42nd Bombardment Group — May 1944

Other than a mission on April 8, 1944 while temporarily assigned to the 69th Bombardment Squadron, Wayne flew no combat missions until May 1944. He had been in South Pacific for two and a half months when he began flying combat missions with the 75th Bombardment Squadron.

The reduction and isolation of Rabaul during the previous months had reduced Japanese effectiveness in New Britain, New Ireland and the Solomon Islands. During May, none of the missions flown by the squadrons of the 42nd Bombardment Group were intercepted by Japanese aircraft. Although still dangerous, the effectiveness of Japanese antiaircraft defenses continued to erode. Only 3.6% of the sorties flown during May suffered any sort of damage from antiaircraft fire, down from 13% in March. Only one aircraft was lost during May and that was due to an engine fire on take-off and not enemy action. The engine fire forced a water landing. One man drowned when he was unable to exit the aircraft.

The 75th Bombardment Squadron was based on Stirling Island during May with two other squadrons of the 42nd Bombardment Group. The Group’s operations on Stirling Island and its combat activities are described in the following paragraphs:

During the month of May, the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) was operating out of Stirling Island approximately thirty miles southeast of Bougainville Island in the Solomon group.  There was no change of station for the group or any of the five squadrons (the 69th, 70th, 75th, 100th, and 390th squadrons) with the exception of the rotation of the combat crews of three squadrons.  The ground echelons of the 69th, the 70th and the 100th squadrons were stationed at Stirling Island (in the Treasury group) during May while the ground echelons of the 75th and the 390th squadrons were stationed at the Russell Islands which by now had become to be considered part of the rear area.

It has been the policy of this group to keep the air or combat echelons in the forward station at Stirling Island for sixty days and then move them back to the Russell Islands for about 40 days of rest and training.  During the forty day period the combat crews were given a nine day rest leave in Auckland, New Zealand.  Because the ground echelons of only three squadrons are kept forward, and the air echelons of five squadrons rotated it of course became necessary that occasionally the ground echelon of one squadron must service the air echelon of another squadron.  This has presented no serious problems and has worked quite well.  At the beginning of the month the air echelons of the 70th and the 75th and the 390th squadrons were in active operations at Stirling.  On the 8th of May, the 390th Squadron was relieved by the 100th Squadron air echelon.  On May 27th, the 70th Squadron was relieved by the air echelon of the 69th Squadron.  The combat crews of the 75th Squadron were operating out of Stirling for the entire month of May.  Therefore, at the end of the month the three air echelons in the forward area were from the 69th, the 75th and the 100th Squadrons.

The month of May was marked more or less by a general slowing up of bombing activity.  Although this group averaged more than one mission per day for the month, these missions had become routine runs with no enemy fighter interception, and the antiaircraft fire has eased up slightly.  The job of keeping Rabaul and the surrounding areas under control had been left to medium bombers and fighter bombers, the heavy bombardment groups having left the immediate area for other objectives.  By this time the town of Rabaul had been largely reduced to rubble and the efforts of this group were directed to keeping the airfields around Rabaul unserviceable and bombing the dispersal areas which had spread out from Rabaul Town into the nearby area.  The fact that these airfields, namely, Lakunai, Vunakanau, Tobera, Rapopo, and Keravat, were kept unfit for staging areas for enemy planes is proved by photo reconnaissance which at no time during May showed more than two or three enemy planes in the Rabaul area, and by the fact that no “condition red” was sounded during the month on Stirling Island.  In addition, several medium altitude bombing attacks were made against coast gun positions on Borpop, New Ireland, and at Buka Passage on Bougainville Island.

The group was particularly fortunate at this station in regard to quarters and camp areas.  The efficient and workmanlike Navy Construction Battalion had begun work on the island before we arrived in January and had built mess halls and sufficient office space and had cleared off enough of the jungle for quarters for the men.  One disagreeable feature which is present at most new camp sites fortunately was missing on Stirling Island.  This is the presence of mud.  Stirling Island being a coral island there was very little mud to hamper operations even in the early days of our stay here.  Before this month of May arrived we had a well drained camp site with good roads and sufficient pipe lines for water, all of which helped to keep the morale of the unit up.

A large outdoor theater with two 35 mm projectors and a well built projection booth (thanks again to the C.B.s) provided the biggest part of the entertainment on the island.  Satisfactory seating capacity for approximately 2,000 people was provided by the use of bomb-fin crates.

