Flew a mission on Nov. 29th. Nervous as hell, even though it was an easy mission in search of Jap radar.
Am sweating out every moment of every take off, flight and landing. Am tense at all times, not being able to relax for a moment. It’s been this way ever since my return trip from Sydney. How much longer will I be able to last?
Notes & Commentary
On November 29, one B-25J of the 100th Bombardment Squadron conducted a weather, photo, and radar ferret mission coupled with an anti-shipping sweep. The mission was conducted at an altitude of 1,500’. The aircraft was armed with six 100 lb general-purpose bombs in the event enemy shipping targets of opportunity should present themselves. Photos were taken of possible radar stations at Djoronga Island, Cape Petak and Cape Ncolopopo. No targets of opportunity were found.
The aircraft departed Mar Air Field at 0720. After taking off from Mar Air Field a course of 260° was flown to 00°55’S 129°02’E. at which point a signal was received at 0830 from the radar station at Cape Petak. A course was then set direct to Cape Petak in order that the investigation might be conducted while the signal was being received. A thorough search of the area was made at altitudes varying from 900’ to 1,500’ over a period of 45 minutes. A framework consisting of two 10’ long end pieces and seven or eight 20’ long cross pieces was observed on the side of the cleared hill approximately a quarter north of Dorolema. It was at a 45° angle from the perpendicular but had none of the additional equipment normally associated with a radar screen in the immediate vicinity other than that which could be in the huts at Dorolema. Photos taken on five of the passes over the target area.
At approximately 1010 a signal was picked up from Cape Ncolopopo and the plane proceeded to that area. A single hut was found at 00°16’S 128°51’E from which a strong signal was received upon approaching the hut but disappeared immediately after the plane had passed over the hot. Here five passes were made and an altitude of 1,000’ to 1,500’ again taking photos.
From Cape Ncolopopo the plane flew to Djoronga Island searching again and making nine passes over the island. No radar station was observed at Djoronga Island. At 1130 the plane departed from Djoronga Island and returned directly to base. The aircraft landed at Mar Air Field at 1255.
No anti-aircraft fire was received during the course of this mission.
Final Mission Report, Mission No. 185, 29 November 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 29 November 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1348 – 1349. See also Narrative Mission Report, Mission No. 185, 29 November 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 29 November 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frame 1347.
In accordance with Operations Order #113, one B-25J from the 100th Bombardment Squadron conducted a weather-photo-shipping sweep and radar ferret mission on 29 November 1944, Mission #185. The aircraft was #983 piloted by 1st Lt. Herbert J. Sunderman. The rest of the aircrew consisted of 2nd Lt. Richard E. Mulhern, co-pilot; Capt. Lawrence W. Renfroe, navigator; 1st Lt. W. C. Allen; S/Sgt. W. W. Thomas, engineer; S/Sgt. Louis H. Miller, radio operator; and S/Sgt. Wayne A. Gray, gunner.
The following Radar Counter Measures (RCM) Observers from the 868th Bombardment Squadron were aboard the aircraft: 1st Lt. Thadius J. Dylewski and Sgt. William L. Plant. Lt. Dylewski and Sgt. Plant operated the radar signal intercept equipment.
[Note: The mission was searching for Japanese early warning radars of which they had established a number in the Ceram Sea area and adjoining islands of the Netherlands East Indies.]
Operations Order No. 113, 29 November 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 29 November 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1350 – 1352.
During a radar search of the Eastern Halmaheras as far south as Djoronga Island two signals of enemy origin were picked up.
