Wayne wrote nothing in his journal on December 18. He was flying. He flew on B-25J #105 of the 100th Bombardment Squadron in an eight-plane mission sent to attack the dock area at Haroekoe. Aircraft #105 was piloted by 1st Lt. Kenneth E. Miller. Also serving as aircrew were 2nd Lt. William R. Florance, 1st Lt. James E. Schaade, and Staff Sergeants Louis Miller, Stanley L. Seehorn and Wayne A. Gray.1 Other squadrons of the 42nd Bombardment Group attacked targets in the Haroekoe area at the same time.
The eight mission aircraft departed Mar Airfield between 0950 and 0955 on a direct course to Cape Dore where they turned south-southwest to Cape Fassendaten and the target. Each plane carried four 500 lb. general purpose bombs fused instantaneous nose and tail.
The attack on the Haroekoe dock consisted of two four-plane elements stacked down 200’ from 9,000’. The leading element, experimenting with radar controlled bombing, made its bomb run at 1213 and the second element at 1219. The first element was to drop on a radar impulse from the leader, but one plane whose equipment was reported as too sensitive released its bombs when its Bombay doors opened. A wingman released on the radar impulse of the leader, but due to personnel error, the leader did not release his bombs. The experiment was less than successful.
Following the attack, one large fire with black smoke bellowing to 3,000’ was observed near the base of the Haroekoe dock. About 150’ from its base, the dock was noted to be broken. In areas attacked by other squadrons, fires putting off black and white smoke rising to 2,000’ were observed. These fires were the result of general purpose and incendiary bombs dropped in the village area as well as the supply and personnel areas along the shore near the runway.
Photographs were taken with the K-17 and K-20 cameras. The mission aircraft received no antiaircraft fire.
The mission, which lasted nearly six and a half hours, recovered at Mar Airfield between 1415 and 1435.2
During the attack on the dock at Haroekoe dock, one serviceable plane was reported south of the east end of the Haroekoe runway.3 The runway appeared serviceable.
Notes & Commentary
1 Operations Order No. 131, 18 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 18 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1780-1782.
2 Final Mission Report, Mission No. 208, 18 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 18 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1778-1779.
3 “Although known as Harakoe Airfield, this airfield was located on on Pelauw Island near Haroekoe Island, roughly twelve miles east of Liang Airfield on Ambon. Also known as “Harakoe Airfield” or “Pelauw Airfield”.” “Haroekoe Airfield (Harakoe, Pelauw) Moluccas Islands, Ceram, Indonesia.” PacificWrecks.com. (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/airfields/indonesia/harakoe/index.html : accessed 17 December 2014).