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Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:21 pm
by hennjhn
Could someone please give me the serial number of a P-400 that was lost between Cooktown and Marceba, Australia on 2/25/43. The plane belonged to the 35th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group. The name of the pilot is 1st Lt. John R. Casey. Thank You: John

P-400 John Casey Jr

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:39 am
by Damian Waters
Hi John,
I have been chasing this one for some time now. I wrote about him in my last book and mention him in my upcoming one. I have spoken to P-39/ p-400 colleagues who new him as well. I have a report of a sighting of his wreck in the 1980's by a man who was searching in a helicopter for a missing civil plane in the same area. I attempted to find the site from the air a few years ago with Richard Rudd but no luck. An aerial magnetometer would be the only chance really. Not suprising really when the country there has been described as worse than the Owen Stanley Ranges in New Guinea. Squadron records reveal nothing in regard to a serial number nor do the P-400 aircraft cards which only reveal struck off charge dates which bear no relation to the actual fate of a plane. The only way the serial number will be known other than discovering the wreck will be a chance photo of him leaving on his ferry flight or stopping in at Cooktown - unlikely I know. If I can help further then let me know. Can I ask why you are chasing this one?
Kind Regards,
Damian Waters

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:38 am
by GordyB2
John Casey also s/d a Val:

41-38387 Model 14A-318 P-39D-1-BE Sumac Arrived SS Stephen Fields USAAF 15-Aug-42 35thFS/8thFG USAAF Contract AC156 1/6/41. 1st Lt John R Casey jr ASN# 429757 35thFS/8thFG, s/d a Val D/B near Buna 07/12/42.
But on the 11/03/43 while flying P-39D-1 41-38387 when with the 41FS 35FG , 2nd Lt Rchard Kimball crashed on take-off at Jackson Fld writing off this aircraft.

Back to the P-400s, we think this is the ship if guided by the Condemned Date as there are none other around the date. But is pure speculation on my part

BW114 Model/Ship# 14-306 Type P400 Sumac USAAF Arrived 19-Feb-42 Rec:15-Apr-42 Off10-Feb-43 Box#266 Project X 19/02/42 to Aust 15/04/42 R21/04/42 Condemned off Sumac 10/02/43 off Sumac 01/04/44 Used for Instructor Training Laverton Vic RAAF in 1942.

What is also good, is that we have a pic of her in April 42

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:08 am
by richard rudd
Gordy, hi.
I would love to know the serial # of the P400 flown by Edwards Park who wrote about flying it in the early Pt. Moresby days of WW2 The tail No was 74, and the book is called "Nanette" .. his name for the aircraft.. and one of the best reads about those torrid times... and his love of flying it. It was destroyed by a bomb at Nadzab.

I have a pre-painting pencil sketch by William Phillips of P39s, P400s escorting C-47s over the ranges to Wau.. but only the 74 is on the tail and nose. No BW 174 or whatever under the tailplane.??? Can you help??

vbr Richard Rudd.

ps: search pilot for John Casey Jr's crash site. A bit like looking for just the tip of the needle in 12 haystacks, but I sighted an area that fitted the other guys description when hurtling passed in a higher performance aircraft at a later date. Need to go back and poke in there with the Auster.... low and slow.

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:29 am
by GordyB2
Hi Richard,

On a quick look on my forever changing Bell database, I can't see it.

I'll have a dig around on the docs and get back to you,..either way. Time is a none relevant expectation though :), so it could be days

Being "74" on the nose, in 99.9999% of cases doesn't correspond to the last two of any serials normally in SWPAC so don't feel bad.

However, on assembly, a chalked three didgit temporay number does mean alot when you match frames with wings, P-400 and P-39 and definately in P-40E/E-1s cases. There are a few pics around showing these numbers. The upshot is that you need to know the line numbers to correlate the serial.


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:54 am
by GordyB2
On a little quick research,

Are you Richard talking about the below pic? This #74 by colour and tone , (anyone can correct me anytime) seems to be a P-39D or F.

