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Old 26th May 2021, 00:48
DavidIsby DavidIsby is offline
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18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

This was one of presumably very few air-to-air victories by Coronados, which were largely converted to transports.

Does anyone have any further information on this action? The likely identity of the Betty? Does anyone know where VP-13 combat reports would be held? The National Archives? The Naval Historical and Heritage Center at the Navy Yard in Washington?

After so many accounts of the flying boats beset by Ju 88s etc., it is interesting to see one turn the tables.

18 May 1944 Operations of PB2Y-3 Search Plane, VP-13 based at Eniwetok

While on routine patrol out of Eniwetok, a PB2Y-3 of VP-13 sighted a Betty, flying at 2000 feet and one mile distant. The Coronado reversed course to close with the enemy and, on entering a cloud, began instrument let-down from 6500 feet with 210 knots IAS (225 knots in slight turbulence was the maximum speed attained).

After leaving the clouds, the Betty was sighted four or five miles ahead. It soon became evident that the PB2Y was losing ground in the chase, so the bomb load of two 325# depth bombs and three 100# was jettisoned. The Coronado then nosed over to 50 feet above the water and gained rapidly on the Betty with between 175-180 knots IAS at 2600 rpm and 47 inches manifold pressure. Betty’s speed was judged to be between 150-160 knots. Approach was made slightly to port and from 1700 feet below.
The chase led through numerous light rain squalls and 19 minutes after it had begun, the Coronado reached a point directly under and probably undetected by the Betty.

The P.P.C. put the PB2Y into a steep climb towards the enemy. On reaching 900 feet altitude, the bow turret, top turret and starboard waist gunner opened fire, concentrating on the port wing root and evidently puncturing the gas tanks. Flame trailed from the port wing after only a few bursts had been fired. Within 20 seconds after fire was opened, the Betty plunged into a vertical dive, hit the water and exploded. There were no survivors.

At no time was there any return fire from the Betty, nor did it take any evasive tactics. When directly beneath the Japanese plane, Coronado’s personnel reported it was possible to see directly through the tail blister and that the station appeared to be unmanned. No side blisters were noted on the Betty and the subsequent study of photographs taken during its crash indicate the use of four-bladed propellers. (Note: This aircraft has been identified as a probable G4M2 Betty Model 12).

Source: Japanese Aircraft Combat Performance, Excerpts from Aircraft Action Reports and Battle Narratives, February-May 1944, Air Intelligence Group, Division of Naval Intelligence, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, OPNAV-16-V-#B110, July 1944, p.13.
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Old 26th May 2021, 01:03
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

David,
I have claims of 7/0/1 for PB2Y-1 aircraft of VP-13.

This one is ACA 8-44. Original is in NARA II, Record Group 38, Entry ?, Box 463. Claim is at 0315 GCT, which I calculate as 1315 local time; 14-07N, 154-12E. Pilot was Lt(jg) Robert E Peach. Crew members credited are the bow and top turret gunners, and the starboard waist gunner; names are not given. I haven't checked the war diary, which should be on Fold3.

All USN Action Reports from WW2 and Korea have been moved to NARA II in College Park, Maryland.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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Old 26th May 2021, 02:42
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Here's the VP-13 War Diary for May 1944 digitized on the NARA site:

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/78465200

Interestingly, the USS Casco War Diary says 17 May 1944 at 1415 local time for this event.

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/78468443

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 26th May 2021, 02:52
MikeFink MikeFink is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

VP-13 War History has the incident with details largely matching what is reported in your source:

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/77666117

Page 30 of the NARA docs.

"VP 13 pilots spent long extra hours patrolling at the end of the assigned sectors and a week later, Lt.(jg) Robert E. Peach, USNR, glimpsed a Betty at 6,000 feet below him on a reciprocal course. Peach reversed his course as he entered the clouds and broke into the clear at 1,700 feet. The Jap bomber reappeared at five miles headed for the Marianas. The Coronado ducked back into the clouds but after three minutes it was apparent the Betty was gaining ground. Lieut. Peach jettisoned his bomb, applied full takeoff power to the engines, and nosed over to the water. Downwind from Eniwetok at 225 knots, the chase could not last long, but seventeen minutes later, protected by rain squalls, the Coronado was almost directly beneath the Jap bomber. Peach zoomed the Coronado within 300 yard range, and bow, top, and starboard waist guns concentrated fire on the Japanese pilots and engines. Gas tanks burst into flame and oil and particles of metal ground into the Coronado windshield as the Betty plunged vertically into the ocean and exploded."
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Old 26th May 2021, 03:02
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Mike,
I would have to check the ACA report to see what date they ascribed the 0315 time to. Plus I always have trouble trying to convert GCT to local time, because every now and then the Navy (and Army?) moved the time zones.

Enjoy!

Frank.
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Old 26th May 2021, 04:16
DavidIsby DavidIsby is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Many thanks. Will have a look for the report when College Park gets operating. The photographs mentioned would be icing on the cake. Appreciate the information.
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Old 26th May 2021, 05:32
Revi16 Revi16 is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Perhaps this one?





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Old 24th June 2021, 12:30
ssg keay ssg keay is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

The last image is interesting as it shows a second impact splash on the bottom section of the photo.
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Old 24th June 2021, 21:21
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Bruce Lander Bruce Lander is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Hi
have you seen this :-

https://www.history.navy.mil/content...dfs/Appen4.pdf

Bruce Lander
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Old 25th June 2021, 04:10
DavidIsby DavidIsby is offline
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Re: 18/5/44 Shootdown of Betty by Coronado flying boat

Had not seen that before. Many thanks.
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