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A Look Back at the Kofu Mission

On December 12, 2001 I received and email from a friend of mine who had been contacted by a gentlemen who lived in Kofu, Japan at the age of 14. He wanted to correspond with the member of a B-29 crew that was on that mission. In turn the Hiroo Morobosi's email was forwarded to various members of the 39th BG.

Below are the exchanges of email between Rowland Ball, Navigator, Crew 3, 60th Squadron and Hiroo Morobosi as written in their emails. Thanks to Rowland for sharing these with us. These exchanges start with the email I forwarded to Rowland


Subj: Hellow Sparky
Date: 12/5/2001
From: >morobosi@mve.biglobe.ne.jp
To: >Sparky Corradina

Hellow;Sparky I send you a mail at the end of Nov. but that mail did not reach you. I asked Hap.What come ? he tought me your address again , I found my mistake I send to wrong email address so this time I hope this mail reach you sucessfully. I think I might sent you a mail befor,I asked Hap If he know a person who belonged 29th, 39th or 330Bomber Group in314Bomber Wing.He advised me contact to you so I sent mail but it did not reached. Now I found B-29 Reunion list: 29thBG Reunion had held Oct.10-14 at Fitchburg.MA and 39thBG Reunion held Oct 11-14 at Wichita,KS They had the mission 254 air-raid to Kofu urban area , When that time ,I had lived in Kofu city .I suffered air-raid .So I want to hear the story of the mission 254 from the Pilot who flew over Kofu. I am retired Captain with Japan Air Lines.I also have intersted on B29 so Hap had introduced you. thank you; Hiroo Morobosi

Below are the exchanges of e-mails that I have with Hiroo Morobosi. I will type his messages the exact way that he sent them. I am not trying to ridicule him. He does a lot better job with his English than I could do with Japanese. But, it is more interesting this way.

Mr. Hiroo Morobosi,
Mr. Pete Weiler of the 39th Bomb Group Assn. forwarded a copy of your letter to Sparky to me.

I took part in the mission of July 6, 1945 which was a night bombing mission on the city of Kofu, Japan. I was the navigator for the B-29 Crew 3 of the 60th Squadron, 39th Bomb Group.

Unfortunately, I do not recall anything about this mission. I do have vivid memories of many of the 27 missions over Japan that I participated in, especially when something out of the ordinary occured, but I suppose nothing eventful happened to us that night.

I have been fortunate to be able to visit your country four times during the past few years and I enjoyed each visit to your beautiful country very much. Maybe in the future I will be able to visit Japan again. Best regards to you, Rowland Ball


Hi Rowland I appreciated you very much for your e-mail. I want to ask you, how many Squadron are there in one Bomber Group. and how many B-29 Squadron have? Did you have VHF radio on the B-29? and used it to communicate between each other in Flight? And one more, about navigation work,what was the main step for navigation?LORAN or Celestial Nav. or some other equipment like a Doppler Radar. I am very glad to hear that you have enjoyed your visit to Japan. Best regards to you, Hiroo Morobosi
Hiroo,

Good to hear from you,

To answer your questions, the B-29's had a crew of 11 men. There were 20 crews in each squadron, 3 squadrons in each group, 4 groups in each wing and there were 5 wings in the 20th Air Force. This totals out to be 1,200 B-29's which were involved in the Pacific Air War. These figures do not include the 509th Group, which was the special Group that dropped the atomic bomb. I think that they had only one Squadron of flying personnel.

Yes, we did have VHF and could communicate with each other in flight.

The B-29's did not come with Loran installed. The reason was that although Loran was developed and the receiving sets were being manufactured, we did not have transmitting stations set up yet. It was not until February, 1945 when Iwo Jima was secured that we were able to set up transmitters. The master transmitter was set up on Saipan with slave transmitters set up on Iwo Jima and Pelelieu. About the first part of May, 1945, they installed the Loran set in our plane. Up until that date we had to use celestial navigation. We sure were happy to get the Loran sets. We could get a fix in about 30 seconds as compared to about 20 minutes when shooting the stars. We also got some help from your people. I remember one night mission to Hamamatsu I was curious to see if I could pick up a commercial radio station in Hamamatsu. I tuned in the radio and picked up a strong signal from a station there. I switched on the ADF and sure enough, the needle pointed directly ahead on our heading. I called the pilot and told him to just home in on that station as long as they remained on the air. They never did go off the air until after we had dropped our bombs.

I believe that you said that you were a small boy when we bombed Kofu. Do you remember anything about that night? If you don't mind, tell me about it.

Best regards,

Rowland


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This page was created on 11 March 2002
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