Are we there yet...? by Briney ()
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Australia's vast and neglected north was believed to be a logistics nightmare for any invader... but defending it was no picnic either...
Consider the "Brereton Route." (organised by USAAF Maj. General Lewis Brereton, perhaps WW2's most globe-trotting commander, to resupply the beleagured US Far East Air Force). Begining in January 1942, Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, duely uncrated and assembled in Brisbane and Townsville on the east coast, had to be flown hundreds of miles by USAAF 49 Fighter Group pilots to Darwin and thence to the Netherlands Indies in a series of long hops over the Australian outback...
It was no joy flight. The story goes that when asked for navigation tips, one cheerful wit replied over his refueling nozzle... "follow the trail of crashed kittyhawks..." Yes, landing accidents and engine failure claimed a few pilots and the lucky few who got lost enjoyed a brief "farm-stay" experience with delighted rural families who seldom got visitors, least of all visitors who brought an air-show.
On February 19th 1942 one advance party of Warhawks aborted the overwater leg to Java due to weather. Returning to Darwin, they found themselves caught in the midst of the catastrophic Darwin air-raid... The front-line had found THEM!
Rendered in Vue 8 Esprit
Bazze's P-40 with an early 1942 texture.
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