38th Bomb Group
The Illustrated History of the 38th Bombardment Group During World War II
by Lawrence J. Hickey and Mark M. Janko with Stuart W. Goldberg and Osamu Tagaya
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The 38th Bomb Group was one of the largely unsung Army Air Force combat groups in the Southwest Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II, despite its outstanding record of air combat and production of some of the most famous and spectacular photos of air combat from the belly cameras of their B-25 low-level strafers. This book covers the Group’s formation and training as a B-26 Marauder unit in the hurried buildup of American air power just before World War II, to its poorly organized deployment to the Pacific that included action during the Battle of Midway. With two squadrons already in the South Pacific, the remaining deployment was canceled, and the other two squadrons stayed in the U.S., converted to the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, retrained, and finally, in August of 1942, deployed via the Pacific island-hopping route to Australia where they began combat operations the following month out of Port Moresby, New Guinea.
The two 38th B-25 squadrons, the 71st and 405th, participated as a medium bombardment unit in many of the most important combat operations during the early part of the air war in New Guinea, including the key “Battle of the Bismarck Sea” during March of 1943. Over the following months, the unit converted its medium bombers to low-level strafer attack aircraft and scythed its way across Japanese targets such as Salamaua, Lae, Wewak and Rabaul, winning Distinguished Unit Citations, a Medal of Honor, and helping devastate key Japanese positions in eastern New Guinea. In the fall of 1943, the unit activated two more squadrons in the Theater, becoming the test-unit for the B-25G, which added to its fearsome nose armament with a 75mm cannon. Now known as the “Sun Setters,” the 38th was up to full strength and thereafter continued to play a key roll in the campaigns across western New Guinea, the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines, Formosa and the southern islands of Japan, where it participated in the aerial blockade of the home islands in the waning days of the war. In Formosa the 38th was so successful at destroying Japanese fuel-alcohol plants that it earned the nickname, “The Alcohol Busters of Formosa.” Throughout these campaigns, the belly cameras continued to record its harrowing exploits.
This book is under final production and will feature about 650 pages of thrilling text, approximately 1000 photos, a 36-page color section that includes 48 full color aircraft profiles supplemented with several pages of enlarged aircraft markings details in near-photographic realism, detailed maps showing the location of every base, mission flown, and plane lost, and the standard Eagles Over the Pacific series encyclopedic appendix coverage of leadership, casualties, histories of every plane flown (more than 400), markings and insignia, as well as plane and crew histories of the 48 aircraft featured in the color profile section. This will be a blockbuster of a book–one of the most definitive air war unit histories ever published as well as one of the great classic books of combat aviation. Saga of the Sun Setters is Volume 4 in the acclaimed Eagles Over the Pacific book series.
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