and “Tokyo Express” merchant convoys.

“We’d try and hit the enemy from land to sea

direction during our attacks on ground targets. If I got hit, I could fly out to sea and be

rescued by our submarines or Catalina flying boats off the coast. Our group would fly

behind the target at about 3,000 feet, make

our turn and gain speed on the decent. Most

of the time we’d ‘firewall’ it and cross the

target at speed of over 300 mph. Our problem was the ground fire since we flew at

low altitudes. We had a camera mounted in

the tail of our bomber and it automatically

took photos when actuated by the opening

of the bomb bay doors. We’d carry regular

bombs, napalm, para-fragmentation and

even 5-inch rockets under our wings. The

rockets were not very accurate, but when

going against ships, you’d probably score

a good hit.

The B-25’s we flew were the J models.

Later they had to pull the side nose mounted guns outside my window, because the

recoil was pulling out the rivets on the nacelles! My B-25 was ‘Bugs Bunny’ since he

was in the cinema at the time. It was a very

forgiving plane, that didn’t have a tendency

to stall. I flew the ‘Bugs Bunny’ for several

months, and then I was rotated to other aircraft. It would be very unusual for a crew to

stay with one bomber the whole time. We

didn’t get replacement airplanes quickly,

and the ones we got had repair patches all

over them. It seemed like the war in Europe

had top priority over us.”


With MacArthur’s ground forces making

successful penetrations on the island of

Luzon in their drive to capture Manila, U.S.

carrier and Fifth Air Force aircraft battered the Japanese held Clark Air Force

Base. In desperation, the Japanese air force stepped up the pace of their kamikaze


INFO Eduard

attacks on the US Fleet with encouraging

results. However, their losses in men and

aircraft made them less of a threat over

the islands. The 823rd BS continued its

daily raids, unmolested by enemy fighter

aircraft in February and March. Erwin’s

group was then based at Lingayen, after

the island of Luzon fell to American forces.

The “Bugs Bunny” and rest of the Mitchell’s

pressed home their attacks against Japanese ground forces, getting riddled with

anti-aircraft fire.

“On the Philippines we’d hit enemy convoys

of trucks loaded with troops. I would say

that we flew lower than 25 feet to strafe

them. Luckily the Jap’s didn’t have many

guns emplacements

there. However, I did get pretty shot up

over Manila one afternoon after dropping

a load on a target. We were flying over

what I thought was friendly territory, and

I saw the infantrymen moving about on

the ground below. All of a sudden, I got hit

with a big 40mm shell, right between my

left engine and the fuselage. Boy did I get

out of that area in a hurry. Enough with the


“One time I took ‘Bugs Bunny’ on a weather

reconnaissance mission over Formosa.

We left Lingayen early in the morning and

flew out into the South China Sea. I then

spotted a coral reef with a bunch of small

boats lined up around it. There must have

been at least 150 civilians standing on that

reef. Off course it was open hunting season on everything (human targets). So,

I flew overhead and fired a short burst with

my guns to show them what I had. Then

I circled and waved to them from my cockpit window. I wasn’t really sure who they

were, for all I know they could be ferrying

supplies to the Japanese. ‘Bugs’ had enough firepower to kill every person standing

down there. However, I could not have lived

with myself, and have been very thankful

that I didn’t pull the trigger… Because then

I wouldn’t have been much of a person.”

There were many times when we hit the

enemy troops, that were out in the open

and running for their lives. We strafed and

killed a lot of them. You could see their bodies literally ‘evaporate’ after being hit with

the .50 caliber slugs.”

August 2022