Original U.S. WWII Named B-24 Pilot 42nd Bomb Squadron A-2 Flight Jacket
This A-2 flying jacket has fantastic features which include:
- Reverse of jacket features an incredible full color hand painted B-24 Liberator inside a sky blue oval.
- Left chest bears a hand painted insignia for the 42nd bomb squadron.
- Left shoulder bears a hand painted insignia for the 7th Air Force.
- Interior LINING bears a BLACK stencil that reads:
Overall condition of the jacket is very good. Offered in a size 40. The leather is still supple and does not have any major cracking or damage. There are areas of dryness and flaking. The liner is original. The cuffs and waist band appear to be period correct replacement. The zipper is by TALON and fully functional. There is an original maker data tag.
42nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
11th Bombardment Group, 7th Air Force, 1941-1946
The 42nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), one of the squadrons of the 11th Bombardment Group of the Seventh Air Force, was on duty at Hickam Field, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attacked United States forces. Elements of the squadron participated in the Battle of Midway. In July 1942, the squadron was ordered to the South Pacific, flying from Plaines de Gaiac on New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo, and Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The history of the squadron is mentioned in a variety of resources, most notably in Cleveland, W. M., ed. Grey geese calling : Pacific air war history of the 11th Bombardment Group (H), 1940-1945.
8th Bombardment Squadron in WW2
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 3d Bombardment Group prepared for deployment to the Pacific Theater. The squadron's A-20A Havocs were transferred to other units, and the 8th Bomb Squadron was ordered to deploy to Australia, equipped with A-24 Banshee dive bombers. Acting on secret orders the squadron moved to California. and shortly thereafter boarded the USAT Ancon on 31 January 1942 bound for Australia. They arrived in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on 25 February 1942 as the first U.S. troops to reach Australia.
Operations from Australia
Upon the squadron's arrival in Brisbane, its aircraft had not yet arrived. The ground crews were pressed into service as ground crews for the 19th Bombardment Group's Boeing B-17F Flying Fortresses. Since the 3d Group had no aircraft available and additional training was necessary, it did not begin operations immediately. On 6 March, the squadron moved to Charters Towers, where an airfield and a camp were hurriedly built (Breddan Airfield) while the aircrews trained with their A-24 dive bombers. On 31 March, the air echelon flew north to Port Moresby, New Guinea and the 8th was again at war. On 1 April 1942 the 3d Group flew its first combat mission of World War II. Six A-24s were headed for Japanese Lae Airfield in eastern New Guinea. Lae was socked in by weather so they diverted to Salamaua and attacked Japanese forces occupying the town. They dropped 5 bombs in their first combat mission since November 1918.
Combat missions from Charters Towers were conducted by staging through Kila Kila Airfield (also known as 3-Mile Drome), near Port Moresby. Planes would be flown by pilots, accompanied by gunners, from Charters Towers to Kila Kila where they would be refueled, armed, and then fly on to their targets. An air echelon consisting of personnel from engineering, armament, communication, mess and operations sections would travel by boat from Townsville, on the northeastern coast of Queensland to Port Moresby. Members of the air echelon would remain at Kila Kila from two weeks to three months at a time. All other men in the squadron stayed at Charters Towers.
While at Charters Towers the squadron received some North American B-25C Mitchell medium bombers during the last week of March that had been ordered by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force before the war. There were 12 of them that were flown by Air Transport Command to Australia sitting idle as the Netherlands East Indies had surrendered to the Japanese. These aircraft were immediately "requisitioned" by the USAAF in the desperate attempt to halt the Japanese advance toward Port Moresby. It was agreed that the Dutch government would be credited accordingly, or else the planes would be replaced on a one-to-one basis by later deliveries. The 8th flew the B-25s primarily against harbors and for barge hunting, but also for weather reconnaissance or antisubmarine searches. The crews initially formed to fly the B-25s consisted of personnel that for the most part had previous experience on Martin B-10 bombers.
Battle of New Guinea
The squadron moved to Jackson Airfield (7 Mile Drome), Port Moresby, New Guinea on 31 March 1942 after the Japanese advance was thwarted. Thirteen A-24s left Charters Towers for Port Moresby via Cooktown Airport, Queensland. At Cooktown, three turned back because of excessive oil consumption; two became mired in the mud. These five all returned to Charters Towers within 48 hours. The other eight made the 430-mile over-water flight to Port Moresby. They landed at 7 Mile Drome at 21:15. During the period from 21 April 21 to 5 May, constant changes in strength of enlisted personnel were being made as men whose health was suffering from the tropical climate there returned to Charters Towers and others were called up as the situation demanded.