42nd Bomb Group Historical Report for May 1944.  Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 4 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1615 – 1616.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The striking force of the Group for the month was comprised of five Squadrons each equipped with B-25 Mitchell bombers.  Three Squadrons were based at Stirling Island (Treasury Group, Solomon Islands) while two were in the rest and training area on Banika Island (Russells Group, Solomon Islands).  The Squadrons at the advance base flew missions on two successive days and were idle on the third day.  Under this system, the Group put two Squadrons (twenty four airplanes) over an enemy target each day.

Principal targets for the month were supply areas, gun positions and airstrips.  The concentration of supplies in the vicinity of Rabaul town were hit often and well.  Aerial photographs indicate that the majority of the stockpiles not too far underground to escape damage by aerial bombardment have been destroyed.  The enemy continues to repair portions of his airfields; rather than face the threat of an aerial task force which could conceivable be staged through an airdrome which had been conditioned for such a purpose these airdromes are blasted periodically.

The two night attacks (May 9 and 10) executed during the month caused a break from the routine of daily medium altitude strikes.  The low altitude attack staged in the early evening of May 9 was outstanding.  Designed as part of a coordinated action its purpose was to serve as a diversion for other activities in the area.  Its success depended on split second timing, precise execution according to plan and withdrawal along an exact route which would preclude the possibility of collision with other aircraft.  The complete success in each phase was a compliment to the officers of all organizations participating who had a part in preparing the Operations plan.

The strikes dispatched against various gun positions which had harassed both aircraft and surface vessels during the preceding months were comparatively successful.  Medium altitude bombing can only cover the area containing the emplacements and must rely on good fortune to guide one or more bombs directly into the emplacements (approximately 18’ inside diameter) to permanently silence the position.  Photo interpretation revealed two of the coast guns located at Hahela Mission as well as three automatic anti-aircraft guns in the area were neutralized by our bombs.

The weather during May forced the cancellation of several missions and frequently made it necessary to bomb secondary targets.  No enemy interception was experienced by the strikes.  The percentage of sorties damaged by anti aircraft was 3.6 % as compared to 5.7% in April and 13% in March.  The figures evidence the continued disintegration of New Britain defenses.

The Group’s activity was reduced during May as compared to the preceding month.  It flew 37 missions during May as opposed to April’s 76.  With reduced Japanese coastal barge transport activity, the Group flew no barge searches.  During April, the Group flew 27 missions in search of Japanese barges.  There was only one photo reconnaissance mission flown in May while 13 were flown in April.  Two missions in search of survivors from lost aircraft were flown in May while six were flown in April.

In April, 1,565,400 lbs of bombs were dropped on targets, but May saw a 23% reduction. Only 1,205,358 lbs. of bombs were dropped.  During April, 50,100 rounds of .50 caliber machine gun ammunition and 334 rounds of 75 mm cannon ammunition were fired into enemy areas.  No rounds of either caliber were fired into enemy areas in May.

During the month of April, 5 men from the 42nd Bombardment Group were injured while on missions and 15 were lost.  Three of the Group’s aircraft were lost while on missions and 37 were damaged.  In May, one man was injured, one man was lost and one aircraft was lost.  This loss occurred on May 11 when shortly after take off a plane’s engine caught fire and a water landing made.  The plane sank quickly and took one crew member with it.

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, frames 1622 – 1625.

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35 Responses to 42nd Bombardment Group — May 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:



    • ron papineau says:

      Have a photo of my father Omer Papineau standing in front of the “Dear John” B-25 in 1944 on Sterling. He was a welder and also the camp barber.


      • a gray says:

        Was he member of the 42nd Bombardment Group or a SeeBee? Either way, if you send me his photograph, .jpg please, I will include it in one of the postings.


      • Dan McCool says:

        Hi Ron, I have a picture of my dad 1st LT. Louis(Lou) A. McCool standing in front of what we believe is the “Dear John”. Dad was a bombardier/navigator on the “Dear John” I also have a side view of the nose art and mission count. My dads record shows he flew 70 combat missions. And multiple supply runs on the “Fat Cat” a stripped down B-25 once he completed his 70th combat mission.


  2. Philip Sherman says:

    I have some pictures of Solomon Islands , Manila, 42 bomb group officers club and B25 from my fathers collection of war pictures. He was radio operator and gunner on a B25. If any one is interested please contact me.

