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Halpro 1942

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iford
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2010/05/13 19:01:19 (permalink)
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Halpro 1942

Hi forum
Just a quick question,ive read a bit about early USAAF operations in the mediteraneann theatre of operations and all mention Halpro.On another post in this forum someone has identified Halpro B-24 aircraft but i have never seen a list of B-17`s attached to the unit of which they had several in early 42, I have tried identifying them from the late Roger Freemand B-17 story with no luck.
Does anyone know any or all of the serial numbers of the assigned B-17`s.
Thanks for any help
ian
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Re:Halpro 1942 2010/05/13 20:40:47 (permalink)
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Ian...I have a copy of the 376th BG History.

Unfortunately, the B-17 serial numbers are not listed.
I found one B-17E that was in Italy.

From Joe Baugher's website :   41-2474

2474 damaged in landing accident at Bari-Palese, Italy Jan 7, 1944.

The 376th History Book The Liberandos on p51 says that M/G Louis Brererton, arrived with 7 B-17Es and crews from India, on Jun 28,1942 to the then Halpro Detahment.
Apparently, a day or so later... 8 additional B-17Es arrived .

There is an entry where 7 B-17Es were transferred to the 12th AAF, in order to equiip the 376th with all B-24s.

There is a photo of one B-17E that a 99th BG crew flew for a month, after British General Montgomery won a bet with General Eisenhower, with the photo in the 99th History book The Diamondbacks.

My copy  has been leant to a friend, but perhaps Marty Upchurch can ID the B-17E.

In Joe Baugher's listing, there are quite a few B-17Es, that served in India, but, there is no listing of the B-17 serail numbers in the 376th book.

Possibly a CD or microfilm on the 376th MIGHT reveal the serial numbers. CDs are now available in place of some of the microfilm records.

The only other solution would be to obtain a listing of the B-17s that served in India, and screen those for the Record Cards with entries for the Halpro Detachment.

Jim :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
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Re:Halpro 1942 2010/05/14 08:04:10 (permalink)
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iford

Hi forum
Just a quick question,ive read a bit about early USAAF operations in the mediteraneann theatre of operations and all mention Halpro.On another post in this forum someone has identified Halpro B-24 aircraft but i have never seen a list of B-17`s attached to the unit of which they had several in early 42, I have tried identifying them from the late Roger Freemand B-17 story with no luck.
Does anyone know any or all of the serial numbers of the assigned B-17`s.
Thanks for any help
ian


Ian,

According to the 7th Bomb Group/Wing history by Robert F. Dorr; Tenth Air Force orders on 28 Jun 1942 ordered 10 combat crews and 115 support personnel of the 7th BG from India to Fayid, Egypt. Further orders on 2, 7 and 23 July added 9 more crews and 20 more support personnel. The crews were to fly 11 B-17s, 4 B-24s and 1 LB-30 to Egypt, reporting to Commanding General, United States Air Forces, Middle East.

The B-17s and crews were pretty much everything the 9th Bomb Squadron had. I do not specifically know which aircraft were sent to Egypt. However, if these might be the ones you are referring to, I am providing twelve of twenty serial numbers of the B-17s which were assigned to the 9th BS from April until 28 Jun 42. Listed in appendix to the previously mentioned book, they are a hodge podge of planes kept from reaching Phillipines/Java, planes which were part of Project Aquila, and planes which were part of Project 157.

41-2457; -2465; -2475; -2477; -2491; -2499; -2506; -2535; -2601; -9016; -9029; -9099

To the best of my knowledge none of the B-17s returned to India, as the 9th (and all of the 7th BG) was converted to B-24s during or immediately after their temporary duty in North Africa.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/14 09:51:41 (permalink)
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I determined that 41-2457 was named "per Diem" and did go to Libya, as did 41-9029, named in Africa as "Fennel vs Rommel".

I also found additional, although generally less specific information;

From “USAAF Chronology”;
 
SUNDAY, 28 JUNE 1942
   Major General Lewis H Brereton arrives at Cairo, Egypt, where HQ USAFIME issues orders placing him in command of US Army, Middle East Air Forces (USAMEAF), which is activated immediately. USAMEAF is comprised of the Halverson Detachment (HALPRO), Brereton's detachment [9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) and other personnel which Brereton brought from India], and the Air Section of US Military North African Mission. Also activated is Air Service Command, USAMEAF, under Brigadier General Elmer E Adler.
 
