Larry Katz: VP/VMB
"Black Cat" Catalina PBY 5
Larry Katz:Milton, These are just a few exerpts from my log book that I wrote out many years ago to send to some of my group. Everything is exactly word for word. I remember everything that happened.
My first tour of duty to New Guinea was in August of 1943 when we left Perth after being there since April of 1942.Then our second tour of duty was in May 31st of 1944..That is when we did our Black Catting and Dumbos. We operated out of Samari, Treasury and Green Island. August and September of 1944 was our heaviest month of flying out of Green Island. In September 1944, we left Green Island to Los Negros Island to finish our tour to Woendi Island, Moroti Island into the Celebes and North Borneo, and into the Philippines to start our trip back to the states after nearly four years being overseas on our tour.
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Thought some of you would like to see exerpts from a Flight Log Book of a Crew Member Of A PBY Catalina Flying Boat during the war years right after the Pearl Harbor Sneak Attack on Dec,7th,1941.Everything below is exactly as written on the days it happened. No words changed, just the facts. My English is poor , but those days we never finished school as I went right into service in February of 1941.....Read and think of a 23 year old that turned 23 on Dec,4th,1941
(1) From April 8,1942 to June 13th,1942 was on mess duty and then into engineering, thus the lapse in Flying.However did fly some hops during some of the ensuing hops.
(2) Jan 23,1943.Was forced down 40 miles from Perth,Western Australia in Nr. 6. Plane was wrecked, Port engine got on fire at 6500 feet. All hands safe.
(3) Feb 12,1943. On way to Exmouth from Geralton called back to Geralton Because of Teriffic storm in Exmouth, Had to wait until orders to proceed.
(4)April 20,1943. Took the Captain to Port Hedlands and then Next day came back and from 13000 feet took pictures of that place and some islands as reference for a future bas.
(5)April 23, While on patrol called off it to look for enemy sub spotted off Onslowe, no can find.
(6) May 5th,1943. Brought back Jim Kemptons body from Exmouth after him being in the water for 5 days, one big mess.
(7)may 28,29,1943. Convoyed Pelias and her escorts down from Sharks Bay but lost them when it got dark,returned next day at 0800 after taking off on the 28th at 1600 hours.
(8)June 28, Left Perth for Darwin to raid Koepang, not having a complete crew at Darwin could not participate in Raid.
(9) june 30th,While in plane at Darwin they had an air raid and just pilot,mech and myself took off, they told us to head sough and we ran right into the whole jap air force draiding Fenton Field at Darwin, luckily for us, none of the nips made a pass at us, but we saw a lot of action anyway.
(10 july 1, Headed back to Perth and will probly be leaving soon.
(11)August 7th,1943, Based at Niomia in New Guniea(near Milnie Bay)We took a hop around some of the islands including Goodenough Island,Fergusson Island,Normanby Island, and the newly taken Trobiand Island and back to Jenson Bay, same as Niomia Bay.
(12) August 9th, First night patrol in New Guinea, first went up to Mormanby,Ferguson and Trobriand Islands. Then spotted a jap sub,by time we tried to release depth charges, sub submereged(picked it up by Radar}.Then continued up to lae and Salamaua in New Guniea. Then we went up to Finchhaven in New Guniea, turned then to New Britian where we went to Gasmata in New Britian and then came back. Saw nothing.
(13) August 12, Went up to Woodlark,Normanby islands and about 50 miles from Rabaul intercepted about 6 jap barges,bomber and straffed them,results were unknown. Then went to New Britian and to New Ireland and back to Jenkins bay, New Guinea.
(14)August30. On operational patrol we spotted one large jap ship(probably cruiser) and two large transports. Dropped three bombs, no damage, ships started shooting at us(very close)then spotted night fighter and really hauled ass,nothing the rest of the night.(made a dive run doing 180 knots,thats a hell of a dive for a PBY)
(15)Sept 3 & 4) Saw nothing but fires at madang, probaly set afire by the army in the daytime.
(16) Sep 6 & 7...on Patrol as we passed Rabaul in New Britian, our engine started cutting out (60 miles from Rabaul) We climbed to 8000 feet. Dropped our bombs and flew all night until daybreak and then landed....Wot a scare.
