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Military History/54th Fighter Squadron WWII

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QUESTION: Hello Mr. Sutton,

It would appear that I missed a squadron in my previous question.

Let me guess the fighter 54th Squadron was 25-30 aircraft right? But were they flying P40s or P38s on June 3rd of 1942?

Best Regards,

-Mark

ANSWER: Greetings

The 54th didn't receive P-38s until late August or Sept of 1942.  So P-40 Warhawks but, the Squadron also flew a very unique plane called the P-43 Lancer.  As to numbers again 25 to 30 aircraft.

Again glad to help

Thank you


http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2210


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Mr. Sutton,

I just received a unclassified document from the 11th Air Force History Office. The document is entitled "Alaskan Air Defence and the Japanese Invation of the Aleutians. and is available as a AFD-090602-025.pdf - Print 467596-.TIF

This document shows 2 aircraft reports, which inventory the aircraft available at various periods one of them being the 2nd of June 1942. At this time the 11th Air force in Alaska is stated to have the following aircraft:
9xB-18 Bolos
6xB-17 Flying Fortresses
2xB-24 Liberators
21xB-26 Marauders
7xA-29 Hudsons
11xP-36 Hawks
30xP-38 Lightnings
15xP-39 Aircobras
49xP-40 Warhawks

The second report contradicts, this. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that no one knew how many planes were available even at that time and now the answer lies shrouded in history.

One thing about this report that seems bogus is that there are P-38s there and I didn't think that they showed up until much later.

If you are interested I could send you a copy of the document? Let me know how to do that if you interested and should be unable to find the document by the title given above on the internet.

Best Regards,

-Mark

ANSWER: Greetings

The best information I have is that the P-38 didn't show in squadron strength until late August September 1942.  The P-38 had major teething issue it was not until the the G model that the P-38 became a real war plane.  The first g model were delivered in June of 1942 and it would take a awhile for pilots to get familiar with the new birds.  I did find the report you mentioned.  One of the problems with report such as this is a enlisted man was typing it and told what to put down.  If an office said P-38s were in Alaska in June ,1942 he would type it up.  Most of report is valid not 100% on the numbers.

I wish I had exact numbers on the squadron levels but the constant level of air activity and weather it would be very difficult to have 100% accurate numbers.

I hope this helps and Thank you


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Mr. Sutton,

One thing that I am also interested in is knowing about the Operations of the AVPs in the Aleutians. I know that there were Lapwing class AVPs and Barnegat class AVPS that served there.

How long did it take for them to set up shop so that they could tend and service seaplanes? How many planes could they service how fast?

Answer
Greetings

Indeed several seaplane tenders did operative in Alaskan waters, there was one that was in action during the time frame you mention earlier the USS Casco (AVP-12).  She was struck by a Torpedo in August 1942.
 As soon as the ship stopped it was open for business.  An AVP typical could support a squadron of Seaplanes 6 to 12 aircraft.  As to how fast depend on several factors damage to the aircraft, sea state,  and the needs of the aircraft.  Larger aircraft needed more maintenance so the PBY and Martian flying boast took more time than single engine seaplanes.  A PBY typically took a hour to 1 hour to reload and rearm again depending on the sea state.  PBY flew long missing many over 24 hours so after long mission the plane needed to be cleaned before ready for another mission.

I hope this helps and enjoy the links.  The last link is to a book that might help.

Thank you




http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4312.htm

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-c/avp12.htm

http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/carriers/us_sea3.htm#la-cl

http://www.back-aft.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Cats-Dumbos-Fighting-PBYs/dp/0971290105/ref=sr_1_5?s  

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Paul Sutton

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I can answer questions on World War Two weapons, tactics, and strategy. I can answer questions on Weapons systems and their development. I can answer guestions on Space exploration history. I am a World War 2 expert. I study Military Weapons Systems and the usage of those systems.

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I work for Saint Petersburg College as a TRS or Technology resources specialist. I read 10 to 15 books a year on World War 2 and weapon systems. I also have a BA in History from USF.

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I have a BA in history from USF.

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