Title – Warpath: A Story of the 345th Bombardment Group (M) in World War II
Author – N/A
This is a reprint of the war time operations history book which was originally produced by the men of the 345th Bombardment Group (Medium) just after the end WW2. The bomb group was established in 1942 as the 345th and was comprised of 4 groups – 498th, 499th, 500th, 501st.
The reader is given insights in to the groups operations on a daily to weekly basis. This format conveys the hardships the men faced, the horrors of war and the peacefulness which at times prevailed.
The 345th Group was trained in the USA during 1942, moved to Australia during April–June 1943 where it was assigned to the USAAF’s Fifth Air Force. Soon after the unit was sent north to Papua New Guinea to take on the Japanese. The 345th finally entered combat on 30 June 1943, taking on the Japanese in challenging air to ground and fighting off air to air attacks. The 345th Bombardment Group, flew North American Aviation B-25 Mitchell bombers against Japanese targets in southeast Asia from mid 1943 to August 1945. The group was nicknamed the “Air Apaches” and they painted some very colorful nose art on their aircraft.
The 345th used heavily armed B-25Js which were further upgraded for heavier firepower by adding on extra .50 calibre machine guns around the nose. They also adopted low level bombing techniques using parachute retarded bombs and became very proficient at highly accurate strafing attacks.
Operations until July 1944 included bombing and strafing Japanese airfields and installations in Papua New Guinea and across the Bismarck Archipelago; attacking shipping in the McCluer Gulf, Ceram Sea, and Bismarck Sea; supporting ground forces in the Admiralties; dropping supplies to ground troops; flying courier and reconnaissance missions in the area.
345th operations moved to Biak from July–November 1944. From there the Group struck at airfields and shipping in the southern Philippines and the Celebes. In November 1944 the unit moved to the Philippines where targets included Japanese airfields and communications on Luzon, industries and communications on Formosa, and shipping along the China coast.
In July 1945 the group moved to Ie Shima where they were within striking range of mainland Japan. From there they flew strike missions over Kyushu and the Sea of Japan. After the dropping of the atomic bombs, the 345th was selected to escort the Japanese surrender party from Japan to Ie Shima.
Post war the group was disbanded in late 1945. They were reestablished in the mid 1950s for a few years utilising the new jet-powered B-57 Canberra before being finally deactivated again in 1959.
Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″
Pages: 304 pages
Binding: hard cover
Available direct from Schifferbooks at http://www.schifferbooks.com/warpath-a-story-of-the-345th-bombardment-group-m-in-world-war-ii-282.html for $49.95 US plus postage.