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  P-39D-BE Airacobra Serial Number 41-6930  
USAAF
5th AF
8th FG
35th FS

Pilot  Lt. Arthur "Art" Andres (survived)
Force Landed  April 30, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 35th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

On April 30, 1942 took off from Garbutt Airfield near Townsville via Cairns Airfield and Horn Island Airfield before arriving at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. The flight was timed to arrive after noon, to avoid the possibility of being caught by an incoming Japanese air raid.

Mission History
On April 30, 1942 one of eleven Airacobra that took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 1:00pm led by Lt. Col Boyd D. "Buzz" Wagner on a strafing mission against Lae Airfield. This was the 8th Fighter Group's first combat mission in New Guinea. At 2:37pm, the AIracobras strafed Lae Airfield itting parked aircraft and seaplanes, then departed the target area. Near Salamaua, A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai attacked the formation.

Andres' Airacobra sustained damage to its coolant system from anti-aircraft fire, and was observed streaming smoke south of Salamaua. Damaged, he forced landed roughly eighteen miles south of Buna near Eroro (Eraro). This Airacobra was officially condemned by the USAAF on November 30, 1944.

Rescue
Andres was taken to Buna and transported aboard the MV Eleveda to Samarai Island. Next, aboard the MV Matoma to Port Moresby arriving May 27, 1942. The next day and was shot down piloting another P-39 Airacobra and again returned to duty. Later, Andres earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for the April 30, 1942 mission.

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39 Airacobra piloted by Andres
Attack & Conquer page 36, 46
Forty of the Fifth Profile #2 pages 7 - 12
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-39
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