VB-135, 2nd tour, May-October 1944.
Aircrafts BuNo and movement
Format: Squadron Code (R=replacement), BuNo, Date moved out of the Squadron, Destination, Remarks
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VB-135 2nd Tour, May- October 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.
2/18/44 Five new PV-1s were assigned to the Squadron to total of 10 planes.
And eight more
Other BuNos flown during March 1944: 29121, 33121, 29129, 29137, 33137, 29930, 29767, 34630
4/16/44 48880 suffered major damage by Army handling during a hangar fire in Yakutat enroute to Adak. The plane was transferred to Seattle, WA for overhaul. Lt. Vivian's diary:
“One of the crewman had removed the tail wheel and was patching the tube when the word “Fire” was passed. This ship was blocking the exit of all planes and it could not be pushed because the tail wheel was off. Someone threw a a steel cable around the tail and a tractor hauled the ship to safety. But not until it had snapped the strut lowering the under gun station onto the deck. The cable bit through the soft aluminum doing major damage. All the remaining planes were pushed to safety. The (damaged) plane had to be returned to Seattle.”
19 April to 1 May 1944: Loran training
4/21/44 VB-135 arrives to Adak for Loran training. While there, some crews were scheduled to perform operational searches.
4/27/44 48937/11V lost at sea with all hands during special test search flight on the use of LORAN for long-distance navigation SW of Adak.
Crew: Lt. James J. McNulty, Jr.; James G. Rocke; Leroy M. Sellers; Richard L. Jackson; Roman C. Czaplick; James J. Duffin; James L. Gartland; and William B. How.
Vivian: “Near the conclusion of our (LORAN) schooling, each crew took his plane out on a short navigational flight and see how this new gear operated under flight conditions. Jim McNulty borrowed Bill Clapham's plane for his LORAN flight. He never returned from that flight. We received just one message from him that indicated he was having engine trouble and was coming in on one engine. The entire squadron was immediately alerted. We searched for two days in the area without so much as seeing a floating object. It was the opinion that he was too low and too heavy for just one engine.”
4/30/44 Total of six new and six old planes
VB 135, arrived to Casco field, Attu, AK on 5/2/44 with 12 PV-1s after completion of advanced operational and navigational training in Loran equipment.
1/48733, (c/n 237-5969, #206 in the batch) 5/5/44 Lt A.A. Wheat is missing from the first mission to the Kurils. Radio Tokyo confirmed one plane was shot down over the Northern Kurils.
2/48889 (White 889) no Black 2 on the nose.
5/23/1944, upon take-off from NAS Attu, the engine failed and the plane crashed into the sea and exploded, killing all hands. Crew: Pilot Lt.(jg) Carl E. Clark; Lt.(jg) Kemble White, Jr. ; Ens. Vernon A. Wagner; AMM3c James W. Reeve; AOM3c James J. Lee; AMM2c Walter J. Burkowski; and ARM2c John Jalacic.
2R/48909. 7/23/44 Lt. John Vivian attacked and sank a Japanese picket boat but suffered right engine damage from AA fire. "I nursed the engine along as we set course for home," he recalled, "but it just wasn't going to run." As Vivian crossed the beach near Petropavlovsk, coastal batteries opened up. By now the Soviet antiaircraft gunners on Kamchatka had been ordered to fire behind American aircraft to ward off any Japanese fighters that might be following. Vivian looked aft: "The bursts were behind us but correct on altitude." Vivian's landing went badly. He overshot the concrete runway and came to a stop in the sod overrun. He glanced across the field and spotted three disabled Venturas lined up and weathering in the open (BuNos 48934, 48930 and 48928. BuNos 48938 and 48910 crashed outside of the airfield). Crew: Pilot Lt. John P. Vivian, Jr., A-V(N) USNR; Ens. David Ross Wilson, A-V(N) USNR; Ens. Thomas Henry Edwards, A-V(N) USNR; AMM2c Kenneth Guy Anderson; AOM3c Emil Arnold Nomensen, Jr.; AMM2c Paul John Schasney; and ARM2c Frank Andrew Viran
3/48891 (White 891) no Black 3 on the nose, fuselage art. Scrivner, pp. 3, 16, 19,
Wetterhahn, p. 49
?/49420 10/21/44 to VPB-136
5/48919 c/n 237-6155, #267 in the batch. Tail art- palm tree and tank. 7/10/44 Accident, circumstances unknown? (RW). Flown again by Sparks on 7/17. This a/c was transferred from Hedron to VPB-136 on 3/9/45, where remained until 9/1/45
6/48923 Tail art- photo p.28 War history. 6/12/44, Lt. (jg) Jackson W. Clark - unable to orient himself in the fog over the area for 45 min, jettisoned bombs and turned to the base. Ditched his plane north of Agattu because of the fog and lack of fuel, everybody was rescued.
