Discussion in '1st ACG' started by barneybolac, Oct 19, 2016.
Looking for more information on these two aircraft.
Frank W Gursansky flew with the 490th BS, 341st BG. He shows up on this list of B-25Hs (see page 2 for 43-4222).
Unfortunately, most of the planes on the list do not have any names recorded and there does not seem to be an "Irene" or "Fongutongu" listed.
The full crew that day (5 Sept 44) : GURSANSKY, FRANK W.; LEVINE, IRVING W.; PATCONAK, DEWEY, PETERSON, ERIC; NELSON, RUSSELL L.
The accident also shows on this list:
43-4222 Is a -10 model B-25H. Irene is absolutely a -1 variant. Two things that identify this is that there is no gun pods on the pilots side of the aircraft. Plus when I zoom one of the above images of Irene you can read the stencil and it lists it as a -1. Shame the photo is cropped where it is the first digit of the serial number is also visible in the stencil and it is #4.
I did find this image below that sheds some more light on possible candidates. Also Irene is in this photo as well sadly the tail is hidden.
I received some information from Jim Lansdale from J-aircraft fame who knows quite a bit on this group.
"IRENE" was FACG B-25H, No."9", USAAC Seria 43-4210.
The other B-25H was flown by Capt. Frank B. Merchant in 1945 for day and night intruder missions.
I am not sure of the serial number. It could be any of one of these:
First, my apologies to Barney and everyone else for major errors in the B-25H listing (http://k9iua.atwebpages.com/docs/CBI_B25H_Aircraft.pdf) !!! Mitchells 43-4105 through 43-4404 were B-25H-1 models; serials 43-4405 through 43-4704 were H-5 models, and 43-4705 thru 43-5104 were H-10 models
I created the pdf from my database and emailed it to Kevin for his use; realizing the error sometime later I emailed him text corrections but did not realize the erroneous pdf had been posted and linked on the internet. I will try to contact Kevin to correct the error! That said, let's move on.
43-4222 is documented as being assigned to 490th Bm Sq on 30 Jan 44 and referenced as being flown by 490th pilot 1Lt Jeffee on a mission 26 Feb 44, before the Sep 44 accident with Guranski identified as pilot.
Until now, I believed the Bomber Section of 1st ACG had been disbanded after May 44 monsoons forced them to move out of Hailakandi, and that the B-25s and most of the crew members were reassigned to other CBI B-25 units (341st Bm Gp, 12th Bm Gp, 1st Bm Gp (CACW, etc.) In June or July 1944, Gursanski was assigned to the 490th Bm Sq, supporting my impression.
I am attaching USAF photo image showing "Night Intruder" aircraft and attributed to 1st ACG which shows recognizable tail numbers for #935, #561, #974 and #966. Only #935 and #966 (probably the 4986 noted above) carry the ACG stripes. I have confirmed #561 and #974, upon reaching India, were assigned as replacements to 490th Bm Sq. The 490th had five planes on detached service at Myitkyina which performed 2- and 4-ship 'Night Stalker' missions almost nightly from 1 Dec 44 thru 1 Jan 45 . I have been assuming (yeah, I know), all these planes were actually assigned to 490th at the time.
I recently received cdrom with most Flight Intelligence Reports for the 490th, although very few crew listing documents are included. I will do my best to identify planes and/or pilots performing the 490th's Night Stalker missions, and report back.
(edited to reduce the ridiculously oversize image I originally posted)
Thank you Tony.
The B-25 Mitchell Fans Facebook group has a photo of 43-4561 that is the same aircraft in the above image. Shows stripes painted on & looks to be a squadron hack.
Also a J model images as well.
I also have this image of another aircraft with stripes.
Interesting photos of 3-4561 as a hack. I wonder when it was declared war weary or replaced for newer model, and which unit received it.
All I know about B-25H 43-4972 is what can be seen found in a press release photo of AAF numbered 74357A.C. I believe the image you posted is a cropped portion of that photo, which attributes smoke slightly left of center in the distance as being targets at Chauk, Burma after being attacked by B-25s. The plane's serial number is obvious as is black oily smoke coming from what appears to be Chauk, however, I have for years been unable to find documentation of Chauk being targeted by B-25s on 17 Feb 45. On that date, the 490th Bm Sq launched ten B-25s in staggered 2-ship takeoffs from 0600 to 0830 hours from Warazup, Burma, far to the northeast of Chauk. The objectives were to perform strafing road sweeps from Lashio to Hsenwi, then bomb troops and supplies which had built up at Hai Hseng, Burma. All of these locations well north and east of Chauk.
Tony's referenced photo, annotation card attached, via fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/52541544?terms=Chauk
Some interesting documents in this account https://www.scribd.com/document/33642288/WWII-10th-Air-Force-Report still nothing about B-25's attacking Chauk during February 45.
Edit: interesting chronology here http://www.gautierandcharles.biz/rebekka/10th_usaaf_operations.htm (no source citing that I see, so questionable content) search: Chauk there was a large Mitchell raid to Chauk on 17 May 45 perhaps this photo was misidentified. odd tho (maybe) with only one ship in this photo.
Addition: 1944 Burma map attached for those (like me) who are location challenged in this theater.
The data for that web page is extracted from "U.S. Army Air Forces in WWII Combat Chronology" by Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller of the Center for Air Force History. PDF version available here -- http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-100525-035.pdf
Considering it was 2.5 years +/- between photo and the noted receipt by PR department (see upper right corner) misinformation is a valid possibility, or maybe just a typo, Mar instead of May.
Definitely could not be any 490th Bm Sq planes on the 17 May 45 mission to Chauk; the 490th was relieved of attachment to Tenth Air Force and began transfer to Hanchung, China on 19 April. The Air Echelon completed its move and flew first China-based mission on 5 May 45.
My apologies if these Chauk bombing mission posts are derailing the main focus of this thread. Here is another photo of this Chauk refinery attack (supposedly by Mitchell's on 17 Feb 1945) at a much closer low level camera angle. These photos as labeled were taken by 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, and processed by their 7th Photo Technical Squadron. Hard to say what aircraft was being used this day as the 8PRG flew a mix F-4, F-5, and F-7 aircraft during this early 1945 period. To me the rising smoke clouds look visually similar to the earlier photo with 43-4972 in the frame.
Are any of you familiar with this 1st ACG ship? (if it is identified only by stripping). Hard for me to read the tail number 3447?
The last digit looks to me like a "2" , if so possibly 43-4472.
First digit "3" is units digit of 43- so full serial will be 43-447? Roland suggest 43-4472, howcver, #72 was named 'Dangerous Date' which does not match the wording around the nose
This image extracted from a Press Release photo, which had accompanying comment ".... North American B-25 'Mitchell' dropped fragmentation bombs on Simpi, Burma." Severe image manipulation of that high definition scan suggests the last digit might, just might be an 8. 43-4478 was assigned to the 1st ACG and later transfered to China Air Force, on 12 Dec 45.
Thank you, Tony and Rolland.
With Tony's direction to Simpi, Burma here is the fold3 page for this photo https://www.fold3.com/image/52538602 I concur with your evaluation viewing this photo there that the last digit is most likely 8 yielding B-25H-5-43-4478. back of photo card annotation attached pdf.
Vertical stabilizer serial number image enhancement: B-25H-5-43-4478
Separate names with a comma.