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  P-40E-1 Warhawk Serial Number 41-35943 Tail 87
USAAF
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

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Stan Gajda 1982

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Goh Loon 2008

Pilot  2nd Lt. John Sauber (KIA, BR) MN
Crashed  July 12, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. This P-40 was bound for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and assigned serial number ET589. Instead, diverted to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. Assigned to Lt. John Sauber with crew chief Sgt Harley Yates. The left side of the fuselage had an eagle painted on a tan background forward of the U. S. star. Rear of the star was the RAF serial number ET589 in black block letters and a diagnonal white stripe. No known nickname. Nose Number 87 painted in white.

Mission History
On July 12, 1942 one of four P-40s that took off from Livingstone Airfield (34 Mile) near Darwin during the late afternoon on a training flight over the Manton Reservoir. The formation included: 2nd Lt. John Sauber, 2nd Lt. George Preddy, Lt. Jack Donalson and 2nd Lt. Deems Taylor. 

During a simulated dogfight, Sauber dove in from a higher altitude on Preddy's P-40E "Tarheel" 41-5509, but unfortunately he misjudged and collided. Preddy managed to bail out and survived. Sauber was either killed during the impact or died when his aircraft crashed into the ground.

Recovery of Remains
The next day, Reynolds, Landers, Donaldson and Sauber's crew chief Sgt Harley Yates used a truck to drive near the crash site then walked to wreckage and recovered Sauber's remains.

Wreckage
This P-40 crashed north of Manton Dam, roughly 60 miles south of Darwin into very steep rocky country.

Display
One of the wings was later salvaged and is on display at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (Darwin Aviation Museum). The wing has traces of original camouflage paint and the US Star and includes a machine gun, ammunition. Behind is a display about the mission.

Memorials
Sauber was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial. He was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section B site 312-N.

References
Protect & Avenge page 50 (map) date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th, 64-65 date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th, 65 (Sauber photo)
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific page 20
FindAGrave - John Shepard Sauber (gave photo)
Oz @ War - 12 July 1942 - Mid-air collision of two Kittyhawks west of Manton Reservoir

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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