On 4 April 1942. Colonel Davies led the crews of twelve B-25s on an 800-mile round trip strike from Port Moresby against the Japanese at Gasmata Airfield on the southern coast of New Britain in the Solomon Islands. Because of the distance, only four 300-pound bombs could be carried. The raid caught the Japanese by surprise. The American airmen succeeded in destroying 30 Japanese aircraft on the ground. For the first time, in what had been a one-sided air war in favor of the Japanese, the Americans had inflicted heavy losses without losing any of its own men.
However, the B-25s as high level bombers were flying without escort fighters. Although better armed, they were still treated badly by swarms of Zeros. On 24 May six B-25s attacked Lae Airfield and one of them came back. Harassing missions were flown out of Jackson Airfield with the A-24s until 29 July when an eight ship convoy was spotted 50 miles north of Buna, Papua New Guinea. Five of seven A-24s that had taken off to attack the convoy were shot down by enemy fighter planes. They initially had an escort of Bell P-39 Airacobras. Somewhere over the Owen Stanley Mountains they lost their escort and decided to go in with out them. Subsequently, they ran into 24 Japanese fighters over Buna. In the succeeding battle against overwhelming Mitsubishi A6M Zero odds and shattering antiaircraft fire the squadron suffered heavy losses.
It was decided that the A-24 aircraft was unsuitable for dive-bombing land combat against the Japanese. The Japanese, possessing air superiority, easily dealt with the dive-bombers and the handful of inferior fighter escorts. After losing eleven A-24s and their two-man crews, the 3d Bombardment Group called off further dive-bomber missions from Jackson Airfield. They were withdrawn from New Guinea after it was realized that they were not suited for their intended role without adequate fighter protection and they were desperately in need of adequate workshop facilities and spares backup that were unavailable.
In May 1942, the 8th was without any aircraft, and the men of the squadron settled down to enjoy the rumor that eventually it would receive A-20 Havocs. Capt. Galusha, acting as Commander, obtained three A-20Cs from the 89th Bombardment Squadron and proceeded to check out the crews on the A-20. Hopes were high that the squadron would be re-equipped and everyone was expecting action in the not-too distant future. Their expectations would soon turn to disillusionment as the planes did not arrive — with a negative impact to morale. The crews flew with the 89th in their two borrowed A-20s flying missions, but the unit remained without aircraft until March 1943. Despite this the 8th's crews distinguished themselves flying with the 89th Squadron.
The 8th was finally supplied with Douglas A-20C Havoc aircraft in August 1942. They returned to Australia for a short time to train in this new type of aircraft. On 28 September 1942, the Squadron was redesignated as the 8th Bombardment Squadron (Dive).
On 12 September 1942, the 8th and 89th Bombardment Squadron A-20s attacked the Japanese Buna Airfield. The Japanese, expecting an attack from 3,000 to 4,000 feet were caught off guard. The A-20 crews came in at tree top level. When the last A-20 pulled away, it left the airfield a flaming wreck with 17 Japanese aircraft destroyed. The group continued low-level attacks against ground targets in support of the Papua Campaign in their A-20s, fought from 23 July 1942 to 23 January 1943, to clear the Japanese from its lodgments at Buna and Gona on the northeast coast of New Guinea. The campaign earned them their first Distinguished Unit Citation.
By spring of 1943, the war was shifting to the Allies advantage. On 10 April 1943 a new base was established across the Owen Stanley Mountains at Dobodura, New Guinea. In April 1943, the 8th moved alone to Dobodura and achieved the distinction of being the first bombardment unit on the northern side of the Owen-Stanley Range — in fact, the 8th Squadron and the 49th Fighter Group were the only tactical outfits on that side of the range.
At Dobodura the squadron began to receive B-25G Mitchells to replace the ones taken over from the Netherlands East Indies Air Force at Charters Towers. The B-25G was equipped with a 75-mm cannon, intended for use in anti-shipping strikes in the South Pacific. From Dobodura the 8th Squadron made one of the first raids on the Japanese Wewak Airport. The 3d Bombardment Group participated in a maximum effort against the Japanese airfields both at Wewak and Boram in mid-August, effectively neutralizing them and destroying most of the aircraft. The attacks paved the way for an airborne drop of American troops and an amphibious landing of Australian soldiers, who seized Nadzab and Lae in early September. The air attacks on the Japanese airfields and landings broke the back of any effective Japanese air capability in New Guinea and cleared the way for a further advance up the coast and the clearing of Dutch New Guinea of Japanese. The 3d Bombardment Group earned its second Distinguished Unit Citation for its support of the operation on 17 August 1943. Slowly the Japanese were pushed out of the "deep" South Pacific. Air and sea battles raged from Hollandia to Wewak. The net cost to Japanese airfields, personnel, planes and ocean-going vessels were tremendous.
