Warbird Digest has just received the December, 2019 report from Chuck Cravens concerning the restoration of the Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27609 at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. We thought our readers would be very interested to see how the project has progressed since our last article on this important project. So without further ado, here it goes!
UpdateThe wings and landing gear received the most attention this month. Because the wing is a semi elliptical planform, each rib is unique and has to be fitted individually. Rob and Randy have been assembling the wing components as the guys in the fab shop produce the parts. Lance has been working on the various functional mechanisms that cause the landing gear to shorten as they are retracted.
Wing PartsThe complex wings of the P-47 require hundreds of parts, and almost every one of these are unique in shape and size. Duplicate parts are only found in a mirrored layout of the opposite wing. The fabrication guys have to work rapidly to keep up with the progress of the wing assembly.
The Fifth Air Force’s August and Early September 1944 Missions
In the June/July update we began listing the missions the 5th Air Force flew during 42-27609’s combat career.
The September/October update delineated the missions flown from July 1st through August 15th, 1944.
This month will be the final installment of missions that the Fifth Air Force flew during the period that 42-27609 was available for combat in Papua New Guinea. This final period is from August 16, 1944 to September 18, 1944, the date that 42-27609 was removed from service at Dobodura.
As before, the listed information below is taken directly from a publication of the Center for Air Force History, Kit Carter and Robert Mueller’s Combat Chronology 1941-1945.
Spellings and abbreviations are as used in the original publication.
9/4/44 FEAF Bad weather cancels most large-scale operations. A-20’s and B-26’s hit Urarom A/F and FBs attack Moemi and hit Napido. During 4/5 Sep B-24’s bomb Kendari A/F.
9/4/44 FEAF B-24’s hit Peleliu A/F, a few bombing Saipan Small-scale B-24 strikes hit Kendari A/F while FBs attack Galela and nearby villages, Soepiori Peninsula villages and Waren and Moemi A/Fs. Almost 60 B-24’s blast Langoan A/F while a sizeable B-25 force bombs Djailolo A/F, several villages, and Kaoe AA positions.
9/6/44 FEAF B-24’s pound Santa Ana port. B-25’s bomb Buayan A/F in the first MB raid in Phil Is since early 1942. Several B-24’s, turning back from the Santa Ana strike, bomb Rainis. B-25’s hit Galela and S coast of Morotai while FBs hit Kaoe A/F and bomb Djailolo runway. A-20’s, B-25’s, and FBs hit A/Fs at Manokwari, Moemi, Ransiki, and Waren, and stores and personnel area at Nabire. P-40’s attack S Soepiori I and Napido. Other P-39’s strafe barges and huts at Suain.
9/7/44 FEAF B-24’s pound Menado area and B-25’s hit Wasile Bay villages. Other B-24’s strike Galela in force while P-38’s dive-bomb Djailolo A/F. A-20’s bomb Boela A/F and B-25’s sink lugger in Bara Bay. A-20’s hit Mongosah A/F while FBs hit Manokwari airstrip and villages in Schouten Is and strafe and bomb Wewak A/F and surrounding areas.B-24s enroute to a SW Pacific target. USAAF photo
9/8/44 FEAF B-24’s pound Langoan A/ F. B-25’s hit Galela and Tobelo while B-24’s bomb Lolobata and P-47’s attack Kaoe A/F and AA positions, Djailolo A/F and barges at Point Lelo. B-24’s bomb A/Fs at Langgoer, Faan, Letfoean, and Toeal. P-38’s hit Boela while B-25’s hit small shipping at Ceram. FBs and A-20’s hit airstrips and T/Os at Efman, Samate, Babo, Urarom, Manokwari, Moemi, and Ranski. P-39’s strafe Wewak coastal area.
9/9/44 FEAF B-24’s bomb Mapanget A/F. More than 100 FBs and A-20’s pound A/Fs at Liang, Haroekoe, Boela, and Namlea. FBs hit Moemi, Manokwari, and Ransiki airstrips while B-25’s hit Babo A/F. B-24’s hit Galela A/F.
9/10/44 FEAF B-24’s pound A/Fs at Langoan and Mapanget and hit Tomohon and waterfront area of Menado. Lolobata and Hate Tabako A/Fs are bombed and areas along Wasile Bay strafed. MBs, A-20’s, and P38’s hit A/Fs and oil storage at Namlea, Amahai, and Boela while B-24’s hit Laha A/F. A-20’s and ftrs hit A/ Fs at Samate, Sagan, Nabire, Urarom, Manokwari, Moemi, and Ransiki.
9/11/44 FEAF B-24’s hit A/Fs at Galela and Miti. B-25’s bomb Kairatoe A/F and village and Boela A/F while P-38’s hit A/Fs at Namlea and Amahai and oil tanks at Boela. A-20’s and B-25’s hit Kaoe A/F and scattered T/Os. A-20’s strike Otawiri, Sagan, Nabire, and Urarom A/Fs while FBs hit A/Fs and AA guns at Manokwari and Ransiki.
9/12/44 FEAF B-24’s pound 3 A/Fs in Menado area. B-24’s and B-25’s bomb Kaoe and Galela, A/Fs, and radar facilities on Morotai I. B-24’s hit Lautem. P-38’s dive-bomb Namlea runways while P-47’s hit Boela. A-20’s, B-25’s, and FBs hit A/Fs, AA guns, and other tgts at Babo, Mongosah, Manokwari, Sagan, Moemi, and Samate.
9/13/44 FEAF B-24’s and B-25’s hit 4 A/Fs and bomb villages on Morotai I. B-25’s hit Langgoer A/F while A-20’s and FBs hit 2 A/Fs in Efman I. A-20’s, B-25’s, and FBs hit Babo AA positions and A/Fs at Manokwari and Ransiki
9/14/44 FEAF B-25’s pound Mapanget airstrip on Menado area. B-24’s hit 4 A/Fs on Halmahera. A-20’s and B-25’s bomb Babo A/F while FBs make scattered small raids on AA positions, A/Fs, and T/Os on Vogelkop Peninsula.
9/15/44 FEAF B-24’s, A-20’s, and P-47’s bomb Kaoe, Lolobata, and Hate Tabako. P-39’s bomb Manokwari A/F and town area.
9/16/44 FEAF B-24’s bomb Kendari air depot and Ambesia A/F while B-25’s attack large warehouse at Gorontalo. B25’s and B-24’s pound Namlea, Liang, Haroekoe, Kairatoe, Laha, and Kamarian. FBs hit Manokwari, Sagan, Moemi, and Waren airstrips.
9/17/44 FEAF B-25’s bomb Buayoan A/F B-24’s, B-25’s, and P-38’s hit Langoan A/F. B-25’s and P-39’s, fighting bad weather, attack a variety of tgts, including A/Fs and villages in Amboina-Ceram area. P-47’s and P40’s pound Samate A/F.
9/18/44 FEAF B-24’s blast several tgts in Davao area, including oil storage at Sasa. B-25’s hit Langoan A/F and lake area. Others hit Samate A/F. Bad weather forces B-24’s over Ceram-Amboina area to individually attack tgts which include 4 A/Fs. FBs hit A/F and town of Manokwari and AA guns at Moemi.
And that’s all for this month. We wish to thank AirCorps Aviation, Chuck Cravens (words and images) as well as John LaTourelle and Nic Johnson (images) for making this report possible! We look forwards to bringing more restoration reports on progress with this rare machine in the coming months.
Is the P-47 Thunderbolt your favorite airplane? Make sure to purchase issue #73 of Warbird Digest featuring the beautiful “Dottie Mae”