MOS AAF MOS 748-Airplane Mechanic-Gunner, Flight Engineer
22nd Bombardment Group, Medium Details
The 22nd Bomb Group was constituted on 22 December 1939 and activated on 1 February 1940. They moved to Langley in the summer of 1941. The 22nd Bomb Group were given the first B-26 Marauders off the production line. But there were problems with a weight distribution issues and the B-26's were grounded. They were then temporarily re-equipped with B-25's in which they undertook Army Manoeuvres in Louisiana. They were based at Ellingtom Field in Houston, Texas.
In November 1941 they were ordered to Savanna, Georgia. They mobilised within 16 hours of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941and re-assembled at Muroc Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert where they were re-equipped with 44 brand new B-26 Marauders. The number was later increased to 51 Marauders. From Dec 1941 through January 1942 they trained in B-18's and B-26's and patrolled the southern coast of California and Mexico. The aircraft were transported, partly dismantled, from San Francisco to Hawaii by ship as they were unable to fly the distance of 2,000 miles under their own power.
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) was redesignated the 408th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) 22 April 1942. They arrived in Brisbane on 25 February 1942. They moved to Townsville on 7 April 1942 and then to nearby Reid River on 12 April 1942. They then moved to Dobodura, New Guinea on 15 Oct 1943.
The 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) was attached to the 22nd Bombardment Group about September 1940 and assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group on the 25 Feb 1942. After redesignation to the 408th Bomb Squadron on 22 April 1942 they stayed with the 22nd Bombardment Group until 29 April 1946.
The 22nd Bomb Group was the first complete Air Group of men and aircraft to reach Australia. It was also the only Group totally equipped with B-26 Martin Marauders. Fifty one USAAF B-26 Marauder aircraft from 22nd Light Bombardment group started to arrive in Brisbane on 22 March 1942 on their way to Townsville. They had flown via Palmyra, Canton Island, Nadi (Fiji), and Noumea (New Caledonia). Two crashed into the sea near Palmyra and another one was lost somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One of the arrivals landed at Archerfield airfield on 25 March 1942 and after skidding on wet grass ran into a house next to the airfield.
The ground echelon had arrived in Brisbane with the Phoenix convoy in USS Grant and were camped at Camp Ascot in Brisbane, while they assembled P-40's until their own aircraft arrived.
The 19th Squadron B-26 Martin Marauders taxied down Duckworth Street from Garbutt airfield to their new home at the northern side of the Stock Route Airfield on 28 March 1942.
On 5 April 1942 the 22nd Bomb Group successfully bombed Rabaul. This was the first B-26 Marauder combat mission during World War 2.
Until 24 May 1942, the 22nd Bomb Group, still based in Townsville, staged through Jackson's Strip, 7 miles from Port Moresby, concentrating their attacks on Rabaul. The last combat mission against Rabaul for the 22nd Bomb Group was on 27 May 1942. After that Mitchell bombers were used by the USAAF to attach Rabaul. During these raids on Rabaul they lost seven B-26 Marauders. They then continued their bombing missions from Townsville against Lae.
The 40th Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group moved in with the 36th Squadron of the 8th Fighter Group at Antil Plains on 17 April 1942. Within a very few days, the 36th Squadron packed up and departed for Port Moresby. Within walking distance of the 40th Squadron's camp was an airfield (pasture?) being used by the 33rd Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group. Teddy W. Hanks of the 40th Squadron knew one of the gunners in the 33rd, Bomb Squadron and soon located him. Teddy's friend explained that it took three days for them to make a strike against the enemy:-
Day One: Fly to Seven Mile (now Jackson International Airport) at Moresby and refuel the aircraft by hand pumping fuel out of 55 gallon barrels.
Day Two: Fly to Rabaul, make attack and return to Moresby where the aircraft was refuelled.
Day Three: Return to Antil Plains. A strike consisted of six B-26s -- no fighter escorts because none were capable of flying the distance.
Amberley Field's Igloo hangers as they appeared in 1947.
During the B-25 period, flying 1809 sorties in four months, not a plane was lost through enemy action. At that time, the mission of the 22nd Bomb Group was close ground support of the Australian and American ground forces in New Guinea
BLONDE BOMBER, B-25 #41-30768 posing with one of her crews after bringing them back from another successful bombing and strafing mission against the enemy on the north coast of Papua, New Guinea. Not necessarily in the order listed are Sgt. Santarelli, engineer; S/Sgt Erhardt, radio operator: Lt. Robert Laurie, pilot; Lt. Percy Donack, co-pilot, Lt. Melton Crawford, bombardier; Lt. Robert J. Finlay Jr., navigator, and S/Sgt Hanna, gunner.
Capt. Carl W. Palmquist , 19th Sqd., who flew 47 missions during the B-24 era, posing with Miss Leading, B-24 #42-100204 following her 78th sortie. As a lead pilot, he flew her frequently. #204 met her demise on 31 May 1945 following her 99th mission over Taihoku, Formosa. But not before bringing her crew, four of whom were injured, safely to the ground. That, even though she had been hit at the start of the bomb run and had lost her trim tabs and the #2 and #4 engines, screeched to a stop on a fighter strip.
b-24 OLE' TOMATO, #42-100293, 33RD Squadron. During the first major daylight strike on the Philippines,the aircraft was hit by ground fire and exploded in mid-air.
Though this may not look like a successful landing, the crew who brought her in considered it to be very much so. Hit by A/A fire on a bomb run over Formosa, MISS LEADING, B-24J #42-100204 had come in on two engines, sans hydraulics, flown by the severely wounded co-pilot, Lt. Robert Morgan. In the pilot's seat, Lt. Robert S. Edgar, the bombardier, helped by providing additional pressure to the controls. Lt. Charles E. Critchfield, the pilot, had suffered severe fractures to his right arm and leg from the same burst that had hit Morgan. Injured also, but less severely, were the flight engineer, Lloyd A. Watson and radio operator Benjamin D. Oxley. With no brakes, parachutes were used to slow down the plane which had stopped just short of the end of the runway at Laog Strip in northern Luzon. Also praying for a safe descent were navigator, Lt. R. E. Grey; armorer gunner, Norman Reno; turret gunner, Elmo Barron; nose gunner, Curtis S. Brotherton; and tail gunner, Joseph J. Arnold.
ROUND TRIP TICKET
Shown is #40-1532 SOURPUSS, one of the Silver Fleet's B-26 Marauders. When a crew chief failed to set her brakes properly she rolled back into a telephone pole. The destroyed tail section was replaced by one from #40-1403 which earlier had run into an obstruction when her brakes failed while taxing.
Bombers flying over territory occupied by the enemy dropped not only bombs but numerous leaflets advising the troops below to give up. Illustrated are the front and back of one such which were dropped by bombers flying from Clark Field in the Philippines. The scene depicts autumn, the leaves, on the ground, Rome, falling, Berlin, and soon to fall, Tokyo. The message reads: �Berlin Has Fallen! The mighty German army, that once swept over the entire European continent, can no longer resist the Allied Forces. Even their capital Berlin has fallen and the great European war will soon come to an end. What will become of isolated and helpless Japan, which was left behind all alone? Is it still the wisest way that the leaders of the army let our country be burned to the ground and force us even more cruel suffering and sacrifice? Even now Berlin has fallen