7/48928 7/22/44, after the bomb run on Shimushu, Lt. (jg) Jackson W. Clark was attacked and chased by four Japanese fighters. For a hundred miles the fighters poured fire into the PV-1 before turning away. The starboard engine was steadily losing oil, and remaining fuel was too low to recover in the Aleutians. They turned northwest and landed in Petropavlovsk without difficulty. Crew: Pilot Lt.(jg) Jackson Wilson Clark, A-V(N) USNR; Ens. John Franklin Mathers, A-V(N) USNR; Ens. Berwyn J. Miller, A-V(N) USNR; AMM1c Hoyle Afma Simes; ARM2c John (n) Brennan; and AOM2c Herbert Charles Rowe.
9/48934 5/12/44 Lt Hardy V. Logan failed to return; shot over the target by Nakajima J1N Gekko (月光 "Moonlight”) fighter of the 203rd Air Group (Kokutai) flown by Flight Chief Petty Officer Yasuro Baba and Flight Warrant Officer Yoji Amari at 2139, Japan time. Another Gekko flown by Flight Warrant Officer Masanobu Maehara and Flight Flight Chief Petty Officer Kunizo Miyazaki did not return from the mission.
203 Ku ACA report
前原眞信 Maehara Masanobu WO (Hicho 飛長)
宮崎国三 Miyazaki Kunizo (CPO/Johiso 上飛曹)
Took off at 22:05
Did not return
馬場康邦 Baba Yasuro (CPO/Johiso 上飛曹)
甘利洋司 Amari Yoji WO (Hicho 飛長)
Took off at 21:19
Shot down a Ventura over the ocean at 21:39
Returned at 22:50
9R/48910 6/15/44, Lt Russel P. Bone: no communication since take-off. Probably, reached the target before the other planes. Was seen by Vivian flying low south across Paramushiro Strait under intensive AA fire, making erratic maneuvers, and "was obviously in difficulty". Last seen turning toward Kataoka naval base.
Direct hit of an AA projectile brought down one of the engines. Violently maneuvering on maximal power settings, Lieutenant Bone managed to fly his plane out of the anti-aircraft fire zone. However, squeezing the last power out of the overheated remaining engine, he realized that his chances to return to the base are less than slim. Lieutenant Bone made a one-engine emergent landing on Yelizovo airfield in Kamchatka. His PV-1 became the first aircraft of the US Navy, which safely landed in the Soviet Union.
Crew: Pilot LT Russell Price Bone, A-V(N) USNR; ENS Ralph Wayne Stevens, A-V(N) USNR; ENS Glen Wallace Mantle, A-V(N) USNR; AMM1c Laurence Edward Somers; ARM2c Sam (n) Geiber; AMM3c Frank Lee Crow, Jr. ; AOM3c Joseph Patrick Horvath
10/48936 (White 936) Black 10 on the nose and by turret, tail art- Scrivner, 6, 46
11/48937 4/27/44 lost at sea with all hands during special test search SW of Adak (McNulty)
11R/48930 Landed in Petropavlovsk 6/15/44 (Lt. Howard B. Schuette)
11R2/33278 Landed in Petropavlovsk 9/11/44 after heavy damage from fighter attack. (Lt (jg) Darryl F. McDonald)
12/48938, George A. Mahrt 6/19/44 accidentally siphoned fuel overboard near Paramushiro, and was forced to land in Kamchatka.
