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  P-40E-1 Warhawk Serial Number 41-35943 Tail 87
USAAF
5th AF
49th FG
9th FS

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Stan Gajda 1982

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Goh Loon 2008
Pilot  2nd Lt. John Sauber (KIA, BR) MN
Crashed  July 12, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Constructors Number 18464. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E-1 Warhawk serial number 41-35943. Assigned to the Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number ET589. Instead, retained by U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 49th Fighter Group (49th FG), 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) "The Flying Knights". Assigned to Lt. John Sauber with crew chief Sgt Harley Yates. The left side of the fuselage had an eagle painted on a tan background forward of the U.S. star. Rear of the star was the RAF serial number ET589 in black block letters and a diagonal white stripe. No known nickname. Nose Number 87 painted in white.

Mission History
On July 12, 1942 in the late afternoon took off from Livingstone Airfield (34 Mile) near Darwin piloted by 2nd Lt. John Sauber as one of four P-40s on a training flight to simulate a dogfight over Manton Reservoir south of Darwin. The formation was led by P-40E 41-35943 pilot 2nd. Lt. John Sauber, P-40E "Tarheel" 41-5509 pilot 2nd. Lt. George Preddy, Lt. Jack Donalson and 2nd Lt. Deems Taylor.

During a simulated dogfight, Sauber dove in from a higher altitude on Preddy, but misjudged the distance and collided over the Manton Reservoir. After the impact, was injured Preddy but managed to bail out before his damaged Warhawk crashed into the ground. Sauber was either killed on impact when his aircraft crashed into the ground.

Recovery of Remains
The next day, Reynolds, Landers, Donaldson and Sauber's crew chief Sgt Harley Yates used a truck to drive near the crash site then walked to wreckage and recovered Sauber's remains.

Wreckage
This P-40 crashed north of Manton Dam, roughly 60 miles south of Darwin into very steep rocky country.

Display
One of the wings was later salvaged and is on display at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (Darwin Aviation Museum). The wing has traces of original camouflage paint and the US Star and includes a machine gun, ammunition. Behind is a display about the mission.

Memorials
Sauber was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial. He was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section B site 312-N.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-40E-1 Warhawk 41-35943
"35943 (MSN 18464, ET589) diverted to USAAF. With 49th FG, 9th FS in midair collision with 41-5509 Manton Dam Jul 10, 1942."
Protect & Avenge (1995) page 50 (map) date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th, 64-65 date of crash incorrectly listed as July 10th, 65 (Sauber photo)
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific (2004) page 20
FindAGrave - John Shepard Sauber (photo, gave photo)
Oz @ War - 12 July 1942 - Mid-air collision of two Kittyhawks west of Manton Reservoir

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Last Updated
July 8, 2021

 

Tech Info
P-40

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