On February 26, 1943, a Japanese convoy was spotted by Allied forces at Rabaul. At this point in the war, the Japanese were trying to build up their strength in New Guinea after losing control of the Solomon Islands. Fifth Air Force would try to keep a close eye on this convoy, but due to the weather, could not watch it for two days. On March 1st, the weather finally cleared up enough for a 90th Bomb Group crew to see the convoy on its way from Rabaul to Lae. The crew immediately reported the situation as well as the size of the convoy. With six troop transports, two vessels carrying aviation fuel, a boat full of Japanese marines, eight destroyer escorts, and 100 fighter planes, this was not a target to be missed. B-17s from the 63rd Squadron were soon sent to bomb the convoy, but were thwarted by weather. That night, 1/Lt. William Crawford, Jr.’s crew set off to find and monitor the convoy while Fifth Air Force got ready to attack.
Read the rest here: Tragedy Above the Bismarck Sea
Mr Irving was the other player in yesterday’s post and it’s hard for me to pass up a chance to post more Japanese aircraft…
This story is one of our favorites and we thought it was time to reblog it. Without further ado, here is the tale of an unlikely friendship between two veteran World War II pilots. Two 63rd …
Source: Repost: Friendship After Bombing Davao
Rabaul, New Britain
Located on the coast of a natural harbor on the eastern coast of New Britain, an island in the Southwest Pacific, Rabaul was a German colony in the 1900s that was captured by the Australians in World War I. Two nearby volcanoes, Vulcan and Tavurvur, erupted violently in 1937, destroying most of the city. After World War II started, it was captured by the Japanese in January 1942, after which it was transformed into a major stronghold with approximately 97,000 troops that would easily fend off Allied attacks until October and November 1943. While the Allies continued to advance towards Japan, they cut off Japanese supply routes to Rabaul and continued to bomb the city and surrounding area. It was officially surrendered at the end of the war. After the war was over, the city became a trading hub until Tavurvur erupted in 1994, once again destroying a large part of the city. Developments closest to the volcano were never rebuilt.
Source: The Same Places, 70+ Years Apart—Six More WWII Bases Then and Now
USAAF B-24 Liberator over Japan struck down by Japanese Phosphorus Bomb
One of the more unusual tactics used by the Japanese against US air raids was dropping white phosphorus bombs in the midst of a bomber group. Despite the caption I don’t see a “struck down” B-24, just bursts from Willie Pete.
Large by Huge resolution here: http://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/usa/aircrafts/b-24/USAAF_B-24_Liberator_over_Japan_struck_down_by_Japanese_Phoshphorus_Bomb.jpg
Here’s a similar picture and the source: