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Every day a nightmare : American pursuit pilots in the defense of Java, 1941-1942

Author: William H Bartsch
Publisher: College Station : Texas A & M University Press, ©2010.
Series: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University military history series, no. 131.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
In December 1941, War Department sent two transports and freighter carrying 103 P-40 fighters and pilots to Philipines to help Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Far East Air Force. They were diverted to Australia, with new orders to ferry P-40s to Philippines from Australia through Dutch East Indies. On January 12, 1942, the first of key refueling stops in East Indies fell to rapidly advancing Japanese forces, resulting in a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: William H Bartsch
ISBN: 9781603441766 160344176X
OCLC Number: 490809315
Description: xxii, 506 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Contents: Prologue. Never in our history has there been a time like the present --
Plans for reaching you quickly with pursuit are jeopardized --
We are virtually a floating ammunition dump --
We came 4,700 miles and are pigeon-holed! --
The news from Wavell is all bad --
There goes our ferry route --
Second lieutenants are expendable --
You are not forgotten men --
A collection of the worst landings I have ever seen --
I'm all shot to hell! --
These guys are really inexperienced --
Someone is crazy! This is murder! --
I deeply regret failure to hold Abda Area --
I was thoroughly enjoying myself --
Nothing will ever happen to me --
He was wholly unrecognizable --
How can we operate against such odds? --
Every day a nightmare! --
Nothing less than desertion --
Thousands of men gone completely mad --
Senseless in all senses --
Give us 24 hours to get out of this God-damned place! --
Epilogue --
Appendix. Table 1. Pilots of 21st Pursuit Squadron --
Table 2. Pilots of 34th Pursuit Squadron --
Table 3. Pilots of 35th pursuit group --
Table 4. Pilots of 14th, 20th and 51st pursuit groups --
Table 5. Philippines pursuit pilots sent to Australia --
Table 6. Pilots and aircraft of 17th Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 7. Pilots of 20th Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 8. Pilots and aircraft of 3rd Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 9. Pilots and aircraft of 33rd Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 10. Pilots of 13th Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 11. Enlisted men of 17th Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 12. Enlisted men of 20th Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 13. Enlisted men of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron (provisional) --
Table 14. Personnel embarked on USS Langley --
Table 15. Japanese aircraft shot down or badly damaged.
Series Title: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University military history series, no. 131.
Responsibility: William H. Bartsch.

Abstract:

In December 1941, War Department sent two transports and freighter carrying 103 P-40 fighters and pilots to Philipines to help Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Far East Air Force. They were diverted to Australia, with new orders to ferry P-40s to Philippines from Australia through Dutch East Indies. On January 12, 1942, the first of key refueling stops in East Indies fell to rapidly advancing Japanese forces, resulting in a break in their ferry route and another change in their orders. This time pilots would fly their aircraft to Java to participate in Allied defense of that Japanese objective. Except for pilots from the Philippines, almost all of other pilots assigned to five provisional pursuit squadrons ordered to Java were recent graduates of flying school with a few hours on P-40. Only forty-three of them made it to their assigned destination; the rest suffered accidents in Australia, were shot down over Bali and Darwin, or lost in sinking of USS Langley as it carried thirty-two of them to Java. Even those who did reach the secret field on Java wondered if they had been sacrificed for no purpose. As the Japanese air assault intensified, the Allied defense collapsed. Only eleven Japanese aircraft fell to the P-40s. William H. Bartsch pored through personal diaries and memoirs of participants, cross-checking primary sources against Japanese aerial combat records of the period and supplementing them with official records and other American, Dutch, and Australian accounts. His thorough research situates the Java pursuit pilots' experiences within context of the strategic situation in early days of the Pacific theater--Publisher's description.

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"One reviewer called Mr. Bartsch's earlier book 'an impressive labor of love.' That phrase applies equally well to the present Every Day A Nightmare, a work that will probably stand as the definitive Read more...

 
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