On This Day…January 14th
On January 14th, 1969 the USS Enterprise was rocked by a series of explosions off the coast of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A fire broke out when a ‘Zuni’ rocket attached to an F4 Phantom aircraft detonated, starting a domino effect of discharges blowing holes in the flight deck which in turn spilled burning jet fuel Into the hangar deck. 28 sailors were killed, and 314 injured.
The incident mirrored the 1967 USS Forrestal (CV-59) fire just eighteen months before (above), also caused by an F4 Zuni, which killed 134 men. Lessons learned can be seen on the vast differences in the casualties on board the Enterprise.
A-36A Apache aircraft of the 527th FBS, 86th BFG, Gaudo Airfield, southern Italy, 14 Jan 1944. The North American Aviation A-36A was a ground attack version of the iconic P-51 Mustang fighter. North American Aviation called this variant the Apache (apparently others tried to nickname it the Invader) but documents from the US Army Air Forces always listed them as Mustangs. the restored Apache below shows the (closed) dive brakes…
Which are further highlighted in the diagram and close up of the next two images.
The armament was also different, with the Apache having two 50 cal Brownings under the nose cowling, firing through the propellor arc. A total of 500 Apache aircraft were produced in a single production run. One Apache was provided to the British for evaluation and all the rest flew with US forces. First delivered to squadrons in French Morocco in April 1943, the aircraft remained in service in that theater until June 1944 when its role was taken over by the P-40. Although the Apache’s combat career might have been short, In the Mediterranean Theatre alone these aircraft flew a total of 23,373 combat missions and delivered over 8,000 tons of bombs.
14 Jan 1970, Ben Tre, Vietnam. A South Vietnamese infantryman from the Seventh Division leads a wounded comrade away from the front line after a battle with Vietnam Cong forces.
14 January,1934 saw the first flight of the de Havilland DH-86 Express E.2, British four-engine biplane passenger aircraft powered by four Gipsy Six engines. Designed to meet the requirements of QANTAS Australian airlines.
Corporal Bernard Butnik, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Sergeant Richard Goodbar, of Russellville, Arkansas, offer ‘Agnes’ cigarettes and a coke. European Theater, January 14, 1945. Their anotomical knowledge is impressive.
P-40L having an engine check aboard the USS Ranger (CV4), January 14, 1943 – these USAAF aircraft were being delivered to Casablanca.
This photo made the cover of ‘Yank’ Magazine, Continental Edition of January 14, 1945. Entitled “Present Arms” it featured Pfc. Robert Leigh and his collection of enemy weaponry souvenirs (MP.38 and MP.40’s, an MG.34 and an MG42) taken by the 83rd Infantry Division during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest.
Today in 1950 marked the first flight of the MiG 17 (NATO designation; Fresco). Over ten thousand of these aircraft were made and 20 different countries flew them. Quite astonishingly, the Madagascan Air Force still operate examples.