May 24, 1944

Wednesday

Mission to hospital area antiaircraft guns (Lakunai airstrip) on New Britain. Hit it with 500 lb bombs, most of them direct hits. Fixed those guns proper. Quite a lot of flak, but all’s well.

Wrote Bonnie this afternoon. No letters today except one from Jim Robinson. He was in North Africa at the time. Probably headed for China. He was a good old Columbia buddy.

Typed some more of the book and listened to radio. Also seeing picture show, a Yank at Eton2. Repetition is very poor as far as pictures are concerned.

Read Bible lesson as I do every day. My prayers are filled with hopes for an ending of this conflict.

Notes & Commentary

1 On May 23, B-25s from a squadron other than the 75th Bombardment Squadron were dispatched against antiaircraft weapons located near a hospital on Hospital Ridge east of Rabaul town. The guns had been annoying throughout the Rabaul campaign but spared because of their proximity to the hospital. During the May 23 mission 144 quarter ton bombs were dropped without success.

May 24 was different. The bombs dropped by the 75th Bombardment Squadron resulted in one explosion followed by a very large fire in the middle of the target area:

May 24 – Twenty two Mitchells again went after the “hospital guns”. At midmorning from medium altitude, 132 quarter tonners instantly fused were dropped with 75% hitting in the vicinity of the positions. Interpretation of strike photos revealed that heavy concentrations of bombs blanketed three heavy and four automatic weapons positions. These guns which were active as the lead Squadron hit were silent as the second Squadron dropped.

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.

At the Squadron level, the results of this raid were described as follows:

Results: One explosion followed by very large fire in the middle of target area. Several guns believed to have been put out of commission.

Historical Report for month of May, 1944. 75th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 31 May 1944, microfilm A0565, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 715.

2 A Yank at Eton was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and released in 1942. It starred Mickey Rooney, and among others, 19-year-old Peter Lawford who would later marry John F. Kennedy’s sister, Patricia, in 1954. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035572/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.

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