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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.

  1. A-20G 43-86563  pilot Dower
  2. A-20G 42-86768  force landed Saidor Airfield, damaged when it struck P-47D "Dirty Old Man"
  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 (rescued)
  7. A-20G "Joy Baby" 43-9039  pilot Sanders gunner ? (rescued)
  8. A-20G "The Texan" 43-9098  pilot Smart gunner Music (2 MIA)
  9. A-20G "Honeybunch" 43-9186  force landed, 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 (survived)
  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
  19. B-24J 42-100225  pilot Paschal (11 MIA) wreckage found 2002, case resovled 2005
  20. B-24J 42-109975  22nd BG, 408th BS
  21. B-24J 42-110000  22nd BG, 408th BS
  22. F-7A 42-73042  6th PRG, 20th CMS
  23. B-25D 41-30337  38th BG, 405th BS
  24. B-25D "Sweet Jeanne" 41-30189  38th BG, 71st BS
  25. B-25D "Seven Day Leave" 41-30611
  26. B-25G "Old War Horse" 42-64867
  27. B-25D "Stingeroo" 41-30020
  28. B-25D "Tinkie" 41-30315  pilot Waggle (6 MIA)
  29. B-25D "Fer de Lance" 41-30527  pilot Maturi (rescued)
  30. F-5A 42-67350  6th PRG, 26th PRS 1st Lt. Donald Christian
  31. P-38H "Corky Jr" 42-66668 pilot Keown (MIA)
  32. P-38H 42-66832 pilot 1st Lt. Lawrence Reeves (MIA)
  33. P-38H 42-66555  pilot Mikucky (MIA)
  34. P-38H 42-66??? pilot 1st Lt. Eugune Zielinski (rescued)
  35. P-38J 42-104310 Tail 175 475th FG 433rd FS Lt. Stanley Northrup
  36. P-38J 42-104352 Tail Number 182 475th FG 433rd FS 2nd Lt. Joe Price
  37. P-38J 42-104015 pilot Tomberg
  38. P-38J 42-104351 pilot Wire
  39. P-38J 42-104355  pilot MacDonald, POW executed mid April 1944
  40. P-38J 42-104381 pilot Yarbrough (MIA)
  41. P-38J 42-104385  pilot Neely (MIA)
  42. P-38J 42-104390 pilot Longman (MIA)
  43. P-38J 42-67594  pilot Hubner (MIA)
  44. P-38J 42-67605 pilot Luddington
  45. P-47D "Dirty Old Man"  destroyed while parked at Saidor Airfield
  46. P-39 Airacobra  destroyed while parked at Saidor Airfield

Black Sunday by Michael Claringbould

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Last Updated
June 3, 2015


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