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February 26, 1945
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 1945

CHINA THEATER (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 20 B-25s, some with fighter escort, bomb Ishan, Luchai, Siangtan, and hit bridges at Chuchou and Loshan. In French Indochina, nine B-25s attack bridges, railroad tracks, and heavy port equipment at Ha Trung, along the Chu R, and at Hongay and Haiphong. 70+ fighter-bombers on armed reconnaissance over S and E China and N French Indochina attack numerous targets of opportunity including airfields, town areas, and river, rail, and road traffic.

(Twentieth Air Force): HQ 462d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) begins moving from Piardoba to West Field. Some B-29 bombers were assigned an unescorted photo reconnaissance mission to Singapore. A fighter shot down the B-29 bomber piloted by Capt. James Lyons. Shells from the Japanese plane set the nose section afire, seriously wounded the bombardier, and knocked out the number two engine. Bailing out over the sea when their left burning wing exploded, their approximate location was reported by another B-29 that was following them, air-sea rescue forces were notified, and 20 to 30 hours after the crew bailed out, 5 crews were rescued by a Catalina flying boat while with a good fortune another 4 were rescue by a British submarine HMS Seadog despite the danger of attack by Japanese surface ships. Another 3 crews were lost which included the wounded bombardier. Japanese report: Nine B-29s were badly damaged by our superior defense forces. (Only one B-29 bomber piloted by Capt. James Lyons was shot down, 9 were rescued and another 3 Missing In Action.)

INDIA-BURMA THEATER (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 12 P-47s support troops of the British 36 Division in the Mongmit area; 8 support the MARS Task Force, a composite Chinese-American force, in the Lashio sector while 16 others fly close support for Chinese 50th Division troops near Namhsam; 8 B-25s on low-level strikes knock out bypass bridges at Mong Pawn and Loi-leng; 80+ fighter-bombers and 4 B-25s continue to attack troops, supplies, road traffic, and other targets immediately behind lines. Again 600+ transport sorties are flown.

AAFPOA (Seventh Air Force): Lost is C-87A Liberator Express 41-24174 (MIA) after take off from Kwajalein on a special flight transporting senior officers including passengers Lt. General Millard F, Harmon, Commanding General AAFPOA and Brig General James R. Andersen Deputy Commander of the Twentieth AF. (On 2 Mar Major General Willis H Hale, AAFPOA deputy commander for operations, assumes Harmon's positions). Nine B-24s sent from Guam against positions on Iwo Jima are recalled due to cloud cover; During the night of 26/27 February, eight B-24s hit Chichi Jima, flying individual harassment strikes.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: B-24s over Formosa hit Takao Airfield while fighters on a sweep strafe railroad targets. B-24s bomb troop concentrations in the Ipo Dam area and support ground forces NE of Manila; A-20s and fighter-bombers support ground forces in the Echague Airfield area, Ternate, Trinidad, Antipolo and hit troops west of Fort Stotsenburg. A-20s, P-38s, and P-47s hit Puerto Princesa and B-25s bomb Zettle Airfield, lost is B-25G "Nancy Jean" 42-64907 (MIA). B-24s hit Manggar Airfield and Sepinggang Airfield. The 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, moves from San Jose, Mindoro to Lingayen Airfield with P-38s and the 70th Fighter Squadron, 18th Fighter Group, moves from Lingayen Airfield to San Jose with P-38s. Lost on a ferry flight is B-24D "Beautiful Betsy" 42-40387 (MIA).



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