John Douglas          Wrec 'tec Wreck Detective

A-24 Mission To Buna
A-24 was the U. S. Army Air Force designation for the U. S. Navy SBD Dauntless dive bombers. On July 29, 1942, seven A-24s from the 3rd BG were escorted by 41st FS flying top cover in P-39s. Additional, 39th FS, 80th FG flew close escort with the bombers. The 39th FS P-39's claimed they could do nothing to stop the interception as they battled Zeros.

Eight A-24's participated in the July 29, 1942 mission five were shot down:
1) A-24 41-15766 pilot Dean shot down July 29, 1942 discovered by John Douglas
2) A-24 41-15??? piloted by Cassels shot down July 29, 1942
3) A-24 41-15819 pilot Schwab, Gunner Philip Childs shot down July 29, 1942
4) A-24 41-15797 pilot Rogers, Gunner Nichols shot down July 29, 1942
5) A-24 41-15??? piloted by Parker shot down July 29, 1942
6) A-24 piloted by Hall pilot Hall Gunner Sam (force landed at Fall River, gunner dead)
7) A-24 piloted by Wilkins returned to to Port Moresby
8) A-24 piloted by ? aborted the mission prior to reaching the target

The serial numbers of the other A-24s are known, but not to which aircraft they were assigned on the mission.  The other possible serial numbers were: 41-158814, 41-158785, 41-158761 and 41-158751

Located on the Kumsi River. One wreck reported on land, one in shallow water, one inland.

When the Japanese landed at Buna & Gona, the radio station there reported to Port Moresby: We have these five American USAAF crewman, Japs aproaching, radio went off the air, presumably all were captured and killed by the Japanese. They escaped the radio post and made it back to the Popondetta area, according to accounts of Father Benson. They were either killed or captured by Japanese troops.

Tail Number
Engine Fuel Tank

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