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Northop P61-B "Black Widow"

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Gebirgsjaeger, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Thanks Clint,

    but the link won´t work. "Sorry no matches found" is standing there. Please be so kind and post it again. I am very interested.

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Since that link didn't work, I'll just advise you to goto the "Those Who Served" section, and open the first thread set, Honor and Valor (I think). When that does open, simply scroll down to about the fifth or sixth thread and look for the username "FighterPilot". Then the thing to do there is open the first one that Bill posted, then click on his avatar section, and pick "see all posts". That will take you to his contributions.


    Hope that works, sorry the link didn't. It worked for myself, don't know why it doesn't for you Ulrich. Good reading in there.
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Clint the link does not work for me either sadly ..........

    an interesting nights journey from the 422nd nfs.

    operation # 5. 9 Widows on patrol. August 7/8, 1944 Defensive Patrols

    weather: 9/10 - 10/10 CAVU Haze to Clear

    # 77 Reynolds 0 1 contact lost
    # 47 Ernst 0 uneventful over Cherbourg

    # 44 Smith 0120/0135 hrs // followed 1 Me 110 in violent evasive action at 225mph. Got within 400 feet astern and fired several bursts into tail and fuselage. Aircraft peeled off in a dive. Contact lost near Bay of St. Michel. 330 20mm rounds used.
    # 36 Doyle 0 GCI called off 2 chases.

    # 65 Bolinder - aborted due to broken oil line.

    # 73 R.A. Anderson 2315/2330 hrs // on a patrol over Avranches headed south and followed a Ju 88 at 5 miles and a visual at 300 yards, got within 400 feet dead astern and fired in aircraft fuselage. Ju 88 dropped window and dropped off to the left. Second 20mm burst went into fuselage again and the Ju 88 blew up in mid air. 345 20mm rounds used.

    # 64 Seigel 0
    # 43 Romens 0
    # 57 Postlewaite 0

    end of operation
     
  4. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Thank you Clint! I am on the way.

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  5. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Thanks Erich,

    thats an interesting report! Must´ve been horrible to be on the reciever side of the 20mm cannons!

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    As I mentioned to Ulrich, just goto the "Those Who Served" section of the main board, open the first section of that one called "Honor,..Valor" and scroll down until you find Bill's posts. His username is "FighterPilot", from there you can read his stuff. I think his last post was in late July this year, but I don't really remember without looking.

    His stuff is excellent reading, especially if you are interested in the "Black Widow" and his experiences in that and the "Lightning".
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    got it Clint finally, seems Bill's unit the 418th has success far and few between the last two kills of the 418th nfs were thus. Japanese TE on January 18, 1945 and the last one was a Betty claimed on August 7th 1945. the unit flew the P-70, day time P-38's and the Widow. 20 kills claimed, 3 probs. The busiest month for the unit was December 1944 with 9 kills. Bill will remember the un-official emblem of the 418th a black cat with white chin showing it's teeth and extended claws.

    let me add at least in June and July of 44 the unit also had B-25's on hand with forward firepower of eight .50's for cannibalizing Japanese shipping, docks, MT and whatever that was cast their way

    I own a copy of the 416th, 417th and the 418th nfs microfische as well...........
     
  8. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Great reading Clint! Erich the microfisches are surely very intersting......


    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    questions Ulrich ?

    would be nice if Bill came back on saw this thread and could make comment, not sure how many ops he was actually involved in with the Japanese till wars end ? interesting too how many J. S/E fighters were shot down by P-61's in the PTO
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman, Robert G. Bolinder (4 confirmed kills) , a few times the past years at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's annual World War II Weekend. He has become a regular there because MAAM is restoring a P-61 to flying condition. I also had him autograph my copy of "Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The Complete History and Combat Record" by Garry R. Pape, John M. and Donna Campbell.(which I will add is an excellent book on the P-61) He had some really great stories to tell. Here are some brief bios on him Robert Bolinder Oral History and
    The Kathryn Report: World War II Weekend Underway (With Video) Greater Reading, Pennsylvania

    I recently came across this gem - a video interview with him about his life and World War II flying experiences Digital Collections - Grand Valley State University : Item Viewer
    Mind you the video is very long, at 4 hours and 2 minutes. I'd suggest downloading it with "Download Helper" or a similar program.

    and a photo of him in his aircraft "Double Trouble" [​IMG]

    Some other things you might enjoy, a pilot training video for the P-61 Watch a P-61 Black Widow WW2 Puilot Training Film Online in Streaming Video Just select your connection speed under the player you want Real Video or Windows Media.

    And a .pdf night fighter history "Conquering the Night" http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/conquering_the_night.pdf

    Oh, and of course MAAM's P-61 web page, browse around, there is a lot of good stuff to see! I can't wait until they get her up and flying, but that is at least a few years away. MAAM's Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's P-61 'Black Widow' Recovery and Restoration Project - The Widow's Web
     
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  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes talked with Bolinder years ago at length over the phone, there is still talk of not allowing the Widow to get airborne, one crash and the end of long hard work and many dreams. Interesting the training film was copyrighted also years ago through the US NF association, I also owned a copy.

    more personal views later from the pilots. good stuff Takao
     
  12. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, there are so many questions! How was it to handle in the air? What feelings he had through an intensive dog fight? How was a operation planned? What to do by technically troubles during a mission? Do he use the radar from getting the enemy contact til he shot or was the last way by sight?and and and.....
    I hope that this brave man will return to the forum and find the thread! I were really lucky to talk to him in that way!!!

