330th May Missions of 1945
April - May - June - July - August
4 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #14

Target: Matsuyama Naval Air Station on Shikoku

Bomber Command Mission #143

Code Name: Mopish # 2

Continuing with the anti-Kamikaze campaign, the 457th BG contributed nine planes and the 458th BS contributed ten planes to a strike against the Matsuyama Naval Air Station on Shikoku Island, the smallest of the four Japanese Home Islands, in an attack to neutralize this airfield. The 314th BW summary states that 17 planes attacked this air field between 4/0909 -4/0925G from an altitude of 18,000 -18,900 feet in clear weather restricted by haze, depositing 90.3 tons on the air field. The usually reliable 330th BG Digest apparently has the bombs dropped reversed with the Omura Naval Air Station, BG Mission #15. This reference states that 21 aricraft dropped 82.25 tons on Matsuyama. In summary, these references indicate the following: Reference Aircraft bombing: Bombs dropped Tons/ Aircraft 1 19 2 17 90.3 5.3 9 21 82.25 ' 3.9 Sometimes, the reason for the discrepancies between the references is how the planes dropping bombs on secondary targets are reported. The Wing History states that he anti-aircraft fire was weak but 18 enemy fighters attacked the formations, resulting in four enemy aircraft damaged. Two of our planes landed at Iwo. The bombing results ranged from poor to excellent with bombs falling on the upper edge of the field and among the barrack-type buildings. There were no casualties but, CAP Wells' crew on K-27 had a close call. After taking off at 04/0100G and heading up to the Empire, the FE started to transfer fuel out of the bomb bay tank at 4/0400G. Gasoline fumes were first detected in the rear of the plane and then in the forward compartment. All electrical equipment that could be spared was turned off. CAP Wells investigated and found that gas was coming out of a cap on the bomb bay gas tank and that the flow was increasing. Crew prepared to bailout at any moment, but rather than bailout over the ocean, Capt. Wells decide to try to bring the plane back to Saipan or Guam. Over Saipan they decided to go on to Guam and near Guam they salvoed the bombs and fuel tank. Coming over North Field the tower stated that they could see the gas coming out of the fuel hose hanging out of he bomb bay. Fortunately, the hose was long enough that the fuel was coming out below the fuselage. The TG, SGT Wolverton, suggested that he go into the bomb bay, fish up the hose and crimp it. CAP Wells took up his suggestion but Lt. Gwyn, the B, went into the front bomb bay and they did not have to open the rear bomb bay door In the direction of gas flow. 1LT Gwyn crimped the hose and stopped the leak. CAP Wilis made a normal landing with all the crew helping to save the day. The cause of the problem as with many bomb bay tank problems was the fuel transfer pump. When Driscoll, FE, turned it on, the carbon vanes sheared, but why is not mentioned. Pieces of graphite then lodged in the check valve leaving it in the open position. Pressure differentials then led to a free flow of gas from the center wing tank into the bomb bay tank and out the vent valve and filler cap. They were very lucky.


4 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #15

Target: Omura Naval Air Station, Nagasaki, Kyushu

Bomber Command Mission # 141

Code Name: Vamoose # 1

As with the previous mission reports, not all the references agree on the facts. An eye-witness, Robert Keyes, Rad Ob on K-58, states that 11 planes assembled in formation off an island south of Kyushu, probably Io-Jima, and proceeded to Omura Naval Air Station. The formation reached the IP at 4/1019G with bombs away at 4/1025G from 18,000 feet. Plane K-58's bombs did not salvo when the switch was thrown so it continued on to Kushikirna Air Field and town where they dropped 11 of the 16 x 500 pound GP bombs with delayed action fuses. After the target they joined another formation, which was jumped by fighters. A Ki-61 Tony dropped a phosphorus bomb in the formation and the formation had about six fighter attacks in all. They were finally able to release the five bombs hanging in the bomb bay before they landed at Iwo at 4/1330G. The plane had been over the Empire on the two bomb runs for about two hours. It finally landed on Guam at about 4/2030G. The 314th BW summary states that the Omura formation had ten enemy attacks with one enemy plane destroyed by the 459th BS gunners. Flak was heavy caliber, meager and 90% inaccurate, and five to eight enemy aircraft made up to eight inaccurate phosphorus bomb attacks. Bombs dropped Tons/ AC, (tons) 2 10 43 4.3 9 10 37 3.7

There were no planes lost or casualties and no planes suffered battle damage.