    Phil Sherman


    • John Tokaz says:

      Hi Phil, I am working on a book about the 100th Bomb Squadron, 42nd Bomb Group. I am interested in any photos you have that are related. My phone is 310 821-4212. Thanks, John

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dan McCool says:

      Hi Phil, My dad, McCool, Louis A. 1st Lieutenant was a bombardier/navigator on the B-25 “Dear John”. and possible “Dark Eyes and “Margie”. He was deployed to Guadalcanal February 1943 and returned home safe April 1945. Letters home show part of his return address as: 390th Bomb Sq (M). I’m researching his aircraft and specifically trying to find the aircraft’s tail number. We have one picture of dad standing in front of what we think is the Dear John and two side views of the nose of the Dear John.
      Any pictures or information you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Dan


  3. SL DeVault says:

    I am researching my uncle for our family tree. Having trouble with the squadrons and numbered Air Force. His name, Lou DeLanzo, he was in the 390 Bomb Squadron, 42 Bomb Group and the 13th AF USAAF WWII. He served from 12/29/41 to 10/20/45. I have lots of pictures but can’t identify anything. Any help would be appreciated.


    • a gray says:

      What was your uncle’s rand and job with the 42nd? Also, do you know where and when he was stationed?


      • SL DeVault says:

        I do not have a whole lot of info, we have some pictures of him in his uniform. That is about it. I am hoping that when I write for his records from the Army, I can get more info. I do not know his rand, but what is that? I can look and see if I can find it in the little bits of info I have, I know that he died of Malaria after returning from the Pacific.


      • a gray says:

        I meant “rank” not “rand”. Also, what was his full name and date of birth?


      • sl DeVault says:

        Louis DeLanzo was born Apr 2, 1915. He was a Staff Sgt. He served from 12/29/41 to 10/20/45 and from Pennsylvania.


  4. CJ Miller says:

    I am hopeful to have more information next month when I visit my grandmother. I’m curious for any advice on how best to get started to validate information about my grandfather.

    I’m told he was a B25 pilot, was in Palawan, likely in the 42nd. He was an officer, Garrett Miller. He served between 42-53, leaving the service as a Captain.


  5. Paul Kaelin says:

    would like to know if you may have any pics of the B25 that flew with the 75th BS serial was 42-32319 was shot down over New Britain Jan 12 1944. My great uncle was a gunner on it would like to find a pic of the bird not sure if thats how they did the tail numbers or not


  6. patrick sparks says:

    I am trying to find some information on a B-25 that was with the 42nd Bomb Group. The plane was called the “PLASTERED BASTARD” it was with the 75th Squadron, I have photos of the front of the aircraft but I haven’t found anything on the serial number of a photo of the rear of the plane.
    Any help would be appreciated.


  7. Mary S Roby says:

    My dad (Eugene B Sloan) was the navigator of A/P 43-28085 (Pilot Dean Rasmussen) when it went from Hunter Field through McClellan Field and Fairfield-Suisan to the Pacific Wing. After arriving in the South Pacific, the airplane was transferred to the 100th Bomb Squadron of the 42nd Bomb Group. The plane crashed on 18 February 1945 and one of the crew members was Ssgt Robert L Snow, the Engineer/Gunner. I believe all members of the crew were killed. I wonder if anyone has any more details about the plane and the crash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • a gray says:

      On 18 February 1945, 12 aircraft – six from the 70th Bombardment Squadron and six from the 100th Bombardment Squadron — departed from Mar Airstrip. The planes were on their way by 0605L. Their primary target was shipping between Sacol Island and Zamboanga with a secondary target of San Roque Airfield. Not finding targets of opportunity between Sacol Island and Zamboanga, the secondary target, San Roque Airfield, was attacked at 1220L. The six aircraft from the 100th Bombardment Squadron were to form up line abreast and attack San Roque’s revetments and personnel and supply areas from a minimum altitude.

      Light and medium caliber antiaircraft fire was intense throughout the attack. In addition to already identified antiaircraft positions, machine guns were noted mounted on rooftops and firing throughout the attack.

