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Old 25th July 2020, 10:38
Leendert Leendert is offline
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USN F6F Hellcat units in Aleutians? - April 1945

On 13 April 1945 USN F6F Hellcats reportedly shot down 9 Japanese fire balloons over the Aleutians. See e.g. https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/...=3&isAllowed=y on p. 29.
This item is copied (?) on most websites dealing with the Japanese balloons.

However, what F6F Hellcat squadron was based at the Aleutian Islands in April 1945? At first glance I found no such unit at that location on link https://www.history.navy.mil/researc...-apr-1945.html other from a few patrol squadrons.

On the other hand, P-38s of the 54th FS/343rd FG claimed 5 Japanese balloons on the very same 13 April 1945. See https://www.nps.gov/aleu/learn/histo...ll-pgs-508.pdf in text on p. 6.

Any info if and what F6F squadron was involved welcome, thanks.

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Leendert
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Old 25th July 2020, 11:05
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: USN F6F Hellcat units in Aleutians? - April 1945

I now see that according the USAAF Chronology for 13 April 1945 it says: ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): At Attu Island, 27 P-38s and P-40s scramble
following radar reports of unidentified plots; later, they shoot down 9 of 11
Japanese paper bomb-balloons sighted over the W Aleutians.


A USN F6F Hellcat involvement probably recorded in error...?

The mixed P-38/P-40 unit must have been 343rd FG.

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Leendert
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Old 25th July 2020, 14:12
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: USN F6F Hellcat units in Aleutians? - April 1945

Have not found any pilot names for this or your other post on the Fu Go balloon but few interesting links:

A gun camera video of a shoot-down:
https://www.reddit.com/r/CombatFoota...japanese_fugo/

(At the 52-53 second mark, it appears that a P-38 crosses in front from left to right, not sure what that pilot was thinking.)

The same gun camera film is part of this longer video (unfortunately with the "Critical Past" logo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XPnFRasAJQ

A period navy film on the balloons:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGW9mw_zKf0

They are still finding remains of these balloons (this one found last year):

https://www.therockymountaingoat.com...ZyU6MgHBgx8c**


A link to download the 54th FS History Book (a pdf file from the National Park Service). It mentions 5 balloons shot down (pdf page 23) but no info on who did it.

https://www.nps.gov/aleu/learn/histo...ll-pgs-508.pdf


For those with fold3 access a Navy summary report on April Balloon Activity starts here:

https://www.fold3.com/image/296107529



UPDATE

I agree that the link you gave to the Robert C Mikesh booklet published by the Smithsonian does give a good overview but it does contain some errors such as the Hellcat shootdowns.


It is interesting that the RCAF pilots (flying P-40s) who shot down three balloons are known:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss_P-40_Warhawk

"In early 1945 pilots from No. 133 Squadron RCAF, operating the P-40N out of RCAF Patricia Bay, (Victoria, BC), intercepted and destroyed two Japanese balloon-bombs,[81] which were designed to cause wildfires on the North American mainland. On 21 February, Pilot Officer E. E. Maxwell shot down a balloon, which landed on Sumas Mountain in Washington State. On 10 March, Pilot Officer J. 0. Patten destroyed a balloon near Saltspring Island, BC. The last interception took place on 20 April 1945 when Pilot Officer P.V. Brodeur from 135 Squadron out of Abbotsford, British Columbia shot down a balloon over Vedder Mountain"

Last edited by RSwank; 27th July 2020 at 13:02.
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Old 25th July 2020, 17:52
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Buckeye30 Buckeye30 is offline
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Re: USN F6F Hellcat units in Aleutians? - April 1945

Leendert. The only USN unit in the N. Pacific in April was Ninth Fleet with TFs 90/91/92; no carriers only CLs and DDs ( CRUDIV.3 and DESRON.57). They were training off Adak on 1st April.
Nick
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Old 26th July 2020, 09:08
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: USN F6F Hellcat units in Aleutians? - April 1945

Thanks for additional links, most informative.
The 13 April 1945 shoot downs must have been by P-38 and P-40 types only.
As for the Walla Walla P-63: will look for Base Unit.

Regards,
Leendert
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