On August 20th 1944, 69 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses of XX Bomber Command were engaged by over a hundred Japanese Army and Navy fighters over Yawata. this was the seventh mission for the B-29s over Japanese soil.
This mission also saw the first instance of a ramming attack over Japan when Sgt Shigeo Nobe, flying a Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (屠龍, “Dragon Slayer”), sliced into the wing of B-29 “GERTRUDE C”, piloted by Lt. Col. Robert Clinkscales. The collision caused the bomber’s wing tank to explode - disintegrating both aircraft and hurling wreckage into the B-29 formation. Nobe and his gunner, Sgt Denzo Tagaki, were killed instantly.
There were no survivors from “GERTRUDE C”, which was named after Lt. Col. Clinkscales mother. Also aboard was “Sally”, his pet spaniel.
“CALAMITY SUE” was named after Capt. Stauffer’s baby, born just before the crew departed from America. Only three crew members survived - 2nd Lt. A. Charles Shott (Flight Engineer), 2nd Lt. Irving Newman (Navigator-Bombardier), and Staff Sgt. Walter Dansby (Radio Operator) bailed out and were captured. The peace declaration saved them from excecution.
(The co-pilot, 1st. Lt. James Wine, bailed out and evaded capture for eleven days. He was shot dead on the early morning of August 31st while attempting to steal a plane from Ashiya Airfield.)
The photograph above was developed from a camera found in the wreckage of the “CALAMITY SUE”, showing the moment of impact on the left.
“We have witnessed this morning the attack of Pearl Harbor and a severe bombing of Pearl Harbor by army planes, undoubtedly Japanese. The city of Honolulu has also been attacked and considerable damage done. This battle has been going on for nearly three hours. One of the bombers dropped within 50 feet of Taunti [phonetic spelling] Tower. Its no joke. Its a real war.” (via, photo via this series from The Atlantic)
“Dear Parents :
Please congratulate me. I have been given a splendid opportunity to die. This is my last day. The destiny of our homeland hinges on the decisive battle in the seas to the south where I shall fall like a blossom from a radiant cherry tree.
I shall be a shield for His Majesty and die cleanly along with my squadron leader and other friends. I wish that I could be born seven times, each time to smite the enemy…
…Thank you, my parents, for the 23 years during which you have cared for me and inspired me. I hope that my present deed will in some small way repay what you have done for me. Think well of me and know that your Isao died for our country. This is my last wish, and there is nothing else that I desire.
How glorious is the Special Attack Corps’ Giretsu Unit whose Suisei bombers will attack the enemy. Our goal is to dive against the aircraft carriers of the enemy. Movie cameramen have been i here to take our pictures. It is possible that you may see us in newsreels at the theater.
We are 16 warriors manning the bombers. May our death be as sudden and clean as the shattering of crystal.
Written at Manila on the eve of our sortie. [28th October 1944]
Soaring into the sky of the southern seas, it is our glorious mission to die as the shields of His Majesty. Cherry blossoms glisten as they open and fall.”
“View from atop the mast of the private yacht Freydis as it passes by a sunken three-seat Japanese float plane from WW2, said to have been sunk by American aircraft while anchored in the Shortland group of the Solomon Islands.” (via)
A great photo, but just leaving the ID as “three-seat Japanese float plane” is not acceptable here. the chaps at the WIX forum investigated further..
I’ll post a link to a high-res set of these ten postcards in the next few days