10 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #16

Target: Otake Oil Refinery

Bomber Command Mission #165

Code Name: Painter #1

After the Kamikaze campaign, the 20th Air Force returned to its strategic mission of knocking out Japan's key war making industries, this time the oil industry. The 314th BW summary states that 112 planes attacked the Otake Oil Refinery on Kyushu in a precision daylight bombing raid in formation. The 457th BS contributed 12 planes; 458th BS contributed 12 planes and the 459th BS contributed 9 planes. The 330th BG Digest states that 34 planes dropped 160 tons on the refinery. The bomb run was at an altitude between 14,600 to 19,700 feet between 10/1048G to 10/1114G in clear weather. It was estimated that 45 % of the refinery unit and finished product storage areas were destroyed and the plant was probably put out of operation. A question remains whether the plant was receiving any crude oil to refine at this stage of the war. Opposition was stiff. Enemy fighters made 54 attacks, damaging five B-29s. On the briefed route, anti-aircraft fire was heavy caliber but meager and inaccurate, but a few formations received intense naval fire upon withdrawal from the target. 23 B-29s suffered flak damage including plane K-37, Captain Arthur Behrens, A/C. K-37 was hit in the aft section and the tail compartment, putting James Cipolla, TG, in the deep freeze with outside temperatures ranging from -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The TG's seat was on a track, which was destroyed, preventing Cipolla from exiting the tail compartment. John Logerot, B, came back and with the airplane hatchet, hacked away the rear compartment door. But he was only partially successful. Joseph Celardo, the strapping six foot LG, came back and finished the job and Cipolla was able to exit the tail compartment just before he was ready to wrap himself in his parachute. Fallon recalls that on this mission he fired a gun burst at an attacking Japanese fighter and the fighter turned away but he did not know if he hit him or just scared him off. A flak shell came up through the fuselage behind Fallon and almost landed in the radar observer's lap. Another B-29 had a shell land in its fuselage but fortunately it did not explode. And this on a mission when the Intelligence Briefing Officer had stated "this should be a milk run". Planes took off at 10/0200G and returned at about 10/1800G.

CASUALTIES

SGT James Cipolla (TG) on plane K-37, was slightly wounded and later received the Purple Heart.


11 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #17

Target: Kawanishi Aircraft Plant, Hakkaido

Bomber Command Mission #172

Code Name: Leafstalk #1

High on the list of strategic targets was the aircraft industry; therefore the XXI BC next hit the Kawanishi Aircraft Plant, near Kobe. This was a three Bomb Wing effort, with the 314th BW contributing 40 planes with 11 planes from the 330th BG depositing 50 tons of bombs on the Kawanishi Aircraft Plant. In addition, Robert Keyes, on plane K-58, participated in the mission with vivid memories. The plant was attacked between 11/1036G -11/1103G at 15,200 -20,000 feet in 4/10 -8/10 weather. The BW Report states that 39 % of the plant was damaged or destroyed and collateral damage was received by adjoining Merchant Marine College, residential and manufacturing areas. K-58's Rad Ob, Keyes recalls that they assembled in loose formation at Iwo Jima, climbed to 18,000 feet and formed into a tight formation before reaching the IP. On this mission, they were flying plane K-11 on which the compressor did not work and the pneumatically operated bomb bay doors would not close after bombs away. Since plane K-11 was in the tail of a box formation. They were vigorously attacked by fighters due to the open bomb bay doors. In all, they received 25 fighter attacks, but John Celantano (CFC) claimed one fighter coming in from 4 0'clock and sent him down in smoke on his second attack. The TG, Loras Winter also claimed a probable but RG, Robert Cupp, firing at several incoming fighters, was not able to hit any of them. The crew counted 20 flak and bullet holes in the fuselage and these did not include the dents from the spent shells from the bullets fired by the planes in front of them. In addition, the bomb bay doors were shot up by LG Herman C. Riedel. firing the guns in the forward lower turret. Plane K-55, Richard P. Cox AC, buddied them back to Saipan where they safely landed. After landing, the compressor started to work and they were able to shut the bomb bay doors. They finally got back to Guam at 11/2030G after a long, exciting 18-hour mission.

There was anxiety but no casualties and no planes were lost.