      According to Final Mission Report No. 275:

      Plane #085 was hit in the right engine while still on the approach and at an altitude of 1500’. The engine caught fire and Lt. Lynch, the pilot, continued on across the target at that altitude trying to extinguish the fire. The fire was brought under control but then the left engine caught fire. The right wheel dropped off. The plane continued to lose altitude and after it left the target turned to the right continued down the coast line. At a point approximately 6 miles west of the target and three miles off shore the plane crashed into the sea. The fire in the left engine had just been brought under control and the plane was at 500’ when the right wing sheared off just outboard of the right engine. The plane flipped over on its back and immediately nosed into the water, exploding on contact. It would have been impossible for any of the members of the crew to escape alive as the dense black smoke billowed up to 1500’ immediately. All that remained were two oxygen bottles, a canteen and a raft.

      Those killed were:

      1st Lt Bryan P. Lynch, Pilot
      2nd Lt Lawrence H. Gebo, Co-Pilot
      2nd Lt Harry A. Dietzler, Navigator
      Sgt Robert L. Snow, Engineer – Gunner
      Sgt William O. Maize, Radioman – Gunner
      Sgt James L. Drew, Armorer – Gunner

      Final Mission Report No. 273, 18 February 1945, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 18 February 1945, microfilm A0577, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 300-302.


  8. mroby1916 says:

    Thank you so much for these details. What a tragic end for the aircraft and crew.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. a gray says:

    Did your father, Eugene B. Sloan, serve with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group?


  10. Margaret Arthur says:

    What squadron was stationed at Palawan? My dad, John O. Wilson, was a co-pilot.


    • a gray says:

      All five bombardment squadrons (69th, 390th, 70th, 75th and 100th) of the 42nd Bombardment Group were stationed at Palawan. Can you provide any additional information regarding your father? Do you have any information regarding missions flown or crew members with whom he flew?


      • Margaret Arthur says:

        He kept a list of 26 missions flown between 14 April and 15 August 1945. He recorded mission objectives, payloads, and wing commanders. Most commonly those were Young and Nelson, but others were Murphy and Edwards, Cusimano, Neumaker, Melnitsky, Wheeler, Resnick, and Willson.


  11. Carol Rose says:


    I’m researching my dad, Edward A Brown, T/Sgt communications. He was in The Crusaders, 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 390th Squadron. In his Buddy Book, he wrote 2 dates “Oct 16th 1943, Guadalcanal” and July 15th 1945, Palawan, Philippines”. His records were lost in the fire in early ’70s. I’ve written a story for our local paper, The Columbian in Vancouver WA which will be published for Memorial Day. But I was asked about the meaning of the dates and I do not know. I was born in L.A. while he was in Guadalcanal. He attended Communications School in California presumably near L.A. In his Buddy Book one guy wrote on April 3, 1943 that they met in the “middle of Pacific. So the October date is not when he arrived. Any help is appreciated.


  12. Alan says:

    Does anyone have any information about the January 1, 1945 raid of the 70th Bomb Squadron out of the Mar strip in which three B-25s crashed into the 9900 foot mountain Binaija on Ceram? Seventeen were killed, one of which was my brother-in-law, Lt. Maurice Denault., bombardier/navigator. I’m not sure what the target was or the number of planes making the flight. What was the floor and ceilings of clouds that day? The MACR reports I have do not give any details of the tragedy. JAF 01/27/2002


  13. davidgmeier says:

    I would love to find information on my grandfather, both pictures & stories. His name was Lieut. Austin W. Eivers. He flew for the Crusaders 42nd bombardment group and I believe that he flew a B-25G Mitchell, Serial Number 42-64563 .


    • a gray says:

      David, do you know what bombardment squadron with which your grandfather flew?


      • davidgmeier says:

        unsure.. He was part of the 42nd Bombardment Group, which is listed at this link:


        He is also noted in the book ‘The Crusaders – A history of the 42nd Bombardment Group’ … It mentions the following if this helps:

        Pilots of Crusader planes participating on this famous
        mission were Captains Brown of the 69th, Wheeler and
        Carmody of the 390th, Lieutenants Christian, Burkhart,
        Corrie, Eddington, Ferguson, Everett, Doty, Lamkin,
        Spies, Ernest, and Nordahl from the 69th, and Lieutenants
        Holstein, Moore, Kuhl, Workman, Dolan, Blackwell, Pebles,
        Eivers, Johnson, and Dermody of the 390th.


      • a gray says:

        Check your email, please.


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