Friday, December 30, 2011
Alaska wrecks, Part 5: Muddy Ventura
Built originally as the Lockheed Model 37 for the RAF, the Navy's version was built by Lockheed's Vega division (hence its designation under the Navy system as a PV-1 rather than PO-1, if it had been Lockheed-built). The presence of the nose windows, a left-over from the bombardier's station in the Army's B-34 version, indicates that this was a fairly early production model. Navy squadron VP-135 was the first of several squadrons in the Aleutians to get the PV-1, starting in April 1943 (VP-131, -136, and -139 also were stationed in Alaska with PV-1s; in addition, the training squadron VPB-199, based on Whitby Island also sometimes deployed to Alaska with their aircraft). As a patrol bomber, they aircraft were operated against enemy forces on several of the Kurile islands, and were sometimes used to lead sorties of B-24s, since the PV-1s were equipped with the ASD-1 search radar.
(A detailed history of the Lockheed Ventura can be read here.)