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U.S.A.A.F Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War

3rd Combat Cargo Group, 10th Combat Cargo Squadron

Strange Cargo-Depth Charges

Lt. John G. Martin

     On December 15th Lt. John E. Zerbe left Dinjan, destination Myitkyina East Airstrip, with a load of three hundred fifty pound depth charges.  Approximately one hour after leaving home a whining sound was detected coming from the cargo section of the ship.   The noise was coming from one of the depth charges near the forward end of the plane.  Zerbe described it as sounding like an engine starter energizer but much louder.  These charges were not supposed to have been armed and the one making the noise had a plug screwed into the end of it the same as the other fourteen aboard.   There was doubt in the crew's minds as to whether the charges should be moved or not and so a radio call was made to Warazup and an ordinance officer was to be questioned about the problem and what to do about it.  A call also was made to Myitkyina for the same information.

They waited fifteen minutes for this information, all the time the depth charge continued to make the whining noise.  Lt. Zerbe then decided it was time for action and ordered the charge thrown out.  The plane was about two thousand feet high when it was thrown overboard.  The crew did not see the charge hit the ground and they were not able to tell if it exploded.  The plane proceeded to Myitkyina East with the rest of the load.  They were about ready to land when a call came from the Myitkyina airfield that the charge might explode at any time and to drop it immediately.  What a day!  We laughed about this episode and then soberly wondered what might have happened had Zerbe not made his decision.

Lt. John G. Martin, 10th Combat Cargo Squadron, 3rd Combat Cargo Group.  From his book ‘Through Hell’s Gate to Shanghai’ Copyright 1983; Printed by The Lawhead Press Inc.

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    I am looking for former members of the 3rd Combat Cargo Group,  1st, Combat Cargo Group, 2nd Combat Cargo Group and the 4th Combat Cargo Group.  In fact I would like to hear from anyone who flew over the Hump during WW II, or flew any Combat Cargo Missions at any time (Berlin Air-Lift, Korea, etc) 

Please e-mail comment, suggestions, corrections,etc to: bill@comcar.org

Imphal, the Hump and Beyond  Copyright 1999 Bill Bielauskas  All rights reserved.

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