His urgent message back to base was simple: "Out of gas. Russia." Still in the dark as he crossed into Soviet territory, Mahrt found the area fogbound. He orbited above the clouds until dawn, when he spotted a hole in the weather. Mahrt slid the bomber through the gap in the clouds, then saw rising terrain ahead. Too late to react, the Ventura plowed through a stand of trees. One wing slammed into solid lumber. The nose was ripped off forward of the cockpit as the plane plowed through the forest. Fortunately, the crew escaped without serious injury and there was no fire. Crew: Pilot Lt. George A. Mahrt, A-V(N) USNR; Ens. Richard Henry Johnson, A-V(N) USNR; Ens. William A. King; ARM3c Clifford Clarence Patzke; AMM2c William Edward Dickson; AOM2c Richard Thomas Everard, Jr.; and AMM2c William Dewey Strom.
Other BuNos flown by the Squadron, per Pat's logbook:
33121 (11V, VB-136 1st tour)
48918 29 April search for 11V (McNulty)
X-11 4 May
34630 5 May Adak to Attu (30V, VB-139)
33433 27 Sept (36V, VB-139)
33110 18-26 Oct (Attu to Whidbey)
5 May to 14 June 1944: night photo- reconnaissance over Paramushiro and Shimushu.
5/5/44: combined mission (9PV-1s) with 5 PV-1 of VB-139 and one PBY5A of VP-6, heavy AA fire was met.
Lt English 12V 48938
Lt Mabus 11VR 48930
Lt Blakeney 3V 48891
Lt Vivian 5V 48919
Lt Schuette 10V 48936
Lt Clark 2V 48889
Lt Clapham 8V 48933
Lt Cmdr Stahl 7V 48928
Lt A.A. Wheat 1V 48733 c/n 237-5969, is MIA. Radio Tokyo confirmed one plane shot down over Northern Kuriles.
The first night recon/bombing mission to Shimushu- 7PV-1s
Lt Hardy V. Logan in 9V failed to return; per Radio Tokyo he was shot over the target (BuNo 48934, c/n 237-6170, #282 in the batch, some art on the port side ) Jap: 13 May 1944 at 21:19 two Nakajima J1N "Gekko" nightfighters of 203 Ku shot down PV-1. One "Gekko" was lost during the attack.
Lt Mason 3V 48891
Lt Sparks 4V 48892
Lt Bone 6V 48923
Lt Patteson 8V 48933
Lt Mabus 10V 48936
Lt Clark 11VR 48930
Night bombing mission to Shimushu #2- 4 PV-1s
Due to severe weather 3 returned to the base, 1 dropped bombs in the center of the island
Lt Clark 2V
Lt Vivian 5V
Lt Mabus 6V
Lt English 12V
Night photo recon and bombing of Shimushu - Paramushiro #3
Lt Mabus 3V
Lt Sparks 4V
Lt Bone 6V tail window broken from AA fire
Lt Patteson 8V
Lt Rumford 11V
Lt Schuette 12V
Night mission #4
6 and ...returned to the base, mechanical failures
Night mission #5
7 planes, 2 returned (mechanical problems)
2V C. E. Clark
5/20-5/21 Night mission #6
6 planes, 2 turned back
Severe weather conditions, all bombs dropped by radar, no photos
5/23, night mission #7
5 planes, only one located target
2V BuNo 48889 one minute after takeoff crashed into the sea and exploded, engine failure, 7 killed, Carl E Clark
6V J W Clark
5/29 5V 48919
Solo plane day recon mission- unsuccessful due to overcast. The first daylight run over Kuriles by Navy planes (Lt. (Jg) Blakeney) Crossed the shoreline of Kamchatka about 40 miles north of cape Lopatka (!!!), then turned south along the west coast of Kamchatka in an effort to prevent radar detection. On the way back passed below Lopatka on the course 230T.
Three F-56 with 5 3/4 inch lenses in the tail, center for verticals, starboard and port at 32 degrees to the vertical. From 9000 ft it covered a strip of approx. 9 miles in width. Each camera had films for 200 exposures. Electrically operated.
K-17 camera with 12 inch lens was mounted in the bow for additional vertical pics (100 exposures)
F-56 with 20 inch lens- hand held and hand- operated for obliques trough the porthole on the port side of the plane. Film for 200 exposures.
Two hand- held and hand- operated K-20 cameras with 6 3/8 inch lenses for incidental pics, 50 exposures in each.
