RAAF BEAUFORT SHOT DOWN
BY A U.S. NAVY PB4Y-1 LIBERATOR NEAR RABAUL
ON 12 JULY 1943

 

Report No. 3

SHOOT DOWN OF A BEAUFORT AIRCRAFT

UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET FLEET AIR
PHOTOGRAPHIC SQUADRON ONE C/C
 POSTMASTER, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

FROM:                          COMMANDING OFFICER 1 1 OCT 1943 TO:                        COMMANDER ON CHIEF, UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET.

VIA:                 (1) COMMANDER FLEET AIR WING ONE.

(2) COMMANDER FLEET AIR, SOUTH PACIFIC.

SUBJECT:                                AIRCRAFT ACTION REPORT.

1 .       DATE: JULY 12, 1943,                LAT. 06-30 S.                LONG. 154-02 E. TIME: 0215 ZN.-1 1

2.        WEATHER:                GOOD VISIBILITY AT SCENE OF ACTION.

   3.        UNIT REPORTING:                VD-1. CARNEY FIELD, GUADALCANAL PLANE: 31982.

               PLANE TYPE: PB4Y-1

           PATROL PLANE COMMANDER: LIEUT. (JG) W.G. CORBETT, USN.

 

4.        NATURE OF OPERATION:                ROUTINE SEARCH

5.        SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE:                1 BETTY AND THEN UNIDENTIFIED TWO ENGINE PLANE.

6.        FORCES ENGAGED: OWN:                ENEMY:

1-PB4Y-1   1 BETTY 1 BEAUFORT

 

7.   TYPE OF ATTACK:   PURSUIT (BY PB4Y OF BETTY AND UNIDENTIFIED PLANE LATER BELIEVED FRIENDLY BEAUFORT).

8.   ENEMY TACTICS: STRAIGHT AWAY SPEED BY BETTY RESULTING IN ESCAPE. TACTICS OF BEAUFORT TURNED DIRECTLY TOWARD PB4Y, THEN, MADE SHARP RIGHT TURN ABOUT 500 YARDS AHEAD OF OUR PLANE. THEN USED STRAIGHT AWAY SPEED.

   9.   DESCRIPTION OF ACTION: SEARCH PLANS SIGHTED BETTY AT SAME ALTITUDE OF 1,000' AT 0208. POSITION 06-20 154-25E.  BETTY PULLED AWAY WITH SUPERIOR SPEED IN DIRECTION OF BUKA PASSAGE.  RANGE NEVER CLOSE ENOUGH TO FIRE.  AT 0215 SIGHTED 2 ENGINE PLANE LOW OVER THE WATER HEADING FOR BUKA PASSAGE.  DOVE ON THIS PLANE.  OTHER PLANE SIGHTED PB4Y AND TURNED DIRECTLY TOWARD OUR PLANE.  ALTITUDE AT THIS TIME FOR BOTH PLANES WAS 100 FEET.  AT ABOUT 1000 YARDS BOTH PLANES FIRED.  WAIST GUNNER AND TAIL GUNNER SAW SPLASHES IN WATER INDICATING FIRE FROM THE OTHER PLANE. TOP TURRET AND BOW TURRET OF PB4Y FIRED.  OTHER PLANE MADE SHARP RIGHT TURN ABOUT 500 YARDS DISTANT.  AT THIS POINT TOP AND BOW TURRETS WERE HITTING WELL.  OTHER PLANE PULLED AWAY RAPIDLY OUT OF RANGE. PB4Y CHASED FOR 10 MINUTES WHEN OTHER PLANE WAS OBSERVED TO SMOKE AND CATCH FIRE. PLANE MADE A 90-DEGREE TURN TO RIGHT AND LANDED ON WATER. PB4Y CIRCLED OVER CRASHED PLANE. TWO SURVIVORS IN THE WATER WERE DEFINITELY IDENTIFIED AS WHITE MEN. A LARGE LIFE RAFT WAS DROPPED WHICH PARTIALLY INFLATED. RAFT LANDED 40 FEET OVER THE MEN. SURVIVORS DID NOT SEE IT. THEY WERE CLINGING TO PART OF THE WING AND MADE NO EFFORT TO REACH THE RAFT. TWO LIFE JACKETS TIED TOGETHER WERE THEN DROPPED NEAR MEN. ONE MAN SWAM OUT AND GOT THEM RETURNING TO THE WING SECTION. ANOTHER JACKET WAS DROPPED WITH THE FOLLOWING NOTE ATTACHED. "YOUR POSITION REPORTED TO BASE RADIO. WILL DROP RATIONS. RAFT IS AHEAD OF YOU.  WILL DROP SMOKE LIGHTS BY RAFT.  WILL HAVE TO LEAVE SHORTLY DUE TO LIMITED GAS SUPPLY."  SURVIVORS GOT NOTE.   ONE SWAM TO RAFT AND PULLED IT TO COMPANION WHEN THE MEN WERE ABOUT 100 FEET APART. LIFE JACKETS WERE DROPPED WITH KIT FROM OTHER RAFT IN PLANE CONTAINING RATIONS, WATER, FIRST AID KIT, FISHING GEAR, VERY PISTOL, SMOKE GRENADE.  AT 0302 SENT MESSAGE IN CODE REPORTING, "UNIDENTIFIED PLANE SHOT DOWN. BELIEVED TO BE FRIENDLY. DROPPED RAFT TO TWO MEN. SEA CALM. WILL CIRCLE UNTIL ORDERED OTHERWISE.   POSITION 6-40 SOUTH 13402 EAST." RECEIVED NO ORDERS FROM BASE. DEPARTED SCENE 0545. SENT MESSAGE SAYING, "TWO AMERICANS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED ON RAFT ARE AT 06-30 SOUTH 154-02 EAST AT 0600. RETURNING TO BASE." WIND WAS S KNOTS FROM 132 TRUE LAST REPORTED POSITION BELIEVED ACCURATE. AFTER INTERVIEW ON LANDING, PILOTS THOUGHT PLANE SHOT DOWN WAS A MOSQUITO. COMMUNICATION WITH COMSOWESPAC ESTABLISHED THAT A SEARCH BEAUFORT OPERATING FROM MILNE BAY IN AREA IN QUESTION MISSING. IT IS BELIEVED THIS IS THE PLANE SHOT DOWN. THE BEAUFORT HAD NOT AS FAR AS IS KNOWN BEEN PREVIOUSLY SIGHTED IN THE SOLOMONS AREA. NO INFORMATION WAS AVAILABLE AT THIS BASE ON SEARCHES FROM SOWESPAC AREA.

