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B-29 Reasearch Assistance

Discussion in '497th BG - Saipan' started by Snigley, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Does anyone know of a list that correlates B-29 serial numbers or tail numbers with the aircraft name? Thanks to the assistance of some forum members, I've been able to find all the B-29 serial numbers and tail numbers of planes my uncle served on. The only information I don't have filed in is the plane name (if any). Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. The double numbers are replacements for planes lost in action.

    A-2 42-65282 Big Cookie
    A-3 42-24591 Lucky Lynn
    A-5 42-69876
    A-7 42-24593 American Maid
    A-8 42-24615
    A-8 42-94020
    A-9 42-63463 Skyscraper II
    A-10 42-24597 Our Baby
    A-11 42-27741
    A-11 42-70152
     
  2. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  3. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Agree with Rolland. Again suggested reading http://www.497thbombgroupb29.org/records/869th Scrapbook.pdf for all the "A" number related serial numbers, post 3 of your other thread this topic http://forum.armyairforces.com/threads/b-29-aircraft-numbers.1383/#post-11202

    A-2 42-65282 Big Cookie
    A-3 42-24591 Lucky Lynn
    A-5 42-69876 this serial number is for a P-63A-10-BE Kingcobra http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_3a.html
    A-7 42-24593 American Maid
    A-8 42-24615 Coral Queen
    A-8 42-94020 No name recorded by Mann.
    A-9 42-63463 Skyscraper II
    A-10 42-24597 Our Baby
    A-11 42-27741 this serial number is for a P-47D-23-RA Thunderbolt http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html
    A-11 42-70152 this serial number is for a P-63A-10-BE Kingcobra http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_3a.html

    Here is a listing of 869th Squadron aircraft with names if the plane had one. The last listed plane A-17 (42-24615) appears to be a misprint duplication.
    869th Scrapbook PDF page 21.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  4. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it. All I have to go by is the last three digits of the Aircraft Numbers listed on his flight log. I have found several errors on it before. He obviously never flew a fighter. My main confusion here is that he was a member of crew 12 (Thomas Hanley crew). The only plane he ever mentioned was American Maid, yet it appears he only flew two missions in it. Most of his missions (12) were flown on "The Big Cookie", and 14 missions were listed in his log as Aircraft 152 The only 152 I could find was listed as a duplicate A-11 after the original ditched June 1, 45. The serial number was listed as 42-70152. The documentation I researched said that on June 28/29,45 the plane was flown by Thomas/Hanley against Sasebo. There is also an alternate serial Number listed as AS 4741. I don't know if that's correct or not. I could somewhat close out the flight history on my uncle if I can just figure out which plane he flew his last 14 missions on.

    One of the bigger problems is that I can't type. S/N should have been A-11 42-24741

    869 Bomb Group.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  5. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Hindsight edit: regarding B-29, 42-24741 lost soon after take off on 1 June 1945. MACR 14595 (14 pages) starts here on fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/29028426 for those with access. A "BAD" mechanical day for this ship and crew. Joe Baugher's account http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html B-29-45-BW-42-24741:
    Delivered to USAAF 26Sep44 (497th BG, 869th BS) suffered #1 engine fire enroute to Osaka, causing #2 to backfire and lose power. Unable to maintain altitude while returning to Saipan and crew bailed out in the dark near a Navy convoy Jun 1, 1945. MACR 14595. 2 crew killed, 9 survived.

    In reality relatively meaningless to this investigation as your uncle only flew in this ship once on 27 January 1945 according to his flight log.


    For what it's worth here is a listing of B-29's by construction number order [NOT serial number order] http://www.worldmilitair.com/aircraft/boeing345.htm search this page [Ctrl + F] for 152

    There is only "one" candidate with these last three digits, 44-70152. There is 44-62152 but this ship was not delivered until 24 August 1945 to the 19BG obviously a postwar delivery.

    Back to B-29-80-BW-44-70152 this ship was delivered 18 May 1945 to the AAF then assigned to the 499BG at Saipan according to Joe Baugher http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1944_4.html
    and Bob Mann https://books.google.com/books?id=5SdDW64827QC&lpg=PA72&ots=UxSEpyXxwS&dq=B-29 44-70152&pg=PA72#v=onepage&q=B-29 44-70152&f=false

    Here is a listing of 499BG aircraft from Sallyann Wagoner's B-29.org site http://b-29.org/73BW/bomb-wing-data/499-group.html sadly this 499BG listing does not claim 44-70152 as one of their ships. (a note for the record the 499BG records were lost at sea postwar so much of "this" record has been reconstructed from various sources).

