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  TBF-1C Avenger Bureau Number 24414  
USN
USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
VT-17

Pilot  Lt William F. "Red" Krantz (rescued)
Radio  AO3c Virgil J. Case (rescued)
Gunner  ARM3c Orville L. Miller (rescued)

Ditched  November 11, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman at Bethpage, NY. Assigned to the United States Navy (USN) to the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) to squadron VT-17. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

Mission History
On November 11, 1943 took off from USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) piloted by Lt. Krantz armed with an aerial torpedo on a mission against Japanese shipping in Simpson Harbor near Rabaul.

Over the target, this Avenger attacked two cruisers leaving the harbor. Releasing his torpedo he did not get any confirmation of a hit and turned to the left, crossing the bow of a destroyer behind Agano. An anti-aircraft shell exploded under the engine and began streaming smoke. Off Kokopo, this Avenger was overflown by enemy fighters, possibly Ki-43 Oscars from the 13th Sentai. Rear gunner Case opened fire on the flight and claimed one fighter shot down.

Although damaged, this Avenger managed to fly roughly 150 miles towards the carrier before the engine seize roughly 40 miles northwest off Buka Island and successfully ditched into the sea. When this Avenger failed to return to the carrier, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fate of the Crew
After the ditching, Krantz was injured when his face impacted the gun sight. The other two crew managed to exit the Avenger safely. The crew survived the ditching and Case deployed the life raft. Krantz swam to retrieve an emergency pack then joined them in the raft.

References
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List November 1943 TBF Avenger 24414
Target Rabaul: The Allied Siege of Japan's Most Infamous Stronghold page 220-221, 223-226, 231-233, 244-246, 249

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
Avenger

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