The 6th Bomb Group

Mission 30. Hitachi Aircraft Company (Apr 24)




A post-strike photo.
Thanks to Col Clarence E. Becker for finding these photos.

This was a daylight precision mission involving 12 planes from the 6th Bomb Group:

Three precision attacks with high explosive GP bombs were made in April. * * * Another, against the Hitachi aircraft engine plant at Tokyo on the 24th * * * [was] carried out with only twelve * * * aircraft * * *.

[Pirate's Log, p. 38]

According to the DFC Citation for Crew #2413 "Jake's Jernt":

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 24 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 airplane based in the Marianas Islands, leading a formation in a daylight medium altitude strike against a high priority target, the Hitachi aircraft engine works, near Tachikawa, Japan. Taking their heavily loaded bomber off smoothly at night, this crew effected assembly at the designated point. On the approach to the target, intense flak was encountered, so deadly that all planes in the formation suffered hits. Twenty-seven aggressive and determined attacks by enemy aircraft were encountered. Their plane had more than forty holes shot in it's engine nacelles, wings, and fuselage, and all aileron controls were jammed. Despite this battle damage, the crew maintained close formation, pressed home the attack, and assisted in destroying a considerable part of the factory. Reconnaissance photographs showed more than fifty percent of the roof burned out. The flight back to base in the crippled plane was skillfully and successfully accomplished by alternately cutting the power in the several engines. By their coolness and determination in the face of great danger, their individual skill, and their efficiency and teamwork, these veterans of more than twenty-three missions against Japan, reflected great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

Captain JACOB R. SCHAD as Airplane Commander
First Lieutenant CLARENCE E. REIN as Navigator
First Lieutenant MARSHALL E. SEDDON as Bombardier
First Lieutenant CHARLES A. SCHLOSSER as Flight Engineer
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM G. BUCKLEY as Radar Gunner
Staff Sergeant JACK W. HIGHFILL as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant WILBUR D. KITTINGER as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant THOMAS J. FISHER as Right Gunner
Staff Sergeant WEBSTER SINGER JR, as Left Gunner
Sergeant RICHARD G. LUCAS as Tail Gunner

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, "Anonymous IV")]

According to the DFC Citation for Crew #3905 "Look Homeward Angel":

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 24 April 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 based in the Marianas Islands attacking an enemy installation, the Hitachi aircraft company, located near Tachikawa, Japan. Taking off in darkness, this crew flew on the briefed course and effected assembly at the designated time and place off the coast of Japan. Upon making landfall at Numazu, heavy, intense and accurate flak opposition was encountered. The lead aircraft was severely damaged, necessitating its withdrawal from the formation. The plane flown by this crew was likewise damaged, as were all other aircraft in the formation. In addition, they underwent twenty-seven aggressive attacks by fighters. Despite this determined opposition and a cover of haze over the target, they pressed home their attack, making a well-controlled bomb run and dropping their projectiles accurately on the target. They played a large part in the destruction of this aircraft factory, as proved by photographs which show fifty-four percent of the total roof area destroyed. By their coolness and courage in the face of great danger, their determination to accomplish their mission successfully despite all opposition, and their high degree of individual skill, these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant JOHN D. RALPH as Airplane Commander
Second Lieutenant JOHN J. ULLMAN as Navigator
First Lieutenant LESTER SCHWARTZ as Bombardier
First Lieutenant VICTOR A. STEINMETZ as Flight Engineer
Technical Sergeant PAUL F. SAVAGE (then Staff Sergeant) as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant RAYMOND J. RADOMSKI as Radar Operator
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM T. HAMER as Radio Operator
Staff Sergeant JERRY S. BENESH (then Sergeant) as Right Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant WILLIAM S. SANTAVICCA (then Sergeant) as Left Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant RICHARD M. SIDDERS (then Sergeant) as Tail Gunner

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, "Anonymous IV")]

 

20th AF Mission 96

Date:  24 April 1945
Code Name:  Cat Call #1
Target:  Hitachi A/C Plant Tachikawa 90.17-2009  -   See Shizuoka
Participating Units:  73rd, 313th and 314th Bombardment Wings
Number A/C Airborne: 131
% A/C Bombing Primary:  77.l%  (101 primary, 8 Secondary and 13 Opportunity)
Time Over Primary:  240952K  - 241006K
Altitude of Attack:  10,000  - 14,500
Weather Over Target:  0/10  - 2/10
Total A/C Lost:  5
Resume of Mission: Bombing results - crews reported well to excellent.  Smoke obscured most of Target but severe damage reported to the large main engine assembly building and many direct hits on buildings in southwest portion of plant.  Strike photography shows that aircraft of 3l3th Wing bombing Tachikawa Aircraft Company (Secondary Target) made 15 hits on major buildings of plant and two hits on hangars with several additional bursts in the service apron area.  Also that aircraft of 73rd Wing bombing Shizuoka A/C plant (Secondary Target) reported 60 visible hits along W-edge of Target destroyed four small buildings.  Two aircraft lost to AA, one aircraft lost to enemy action, one aircraft lost to accident and one aircraft lost to unknown reasons.  Enemy air opposition heavy & aggressive - 249 attacks.  Enemy aircraft destroyed seventeen, probably destroyed twenty-three and twenty-five damaged.  AA heavy, meager to intense, inaccurate to accurate.  Average bomb load 73rd Wing 9,898 lbs., 313th Wing 10,058 lbs., and 314th Wing 10,063 lbs.  Average gas reserve 73rd Wing 855 gallons, 313th Wing 1077 gallons and 314th Wing 1070 gallons.