    This leaves the research trail for 44-70152 a bit cold. You could, if you wish request the Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) for this plane from AFHRA via email at AFHRA.NEWS@US.AF.MIL unknown if this IARC was part of the postwar 499BG record loss. The goal here would be to see a transfer of this ship from the 499BG to the 497BG if this record is complete and still exists.

    Or, on faith of your uncles recording of "152" as a B-29 he flew aboard it could be assumed this 499BG to 497BG transfer occurred as there are no other possibilities for a B-29 with these last three digits. You noted a document you had seen (no citing) where 869 Squadron aircraft A-11 was identified as 42-70152. Likely this was a printing error and should have been 44-70152, as there seems no other option.

    Good luck with your continued research of your uncles 497BG service. Thank you for sharing the photo of the 869 Squadron sign at Isley Field, Saipan; very unique, nice art work, reverse of squadron insignia attached!
    Scott M
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  6. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    In case this would help let everyone know where I'm getting my information from, here's a copy of my uncle's flight log. Several years a guy from Wings Over the Marianas was supposed to be writing a book and I let him use some of my uncle's photos. In turn, he gave me a spreadsheet copy of his 869th research data. I'm not questioning anyone's data, but I've been asking for alternate sources due to a lot of conflicting information. Like 14 missions on aircraft 152, or Crew 16 when the information I got here says Crew 12. Overall this is a lot tougher to put together than I ever thought it was going to be.



    Flight Log Post.jpg
     
  7. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Snigley,

    Thank you for sharing this document. I appreciate your frustration with inaccurate and conflicting records making your research more difficult. Earlier I suggested you attempt contact with Doug Graff Comella thru his website http://www.exciteableitalian.com/497/497th.htm Doug has also experienced this frustration with data confusion regarding the loss of the Merrill Crew on the 3/4 July 1945 mission to Kochi, Japan resulting in the loss of this crew and B-29-50-BW-42-24774 "Miss Hap". In question here is the accurate squadron code for this plane when lost.

    Thru Doug additional aid may be available from Jim Bowman 500th BG Historian who has greatly helped Doug. Jim has personally with diligence retrieved 73BW records from NARA Collage Park. Jim may have recovered records pertinent to your research (no guaranties) but worth trying to seek help from both Doug and Jim.

    I remain confident that "152" = 44-70152. Perhaps Jim Bowman has records confirming the transfer of this ship from the 499BG to the 497BG thru 73BW records. According to your uncles flight log document his first mission aboard "152" was Mission 215 to Kure, Japan on 22 June 1945. It would appear this mission number used here (perhaps all) are XXI BC mission numbers, not 497BG mission numbers (can add more confusion reviewing XX AF Bomb Group records), see attached. This 22 June date does fit with when this "new" 44-70152 should have arrived at Saipan. This aircraft is a rather late war arrival at a time when the novelty of naming a plane and adding nose art my have worn off a bit; just my speculation.

    Agreed, this research should not be this difficult but for various reasons in some cases it is most challenging. Give Doug a try, maybe he can aid with direction.

    Scott M

    Mission 215, Kure, 22 June 45.jpg
     
  8. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    article
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Scott,
    Doug is the guy I went to a couple years back to begin my research. Several of my uncle's photos are on his website. His friend is the person that gave me all the information I've been using to try and decode my uncle's flight log. I'll try and contact him again and see if he could possibly be of additional assistance
     
  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Snigley,
    Happy you and Doug are or were in contact. I just sent an email off to Jim Bowman to see if he can help on this topic. Will advise if Jim has new or additional data.

    This is likely one of your contributions to Doug's website for the Hanley Crew, your uncle S/Sgt Milton S Allen back row 4th from left (here labeled as "flight engineer") normally on a B-29 this position was reserved for an officer, late war these flight engineer regulations/requirements were relaxed permitting enlisted men to fill this important B-29 crew position.
    Scott

    Hanleys_Crew_Named_sm.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  11. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Snigley,
    In a reply from Jim Bowman he agrees that 44-70152 is the only candidate replacing A-11, 42-24741, which had ditched on 1 Jun 45. Jim also supplied a spreadsheet displaying all 497th Bomb Group missions produced by Doug Comella. Herein was found the error where 42-70152 was inserted rather than 44-70152 "a simple typo". If you are in possession of this spreadsheet 44-70152 is misidentified as 42-70152 throughout the document for 16 missions. This spreadsheet error still exists on Doug's website http://www.exciteableitalian.com/497/497th_Missions.htm

    Edit: Doug Comella will be updating his website missions spreadsheet with S/N 44-70152 today 18 July 2017.

