KITS 01/2023

BX163, 80th FS, 8th FG, Port Moresby, New Guinea, December 1942

Airacobra BX163 served originally with 39th FS where

she received the marking in the form of the numeral

18 and blue painted propeller spinner as well as the

top of the vertical tail surface. The inscription “Helen”

painted on the port side of the aircraft nose origina-

ted from the service with 39th FS as well. At 80th

FS the typical shark mouth and yellow letter V were

added. The camouflage in Olive Drab and Neutral

Gray colors was applied before the plane’s dispatch

to the combat unit, same as with many other P-400s

delivered to the Southwest Pacific area in the spring

of 1942. On December 24, 1942, the Airacobra BX163

was damaged during the emergency landing at Kila

Drome, one of many aerodromes built in the vicinity

of Port Moresby for its protection.

Lt. Eugene A. Wahl, 39th FS, 35th FG, Port Moresby New Guinea, Summer 1942

One of the best known Airacobras was named “Wahl’s

Eye/Pat” and participated in the fiercest air combats

during the defense of Port Moresby. Its teethed mouth

reminded more of the jaws of the deep-sea living fish

than usual shark mouth. The blue propeller spinner

and top of the vertical tail surface as well as the

white number on it were a standard 39th FS marking.


INFO Eduard

The airplane was flown by Lt. Eugene Wahl who was,

together with several other 35th FG pilots, assigned

for traineeship with 8th FG on New Guinea during the

middle of May. On May 26 he claimed a victory over

a Zero. Luck did not abandon him on June 9 when,

after combat with Zeros from the famous Tainan

Kōkūtai, he had to perform the emergency landing.

However, after several days of hiking through the

jungle he was able to rejoin his unit. Here he flew

sorties until the end of June when the 39th FS was

withdrawn to Australia to reorganize and re-equip

with the more powerful P-38 Lightning fighters.

January 2023