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JAVA 1942 cover


This may seem to be a peculiar place to end this book -- right in the middle of the Java Campaign. Let me explain: This first book isintended to tell the story of the first confrontation between the Japanese Zero Fighter and the incomparable B-17E Flying Fortress of the U.S. Army Air Corps. I have tried, in combat sequences, to demonstrate the use of gun positions on the Flying Fortress. I have tried to add details of psychology and policy that affected the crews. I intend to continue writing additional chapters immediately, until the story of the Java Campaign is told in full.

There is a very special reason why I must end the first volume of JAVA 1942 right now. It must be completed and edited in time for a publication date which allows me to take copies to a reunion of the Seventh Group survivors in Salt Lake City in June 1988. I want to give copies to my good friends in the Seventh Group who still survive, and I want to invite those who have stories to tell to write me if they want to see their stories in the next volume.

Let me assure fellow Seventh Group members that I have not forgotten the Liberators. I was tail gunner on one of those Flying Boxcars. The next chapters will emphasize our Libs. I think the B-17E's have had their share of detailed description, and the very next chapter will be about the Liberators sinking a major Japanese carrier. The next volume will conclude with our evacuation of Java. I was on the last plane out of Jokjakarta to Broome, Australia. Some of the Seventh Group went out to India.


Personnel for Project
    "Straubel Echelon"
        7th Bomb Group

"A" Flight
Crew #1 
   Major Austin A. Straubel0-17869
 2nd Lt. Richard T. Hornlund0-396607
 2nd Lt. Robert A. Trenkle0-395138
 2nd Lt. Raymond O. Carr 0-426111
 S/S R. P. Yenney 6558785
 S/S P. M. Murdock 6829724
 Sgt. M. L. Damaske 6566225
 Cpl. L. T. Ranta 6578753
 Capt. Charles A. Stafford 0-22686
Crew #2 
   1st Lt. Horace M. Wade0-22592
 2nd Lt. James A. Anderson 0-398497
 A/C Grady E. Jones 14043927
 T/S H. Sager6545786
 S/S C. C. Schierholz 6557684
 Sgt. L. J. Jablonski6907169
 Sgt. M. R. Morley6549024
 Pvt. G. H. Ard19010438
 2nd Lt. Cornelius A. Smith 0-425375
Crew #3 
   1st Lt. William E. Basye0-22386
 2nd Lt. Victor J. Poncik0-413547
 A/C Daniel Skandera Jr. 11019892
 T/S Paul A. Flanagan6200829
 S/S R. J. Wilhite6245265
 Sgt. W. F. Enns 6913628
 Pvt. R. D. Chopping6274704
 Pvt. R. F. Graf 6290496
 2nd Lt. Robert W. Darren Burger 0-420902
"B" Flight
Crew #4 
   1st Lt. Harry W. Markey0-21663
 2nd Lt. Charles A. Gibson0-398707
 S/S W. D. Kolbus6553041
 Sgt. D. D. Terry 6580193
 Cpl. E. Conner 6578656
 Pfc. C. J. Fraley6274663
 A/C Francis McGivern12009981
 Lt. F. A. Norwood0-431705
 2nd Lt. James G. Ellis0-41362
Crew #5 
   1st Lt. John E. Dougherty 0-22550
 1st Lt. Raymond S. Sleeper 0-23088
 A/C Robert W. Elliott 11010511
 T/S L. L. Herron 6729693
 Sgt. V. S. Sheets 6558643
 Sgt. W. C. Keithley 6888680
 Cpl. K. K. Wyatt 6932034
 Pvt. J. W. Stephenson 6582945
Crew #6 
   1st Lt. Narce Whitaker0-380438
 2nd Lt. Herbert J. Felton0-398680
 A/C Leslie W. Felling15062178
 Sgt. J. A. Foster6551202
