Northrop P-61 "Black Widow"
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Jeff Kolln, e-mail, 24.11.2016 19:07

Has anyone heard about a P-61B down in Central America? I have heard a number of rumors about one down there?

Jeff Kolln, e-mail, 24.11.2016 19:02

I was wondering if anyone had photos of the Naval Tests with P-61s showing them being launched from land and from a carrier? I talked to the pilot who flew the tests and he described the tests and also have accident reports from a couple P-61s that were damaged in these, as well as the harness used on the main landing gear, but he had no photos. Of course the Navy seems to have no files anymore. Also I am trying to find a copy of the maintenance and operators manual on the P-61s radar systems. Please let me know if you can help me on these. I could not find them in time for my book, but would love to do some articles on them. Would appreciate your help.

Brian, e-mail, 14.08.2016 00:47

My father, Henry John Battjer, Jr. was a P-61Radar Operator withe 419th Night Fighter Squadron. He flew 53 mission with Reuben Kingdon as his primary pilot, but also flew with Marion Flansburg and Harold Michels as alternative pilots.

mark limke, e-mail, 30.07.2016 03:54

I am seeking any info on my father-in-law Paul R. Diehl who was a gunner with the 547th NFS.

Granpa, e-mail, 24.07.2016 00:33

I am the surviving patriarch of a 4 generation aviation family. My Dad worked at the Billings MT airport immediately after the war. I spent a lot of time at "the field" and about twice a year for 2 or 3 years, a P-61 would show up and spend a couple days, I assume visiting family. This would have been somewhere between 48 and 53 I think. Does anyone know where there were some operational squadrons during that time frame. The P-61 shares something with the F-4 Phantom. It was so ugly, it was beautiful.

joe von rembow, e-mail, 14.06.2016 07:43

I was at itazuke 1947 with the 433 ftr sq.and helped rescue the pilot of the p-61 that lost an engine on take-off.The pilot banked into the dead engine and made a crash landing in the rice paddy.I helped pull him from the Aircraft and the medics rushed him to the hospital in Fukuoka.I understand that he did survive.I was on week-end alert at the time with a flight of P-51s. I was a volunteer with BOUT 1 and spent 18 months in Korea and the returned to itazuke and the 68Th as crew chief on the F-82 and later transition to the F-94 while still with the 68th.What a trip.

Klaatu83, e-mail, 20.08.2015 18:56

The P-61 was not the FIRST U.S. fighter equipped with radar. That distinction undoubtedly belongs to the Douglas P-70, which was a night-fighter version of the A-20 Boston/Havoc attack-bomber. Although the RAF had been using Havocs as night-fighters since 1941 the aircraft was never regarded as entirely satisfactory because it was derived from an attack-bomber, with engines that were optimized for low to medium altitude performance, which meant that it's performance fell off at higher altitudes. The P-61 was the first U.S. fighter to have been designed from the outset to carry radar. Technically, it was classed as an "All-Weather Day or Night Interceptor", although the emphasis was definitely on operations at night or during conditions of reduced visibility.

Nancy, e-mail, 26.05.2015 04:25

My father was a P-61 pilot with the 547th. His photograph collection (mostly from Luzon) was recently accepted into the collection of the National Museum of the U.S. Aor Force in Dayton, OH. The photos include many squadron members.

Mark Steele, e-mail, 22.12.2014 02:10

My father-in-law, Cecil Halbert, was a gunner with the 547th from the time it began in New Guinea until it was disbanded in Japan. Yesterday (12/20/2014), he identified Willard Bush, mentioned in this thread in 2012, as a friend of his in the 547th. Any more info on the 547th would be greatly appreciated as my father-in-law is pushing 90 years old.

Dr. Thomas Davis, UCLA, 12.08.2014 09:55

The History Channel last night showed some TOP SECRET footage of six P-61 Black Widow Nightfighters. Their mission was to intercept a Japanese six engined version of the Junkers JU-390. The Japanese had an Atomic Bomb Program and the History Channel showed how a German Submarine brought the U-235 to Japan. Also it showed pictures of Anna Kreisling warming up the engines of a JU-390 in the Kuril Islands. If she had not been recalled back to Berlin in April of 1945 by Martin Bormann, she had planned a one way mission in a Japanese JU-390 to drop the bomb on Los Angeles! Only these P-61 Black WIDOWS could have saved Los Angeles!

John Peterson, e-mail, 12.01.2014 21:08

The F-61s were in Adak in 1948 in the 449th Fighter Sq (all weather)and were phased out in March 1949 when the squadron moved to Ladd AFB at Fairbanks. I was in the squadron at that time.

Brian Murphy, e-mail, 18.07.2013 23:37

My father ( Lt.John F.Murphy )was a P-61 pilot in the 425th NFS in WWII. I have been doing research into his career and would love to learn any information about my Dad or the plane he flew. Please contact me.

Gary Bush, e-mail, 15.10.2012 05:11

My dad Willard Bush told me he was a gunner in a P-61 and flew mission over Formosa was with th 547th night fighter squadron.

