Morse. LAC 1/20/44 HEDRON FAW-6, NAS Whidbey Isl

29796, Lt. Parmelle (3/6,15)

29806, Lt. (jg) Brower. LAC C 6/4/44 Joseph Dore Jr, HEDRON FAW-6, NAS Whidbey Isl,

Ault Field, Familiarization flight (5/5)

33129 (10/10,13,19,25,31; 11/3,7,11,16)

33137 (10/17; 11/4,9)

 

Assuming, that the assigned Squadron codes were 14 through 25 (12 a/c and 3 to

Hedron), there is no pictures of 24 and 25 found by now.

 

Squadron Codes, unmatched with BuNo's (as of today, 4/1/16):

17,18,20,22,24,25

 

26 March: arrived to Annette

30 March: arrived to Yakutat

2-3 Apr: arrived to Kodiak

9 Apr 1943: arrived to Unmak, only 10 of 15 a/c are in operational condition.

12 Apr 1943: first arrival to Adak, 12 of 15 a/c are operable.

15 Apr only 4 of 15 a/c are in operational condition.

17-20 Apr: 7 of 15

20-24 Apr: 8 of 15

29 Apr: 10 of 15

3 May: 9 of 15

4 May: eight a/c moved to Amchitka from Adak

 

1 May 29739 mildly damaged on the ground by fire. As of 5/5- X6 of Hedron

5 May 29768 Transferred to Hedron. Landing accident in Amchitka, J. W. Morse. 

 

From FAW Four Hedron War Diary:

"The first radio-radar men arrived at Amchitka, which was never a BASU, but has held the term of PATSU, in the spring of 1943. A squadron of PV's arrived on the field immediately after the bomber strip was opened. These new planes introduced new problems with ASD, AYD, and ASK radar equipment, as well as new radio equipment. No one had much experience in the maintenance of PV's and they promptly developed a multitude gripes. There were no spare parts, but one of the PV's accidentally ran off the runway without damaging the radar gear. From that time forward it served as a source of supply. Parts were taken from the plane until, when it was finally removed, there was little left except a skeleton."
 

5 May 1943:

Transferred to Hedron:

29768 renamed X5. Served as a source of spares for PATSU Amchitka, until was formally dropped from the inventory on 8/31/43

29739 renamed X6

29749 retained the original code 14V

Aircraft from Adak were flown to Amchitka

 

9 May: all 12 a/c are operable

 

16 May: only 6 a/c of 12 are operable, all at Amchitka

29746/16 (Kassel, Jack J., VB-135 NAF Amchitka) LACW- landing accident due to weather.  Weather reconnaissance. Destroyed completely on 5/23

Dingle, J. A., Wolpin, C. B., Peterson, N. E., Clement, A. J., Reed, H.

 

18 May: X3/Hedron participated in search for Catalina 59V.

Another Catalina, 43V, set new record, while searching the Sector 5. It flew to Long. 157*30', that included portion of Kamchatka south of Petropavlovsk.

 

23 May 1943: 29787/21, VB-135: crash on takeoff, Amchitka. The pilot, thinking he was airborne, pulled up the landing gear. In the resulting fire one of the 500 pound bombs exploded. Pilot Ens. P. P. Patterson and A.D. Shaver, AMM3c, were killed. Quick action on the part of a nearby Army B-24 saved the lives of three of the plane crew. BuNo 29746/16 (also VB-135), damaged in landing accident on 5/16 and parked on the side of the runway, was hit by Patterson’s a/c and completely destructed.

 

Army P-38's attacked flight of Betty's, downing five or more. Two P-38s lost.

 

24 May: Catalina 51V BuNo 04411, Lt (jg) Paul C Spencer, VP-62, crashed in Kuluk Bay returning from a search.

 

31 May 1943: As a result of the operating experience of the past month and conferences with the Commanders of Bombing Squadrons One Thirty-Five and One Thirty-Six, Commander Fleet Air Wing Four reported by dispatch to Commander Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, Commander Fleet Air, Seattle, Commander Fleet Air, West Coast and Bureau of Aeronautics that the PV-1 airplane was not suitable for employment in the operations of FAW4 in the Aleutians, due to their lack of effective range, dangerous take off characteristics resulting in inability to take off under average conditions and other technical defects.

