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  A-20G-25-DO "Short Stuff" Serial Number 43-9106 Tail Z
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
387th BS

Former Assignments
417th BG


Mack Austin c1944

Pilot  Captain Jack W. Klein (rescued) Campbell County, KY
Gunner  Sgt Antoni Szymanski, 20156359 (MIA / KIA) Providence, RI

Ditched  August 11, 1944


Aircraft History
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) on February 19, 1944 as A-20G-25-DO Havoc serial number 43-9106. Project Number 96344. Shipped overseas to the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 417th Bombardment Group. On March 20, 1944, transferred to the 312th Bombardment Group, 387th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Short Stuff" with crew chief Haggart.

On July 4, 1944 while parked at Nadzab Airfield, damaged during an accidental flight line explosion. Afterwards, repaired.

Mission History
On August 11, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield at roughly 7:30am on a mission against Utarom by 24 aircraft from the 387th BS and 388th BS. Over the target, the A-20s bombed, strafed barges and three dropped leaflet around Cape Bitsjaroe, southwest of Utarom. The organization of the mission broke down and A-20s attacked targets individually.

Klein led the squadron's second flight, an attack against barges off Utarom Airfield. Over the target, the left elevator of this A-20 was damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Aboard, neither crew member was injured.

Damaged, this A-20 managed to climb to 5,000' and fly for 30 minutes westward to Geelvink Bay. While flying back, escorted by A-20 piloted by Pool. Spotting a U. S. Navy PBY Catalina circling Roon Island, Klein successfully ditched into Geelvink Bay

Fates of the Crew
After exiting the cockpit, he searched for his gunner and observed heavy damaged to the tail of his aircraft showing "maybe two or three hundred rounds had hit it." As the plane began to sink, he heard Szymanski moan loudly, but he was unable to help him, as the A-20 quickly sank. Likely, Szymanski went down with the aircraft and was listed Missing In Action (MIA).

Unable to inflate his life raft, Klein treaded water for 30 minutes, until he was spotted by A-20 piloted by Pool that guided the PBY Catalina to the site and rescued him. They continued to search for Szymanski without result then departed for Noemfoor Island. Later Klein was flown by C-47 back to Hollandia.

Later, Klein wrote in his escape and evasion report:
"I then looked over to the left of the shore and saw a line of smoke and guns firing. This line was about 100 yards. From the setup, I now believe that this barge was a decoy."

Memorials
Szymanski was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jack W. Klein
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Antoni Szymanski
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-20G 43-9106
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Antoni Szymanski
FindAGrave - Sgt Antoni Szymanski (tablets of the missing photo)
The Roaring 20's page 97
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 158-159, 349, 358

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
A-20

Photos
Photo Archive

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

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