Glen Lowe, e-mail, 22.08.2012 04:51

I lived in Hawthorne right accross the street from the factory I saw the first P-61 I beleive rool out of the hangers severald times and taxey as though it would take off, And one day it did take off right over our house cars had the streets blocked severalb blocks all around us my dadwas on his way home from work he drove home partly by driveing the alleys, That was I am sure in May 1941, and I have a book Airplanes of ww2 That conferms that date,

Robert E. Dodson, e-mail, 01.06.2012 00:11

Solie Solomon USAAF 1945 flew "Lady in the Dark" P-61
on August 16, 1945 while on combat air patrol near Ie Shima
shot down a Ki44 Japanese fighter and was logged as the
last kill in WWII.

Rod Cordell, e-mail, 29.05.2012 06:50

My dad was stationed in Orlando, FL. with a A20/P70 squadron in 1942-1944. We got transferred to Hammer field in 1944. He was a crew chief for the P-61 squadrons that formed there. He was exempted from over seas duty because of a medical condition.
Any one out there from Hammer Field in 1944-1946 that may remember Erbert (Shorty) Cordell, he was 5'4.
If anyone has pictures of the guys at that time I would love to see them. My dad might just show up.
I was only two years so I don't remember anything.

Mark Adams, e-mail, 11.05.2012 06:03

My father was a P-61 radar crew chief at Hammer Field in CA where they trained flight crews. He tells of spending a number of months at an airfield in Washington state with a Widow to watch for the Japanese ballon bombs that were being sent across the Pacific.

G. Spanneut, e-mail, 26.03.2012 22:55

My Father was in the Marines in WWII on various islands in the Marshall and the Marianas chains. I have a a photo he took on one of the islands of a P-61 with the numerals 239555 and the name "Night Nurse" and a drawing of a nurse on the nose of the aircraft. Can anyone provide any information on that plane or tell me how I might research it further. Also, there appears to be a Curtis Helldiver in the background of the photo with the numerals 65 on the tail; however, the plane is partially obscured by a palm tree.

Steve Sowar, 15.03.2012 02:46

Just an update for Ken Dowld. The P-61C 43-8330 that was in storage at the NASM in Silver Hill, MD is now on display at the new NASM at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. The plane looks great. They did a nice job on the restoration.

George, e-mail, 15.10.2011 20:10

425th.Night Fighter Squadron. I was Crew Chief on P-61 Black Widow- Plenty Peed-off Pootie III. Pilot was Lt.Co.Russel Glasser

Gib, e-mail, 31.08.2011 01:56

My crew repaired a wrecked Black Widow P-61 at Panama Air Depot, France Field, in 1943. I rode in it during its test flight cross country in 8 minutes. Anyone know more about this?

George Simon, e-mail, 14.08.2011 02:58

Was assigned to the 161st Liaison Sqdn @ France AFB, in Panama in the years 1948-49 for a tour of 19 months. We had L-5' MOS's were 747=A/C Mech & 685 A/C Electrician. Since ALL pormotions were FROZEN, I remained a pfc for the entire time. I was able to work on the C-47's & P-61's assigned and flew many hours in both planes. The Black Widow was a great plane to work on and to fly in. I flew many missions over Bogota, Columbia (Drug smuggling & riots) as a gunner. Beautiful country with spectacular sceneary. Anyone there during that period please let me know and share your experiences. I loved Panama. Coco Solo, Rio Hata, colon and panama city. It was fun touring the Canal Locks also. God Bless & Good Health.

Mike, e-mail, 21.06.2011 03:44

My father worked on the experimental flight crew at Northrop and worked on the inside and outside of the first 10 P-61's. His job was to fabricate parts that didn't exist from blueprints. He actually hitched a ride on one of those first planes.

Bob Seiger, e-mail, 05.06.2011 00:32

Born and spent first 11 years of my life and WWII in Hawthorne. My grandmother, Peggy Jacot was a "Rosie the Riveter" at Northrup building the P-61. It was a secret at that time along with the flying wings. I understand that a group located in San Diego is attempting to build a Blackwidow (the name given to the P-61) from parts or a salvaged airframe. Haven't heard anything about this endeavor for a few years now. Anything happening with the project?

Bob, e-mail, 22.05.2011 02:09

My brother ( Mack Ballard) flew the P61A & P61B with the 421st NFS. Does anyone know him? At the end of the war he was sent to Japan and I believe he was assigned to the 68FS.

FRANK DORSEY, e-mail, 11.05.2011 17:02

was attached to 425TH night fighter squadron in site for information is ;skylighters.
this is the history of the 225TH aaa searchlight battalion while attached to the 422 and 425 night fighter squadrons.

John H. Tinkle, e-mail, 21.02.2011 18:17

I worked on the F-15A Reporter, the photo recon version of the P-61c, yet I don't find it listed in your files. Is it just a forgotten aircraft?

Kevin, e-mail, 31.01.2011 15:47

I should have noted that Lt. Henry Lee Gurley was with the 418th Night Fighter Squadron. The entire crew was:
Lt. Henry L. Gurley (Pilot), Lt. Chester A. Porretta (Radar Operator) and Cpl. Arthur G. Beaudean (Gunner).