 Cpl. R. E. Oliver6578837
 Cpl. E. L. Raeburn6579725
 Cpl. W. H. Michalski6578800
 Pvt. D. W. Nickel20747253
"C" Flight
Crew #7 
   Cpt. T. K. Myers 0-21399
 2nd Lt. D. P. O'Donnell 0-398541
 2nd Lt. Rex Lewis 0-430055
 M/S T. F. McDanel 6228691
 Sgt. R. A. Abadie 6296091
 Sgt. J. H. Lindgren6291039
 Cpl. L. F. Stewart6829712
 Cpl. D. T. Ostlund6932103
Crew #8 
   1st Lt. Jerome Tarter 0-22872
 2nd Lt. R. V. Miller 0-398644
 2nd Lt. T. L. Patrick 0-416340
 A/C V. L. Beebout 15001247
 M/S V. A. Shelley 6506575
 Sgt. H. F. Skelton6399622
 Sgt. D. H. Anholt 6569943
 Pfc. O. R. Olson6583766
Crew #9 
   1st Lt. Paul E. Cool395119
 2nd Lt. G. H. Giddings 0-398708
 A/C E. A. Travis18050482
 A/C T. C. Parkinson0-416399
 S/S J. Sexton 6648091
 S/S S. P. Boone 6257179
 Sgt. R. R. Noller571884
 Pvt. T. J. Stewart6914460
"D" Flight
Crew #10 
   1st Lt. Murray W. Crowder, Jr.0-22385
 2nd Lt. James W. Cullen 0-398667
 A/C Jack T. Peoples14042190
 T/S R. C. Hayes 6540415
 S/S L. J. Jamison6552146
 Cpl. H. R. Conner6578618
 Pfc. G. E. Reynolds, Jr.6579745
 Pvt. G. S. Guest19049502
 2nd Lt. Henry B. Nuetzel0-413485
Crew #11 
   1st. Lt. Frank W. Potter0-395289
 2nd Lt. Henry F. Smith 0-416906
 2nd Lt. Harold W. Edmonds 0-398675
 A/C Joseph A. Creed16013571
 S/S Harry B. Shields 6564200
 S/S Wayne T. Doyle 6262805
 Sgt. James B. Garson 6245199
 Pfc. M. Edwards 6569574
Crew #12 
   1st Lt. Richard E. Ezzard0-22840
 2nd Lt. Vincent J. Roddy0-413552
 2nd Lt. John S. Minahan 0-426207
 A/C Raymond S. Rollings 14008988
 T/S Gola D. McCalhster 6629656
 Sgt. Delbert G. Walmer 6558125
 Pvt. R. A. Cothern17000525
 Pvt. Ralph W. Chorn19049476
"E" Flight
Crew #13 
   1st Lt. Elbert Helton 0-22325
 1st Lt. Arthur A. Fletcher 0-395149
 A/C Norman R. Appleton 12026841
 2nd Lt. Robert S. Rogers 0-431806
 S/S C. B. Wilcox6871260
 Sgt. J. B. Thornell 6570290
 Sgt. R. F. Fowler 6544576
 Pvt. C. F. Wilhelm15059651
Crew #14 
   1st Lt. K.D. Casper 0-395114
 2nd Lt. G. E. Erb 0-398683
 2nd Lt. S. V. N. Jones 0-426110
 A/C E. R. Yerington 19040139
 S/S E. M. Clemens 6564203
 Sgt. R. L. Holt 6573855
 Sgt. W. C. Walthers 6551890
 Cpl. W. Glanz6136204
Crew #15 
   1st Lt. C. B. Kelsay0-377634
 2nd Lt. Jack L. Laubscher0-398629
 A/C H. A. Gross 13021434
 S/S H. M. McTavish6549162
 S/S H. W. Hamilton6552831
 S/S W. H. Prince6564705
 Sgt. J. B. Bunch6566553
 Pfc. L. W. Beck 6578733
Names of Seventh Group Pilot Commanders who flew in the Java Campaign in order of their arrival at Malan
  CommanderPlaneDate (1942)
  DoughertyLB-30Jan 12th
  WadeLB-30Jan 12th
  StraubelLB-30Jan 12th
  BasyeLB-30Jan 14th
  HobsonB-17Jan 14th
  HughesB-17Jan 14th
  NecrasonB-17Jan 14th
  DuFraneB-17Jan 14th
  NorthcuttB-17 Jan 18th
  StrotherB-17Jan 19th
  RobinsonB-17Jan 19th
  SkilesB-17Jan 19th
  PrestonB-17Jan 21st
  BleasdaleB-17Jan 21st
  TarterLB-30Jan 24th
  EzzardLB-30Jan 26th
  KelsayLB-30Jan 26th
  HabberstadB-17Jan 28th
  CrowderLB-30Jan 30th
  CasperB-17Jan 30th
  CoolLB-30Feb 4th
  HeltonLB-30Feb 5th
  SmeltzerB-17Feb 9th
  McCauleyB-17 Feb 11th
  BeranB-17Feb 11th
  MarkeyLB-30Feb 12th
  HugheyLB-30Feb 15th
  McPhersonB-17Feb 19th
As recorded in the Journal of the Fifth Bomber Command


