6th Bomb Group Written War Diaries
These are original diaries from the men who were there. They offer a very real perspective on the experience of being in a war.
NOTE: These diaries are the exclusive property of the authors and may not be reproduced without permission. All Rights Reserved.
Memories of World War II by Newell Penniman Jr.
“The tension of the take-offs with about 138,000 pounds gross weight including over 7,000 gallons of high octane gas and ten tons of bombs can never be passed on to a reader of these memoirs. It can’t be done. You yourself would have had to have been there as we bounced down the runway hoping and praying. The only voices to be heard were those of the airplane commander and the pilot as they checked off increasing airspeed, etc. The rest of the crew were praying in silence. “Dear God please help us to survive another take off, another mission, and return us safely to Tinian, Amen.” ”
Tinian Diary of Sargent Charles W. Jones
March 13, 1945—“Took off for Osaka at 6:35 pm. Flew to the target and bomb at 7500 feet. It was a radar run because we were in the soup. The place was burning like the Devil. They threw a bit of flak at us. We had fighters on our tail for quite some time but lost them in the soup. We saw some ships drop their incendiaries about 25 miles out in the ocean. We had some distress calls. We flew over Iwo Jima on the way back. Got back to the base at 10:15 am. Had interrogation. Had a drink of whiskey. Had a meal. We were all so tired that we could not stand up. This was a 16 hour mission.”
Diary of Al Dimsha
July 22, 1945 — Fusan, Korea. “Last mining mission & I’m sure glad. This darn mining reminds me of when I was a kid trying to slip into a neighbors yard at night to steal some apples. You get the same feeling on the bomb runs & I sure don’t like it. We took off at 8 p.m. Carried 7, 2,000 lb mines. Weather was pretty good all the way up. Over the Japanese Empire we had a few clouds. We could see lights flash on the ground showing our course. This was to aid Japanese fighters in following us. The moon was full and it was as bright as day. Sure a beautiful night for fighters. Arrived at target & “praise the Lord”, we had a solid undercast. We dropped our mines & met no opposition. Proceeded home without incident. Landed at 9:50 a.m. Coming in for a landing, Tinian sure is a welcome sight after 16 hrs in the air.”
Diary of Rockleigh Dawson – First Missions Truk & Tokyo
“It is indeed a tremendous sight to see B-29s taxiing out to take-off position for an empire strike. Hundreds of airplanes are air borne in the shortest possible time, making use of 3 runways (we now have 4) at 1 minute intervals. The big birds roar down the runway, some just barely getting off at the other end. I might add here that take-off is something that each individual in his own way sweats out – whether it be the man on the ground watching or the crew in the ship – as our ships were always heavily loaded – sometimes as high as 138,500 pounds, and that is one hell of a lot of weight to be in air. The ship was designed to weigh 120,000 pounds fully-loaded. The loss of power on any one of the 4 engines would be fatal and each man knew this.”
Fortune’s Follies: Robert Patrick O’Riley Fortune in the Pacific Air War by Peter Fortune
“The usual refueling procedure was to pump fuel from the hot storage tanks to intermediate tanks designed to cool the fuel, then to pump the cooled fuel into the plane’s fuel tanks. But meeting the tight flight schedule for this mission meant that the twenty-six planes had to be refueled without the normal cooling period. Iwo’s high ambient heat had expanded the volume per gallon and the short turnaround time didn’t allow the fuel to settle in the plane’s tanks so they could be topped off. As a result, the usable fuel on board might have been significantly less than the amount recorded.”