Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:02:25 GMT 12
FOR THE second successive day very poor flying conditions in the Solomons curtailed air activity. All missions of the bombers were cancelled, and only a few of the fighter patrols were able to get through to Torokina. 5 X-RAYS averaged 36% track and 44% cover. Three special A/S searches were also run. Three were turned back by weather or fuel pump trouble. All negative except: X-RAY 3 at 1145 sighted surfaced sub at 152°05'-06°01', 40 miles south of Cape Orford, and dropped 3 bombs only one of which exploded. Apparently a good hit slightly ahead of swirl. Big brown patch and no further signs. X-RAY 5 strafed a few huts on the NE coast of Bougainville.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:03:20 GMT 12
WEATHER WAS again responsible for an inactive day. All bomber flights were cancelled. The early morning fighter patrols over Torokina and Task Group 31.7 completed their missions against increasing poorer weather. Later flights were cancelled. After several days of delay due to weather, 7 C-47s accomplished a successful parachute drop of supplies to our troops in advanced positions at Torokina the ninth. MOST OF THE SBDs liaison and spotter planes' attention was directed at Jap activity on the east bank of the Saua River 6/8000 yards inland. A radio station was reported but not located, but Jap Infantry was seen and track activity was reported. Artillery fire covered an area near where the radio station was presumed to be, but the plane's observers made no sightings of the station. One flight saw a sunken landing barge east of Tekessi, 6 oil drums in surf near Jaba River, and 5 "Swamp" barges in surf south of Atsinima River. Weather prevented most of the planes from taking off.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:05:42 GMT 12
AFTER FIVE days of poor weather, conditions cleared the 11th and round the clock bombing and strafing of Nip concentrations, supply areas and installations on Bougainville was resumed on a large scale. Major strikes for the 11th were made by 51 SBDs and 16 TBFs at Jakohina supply areas, bridges and gun positions; by two squadrons of B-24s at Tsirogei supply and wharf areas, and by 16 B-25s at the Kahili supply areas. In addition to these large strikes, smaller flights made attacks at Arigua Plantation, ? Island and Koromira Mission. The light bombers destroyed 3 buildings and 1 pier, and caused a large explosion at Jakohina besides knocking out 3 gun positions with direct hits. Other near misses undoubtedly damaged buildings and installations. Our medium bombers carried the ball to Kahili where columns of smoke and dust rose as the flight retired. At Tsirogei, the heavies managed to put 80 percent of their bomb load in the target area although no obvious damage was visible. Three metal buildings, the size of a Quonset hut were destroyed at Arigua Plantation, the mission building at Koromira was set afire, and hutted areas on Green Islands were strafed. The fighters were as active as the bombers the 11th. Besides acting as escort for several of the bomber flights, independent strafing and light bombing attacks, and barge hunts were made to Tonolei Harbor and the east coast of Bougainville in the Kieta area. Night fighters harassed the Buka-Bonis area where small fires were started in the supply area at Bonis. Five night fighters over Cherry Blossom and Task Group 31.7 had a busy time chasing bogies, but made no contacts. In addition to their protective efforts, centuries were dropped on Nip bivouac and supplies a short distance inland from the Jaba River mouth, and on Falsi just across from the seaplane anchorage at Shortland. At Falsi, a trememdous explosion was caused which was followed by a fire visible one hour later from southwest of Treasury and still burning 3 hours later. X-RAY 3 sighted a sub (7.07-154.07) about 180 miles WNW of Munda and headed on a 120° course. Four bombs were dropped, the last two bracketing the submerged sub's course. (The last fell 250 feet ahead of last sight of sub, and about 45 seconds later). An oil slick 30x500', with large pieces of wood was visible. Nothing additional in next hour of circling. X-RAY 5 sighted in Kilinailau Islands 7/10 large dome roofed camouflaged huts 1000' from northwest tip of Yeharna Island, facing new coral road running east from shore. Trees felled over the water suggest possible barge hideout.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:06:45 GMT 12