The Following crews of the 11th Squadron, 7th Bomb Group (H) were at Malang as of 13 January, 1942, (African Route). All Arrived on the 12th of January.
LB-30 No. AL-535:
   Dougherty, J.E.1st Lt.0-2259    Pilot
 Gibson, C.A.2nd Lt.0-398707   Co-Pilot
 Norwood, F.A.2nd Lt.0-431705   Bombardier
 McGivern, F.A/C12009981   Navigator
 Conner, E.Cpl.6578656   2nd Radio
 Fraley, C.J.Pvt.6274663   2nd Engineer
LB-30 No. AL-609:
   Straubel, A. A.Major0-17869   Pilot
 Hernlund, R.T.2nd Lt.0-398607   Co-Pilot
 Trenkle, R.A.2nd Lt.0-394138   Navigator
 Carr, R.O.2nd Lt.0-426111   Bombardier
 Murdock, P.M.S/Sgt.6829724    Engineer
 Yenney, R.P.S/Sgt.6558785    Radio
 Demanske, M.LSgt.6566225    Engineer
 Ranta, L.T.Corp.6578753
LB-30 No. AL-612:
   Wade, H.M.1st Lt.0-22592   Pilot
 Anderson, J.A.2nd Lt.0-398497   Co-Pilot
 Smith, C.A.2nd Lt.0-425375   Observer
 Jones, G.H.A/C14043927   Navigator
 Sgaer, H.T/Sgt.6545786   Engineer
 Schierholz, C.C.S/Sgt.6557684   Bombardier
 Morley, M.R.Sgt. 6549024   Radio
 Jablonski, L.J.Sgt.6907169   2nd Engineer
 Ard, G.H.Pvt.19010458   2nd Radio
Passenger on LB-39 No. AL-608:
 Stafford, C. A. Captain
Medical Corps
Crews of planes of 7th Group arrival 14 January, 1942
1530 B-17E No. 41-2406 (Pacific Route) 22nd Squadron
   Hobson, KB.Major0-18763    Pilot
 Horgan, M.C.1st Lt.0-395158   Pilot
 Penick, L.G.2nd Lt.0-413487   Co-Pilot
 Luscomb, F.P.2nd Lt.0-398646   Co-Pilot & Bomb
 Oder, F.C.E.2nd Lt.0-420914   Weather Officer
 Joyce, T.B.A/C19038595   Navigator
 Bostwick, W.E.S/Sgt.6560634    Engineer
 Stephens, J.C.Sgt.6578721    Engineer
 Wood, T.M.Pfc.6268396    Radio
 Lowry, A.T.Pfc.6915845    Radio
B-17E No. 41-2419 (Pacific Route) 22nd Squadron
   Hughes, J.W.1st Lt.0-22442    Pilot
 Gibson, W.J.2nd Lt.0-414749   Co-Pilot
 Mays, J.C.2nd Lt.0-430056   Navigator
 La Salle, J.W.2nd Lt.0-431703   Bombardier
 MacLeod, J.C.T/Sgt.6837857    Engineer
 Tabor, L.L.Sgt.6857732    Engineer
 Demott, J.Pfc.6914186    Radio
 Mackey, J.R.Pfc.6578531    Radio
 Vandivere, S.P.Capt.0-311369   Medical Corps.
1800 B-17E No. 41-2461 (African Route) 9th Squadron
   Necrason, C.F.Major0-20384    Pilot
 Barr, B.S.1st Lt.0-395108   Co-Pilot
 Walter, G.A.2nd Lt.0-409920   Navigator
 Magee, E.J.2nd Lt.0-431758   Bombardier
 Kelly, J.W. Jr.2nd Lt.0-424514   Weather Officer
 Bredenberg, A.T.S/Sgt.662858    Engineer
 Silva, L.T.M/Sgt.R-45343    Engineer
 Hascall, A.S.T/Sgt.6639442    Radio
 Hegdahl, A.B.Pvt.17001650   Radio
B-17E No. 41-2459 (African Route)
   DuFrane, J.L.1st Lt.0-22810    Pilot
 Negley, R.V.W. Jr1st Lt.0-22108    Co-Pilot
 Pattillo, S. S.2nd Lt.0-412152   Navigator
 Burney, W. W.2nd Lt.0-426112   Bombardier
 Coleman, J. W.S/Sgt.6549391    Engineer
 Parry, H.R.Pfc.6578414    Engineer
 Keightley, L.H. Sgt.6566286    Radio
 Boudria, R.F.Pvt.6914001    Radio
 Ashby, W.G.M/Sgt.R-1053635   Line Chief
LB-30 No. AL-576 (African Route)
   Basye, W.E.1st Lt.0-22386    Pilot
 Poncik, V.J. 2nd Lt.0-413547   Co-Pilot
 Skandera, D. 2nd Lt.   Navigator
 Flanagan, P.A.M/Sgt.6200829    Engineer
 Wilhite, R.J.S/Sgt.6245265    Bombardier
 Oldford, W.L. Sgt.6148099    Radio
 Graf, R.F. Pfc.6920496    2nd Radio
 Chopping, R.D.Pfc.6274704    2nd Engineer

