|28 March 1935
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseTo call PBY Catalina a multi-role aircraft was proper, but it was also emotionally a understatement, for Catalinas really did just about everything during WW2 with every branch of the American military and some even served with the rest of the Allies. Though originally designed as a patrol bomber, they were used as anti-submarine warfare aircraft, patrol bombers, convoy escorts, search and rescue aircraft, and transports. Being flying boats rather than the typical aircraft, they required no airfields, which made them especially versatile in the South Pacific.
ww2dbaseCatalinas and variants also served under Russian, British, New Zealand, and Australian flags.
ww2dbase"Like Uncle Wiggly of nursery fame, the Cats were always searching for adventure and frequently found it", said Samuel Eliot Morison in his book on the Guadalcanal Campaign. To the American men who served in that campaign, the sight of Catalinas were a welcomed one, especially for downed airmen who spotted "Dumbo" flying toward them on the horizon with a doctor and a pharmacist's mate onboard. When it came time to bombard Japanese bases, these aircraft were not shy either; on 13 Dec 1942, "Black Cats" from Henderson Field were sent as a group to bombard Munda Field in New Georgia.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Catalinas remained in service until the 1980s. Even today, a few of these flying boats remained in civilian service as transports or firefighting aircraft in ports.
ww2dbaseSources: the Struggle for Guadalcanal, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2006
PBY Catalina Timeline
|1 Nov 1941
|American PBY Catalina aircraft provided air cover for Atlantic convoy ON 30.
|3 Nov 1941
|American PBY Catalina aircraft provided air cover for Atlantic convoy ON 31.
|13 Nov 1942
|US Navy pilot Lieutenant H. S. Blake flying a PBY-5A Catalina with Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-92 detected Vichy French submarine Le Conquerant 700 miles off Casablanca, French Morocco, which refused to answer recognition signals when challenged. Blake attacked, blowing off the conning tower, and sank the submarine with all aboard lost.
|14 May 1943
|The United States Navy achieved its first success with the Mark 24 FIDO acoustic homing torpedo when Lt(jg) Phillip Bodinet of Patrol Squadron VP-84 flying a PBY-5A Catalina dropped one Mark 24 torpedo against German submarine U-640 about midway between Iceland and Greenland resulting in the loss of the boat and all 49 on board.
|26 May 1943
|The United States Navyâ€™s Patrol Squadron VP-84 scored another success with the Mark 24 FIDO acoustic homing torpedo south of Iceland when Lt Robert Millard dropped one Mark 24 torpedo from his PBY-5A Catalina against German submarine U-467. The U-Boat was lost with all 46 hands.
|24 Jun 1943
|PBY Catalina aircraft flying with Patrol Squadron VP-84 located German submarine U-194 in the mid-Atlantic and launched one Mark 24 FIDO acoustic homing torpedo. U-194 was lost with all 54 hands.
|4 Aug 1943
|A radar-equipped PBY Catalina conducted a pre-dawn bombing raid of the Japanese submarine base and main camp area on Kiska Island. The single Catalina also dropped 92 empty beer bottles (for the disconcerting whistling effect they produced) on those targets.
|Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines rated at 1,200 hp each
|2x7.62mm nose turret machine guns, 1x7.62mm tail machine gun, 2x12.7mm waist blister machine guns, optional 1,814kg of bombs, depth charges, or torpedoes
|Rate of Climb
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