USN Fighting Squadron VF-33USN Fighting Squadron VF-33

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat VF-33 White 13 Ken Hilderbrandt BuNo 25813 Ondonga Dec 1943 0A

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat VF-33 on fire at Ondonga Airfield New Georgia 01

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat VF-33 White 6 taxing mishap at Barakoma airstrip Solomon Islands 01

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat VF-33 White 13 Lt. C.K. Ken Hilderbrandt BuNo 25813 Ondonga, New Georgia Dec 1943

One pilot to escort the Hellcat to its baptism of fire at Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands was San Francisco native Lt. C.K. Hilderbrandt. He became a fighter pilot in 1941, became an instructor, and joined fighter unit VF-1 by 1943. Shortly thereafter, he was reassigned to VC-16, subsequently transferred to VF-33. Hilderbrandt achieved his first three aerial victories on August 14th, 1943, while escorting 72 Dauntlesses and Avengers against Ballale, flaming three Zekes. By the end of his tour, he gained a total of five kills. On his return home, he again became an instructor with the status of fighter ace. All of Lt. Hilderbrandt's kills were achieved on the illustrated aircraft, 'My Own Joan II'. The Hellcat carries the characteristic three cooling flaps on either side of the cowl and exhaust fairing, denoting the oldest production series. This plane doesn't carry the antennae wire or the front antenna mast. Instead, the aircraft is equipped with a whip antenna, common on ground based aircraft.

Ondonga Airfield Western Province Solomon Islands is a Island separated from New Georgia by only a narrow swampy area, with Arundel to the west. In the local language, Ondongo means 'the place of death'.

American Units Based at Ondonga

  • VMF-216
  • VF-33 (F6F) - Nov 29, 1943 - ?
  • VF-17 (36 x F4U) October 27 - December 2, 1943 Espiritu Santo for R and R
  • VP-12 (PBY-5A) Guadalcanal Feb 17 to May 17, 1944 to Emirau
  • MABS-1 from Henderson Nov 43 - May 26, 44 to Munda


  • 15 Squadron (P-40) C.O. SL S.G. Quill Oct 24, 1943 - ?
  • 18 Squadron (P-40) Oct 24, 1943 - ?
  • 14 Squadron (P-40) C.O. SL J. H. Arkwright
  • 16 Squadorn (P-40)
  • 17 Squadron (P-40)

Tom Blackburn (C.O. VF-17) recalled about Ondonga: 'Clean, virtually bugless, free of snipers, and above all, near the enemy'.

Jedním z pilotů, kteří doprovázeli Hellcaty do jejich křestu ohněm u Guadlalcanalu a Šalamounových ostrovů, byl i rodák ze San Francisca, Lt. C. K. Hildebrandt. Vojenským pilotem se stal již v roce 1941, začínal jako instruktor a k bojové jednotce se dostal až v roce 1943. Byla jí VF-1, nedlouho poté byl převelen k VC-16, následně přetransformované na VF-33. Svých prvních tří sestřelů dosáhl Lt. Hildebrandt 14. srpna 1943, kdy při doprovodu 72 Dauntlessů a Avengerů na Ballale sestřelil tři Zera. Do konce svého operačního turnusu dosáhl pěti sestřelů. Po návratu domů opět působil jako instruktor, nyní již se statutem stíhacího esa. Všech svých vítězství dosáhl Lt. Hildebrandt na zobrazeném stroji "My Own Joan II". Motorový kryt nese prvky nejstarších výrobních sérií, se třemi chladícími klapkami po každé straně a výstupkem v oblasti bočních výfuků. Letoun také nemá lankovou anténu ani jejího přední sloupek. Místo nímáprutovou anténu na hřbetu trupu, běžnou u letounů operujících z pozemních základen.

 Additional Information Eduard plastic models -

 New Georgia, New Georgia Group, Western Province, Solomon Islands Map

IL-2 Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover - COD/CLOD skins - No 3d model at this stage
IL2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles (FB), Ace Expansion Pack (AEP), Pacific Fighters (PF), 1946 skins
Chronology of the USN in WWII 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945


  • Barrett Tillman, Hellcat: The F6F in World War II, Naval Institute Press, 1979
  • David McCampbell article from National Aviation Hall of Fame website
  • Edward Sims, Greatest Fighter Missions, Harper and Brothers, 1962 - This sequel includes U.S. Navy and Marine Corps pilots
  • Barrett Tillman, Hellcat Aces of World War 2, Osprey

    Magazine References: +

  • Airfix Magazines (English) -
  • Avions (French) -
  • FlyPast (English) -
  • Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) -
  • Flugzeug Classic (German) -
  • Klassiker (German) -
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) -
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) -
  • Osprey (English) -
  • Revi Magazines (Czech) -

      Web References: +

  • History of RAF Organisation:
  • Corsair
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum New York NY
  • Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum Kalamazoo MI
  • Lone Star Flight Museum Galveston TX
  • Air and Space Museum Washington DC
  • National Museum of Naval Aviation AS Pensacola FL
  • New England Air Museum Windsor Locks CT
  • Planes of Fame Air Museum Eden Prairie MN
  • Quonset Air Museum North Kingston RI
  • San Diego Aerospace Museum North Kingston RI
  • The Air Museum Planes of Fame Chino CA


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This webpage was updated 20th August 2019