The Story of the Black Cat PBY’s

Courtesy of ZenosWarbirds YouTube channel

With all I had read about these patrol bombers, all of the WW II personal accounts, documentaries, etc, when I was a sub-teen into man hood, I never knew about the Black cats.

WOW.  Note the dual tires; this had to have been a field adaptation due to the added weight; I’d only seen pics of them with one torpedo on each wing.  The original gear had only one wheel on each side.

Published on May 1, 2012

“The identity of the previously undisclosed secret PBY base in this film and the men who flew from it are revealed for the first time in our exclusive new release.”

What was that mysterious plane swooping down out of the night sky on unsuspecting Japanese ships and bases, hundreds of miles from any known American airstrip?  The answer was, as you’ll see in this good humored, affectionate film, the slow, ungainly, but deadly “Black Cat” PBY.  Originally designed primarily as a reconnaissance and antisubmarine amphibious patrol plane, the big twin engined Catalina’s super long range, all weather capability, capacity to lug both bombs and radar, ability to loiter for hours hunting convoys and operate from anywhere in the watery PTO, made it an ideal naval night attack bomber.

One of the least known stories of the war in the Pacific, these black painted PBY “VPB” (‘Patrol Bombing”) squadrons spread destruction and chaos far out of proportion to their relatively small numbers.  A frequent tactic was to cut their engines and float in almost silently on their prey.  As this film shows, night ops were very risky, but the rewards could be huge, including the sinking of a 6,000 ton Katori class light cruiser by Lt. William B Sumpler, of VPB-33, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross.

Second video below this; a tour of a PBY.

G-PBYA Catalina guided tour (HD)


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