to his native Japan. The only loss suffered by the Americans was
Airacobra serialed BW112*, flown by 2nd Lt. Gerald G. Rogers, who
was forced to bail from his stricken aircraft and after parachuting
into the ocean below, endured strafing attacks by Zeros trying to
avenge their own losses. The journey back to his unit through the
New Guinea jungle, with the help of sympathetic and supportive
locals, lasted a seemingly never ending thirty days. After his return,
he still managed to close out the kill tally of the first operational
tour of the 80th FS, when he downed a Sally on January 17th, 1943.
As was mentioned above, 5th AF Airacobras conducted a total of
four air raids against the field at Buna. The first came on August
25th, with a raid conducted by the 80th FS and 41st FS together.
The 80th FS was tasked with providing top cover for their 41st
FS colleagues, the latter of which managed to light up six Zeros
parked on the field, with another 14 to 16 damaged. Over the
course of the missions conducted between the 27th and 29th of
August, Airacobras from the 41st FS accounted for another five
Zeros downed in air combat and another three on the ground. The
41st FS also added a Betty bomber destroyed to their credit. The
sudden success of the unit was no doubt helped by pilot morale
within it, despite flying the somewhat unappreciated Airacobra,
and this was at least in part responsible for improving the type’s
reputation in the skies over New Guinea.
American intelligence had a field day at Buna. There were at least thirteen Reisens on the ramp in
various states of disrepair. Two of them were passed on to a second opinion in Australia. Aircraft
„Q-102“ was inspected right on the premises at Buna. The photo shows the Sakai 21 engine that has
clearly seen better days, and the oil tank is visible on the fuselage bulkhead.
* The webpage Pacific Wrecks states that this loss of BW112 was that of the aircraft christened ‘Wahl
Eye/Pat’, which at the time of its service with the 80th FS carried the aircraft letter ‘R’.
Logged information of 80th FS missions between January 1942 and January 1944
Attack and Conguer, The 8th FG in WWII, by J. C. Stanaway a L. J. Hickey
The 5th Fighter Command in WWII, by William Wolf
Airacobra vs Zero, Osprey Publishing, by Michael John Claringbould
The Japanese also abandoned this Reisen Model 32, c/n 3030. The white outlined red
‘Q-102’ on the tail puts the aircraft with 2nd Kokutai. On the side of the fuselage,
there is the dedication inscription Hokoku No. 872, donated by „Katayoshi“. The plane
was built by Mitsubishi, and left the assembly line on June 30th, 1942.
80th FS, 8th FG, Port Moresby, New Guinea, Autumn 1942
(Hans-Wolrad Dolling via Erik Mombeeck)
Bf 109E-3 s kódem 6•111, zachycen na základně La Cenia během počáteční fáze služby. Motorový kryt, kabina a hlavní podvozek jsou kryté proti slunci.
INFO Eduard - September 2019