LIEUTENANT COMMANDER J. 0. COBB, USN.,
Bureau of Aeronautics
26 April 1943.
Lt. Comdr. Cobb discusses operations of patrol planes and night fighting in the Solomons campaign. Among topics which he deals with are anti-sub work, rescue work, the PBY-5, ambulance planes, night attacks by PBY’s, radar operators, flame dampers, use of vitamins, flares, service and maintenance, equipment, clothing, torpedoes, bombs, guns, gunnery schools, landplanes vs. seaplanes, camouflage, blinding, bombing, advanced bases, night landings, and Jap patrol planes.
Distribution: To all units ashore and afloat concerned with aircraft.
OPERATIONS OF PATROL PLANES IN THE SOLOMONS CAMPAIGN
After the Battle of Midway we began moving planes down into the vicinity of New Caledonia, with the idea of either putting up a fight for New Caledonia, or, as it developed, commencing an offensive. The patrol planes moved into Espiritu Santo just a few weeks before our seizure of the Solomons. Espiritu has turned out to be the most important base in that area,
and in my opinion probably one of the places with the greatest future possibilities for a naval base. Then, on August 5th, two days before the Solomons action, the patrol planes and their small tenders moved north. The operation order for this task force read to seize Ndeni. So we steamed in — five patrol planes — and landed in Graciosa Bay, Santa Cruz Islands, tended by the USS MC FARLAND, – that constituted the seizure of Ndeni.
Another group, VP-23, on the 7th moved into Malaita. This miscellaneous group of which I had charge, VP-11 and VP-l4, with the MC FARLAND as tender, covered the northern flank of the Solomons. Fortunately, the whole operation was a complete surprise to the Japs, we ran into almost no opposition except a few float planes. We lost no planes because of enemy action, although one plane disappeared.
The Solomons were duly seized, with a few hitches, on the 7th; and we began routine search operations, the main reason for our existence down there. Since then the patrol planes have never missed a day of search. Read More