The Close Up Cutaway PBY, Galley, at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola FL.
The final PBY construction figure is estimated at around 4,000 aircraft, and these were deployed in practically all of the operational theatres of World War II. The PBY served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role in the war against the Japanese. This was especially true during the first year of the war in the Pacific, because the PBY and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress were the only two available aircraft with the range necessary. As a result, they were used in almost every possible military role until a new generation of aircraft became available.
A Catalina of No. 205 Squadron RAF was also involved in a dogfight with a Mitsubishi G3M Nell bomber of Mihoro Air Group near the Anambas Islands on 25 December 1941,in which the Catalina was shot down.
PBYs were employed by every branch of the US military as rescue aircraft. A PBY piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Adrian Marks (USN) rescued 56 sailors from the USS Indianapolis after the ship was sunk during World War II. PBYs continued to function in this capacity for decades after the end of the war.