Just a preliminary check.

Initially the Models were defined by Group,.....P-400's with 35thFG and the P-39D/Fs with the 8thFG in April 42. But they did get mixed up later,..1943 for sure where units like the 41st were flying P-39Fs, P-39D-1s along with P-400s

Can you confirm the unit that Edwards Park flew in? Becareful on the "35th", as there was also the 35thFS in the 8thFG (35th/36th/80th)

With the Wau escort, I have a pic or two and they show P-39D-1s 41-38***'s


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:26 am
by richard rudd
Hi Gordy thanks for all that Edwards Park 0-792205 in the shot with #74.? In the PW data base there are details about him and some pictures, the color one being a bit of the Phillips per my pencil sketch.. which has #74 with the long 20mm barrel in the nose.. my assumption, P400. But he flew both

He was with the 41st Fighter Sqdn and flew 199 combat missions. He got wounded during Japanese bombing Nov 10, 1943... was that the day "Nanette" met her demise I wonder?.

cheers RR

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:58 pm
by GordyB2
Hi Richard,
Glad you didn't catch my error per getting the 35thFS mixed up with 35Fg or via Versa.Sorry, writing and thinking at two speeds

Okay, P-39 Models per period,...........P-39D had the 37mm (So thats 40-2991-3050/ 41-6722-7115), with all of the P-400, P-39F (41-7116 onwards)and P-39D-1(41-28257 onwards) had 20mm cannons.

Back to the pic, name

ID Number: 150498
Place made: Papua New Guinea: New Guinea; Papua New Guinea: Papua, Port Moresby Area, Port Moresby
Date made: c August 1942
Physical description: Black & white
Summary: Port Moresby, New Guinea. August 1942. No. 75 Squadron RAAF was relieved by two United States Airacobra fighter squadrons from the US 35th Fighter Group. Here a US pilot looks over his new "home", after the group flew in from Australia.
Copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
Copyright holder: Copyright Expired

So we go on.


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:22 am
by GordyB2
Okay Richard,

if you can pin me a date per the Lae Mission per 35th FS we may get lucky

IE: December 7th, 1942 the 35th FS scored some kills over Buna. 1st Lt's William Feiler (S/d Val) , Joseph McKeon (S/d Zeke), John Casey ,(S/d Val) Edwin Connell(S/d Val) , and 2nd Lt James Watson (just survived the encounter by just damaging a Val)

I have the serials of their mounts

They all flew P-39D-1s per serial block 41-38***'s. I have a allocation list of these, though only one shipment that arrived in Australia on the SS Stephen Fields that were assigned to the 35th and 36th FS before they went to Milne Bay to replace 75 and 76 Sqn RAAF

The Life magazine picture of the event hints some Yellow Radio Call sign digits on the tails of a few aircraft, which to mean with some enhancement, being P-39D-1 serials pe rthe said blocks. That's Swamp Rat above.

Dat Rego VHCCY Douglas C-47-DL 41-38601 c/n4629 Oct-42 "Swamp Rat" to USAAF Aug 30, 1942 - 5th AF, Australia Oct 03, 1942, operated as ‘VHCCY’. 6th TCS Later to Pacific Wing ATC, cancelled Jun 01, 1946.Shot down after t/o by Zeros 26/11/42 P/O Francis Milne RAAF Ser# co-pilot, 2/Lt Earl Lattier USAAF, Eng Tech Sgt Joseph E Paul. Missing till 1986 when wreckage discovered nr Popondetta

Interesting the lower P-39D-1 looks like it has the markings of C Sunsetter, therefore if so,.......then these are perhaps 36th FS not the 35th as hoped

41-38356 C/n 14A-287 P-39D-1-BE Sumac SS Stephen Fields USAAF 15-Aug-42 Assigned 36thFS/8thFG "C" "Sunsetter" USAAF Contract AC156 1/6/41

So it seems that the date in question is the 26th November 1942 I guess. Do you concur?