Also, the 8th began attacking the Japanese base at Rabaul, which the Japanese had turned into a fortress. It had been attacked by B-17s based in Australia early in the war, but until the establishment of an Allied base at Dobodura it was out of range of both the A-20s and B-25s. Since a direct landing assault was virtually impossible, the Americans decided on a strategy of taking Bougainville Island to the north and occupying the southern half of New Britain. Fifth Air Force received the mission of neutralizing the Japanese at Rabaul and supporting the landing to the north and south of the Japanese fortress. The 3rd Bombardment Group used its A-20s and B-25s with deadly effect in low-level attacks against Japanese ground targets and shipping. By firing the machine guns, the bomber crews forced the Japanese anti-aircraft gunners to run for cover, allowing time to drop the bombs with deadly accuracy.
In May 1944, the same routine followed with the strafing and bombing along the coastal areas. On 5 February 1944, the unit moved to Nadzab Airfield, New Guinea. On 1 February 1944, the squadron had a strength of 40 officers and 270 enlisted men with 17 A-20Gs and 1 B-25G. This included 19 trained combat pilots and 39 trained combat gunners and photographers. The squadron continued its primary mission of interdiction. The first mission performed by the squadron during the month of April was a bombing and strafing mission against grounded aircraft and antiaircraft positions at Hollandia Airfield and Sentani Airport, in Dutch New Guinea. Fifteen A-20G aircraft took off, with all planes reaching the target, dropping 130 hundred-pound parachute demolition bombs on the target area. Bombs were seen to fall directly among 20 to 25 twin-engine unidentified airplanes off the northwest end of Hollandia Airdrome, causing many of these planes to blow up or burn fiercely. Six to eight apparently serviceable aircraft on the northeast end of Hollandia Airdrome were bombed. They are believed to have been heavily damaged or destroyed. Two twin-engine bombers were left burning on the south end of Hollandia Airdrome. Several other bombers and single-seater fighters were heavily strafed. The entire area of Sentani and Cyclops Airdromes was strafed, with many parked aircraft set afire. All the U.S. planes returned safely, but one was forced to land at Dumpu, New Guinea, damaged by anti-aircraft fire. In May 1944, the same routine followed with the strafing and bombing along the coastal areas.
The group moved to Hollandia Airfield on 7 May 1944 as the Japanese gave way to repeated assaults on their New Guinea strongholds. The 3d Bomb Group carried out strikes against Japanese shipping, struck airfields at low level and on 17 May, supported the landing at Wakde Island with six missions. Fires were started in fuel dumps on Wakde, causing several explosions. Two loaded barges, a fuel dump, several wooden shacks, and four or five trucks were bombed and strafed near Sarmi, causing destruction of the barges and heavy damage to the other targets,
Shipping at Manokwari Harbor and aircraft on Kamiri Airfield on Noemfoor Island were the targets for 12 planes on 19 May was one of the most outstanding missions ever flown by the 8th Bombardment Squadron as far as damage to the enemy is concerned. The strike resulted in the sinking or damaging of seven Japanese ships from 150–800 tons, direct hits on a 1000–1500 ton ship, and damage to several smaller luggers and a power launch by misses and strafing in Manokwari Harbor. Nine of the twelve planes made strafing passes on parked aircraft on Kamiri Airfield, destroying four planes definitely and causing heavy damage to at least ten others. Many Japanese infantry of a group of approximately 100 working on the Kamiri airstrip were seen to fall after a strafing pass had been made on them. Four trucks were heavily strafed, probably rendering them completely unserviceable. Anti-aircraft Artillery fire, first at Manokwari was of all calibers, ranging from moderate to intense, but inaccurate. At Kamiri Airfield, medium and light AAA fire was received, inaccurate as to lead. One enemy Mitsubishi F1M float plane, attempted to intercept, but was shot down by a Lockheed P-38 Lightning escort about one mile west of Kamiri. All of our planes returned safely.
The 3d Bomb Group spent the rest of the year supporting ground operations as the American and Australian Armies cleaned out the last vestiges of Japanese in the New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago areas and seized additional islands closer to the Philippines. On 20 October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur’s forces landed on Leyte Island in the central Philippines. After securing the island, they established logistical bases for further operations in the Philippines.
