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  A-20A "Strawberry Roan" Serial Number 40-173  
USAAF
5th AF
3rd BG
89th BS

Click For EnlargementClick For Enlargement
3rd BG c1943

Pilot  2nd Lt. William Langley
Gunner  ?

Ditched  April 22,1943
MACR  none
Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 89th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed ”Japanese Sandman”. Renamed "Strawberry Roan" after Lieutenant Bill Roan who had red hair.

Mission History
On April 22,1943 took off from Kila Drome (3-Mile) near Port Moresby on a training mission. During the flight, Langley had hydraulic trouble and could not lower the landing gear prior to one engine citing out. This A-20 successfully ditched into Bootless Bay.  Both Langley and his gunner swam safely to shore and were returned to base.

Michael Claringbould adds:
"John Kelly in his diary records the loss date as 22 April 1942. This cannot be, as the first 89th BS A-20As did not arrive in the New Guinea theatre until September 1942. Kelly has clearly mistaken 1943 for 1942 in his diary. The US loss report writes off this aircraft on 23 April 1943, but in fact it was lost the day before, on 22 April 1943 (it is very common to see a one-day lag in US loss reports.) John Kelly's diary, which implies that 40-173 was on a test flight is correct. The ship was being tested after its engine problems of 21 April. John Kelly's diary, which implies that 40-173 was not returning from a mission, but perhaps from a training or test flight is correct ­ the ship was being tested after its engine problems of 21 April [1943]."

Wreckage Today
Lies on a reef off Loloato Island inside Bootless Bay, intact.  It is a popular dive spot.

References
Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site - A-20 Havoc
Thanks to Michael Claringbould for historical information

Contribute Information
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
A-20

SCUBA
25m

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