39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Missions Summaries

The mission summaries of 1st Lt Thomas A. Cronin, Nav
(00:00) represents combat flying hrs from Combat Record of Harry Hink, Pilot

April 12, 1945 - Day - (18:35) Koriyama - Chemical Plant - 500# GP; 21,000'; Longest bombing mission flown.

April 13, 1945 - Night - (15:30) Tokyo Urban Area - Incendiary mission; Jellied gasoline (M-67 A2); Airplane caught in searchlights and damaged by night-fighters.

April 15, 1945 - Night - (15:00) Kawasaki (So. Tokyo) - Incendiary mission with a powder factory as MPI. The Japs put on a good show but most of the flak was medium caliber.

April 17, 1945 - Day - (15:00) Kanoya Airfield (Kyushu) - Carried full load of small fragmentation bombs for use against parked planes and personnel. Had several fighter attacks on formation, two fighters shot down.

April 21, 1945 - Day - (16:00) Kanoya South Airfield - Frag bombs; light flak; flew entire mission on three engines as we were wing lead plane.

April 30, 1945 - Day - (15:45) Kokubu Airfield - 500# GP; light flak; several fighter attacks downed one fighter.

May 4, 1945 - Day - (15:30) Saeki - Carried 500# GP (One was chalked D.F. Cronin Special) light flak; had quite a display of St. Elmo's fire on the way home.

May 10, 1945 - Day - (16:30) Otake Refinery and oil storage depot for target almost totally destroyed (92%). Heavy flak all the way to and from the target. Flying over the inland sea we flew over almost all the remaining Jap navy and picked up some of their AA too. (Very close to Kure - main naval base)

May 14, 1945 - Day - (16:20) Nagoya - Incendiary mission against Mitsubitsi aircraft plant and adjoining area. Lead our group over the target. Very heavy flak.

May 17, 1945 - Night - (12:20) Nagoya Lost one engine just short of target due to flak, continued and bombed on three engines and landed on Iwo Jima.

June 7, 1945 - Day - (16:00) Osaka - Group leader on incendiary mission had to fly a hundred miles off course to avoid other formations over the target. Had thermal up to 22,000 feet from our bombs.

June 10, 1945 - Day - (14:35) Chiba - Flew this mission against an aircraft plant in Tokyo bay; carried 500# Comp. B bombs; P-27 was deputy lead on this mission; the easiest we flew we saw no flak, no fighters it lasted only fourteen hours; this was the only target our boys ever missed.

June 15, 1945 - Day - (15:30) Osaka - Day incendiary flown on first anniversary of a B-29 strike. General Arnold was on the field and we had to take off despite very bad weather all the way at the field the takeoff was made on instruments due to heavy downpour at the time. Over Japan the weather was also lousy and the only formation to go over the target was ours with five planes.

June 18, 1945 - Night - (15:35) Kagoshima -Southern Kyushu We flew pathfinder on this mission; came on the Japs before their warning system worked and caught them napping; all the lights in the town were on. One of our engines failed on the way to the target due to internal breakage. This target was 85% destroyed.

June 22, 1945 - Day - (15:15) Tamashima - We bombed Japans newest aircraft factory leading our group, had several fighter attacks on the formation; one Nick came in at our nose and almost rammed us. Our wing man shot it down. This target was 85% destroyed.

June 26, 1945 - Day - (15:00) Nagoya - We flew this mission against the arsenal complex there carrying 500#; encountered severe flak from 120mm AA; one shell pierced our wing without exploding leaving a ten inch hole clear through the wing. We had the fuse of another shell lodged in number three engine and a total of forty three holes in the plane.

July 4, 1945 - Night - (14:00) Tokushima - Another of those pathfinder missions against the larger cities in Japan. We were the first plane over this target which was reported by Twentieth Air Force as being 74.6% destroyed.

July 7, 1945 - Night - (14:00) Kofu - This mission; another night incendiary was flown in spite of bad weather resulting from a typhoon in the vicinity of Iwo Jima. We had St. Elmo's fire on the plane twice during this mission. After crossing the Japanese coast we flew very close to Mt. Fuji having it just on our right approach. When we turned back toward home it was a mere seven miles to our right once again. This would have been very dangerous, flying around the mountain without the use of our airborne radar.

July 13, 1945 - Night - (14:20) Uwa Jima - Flew from Guam to Iwo, there to the target in fine weather. Over the target there was a severe thunderstorm which not only made visual bombing impossible but nearly blocked out the radar too. We carried a full load of jellied gasoline (M-67A2) incendiary's.

July 17, 1945 - Night - (14:05) Hiratsuka - This was one of our Wing combination missions flown as a night mission. We were one of the last planes over the target this evening and carried special cameras, photoflash bombs, and a bomb load of 500# fragmentation bombs fused to go off 200 feet above the ground. The city was 63% destroyed in spite of bad bombing conditions.

July 20, 1945 - Night - (13:30) Okazaki - Once more we were flying as pathfinder; we carried flares and thermite bombs. Our plane was the second plane to go over the target. This is a small town just out of Nagoya and we encountered quite a bit of their AA while on the approach to the target.

July 24, 1945 - Day - (14:00) Handa - Our Group was the second to go over this target; an aircraft factory. We flew as deputy lead and had only a little flak on the bomb run. The bombs we carried were 1000# demolition type.

August 2, 1945 - Night - (12:30) Mito - This night raid had us just a little worried as we lost an engine just off the coast and had to bomb anyhow as we were flying as pathfinder. The flak here was mostly light caliber with only a little heavy weapons thrown in. Had excellent results; the town was 88% burned out.

August 6, 1945 - Night - (13:55) Nishi-No-Miya - We really had a big fire on this raid; it was the first raid of the pre-invasion blitz. The whole Twentieth hit the Kobe-Osaka area with something over five hundred and fifty planes. The Japs were in there pitching; they had plenty of searchlights, heavy flak, and even a few night fighters in the air. On our aiming point there was a thermal we estimated to rise to 35,000 feet. Twice we nearly collided with other planes.

August 10, 1945 - Day - (13:55) Tokyo - A day formation raid on the Arsenal Complex area carrying 4000# demolition bombs. This was the fifth raid made for this particular target and the one that finally let the man with the pencil mark it off the list of targets remaining in Japan. We had a fighter escort of P-51 type planes from Iwo Jima; they shot down two enemy fighters. The flak was very intense. They had our altitude and speed but we were lucky. The formation after us had every plane hit.

August 14, 1945 - Night - (13:55) Isesaki - A night incendiary mission. The Jap peace feelers had been accepted and we were waiting for the official surrender from Tokyo. The "UTAH" plan was in effect. If the ground radio stations received word from headquarters that the hostilities were to cease they would begin broadcasting the word "UTAH" immediately. Then all planes upon receiving this message would turn to open sea, drop their bombs and come home. All the way to the target we waited for the message; by the time we got to the coast we turned the radio off and went on our bomb run. We encountered only a little flak on this target. This was the only mission we flew in our plane after it had been renamed "The City of Charleston" (West Va.)

At eight in the morning while still on our way home from the mission to Isesaki we received a broadcast from the United States stating that the war was over. We made our first peacetime landing about nine-thirty that day.

Editor's Note: Mission on 4 May 45; "D.F. Cronin" was Thomas' father, Daniel Francis Cronin.

The above was provided by Thomas Cronin's son Patrick who typed this from his father's diary as it was written.

61st Squadron Crew Index
Source:Patrick Cronin, son & Harry Hink, Pilot, P-27