There is little doubt that one of the signals operating on 152.5 megacycles with a pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 300 pps and a pulse length of 15 µs emanated from some point near Cape Petak (01°24’N 128°45’E), Halmahera Island. The signal was observed coming from the left as the plane flew in land in a northwest direction across Cape Petak, and when a few miles past the Cape the signal bore 120° to the plane’s true heading as it traveled westwards. The aircraft then turned left and the signal was noticed to be coming from the general area just south of Cape Petak, but a moment later the radar was switched off. The characteristics of this radar agree with those of the one previously the aft as being near Cape Gam Tjaka. It can now be stated with reliability that a radar of these characteristics is situated near and probably south of Cape Petak but this does not preclude the possibility of a second installation existing on Cape Gam Tjaka or even Cape Petak, especially as signals varying in frequency from 150 to 153 megacycles and impulse length from 8 to 15 µs, have been observed and DF’d to the vicinity of both Cape Petak and Cape Gam Tjaka.
Many vertical photographs in the vicinity up attack were taken on the homing run towards and beyond the source of the signals, as well as obliques of all clearings and huts that were observed in the area, but a careful scrutiny of these did not reveal any radar. It is practically certain from these photographs that bombing attacks previously reported were not made upon a radar installation, unless all signs of the installation have since been carefully removed.
A second signal, operating on 152.5 megacycles was heard momentarily in the vicinity of Cape Ncolopolo. The area was searched visually but no radar installation was seen. The area is heavily bushed and a radar installation could be easily camouflaged and very difficult to spot visually.
A visual search was made of Djoronga Island, a suspected radar location, but no radar installation was apparent. No signals were intercepted in this area.
[This report was prepared by Lt. R. S. Unwin, NZEF, for Major E. R. Collins, NZEF.]
RCM Mission #32 (100th Bomb Squadron – B-25 aircraft), 29 November 1944, Field Unit 13, Section 22, GHQ, 868th Bomb Squadron (H), 1 December 1944, microfilm A7671, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1975, frames 402-403
The personnel of Section 22 were mainly Americans with the exception of two New Zealand scientists, E. R. Collins and R. S. Unwin from the Radio Development Laboratory (RDL) who were given honorary ranks of Major and Lieutenant respectively in the New Zealand Army.
Ed Simmonds and Norm Smith. Echoes Over The Pacific, An overview of Allied Air Warning Radar in the Pacific from Pearl Harbor to the Philippines Campaign.. Hampton, Australia: Radar Returns, 2007. (http://www.radarreturns.net.au/archive/EchoesRRWS.pdf : accessed 28 November 2014) p. 232.
Meanwhile in England . . . .
On November 29, 1944, Wayne’s brother, Verne, wrote their father who then had an address of General Delivery, Hanford, Washington. The return address on Verne’s letter was as follows:
Casual Detachment AAF
APO 16745 BE-12
New York, New York.
The letter was sent in a U.S. Post Office air mail-stamped envelope. The cancellation stamp was that of the U.S. Army Postal Service and was dated 2 December 1944. His father received the letter on December 11, 1944.
How’s tricks, Pop? Sorry about not writing before this but it couldn’t be helped very easily.
I know you will be interested in knowing that I’m somewhere in England. For security reasons I can’t state the exact whereabouts but then you know the reasons as well as I do.
How are you making out with your work? I hope you haven’t let anything slide in an effort to go home and help Ethel get settled once again.
Have you ever received my APO number? I made out a card back in the states before I left and it was supposed to be mailed. It and the one in my return address in this letter are only temporary. Whither in the next month or so it will be replaced with a permanent one.
This country or what I’ve seen of it. It all looks plenty old and well used. Is settled thickly. I don’t think you would like it here very much because there is no open country to speak of.
I received the money you sent dad and appreciated it very much. If the allotment I made out to Aileen starts this month she will repay you. If it doesn’t start, I’ll try and send some on my first pay day.
Keep writing whenever you have time dad. Your letters have always helped to make life more bearable. Over here, they will help one hundred fold.
Don’t start worrying about me too soon dad because it may be some time before we actually get into combat.
In some ways, I’ll be glad to get into the air once more, mainly for the extra money and hopefully an increase in rating.
The chow is excellent. If they keep feeding like they are, I’ll have a good chance to put on a little weight.
Dad, if anything happens to any member of the family be sure and let me know. In some ways, I am fighting for our way of life so try to keep me posted about things in general.