When the landings were made upon Leyte Island in the central Philippines on 20 October, all men in the organization knew that soon their new destination would be some location in the Philippines. Rapid preparations were made in the closing days of October for a movement by water in the early part of November.
In November 1944, the 8th again prepared to move, splitting into advance and rear echelons. The advance echelon headed to Dulag Airfield, Leyte, Philippines on 15 November with 20 officers and 177 enlisted men. These men boarded a Landing Ship, Tank (LST) for Leyte. while 19 officers and 34 enlisted men of the rear echelon remained at Hollandia Airfield. Upon arrival at Dulag Airfield the 8th continued to fly missions against the enemy in support of ground force action. On 1 November there were 16 serviceable A-20Gs and 1 serviceable B-25J airplanes. On 30 November there were 15 serviceable A-20Gs. While based in the Philippines, the unit attacked shipping off the northwest coast of Luzon, flew missions in support of landings at Subic Bay, provided support for the recapture of Manila and Bataan, and cooperated with allied ground forces in bombing enemy held areas on Luzon and adjacent islands.
However, the biggest change for the 3d Bombardment Group in the Philippines was that, unlike in New Guinea, it was no longer was the primary ground support unit for the landing forces island hopping in the Philippines. In New Guinea, it had been constantly at the brunt of battle. In the Philippines, the 3d was moved to a support role. In November, the entire group flew only one strike mission of 10 sorties and 4.5 combat hours was flown. No strike missions were flown from Dulag Field during the entire month of December 1944. In December new higher-horsepower A-20Hs arrived to replace the battle-weary A-20Gs.
After about two months, the forward echelon of the 3d Bombardment Group moved again to Mc Guire Field, San Jose, Mindoro, Philippines on 30 December 1944. The rear remained at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea until 23 January 1945, on which date the 8th Squadron planes left for McGuire Field, arriving on 24 January. From the 24–31 January the entire Squadron was based at San Jose. On 1 January the Squadron had 16 serviceable A-20Hs and on 31 January there were 16 serviceable A-20Hs. The unit flew 6 missions for a total of 58 sorties. Resistance was light on the missions.
On 9 January 1945, Lt Col Richard H. Ellis, commander of the 3d Bomb Group, led the first Group mission in the Philippines. The group, along with other units from Fifth Air Force, conducted a massive air strike against Japanese-held Clark Field, near Manila. Later that month, The Group supported the landing of US Forces at Subic Bay. On 9 February, Colonel Ellis led the group in a low-level attack against Japanese installations on Corregidor Island, in the beginning of a four-day attack. For the first time, aircraft of the 3d Bomb Group used aerial rockets. They later supported the American parachute assault against the small island that had been the scene of the American surrender three years earlier. As the major battles in the Philippines wound down, the Americans invaded Okinawa on 7 April 1945. The 3d Bombardment Group continued its operations in the Philippines, supporting secondary ground operations on Mindoro, Luzon and Mindanoa, also attacking Japanese-held industrial targets and railways on Formosa. Army ground elements followed on the footsteps of the 8th air attacks in the Philippines and found the Japanese on the hills "dazed and killed by concussion and the remnants were easily annihilated.
At the beginning of May 1945, the group began received four early production models of the Douglas A-26B Invader for combat trials. Designed to replace the A-20 and B-25s, the Invader accommodated a pilot and a gunner. Faster, and with a longer range, it packed an impressive armament of 14 forward firing 50-caliber machine guns and could carry 2,000 pounds of bombs. In May, 23 missions for a total of 198 sorties were flown. All aircraft were flown from McGuire Field.
In June, the pace of action slowed. The squadron flew 5 missions for a total of 46 sorties. The 8th was involved in strikes against Japanese troop contingents in the Cagayan Valley on Northern Luzon. The last organized Japanese resistance on Luzon was crushed by the end of June. Rumors of a move from McGuire Field to Okinawa in July prevailed throughout the month.
The squadron remained at McGuire Field until 25 July when the ground echelon embarked for Okinawa. The end of July found the water echelon at sea, while the air echelon remained at San Jose. The unit flew four missions for a total of twelve sorties during the entire month, with all missions in July were attacks on the Japanese targets in Formosa. Throughout July, local transition training for the A-26B was conducted with flights between McGuire Field and Clark Field on Luzon.
The first day of August 1945 found the ground echelon on the high seas en route to Okinawa, while the air echelon remained at McGuire Field on Mindoro. The ground echelon arrived on 6 August at Sobe Field, Okinawa and the air echelon arrived on 7 August. From 6 August until hostilities ceased on 12 August, the 8th was flying missions as part of a group effort against strategic targets on Kyushu and Honshu.
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