THURSDAY, 2 JULY 1942
   9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (attached to USAMEAF), arrives at Lydda, Palestine from Allahabad, India with B-17Es; first mission is 4 Jul.
 
FRIDAY, 17 JULY 1942
   Halverson Detachment is re-designated Hal Bombardment Squadron.
 
MONDAY, 20 JULY 1942
   Hal Bombardment Squadron and 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) with 19 B-24s and 9 B-17s are organized as the 1st Provisional Group under Colonel Harry A. Halverson's command at Lydda, Palestine.
 
 
From “The 7th Bombardment Group/Wing, 1918-1995”;
 
“The 376th Bombardment Group was activated in the Middle East on 1 Nov 1942, with four squadrons, 512, 513, 514, and 515. Those in Halpro went into 514th, those (Brereton Detachment) flying B-17s went into the 513th and those of the Brereton Detachment who were flying B-24s went into the 515th.”
 
25/26 Nov 1942 -- B-17, 41-9029, “Fennel vs Rommel”, performs mission to transport VIPs to meeting in Malta and return to Algeria.
 
28 Nov 1942 -- Due to logistical difficulties in maintaining B-24s and a hand full of  B-17s, the remaining 11 planes and crews, are ordered to Gura, Ethiopia, for depot overhaul, then on to assignment with the 301st Bombardment Group. One plane was destroyed during this transfer.

(edited to correct format glitched by cut & paste)



Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
jpeters140
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/14 13:03:01 (permalink)
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Tony....According to Dick Drain's 5th Wing History of Aircraft Assigned ( which INCLUDES the  310st BG), there is no record of ANY B-17Es being assigned to the 301st.

Drain states that NO B-17Es flew combat with the 5th Wing, and further the 301st listing does not show any B-17E assigned...the B-17Es were assigned to the 12th AAF, and as noted in my previous Msg #2, there was a 99th BG crew assigned to fly a B-17E, for General Montgomery, for a month after General Eisenhower lost a bet.

I checked Joe Baugher's website for the B-17Es, and nothing shows in the records (other than the one aircraft noted), that any aircraft in his records were even in the Mediterrenean.

I have found errors in the official records...for instance I was assigned on return to the U.S after the war was over in the ETO to a P-51 Training Fighter Group...according to Maurer-Maurer, the 372nd FG was stationed at Alexandria,LA, ..however, I reported to Drew Field,, Tampa FL, where after 1 1/2 months we were transferred to Alexandria AAF, LA, and I was discharged in October 1945 from there.

Dick Drain told me personally that the records did not show proximity fused personnel bombs used, on the April 9 and 10, 1945 missions to the front lines...however, while I was NCOIC of the engine Buildup section of the Alaskan Air Depot, in 1948-1950, an airman reported for duty, (who had transfered tothe USAF),  who, it turned out was in the front lines on both of those dates and he verified that the bombs we had dropped were exploding 25 feet in the air over the German trenches, and the shrapnel was going down into the trenches, killing the German troops in the trenches. These bombs had to be equipped with the proximity fuses to explode 25 feet above the trenches.

JIm :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
tonystro
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/14 16:09:44 (permalink)
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Jim,

 Thanks for the input!. I definitely understand about differences in 'official', 'unofficial' and eyewitness/on hand reports... trying to clarify them has been giving me fits for years, and I'm only researching one Group.

I referenced the only data sources I had. After you mentioning it I checked Joe Baugher's serial listing for the numbers from Dorr's book.  Only 3 of twenty listed, and all disagree with the information from the book. 

  The B-17Es of the 9th BS in India started combat missions in mid-April and would have been VERY tired birds by the end of 1942. Obviously they didn't reach the 301st. They may have been replaced with newer models during the six months of the 9th BS's "detached" duty in Algeria/Tunisia. Or, with the situation being what it was in Jan 1943, I would not be surprised if any remaining B-17Es  were simply grounded and cannibalized at the depot.  However, I believe Baugher's efforts would have found records of a depot cannibalization.

 Unfortunately, I would not know where else to look unless one could find and access the records of the 1st Provisional Bomb Group.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/14 17:23:33 (permalink)
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Tony..Did you catch the mention of the Record Cards ?
 
JIm :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
tonystro
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/14 23:56:10 (permalink)
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jpeters140

Tony..Did you catch the mention of the Record Cards ?
 
