to Don Montague for
capturing this from film at the National Archives
one commentator wrote, 'Both the Pacific and the European
Air Wars had one fierce, furious mission that it's survivors
will never forget. It stands out above the others because
losses on both sides were heavy and combat was better.
In Europe, it was the attack on August 17, 1943 ... in the Pacific
it was Mission 183 to Tokyo's urban area on the night off May
25-26, 1945. Of all the 20th Air Force missions, this
was costly .. Of 489 airplanes airborne, 26 were lost to enemy
fire. (5+ % of the attacking force). Flak damaged 100
of the B-29's or 21%.'
of Miami" (P-2) flying as a pathfinder on this mission,
was one of the most severely amaged by flak, while flying through
Japanese searchlights, rockets, Balls of Fire and fighter attacks.
We were hit both before and after ropping our load of incendiary
bombs that helped identify the target area for aircraft that followed
us to the target.
two engines gone, too damaged to make it back to base, we headed
to Iwo Jima, the traditional short stop for damaged aircraft.
This time bad weather prevented it's normal use and only one
B-29 made it into Iwo .. P-2. We were put up in tents
provided by the Marines.
night the Japanese, who were still a viable force on the island,
penetrated the perimeter guard in an attack on our bivouac area.
We drew our 45's and ran to assist the Marines and they chased
us back into our tents and proceeded to resolved the matter
at hand. Later they said the Japanese knew there
was a crew that had taken part in the raid staying at the camp
and that we were their target.