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  B-25D-5 "Herky / Betty" Serial Number 41-30069  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
501st BS

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Constructors Number 87-8234. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30069. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On April 4, 1943 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 501st Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Henry L. Knoll with crew chief Caldwell. Nicknamed "Herky" by Knoll and later nicknamed "Betty".

The left side of the nose had the nose art of a cartoon bugs bunny riding atop an orange aerial bomb with a shark mouth. Below the cockpit window was "Knobby" (in quotes). The right side of the nose had the nose art of a reclining female nude plus a scoreboard with bombs indicating missions flown plus silhouettes of aircraft claimed as shot down and ships claimed as sunk. Both sides of the nose had a large white vertical stripe and the tails had a white horizontal stripe.

In August 1943, modified into a B-25D-1 strafer variant at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field.

On September 27, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Henry L. Knoll on a mission against Dagua Airfield near Wewak leading the second flight and over the target released parafrag bombs over the supply dump area at the east end of the runway and fired the nose guns at a "Rufe" [sic, F1M2 Pete] the flew in front of this B-25 off the eastern end of the runway.

On October 16, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Captain Henry L. Knoll flying as squadron leader on a mission against Boram Airfield near Wewak and claimed a direct hit on a bomber parked on the side of the runway.

On October 24, 1943 took off from Horanda No. 4 (Dobodura 4) piloted by Captain Henry L. Knoll flying leading the 501st BS on a low level attack over Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul and dropped parafrag bombs from an altitude of 100' over G4M1 Bettys from the 751 Kokutai. Overhead were A6M Zeros and floatplanes, but they did not press any attacks.

On November 2, 1943 took off from Horanda No. 4 (Dobodura 4) piloted by Captain Henry L. Knoll leading the second flight on a low level mission against Rabaul. Over the target, Knoll strafed a four engine flying boat off Sulpher Creek and while over Matupi Island, hit by anti-aircraft fire that caused a large hole in the right rudder and holes. Despite the damage, this B-25 returned safely.

On January 25, 1944 took off from Horanda No. 4 (Dobodura 4) piloted by Major Fain leading the second wave on a mission over Momote Airfield.

On January 30, 1944 took off from Horanda No. 4 (Dobodura 4) piloted by Captain Henry L. Knoll a low level strike against Japanese shipping in Hansa Bay. Over the target, B-25D "Arkansas Traveler" 41-30594 was hit by 75mm anti-aircraft fire, exploded and crashed into Hansa Bay Flying on its right wing of the bomber, this B-25 captured a photograph moments after this B-25 crashed into Hansa Bay just as B-25D-1 "Quitch" 41-30518 scored a hit on the nearby Japanese ship.

On February 3, 1944 took off piloted Captain Henry L. Knoll leading the second flight on a low level mission against against Dagua Airfield near Wewak.

On April 3, 1944 took off took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. John M. Kirmil on a mission against Sentani Airfield near Hollandia and dropped its bombs on four fighters parked on the taxiway.

On June 16, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield on a mission against Samate Airfield and Jefman Airfield and sustained minor damage from anti-aircraft fire.

In total, this B-25 flew at least 100 combat missions and was the last original B-25 in the 501st BS. On October 17, 1944 transfered to a service squadron as war weary. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D Mitchell 41-30069
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 39 (photo nose art), 48 (September 27, 1943 mission), 62 (October 16, 1943 mission), 77 (October 24, 1943 mission), 84-85 (November 2, 1943 mission), 90 (photos, damage November 2, 1943), 114 (January 25, 1944 mission), 117 (January 30, 1944 mission), 121 (February 3, 1944 mission), 150 (April 3, 1944 mission), 164 (photo), 168 (June 16, 1944 mission), 225 (photo scoreboard), 396, 437 (index Betty), 441 (index Herky)

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Last Updated
January 30, 2019

 

Tech Info
B-25
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