JIm :-)


Jim,

  Thanks! Not until you now brought it to my attention, did the info at the end of your first post sink in.

  I've gone thru several hundred record cards at for B-25s. Next trip to Maxwell AFB I'll add the 7th BmGp B-17s to my list of 10th AF B-25s.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/15 08:37:36 (permalink)
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For an informal but informative account of the Brereton B-17s that went from India to the Middle East, see Born In Battle, by Captain Rowan Thomas, Winston Company (1944). The subtitle is "Round the World Adventures of the 513th Bombardment Squadron"
 
Not from the book, but here is a montage of some of these B-17s. Clockwise from top left: Baby Me, Fennel vs Rommel (41-9029), Sea Breeze, Per Diem (41-2457), Moman Meteor, and The Yankee Rebel.
 
Al Blue

Attached Image(s)

tonystro
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/15 18:34:44 (permalink)
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Born In Battle, by Captain Rowan Thomas, Winston Company (1944)


Al,

  Thanks for the information and the image scans. And many THANKS for mentioning Capt Rowan's book!  At a 14th AF reunion some years back I was informed of it, but lost the note and forgot who had told me. After reading you post, but before responding to it, I did an internet search and found a copy at a reasonable price. I have already purchased it.

Do you have the book to see if it mentions the end outcome for these aircraft?

(edited to correct mismatches between my fingers and the keyboard buttons...)

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/16 11:04:27 (permalink)
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Tony - The book does not give such details or any serial numbers. It does have quite a few good photos; however, serials are not visible - either by censorship or just by accident.
 
Al
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/05/16 14:36:16 (permalink)
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Thanks Al.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/03 18:04:11 (permalink)
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Friends,
 
I bought this photo on E-Bay of an ex-Brereton Detachment, 1st Provisional Group B-17E 42-2491 that I like to share with you all.
 

 
 
Thank you, Tony for the information on the B-17s that Brereton took to the Middle East.
 
Best to you all,
 
Tom Michel
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/04 17:21:34 (permalink)
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Hi Tony,
 
The photo, which is small wallet size at 4 ½” x 3”, has no notation at all on either side and the seller did not say where he got it from.
 
Freeman & Osborne list 41-2491 as being reported: Del Boeing SAD 18/1/42; McDill 23/1/42; Nasal 20/5/42 (I assume this is India); Middle East 11/7/43; Central Africa /6/44; ret US Boeing 17/6/44 mod to RB-17; WO 30/11/45,
 
Having ATC markings I think it is probably a H.Q. ship of either ATC North African Division or ATC Central Africa Division and could been taken anywhere in the MTO or Africa.
 
With the bubble canopy P-47 running up in the background sans any unit markings I would place the time just before its return to the U.S. at or near a major theater depot since fighters were ship as deck cargo and assemble and theater modified at a major depot.  
 
The entry for Boeing modifying it to a RB-17E is interesting in that why would Boeing do this modification work which was, most of the time, the designation for a pilot transition trainer a relative simple modification?
 
All the best to you,
 
Tom Michel
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 19:18:58 (permalink)
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Tom22

Freeman & Osborne list 41-2491 as being reported: Del Boeing SAD 18/1/42; McDill 23/1/42; Nasal 20/5/42 (I assume this is India); Middle East 11/7/43; Central Africa /6/44; ret US Boeing 17/6/44 mod to RB-17; WO 30/11/45,
 
The entry for Boeing modifying it to a RB-17E is interesting in that why would Boeing do this modification work which was, most of the time, the designation for a pilot transition trainer a relative simple modification?


Tom,

Thanks for your posts of the picture and of the additional  information.

On pg 255 of "7th Bombardment Group/Wing, 191-1995" Robert F. Dorr indicates -2491 was one of nine planes supposed to have been enroute to Java but was caught in India when Indonesia fell to the Japanese.  He does not list a unit of original assignment, but does list pilot as D. J. Rogers, and assignment to 9th BS/7th BG in India.  Additionally, for the other planes he lists their individual  O/S arrival dates (in India?) as 22 & 30 Jan, 1, 15, 16 and 20 Feb 1942 (3 planes), prior to the existance of 10th Air Force or 7th BG being in India. There is no such O/S arrival date for -2491, suggesting it arrived later than those records.