    Takao,

    many thanks for your really great informations! Now i have a lot to read and listen to.

    Best Regards to both of you

    Ulrich
     
  13. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    From what I've read the reason why the turret was removed was because of bad wind buffet from the turret .
    there are a copy of good books on the Black widow in ETO
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    as I said earlier several times the aerodynamics were thrown off this is from the crews themselves.

    without the unit histories all you have is possibly 6-8 books covering withe Widow with some information not very detailed about the missions in the ETO with the 414th and their stint with the 422nd and the 425th nfs. Pape's big boy book "Queen of the midnight skies" is probably the best produced but he wanted to cover all aspects of the bird and theaters it was involved with.

    the 422nd nfs was to be re-written from the late 40's-early 50's so am waiting for the book if possible to be published in a newer form.

    Ulrich yes the ship was followed by the use of airborne radar and then visual sight was used to hopefully ID the craft. as in both the 422nd and 425th nfs there was a problem with IDing Allied to LW aircraft and in many cases once the Widow got within striking range the LW A/C would bank steeply and be lost. Ground control was used as a main directive in positioning by direction the flow if you will of the flight of the squadrons to their area of coverage once there they were on their on to conduct the operation then fly back to base, re-fuel and take off again if weather permitted. In most of the cases given the US 9th Air Foce Widows were used to shore up and protect the life lines of the US Army as it made it's way deeper into the Reich and with that provide night air protection against LW night bombers, night fighters if they could make contact and then later undergo intruder opeartions against German military ground targets of build-up.
    The Widow's and the A-20's were quite busy strafing along the Mosel river in 1945 as example. anything with lights was given no grace and shot to pieces are bombed/naphalmed.
     
  15. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, thanks again for the info. They had a hard job to do! IDing an aircraft by night is a hard thing if there is no light you can only spot the little exhaust flames of the engines. And than if you see the flickering lights out of the rear guns its to late for you. At which short distance did the Widows radar work 2-5 Miles or shorter?

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    here's a tidbit from the 422nd nfs for operation # 10 on August 13/14, 1944.

    14 Widows on patrol which was a large number. weather : 9/10 clouds and CAVU

    not sure how many returned prematurely and it is not given but reports by 8 crews.

    2) missions flown by # 44 pilot Severson : lost bogey due to evasive action
    # 43 pilot J.W. Admerson 0 contact
    # 77 pilot Burelson 0 contact
    # 34 pilot Elmore A-I went out, aborted
    # 58 pilot and CO Johnson 0 contact
    # 91 pilot Gordon 0 contact
    # 32 pilot Allee A-I went out, aborted
    # 38 pilot Koehler A-I went out, aborted

    radar limits probably 5 miles and yes even for the LW trying to ID a BC bobmer type, exhaust flames and watching the tail surface and hopeful some light even if diffused would help, fires from cities below glancing up on the lower fuselage and wings. A clear bright night of course would be excellent but .........
     
  17. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich the reports are great! Is it known if a Widow was captured by the Germans ?

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    none as I am aware there are 4 reported downings by the LW Flak and two by Night fighters but for many years I still look for supporting evidence, I do know of one engagement which turned a Widow into mush even though it made it back to base when it got to close to the rear/tail gunners position of a He 177. the Widows fuselage, engines and other errata were used for spare parts which the ETO squadrons had few of during their lifetime in the war.

    pilot Gordon flew to close to an He 177 of 2./KG 40 flown by Hauptmann Stotle and the tail gunner operating a single 2cm MG 151/20 let the Widow named "Impatient Widow" # 91, tail number 42-5591 had it's starboard engine shot out plus oil lines and hydrallics and it crash landed on one engine back at base made CAT B/E damage. It was a P-61A-10. Gordon had fired some 180 rounds of 20mm at the He 177 his op was from 2350 to 0110 hours. Date was the following evening of August 14/15, 1944 with 9 P-61's on the operation # 11.

    the rear gunner of the He 177 Unteroffizier Fabinger received the EK I for his actions this eve. I have the full German article and fotos
     
  19. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Erich, is there a chance to get this article? Facing the death, not everybody´s thing!

    Regards

    Ulrich
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    of course you may have to do a search : Jet and Prop 6/97 which is January/February 1998. as I have a friend in Germany who interviewed the tail gunner while living I also have that information buried but it is for my book.

    August 15/16 no contacts made at all from 12 aircraft.
    August 16/17, 1944, no contacts except interception nearly of one Friendly Allied A/C. one Widow had it's A-I out and aborted. Again the unit flying off Cherbourg and N.E. of Barflour, Bay le da Seine
    Following eve 12 Widows on defensive patrols, no contacts except for 2 friendly's. # 40 was foiled from follwing a bogey due to dropped window and then dove down. # 67 had a bent weapon and tried to follow to bear an ID but lost the A/C to being eluded near Le Havre. # 78 near Barflour weapons out -
     

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