Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra Serial Number 42-20355  
5th AF
71st TRG
82nd TRS

Pilot  1st Lt Claude A. J. Diffenderffer, Jr. O-796103 (MIA / KIA) MD
Crashed  April 9, 1944 at 3:05pm
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on November 24, 1943. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On April 9, 1944 one of five P-39 Airacobras that took off from Saidor Airfield on an armed reconnaissance mission over the north coast of New Guinea. The formation included: 2nd Lt Thomas B. Sellers, 2nd Lt Michael F. Moffitt and Captain George R Karr flying top cover with Lt. Diffenderffer and Lt. Sellers at minimum altitude as a strafing element.

While flying approximately two miles out to sea from Ulingan Harbor, this airplane was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire (believed to be from a coastal battery) and was seen to explode in mid air. The only remaining trace of the crash was burning oil and gasoline on the surface of the water. The remains of the pilot were not recovered.

Diffenderffer was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Diffenderffer earned the Purple Heart (posthumously).

Casualty File, Frames 343 and 344 Microfilm A0912
M/Sgt. W.E. Ursprung Journal April 10 - Lt. Diffederfer was shot down [April 9] by Jap ack ack this afternoon.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-39Q Airacobra 42-20355
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Claude A. J. Diffenderffer

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

1 Missing
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram