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April 16, 1944 "Black Sunday"
USAAF 5th Air Force Aircraft Losses

On April 16, 1944 over three hundred 5th Air Force bombers and fighters took off on a mission to bomb and strafe airfields and installations in the Hollandia area. Returning from the mission, a weather front of severe thunderstorms blocked their path back to their home airfields on the north coast of New Guinea including Nadzab Airfield, Gusap Airfield, Finchafen Airfield and Lae Airfield. In total, 37American aircraft were destroyed or missing. These out of fuel, or crashing due to navigational errors and the weather. Most of the planes lost were A-20's and B-25's, forced down near or at Sadior. The unserviceable wrecks were abandoned at the strip. This was the largest operational losses suffered during World War II. All aircraft were lost due to bad weather or landing accidents.

  1. A-20G 43-86563  pilot Dower force landed Yami Airfield
  2. A-20G 42-86768  pilot Prince force landed Saidor Airfield, damaged when it struck P-47D "Dirty Old Man" afterwards repaired
  3. A-20G "Benny's Baby" 42-86772  pilot Benskin (2 resuced)
  4. A-20G "Powerful Katrinka" 42-86713  damaged landing at Saidor Airfield, later repaired
  5. A-20G 42-86615  force landed Yamai Airfield
  6. A-20G "Hell'N Pelican II" 42-86786  pilot Davidson gunner McKenna, crew rescued
  7. A-20G "Joy Baby" 43-9039  pilot Sanders gunner force landed, crew rescued
  8. A-20G "The Texan" 43-9098  pilot Smart gunner Music (2 MIA)
  9. A-20G "Honeybunch" 43-9186  landing gear collapsed at Saidor Airfield, afterwards repaired
  10. A-20G 43-9399  pilot Aamodt impacted B-25D landing at Saidor Airfield, later repaired
  11. A-20G 43-9401  pilot Crow force landed Saidor Airfield
  12. A-20G 43-9488  pilot Jovanovich (1 rescued 2 MIA)
  13. A-20G 43-9491  pilot ? (survived)
  14. A-20G "Lady Constance" 43-9628  pilot Gibbons gunner Rhodes, crew rescued
  15. A-20G 43-9629  pilot Davidson gunner ? (survived)
  16. A-20G "In The Mood" 43-9669  pilot Gresen gunner ? (survived)
  17. B-24D "Here T'is" 42-72946  pilot Cooley (10 MIA) wreckage found 2001, case resolved 2006
  18. B-24J 42-109977  22nd BG, 19th BS damaged landing at Saidor Airfield
  19. B-24J 42-100225  pilot Paschal (11 MIA) wreckage found 2002, case resovled 2005
  20. B-24J 42-109975  22nd BG, 408th BS pilot J. F. Rayzor crashed near Gusap
  21. B-24J 42-110000  22nd BG, 408th BS pilot Robert C. Stone, O-888789 MIA, MACR 8378 abandoned 20 miles NE Bogadjim
  22. F-7A 42-73042  6th PRG, 20th CMS  pilot Harms written off at Saidor Airfield
  23. B-25D 41-30337  during landing at Saidor Airfield collided with F-5A 42-67350
  24. B-25D "Sweet Jeanne" 41-30189   written off at Saidor Airfield
  25. B-25D "Seven Day Leave" 41-30611  written off at Saidor Airfield
  26. B-25G "Old War Horse" 42-64867 damaged at Saidor Airfield, afterwards written off
  27. B-25D "Stingeroo" 41-30020 ditced off Karkar Island, crew rescued
  28. B-25D "Tinkie" 41-30315  pilot Waggle (6 MIA)
  29. B-25D "Fer de Lance" 41-30527  pilot 1st Lt. Maturi force landed Yami Airfield, crew rescued
  30. F-5A 42-67350  pilot 1st Lt. Donald Christian while landing at Saidor Airfield collided with B-25D 41-30337
  31. P-38H "Corky Jr" 42-66668 pilot 2nd Lt. Keown (MIA)
  32. P-38H 42-66832 pilot 1st Lt. Lawrence Reeves (MIA)
  33. P-38H 42-66555  pilot 2nd Lt Mikucky (MIA)
  34. P-38H 42-66??? pilot 1st Lt. Eugune Zielinski (rescued)
  35. P-38J 42-104310 pilot Lt. Stanley Northrup
  36. P-38J 42-104352 pilot 2nd Lt. Joe Price crash landed Saidor Airfield
  37. P-38J 42-104015 pilot 1st Lt Tomberg bail out returned to duty
  38. P-38J 42-104351 pilot 1st Lt. Wire ditched off Yamai
  39. P-38J 42-104355  pilot 2nd Lt. MacDonald, POW executed mid April 1944
  40. P-38J 42-104381 pilot 1st Lt. Yarbrough (MIA)
  41. P-38J 42-104385  pilot 1st Lt. Neely (MIA)
  42. P-38J 42-104390 pilot 1st Lt. Longman (MIA) reamins recovered, case resolved
  43. P-38J 42-67594  pilot 1st Lt. Hubner (MIA)
  44. P-38J 42-67605 pilot 2nd Lt. Luddington (MIA)
  45. P-47D "Dirty Old Man"  destroyed while parked at Saidor Airfield
  46. P-39 Airacobra  destroyed while parked at Saidor Airfield

References
Black Sunday by Michael Claringbould

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Last Updated
August 7, 2015

 

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