46 SBDs, 27 TBFs attacked positions at Ratsoa, Pau, Portion, Chabai and Soraken with 48 VF for escort. Light medium and heavy AA, inaccurate and of meagre intensity was encountered. Gun emplacements and huts were destroyed. Fire started in Ratsoa area. Pier at Soraken was destroyed. No AA was encountered from Pau or Ratsoa. At least 4 fires were started at the Kieta Chinatown area by 8 of returning fighters. SIX SPECIAL submarine searches made square searches all day centering on 7.07S-154.07E, where X-Ray 3 yesterday attacked a sub. The first plane took off at 0415 and the last landed at 1620. All were negative except that 4 B 30 reported a possible oil slick and debris 10 miles south of reported position of attack. The Black Cat special look over the area on night of 11/12 had also been negative.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:08:19 GMT 12
PRINCIPAL STRIKES for the 14th were centered again for the second day on targets on northwestern Bougainville. One hundred thirty three total sorties over Bougainville were made by the bombers dropping 144 6 tons bombs. Supporting the Marines on the northeast sector at Torokina, 16 TBFs hit the button, or "threated the needle" as reported by ComAirNorSols. A small number of Mitchells effectively bombed and strafed Jap concentrations and possible supply areas from Numa Numa to Arigua Plantation destroying 22 huts (approx. 15'x25') and 6 metal buildings similar to Quonset Huts. The "bomb happy'' Nips at Maneb, Chabai and Sohana absorbed the major punishment of the day with the unloading of 741 bombs there by SBDs, TBFs, B25s and B24s. Numerous gun positions were damaged or destroyed. Xray 3 at 1050L/14 reported a 4 engine u/i land plane on a 225º true course at 5.40S-152.35 (probably a search plane headed back to Port Morseby), and Xray 4 reported fresh bilge traces at 04.30S-153.45 (15 miles W of Green Island). Xray 5 at 0530-1010 saw no signs of the sub reported off Amlitle and attacked at 0345/14 by the 11 Baker plane.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 3, 2021 11:08:55 GMT 12
65 SBDs and 24 TBFs attacked AA positions at Buka-Bonis with 43 VF as escort. Visible results were as follows: 3 heavies destroyed, 3 heavy and 3 auto damaged, 2 buildings damaged. VFs strafed Tenekau, Motupena Pt. 5 or 6 huts fired at Lukurai. Photos show much of the area obscured by smoke from fires started by B-25s At Bonis no damage was seen, but prints were fuzzy. Heavy AA at north Buka appeared intact. Light, heavy and medium AA, fairly accurate and of meagre to moderate intensity was encountered.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 10:58:38 GMT 12
FOR THE fourth consecutive day northwestern Bougainville absorbed the major punishment from our air action. SBDs and TBFs shot for the gun positions on Sohana Island and those across the channel west and northwest of the Bonis strip; B-25s, the supply dump and float plane area, east Sohana Island, and B-24s Wongtu in the Bonis area. Numerous fires and black smoke were seen throughout the area, and 2 heavy and several automatic guns were destroyed, 1 heavy and 1 automatic damaged. Hazy photographs prevented an accurate damage assessment but 1 building between Kahil and Chinatown, and eastern Chinatown Wharf destroyed, 1 automatic AA southwest of Bonis R/W damaged, 3 possibly damaged. Northwest of Bonis R/W 1 hit between 2 heavy gun positions. Four Venturas found no barges at Green Island in the early morning so bombed and strafed the Southern Cross area on southeastern Bougainville. Five Mitchells plastered the reported fuel dump on Sankan Island, Matchin Bay area with forty centuries. Two centuries were dropped on Poporang.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 10:59:19 GMT 12
THE RUNWAY and AA positions were the points of aim for SBDs and TBFs at Ballale. The runway was well sprinkled with 500 and 2000 lb. bomb hits rendering it unserviceable once again. Three gun positions were probably damaged and 2 small fires were started in the bivouac area. TWO SPECIAL X-rays were in the air from 0800 to 1400 to spot fighters downed after the Rabaul mission. Negative. Xray 14 sighted a steel drum of type used in submarine nets, off Motupena on a 252° bearing. The drum had two square 7' screens crossed on top. Wreckage - oil drums and a raft were sighted 20 miles N of Vella LaVella by Xray 15.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:00:17 GMT 12
Rabaul Japs were blessed and Bougainville's damned when weather prevented rendezvous of the large Liberator strike with fighter escort and alternate targets on Bougainville were taken. Beleaguered Japs in the Southern Cross area of Bougainville spend another day the 18th dodging bombs and bullets when relays of SBDs and TBFs attacked the area at 30 to 45 minute intervals from 0745 to 1710. PAMPHLETS were dropped on the Kilinailau Islands the 18th suggesting the inadvisability of the natives there cooperating in any manner with the Japs. This is the second addition made to native libraries there, and was done by PV-1 (NZ).
