USAAF aircraft enroute the Philippines in December 1941

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Bev Saylor, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Bev Saylor

    Bev Saylor Member

    Per Williford's Racing the Sunset, there were 48 aircraft, including 25 P-39D, and 9 P-40E, awaiting shipment at the San Francisco Port of Entry. 23 of them (14 P-39 & all 9 P-40) were loaded on the SS President Polk. All eventually made it to Australia in early 1942. Does anyone have additional information (serials of the aircraft involved, or the location of the others) on these aircraft? Thanks!! BLS
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Might be better to ask via our American "cousin":
  3. Bev Saylor

    Bev Saylor Member

    Thanks for the tip! I was unaware of it. Will do!
  4. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Here’s is some info on your search:

    2nd US Convoy shipments to Brisbane 13-30/01/42

    Following the formation of this reinforcement plan, all shipments, then destined to the Philippines were re-routed to Brisbane for unloading, erection and assembly of the P40Es, whereupon they would be organised into provisional fighter squadrons and flown to Java. The list of ships that loosely could be termed as the second convoy is as follows:

    • SS Hawaiian Planter (7798tons)
    • USAT President Polk (10508tons) loaded with some 55 P40Es, 4 C53s and PBYs
    • SS James Lykes (6760tons)
    • SS Paul M.Gregg (8187tons)
    • SS Mormacsun (4996tons)
    • SS Portmar (5551tons)
    Following the arrival of these fifty-five P40Es, assembly commenced in earnest so that another two Provisional Squadrons could be dispatched to Java. The first P40E accident since the departure of the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Prov) happened on the 23rd January 1942. From this accident, the first P40E fatality occurred in Australia. A 2nd Lt. Hamilton was alighting off the wing of his recently landed P40E, when another landing P40E’s wing tip struck him in the middle of the back. He died of those injuries a few hours later.

    The following day, 2nd Lt. Jack R. Peres crash-landed at Amberley Airbase, resulting in his P40E #36, suffering undercarriage, wing tip, main plane, aileron, and flap and airscrew damage. At least these three and more were repaired for later service in other squadrons.

    Again, building up upon their experience and establishing logistical support, these two provisional squadrons. (The 20th & 3rd Pursuit Squadrons (Prov), respectively commanded by Capt. William Lane Jr. and Capt. Grant Mahoney) were formed from this shipment of fifty-five P40Es. These two squadrons, the 20th and the 3rdPursuit Squadrons (provisional) were hastily staffed by the limited number of Philippine veterans and with a greater ration of in-experienced pilots from the states. 20thPS(Prov) departed on the 29th January 1942 with twenty-five P40Es from Brisbane, escorted by a B24A (40-2374). However they lost two P40Es in accidents on route, with only one replacement provided before it too left Darwin.

    The 3rd PS (Prov) departed on the 6th February 1942 from Brisbane with twenty-five P40Es. It had a heavy loss in numbers during its transit, with five* damaged on-route to Darwin. Two aircraft remained at Darwin for maintenance and repairs (Lt’s Buel & Oestreicher).

    The 55 tentative P40E Serials of the Second Convoy that were most likely initially issued to the 20th/3rd Pursuit Squadrons (Provisional) are as follows:

    After researching USAAF Aircraft data cards, particularly their shipping dates and arrival dates, accident records and known identities:

    FY Serials: 40-599,41-5335, 41-5360,41-5363,41-5364,41-5365*, #41-5366**, 41-5367,41-5368**, 41-5369**, 41-5370,41-5371,41-5373,41-5374,41-5384, 41-5386,41-5392,41-5394, 41-5395,

    41-5397,41-5398,41-5399,41-5400,41-5401,41-5402, 41-5413**, #41-5415**, 41-5421, 41-5423,

    41-5424,41-5426,41-5428,41-5432,41-5436**41-5437**, 41-5444,41-5445,41-5446,41-5447,

    41-5448,41-5450,41-5451,41-5465,41-5470,41-5475,41-5485,41-5486**, 41-5490,41-5496,

    41-5497,41-5498,41-5499, #41-5503**, 41-5504,41-5506, (Repo Russian/British DA P40Es in bold italic)

    *41-5365 was #36 flown by 2ndLt. Jack Peres (later 33rdPS(Prov) on the 24/01/42 accident.

    ** 7 Later repaired 20th /3rd PS (Prov) P40Es served in the 49thPG/RAAF. What’s interesting is that #41-5366, #41-5415 and #41-5503 of the above shipment were latter taken over by the RAAF sometime during March and for the latter August 1942, becoming A29-68, 26, &163 respectively

    Source: ADF Serials Newsletter Aug 2003
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  5. Bev Saylor

    Bev Saylor Member

    Temujin, Thanks! I was aware of the excellent series of articles on ADF websites covering the P-40Es. I assumed that the nine aircraft loaded on the SS President Polk on 7 Dec 41 were included in the 55 that later sailed onboard her when she departed as part of the "second convoy". Unfortunately, no one seems to have done anything like that for the other USAAF aircraft shipped to Australia in late 1941/early 1942. Is anyone aware of a serial number breakdown for the P-39Ds?

    David, I'm digging through, but so far the forums don't seem to be as detailed as the ones here.. A lot of "which airplane would you have wanted to fly" and "Yamato vs. New Jersey" threads, and not as much history & factual information... Sad to say as an American, but this site is clearly better, hopefull as I dig deeper, I will find more meat & less chaff...

  6. Pardon me for interjecting , even if the so called Pensacola convoy was granted free passage by the IJN , the FEAF stood absolutely no chance. They were heavily out numbered by superior aircraft flown by far more experienced pilots. A handful of P-40's would have made no difference.

    Some historians seem to think that the B-17 model C was a useful weapon , all 16 of them based at Clark Field. I think its best that bad timing allowed them all to be destroyed on the ground. At least the crew members were not wasted in a futile effort to bomb airfields in Formosa with 100 pound practice bombs.

    An easy and informative read is Doomed at the Start by William Bartsch.

    A one on one duel between between the Yamato and the New Jersey is decided by damage control.
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I disagree. New Jersey has the speed to easily open and close the range at will, wait for a moonless night and use radar to pound Yamato with impunity. She wouldn't fight Yamato's fight.

    Also US damage control was much better than Japanese. Here's a video that describes the differences well.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  8. I completely agree. It's well documented that the USN was more effective at damage control than the IJN , among other things. Perhaps my point was that the Yamato would require more damage control than the New Jersey. A poor attempt at humor.

    As you know , the Yamato was underpowered and sluggish compared to the New Jersey. Your point is well taken that the New Jersey can stand off and utilize a superior fire control radar.

    Thank you for attaching the video. I must add that Todd Beamer was among those that initiated the first counter-attack on that fateful day , frustrating our enemies.
    Dave55 likes this.

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