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January 3, 1945
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

WEDNESDAY, 3 JANUARY 1945

ALASKA: B-25s fly coverage for a naval force over the Kuriles.

CHINA THEATER (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 10 P-51s hit the airfield at Tsinan, claiming 13 aircraft destroyed; Six P-51s claim several river steamers sunk in the Hankow-Chiuchiang area while 6 others damage bridges at Chinchengchiang. 20+ other P-40s, P-51s, and P-47s on armed reconnaissance attack various targets of opportunity in the Wuchang-Hankow and Shwangliu, China areas, and at Namtao, S and SW of Man Pong, and W of Wanling, Burma.

INDIA-BURMA THEATER (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 10 B-25s, supported by 12 P-47s, attack the airfield at Aungban; troop concentrations and supply and ammunition dumps are pounded at several locations, including Man Kun, Loi Hkam, Ngawnga, Chakau, Mulaw, and Man Pwe. 575 transport flights are completed to forward areas; the 115th Liaison Squadron, Tenth AF [attached to 1st Liaison Group (Provisional)], based at Ledo, sends a detachment to operate from Myitkyina with L-1s and L-5s; the 165th Liaison Squadron (Commando), 1st Air Commando Group, based at Kawlin, sends a detachment to operate from Inbaung with UC-64s and L-5s.

AAFPOA (Seventh Air Force): 22 B-24s from Saipan bomb Iwo Jima. Three from Guam on armed reconnaissance, hit Marcus. During a 6-hour period on the night of 3/4 Jan, 10 B-24s from Guam hit Iwo Jima.

HQ AAF (Twentieth Air Force): Mission 17: 97 Mariana based B-29s are sent to bomb docks and urban areas of Nagoya; 57 hit the primary target and 21 others bomb alternates and targets of opportunity; Japanese fighters fly 300+ attacks on the B-29s; B-29 gunners claim 14-14-20 Japanese aircraft. Intercepted by Ki-61 Tonys from Komaki Airfield and Itami Airfield, plus 210th Kokutai Zeros and J1N1 and D4Y from Meiji Airfield. Lost are five including: B-29 42-24748 (MIA), B-29 "Leading Lady" 42-24766 (MIA), B-29 "Jumbo, King Of The Show" 42-63418, B-29 "Joker's Wild" 42-24626, B-29 42-24550. Additionally, B-29 "American Maid" 42-24593, suffered a blister blowout at 29,000 feet over Nagoya. Gunner James B. Krantz was sucked outside but survived: held for 15 minutes by his home-made harness until he was pulled back in with frostbite and broken bones. References: "Saga of the Superfortress" by Steve Birdsall page 136.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: B-24s pound Clark Field and the Mabalacat areas. B-25s hit five airfields in the central Philippines while B-24s bomb two airfields on Mindanao. B-24s attack the Djailolo supply area on Halmahera, while B-25s bomb Namlea Airfield. Numerous other FEAF aircraft on armed reconnaissance, harassing raids, and light strikes attack a vast variety of targets throughout the Netherlands East Indies and Philippines. Lost is P-38 L 44-25217 pilot Lt. Col Grattan "Grant" Mahony (KIA) over Puerta Princessa. The 25th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, moves from Dulag to San Jose with F-5s.

During the morning, the 310th Fighter Squadron and 311th Fighter Squadron were supposed to fly several all-day fighter sweeps over the Clark Field area. Major Edward F. Roddy (HQ Squadron) led the first mission for the 310th Squadron with 1st Lt. Crystal L. Andress flying as his wingman (mission number 421). They were quickly followed by a two plane flight of the 311th Squadron led by 58th FG C.O. Colonel Gwen G. Atkinson who was accompanied by 2nd Lt. Roy E. Kindred. They intended to go to Clark Field with Major Roddy, the purpose of the missions "airborne targets of opportunity in the Manila area."

Major Roddy's account of the strafing by his and Lt Andress' planes:
"Arriving in the Clark Field area, we circled somewhere around 18 to 20 thousand feet -- maybe eight or ten miles around Clark Field. As we got to the west side of the field, I got a reflection of the sun off the wings of some aircraft lined up on the grass strip. Alerting Andress, we dropped our tanks, turned on our gun switches and headed for the strip -- full throttle. The ack-ack started right away, puffs nearby, and then the tracers of small of smaller caliber guns. As we roared through the line of parked aircraft, men were jumping off the wings, and trucks were moving around. We got several aircraft on fire, but the ack-ack was intense, so we stayed right on the deck at full throttle. I was amazed at the number of apparently serviceable aircraft I could see under camouflage netting. Their attack began at 0915 and ended 0922."

Colonel Atkinson recalled:
"I confirmed Roddey's position and went in to strafe, followed by Kindred. The Japs put up a barrage of fired which we flew through (years later in Japan I became acquainted with the Japanese Air Force Officer who was in command at Clark Field on that day and he told me there were some 300 anti-aircraft weapons around Clark Field). I could see holes in my wings of my plane and felt a heavy jolt."

Despite being hit and not aware that his plane was on fire Atkinson continued flying and saw a "Dinah" taking off. He turned 180 degrees and pursued the aircraft. He attacked when it was at 50 feet and shot it down without the Japanese pilot taking any evasive action. Lost over Clark Field was P-47D 42-25419 (bailed out, rescued) and P-47D 43-25490 (KIA). References: No Glamour... No Glory! The Story of the 58th Fighter Group of World War II, pages 211-214, 304-305.



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