PDA

View Full Version : Record endurance mission. (I think)



Waldo.Pepper
09-20-2007, 02:33 PM
An interesting story that I shall make into a trivia question for Friday. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

We all likely know about the Black Buck missions during the Falklands's War in 1982. But I recently came across an air mission from World War Two in an airplane that BEATS it for hours aloft.

This is not a USN Blimp patrol or anything like that. A proper plane with engines - that stayed aloft LONGER than the Vulcan in the Black Buck mission(s)]

The reason 'I think' is in the title of the thread is for a few reasons. A B-52 now holds the record. But this WW2 flight beats the Vulcan ones during Falklands. (At least according to information that is in the public record.)

Also before anyone guesses that it was a German flight to Japan or something like that - it was not a German or Japanese flight that I am thinking of.

Waldo.Pepper
09-20-2007, 02:33 PM
An interesting story that I shall make into a trivia question for Friday. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

We all likely know about the Black Buck missions during the Falklands's War in 1982. But I recently came across an air mission from World War Two in an airplane that BEATS it for hours aloft.

This is not a USN Blimp patrol or anything like that. A proper plane with engines - that stayed aloft LONGER than the Vulcan in the Black Buck mission(s)]

The reason 'I think' is in the title of the thread is for a few reasons. A B-52 now holds the record. But this WW2 flight beats the Vulcan ones during Falklands. (At least according to information that is in the public record.)

Also before anyone guesses that it was a German flight to Japan or something like that - it was not a German or Japanese flight that I am thinking of.

stathem
09-20-2007, 02:35 PM
A Catalina patrol?

sakai2005
09-20-2007, 04:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stathem:
A Catalina patrol? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

ill vote a cat patrol also mabey midway searching for the flat tops.

jarink
09-20-2007, 08:57 PM
TWA Clipper flying boat on "patrol" from Wake Island.

Waldo.Pepper
09-20-2007, 09:23 PM
Stathem in two minutes! Guess it was rather obvious. I hope you take longer with your partner. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

18.4 hours! While I don't relish the idea of playing Il-2 for a solid 18 hours it sure would have been nice to replicate this type of mission. Also liked the navigation by smell aspect in the story.

Here's the story, in the pilot's own words George Poulos of VP-11.

"On 27 August 1942, my crew and I had our first encounter with the Japanese since 7 December 1941. One of the early morning patrol PBYs had made contact with a Japanese surface force. There were no carriers in this group but it was powerful and included battleships. Since it was at the extreme end of Ms 700-mi search sector, the PBY pilot was not able to track them for long. This fleet posed a serious threat to friendly forces ashore and afloat and it was essential that we keep track of its movements. I drew the assignment.

Takeoff had to be timed carefully. We had to depart early enough to make contact before dark or greatly reduce the possibility of making contact at all. On the other hand, we could not take off too early or we would run out of fuel before daybreak. There were no provisions for night landings at Graciosa Bay or any other sheltered water. During August at these southern latitudes, sunset occured at 6 pm local time with almost no twilight. Likewise, sunrise occurs at 6 am in the morning with very little elapsed time between total darkness and full daylight.

Based on my prior experience with maximum endurance flights and the distance involved, I decided on a noon takeoff, anticipating contact at darkness, tracking until midnight and landing at Graciosa Bay at daybreak. Plans went like clockwork. The sun had just set when we saw a line of battleships on the horizon with their escort cruisers and destroyers on the periphery.

The PBY Catalina was capable of grueling eighteen hour overwater patrols. Immediately I reduced altitude to water level, hoping that the enemy had not yet detected us. My plan was to get within two miles, pop up suddenly so we could see the entire fleet, take a ship type and numbers count, and retreat to send our messages.

We were not that lucky. By the time I judged that we were two miles away, a destroyer appeared headed straight for us and firing his forward guns as rapidly as possible. We had been detected. Within seconds, geysers of water were spouting on all sides of us as the shells hit the water and exploded. Because we were just high enough to skim over the waves, the water spouts towered above us and in one instance it was necessary to maneuver rapidly to avoid flying into one that exploded directly in front of the airplane.

The accuracy of the destroyer's aim and the statistical probability of being hit when bracketed by gunfire caused me to reconsider getting an exact ship count. We
retreated out of range, gained altitude, let out the trailing wire antenna, and sent a coded contact report. By then, it was totally dark. We loitered in the area for an hour and then attempted to relocate the contact.

This proved to be harder than we anticipated and it took four hours of searching. We first searched the area that they would have been in if they had not changed course. We didn't find them. To ensure that they had not taken a course into the Solomons battle area we searched that next, again with negative results. The next possibility was that this fleet was headed for a provisioning station. That would be their large base on the island of Truk. This time we were successful.

It was somewhat eerie to come upon a large enemy battle fleet in the middle of a large ocean on a very dark night with a solid overcast above and not a star nor a flicker of light showing anywhere. You first sighted the phosphorescent wake of one of the ships. Gradually more wakes appeared on all sides and the dark silhouettes of the ships were discernable. Suddenly you realized you were in the middle of a force with enough firepower to destroy a city. I wondered why they hadn't put a searchlight on us and opened fire. At about 30-deg off the port bow, an especially big wake was visible " five battleships in a line. If they were going to be this docile, why not attack them? We had four 500-lb bombs under the wings. The chance of a successful hit on the last battleship would be very good, I thought. Probably wouldn't hurt her too much, though, unless we got a lucky hit on a magazine or down a stack. The probability of an escape was another consideration. Still, it might be worth a try. But first and foremost, the amplifying report had to be made and we retired a safe distance to accomplish this most important task. By this time, fuel had become a critical factor and an attack was no longer a practical consideration.

The night had turned stormy and, as we headed back to base, we could see neither sky nor water. Only dead-reckoning navigation was possible. Fuel management was our biggest concern. The engines were leaned back and they performed magnificently.

About an hour before daylight, I smelled the navigational aid we were waiting for. About 80-mi north of Graciosa Bay was an active volcano which jutted out of the ocean to about 5000-ft above sea level. The fumes from eruption contained a very pungent hydrogen sulphide smell that permeated the air for several miles in all directions. Despite our inability to navigate precisely by traditional means, I knew that if we could smell the volcano, we were close enough to find our way to Graciosa Bay at daylight, provided of course that we did not fly into the volcano itself. Fortunately, our crude radar equipment could be expected to give us a warning within five miles and we didn't have to use precious fuel to climb over the top.

We landed just as the daylight patrol PBYs were taking off. The duration of our flight was 18.4-hrs. Fuel remaining from a full load of 1430-gal at takeoff was 30-gal. Only a PBY could have fulfilled such an exacting mission."

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/WaldoPepper/sweet%20ride/sweetride.jpg

VonGrantoven
09-21-2007, 08:52 AM
Amazing Story, Waldo!

Especially liked the 'scent navigation' aspect
Is that picture of the actual aircraft?

~S~
VonG

Dagnabit
09-21-2007, 09:16 AM
Good story Waldo and thanks for posting it.
It seems you are always coming up with good stuff here, and I appreciate these kinds of posts very much.
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
Dag

HotelBushranger
09-21-2007, 09:17 AM
Bloody good effort http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif