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  P-40E-1 Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-88  
RAAF
75 Squadron

Former Assignments
76 Squadron
3 AD

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Assigned U. S. Army Air Force serial number 41-25121. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
During April 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Kittyhawk A29-88.

On April 26, 1942 took off from Laverton Field piloted by F/L Brian A Grace, 402053 and forced to land at Shepparton, VIC. On May 4, 1942 assigned to 76 Squadron. On May 9, 1942 while taking off from Aitkenvale Airfield (Weir) piloted by Sgt Thomas Lawrence Gullifer, 408650 collided with Kittyhawk A29-84.

On July 22, 1942 one of seven Kittyhawks that took off from 30 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by F/Lt Vernon F. W. Sullivan armed with a 500 pound bomb on a mission led by Squadron Leader Peter Turnbull against Napapo near Buna on the north coast of New Guinea. The formation was escorted by eight Airacobras from the 40th Fighter Squadron, but became separated approximately sixty miles before reaching the target.

Over the target, the Kittyhawks observed a burning vessel [Ayatosan Maru] roughly a mile off shore. At 3:30pm they spotting a "V" formation of six A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai and jettison their bombs into the sea before intercepting. The Japanese incorrectly identified the Kittyhawk formation as "P-39 AIracobras" and the Australians incorrectly identified their attackers as "Foekewolfe" [Focke Wulf] fighters. The Japanese claimed one shot down, but none were lost.

Sullivan was not involved in the air combat and flew back to Port Moresby. Low on fuel, Sullivan successfully force landed in a dry creek bed near 30 Mile Drome west of Port Moresby. Other sources list the landing as five miles from Port Moresby. Afterwards, Sullivan hiked back to base.

Later, this P-40 was refueled by hand and Sullivan flew the Kittyhawk back to 7 Mile Drome. Afterwards, assigned to 3 Air Depot (3 AD). On April 22, 1943 assigned to 75 Squadron. On June 14, 1943 this P-40 slid down a slope into a drainage ditch at Turnbull Airfield damaging the fuselage and tail wheel. On November 22, 1943 approval for conversion to components. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
ADF Serials - P-40E A29-88
Combat (Fighter Report) - S/Ldr P. B. Turnbull July 22, 1942
WW2 Nominal Roll - Vernon Francis Wilfred Sullivan
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 209-210
Did Zero pilot Saburo Sakai Force His Foe to Parachute? by Henry Sakaida
Thanks to Henry Sakaida and Edward Rogers for research and analysis.

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-40

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