 

2 June 1943: 6 PV-1s of VB-135 bombed Little Kiska, one a/c to observe and photograph the results. 17 250- lbs bombs were dropped using radar through the cloud layer. Three bombs hit the water and fourteen straddled coast defense guns. The planes drew light AA fire, results were not observed.

 

June 11: Amchitka field closed d/t weather, two Lightnings run out of gas and crashed. 1 pilot lost.

29776/23 (Lt. A. Havu) made forced landing on Ogliuga due to weather. The aircraft was salvaged for parts.

 

18 June: a Liberator left Umnak for Adak and turned back due to the weather. It crashed in the vicinity of Mt. Cleveland after exhausting fuel.

 

20 June: six Ventura's flew radar bombing mission to Kiska.

 

26 June: 29743/15 cracked up upon landing on Amchitka due to main gear failure; destroyed

 

28 June: 29737 water-looped on landing after mission over Kiska (Claude W. Gaskell). Repaired, as of 11/1/43- VB-136/5R2

 

29 June: Star & Bar with red border was introduced for national markings

 

6 Aug: 6 out of 10 Ventura's are operational

 

10 Aug: squadron moves from Amchitka to Attu

 

14 August: Red border is to be removed from the Star & Bar markings

 

18 Aug one a/c is transferred? Lost? ( only 9 in custody)

 

11 Sept: On returning from search, two Venturas, 29749/14V and 29769/19V (P. Marquart), ground looped in attempting to land at Shemya.

"We lost 3 planes one stormy day when the wind was blowing so hard they couldn't land at Attu.  Luckily, Shemya was handy with a runway three miles long that had been built for B-29s.  Apparently tentative plans had been made to bomb Tokyo from the Aleutians.  The runways up there consisted of steel matting laid over a sand base.  What with the rain and the wind, the sand base was gradually eroded and ripples developed in the matting.  Shemya was and probably still is a long narrow flat island.  The runway ran along the island and landings were made on the runway regardless of the wind direction.  During this storm, the wind was blowing across the runway which meant that the planes had to come in very fast.  When they landed, the ripples in the runway caused the planes to bounce up in the air.  And with every bounce, the wind would blow the plane toward the edge of the runway.  Finally all three were blown off the runway an bogged down in the surrounding sand."

 

24 Sept: 29734 (L. A. Patteson, VB-135) TAC C - Taxing accident after night flare illumination flight, NAS Whidbey Island

Felker, H. F., Stobbs, D. W., Biros, J. H., Bodenik, F. J. , Fader, S.

10/1: from Attu to Adak, VB-136 from Adak to Attu

10/5: 15 PV-1s of VB-139 arrived to Adak from Kodiak and join 8 PV-1s of VB-135

10/11: 29744 transferred to VB-136, 7 planes remain in custody

10/21: 29740 to VB-136, still 7 planes in custody (29744 back?)

10/28: VB-135 relieved from duty with 4 planes, the other three PV-1s in custody were non-operable, and transferred to Hedron.

By the end of the first tour, out of 15 original PV-1s, 4 aircrafts were destroyed in accidents, 2 damaged beyound repair and salvaged for spares, and at least two required extensive repairs as result of accidents. None were lost due to the enemy action.

10/31: only 2 planes in custody in Adak, both non-operable

11/1/43: 29737 repaired and transferred to VB-136/5R2

11/2/43: one PV-1 removed from the inventory of VB-135 and transferred to Hedron

11/12/43: the last PV-1 of VB-135 removed from its inventory, but the aircraft physically remained at Adak.

 

"In November we were all relieved and sent back to the States.  A DC-4 picked us up, took us to Kodiak where we waited for a few days,  and then directly to Seattle.  We left the planes on Attu, and I assume a new squadron replaced us and used the old planes for spares."

 

"When the time came for us to leave, we left our planes in Attu and were taken to Kodiak by a DC-4.  This was the first time we had seen a DC-4, and thought it was a monster compared to the DC-3s we were more familiar with.  We stayed at Kodiak for several days, and then flew back to the Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle".

 

As of Dec 1943- 29795 became X10 of Hedron

1944, Preparations for the 2nd tour:

 

3 January to 15 April 1944: training with PV-1 type aircraft for duty in the Northern Pacific, with special emphasis on instrument flying, bombing, gunnery and navigation. Meager training in the use of photo-flash bombs in connection with night photo- reconnaissance was done.

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