Kevin, e-mail, 31.01.2011 14:21

On the night of August 4, 1945, my uncle (Lt. Henry Lee Gurley, Pilot) took off from Kadena Field Okinawa in a P-61B-15 (42-39591)on a mission to 36 Kyushr Japan (city of Kanoya?). Neither he, nor his crew, were ever heard from again. Does anyone out there know of him?

Don Thomas, e-mail, 17.01.2011 00:17

Father & Mother both worked at Northrop Aircraft in Hawthorne,Ca.during WWII. Pix of Dad, John Northrop & Hollywood actress promoting war Bonds is in the book of P-61 Black Widow aircraft.

T. Howe, e-mail, 07.12.2010 15:47

My uncle flew P-61's out of India late in WWII. He said it was a great beer cooler. The crew chief would sling two or three cases of 3.2 beer under the fuselage in a tight cargo net. A quick trip to 30,000 ft and back and there was ice cold beer for everyone - a real treat in the Indian Jungle.

Ronn Schwenn, e-mail, 05.12.2010 15:49

I can find no reference to the P61 fighter sqd. on Okinawa in 1946.

ken umpenhour, e-mail, 19.11.2010 16:35

I flew this bird in the late 40's out of Rio Hata, Panama, with the 414th FIS. Panama canal defense, loved every hour in it.

J. Matthews, e-mail, 31.10.2010 03:27

I have the poster from northrop when it rolled out. My uncle designed the nose for northrop.

JMW, e-mail, 25.10.2010 17:26

My father-in-law flew the P-61 "Midnight Madonna" while stationed on Iwo Jima with the 549th Night Fighter Squadron.
They escorted many damaged B-29s to safety on Iwo and flew night patrols between Iwo and Japan.

Ken Dowd, e-mail, 26.09.2010 00:47

There seems to a lot of interest in this aircraft; there are only three (3) remaining airframes: The one at Mid-Atlantic Museum P-61B (42-39445) registered as N550NF; One at Silver Hill, MD,(NASM) P-61C 43-8330; P-61C 43-8353 on display at USAF Museum Dayton,OH; P-61C s/n unknown at the
Beijing Aero Inst Beijing China.

Prof. Edward Manstein, 24.09.2010 00:38

In 1945 when the picture of Anna Kreisling,THE WHITE WOLF OF THE LUFTWAFFE,appeared in STARS AND STRIPES, pouring coffee for Gen. Patton. The OSS came and flew her out of Germany in the nick of time in a P-61 Black Widow!! Stalin had dispatched a dozen KGB agents to kidnap her and bring to Moscow! When Stalin heard that she was gone, he was so enraged that he ordered the KGB to kill Patton and make it look like an accident!
Oprah has said that the Stainless Steel bra designed for Anna Kreisling by Albert Speer was purchased by Howard Hughes for $200,000 dollars and was later used by Jane Russel in Hollywood, and it fit her perfectly! Now we have a good idea how gorgeous Anna's breasts were!!! MEIN GOTT!! is what every German soldier said when they saw Anna Kreisling!!

A.T. Hughes, 29.05.2010 06:34

The Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Reading Pennsylvania is restoring one to flight worthy status, their address is, perhaps they can help with the information you need.

bikertrash, e-mail, 18.01.2010 02:32

The P-61 has always been a favorite,can someone out there fill me in on the de-icing system details or point me towards a maintenance manual? thanks

Matthew, e-mail, 04.01.2010 02:43

By the way, I built a 1:24 scale P-61D back in about 1975 (wish I could remember the manufacturer), which my parents currently have on display at their home. I was in my hayday of model building at that time and I went right down to double hair brushes and installing wiring and tubing for complete realism. Unfortunately, they don't use A/C down in FL, and the heat and humidity have caused degradation. I'd restore it, but it's just a model, and I doubt my skills are still up to the task.

Matthew, e-mail, 04.01.2010 02:20

A decent site for further information.

john forrestal, e-mail, 07.09.2009 07:18

my uncle flew the bwackwidow over newgeiny he carshed found plane 23 years later i asw 16 then 2 lt robret forrestal did not find orther ploit. found on mountian clift .he would be about 90 now if he wear still living now .found wreakage in 1963 or 62. wrekage was left ther

Paul T Caple, e-mail, 03.07.2008 15:50

Was posted at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, 1946.
421st Nighter Fighter Sqdn,I flew with Lt Gerald Bliss
patroling the south China sea. What a ride

Dr Lyle G McNeal, e-mail, 19.05.2008 00:43

My father helped in the fabrication of the XP-61 and the P-61, and I was there at Hawthorne Air Field for the first rollout. Awesome aircraft with a unique design, and the first ever primary designed night fighter.

Craig R Montgomery, e-mail, 08.05.2008 05:54

My father flew this over the "Hump" If anyone has any information concerning this I would appreciate it.

KTFOUST@AOL.COM, 12.11.2006 12:31


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