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On This Day…January 23rd

On 23 January 1951, 1st Lt. Jacob Kratt was flying as element leader of a flight of F-84E Thunderjets flying top cover for twenty-three F-84Es who were attacking the airfield at Sinuiju, Korea. Kratt spotted eight MiG-15’s moving to attack the formation of F-84s now making a straffing pass on Sinuiju at low altitudes. Kratt split off his two plane element and attacked the lead pair of MiGs, shooting down the lead aircraft while his wingman shot down the other. The remaining six MiGs immediately disengaged and flew to safety across the Yalu River. Immediately, Kratt and his wingman spotted additional MiG-15s crossing the border headed for the F-84E’s that were engaged in attacking ground targets. Again he lead his two plane element into the enemy, shooting down a second MiG-15 in less then two minutes. For his actions that day Lt Kratt was awarded a Silver Star.

Three days later Lt. Kratt was credited with shooting down a Yak-3, a type that records from the former Soviet Union show was never sent to China or North Korea. Based on the date and available data, it is likely that the plane Lt Kratt shot down was a Chinese flown Yak-9P. This Yak kill was his third and final air-to -air victory, making Kratt the highest scoring F-84 pilot in the USAF.

The USS Cassin (DD-372) is seen here in drydock at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on January 23, 1942, while under salvage. She was burned out and capsized (alongside USS Downes, DD-375) in drydock during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The hulls of both ships were damaged beyond realistic repair but vital machinery, armament, and equipment were salvaged and sent to Mare Island Navy Yard where entirely new ships were built around the rescued material and given the Cassin and Downes names and hull numbers.

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January 23, 1951 – The first flight of the Douglas F4D-1 (F-6) Skyray.

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A few days ago I posted regarding kamikaze hits on the Ticonderoga. I mentioned that on the same day the USS Hancock suffered a multiple fatalities after a TBM Avenger shed her 500lbs bomb(s) shortly after landing. This photo (Jan 23rd, 1945) shows the burial of the men who died that day. Just how extensive the damage was can be seen in the buckled flight deck overhead in the picture. Rest in peace.

Germen paratroopers examine an M-1 rifle during a ceasefire to evacuate civilians from the surrounded French port of St Nazareth, January 23rd, 1945.

January 23, 1939 – The first flight of the Douglas A-20 Havoc.

Two Signalmen of 143rd infantry use a pigsty as a message centre during the ill fated ‘Battle of the Rapido River’, Italy, January 23rd, 1944. More than 2000 US soldiers were killed or wounded for no gains at all.

Got to sneak a Carrier in, somehow. USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) underway off the US east coast, 23rd January, 1944 – SNJ training plane on flight deck.


11 responses to On This Day…January 23rd

  1. Even though it’s still the 22nd – here in Indiana – I’ll say thanks for the great pics & stories.

    Is there supposed to be a photo of the F4D-1? There’s a great looking print of 2 Mig 15s, but no F4D-1. It Thanks, David! @dirtylittlefokker

  2. I don’t think I ever heard about F-84’s shooting down Mig 15s,. Yes, where’s the Ford?, nice Migs though’

  3. The first flight of the A-20…truly a momentous occasion!

  4. @mikegolf. Well spotted, Jeff! Now edited and photos in correct order, thanks!

  5. Yes, sorry about that, Robert. The perils of editing on busy trains and metros. ‘Skyray’ now included.

  6. Thought that might get your attention, prof.

  7. As ever, nice pics and stories, David.
    Are there any further information available about Kratt´s planes he flew on these two missions (serial nos. etc) ? I doubt it was F-84E 51-493 (‘FS-493-B’) , in spite it was adorned with his victory stars in pictures shot later in 1951.

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