14 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #18

Target: North Nagoya Urgan Area

Bomber Command Mission # 174

Code Name: Microscope # 4

In LeMay's big fire blitz week from 9 March to 17 March 1945, five cities were attacked, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. Nagoya was hit twice and still seemed to have considerable life left in her. It was not an easy city to attack since the only reasonable approach was up Nagoya Bay and this had the reputation of being "Flak Alley". Therefore, the XXI BC subjected the city, on 14 May and 16/17 May 1945, to a one-two punch by the 58th, 73rd, 313th and 314th BWs. The 14 May strike was a daylight-bombing mission in formation with the 330th BG contributing 32 planes of the 135 planes from the 314th BW that hit the city between 14/0905G to 14/1025G from an altitude of 16,500 to 20,500 feet in 1/10 weather. B-29s from the 330th took off at 14/0100G and returned at about 14/1700G. The 330th dropped 152.4 tons, adding to a total of 632 tons of bombs dropped by the 314th BW. 1LT Francis Heid, A/C of K-57, received the Silver Star for gallantry in action on this day. He was leading his element against the aircraft plant in Nagoya when an engine caught fire and it had to be feathered. But he continued to lead his formation to the target. On the return flight, he saw a ditched plane in the water and dropped to 700' feet to drop equipment and alert operations as to its location. Lt. Heid returned to home base with barely enough gas to taxi to his hardstand.


16-17 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #19

Target: South Nagoya Urban Area

Bomber Command Mission # 176

Code Name: Microscope # 5

In this night raid, the 330th BG had 32 planes dropping 176.95 tons of bombs on the South Nagoya Urban area. The planes left North Field, Guam at 16/2100G and returned at about 17/1200G with bombs away at 17/0305 to 17/0558G from 6,600 through 18,340 feet. Altogether, the 314th BW deposited 707.5 tons on the city. Damage to Nagoya from Missions # 174 and 176 were 6.97 square miles or 13.7% of the cities built up area. Damage ranging from slight to complete destruction was inflicted on 29 numbered industrial targets and 7 unnumbered industrial targets. This analysis was partially in answer to critics of such raids, which led to indiscriminate killing of civilians. These twin raids show clearly LeMay's tactics that he would use to the end of the war. If weather permitted, it was a daylight raid with selected targets as aiming points; otherwise it was a night area-bombing raid except in the case of the 315th BW, which had precision radar for night bombing of selected industrial targets.

CASUALTIES

One crewman of Plane K-41 SN 44-70016

John Vick (A/C), Robert Roast (P), Charles Morris (N) Peter Orsini (FE), Floyd Griffith, RO and Donald Martin (B), landed with the aircraft on Iwo Jima. Allen Cohen (Rad Obs) and presumed drowned. Walter Pride (CFC), William Shaver (LG), Dane Miller (RG) and Harvey Delles (TG), jumped and were later rescued by a Navy Destroyer.

This is a poignant story made more so by the fact that the bailout-order was canceled. After leaving the coast of the Empire, the No. 2 engine failed and an engine fire broke out and was extinguished. It was impossible to feather the propeller and it began to windmill. The windmilling prop ran away three times but it was brought back to 1200 rpm by the toggle switch. The engine lost all its oil and became excessively hot. The engine began to vibrate which became so bad that the plane was becoming difficult to control. The crew had plenty of time to prepare for emergency as MAJ Vick told the crew they might have to bailout if they did not make it back to Iwo Jima. The RO sent out a distress call and contacted a surface vessel. But the surface vessel could not understand them. The RO contacted Guam and relayed their position. The original plan was that fo the five men in the back, four would bailout and then Vick would make a 180-degree turn and the fifth man would drop emergency equipment and then bail out. This procedure was NOT followed. When the bailout order was given ALL five men in the rear went out. The CFC, RG, LG, Rad Ob and the TG. Harvey Delles (TG) went out last and saw four chutes open before he bailed out. After kicking out the escape hatch in his compartment, Delles experienced difficulty in getting his head, shoulders and chest chute out the emergency window, especially with the slipstream and upward motion of the aircraft. But, he was finally able to push himself out. He tumbled four or five times before pulling the rip cord and the cord and chute hit him in the face as it unfolded. He wore a quick release harness and had on a Mae West dinghy, web belt with canteen, pistol and knife. Upon hitting the water, he took most of the impact in his face and chest and went under four or five feet before he was able to press the quick release and came to the surface entangled in the shroud lines. He pulled the cord on the Mae West's CO 2 cylinders but only one side inflated. He then proceeded to cut himself out of the shroud lines and open the one-man dinghy, but it sank before he could inflate it. He had previously released the snap on the D-ring on his harness as the dinghy was pulling him under. A buddy B-29 dropped a five-man life raft and Delles swam to it but, when he pulled the CO 2 cord, none of the gas went into the life raft, as the hose connection had broken loose, presumably on impact. Another B-29 dropped a Gibson girl and another raft. He could not reach the second raft but reached the Gibson Girl, which helped to keep him afloat. A few sharks kept the TG company but did not bother him although they added to his anxiety. For CFC gunner Walter Pride, everything worked perfectly. He hit the water, released the chute, inflated his Mae West, opened and inflated the one-man dinghy and climbed in, all within five minutes. He was able to attract several B-29s with his signal mirror. Both the right and LG's, Dane Miller and William Shaver, became entangled in the shroud lines but were able to cut themselves loose in the water. They were also able to inflate their Mae West's and dinghies but swallowed sea water in the effort and became seasick. 2LT Cohen, the Rad Obs, was the fourth man out but was seen by the RG to hit the water ahead of him so he must have made a delayed free fall jump. None of the others saw whether he got out of his chute or saw any signs of him later. It was known that 2LT Cohen could not swim. In about two hours, all were picked up except 2LT Cohen. The destroyer searched the area for the rest of the day and into the night. A Dumbo took up the search the following day. 2LT Cohen was never found and was presumed to have drowned.

