Since Mike retires on Tuesday, and he'd never seen the plane wreck on the side of the mountain, I asked Fredo to show it to us (he found it last year while hunting).
So we drove down to the correct mile marker, and then went over the side. It was maybe a kilometer as the crow flies, but was more like 4 kilometers as the primates crawl. Boulders the size of a car, treacherous grass concealing drop offs, etc.
So there it is. The burned-up frame of what I think was a Grumman Avenger. It would have been, at the time of the crash, an experimental aircraft, being tested for use against the Japanese (the data plates we could find that had been stamped in aluminum said 1941, which is about right. The Avenger was put into active service in 1942). Flying over the desert at night is great practice for flying over the ocean at night, with the added advantage that anything that goes wrong can be examined, on account of it's not at the bottom of the ocean. Being classified, there is no record I could find of a crash at that time.
The debris field was very small, about 100 feet across. As close as I can figure, the pilot and the rear gunner are flying along, and lose track of how many mountain ranges they've crossed. Figuring they're on the flats to the South, they fly along hugging the deck. But then suddenly the deck rises, really really fast. They attempt to turn back, and wind up flying up one of the draws on the side of Kitt Peak. where the really big columns of rock are. Then they try to get over, stall out, and pancake on a reasonably smooth rise.
Reasonably smooth means only a few gigantic boulders. Their fuel tanks would have exploded on impact. No bombs, because the debris field would have been larger (this is also why I'm guessing they stalled).
The army comes in with mules (there's no way they could get trucks up there) and carts off the bodies and all the classified stuff, leaving only a rusted fuselage and a field of melted aluminum bits.
And here we are, 75 years later, deciding that it would be wrong to take souveniers, even if it isn't properly a grave.
Then we crawl back up the mountainside to the truck.
Monday, we're going to the mine and camp where some horrible shit happened a lot longer ago.