May 21, 1944

Sunday

Briefing at 7:00 a.m. Target, Lakunai Airfield1. Good results. Returned at 12:00 noon. Mission successful. (No. 10).

Wrote Bonnie a letter. Got my Bible lesson before flight. Flak wasn’t too close. Rested this afternoon. Wrote grandma tonight and listened to radio in S2 (intelligence). S1 is operations.

The war today. Allies knocked off German Gustave Line is Italy, overran Casino and many other villages. Germans in disorderly retreat. Chinese still over Salween River in Burma, seeking to reopen Burma Road. 100,000 Jap soldiers cut off. Japs have 175 fighters over Timor. We captured Wakde airdrome, the ninth in a week on New Guinea.

That’s all. Goodnight. Wynne.

Notes & Commentary

1 Today, Wayne flew the following mission:

May 21 – Twenty four Mitchells attacked the Lakunai Airdrome in a midmorning medium altitude attack. Thirty two of the 142 quarter tonners (.025 second delay fuses) were scattered along the length of the strip with the balance in the revetment areas. Several of the few remaining blast shelters were destroyed by direct hits.

Periodic Activities Summary, 1 May 1944 – 31 May 1944, Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 1 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1620.

2 Wakde Island was the site of a newly constructed Japanese airstrip that threatened Allied activities in New Guinea. It was also in a key strategic location. Allied troops made an amphibious landing on Wakde Island at 0903 on May 18. By noon on May 21, the airstrip, which had been damaged during the invasion, was declared operational. By mid-afternoon, the first Allied aircraft landed on the island. The Japanese lost 759 killed and 4 captured in their defense of Wakde Island. The U.S. Army had 40 men killed and 107 wounded.

Smith, Robert Ross. United States Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific, “The Seizure of Wakde Island”. Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History, 1996, transcription (http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Approach/USA-P-Approach-9.html : accessed 20 May 2014) pp 223 – 231.

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