 

                                                                             10.        WEAPONS EMPLOYED:             OWN: .50 CALIBER MACHINE GUNS.

                                                                                          OTHER PLANE: MACHINE GUNS. 

 

11.           EVASIVE ACTION EMPLOYED: NONE BY OUR PLANE. NO EFFECTIVE 

             EVASION BY OTHER PLANE.

 

12.           AMMUNITION EXPENDED: ABOUT 500 ROUNDS OF.50 CALIBER, BELTED 1-1-1 13.  

 

13.           RESULTS: TWO-ENGINE PLANE LATER BELIEVED TO BE BEAUFORT SHOT DOWN. TWO SURVIVORS PROVIDED FOR AS EXPLAINED.

 

14.           DAMAGE TO OWN AIRCRAFT: NONE.

 

DISTRIBUTION:

COMINCH (1 COPY DIRECT).                                H.J. DYSON

 

 

The crew and U.S. Navy PB4Y-1 Liberator
that shot down RAAF Beaufort A9-225 

Back Row: Sisk AOM 1/C - Bow Turret; Ballard AP 1/C - Nav.; Corbrett Lt(jg) - Pilot; Brooks Lt(jg) - Co-Pilot; Sager AMM 1/C - Port Waist;  Lindell AMM 2/C - Tunnel Gun Front Row: Kowen ARM 2/C - Stbd Waist; Moore AMM 1/C - Tail Turret; Swainson CPHOM; Dillon PHOM 1/C - Belly Gun; Sandell ARM 1/C - Top Turret..." Contributed by Steve Sisk

 

NOTE:-  The US Navy  designator for the B-24 Liberator, Models D to M was PB4Y-1, with no sub-identity to tell you what you were looking at. Many US Navy B-24Ds had the "greenhouse" replaced with an ERCO ball turret & chin bombing sight, and later models mostly had the CVAC turret similarly replaced, thus making it difficult to pick a model anyway.

The PB4Y-2 was the Privateer, the single tail, stretched fuselage version with the oval engine axis vertical instead of horizontal.

PB: Patrol Bomber
4: Fourth type of PB
Y: Consolidated Aircraft Company
1: First model of PB4Y

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jan Herivel for her assistance with this home page. Her great uncle, Geoff Emmett was a crew member of Beaufort A9-225. I'd also like to thank Harry Brooks and Jim Sawruk for their assistance with this home page. I'd also like to thank Bob Livingstone for sorting out the PB4Y-2 designator details (see above) which I initially had thought was a Catalina.

I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 7 February 2002

This page last updated 11 March 2017