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  A-20G-30 "Old S" Serial Number 43-9468 Tail S
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
386th BS

Click For Enlargement
1944

Aircraft History
Built at Douglas. Assigned to the US Army on November 26, 1943. Shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
During February 1944, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 312th Bombardment Group, 386th Bombardment Squadron at Gusap Airfield. Assigned to pilot Col Robert H. Strauss (C.O. 312th BG) with crew chief Cpl Benjamin Suddeth. Nicknamed "Old S" but this name was never applied to the aircraft. A circular target was painted on the nose, to taunt the Japanese to aim for it.

On February 25, 1944 this A-20 flew on the group's first bombing mission over Alexishafen Airfield. Over the target, hit by a small caliber bullet in the right nacelle.

On March 15, 1944 over Kairiru Island. On April 3, April 5 and April 16, 1994 "Black Sunday" led missions three mission against Hollandia.

Operating from Hollandia Airfield, on July 9, 1944 led a low level strike mission against Babo Airfield. Over the target, anti-aircraft fire damaged the bomb bay, electrical system, airspeed indicator and tail. After landing, an unexploded 25mm shell was discovered inside the bomb bay that had entered when the doors were open but failed to explode.

On June 29, 1944 against Yakamul. On July 22, against Kokas. On September 10, another mission against Babo Airfield.

During October 1944, SSgt Richard E. Harris became the crew chief.

On January 7, 1945 led the strike against Clark Field. On February 16, 1945 this A-20 led the mission over Corregidor Island. This was Col. Strass' final combat mission in this A-20 prior to returning to the United States. At one time, this aircraft was scheduled to return to the United States of a War Bond drive.

During March 1945 experimental rocket mounts were installed on the wings and tested.

During May 1945, transferred to the 388th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot Waetzman with crew chief Hannon.

On June 10, 1945 while parked in the flight line at Floridablanca Airfield this A-20 was to participate in a mission against Santiago, but pilot 2nd Lt. Ralph E. Trout could not start the engines due to a dead battery. While a ground crew member worked on the plane, a spark started a fire in the bomb bay with four 250 lbs bombs and a full load of fuel.

Spotting the fire, pilot 2nd Lt Eugene A. Johnson taxied his A-20 and another away from the aircraft to save them from damage. Clearing the area, this A-20 exploded and destroyed A-20 "Jap Happy" parked nearby and damaged A-20 "Runnin Wild".

After the fire, only the engines, nose section and control column remained. The control column was recovered and later sent to Strauss. In total, this A-20 flew at least 90 combat missions.

References
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 96 (photo), 145 (photo), 176 (photo) 208 (profile) 214 (profile) 248, 257-258, 299, 311-312, 313 (photo) 355, 363, 390-391

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
A-20

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