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  B-25C "Tokyo Sleeper / Row Binder II" Serial Number 41-12905  
USAAF
5th AF
38th BG
71st BS

Former Assignment
405th BS

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Tokyo Sleeper".

On October 5, 1942 took off from 14-Mile Drome (Laloki / Schwimmer) near Port Moresby at 7:00am along with B-25D "Battlin' Biffy" 41-29701.

The following crew members were aboard:
Pilot  Lt. Brandon
Co-Pilot  Lt Gusworth
Navigator  2nd Lt. Earl W. Wright
Bombardier Lt. Scott
Radio  TSgt Carl D. Amsden, Jr.
Gunner  SSgt Aaron "Jack" Allen
Photographer  Sgt Amos
Passenger  Major Duchatel (medical officer tasked with supply drop)

Their mission was to fly a patrol to the north coast of New Guinea from Cape Waria to Oro Bay. Afterwards, the pair were to strafe and bomb the track and bridge at Wairopi and afterwards drop medical supplies to Australian troops near Sangai. The pair was to be escorted by P-39 Airacobras, but they never materialized.

Outbound, the bombers reached the north coast of New Guinea and patrolled the sea off Buna and spotted smoke from two Japanese destroyers escorting a large transport, Yamaura Maru. After radioing the convoy's location, both bombers attacked.

Unseen were eighteen A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai and 3rd Kokutai providing top cover for the convoy. B-25D "Battlin' Biffy" 41-29701 attempted to make a bomb run from 4,000' but was intercepted by six Zeros that began making firing passes from the rear. Last seen in a steep dive trying to escape. It is unknown if it released any bombs. They were never seen again and failed to return to base. In fact, this bomber reached land and crash near Uhita.

Meanwhile, this bomber dropped one bomb near the transport and claimed a near miss, but in fact no damage was sustained. Turning for a second bomb run, this B-25 was intercepted by a Zeros head on, and dove to 500' and fled towards the coast of New Guinea, with enemy fighters in pursuit.

Photographer/gunner Cpl Hoyt D. Amos photographed their bomb run, then manned his machine gun. Top turret gunner SSgt Aaron "Jack" Allen fired approximately 300 rounds at the fighters while radio operator TSgt Carl D. Amsden, Jr. radioed they were under attack while Allen continued to fire at the Zeros. Over the coast, bombardier 2nd Lt. Earl W. Wright jettisoned their remaining bombs.

Zeros followed this B-25 over the Owen Stanley mountains. One of the gunners, SSgt Allen claimed two of the Zeros as shot down and a probable. In fact, no enemy aircraft were shot down. This B-25 landed safely at 14-Mile Drome at 9:30am. In response to the convoy, six other B-25s from the group took off at 9:10am to attack the convoy.

On September 2, 1943 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby at 7:00am piloted by 1st Lt. Roy Gover and co-pilot 2nd Lt. Philip E. Kelsall. This B-25 was armed with two 1,000 pound bombs on a mission to attack Japanese shipping in Wewak Harbor off Wewak. The 405th Bombardment Squadron was leading the attack, and proceeded to Marilinan and circled for thirty minutes before rendezvousing with escorting P-38 Lightnings then proceeded up the Ramu Valley bound for Wewak. South of the Prince Alexander Mountains, the B-25 formation split into two plane elements for bombing and strafing runs.

The Nagato Maru, the largest vessel in the convoy was spotted by the B-25 Mitchells from the 405th Bombardment Squadron and identified as a "Fox Able" (Japanese merchant vessel 5,500-7,500 tons with 3 masts or more). Over the target, eight Zekes [sic Oscars] and Tonys attacked the 405th Bombardment Squadron's first flight led by Captain Garrett Middlebrook with his wingman 1st Lt. Donald Latham while they bombed and strafed a Fox Able (Japanese merchant vessel 5,500-7,500 tons with 3 masts or more, likely Nagato Maru) anchored east of Cape Boram in Boram Bay and claimed a single a near miss with a 1,000 pound bomb and claimed a Zeke [sic, Oscar] shot down.

The second flight was led by B-25D "Tokyo Sleeper" 41-12905 with his wingman B-25D 41-30255 piloted by Barber attacked the same Fox Able (likely Nagato Maru). and claimed a 1,000 pound bomb hits that left the vessel burning and sinking. 1st Lt. Grover reported: “I went low then pulled up to go between the masts, leaving no room for [wingman] Barber. I had hoped that he would take the smaller ship but he stayed with me... Our first bomb skipped into the side of the ship and sunk it. The second bounced over the ship.”

Later, this B-25 was assigned to the 71st Bombardment Squadron and renamed nicknamed "Row Binder II".

Mission History
On July 24, 1944 written off after a landing accident at Mokmer Drome on Biak. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
Sun Setters of the Southwest Pacific Area pages 77-78 research by Edward Rogers
MACR 15077 detailing B-25D "Battlin' Biffy" 41-29701 created postwar circa 1945 or 1946
Saga of the Sun Setters Volume I, page 158-160

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

Tech Info
B-25

 

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