Standard cameras for night photo missions: K-19A in the bow with 13 1/2 inch lens, electrically- operated, tripped by solenoid. 4 photo flash bombs of 1 million candle power brilliance - in the tail; the rear bomb bay filled with fuel. The rest of the bomb load- a dozen of 22-pound fragmentation bombs under the turret, for harassing purposes during photo runs.
Night mission #13 (?)
4 planes, 1 returned
Many accurate searchlights reported
Solo plane day recon, 315 photos obtained
Night mission #14, 4 planes
Night mission #16, 4 planes
Considerable development at Lake Bettobu, extensive road system and second airstrip in central Shimushu
6/1 (night mission 5/31?) Pat-48891
6/4 weather hop, Pat, 48936
6/8/44 Conference at the FAW HQ on completing plans for bombardment of Matsuwa Island by Task Force 94. The planes are to bomb Shimushu and Paramushiro airfields the day before, and cover the force retirement within 500 miles of Attu.
Daylight photo recon of Shimushu
"Number of excellent photographs of Myoshino airfield, never photographed before", also high oblique pics of Kataoka airfield.
Daylight bombing Shimushu, Paramushiro
Clark 6V3- unable to orient himself in the fog over the area for 45 min, jettisoned bombs and turned to the base. Ditched his plane north of Agattu because of the fog and lack of fuel, everybody was rescued.
Patteson 48933/8V3- landed at Shemya (alternate base) due to fog
14 June to 26 October 1944: daylight and night photoreconnaissance of the Islands of Paramushiro and Shimushu. Almost without exception, on all Photorecon missions general purpose or incendiary and fragmentation bombs were carried to harass the enemy.
6/14 Pat 48919 Photo Shimushu/ Paramushiro
Daylight bombing and photo recon of Shimushu, Paramushiro
2 Hamps (light tan or grey) and 12 Oscars (colored brown) met
2 Hamps were damaged
364 photos taken of Myoshino, Kataoka, Kashiwabara, Kakumabetsu, Kurabu Zaki, Suribachi Wan, and Shiomi Zaki airfields.
Sparks in 4V3 passed over the tip of Lopatka on the way home; observed Soviet AA fire black bursts "a considerable distance" beyond the plane"
Bone in 9V3: no communication since take-off. Probably, reached the target before the other planes. Was seen by Vivian flying low south across Paramushiro Strait under intensive AA fire, making erratic maneuvers, and "was obviously in difficulty". Last seen turning toward Kataoka naval base. The first US Navy crew that landed in Petropavlovsk successfully.
Lt. Howard B. Schuette in 48934/11approached the target together with 2V3 (Vivian), 3V3 (Mabus), and 7V3 (Clapham). Was seen making successful bomb run over Myoshino airfield, then crossing Suno Zaki 110* at 6000 feet in the midst of heavy AA bursts. Later reported to Vivian over the radio an oil leak in starboard engine and intent to land in P-K. Mabus reported 3 fighters (Hamps?) following Schuette's plane at one time during the action
6/18/44 Pat 48938/12V incomplete mission
6/18/44, second mission of the day
Japanese night fighter reported
Urgent msg from one of the crews "Out of gas, Russia" 48938/12, George A. Mahrt
6/21/44 Pat- weather hop 48936
6/23/44 Pat 48918 Paramushiro
Daylight photo recon of Paramushiro.
121 photos of Kakumabetsu area and area below Kashiwabara along the NE coast
Attacked by total of 11 fighters (all Hamps), 13 passes were made on his plane.
1 Hamp was damaged, 1 probable kill (disappeared in clouds in back dive, before hitting the water)
600 feet of additional runway surfacing was found to be completed at Kakumabetsu strip
Night bombing of Shimushu and Paramushiro (Kataoka, Myoshino, Kashiwabara)
1 (Lt Pool)
5 (Mabus)- returned immediately due to engine overheating
X13V3 (Mason)- turned for base due to fuel siphoned out from left main fuel tank
Crews reported seeing fires in the central Shimushu, where no bombs were dropped, suggesting possibility of dummy fires set up by Japs to mislead bombardment.
