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39th Bomb Group (VH)
62nd Sqd
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Midair Collision

This crew is listed on an accident report dated 5 July 1945 flying in 42-94044 "City of Athens" (P-48's plane - Capt Martin's crew). This crew was involved in a collision with a 330th Bomb Group plane B-29 # 42-94040 during an inter-island Bombing Training Mission to Chi Chi Shima.

330th BG Airplane Commander Capt Robert Gunther flying B-29 # 42-94040 lead aircraft in # 3 element collided with "City of Athens" which was in # 2 aircraft in a squadron element formation collided in a formation turn to the left. Both aircraft were flying slightly high on the lead element when a turn to the right made was made immediately followed by a turn to the left. Both turns were made by bombsight to check the coordination of bombsight turns on 0-1 auto pilot in preparation for a formation bombing run. 1st Lt Buckley made a large course correction in order to avoid the lead element aircraft and Capt Gunther made a correction to move out of the way, but was unable to avoid Buckley's plane. The right wing of the 330th plane and left wing of Buckley's plane collided causing minor damage to the 330th plane and major damage to the "City of Athens"

Below is the written statement by 1st Lt Joseph Buckley, AC

Took off from North Field at 10:48 to complete a Training Bombing mission against Chi Chi Shima. Reaching the assembly point they took their position on the lead element at 14:31 local time. The low element leader joined the formation approximately 15 minutes later. Attempted to join K-64 ion formation but had to hold a loose formation until K-64 pulled in his trailing antenna. The joined formation and departed for assembly point at 15:07.

Formation started a climb and low element leader dropped back from position I dropped back and had much difficulty keeping up with him as he rejoined the lead element. The low element leader again dropped back and I held my position on the lead element as I was pulling maximum Manifold Pressure and RPM and just holding my position. I realized if I dropped back with my element leader I could not have held my position and rejoined the lead element in time to make bomb run. During the climb my element leader pulled up to his position and dropped back several times and I expected to rejoin my position in his element on bomb run.

At approximately 15:36 I was directly behind and slightly lower than the left wing man on the lead element when the element went into a quick turn to the right and then back to the left and rolled out straight and level. I held my position during this turns with some difficulty due to the suddenness of the turns but was in the same position in relations to the lead element as when turns had first been made.

The leader of the low element K-64 had not been in position when we went in to the first turn to the right and as we rolled back to the left and rolled out K-64, was coming toward my position in a bank to the right. After coming in for some time K-64 started a sharp bank to the left. As K-64 reached his maximum bank his right wing tip caught about one foot of my left wing tip and tore it off. K-64 continued in his bank and aborted from the formation.

I dropped back slightly and tested the airplane for control and found it to be satisfactory to safely fly the aircraft in formation. I then moved back up into formation and took my relative position on the lead element. In approximately 5 minutes leader opened his doors and I continued in formation until bombs away. After bombs away I attempted to contact leader of formation but failed on four attempts. Finally Terrier 9 who in turn contacted leader and informed him I was aborting from the formation and requested a buddy ship to accompany me back home. Terrier 9 then took a position of buddy ship and accompanied me home.

Returned to base and landed at 20:35

Landing was accomplished without difficulty from damaged wing.

Complete Accident Report (21 pages) (981k) can be viewed by clicking here
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Anyone with information about this crew, please email: updates@39th.org


62nd Sqduadron Index
Source: AAF Accident Report