Briefly described and illustrated in this War Journal are the origin, training and combat performance of the Veteran 9th Bombardment Group as a B-29 Unit of the Army Air Forces in the war against the Japanese Empire. These pictures and statistics are not adequate, though tangible, descriptions of the activities and achievements of this organization. Behind them, inexpressible, indescribable, are the strong bodies, brave hearts, keen minds of some 2500 individual Americans, who were forged in the crucible of war into a brilliantly smooth-working team and whose accomplishments will forever be indelibly inscribed in the war annals of the United States as glowing tribute to themselves and to their country.
9 Feb 45 - Truk. Our maiden attack against any defended target, From 26,000, with 29 aircraft, we bombed the Seaplane Base on Moan Is. in the Truk Atoll. We met no enemy aircraft, but encountered our first anti - aircraft fire.
12 Feb 45 - Iwo Jima. With 21 aircraft we attacked the gun emplacement area from high altitude with over 300 high explosive bombs. Strike photographs showed a high percentage of hits within the target area. Exactly one week later the United States Marines made their landings on Iwo.
14 Feb 45 - Eleven of our crews, each accompanied by an experienced naval observer, to identify sightings and send in contact reports, participated in a picket search Southeast of the main Home Island of Honshu. By nightfall the Navy had sunk every Jap vessel sighted. The Group was commended by the Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas and later received a message from the House of Representatives for its contribution to the smashing success of the first carrier attack on Tokyo.
18 Feb 45 - Back to Truk for another shakedown mission. With only 17 aircraft this time we did better bombing. 60% of the bomb bursts showed in the target area. Again we encountered flak, but no enemy aircraft. Having proven our worth, and with increased confidence in ourselves and our airplanes, we were now ready for the big leagues.
19 Feb 45 - Today, for the first time in the History of the Group, four of our crews dropped their bombs on Japan. Capt Scheaffer, Lt Nash, Lt Ashland and Lt Fleming, flying with the 504th. Bombardment Group, led their crews in an attack on Nakajima-Musashino Aircraft Factory in Tokyo.
Col. Henry C. Huglin
25 Feb 45 - This was our first Group attack on the main islands of the Japanese Empire. Our formations were led by Col. Eisenhart, Lt. Col. Hall and Major Casey, flying with Capt. McClintock, Capt. Curry and Capt. Fling. Enemy Aircraft were encountered for the first time, but no attacks were made. Three of our planes sustained flak damage. We received congratulations from General Arnold for our part in the greatest B-29 raid so far made. In its initial effort, the 314th. Wing joined with the veteran 73rd and 313th. Wings in the first three wing strike by the XXI Bomber Command. 201 Superforts dropped 524 tons of bombs on the Port and Urban Area of Tokyo.
4 Mar 45 - Bad weather forced us to abandon our primary target and again attack the Urban Area of Tokyo from high altitude thru
solid undercast. Enemy reaction was confined to meager anti-aircraft fire. Lt. Malo made history on this mission by landing the first B-29 on Iwo Jima, thereby setting a precedent hundreds would follow. Bitter fighting was still in progress on the island at this time.
These primary missions had seasoned us, but they were inconclusive. It was discouraging to fly the long, lonely miles over forbidding waters only to be turned aside from our primary objective by the unpredictable Empire weather. On the eve of the most destructive aerial offensive of all time, we were veteran, but dissatisfied. Damage inflicted on the enemy seemed disproportionate to our great efforts
.At this time, on 6 Mar 45, Col. Eisenhart left to become Chief of Staff to General Davies, Commanding General of the 313th. Wing. Lt. Col. Huglin assumed command of the Group with Lt. Col. Hall succeeding him as Deputy Group CO.
. The below TWX from the Commanding General, 313th. Wing tells our story:
"33 AIRCRAFT SCHEDULED X 33 AIRBORNE X 33 OVER JAPAN X 33 LANDED BASE X PROOF OF GOOD MAINTENANCE, GOOD CREWS, GOOD LEADERSHIP X CONGRATULATIONS. DAVIES"
16-17 mar 45 - Before the enemy could catch his breath we struck Kobe, transportation center of Japan. Again we attacked at night, with individual aircraft, from medium altitude. Searchlights and anti-aircraft defenses were ineffectual. Enemy fighters however, offered the most determined resistance we had yet penetrated. 65 were sighted and 11 pressed attacks. Lt. Christie and his crew, including Capt. Roth, 99th Squadron Navigator, were lost.
This raid was flown in honor of Brig. General LaVerne Saunders, B-29 pioneer, then recuperating, in Walter Reed Hospital, from injuries received in an aircraft accident. In its first 300 plus raid, largest to date, 306 B-29s of the XXI BG poured 2,328 tons of incendiaries on Kobe in 2 HOURS and 10 MINUTES, destroying one fifth of the city.
On conclusion of the "Blitz" the following message from General Arnold was relayed to all Groups:
"THE SERIES OF FIVE MAJOR STRIKES YOU HAVE PERFORMED IN LESS THAN TEN DAYS CONSTITUTES AN IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT REFLECTING THE GREATEST CREDIT NOT ONLY ON THE MORALE AND FIGHTING SPIRIT OF YOUR CREWS BUT EQUALLY ON THE DETERMINATION AND THE DEVOTION OF YOUR GROUND PERSONNEL. EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR COMMAND IS TO BE COMMENDED FOR HIS VITAL SHARE IN THIS SUPERIOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT SAMPLE OF WHAT THE JAP CAN EXPECT IN THE FUTURE. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD BOMBING."