The ‘Black Month’ …

February 1942 was a very bad month for the Dutch Lodestar crews; they lost six of their  precious transports in a row. The Japanese  destroyed two Lodestars on the ground, two crashed with loss of life and, most galling of all, two more were involved in ground collissions and had to be written off as total losses.

Shown below is what remained of the fifth Lodestar put out of action that month. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair at Archerville (Brisbane) on February 17, 1942

Lodestar 922

Now you masy ask: why had a Dutch Lodestar flown all the way to Queensland?

In its hurry to re-arm, the Dutch government had ordered 162 (!) N0rth American B-25C “Mitchell” medium bombers to replace their outdated Glenn-Martin 166’s. The order had been placed belatedly and although North American did their utmost, the Mitchells could not be delivered sooner than February / March 1942 .
Rumour had it that the US Army had its eye on these bombers. So by mid-February 1942, four Lockheed L18’s were taken out of their hectic schedule to ferry a number of ML-KNIL crews (43 personnel in all) to Archerfield with orders to accept the incoming B-25’s and return to Java immediately.
The ferry flight did not go well. En-route from Cloncurry to Archerfield, one of the Lodestars developed severe engine trouble on both engines and made an emergency landing in a meadow near Cincallera. The others continued their flight and reached Archerfield. where they ran into another mishap. In the night of  February 17, an Australian National Airlines (ANA) DC-3 smashed straigth into a row of parked aircraft.
One of the Dutch Lodestars and an American B-17 bomber were completely destroyed.

The crews waited and waited but the badly wanted Mitchells were not delivered until Java had already fallen  The bombers would later form the nucleus of Dutch no 18 bomber squadron that would operate from north Australia during the remainder of the war.

About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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