Noted for April 12, 2013
L'Esprit de l'Escalier: April 12, 2013

Liveblogging World War II: April 12, 1943

Richard E. Smith:

Port Moresby Raid April 12, 1943: That day, I was out on the strip installing a new headset in my plane, #26, and was out there with another pilot, Charles Sullavin.  Now, he calls himself O’Sullavin.  They told us about the raid and told us to get into two P-38s at the end of the strip and get up there after them.  A large formation of Japanese fighters and Betty bombers were attacking Port Moresby.

In the air there was a big scrabble going on, planes everywhere.  By the time we got up to altitude, and behind the Japanese, a formation of nine BETTY bombers, they had all ready dropped their bombs.  One of their bombs hit at the end of our strip.  O’Sullavin and I attacked them, and he got one, and a damaged one.  I got credit for one of them.  When I went to land, I had to fly over top where they were fixing the bomb hole, and the people working on it.,  What was funny was, thirty years later, when I worked at Whirlpool, one of the other guys there was in the hospital at Port Moresby, and watched the whole dogfight from there, including us taking off and the fight.  So, you can imagine the fun we had talking.

So, when I was flying that day, it was not in my usual plane, Japanese Sandman, #26.  Someone else flew it that day.  I forgot who it was, but they revved the engines up so high, it bent the propellers, and cracked it up pretty good.  When they were done with it, even the armor plate was bent.  So, I got a new plane out of it, that I called “Japanese Sandman II”.