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:01:37 GMT 12
TWO WAVES of SBDs and TBFs attacked the personnel, supply areas and gun positions at Kieta Harbor. The first element struck at 1130L/19th and the second at 1245. The bridge at Rigu Mission, 20 houses, and numerous huts were destroyed in addition to several effective hits near gun positions. Several AA positions appeared empty. X-RAY 5 noted a buoy at the western tip of Nissan (Green) Island, with a stockade at various points along the beach. There were no signs of activity on Feni Island. A special X-Ray (21B33) patrolled from Torokina to New Britain in search of possible downed pilots. At noon it sighted a black ball 3' in diameter with an 8' high square kite-like structure of white cloth on top, 5/7 miles west of Motupena Point. On the tip of Cape St. George it took pictures of a small red house with a white, apparently new, tower-like structure 20' high built around and above the house. The plane's IFF became louder when near the tower, indicating a possible radar station.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:02:26 GMT 12
Sohana Island and west Bonis AA positions were the target for Avengers and Dauntless light bombers. Rain and low clouds over the target hampered the dive bombing. One bomb hit among barges opposite Sohana Island and three other bombs were effective near misses. Numerous effective hits were made near houses and gun positions. A new heavy AA position was noted firing from the Halela Mission area and 2 automatic, 1 from southwest of the Bonis strip and the other near tip of land about 1 mile west of Buka strip. Retiring fighter escort fired 2 or 3 huts at Tenekau and others found no targets in the Southern Cross area. One Dauntless crashed west of Bonis strip. MAGNIFYING GLASSES MUST HAVE BEEN USED BY X-Rays on the 20th for they sighted: 1. Empty life-raft and possible A/C drop tank at 0937, position 8.10-154.12 (180 miles W of Munda) by X-Ray 1. 2. Oil slick off Torokina, 1/4 mile long at 0850 (6.40-154.43) by X-Ray 2. 3. Betty in water 50 yards off west shore of the island 4 miles northwest of Nugarba in the Nugurai Island. Also a small sail boat south of Nugarba, and many native huts, and an old dock and jetty on the westernmost island, by X-Ray 5. 4. A possible raft near a scattered oil slick at 1320 (7.46-155.35) 50 miles west of Vella by X-Ray 12. 5. A sub periscope at 6.42-154.26, 40 miles WSW Motupena Point by X-Ray # 14, which remained over the sighting from 1550 until 1730.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:03:31 GMT 12
FIFTY-EIGHT SBD and 26 TBF, escorted by 33 fighters, dumped a total of 239 bombs on gun positions and barge hideouts at Sohana and west Bonis. Six bombs landed among a group of barges, one fuel dump went up in huge clouds of black smoke at the seaplane base, and 2 direct and 9 effective hits were reported on AA positions. The fighters, on the way back, strafed 9 barges in the Chabai-Porton area fired a fuel dump at Chabai, and to the south shot up a couple of bridges on the Konanga and Puriata rivers, leaving one smoking. Calling cards were also left at a hut used for supply purposes at Monoitu Mission, Buka's Chanatown from 7-10th cloud cover was hit by 9 B-25s who dropped 68 250 pounders on both sides of the passage, starting what was described as a lovely fire at the seaplane base, from which the smoke billowed up 1000 feet, and a smaller fire west of the Buka runway. AA was reported meagre to moderate at Sohana, both automatic and heavy, and meagre heavy fire was reported at Buka Chinatown.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:04:35 GMT 12
FOR JAPS on Bougainville, the day started the night before at 2117 with 2 B24 harrassers dropping 80 centuries on Buka, Kahili and Kieta, and taking five hours or so to do it. Half of the bombs were time-fused. Then at 0915/1015, 47 SBDs and 28 TBFs hit bivouac and supply areas in SE Bougainville, destroying 15/20 buildings at Mawaraka and 1/12 at Aitara with a fire at Motupena Point and Toko Mission. Altogether 47 half and 112 quarter tonners were dropped, and 94 centuries. Nip MG fire was reported meager and inaccurate. One TBF was lost, crashing in the water when one of its wings came off. X-RAY 1 AT 0755, 35 miles S of Cape Orford had three planes make a run on him out of the sun and retire northwest. The sun made identification difficult, but he thinks they were probably Beau-fighters, possibly Dinahs. Xray 3 at 1140 sighted an u/i plane 100 miles SSE of Cape Orford headed toward the south tip of New Ireland. Xray 15 strafed 2 beached barges camouflaged with branches on Feni Island, and one on Ambitle with 50 rounds.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:05:13 GMT 12