Back in the plane, after the bail-out order was given and the five men in the rear had gone out, an attempt was made to put the nose wheel down but it would not go down. The bomb bay doors were open for the six men in the front to bail out but at that instance, the reduction gears connecting the propeller to the engine broke and the engine vibration ceased. Since there was no-one in the back of the aircraft to throw out the emergency gear as initially planned, Vick decided to try for Iwo Jima where he landed safely.


19 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #20

Target: Tokyo Industrial Targets

Bomber Command Mission # 178

Code Name:

This was to be a precision daylight-bombing raid in formation with the 330th BG contributing 22 planes to attack industrial targets in the Tokyo area. But, defying predictions, Tokyo had 10/10 cloud cover so the bombs were dropped on the primary radar target, the City of Hamamatsu. This was a favorite radar target since it was on the coast and easily identified by radar. It was reported that the four BW efforts damaged 0.22 square miles, 5% of the city. One industrial target, Suzuki Loom Work was 20 % destroyed; not an illustrious mission since the bomb loads were for industrial targets rather than area bombing where incendiary bombs were more effective.

There were no casualties or planes lost.


23-24 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #21

Target: Tokyo South Urban Area

Bomber Command Mission # 181

Code Name:

Taking off at 23/2000G, 35 aircraft from the 330th BG attacked the heavily defended Tokyo South Urban Area. An area relatively unscathed from previous fire raids. The 330th BG was part of a combined four BW attack on the city between 24/0259G to 24/0438G from altitudes ranging from 7,800 to 15,100 feet on a relatively clear night. One aircraft was missing and the other remaining 34 planes landed at about 1100G.

CASUALTIES

Aircraft K-1 SN 42-93969

Plane and crew, which usually flew K-1, 1LT Douglas Neill, A/C, were lost on this mission. Lt. Col. Frederick Andrews, 314th BW Operations Officer. Others on board were: CAP Douglas Neill, A/C, MIA 2LT Robert Harkelrode, P, MIA 1LT Clarence Davis, N, MIA 2LT Rowland Wilson, B, MIA 2LT Arthur Howe, Rad Ob, MIA MSGT Donald Stoner, FE, MIA SSGT Samuel Mikill, RO, MIA SSGT Richard Berg, Gunner, MIA CPL James Finucane, RG, MIA CPL Jacob Fisher. LG, MIA CPL James Fisher, TG: MIA Frederick Andrews, 314th BW Operations Officer and Observer, MIA (Richard Berg had survived Crash #2 over Ft. Hays, KS on 31 Dec 1944) In addition, SGT Marion Kiehl, LG on K-15, was slightly wounded on this mission. Bill Kercheval, P on K-2, had two sightings of plane K-1 being hit by flak. Flak was very heavy and the approach altitude was 10,000 feet, relatively low. He saw the plane hit between the IP, Mt. Fujiyama, and Yokohama on his final approach. And later, he saw the plane shot down over Tokyo Bay. The plane had on board as observer the BW Operations Officer Frederick L. Andrews.


