The Crusaders – A History of the 42nd Bombardment Group

Crusaders B-25

Read about the 42nd Bombardment Group (Medium) of their times from the USA and across the Pacific in The Crusaders – A History of the 42nd Bombardment Group (Medium).

There’s also getting it on Amazon for Kindle.

“Radio operator–you all right?” BOOM!

“Yes, Sir. Let’s get the hell out of here”

“Waist gunner–you all right?” BOOM!

“Yes, Sir. Let’s get the hell out of here”

“Navigator–you all right?” BOOM!

“Yes, Sir. Let’s get the hell out of here”

“You new men on board–all right?” BOOM!

“Yes, Sir. Let’s get the hell out of here”

Unperturbed, the pilot started taxiing and took off amid a hail of shells.


“In the most far-flung of the wars that have scourged the earth, fought as it was on and over a dozen seas and a hundred lands by millions of men and women of all colors and creeds organized into thousands of units for every conceivable purpose, it is beyond the human mind to select any one combat organization to be honored above others.”



   NUMBER 2217   APO 925

29 NOVEMBER 1945


By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order No. 9396 (Section I, Bulletin 22, WD, 1943) superseding Executive Order No. 9075 (Section 111, Bulletin 2, WD, 1942) and of Section IV, Circular No. 333, WD, 1943, the following units are cited by the Commanding General, Far East Air Forces:


The 42nd Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 23 June 1945 to 30 June 1945. During that week, the 42nd Bombardment Group (M), operating in support of the Australian Invasion of the Japanese oil refinery center at Balikpapen, Borneo, Netherland East Indies, carried out bombing and strafing strikes against enemy shore defenses and other installations Because each of these round trips, among the longest-range combat missions ever flown by mass formations of medium bombers, involved a flight of more than 1700 miles over open sea, it was necessary to use radio compartment fuel tanks and to make pre-mission experiments to determine the feasibility of loading the aircraft to such an extent. Taking off from a damaged runway, and encountering tropical weather fronts on four of the flights, the B-25 aircraft of the Group braved intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire to reach heavily defended Balikpapen. Without the loss of a single crew member or airplane, making minimum altitude attacks, the Group dropped over 460,000 pounds of napalm and demolition bombs, 91 per cent which fell within the target area, and expended 415,000 rounds of ammunition in strafing. Crews of the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) destroyed gun positions, warehouses, road blocks, fuel and ammunition dumps, a radar station, numerous vehicles, and 73 military buildings, as well as huge stores of gasoline and oil which the enemy had strategically placed so as to be released into shallow pits oil the beach and ignited when the Australian ground troops should make their assaults. Flying down the invasion beach under intense enemy fire, the B-25 aircraft of the Group achieved such perfect timing and coordination in giving support to underwater naval demolition teams that not one man of the teams was lost. So effectively did the Group smash Japanese defenses at Balikpapen that the enemy was totally unable to contest any of the landings, and the Australian Seventh Division came ashore oil an undefended beach. Credit for the success of the achievements of the Group in this week of intense and dangerous operations is due not only to the bomber crews but also to operations, intelligence, and maintenance personnel who spent long hours planning the missions and preparing and servicing the aircraft, despite inadequate facilities with which to work. In making such a significant contribution to the success of the Allied invasion and seisure of Borneo, one of the most strategically important islands in the enemy-held Netherlands East Indies the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) brought new honor to the United States Army Air Forces.
D. R. HUTCHINSON, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Chief of Air Staff


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