(Extract) 16 January, 1942:

Three LB-30's and two B-17E's took off for a mission at 1210 for Kendari.

(Extract) 17 January, 1942:

Major Straubel returned Malang from Kendari II at 1200. Lts. Dougherty and Basye missing. Major Necrason returned at 1550 one man wounded. Lt. DuFrane remained at Kendari II - plane damaged by enemy action.

(Extract) 18 January, 1942:

On Jan. 16, 1942, three Liberators and two B-17E's took off from Malang at 0440 G.M.T. The airplanes were serviced with gasoline and bombs. The Liberators were loaded with twelve 100 kg. bombs each and the B-17E's were loaded with ten 100 kg. bombs each.

At 1915 G.M.T. Jan. 16 three Liberators and two B-17E's took off from Kendari II. The Liberators bombed the airdrome at Langoan (20 miles south of Manado) from 19,500' at 2236 G.M.T. Hits were made on the runway and parking areas. No airplanes were seen on the ground. No antiaircraft fire was noted. From 2309 to 2315 G.M.T. the three Liberators were subjected to fire from five "Zero" fighters. One enemy pursuit was shot down. At 0-00's and 118-l0E one of the Liberators left the formation. Neither pilot indicated what might be wrong with his plane. The leader returned to Malang and landed at 0430 G.M.T. Jan. 17. Two large and two small transports were seen in Manado Bay and two others were tied up at the dock at Manado. One transport was seen to capsize as a result of the bombing. Two bombing runs were made. Visibility was hampered by the sun on the first run and no bombs were dropped.

On the second run one of the planes had six bombs hung up in the racks. Two of them were then dropped on the runway of the airdrome. The other four remained in the airplane. About five minutes after the bombing run enemy pursuit were seen climbing to attack. From 2240 till 2320 fifteen enemy fighters attacked the two B-17E's. Also two Messerschmitts were noted. The others were "Zero" fighters. Attacks were made from the rear and by diving under the plane and pulling up to deliver fire. One of the Messerschmitts was shot down by the Bombardier in Major Necrason's plane and four Zero fighters were shot down by his rear gunners. Lt. DuFrane's gunners shot down one. Pvt. Hegdahl, Major Necrason's tail gunner was hit in the knee by an explosive bullet. Both airplanes landed at Kendari II for gas and medical aid. Lt. DuFrane's airplane had one engine shot out of commission and was generally shot up. Major Necrason's ship had a few bullet holes in it. The ships landed at 0100 G.M.T. Jan. 17th.