    I hope this solves the mystery of "152" for you, where in fact this ship was 44-70152 and according to Jim may never have served with the 499BG but rather was immediately assigned to the 497BG once at Saipan.
    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  12. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Scott,
    Yes, it's Larry, and you are correct about my uncle normally being an aerial gunner. With two years of college behind him before the war, he sometimes performed the duties of flight engineer later in the war. One of the stories he often told was when he was serving as flight engineer and they were the lead plane where other planes would drop bombs based on them. The pilot kept trying to contact the bombardier who was not responding. Mu uncle checked on him only to discover he had been hit by piece of AA and was dead. Without really knowing what to do my uncle took is place and completed the bomb run, which ended being on target. Anyway, Conrad Pace was the only casualty his crew had during the war. He was the only married person with children in the crew which I could tell always bother my uncle.

    I have Doug's spreadsheet, and have used it extensively. Thanks to your assistance, hopefully now I can put most of his flight history to rest.
     
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  13. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Larry.
    Doug emailed me this morning to advise he will be making this 44-70152 update to his website spreadsheet later today. As such, I am removing this document attachment from my post #12 as obsolete.

    I also quizzed Doug about this aircraft in the spreadsheet for Missions 68-71 where there is a note about the [S/N listed as "4741"]; requesting more detail on this note.

    In the end, Doug Comella must commended for this outstanding 497BG mission history reference source. Doug is a dedicated AAF historian with special emphasis for the 497BG.

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  14. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Larry, and others with 497BG interest.

    Doug Comella has update his 497BG Mission spreadsheet to include 44-70152:

    http://www.exciteableitalian.com/497/497th_Missions.htm
    or
    http://www.exciteableitalian.com/73rd_BW/497TH_MISSIONS_FP.xls

    Also an explanation has been offered regarding the "4741" notation during Missions 68-71 for this aircraft (ridiculously obvious once explained, by Jim Bowman). This was a 497BG record keeping flaw where records were not kept up to date. As a result when the 869th Squadron ship A-11, 42-24741 ditched on 1 June 1945 it would eventually be replaced by a "new" A-11 which was 44-70152. Unfortunately for its first four missions the group reports were still recording 42-24741 until the error was eventually found and corrected but apparently not retroactively for the earlier four missions.

    Doug Comella has advised me that his spreadsheet is a continuation of the work by Tom Robison found here http://b-29.org/73BW/bomb-wing-data/73bomb-wing-data.html 497BG here http://b-29.org/73BW/bomb-wing-data/497-group.html
    I am pleased Doug has carried this Tom Robison 497BG study forward to its present form.

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  15. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Larry,
    I think the only remaining question about the aircraft in which your uncle crewed, going back to your original post is A-5, 42-69876. Here again this seems a typo perhaps on your part and should be 44-69876. This is an interesting ship B-29-65-BW-44-69876 a plane your uncle flew 4 missions aboard from the fight record you provided.

    44-69876 again is another B-29 where some records do not match other combat records. According to Bob Mann this ship was delivered to the AAF on 23 Feb 1945, then assigned to the 29BG which would be the 314BW, North Field, Guam (Joe Baugher agrees, but I suspect Baugher is using Mann data, so may not be an independent source).

    Unknown (to me) exactly when or why this ship would have been transferred from the 29BG Guam to the 497BG, 869BS Saipan however this 869BS record http://www.497thbombgroupb29.org/records/869th Scrapbook.pdf clearly shows 44-69876 assigned to them as A-5. Even here though the combat history is not crystal clear. This record indicates this planes first mission with the 869BS was on 1 June 1945. This seems to be an inaccurate date as your uncle flew a mission to Nagoya on 16 May 1945 aboard this plane, and Doug Comella in his mission spreadsheet shows first mission occurring 12 April 1945. This may well be another instance where 44-69876 may have initially been earmarked for the 29BG but in reality may have been diverted to Saipan and the 497BG soon after arriving in the Marianas. Additionally no record of a "Name" or nose art was found.

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  16. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Yep, typo on my part. Already my dysfunctional typing ability. Thanks for catching my error.
     
  17. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Larry,
    No offence was intended in my last 44-69876 post; hope none was taken. The intent here was attempting to help close out the aircraft your uncle served aboard.
    Scott
     
  18. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Scott, the only offense taken was at my own typing ability. It's hard for people to assist when I provide incorrect information. I really appreciate all your help. Somewhat interesting that he went to Boeing School to learn B-29's but his graduation certificate has a B-17 on it. One other thing he has is a 14 page document of everyone in the 869th squadron that qualified for an air medal should anyone ever have a relative they need information on.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    Lastly a couple interesting comments about the Coral Queen OriginalCoralQueen.JPG
     
  20. Snigley

    Snigley New Member

    And the new nose art. RevisedCoralQueen01.JPG
     

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