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  P-39D Airacobra Serial Number 41-6800  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
36th FS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Australian Army c1942

Pilot  2nd Lt. Don McGee (survived)
Force Landed  May 9, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army, serial number unknown 41-6???, likely 41-6800. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On May 9, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Don McGee to intercept strafing A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai. In the air, he was hit by one of the Zeros. Next, his Airacobra fatally damaged by friendly fire from a 50 caliber machine gun fire from the 101st Coastal Artillery. McGee force landed on Fishermans Island (Daugo), incorrectly believing it was flat sandy ground. On impact, coral boulders damaged the Airacobra.

Wreckage
After the crash, this Airacobra was stripped for usable parts and the armament and radio were removed. Possibly, the rest of the aircraft was salvaged by American forces during 1942. Or, the Airacobra was abandoned. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped.

References
U. S. Army 101st Coastal Artillery Battery C Combat Operations Report of May 9, 1942
RAAF Central war Room Operations Diary May 9, 1942 lists P-39 serial number as 41-6800
Come What Will pages 57-58
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra pilot McGee 9 May 1942
U. S. Aces book by Eric Hammel includes a 2-3 page account by McGee of the mission
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
P-39
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