This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars in general hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
After some months of defensive patrolling at Elmendorf Field near Anchorage, 21 pilots and 60 ground crew from 111 Squadron were ordered to Fort Glenn, a US Army base on Umnak Island, to form "F" Flight of the 11th Pursuit Squadron, USAAF (Major John S. Chennault in command). Umnak is a naked volcanic island with no facilities and spectacularly vile weather, but it is a stop on the way to Kiska and Attu and, eventually, Japan. The Fort Glenn runway went operational in May and everyone there is still living under canvas, five to a tent with a sleeping bag and four blankets each.
Even with long-range tanks, the P-40 cannot fly from Umnak to Kiska, carry out an effective attack, and then fly back to Umnak. Therefore, as soon as the barest rudiments of an advanced base were in place on Adak, air attacks against Kiska began. The first raid was on September 4, and it took S/L Boomer two weeks to convince Maj Chennault to include at least some of the Canadian pilots in today’s raid.
Kodiak Island, winter 1942-43: 111 (F) Squadron's P-40s ready to fly at Kodiak Naval Air Base.
The Japanese do not have many aircraft in the Aleutians, as they could construct only the barest flying facilities in this rugged terrain. Kiska has a sketchy airstrip for "Zero" fighters, and a couple of "Rufe" seaplanes, which are Zeros with three floaters, one big one in the middle and a small one on each wing. The attacking force consists of bombers escorted by fighters, which will strafe ground targets when the bombers have finished their run.
At about 10 a.m., the four Canadian pilots are part of a low sweep that crosses Little Kiska Island towards the North Head of Kiska Harbour, where they hit gun positions and the main Japanese camp, concentrating on radar installations. On their second pass, they encounter the two Rufes, which had gamely risen to meet them. As the Japanese leader attacks a USAAF P-40, S/L Boomer comes to the rescue, pulling up right under the Rufe’s big ventral float and hosing the belly of the aircraft with gunfire. The Rufe flames up and begins to tumble, the pilot jumping free just before it hits the sea. The other Rufe falls victim to Maj Chennault, and the Canadians then join in an attack on a surfaced submarine.
When they run out of ammunition, the fighters rejoin the bombers and return to Adak, leaving both Kiska and Little Kiska cratered and burnt-over; as well as the two Rufes, five to eight float biplanes have been destroyed. For this action, all the participating P-40 pilots, Canadian and American alike, receive the US Air Medal. At the end of the war, S/L Boomer’s Rufe is the only Japanese aircraft to have been destroyed by an RCAF unit, and he remains the only RCAF pilot ever to have shot down an aircraft from each of the Axis nations: German, Italian and Japanese.
at the Forum, or do you mean life in generalAufklarung wrote:Juha!! What are you doing here??!!
...No, no... nothing personal. I've been lurking this section for a while to be able to earn the right to post a question which I've had at my back pocket for a while.Following me, eh!!
Thanks CCC, actually I then just got home from a party.Shouldn't you be out celebrating? Happy 87th to all Finns everywhere.
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