At 0215 an air raid alarm sounded. Major Necrason took off immediately. He was attacked by three Zero fighters, but beat them off and landed at Malang at 0820 G.M.T. Jan. 17.

Lt. DuFrane remained on the ground and a message from him indicated that it was attacked on the ground and damaged beyond repair. Lts. Dougherty and Basye were pilots of the Liberators which left the formation. Report of a local Japanese landing was made by the field commander on the night of January 16. The field at Kendari has been under surveillance by Japs since Jan. 15th.

The following took part in the mission:

LB-30 No. AL-609
  Major Straubel
  Lt. Hernlund
  Lt. Trenkle
  Lt. Carr
  S/Sgt. Murdock
  S/Sgt. Yenney
  Sgt. Demaske
  Cpl. Ranta
  Capt. Broadhurst
LB-30 No. AL-535
  Lt. Dougherty
  Lt. Gibson
  Lt. Norwood
  A/C McGivern
  S/Sgt. Kolbus
  Sgt. Terry
  Cpl. Conner
  Pvt. Fraley
LB-30 No. AL-576
  Lt. Basye
  Lt. Poncik
  Lt. Skandera
  M/Sgt. Flanagan
  S/Sgt. Wilhite
  Sgt. Oldfield
  Pfc. Graf
  Pfc. Chopping
B-17E No. 41-2461
  Major Necrason
  Lt. Bar
  Lt. Walthers
  Lt. Magee
  Lt. Kelly
  S/Sgt. Bredenberg
  M/Sgt. Silva
  T/Sgt. Haxall
  Pvt. Hegdahl
B-17E No. 41-2459
  Lt. DuFrane
  Lt. Negley
  Lt. Burney
  Lt. Pattillo
  Lt. Burney
  S/Sgt. Coleman
  Pfc. Parry
  Sgt. Keightley
  Pvt. Boudria

At 1315 LB-30 No. AL-609 left for Kendari II with Lt. Wade as pilot. Object to pick up crew of Lt. DuFrane's plane, B-17E No. 41-2459, which was attacked there on the ground and destroyed.

Received news that Lt. Basye and crew of LB-30 No. AL-567 was forced down at Makassar, Celebes. Two men injured. Plane damaged beyond repair.

(Extract) 19 January, 1942:

At 0730 Lt. Wade, with LB-30 No. AL-609 returned from Kendari II with Lt. DuFrane and crew of B-17 No. 41-2459.

Two men of crew suffered minor arm injuries. Treated at hospital.

T/Sgt. Sager and Sgt. Wise sent to Makassar via PBY from Soerabaya for purpose of salvage work on Lt. Basye's plane LB-30 No. AL-576 20th Jan. 1942.

(Extract) 24 January, 1942:

At 0615 six ships of the 7th Group, with two ships of the 19th Group attached, took off on a bombing mission. Planes and pilots were as follows:
Major Robinson 41-2456
Major Hobson 41-2406
Captain Key 41-2472
Lt. Northcutt 41-2468
Lt. Hillhouse 41-2460
Lt. Strother 41-2471
Lt. Schwanbeck 40-3067
Lt. Cox 40-3070

Lt. Poncik, T/Sgt. Sager, Sgt. Wise, M/Sgt. Flanagan, Pfc. Graf, Sgt. Oldford and Pfc. Chopping returned from Makassar via two PBY's. Sgt. Oldford and Pfc. Chopping were wounded in action and left in the Morokrembangen Hospital and C.B.Z. Hospital respectively, Soerabaya.

On returning from bombing mission Major Robinson's ship spotted Lt. Dougherty's missing LB-30 on the beach of a small island at 5 degrees 34' South -114-20' East Sighted people moving about the wreckage. Navy asked to investigate.

