While there would be more fighting before an Allied victory in the Pacific, the enemy was entering the final agonizing throes of defeat. Much of her once-great merchant fleet now lay at the bottom of the ocean, and the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy had taken refuge in well-defended harbors to lick their wounds and prepare for the bitter ending certain to come. The flow of oil, so essential to the continued operation of the war machine, had slowed drastically and the incoming supply of other critical resources was in much the same condition. The Black Cats and their anti-shipping campaign had done much to help place the Japanese squarely on the threshold of disaster.

The PBYs had amassed an impressive record of kills against a competent and powerful foe. That record was especially spectacular because it had been accomplished with machines already past their prime when war began. By 1945, the faithful old Catalinas could reasonably be classified as obsolete. In the beginning, they were all we had. Now that the wheels of production were in high gear, the Cats were being replaced by bigger, faster, better-protected, and more powerful aircraft like the Martin PBM Mariners and the Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberators.

Slowly, during the last months of 1944 and into the first months of 1945, the Black Cats began wending their way home across the Pacific. They were a sorry sight, dented and pockmarked, with black paint peeling from their battered hulls. Some wore crude patches and others still carried bullet holes that had not yet been plugged. But these were warrior’s scars, earned in battle and worn with dignity. And justly so. Never in history has an aircraft so ill-designed for combat wreaked so much havoc on such a dangerous and merciless adversary. Not since David and his slingshot had men gone forth with more courage than those who flew into the darkness at 95 knots, in search of Japanese Goliaths!

(The above section of text was taken from "Black Cat Raiders of WWII" by Richard C. Knott, 1982)(now out of print)

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