October 25, 1944

Bombed Ambon Town, Ceram, today. Spent 6½ hours in the air and came down dead tired. Not so much as usual because we used oxygen all the way.

My knees are about worn out and eyes nearly blind. The rear turret is cramped for space and the glare from the sun and Plexiglas is something to talk about.

Notes & Commentary

As on October 23, the 100th Bombardment Squadron was tasked again with leading a bombing mission, Mission 130, against Ambon Town on Ceram Island. Also participating in the mission would be six B-25Js from the 390th Bombardment Squadron. The 100th Bombardment Squadron planes and crews scheduled for the mission were as follows:

Plane #015
Leonard B. Super, 1st Lt.
William H. Meyer, 2nd Lt.
Edson E. Lutes, 2nd Lt.
Gordon L. Drumheller, T/Sgt
Rama O. Holden, S/Sgt.
Louis S. Escobedo, S/Sgt

Plane #087
Kenneth E. Miller, 1st Lt.
Leo B. Alger, 2nd Lt.
Kenneth E. Gabel, , 2nd Lt.
Louis H. Miller, S/Sgt.
Wayne A. Gray, S/Sgt.
James H. Tomberlin, S/Sgt.

Plane #977
Herbert J. Sunderman, 1st Lt.
Thophilus Wright, 2nd Lt.
Kenneth O. Vincent, 2nd Lt.
Lawrence W. Renfroe, Capt.
Trellis D. Wicks, S/Sgt.
John L. Thurston, S/Sgt.
Jerome J. Donovan, S/Sgt.

Plane #105
Edward F. Eastburn, 1st Lt.
William D. Newlon, 1st Lt.
Sidney A. Couch, 2nd Lt.
Henry S. Beaulieu, S/Sgt.
N. Heitz, Sgt.
Wood, Sgt.

Plane #818
John J. Barnett, 1st Lt.
John W. Mangum, 2nd Lt.
James E. Schaade, 1st Lt.
William E. Stewart, 2nd Lt.
Bridge, T/Sgt.
Richard E. McCormack, S/Sgt.
Stephen J. Conroy, T/Sgt.

Plane #979
G. W. Bishop, 1st Lt.
R. L. Anderson, 2nd Lt.
W. D. Nussear, 1st Lt.
Harold D. Sanford, T/ Sgt.
Gilmore L. Bergmeyer, S/Sgt.
John I. McNabb, S/Sgt

Operations Order 83, 25 October 1944. 100th Bombardment Squadron, Office of the Operations Officer, 25 October 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1150-1151.

Six B-25Js from the 100th Bombardment Squadron along with an equal number from the 3990th Bombardment Squadron departed Mar Airfield between 0740 and 0745 to attack Ambon Town or the alternate target, Piroe Town. Low cloud cover prevented an attack on Ambon Town. The alternate target was attacked at 1027.

Two individual elements hit Piroe Town and gun positions from 12,000 feet and 11,000 feet. Three strings started 200 feet inland from the main wharf and continued through the center of town. These strings stopped just south of the main E/W street. These strings started a huge fire in the center of town with grayish smoke billowing up to 2,000 feet.

Three strings completely obliterated the gun positions in a clearing approximately 700 feet west of town. The bombardier, synchronizing on the muzzle flashes on the south side of the gun positions, walked 30 100 lb general purpose bombs right across the guns. No fire was received after the bombs landed.

Medium and heavy, intense and accurate AA fire was received on the bombing run. Some fire was tracking the squadron but generally the fire could be classified as of the barrage type. The plotted guns west of town were firing rapidly; some crew members said, “Too fast for heavies”. A number of other guns were observed firing from positions northwest of the stream some 1,400 feet west NW of the town.

During the search conducted during the return from the mission, a P-47 with it’s white tail protruding from the water was observed approximately 400 yards off the NE shore of Mansfield Island. The plane was buzzed and the coastline searched but no signs of crewmembers.

Final Mission Report No. 130, 100th Bombardment Squadron, Office of the Intelligence Officer, 25 October 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1155-1157.

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10 Responses to October 25, 1944

  1. a cold, sad post.

    Like

  2. Turrets were very cramped and didn’t allow for parachutes. There are stories abound of crews Falling to their deaths after the turret has come away and parachutes were left in the fuselage of the aircraft. Being strapped in for many hours must have had a detrimental effect on circulation and numbness.

    An interesting report on the AA fire and their assessment of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. suchled says:

    I am happy with Wayne’s War. It was terrible and so many people died. But it was pretty clear. It was them or it was us.
    Not like today. There is too much grey area today.

    Like

  4. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Reality check here . . .

    My knees are about worn out and eyes nearly blind. The rear turret is cramped for space and the glare from the sun and Plexiglas is something to talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • a gray says:

      On either side of the seat, which Wayne once told me was a glorified bicycle seat, you can see the knee rests.

      Like

      • Pierre Lagacé says:

        I could see those… Very comfortable indeed.

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      • a gray says:

        Returning from Ambon Town, Wayne would have spent three plus hours in a semi-kneeling position with his knees resting on those pads. Since the route from Ambon Town to Mar Airfield is northerly, he would have been looking in the direction of the Sun. Although, Japanese fighter interceptions were rear, he would have been looking for other aircraft and shipping down below.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. We have pictures of pilots wearing sunglasses at times. Do you suppose the rest of the crews wore them often?
    Sounds like a very uncomfortable journey..

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    • a gray says:

      Having crewed on small boats on the open ocean and having flown on small aircraft at altitude, I can attest to how incredibly bright the sun can be. The aircrew member were flying at altitude and over the open ocean where the sun’s glint had to be overpowering to their eyes. Although I have no reference to cite, I suspect that they frequently wore sunglasses or goggles with a similar purposes. I wonder if they had Polaroid sunglasses at that time.

      Like

  6. jfwknifton says:

    This is really, really interesting. It deserves publication as a book.

    Like

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