Lt. Dougherty and the crew of LB-30 No. AL-535, except Lt. Gibson, were picked up by Navy PBY. They had been forced down at 5-34' South - 114-20' East Lt. Gibson returned via fishing boat. Four crew members were injured and left at Soerabaya.

(Extract) 27 January, 1942:

Lt. Wade in LB-30 No. Al-609 and Lt. Funk In B-24A No. 40-2376 arrived from Darwin at 1245 and 1300 respectively. Between them they evacuated 40 officers and enlisted men from Del Monte Mindanao, P.I.

At 1430 the flight returned to Malang: One transport sunk. Waterline Hits* on the Cruiser and another transport.

Two out of four E. A. shot down. A. A. behind and erratic in height.

(* Waterline Hits are bombs which just miss a ship and explode right beside the ship at the waterline. They have about the same effect as a Naval torpedo. Waterline hits are considered to be more damaging than direct hits ordinarily.)

(Extract) 28 January, 1942:

Lt. Basye took off on bombing mission to Kendari in LB-30 No. AL-521 at 2345.

Lt. Tarter took off on bombing mission to Kendari in LB-30 No. Al-570 at 2356.

(Extract) 29 January, 1942:

At 0723 three B-17's of the 7th Group with two B-17's ofthe 19th Group attached took off for a bombing mission at Balikpapan. Ships and pilots:
Major Robinson2476
Lt. Mathewson 2455
Lt. Cox 2478
Lt. Skiles 2454
Lt. Habberstad 2427

Lt. Bayse returned from Kendari Mission in LB-30 No. AL-521 at 0813. Dropped bombs-results negative. Bad weather at target.

0940 Lt. Tarter in LB-30 No. AL-570 returned from Kendari mission. No bombs dropped account Wx.

The following ships returned from mission to Balikpapan at times indicated.
No. 41-2427Lt. Habberstad 10:55 (engine trouble)
No. 41-2454 Lt. Skiles 14:15
No. 41-2455 Lt. Mathewson 14:25
No. 41-2478 Lt. Cox 14:30

6 enemy pursuit planes shot down.

Major Robinson in B-17E No. 41-2476 did not return. His airplane was badly shot up when the formation was attacked by about 30 enemy fighters. The airplane was seen to crash into the sea from a steep dive at 3 degrees 26' South, 116 degrees 26' East. None of the crew was seen to jump by accompanying planes and no sign of the aircraft or crew was noted on the surface after the crash. Members of the crew were:
Major Stanley K. Robinson0-17388
Captain Walter W. Sparks, Jr 0-371802
2nd Lt. William T. Riggers0-431791
2nd Lt. Richard W. Cease0-409912
2nd Lt. Jack T. Laughlin0-413459
S/Sgt. J. Gordon Drake 6563404
Cpl. Cecil R. Hammon
Pfc. Lloyd H. Terrell 13014663
Pfc. Charles T. Prichard 20939124

(Extract) 1 February, 1942:

Six Planes of the 7th Group (or attached from 19th Group) took off to attack enemy shipping in Balikpapan area at 0650. Mission abandoned on account of weather. Pilots and planes were:
Major Straubel41-2456
Lt. Green 41-2472
Lt. Swanson 41-2469
Lt. Adams 40-3074
Lt. Northcutt 41-2427
Lt. Cox 41-2458

Three LB-30's took off from Djogja at 2245, 2300, and 2315 respectively to attack enemy ships in Balikpapan area. Lt. Dougherty, Lt. Kelsay and Lt. Tarter pilots.

(Extract) 2 February, 1942: Three LB-30's landed at Djogja at 0800, 0805 and 0900. Lt. Dougherty's plane bombed and sank an enemy ship. Set oil well on fire.

(Extract) 3 February, 1942:

Major Straubel and Lt. Smith both badly burned when shot down in B-18 No. 36-338 near Soerabaya. In CBZ Hospital.

A Major Birch, 0-685971 in same ship died at Hospital. No word of any other passengers at Midnight. The losses at Singoseri in the air raid of Feb 3 were: B-17D No. 40-3074, B-17D No. 40-3078, B-17E No. 41-2470 burned to the ground due to the action of enemy strafers. B-17E No. 41-2474, which burned partially yesterday, burst into flames this morning (cause unknown) and burned to the ground. No casualties or injuries at the field.