25-26 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #22

Target: South Central Tokyo

Bomber Command Mission # 183

Code Name:

In the last major strike of the war against Tokyo, the 330th BG contributed 24 planes and 106.8 tons of incendiary bombs. The south central Tokyo area was the general area of attack, which included the Imperial Palace and bombardiers, and Rad Obs had explicit orders not to hit Hirohito' s residence. But, this was sometimes impossible in the heat of battle and some incendiaries fell within the Palace grounds. BG planes took off at 25/1800G and landed at about 2510900G. The BW reported that bombs were away at 25/2338G to 26/0213G at altitudes ranging from 7,915 feet to 22,000 feet. Total area damaged as a result of BC Missions # 181 and # 183 was 22.1 square miles. Most of the bombs fell south and west of the Imperial Palace. Numerous buildings within the Palace grounds were destroyed as well as areas adjacent to the Palace. A minimum of 31 numbered industrial targets were damaged or destroyed. The total city area damaged as a result of all incendiary raids was 56.3 square miles or 50.8% of the cities built up area; in the night raid 9/10 March 1945,15.8 square miles were damaged or destroyed and 88,000 persons died. This compares to the atomic bomb damage to Hiroshima of 4.7 square miles destroyed and 70,000-80,000 killed and to Nagasaki where 1.8 square miles were destroyed and 35,000-40,000 persons died. The difference was that these were one bomb, one-plane missions. The 9/10 March Tokyo raid required 279 planes and 1,129 tons of incendiary bombs, one of the most effective incendiary raids of WWII.

CASUALTIES

SGT Albert "Bert" Urquhart, LG K-39, wounded and later received the Purple Heart. As Urquhart recalls Mission #22, K-39 got a late start because No.3 engine acted up and delayed their take-off. About 50 miles from landfall, they saw the red glow in the sky from Tokyo burning. Due to the late start, they were one of the last planes over the target and all search lights and flak batteries appeared to be concentrating their anger on K-39. As Urquhart contemplated what it would be like going through a heat thermal coming up from the fires below, K-39 took several hits and one came into the rear compartment. Urquhart remembers nothing else except being carried from the aircraft on Guam. His injuries, however, proved to be minor and he completed 20 more missions with K-39.


29 May 1945 Bomb Group Mission #23

Target: Yokahama Urban Area

Bomber Command Mission # 186

Code Name:

Closing out the month of May, the 330th BG contributed 38 planes to a Japan daylight raid against the Yokahama urban area. The planes took off at 29/0400G and returned about 29/1800G with bombs away between 29/1014 to 29/1129G from 17,500 to 21,000 feet in 9/10 weather. They dropped 203 tons of bombs on the target out of a total of 621 tons of bombs dropped by the Bomb Wing total of 131 planes. Keyes, in his personal account, states that they took off at 29/0340G and assembled at 18,300 feet into formation over a small island north of Iwo Jima. The 11-plane formation reached Mt. Fujiyama, the IP, at 29/1056G and bombs were away at 29/1115G. "Smoke rose from the target up to 20,000 feet. The target was listed as the industrial and dock center of the city. After bombs were away, flak came up more intensely and, after crossing the bay, it became more accurate. Two Japanese fighters, a Tojo and an Irving, passed our formation and hit the formation behind us. The Tojo was hit and it crashed into Mt. Fujiyama. We reached Guam at 29/1800G with thunderstorms and low ceilings closing North Field. After circling for 40 minutes, we proceeded to Saipan and landed at 29/1910G. After being treated to a fine dinner, we took off and landed at North Field at 29/2215G. From take-off to landing at home base this was an 18 hour, 35 minute mission for K-58."

MAY SUMMARY

On 10 May 1945, the 330th BG made its last contribution to the anti-Kamikaze campaign in a precision bombing raid on the Utake Oil Refinery on Kyushu. After that mission the 330th returned to strategic bombing of major urban areas on Honshu, participating in three strikes against Tokyo, two against Nagoya and one against Yokahama. The BG also participated in one precision daylight raid against the Kawanishi Aircraft Plant near Nagoya. Total casualties were: one plane lost with 12 persons listed as MIA, one person lost in the water near Iwo Jima and two injured gunners.


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