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» Missing Air Crew Project Forum » Pat's Missing Air Crew Project Blog » Lockheed PV-1 Ventura twin engine bombers from the VPB-150 squadron

   
Author Topic: Lockheed PV-1 Ventura twin engine bombers from the VPB-150 squadron
Patrick Ranfranz
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The www.fold3.com website continues to be a great resource to research the Yap related WWII history. What would have taken me weeks and thousands of dollars to accomplish by traveling to the national archives can now be completed from my home office. Today I located information about Lockheed PV-1 Ventura twin engine bombers from the VPB-150 squadron that flew single plane armed reconnaissance mission from Tinian to Yap with a stop in Guam from October to November 1944. Most of the missions were uneventful with the planes dropping a few bombs and strafing the island with sporadic return fire from the Japanese, however, the first mission VPB-150 flew on October 20, 1944 should have resulted in an American plane down. The PV-1 pilot was either overly bold or assumed the Japanese were not very capable considering he dropped down to 200 feet over the Japanese airfield. A 25 mm AA round exploded inside the wing severing cables and wing ribs. The plane miraculously did not go down and made its way to Guam. Over the upcoming weeks numerous American planes would be shot down over the same location. The theme we have found is that the Japanese often held their fire until a pilot made a bold move or a mistake such as coming down to low. Lt. Zack Lillard would make the same mistake in his F5F Hellcat one month later when he attempted to strafe the airfield at 200 feet. His plane was blown out of the sky. We found the wreckage in 2008 and 2010. More information about the October 20, 1944 PV-1 mission is located at http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/pv1.pdf and information about Zack Lillard can be found at http://www.missingaircrew.com/yap/mac/22nov1944.asp. More stories for my Yap book down the road. -Patrick Ranfranz
Posts: 706 | From: Cameron, Wisconsin | Registered: Dec 2004  |  Logged: 173.248.29.95
   

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