|Pilot Lt. Walter J. Linder (survived) GA
Force landed December 10, 1943
Linder is credited with two victories: his first on November 7, 1943 and his second on December 10, 1943 the day
he was shot down. He passed away
September 2, 1981.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On December 10, 1943 took off from Gusap Airfield to intercept
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) fighters from Madang flying a sweep down the Ramu valley. This P-40 was part of "white flight" lead by Lambert this group lost sight of the
other friendly fighters in the air. Linder, flying tail-end in the formation
was hit by 12mm machine gun fire from a Ki-61 Tony and his plane was damaged
and leaking coolant, but was forced to fight his way home, firing and scoring
hits on one of the attackers. Diving
to the south, he was again attacked and hit again, wounding him in the ankle.
engine quit and he belly landed in the Ramu Valley
on the Kunai prairie about eight miles from Gusap and one mile in from the west side of the valley, between the Eiwi and
Surinam Rivers. Later inspection revealed over 100 bullet holes in the
Robert Ash (brother in law) adds:
"He was given credit for destroying an enemy plane that day in a report
dated 15 March 1944 from the Fifth Air Force Headquarters. It was the
second plane he shot down during his time in New Guinea. "
Linder passed away on September 2, 1981.
NARA "World War II Army Enlistment Records" Walter J. Linder
Protect Avenge: The 49th Fighter Group in World War II page 223
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February 4, 2018