The crew of B-17C No. 40-2062, which was shot down and burned about ten miles south of Malang were:
1st Lt. Ray L. Cox 0-380226
1st Lt. John E. L. Huse 0-21777
S/Sgt. John W. Sowa 6541524
Sgt. Arthur E. Karlinger 6579249
Sgt. John S. Penny 17023807
Pvt. Jack E. Bingham 20813175   (131st Field Artillery)
Pvt. Don H. Barnes 20813483    (131st Field Artillery)

The airplane was attacked by Japanese pursuit at the same time the field at Malang was being raided. The crew of B-18 No. 36-338 which was shot down west of Soerabaya by Japanese fighters were (all died in crash or in Hospital later):
Major Austin A. Straubel 0-17869
Major Joseph A. Busch (unknown)
2nd Lt. Russel M. Smith
2nd Lt. Erwin R. Kriel 0-398626
Lt. Col. Murphy (unknown)
S/Sgt. George W. Pickett 6550216

(Extract) 5 February, 1942:

An air raid alarm sounded at Singosari at 0950. B-17E No. 41-2456, Lt. Reyes, pilot and B-17E No. 41-2472, Capt. Parsel, pilot, who were standing by, took off within five minutes of the alarm. The "all clear" signal sounded at 1240.

The flight of six B-17's which took off earlier returned at 1530. They had been attacked by eight Zeros at 4,000' off the South coast of Madoera. Two of the upper turrets failed to operate and one plane's. No. 41-2485, oxygen system was shot up so the mission was abandoned. One fighter was shot down and another damaged. Head on, quartering frontal and side attacks were made by the fighters. They studiously avoided attacks from the rear.

(Extract) 7 February, 1942:

Eight B-17's of the 19th Group took off at 0520 for a reconnaissance bombing mission. Objective was a carrier reported SE of Makassar. Pilots and planes were:
Combs 41-2483
Mathewson 41-2455
Hillhouse 41-2488
Task 41-2453
A. E. Key 41-2492
F. M. Key 41-2464
Bohnaker 41-2471

Lts. Wade and Crowder in from Darwin in LB-30s AL-609 and AL-533. They had flown to Del Monte on Feb. 4th, taking off from Darwin at 0545 GOT. They returned to Darwin with 19th Group personnel. Wade landed Darwin at 0115 GCT and Crowder at 0425 GCT, Feb. 5th. They landed at Malang at 1605 and took off for Jogja at 1700. They brought twenty one 19th group evacuees with them.

The planes which took off at 0520 landed Malang at 1500. They patrolled a quadrangular area whose corners were 6 degrees 30' South, 120 degrees 26' East - 7 degrees South 120 degrees 40' East, 7 degrees South 121 degrees 30' East and 6 degrees 20' South 121 degrees 30' East. Poor visibility and an overcast in the target area caused the mission to return after searching the area for 45 minutes. Two planes had previously left the formation - one because of turret trouble and one because of low oil pressure. Results of mission-negative.

(Extract) 8 February, 1942:

At 0735 nine B-17's of the 7th Group took off from Singosari to bomb the occupied airdrome at Kendari II.

Pilots and planes:
DuFrane 2456
Swanson 2458
Prichard 2492
Strother 2471
Preston 2455
Lindsey 2483
Habberstad 2488
Northcutt 2453
Bleasdale 2464

Bomb bay tanks and 7-100 kg bombs were carried. The flight was intercepted by enemy pursuit (9 to 12 planes - type "0" and "96") at 6 degrees 45' South and 116 East at 0905 Java time. The altitude was 14,000'. The enemy made coordinated attacks from the front, front quarter and front underneath simultaneously. On the enemy's second attack Capt. DuFrane's airplane was hit and a great mass of flames burst from the bomb bay. The airplane continued to burn after the bomb bay tank was dropped and six men were seen to bail out as the ship descended. The enemy fired at the men in parachutes. The plane exploded in mid-air. Capt. Strother took over the lead of the formation when Capt. DuFrane went down. On a subsequent attack (head on) Lt. Prichard's airplane was hit, caught fire and exploded on the way down. One man bailed out of Lt. Prichard's airplane.