TODAY'S SOLE activity amounted to 2 PVs that went up the Uguimo River on a barge hunt. Eight 500 pounders were dropped on the hideout. Two more Zekes should be credited to the New Zealanders on yesterday's strike.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 4, 2021 11:06:20 GMT 12
20 TBFs with an escort of 8 F6Fs hit gun positions in the Buka-Bonis-Sohana area at 1155L/25 dropping a total of 68x500 and getting effective hits near numerous gun positions. One new AA position was noted between Bonis and the barge hide-out. Heavy and automatic AA was reported, moderate and inaccurate. Kangu Hill, the secondary target for the 25th, was struck at 1240 by 3 TBFs and 26 SBDs which unloaded 52x100, 12x500 and 26x1000 in the target area, getting effective hits near gun positions. Both light and heavy AA were reported, meagre and inaccurate, Motupena Point also was hit, 16 SBDs letting go with 32x100 and 16x1000 shortly after noon, with unobserved results. Assigned to Torokina ground support, 2 flights of TBFs, one a 12-plane element and the other 13planes, hit jungle pinpoints at 1000 and 1700/L on the 25th, dumping 144x100 and 52x500 in the target areas. TWO PVs WERE again assigned to rescue patrol duty for the Rabaul strike and were on station from 1210/1330 but sighted no life rafts and made no contacts. TWO VENTURAS on special patrol for possible downed pilots on the B-24 strike were negative except for a native canoe 30 miles ESE of Cape St. George. Torokina - The patrol operating at Hill 600 again made contact with the enemy about 400-6000 yards north of the hill. At that point, the Japs were dug in with some 25 covered and several uncovered emplacements, which indicates a defense line is probably being established. Twelve TBFs were despatched to this area where at 1030 they dropped 144 centuries with good effects. A follow-up patrol was sent out and their findings are yet to be received.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 5, 2021 13:05:53 GMT 12
53 SBDs and 24 TBFs appearing in 6 plane elements at approximately 45 minute intervals, bombed Kieta harbor around the clock on 26 December. 45 tons were dropped in enemy concentrations along the west shore of the harbor, destroying 30-40 buildings and numerous huts. In addition, all planes strafed. Slight, light AA was encountered. The bombers were unescorted. TWO NZ PVs were airborne during the morning on a barge hunt on the SE coast of Bougainville. None was seen from Puk Puk to Tonolei, but 8 x 500 destroyed a bridge N of Chivaroi and several huts. Torokina - Jap positions on the north slope of hill 600 were again hit from the air. Twelve TBFs struck first at 1655 with 48 quarter ton bombs and then repeated the gesture with 155 centuries the next morning at 1130. Results of the bombing are being investigated by ground patrols. No further information has become available on the artillery pounding yesterday given the Jap positions east of the Torokina River mouth.
Post by aircraftclocks on Jun 5, 2021 13:06:39 GMT 12
OUR MEDIUM and light bombers returned in strength to Buka on 27 December. From 1055 to 1105 54 SBDs and 22 TBFs worked over AA positions around the Buka strip, bombing the heavy guns north of the strip particularly and knocking out two medium guns at Kahil. 54 tons were dropped including 88x500 by the TBFs and 54 1000 and 108x100 by the SBDs. Slight to moderate AA damaged two SBDs, but all planes hitting Buka returned to base. THREE NZ PVs, ordered out to search for barges reported in the islands east of New Ireland, located three apparently unserviceable ones on the south coast of Ambitle, and one serviceable and one wrecked barge on the south of Feni Island. All were hit in thorough strafing and bombing runs, during which 10x500 were released.