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39th Bomb Group (VH)


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Crew Mission # 22
24 July 1945
9 10
Taken July 25, 1945
P-44 hardstand Guam

Front L to R:

M/Sgt Lloyd (Gary) Geringer, FE; 1st Lt Julian (Jupe) Arnold, Bomb; Sgt Lewis (Lew) Howard, TG; S/Sgt Clarence (Jim) Martin, LG; T/Sgt Max Sampsel, CFC
Back L to R:
1st Lt Charles Smith, Radar; Capt. Carroll (Buster) Payne, AC; 1st Lt Edward (Ed) Dengler, Pilot; 1st Lt Thomas (Tom) Brennan, Nav; S/Sgt Lloyd Volkmar, Radio; S/Sgt Jerrell (Jerry) Taylor, RG
Note: object in the foreground was the aircraft's honey bucket

This mission was a daylight formation attack against Nakajima Aircraft Plant at Handa. P-44 was element leader. The radar bomb run was made through 10/10 undercast. All of our bombs fell in the target area. A break occurred in the dense clouds over the target and we were able to take pictures. We dropped 500-pound general purpose (G.P.) bombs from 17,500 feet. There were no fighters and only moderate flak.

It turned out that a high percentage of the bombs dropped by our formation were the only ones to hit the target. All other squadrons in the 314th Wing missed the target area. Post strike photos revealed that 35% of the bombs toggled by our formation hit the target resulting in it being 44.2% destroyed.

Strike Photo of Handa
Nakajima Aircraft Plant
Click on photos above to enlarge
enhanced area of bombing explosions
Click on photos above to enlarge

Strike Photos...

The above photo is one in a series strike photos taken with (I believe) a K-17 mounted over the camera hatch just aft of the radar compartment.

Intelligence personnel drew in the purple lines to show the bombs of each aircraft and noted our P-44 bombs since we were leading the squadron.

The entire run in from the IP was over a solid undercast. Our course was from the bottom of the photo toward the top on a northeasterly track. The target was difficult for radar attack and we used the direct synchronous method.

Our bombardier, Jupe Arnold, called me on the interphone and said that the bombs were going into the target. I replied, "No shit". Colonel Mundy, flying in the right seat with us, leaned over to Payne and told him we should have more confidence. It was later that the Colonel found out that the other eleven squadrons on the mission had missed the target by as much as fifteen miles.

Our bombing team: Navigator Tom Brennan, Arnold and I got DFC's for our efforts. [Click here to view DFC Order]

Direct Synchronous Method ... this means that I identified the target aircraft plant in the radar return, estimated the aim point location and fed data to Jupe whose bombsight was synchronized with my "computer" so that both tracked on that assumed aim point. The difficulty for me as well as the radar operators in all of the other lead crews was first, interpeting the radar return to find the target area, and second, putting cross hairs on the aim point. When the indices on the bombsight came together, the bombs were dropped, and the other bombardiers toggled their bombs.

The above account, strike photo of Nakajima Aircraft Plant - Handa, and crew photo are courtesy of
Charles A. Smith, Radar Observer, Crew 44

 

62nd Squadron Crew Index
Source: Charles A. Smith, Radar, P-44