The remaining six planes in the formation (one had left the formation at 0845 due to mechanical difficulties) finally reached cloud cover where heavy rains and turbulence made formation impossible. Return to base was made individually. In Lt. Habberstad's plane Pfc. Homer D. Bilyeu, 6581616, was killed by enemy fire. Lt. Lindsey's plane had its tail section shot up so badly that it took two men to hold the controls. When the plane hit turbulent air it was impossible to hold it on an even keel and it evidently spun. It was brought under control at 7,000'. The navigator, co-pilot and tail gunner all bailed out during the spin. Lt. Lindsey, without the aid of a co-pilot, navigator or map, succeeded in righting his plane, finding his way home in unfavorable weather over strange territory and landing safely at Malang with one wounded man, Pfc J. R. Mackley, 6578551. Captain Strother's airplane was hit after he took the lead of the formation (another frontal attack). An explosion of low pressure oxygen bottle blew out the hydraulic system and the bomb release mechanism in front of the bomb bay. Because an air raid alarm was in progress at Malang and because of the damaged condition of the plane it was flown Jogja and landed. Lt. Swanson landed at Pasirian because of bad weather at Malang and a low gas supply. No damage to airplane and crew all okay. Capt. Preston's airplane was hit and a fire started in the bomb bay, but he jettisoned both his bombs and bomb bay tank coincidentally with the hit. The tank was seen to be on fire as it fell free. Four of the five airplanes which landed at Malang were damaged by gunfire-two of them seriously. Five enemy planes were shot down, two of them with the .30 calibre nose guns. The other three were shot down by the combined efforts of the top turrets, side guns and tail guns. The bottom turrets were ineffective. No anti-aircraft fire received. The planes landed from 1155 to 1615. Two unidentified surface craft were seen and reported to the Navy. Also a merchant vessel.


1. It is almost certain that the two airplanes were lost as a result of bomb bay tanks being hit by explosive bullets. But for quick action, a third might have been lost for the same reason. The entire flight jettisoned their bombs and tanks.

2. The enemy attack on the bombardment formation was the best executed attack so far encountered.

3. Coordinated attacks from head-on and front quarters were the first attacks of this nature reported by friendly forces in this area, however, the flight which was attacked at 4,000' on February 5 was subjected to individual attacks from the front hemisphere.

4. The relative speed between attacking pursuit and bombardment was so great that top turrets could not traverse fast enough to fire on the enemy during head-on attacks. The .30 calibre nose guns were the sole defense against this type of attack.

5. In both cases where head-on attacks were executed the bombardment formation was caught at a low altitude and climbing and the superior performance of pursuit enabled them to choose the avenue of attack. At altitudes in excess of 20,000' the advantage is lessened to the extent that pursuit attacks have, to date, come from the side or rear and can be dealt with much more effectively.

The three men who bailed out of No 41-2483 were:
2nd Lt. Francis E. Smith 0-430627  CP
A/C Marvin J. Schmella 19022168  Nav.
S/Sgt. F. T. Lewis6833881  Gun.

The crew of No. 41-2492 was:
2nd Lt. W. T. Morgan 0362538
2nd Lt. Isadore Alfred Unknown  Nav.
2nd Lt. F. O. Luscomb 0-3986085  Bom.
S/Sgt. Raymond P. Legault 6906400  Eng.
Pvt. Joseph Hines 7021410  Gun.
Pfc. Ignatius Barron 6996085  Rad.
Pvt. Horace Salmon 18034759  Gun.

The crew of No. 41-2456 was:
Capt. J. L. DuFrane 0-22810  P.
1st Lt. R. V. W. Negley, Jr.0-22108  C.P.
2nd Lt. S. S. Patillo 0-412152  Nav.
2nd Lt. W. W. Burney 0-426112  Bom.
S/Sgt. J. W. Coleman 6549391
Pvc. Howard L. Ellis 6581672  Gun.
Sgt. L. H. Keightley6566286  Gun.

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