4V Sparks made radar landfall from 54 miles, crossed Kamchatka and flew south down the west coast of the peninsula
48928/7V Patteson made visual landfall from 8 to 10 miles, crossed Kamchatka, and took a southwesternly course across Shimushu
Map added to gallery
4V English- crossed Lopatka on the way to the target, as well as 1V and 2V (map in the gallery
7/10/44- Night bombing and photo recon of Shimushu, Paramushiro
Kurabu hangars- 1,2,7,8,10 (Patteson, Mason, Mobus, Clapham, English)
Suribachi airfield- 4 (Sparks)
The 1st mission after removal of the paint from plastic nose, which improved radar range to 65 miles for landfall..
Four planes met heavy enemy fighter opposition. All planes were ID'ed as Tojos, their runs were made in echelon formation.
One PV-1 reported starboard engine problem after being attacked by Tojos, and low fuel, intended to proceed to P-K (48928/7, Lt (jg) Jackson W. Clark)
7/23/44 Daylight high altitude glide bombing mission
10V Rumford Offensive sweep with negative results, returned in Attu safely.
X13V Pool attacked by fighters believed to be Tojos. One is a probable kill from the bow guns, the other one was damaged (cowling broke off). Another two sections of the fighters were observed directly above, 4 or 5 planes in each, at the altitude 10 to 12,000 feet. Three crew members were injured, planes hydraulic system and inter phones were shot off, numerous holes in fuselage and tail assembly.
8V Patteson Bombed Kakumabetsu airfield, observing several fires. Then strafed several large fishing vessels offshore of the west side of Daigo Zaki. Meager but accurate AA fire met, Ens Rice (navigator) sustained slight head wounds
First colored photographs of Paramushiro ever obtained
One PV-1 received battle damage during attack on the picket boat, ans sent a msg it was going to Petropavlovsk (48909/2, Lt John P. Vivian). 2 other planes were attacked by 7 Tojos. 2 Tojos damaged. Radio Tokyo confirmed that 1 fighter was damaged, and another one did not return to the base.
BI: The presence of Ki-44 Tojo interceptors in the Kuriles is not supported by available Japanese documents. However, it is possible that on the peak of the Kurile air war, a small detachment of Ki-44s could have been sent there for a short period of time, to reinforce battle capabilities of Ki-43-IIs of the 54th Sentai.
One Hamp was struck by PV-1 turret fire and fell off damaged at 10,000 feet
One Oscar made 2 passes on PV-1 48908 9VR2 (Lt. Charles Mobus). As a result of turret fire, it was seen to fall over on its back and go down in a dive into fog at 500 feet.
8/25/44 BuNo 49527 to VB-136, new 75V
Six aircraft took off, one returned, four could not orient themselves due to "reduced Russian radio beacon schedules"
6 planes, search duties to relieve PBY5 squadron for a day.
4 returned uneventfully
Lt Sparks in 4V intercepted and shot down "Tenzan" of 553 Kokutai, that bursted in flames and crushed into ocean with no survivors.
PO1C Yoshimori Yuda, PO1C ... Nakano, PO1C Sachio Hachisuga
1 bombed Kataoka (radar bombing), no results observed. Engine failure after bombing, set course for P-K, but was able to fix the engine, and returned to base.
4 planes encountered heavy AA fire
The squadron lost its 10th crew (the 9th in combat) and the 12th PV-1: BuNo 33278 11R2 (Former 25V/VB-139) Lt. (jg) McDonald crash-landed in Petropavlovsk after sustaining heavy damage from fighter attack.
Crew: Ens Kenneth G. Miles, Ens Donnie L. Broadwell, John W. Rosa, AMM1c, Jack G. Ross, AOM3c, W.F. Nicodemus, ARM2c
9/14, 9/16, 9/17, 9/18, 9/24, 9/25, 9/26:
4 planes each day, all turned back by patrols of enemy fighters without engagement. (Good weather, except for 9/26, when 1 plane was met by 4 fighters and retired, and the other 3 did not make it due to weather )
4 planes, radar drop and strafing runs at Hayake Gawa and Suribachi
10/1/44: 48891 and 49420 transferred to VPB-136
10/26/44 the squadron arrived to NAS Whidbey with 12 PV-1s (FAW6 diary)
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.