Post Group: Super Member
cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
December 10, 1941 in Toungoo, Burma---
The details of the raid on Oahu by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan are still filtering in to Col. Claire Lee Chennault. The extent of the damage is massive...at Pearl Harbor the destruction of the (BB-39) USS Arizona resulted from the penetration of Arizona's foredeck by a converted naval artillery armor-piercing shell of approx 800kg. The resulting flash explosion virtually ripped the Pennsylvania-class battleship in half and killed 1,177 officers and sailors. Arizona sank at her mooring while USS Oklahoma capsized and turned turtle, trapping hundreds of sailors below decks. Many of America's capital ships were either destroyed or heavily damaged along "Battleship Row" at Ford Island. Japanese planes attacked Army Air Force installations at Hickam, Wheeler and Bellows airfields. 2,403 people were killed in the attack on Oahu on this "day of infamy".
The incoming war news worsened as Chennault learned of Japanese attacks on Guam, Wake Island, Luzon Island, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. He knew that the massive air armada being amassed in Thailand would soon be launched against the AVG in a swift strike to eliminate the American threat in a single stroke.
The AVG was now on 24-hour alert, personnel wore side arms as the possibility of Japanese paratrooper landings became real and barbed wire went up all over the perimeter of the airfield. Aircraft were kept in a constant state of readiness, warmed up near the flightline. The AVG could only muster approx. 60 operationally ready aircraft while the Japanese aircraft numbered over 600.
At 0330 (3:30am) the air raid siren sounded and pilots raced for their aircraft. No Japanese planes appeared and the 6-ship night-alert a/c continued to circle the base.
In the darkness, Tex Hill was the 1st night-alert fighter to land. Overshooting, Tex landed long and ran off the end of the runway, ending up in the brush. His #48 was washed out---right wingtip gone, prop bent, tail heavily damaged. It would not fly again. Two vehicles were added to the line of lanterns on the edge of the runway and the remaining 5 P-40s landed safely.
Charlie Bond, Bob Little, Jim Cross & Ed Leibolt took off to escort Lacy Mangleburg on the return leg of his photo recon mission to Thailand but they never joined up with him, nor did they see any Japanese aircraft.....
Edited by aaatripp : December 10, 2016, 11:11 am
Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association