38TH BOMB GROUP
"THE SUN SETTERS"
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

 

- 69th Squadron (eventually transferred to 42nd Bomb Group)

- 70th Squadron (eventually transferred to another bomb group)

- 71st Squadron - "The Wolf Pack"

- 405th Squadron - "The Green Dragons"

- 822nd Squadron - "The Black Panthers"

- 823rd Squadron - "The Terrible Tigers"

 

Report on the October 2000 Re-union

 

Report on September 2006 Reunion

 

The 38th Bomb Group was initially constituted on 20 November 1940 and brought into active service on 15 January 1941.

The 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) was constituted on 20 November 1940 and activated on 15 January 1941. The 69th Bomb Squadron was assigned to the 38th Bomb Group on 15 January 1941. The 69th Bomb Squadron arrived at Doomben Airfield on 25 February 1942, with its Air Echelon remaining n USA until 22 May 1942. The 69th Bomb Squadron moved to Ballarat in Victoria on 8 March 1942 and then to Amberley Airfield west of Brisbane in Queensland on 30 April 1942. The 69th Bomb Squadron moved to New Caledonia on 20 May 1942. The 69th Bomb Squadron was reassigned to the 42nd Bombardment Group on 26 February 1943.

The 70th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) was constituted on 20 November 1940 and activated on 15 January 1941. The 70th Bomb Squadron was assigned to the 38th Bomb Group on 15 January 1941. The 70th Bomb Squadron arrived at Doomben Airfield on 25 February 1942, with its Air Echelon remaining n USA until 2 June 1942. The 70th Bomb Squadron moved to Ballarat in Victoria on 8 March 1942 and then to Amberley Airfield west of Brisbane in Queensland on 20 April 1942. The 70th Bomb Squadron moved to Fiji on 23 May 1942. The 70th Bomb Squadron was reassigned to the 42nd Bombardment Group on 26 February 1943.

The 405th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) had its beginnings with the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) which was constituted on 20 November 1940. The 15th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) was attached to the 38th Bombardment Group on 15 January 1941 and then assigned to the 38th Bombardment Group on 25 February 1942. The 15th Recce Squadron was redesignated as the 405th Bombardment Squadron on (Medium) on 22 April 1942. The 15th Recce Squadron arrived at Doomben Airfield on 25 February 1942. The 15th Recce Squadron moved to Ballarat in Victoria on 8 March 1942. After being redesignated as the 405th Bomb Squadron in April 1942 they relocated to Breddan, near Charters Towers in north Queensland on 7 August 1942. They relocated to Townsville on about  30 September 1942 and then moved to Port Moresby, New Guinea on about 25 October 1942.


NARA Reference Number:- 342-FH-3A29920-77814AC

38th Bomb Group mechanics changing an engine on B-25 Mitchell
"Scat" at Garbutt airfield in Townsville on 11 November 1942

 


NARA Reference Number:- 342-FH-3A30009-117682AC

38th Bomb Group leaving Townsville by ship for New
Guinea. Magazine Hill can be seen in the background.

 

The 69th and 70th Squadrons, were equipped with B-26 Marauders but they were diverted to Midway and then to the New Caledonia and Fiji Islands. As a result, they were eventually transferred to the 42nd Bomb Group. 

Another reference states that the 70th Bombardment Squadron arrived at Wagga Wagga on 21 April 1942 under the command of Captain J.S. Shockley. They stayed there until 16 May 1942. They returned again in August 1942 and stayed for a further month to carry out practice on the Big Spring bombing range.

The ground echelon of the 38th Bomb Group had sailed for Australia on 31 January 1942 arriving in Melbourne.  As there was no scheduled arrival for their aircraft, they were dispersed to Amberley and Eagle Farm to assemble P-39 and P-40 aircraft.

An APO list that I have shows the following units of the 38th Bomb Group at Batchelor Field in the Northern Territory in June 1942:-

38 Bomb Group (M), USAAF
     - Det Hq & Hq Sq  
     - 71 Bomb Sqn (30 Apr - 12 Aug 42)
     - 1st Plat 445th Ord Co (Avn) B 
     - 2nd Plat 445th Ord Co (Avn) B
     - 3rd Plat 445th Ord Co (Avn) B

Two squadrons of B-25 Mitchell's of 38 Bomb Group, the 71st and 405th squadrons, eventually arrived at Breddan, near Charters Towers on 22 August 1942. One flight of five B-25's became lost in northern New South Wales and two crashed as follows:-

Crash of four B-25 Mitchells in the Casino - Grafton areas of NSW on 14 August 1942

 

OTHER CRASHES IN AUSTRALIA

Crash of a B-25 at Charters Towers on 24 September 1942

Crash of a B-25C Mitchell at Horn Island on 25 September 1942

Crash of a B-25D Mitchell at Horn Island on 10 October 1942

Crash of a B-25 Mitchell north of Cairns on 23 October 1942

Crash of a B-25D Mitchell at Townsville, QLD on 2 November 1942

Crash of a B-25 Mitchell at Townsville in April 1943

 

Langley Field, VA 15 Jan 1941
Jackson AAB, MS June 1941 - 18 Jan 1942
Doomben Field, Brisbane, Australia 25 Feb 1942
Ballarat, Australia 8 Mar 1942
Amberley Field, Australia 30 Apr 1942
Eagle Farm, Brisbane, Australia 7 Aug 1942
Breddan Field, near Charters Towers, Australia 7 Aug 1942
Townsville, Australia 30 Sep 1942
Port Moresby, New Guinea Oct 1942
Nadzab, New Guinea 4 Mar 1944
Biak 1 Oct 1944
Morotai 15 Oct 1944
Lingayen, Luzon, Philippines 29 Jan 1945
Okinawa 25 Jul 1945
Itazuke, Japan 22 Nov 1945
Itami, Japan 26 Oct 1945 - Apr 1949 *

* The 38th Bomb Group was de-activated in April 1949

 

E-mails from persons interested in the 38th Bomb Group

Bill McKinstry
Secretary/Treasuer of the 38 BG Assoc'n
Chris Guest Harry E. "Terry" Terrell
Terry Boccia Bryan Elliott Jack deTour
Ray Stout Joseph Perret David J. Gunn
405th Bomb Squadron
Scott Taylor
on Lt. James Henderson
of 71st Bomb Squadron
Carol Ann Rogers-Hawkins
Daughter of Fred Rogers, a pilot 405th Bomb Squadron
Louis D. Jackson
son of ? Jackson of the 405th Bomb Squadron
Orland Gage
President of the 38th Bomb Group Association WW2
   

 

REFERENCE

"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History"
Volume 7 - Maintenance Units

38th Bomb Group Association

 

 

 

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