The Institute was out of electrical courses when I wrote last but hope to get one soon.
Must close for now, dad, so adios and take care of things for Wayne and I.
Verne and other members of Combat Crew 7678 had departed Lincoln, Nebraska for their Port of Embarkation on November 14.
Two sons. Separate worries. Heartfelt entries. Great insight into the minds of heroes. Thanks for sharing, Allen.
Daily reports with the names of the crew and a poignant letter home – it makes the war personal – not simply statistics and logistics. Great work, Allen.
The war was very personal, and through Wayne’s Journal, there are some who are coming to better understand the lives of their parents, grandparents and uncles. Since starting Wayne’s Journal with his February 1944 entries, I have been contacted by relatives of those mentioned. As I noted in an earlier post, Wayne’s Journal is everyone’s history.
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“How much longer will I be able to last?” Not much more one can add to that… I watched Twelve O’Clock High (uncut) last night; while produced in 1948, it did bring to the surface the stress and fear our young boys encountered each and every moment…
While the experience is not that of Wayne Flying on B-25s in the South Pacific, you might want to listen to Edward R. Murrow’s “Orchestrated Hell”: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/edwardrmurroworchestratedhell.htm. Murrow went on a bombing raid on Berlin in December 1943 with the RAF. Since you watched “Twelve O’clock High” recently, Murrow’s report will resonate with you.
Thank you so much for this post. I and a number of others have been trying to put together a history of Section 22, GHQ, SWPA and this post labeled one of the assets of Field Unit 13.
Anyone interested in intelligence activities in the Southwest Pacific would do well to follow the links provided in your post, McaArthur’s SWPA Intelligence, at http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/36590.html.
See Peter Dunn’s Section 22 article below —
Peter Dunn, SECTION 22 GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, SWPA
AN INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION DURING WWII – Australia @ War
And my own slightly later work using many of the same sources —
History Week End — Who Were Those Guys? Section 22, GHQ, SWPA as of Oct 1944
Peter Dunn’s website has truly outstanding information regarding Australia’s participation in the war in the Southwest Pacific. It is indispensable for anyone wanting to understand that aspect of the war in the Pacific, i.e., Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO).
You are to be thanked for the wonderful research you have done regarding Section 22. Such information is vital if one is to understand what went on in that area of the PTO. Thank you for the link, http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/48110.html, to your article Who Were Those Guys? Section 22, GHQ, SWPA as of Oct 1944.
Regards the radar hunting B-25J your relative flew in for Section 22, see below for a thumb nail history of the “Beautiful Ohio” 43-27983 and two photos of same.
100th BS B-25J’s
Looking for tail numbers to match to named B-25J’s of the 100th BS.
Any help, whether names, numbers or both, is appreciated. What little
I have is….
“Beautiful Ohio” 43-27983
“Forever Amber” 977 maybe 43-27977
“1 For The Gipper”
My next thought, actually an earlier thought based on discussions on
the armyairforces.com website, was that Powerhouse could be a B-25J,
from the time Roy was with the Robertson crew, October 1944 or later.
The plane listed most frequently in the microfilm archive (five times)
as being flown by Roy was a 100th BS B-25J model, listed in operation
orders as ship “983.” “983” is tail number 43-27983. The aircraft
record card suggests, however, that this airplane is a “greenhouse”
B-25J (i.e., not one with a solid nose of strafing guns), which means
it doesn’t match well the picture of Powerhouse, as you cannot see the
start of a glassed nose in front of the cockpit as you should be able
To further support this conclusion, just today (1 August 2006), I had
verified for me (by a friend on armyairforces.com) that “983” is not
Powerhouse, as “983” was a plane known as “Beautiful Ohio,” which in
late 1944 was modified for particular use as a radar search plane, and
went on to serve a long a distinguished career, ending up in late 1945
as a very war-weary airplane, still with its glassed nose. Here is
what Beautiful Ohio, a.k.a. 43-27983 looked like at the end of the war
on the edge of a dusty runway, including a close-up of the artwork.