38BG Stories From The Front


Mission Reports by John L. Wright, 71st, slightly altered in interest of space


TO: Commanding General 5th Air Force, APO 925

1 At 0844/K, 16 June 44, 6 B25D1s of 71st BS led 2 groups B-25ds on minimum altitude strafing/bombing attack on Samate and Jefman dromes, first mission for B-25s with half bomb bay tanks for extra gas iiin this theater. Dromes lie at westernmost tip of New Guinea, longest  B-25 mission in SWPA to date.

2. Took off from Hollandia, rendezvoused with 3 other squadrons of 38th BG and 4 of the 345th over Waakde Island at 3000 ft. at 0923/K; on course of 265 degrees at 0923/K. Rendezvoused with 4 P-38 squadrons at Mios Waar Island, 1130/K at 1000 ft. and proceeded to target.

3. Bombing/strafing run on course of 30 degrees. 11 ships abreast on Samate and Jefman dromes. 5 822nds in this formation. 4 x 100 pound parademo bombs dropped on target 3V. Target heavily strafed; results generally unobserved.

4. Continuing to Jefman drome 4 miles NE of Samate, wing commander Col Hall destroyed 1 zero, shot down Zeke taking off Jefman before it got it's wheels up. Capt. Kelley and Lt Crockwell each shot down single engine fighter on takeoff. 46 x 100 pd parademos dropped on Jefman, majority among 20 SSF parked NE end and SE side of strip. Bombing/strafing run resulted in 5 large fires with black smoke in drome/revetment areas, 3 on north end Jefman Island. Strafing set Zeke in revetment afire. Hall led formation over drome so low Lt. Beneman had to pull up to strafe operations tower.

5. 15 enemy SSF airborne over Jefman, majority engaged by P-38s with disasterous results for Nips. 3-4 Zekes came in high to drop phosphorous aerial bombs, all exploding ahead and above formation. 1 Zeke, aerial bomb under each wing tip, passed over formation at 1000 ft.: turret gunner got many hits causing fall off, crash in water. Enroute back , NW of Cape Waios Betty Bomber was met flying reciprocal course our altitude. Sqdns in 3 ship elements and Col. Hall turned his flight to bring nose guns to bear on Betty which dove toward water. The formation followed; many hits seen to enter plane, setting left engine afire; eventually crashed as results of combined efforts of 71st, 405thand 823rd all scoring hits.

6. One wild burst heavy antiaircraft from SW end Jefman strip seen. Moderate, inaccurate machine gun fire from beach NE end strip encountered and silenced by strafing. 2 luggers offshore at target 2Y at Jefman strafed with unobserved results.

7. 2 unidentified SSF, 1 Betty seen near center Samate strip, 2 unidentified light bombers west end, unidentified twin engine plane in revetment Samate. 1 truck sighted at west end. 200 SSF seen along Jefman strip, most parked NE end, SE side, 25 more SSF, 4 Bettys in dispersal area. 4 trucks in target 4X Jefman Island. One 2000 ton A/K with 3 Sugar Charleys off north tip Wokir Island. 1 1500 ton AK 2 miles NE of Jefman. 1 Cruiser sighted close to shore SE Doom Island, 2 or 3 DD screening it south of Doom Island. Barrage of heavy antiaircraft fire over vessels, apparently their own. Several phosphorous bursts over vessels but no fighters seen over area.

8. Target weather .8 cumulus at 500 ft. tops at 3000, visability 20 miles.

9. 54 x 100 parademos dropped ; 18 returned to base due to rack failure. 450 x 50 caliber, 500 x 30 caliber used in strafing and combat.

10. Leaving target, formation headed over water around north coast of New Guinea passing between Biak and Noemfoor Island, then 110 degrees, landing at Hollandia 1647/K with mission 100 %.