Welcome to our Joseph P Kennedy Jr page. THE SECRET MISSION OF JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, JR.
From 1939 thru 1945 there were many secret missions by the
allies to destroy the Nazi war machine. On Aug. 12, 1944, one of our most tragic secret missions occurred.
A PB4Y-1, the Navy version of the B-24, loaded with 374 boxes of high explosives weighing over 20,000 pounds, took off from England. This flying
bomb was piloted by Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr and Lt Wilford J Willy accompanied by an armada of various types of aircraft.
Flying V-Bombs launched by the Germans were creating havoc in England, and it was imperative they be destroyed. Besides the V-1 Buzz Bomb and the deadly V-2 Rocket, the Germans had
developed a huge V-3 Supergun. Most of the launch sites were situated in heavily fortified underground
bunkers that were difficult to destroy by conventional bombing. Kennedy was on his way to eliminate one of these sites when at 6:20 PM his PB4Y-1 Liberator flying bomb exploded in mid air.
Joseph Kennedy Sr. was one of the wealthiest men in the United States.
In the 1920' he reportedly made a fortune bootlegging liquor. He made five million producing low budget
movies. In 1938 he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Britain. He was involved in high society, associating
with the Royal Family. But Joe Kennedy Sr. had other problems. He had an admiration for Nazi Germany,
and advised the U.S. to remain neutral in the growing conflict. He made no secret about his admiration
of Germany. As Hitler became more powerful, he announced that he could conquer all of Europe. Britain
was feeling the pressure as Dunkirk was evacuated, and London was viciously bombarded. Hitler planned
on Britain being the next to fall. Joe Sr. in his opposition to America joining the war had angered Churchill
and Roosevelt. Even his two sons opposed their father. In Dec. 1940, he was removed from office and recalled
to the U.S. Politically damaged, his admiration for Germany had been his downfall. On Dec. 7, Japan attacked the U.S. and America declared war. Three days later Hitler declared war on the U.S. Joe Jr. immediately enlisted, entering training as a naval aviator. He started flight training in PT-17s, and after graduation was upgraded to the multi-engine B-24 [PB4Y-1] flying maritime anti-sub patrol. In Aug. of 1943 his younger
brother John was involved in a mishap when a Japanese destroyer sliced through his PT-109. The crew made it to nearby islands and all were rescued. John was recognized as a hero. In the meantime ships carrying
critical supplies to Britain were being increasingly sunk by German subs. Churchill called for a stepped up effort to destroy the subs. Joe Jr. flew over sixty missions in twelve month when based at Dunkeswell in Devon, England. On June 5, 1944, an armada set sail across the English Channel,
the invasion of Europe had begun. German V bombs were now killing thousands of innocent civilians. This presented a great opportunity for Joe Jr. to see some real action. Hitler continued to introduce his wonder weapons, with Buzz Bombs carrying 2000 pounds of explosives. Over 2000 were launched killing over
5000, it was total devastation. Meteor jets and anti-aircraft guns were able to destroy many of the V-1s, but England had no defense against the V-2. It was 46 feet long with a one ton warhead and was difficult to locate when launched from a mobile site. The V-2 was propelled by liquid alcohol and liquid oxygen, taking it to 315,000 feet, then plunging back to earth at 1800 MPH. Over 1000 were fired at London. The new bunker type underground launch sites were not being destroyed by conventional bombing. The new V-3 Supergun could fire a projectile 95 miles, two every minute, striking London. It was obvious the V-1,V-2, and V-3 had to be stopped.
England formed an elite group to destroy the launch sites, and asked for volunteers. Joseph Kennedy's squadron, flying in bitter winter weather over the Bay of Biscay, had suffered heavy casualties, with Joe losing his former co-pilot and a number of close friends. He was due for a leave but persuaded his crew to stay on until D-Day. Flying frequently in June and July they were given another opportunity to go home. Joe felt it would be unfair to ask his crew to remain any longer, so they returned
to the U.S. Joe remained to volunteer for the very dangerous assignment which would require another month. Joe had completed probably more combat missions in PB4Y-1s than any other pilot and was well qualified.
He considered his chances at fifty-fifty. Joe was an expert in Radio Control projects and was considered a natural to fly the "drone" in the highly secret mission. To destroy the V-2 menace it was decided to use radio controlled drones carrying massive bomb loads. The U.S. had been experimenting
with R.C. drones, as had Germany, who was developing R.C. glider bombs. The X-1 rocket boostered bomb released from a German bomber could glide for six miles when released from 26,000 feet.
The X-1 demonstrated devastating results by sinking many Allied ships, showing the promising use and accuracy of the R.C. guided missile the U.S. guided their missiles in test using operator-television, however the pay load was too small. They then advanced to full size Radio Controlled aircraft that after establishing control the pilot bailed out. The aircraft would fly to the target by remote control. The Army experimented with B-17s while the Navy made test using the PB4Y-1s. Early U.S. test failed. Pilots
were killed, and the drones missed their target. Despite the numerous failures the U.S. proceeded with their testing of full size aircraft.