(17) Sept 10th...Went out looking for Beaufighter that went down 60 miles from Rabaul. Two men were in the water as their plane sunk. While looking for them we spotted two planes(fighters)and taking no chances of them being zeros, we went into a cloud, comming out of cloud we spotted them again and were sure they were enemy planes and so we headed back for the base as the only gun we had was a Tommy gun as the plane was stripped.(a little more worry) MY NOTE RIGHT NOW.;;DONT KNOW IF THEY WERE EVER PICKED UP.
(18) Sep 19th...Sunday morning went over the Owen Stanley Range, then procticed straffing wrecked ship, did wing overs, practiced landings and back. Nice hop.
(19)Sept 29....While on test hop, saw a B-25 spin in from formation flying at 800 feet. Plane hit nose first and we tried to land, but water was too shallow,throwed over smoke lights to direct rescue ship and then left. All aboard plane killed.
(20) Nov,3,..Went up around New Britan to pick up any survivors of of our planes if shot down while raiding Rabaul,Good luck, none of our planes lost and so back to Moresby.Went up as far as Gasmata and back to Oro Bay.
(21) Nov 7th...Went to the Sepick River, Crossed the Owen Stanleys and landed supplies to Australian Commandos, only 40 miles from the jap strongest base in New Guinea,(Wewack).Had a very pleasant hop,brought back three natives.(I remember teaching them swear words to call their chief)
(22)Nov,10...Same as above only on the way up and back, engine started cutting out and on the way back got the biggest scare I ever had since flying.Lost fuel pressure and started throwing everything over the side.and then put on parachute and harness and was standing by to jump at 18000 feet over the Owen Stanley Range. When we finally got back, pilot gave the crew a quart of gin for getting back alive.
(23) Nov 13,...Standing by for rescue work at Oro Bayfor 7 hours at 1700 hours we left for Moresby and arrived at darkness in a great rain storm and no good radar,had a tough landing but made it and scragged the plane as we could not see anything..(MY NOTE TODAY,SCRAGGED MEANS WRECKED THE PLANE)
(24).March 1,1944..While on Instrument flight we collided with a VP11 plane,their number 24 in mid air.We lost a prop,Antenna, and our pilot got a bad leg. Their plane was ripped wide open by our prop and when they landed they had to run up on the beach(one more lucky escape)Perth,Western Australia)
(25)March 9th,1944.on way up to Exmouth we were called back, wither a big storm up there or the scare of the jap task force is off,were still standing by.
(26) June 14th, Went to pick up the crew of a downed PV. Had to go throught the straights of Bouganville and Cholise Island and the strong jap Island of the Shortland, We got there five minutes to late as another Cat landed and picked up the crew. On the way back as we passed the shortlands they were shelling an American ship.
(27...June 19th...Stand by at Rabaul while Navy and Marines bombed the strips. We had 2-F4F Fighter escorts and circled the channel for 45 minutes. none of our pla es were shot down and so we had no business.
(28)..June 22....Same as the nineteenth,Bombed Rabaul, standing by for rescue, no business, saw ack ack at a PV and one SBD trailing smoke, all o.k.
(29)....June 24....Same as the 22nd.Stood by at Rabaul and watched the raid, none of our planes lost. On the way back spied a parachute on the water, landed inside th harbor and picked up the chute and it had a harness and a jacket attached to it,belonged to a Lt. Lucy, a B-25 pilot.
(30)...July 26th,and 27th...28th..Crossed the equator four times in two days. Went up to Niomiislands in the Caroline Group, about 75 miles from Truck...Dumbo for P.V.'s,that bombed jap convoy.
(31)....July 28th, Did the same as above and crossed the Equater again, six times in three days.
(32),,,,,August 4,...upon getting back to Emirau we ran plane up on reef,we got it off after about five hours work.Waited for tide to come in, sweated out all the hours.
(33)....Sept 17......Went for Downed Corsair pilot in Simpson Harbor, Rabaul.When landed picked up pilot who was dead and we were fired upon from the beach as we were too darn close. (MY NOTE, CAN STILL SEE THE WATER SPOUTS BEHING THE TAIL OF OUR PLANE)
(34)...Oct 12,13th,1944....operating out of Morotai Island in the Halmaharas we went up to North Borneo and then on the way back to the Cebebes was jumped on by night fighter,but we lost him..Other wise a quiet night.