The numerical Group codes seemed to have been replaced post August 42 with the letters for the Group,..more problems then but that's outside my limited knowledge at present

More input welcomed


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:39 pm
by richard rudd
Gordy. Top pic of Swamp Rat and the P39 escorts... some long barrel jobs there. Was Park in the picture I wonder?. His books are not specific on dates so what he flew when and where is fascinating but a mystery serial # / aircraft wise. His log books may tell the story. Or 41st records might have something.
I'll keep hunting. Thanks for all before. Richard

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:20 pm
by mikecarroll
Hi, just got on board.

I think you will find #74 Nanette was a p-39n (or maybe d). Park mentions only one flight in a p-400, #75
which he flew on 12 April 43 when #74 was u/s. He got clobbered by a betty and #75 was scrapped.

I have seen a photo of a p-400 with the 41st paint scheme,
yellow spinner and top of fin/rudder(as near as you can tell from a b/w photo). It caries the British s/n
AP375 and has the number 75 painted on it. It also caries the name "one for the road".

The reference is "USAAF Fighters of World War Two", O'Leary, Michael, ISBN 0713718390. I forgot the page number.

Mike Carroll

Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:39 pm
by Edward
Hi Mike, Richard & Gordy,

The 6th Sqdn C-47 in that photo is "Swamp Rat II" ... 38678.html

The aviation artist William S. Phillips made a painting of the scene of Ted Park's Airacobra escorting "Swamp Rat II" ... nting.html

The original C-47 "Swamp Rat" was shot down by Zeros on 26 November 1942 near Dobodura. ... 38601.html

I will add that the P-39D1's & D2's carried the more reliable 20 mm cannon. I seem to recall that there were some cannon swapping "in the field." Hopefully someone else can tell us if any D1's & D2's made it to PNG.


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:39 am
by mikecarroll

Park refers to a P-39N as Nanette, and states he liked the 37mm better than the 20mm. He made other flights
in P-400s and noted that they "flew weird". Not that Nanette was any prize.. Re the Phillips painting, the long cannon
may be artistic license. If you ever run across the s/n for the P-39N, I would like to know.


Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:39 am
by GordyB2
Edward wrote:Hi Mike, Richard & Gordy,

I will add that the P-39D1's & D2's carried the more reliable 20 mm cannon. I seem to recall that there were some cannon swapping "in the field." Hopefully someone else can tell us if any D1's & D2's made it to PNG.


Yeah quite a few P-39D-1/2s made it

Here are some of the first arrived August 1942 in Australia

41-38336 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8thFG
41-38338 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8thFG
41-38339 D-1-BE Sumac 35thFS/8thFG
41-38340 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8thFG
41-38341 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8thFG
41-38342 D-1-BE Sumac 35thFS/8thFG
41-38343 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8th FG
41-38344 D-1-BE Sumac 35thFS/8thFG
41-38345 D-1-BE Sumac 36thFS/8thFG
41-38346 D-1-BE Sumac 35thFS/8thFG

They went as hi as 41-38545 per D-2s

Some D-2s that made it as well

41-38497 D-2-BE Sumac 40thFS 35thFG
41-38498 D-2-BE Sumac 40thFS 35thFG
41-38500 D-2-BE Sumac 41st FS 35thFG
41-38502 D-2-BE Sumac 40th FS 35thFG
41-38503 D-2-BE Sumac 40th FS 35thFG
41-38504 D-2-BE Sumac 80th FS/ 8thFG & 41st FS 35thFG
41-38505 D-2-BE Sumac 80th FS/ 8thFG
41-38506 D-2-BE Sumac 41st FS 35thFG
41-38507 D-2-BE Sumac 80th FS/ 8thFG
41-38509 D-2-BE Sumac 80th FS/ 8thFG & 35th FS/8thFG

Waiting for my ARC Reel to arrive to confirm actuals to Sumac/LEFT



Re: Need Plane Serial Number On P-400

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:49 pm
by PF
Casey is listed on the Manila ABMC Tablets of the Missing and was from California
Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
35th Fighter Squadron History at