Monday, May 28, 2018

Rescue at Kavieng

A great Memorial Day bit of history over at Old AF Sarge's place.  Follow the link for much more hair raising heroism from our warriors.

A snippet:

However, they are alerted to another downed crew from a B-25 about a mile from shore.  Spotting the debris and three survivors, they land again, shut down the engine and retrieve them. 

Meanwhile, overhead, the P-47s have had to RTB due to low fuel.  As Lt Gordon takes off and starts to RTB, the B-25 that had been spotting ditched aircraft calls them again and directs them towards another crew, very close to shore.  Assured by the B-25 that he would remain and provide cover against any Japanese float plane attacks, Lt Gordon makes another landing about 600 yards from shore.  Using the heavy seas as some protection from AAA and small arms fire, they manage to rescue 5 members of Captain William Cavoli's B-25 crew.  

As they complete the process of pulling Capt Cavioli's crew aboard, the co-pilot starts the starboard engine and attempts to start the port engine.  It will not start.  Realizing that the engine is flooded, Lt Gordon directs the co-pilot to stop trying to start it.  For an agonizing couple of minutes, the PBY taxied in a circle with Japanese shells coming closer every second.  Finally, Lt Gordon engages the 
starter and the engine comes to life.

With 15 extra bodies on board, the overloaded PBY staggers into the air and maintains a stately 90 knot pace back to Finschafen, arriving there after a 7.4 hour return flight.  Depositing the rescued airmen there, he flies another 2.6 hours back to his base.  

Just another day at the office.


  1. I'll bet that crew clanged when they walked. Brass balls the size of cannon balls.

  2. "there" not their !! Please.

  3. The A20 was notorious as a blue BITCH to bail out of or get out of in a ditch. Because of the location of the dorsal fuel tanks they would also burn at the drop of a hat. By 1943/44 most of them had been converted into gun ships. In essence big twin engine fighter bombers. By 1944 many of them didn't carry a bomb load at all. They would have as many as twelve forward firing .50 cal.'s and a crap ton of ammo in the bomb bay. I can't even imagine what a strafing pass from 12 M3 .50's fixed in mounts that are only 6X3 feet must have been like. With B25's coming in dropping "para-frags" it must have been hell for the Japanese.--Ray

    1. The story cited said that Kavieng was never again a factor in the rest of the war.