Northrop N-3PB

Patrol Bomber

Restored Northrop N-3PB No. 320-"U" Patrol Bomber
at the Hawthorne Municipal Airport after restoration

Northrop N-3PB Specifications
Manufacturer Northrop Aircraft, Inc., Hawthorne, CA
Number Built 24
Wing Span 48 feet, 11 inches
Overall Length 38 feet
Overall Height 12 feet
Wing Area 376.8 sq. feet
Takeoff Weight 10,600Ibs.
Speed - Maximum 257 mph
Speed - Cruising 215 mph
Range 1,400 miles
Service Ceiling 28,400 feet
Powerplant Wright Cyclone, Air Cooled, Radial, 1200 hp
Armament (4) 50-cal guns, (2) 30-cal guns, (1) 2,000
torpedo, or equivalent weight of bombs

The Northrop N-3PB No. 320-"U" Story

On April 25th 1941 the first Norwegian Naval Squadron was officially established at its new base at Reykjavik, Iceland. It had been decided to equip the new 330 Squadron with the N-3PBs, and on May 19th, 18 aircraft arrived in Iceland onboard the Norwegian merchant vessel "Fjordheimn". Twelve N-3PBs were immediately put together. The squadron was divided into three flights, "A"-flight being based at Reykjavik, "B"-flight being based at Akureiry in Northern Iceland, and "cn-flight being based at Budareiry in Eastern Iceland. Three aircraft were given to each flight, with the remaining six being kept as a reserve, being gradually put into operation following losses.

The first operational sortie by the N-3PB was flown out of Reykjavik on June 23rd 1941, the aircraft being piloted by Lieutenant A. Stansberg. The squadron was inspected for the first time by the head of Royal Air Force Coastal Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip B. Joubert de la Ferte on July 11th.

The story of 330 (Norwegian) Squadron in Iceland can fill several books. From 1941 until the summer of 1943, the Squadron was moved to Scotland. While in Scotland, a total of 7473 flying hours were logged. Of these, 4272 hours were flown during 1041 operational sorties. Missions included: 246 anti-U-boat missions; 379 convoy escort missions; 250 reconnaissance flights and 18 ambulance flights. During the operations in Iceland, the squadron lost 21 men and 10 N-3PBs. The squadron was accredited with 15 U-boats spotted. Nine U-boats were attacked and seven were damaged. N-3PB's were also accredited with damage to eight enemy aircraft.

In the spring of 1943, the squadron moved to Scotland. Here they were re-equipped with the Short Sunderland flyingboats. During April and May of 1943, a number ofN-3PBs were transferred from Akurairy and Budareiry to Reykjavik to be scrapped. On April 21, 1943, N-3PB No. 320 _"U", took off from Budareiry to Reykjavik. The pilot onboard was Wsewolod Bulukin and the wireless operator was LeifRustad. On route to Reykjavik, the crew encountered heavy snow-showers. They were forced to land on the glacier river Thjorsa. The aircraft was wrecked during the landing. Fortunately, both crew members swam ashore to safety, and were able to get back to their squadron within a few days. Meanwhile, back in the river, the N-3PB sank down into mud and water.

Thirty six years later, N-3PB No. 320 was successfully salvaged from the Thjorsa river in Iceland. This was accomplished through a joint effort of Icelandic, Norwegian, British and American volunteers. In November 1979, the wreck was flown to the Northrop Aircraft Division plant at Hawthorne, California to be fully restored. A year later, on November 10th, 1980, the only remaining example of the Northrop N-3PB was proudly rolled out at the Northrop Aircraft Division plant, following a complete restoration.




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