I propose that "Nasal" is a mispelling of Natal, Brazil, on the South Atlantic delivery route.  If -2491 was there on May 5, 1942, it was months behind the other planes Dorr lists.   I suspect it was instead part of "Aquila Project " wherein Col. C.V. Haynes, flying a B-24D, led ten B-17s to join with Chennault and fly missions from eastern China. They departed USA late March 1942, with some arriving at Karachi as early as 7 Apr and others never arriving.  Other sources have Haynes B-24 and six B-17s reaching Karachi, where one was destroyed in a landing accident. Dorr only lists five in his book.  Perhaps -2491 had mechanical problems and was delayed for some weeks, not unusual in the early months of the war.

Regarding the RB-17E designation... I came across the following on an internet bulletin board some time back, but my notes do not indicate where or when.  Take it as questionable information --
"The aircraft was re-designated as RB-17E after return to the United States, but you should understand that as of 1944, the "R" prefix indicated "obsolescent" rather than the "Reconnaissance" function that was attached to this designator post-war."

(edited to add Operation Aquila info)

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 19:36:35 (permalink)
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The photo of 41-2491 is NOT in compliance with the tail markings as specified by the Contract Number.

The CORRECT tail number should have been 14291 as the first 4 was dropped.

An excellent explanation of the Contract Numbers is given in Joe Baugher's USAF Serials

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/usafserials.html

Jim :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 19:54:45 (permalink)
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Tony and Tom - The change in designation from a 'B' to an 'RB' was done administratively, not at a Mod Center. It signified that the plane was no longer to be used in combat. For example, ALL B-24Es were designated RB-24Es on 18 September 1943 and before war's end all B-24Ds were also placed in the RB, or Limited Standard, category. Because of the numbers involved most of these redesignations did not get posted on the IARCs but were in effect nevertheless. Many, of course, were used in the training role.
 
Al
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 20:58:14 (permalink)
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jpeters140
The photo of 41-2491 is NOT in compliance with the numeric markings as specified by the Contract Number.


Jim,

Thanks, I hadn't noticed. Now that I look closer, the tail markings do not seem "normal" to me, i.e., style, location and format (as you pointed out), but I am really only familiar with 10th & 14th Air Force aircraft.

The ATC insigne is clearly visible on the aft fuselage. It appears to have a vertical stripe marking just below the serial number, but I have no idea what that might represent.


Al Blue

Tony and Tom - The change in designation from a 'B' to an 'RB' was done administratively, not at a Mod Center. It signified that the plane was no longer to be used in combat. For example, ALL B-24Es were designated RB-24Es on 18 September 1943 and before war's end all B-24Ds were also placed in the RB, or Limited Standard, category. Because of the numbers involved most of these redesignations did not get posted on the IARCs but were in effect nevertheless. Many, of course, were used in the training role.
 
Al


Al -- Thanks for clarifying the designation change.  Based on the info I have, I had presumed this was an administrative action but didn't know for certain.  Base on how he presents the information, I believe Dorr may not have referenced IARCs for his book.

As an aside I received "Born In Battle", read it and am glad to have it in my collection.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 22:03:10 (permalink)
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Jim - I have a minor problem with the way Joe Baugher explains the use of Fiscal Year funds. He states:
 
"It is important to recognize that the serial number reflects the Fiscal Year in which the order for the aircraft is placed, NOT the year in which it is delivered."
 
I think his wording should be "It is important to recognize that the serial number reflects the Fiscal Year funds that were used to purchase the aircraft, NOT the year in which it is delivered." 
 
Once appropriated, FY funds could be carried over from one FY to the next. Thus an aircraft contract could be let on, say, July 5th, 1941 (FY 1942) but if caryover FY 1941 funds were used the planes would carry 41- serials.  
 
As the current popular saying goes, "follow the money!"
 
Al
 
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Re:Halpro 1942; addendum 2010/07/05 23:31:02 (permalink)
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Al...I see what you are saying.

The only suggestion I have is to contact Joe Baugher.

I only have had experience with the tail numbers....I DID bring up to my unit at the time, that there were aircraft in the unit, that were  OVER 10 years old that did not have the 0- prefix on the vertical stabilizer. As I recall, it was corrected.

Perhaps it is/was a misunderstanding on his part, and should be corrected.

He depends on being informed when there is something to be corrected...I had an occasion to contact him once regarding his information...( I think it must have taken a lot of work....it is a good source of information,but, it is only as good as the informtion is accurate).

Jim :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
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