On November 3 while returning to Sansapor from Morotai, Wayne participated in yet another mission. This time it was against a target on Halmahera Island, located south of Morotai.
Eight B-25Js of the 100th Bombardment Squadron with four planes of the 69th Bombardment Squadron and 70th Bombardment Squadron attached were off from Pitoe Air Field at Morotai between 1045 and 1104 on 3 November 1945. Each plane carried four 500 lb. general-purpose bombs plus a full load of ammunition. They were to attack the Lolobata River barge hideout located east of Hatetabako Air Field and return directly to Sansapor.
Due to visibility problems, the aircraft were forced to break formation and bomb in separate groups. Weather in the target area prevented observation of a certain number of bomb hits.
Observations included two possibly serviceable twin engine planes on what appeared to be the unserviceable Lolobata Airdrome. One was located in a revetment at the west end of the runway and the other in a revetment at the East End of the strip. Hatetabako was observed to appear possibly serviceable. One burned-out 400 foot, burned out cargo ship hulk was observed approximately 1000 yards east of the Lolobata River’s mouth.
The antiaircraft artillery fire varied from moderate to intense, medium and heavy and accurate to in accurate with barrage type and tracking fire received. Four aircraft were damaged by the antiaircraft fire:
B-25J #029 received three holes in its bomb bay.
B-25J #079 received a hole in its left wing oil cooler.
B-25J #015 received a hole in its fuselage.
B-25J #012, on which Wayne was the tail gunner, received a nick in its right propeller.
No personnel, however, were injured.
Eight of the mission aircraft landed at Mar Air Field between 1340 and 1350 with two planes landing at 1420 and at 1440, respectively.1,2
Notes & Commentary
1 Narrative Combat Report, 3 November 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 3 November 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1595- 1596.
2 Final Mission Report, Mission No. 142, 3 November 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 3 November 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1597-1599.
A lot of great research has obviously gone into providing the details. Fantastic.
Without a knowledge of the kinds of missions flown and their frequency, their altitudes, the antiaircraft fire, the individuals involved, etc., much of what happens as time goes on will not be as well understood. Imagine flying 60′ to 70′ feet off the ground or sea at 200 mph with people shooting at you. Then think of doing that day after day. Without the details, the narrative is not nearly as meaningful. I appreciate your recognition of the amount of work that goes into each of the posts. Thank you.
Simply, congratulations on an immaculate blog! You have just contacted me about my civilian/Londoner’s 70-yr-old diary blog (so 1944 at present) – I return the compliments – Tony
Another excellently documented post . . . and the grazing of the propeller . . . Would you know if the crew sensed it? From my armchair seat, I can’t help but to imagine the damage may have caused some vibration due to turbulence? Not a very settling feeling flying above an unforgiving ocean.
I have no way to know for certain, but with a nick out of a propeller, the prop must have been out of balance and vibrated badly. The official cites this as this being the aircraft’s only damage, but I think Wayne notes elsewhere that they received several hits on this mission. If you go back and read his journal entries from May and June when they were bombing Rabaul out of Stirling Island, it becomes very obvious that these missions are inherently more dangerous.