Longest bomber raid of war

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Vincenzo, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #1 Vincenzo, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
    I'm curious what's the longest bomber raid of WW II (longest in distance not in endurance)
    For french air force i think raid on Berlin in june '40
    for italian air force raid on manama in october '40
    and for all others?
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The 380th BG (5th AF, based near Darwin, Australia) flew three missions against the Balikpapin refineries on the east coast of Borneo in Aug 1943. One way distances were in excess of 1600 miles.

    It wasnt untill the B29's hit the northern parts of Japan in the waning days of WW2 that these three missions were exceeded.
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Saipan to Tokyo
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Guam to Tokyo, 1,565 miles.

    Guam to Mito, 1,603 miles.

    Darwin to Balikpapin, 1,231 miles.

    So the B29's out of Guam ended up flying the longest missions of the war.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    In we can consider unmanned aircraft, then I would say the Japanese Fire Balloons at around 5,000 miles.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    How far was the Tirpitz raid by 617Sqn from Murmansk via the Tirpitz to the UK
     
  7. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I always thought the raid by 2 Kawanishi H8K Emily flying boats on Pearl Harbour in 1942 was the longest mission
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    13/14 August - (20th Air Force Mission 328, 315th Bomb Wing Mission 15) In the longest nonstop upstaged B-29 mission from the Marianas (3,650 miles), 132 B-29's of the 315th BW, bomb the Nippon Oil Company at Tsuchizaki.
     
  9. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    What's the longest in Europe? England to Stettin ??


    Kris
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Not 100% sure if this is the longest raid over Europe period, but it is the longest Lancaster raid.

    East Kirby to Munich over the French Alps, into Italy and then back up into Germany. The plan was to trick the Luftwaffe? The total distance flown was more than 2000 miles and 10 Hours and 25 minutes of flight time.

    BBC - WW2 People's War - The Longest Lancaster Operation - 10 Hours 25 Minutes
     
  11. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #11 syscom3, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
    I saw that too. I think that is the longest mission in Europe. All the others were one way missions between the UK and Russia.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Even the shuttle missions? Thought they went fairly far.
     
  13. jimh

    jimh Active Member

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    Our B-24 has at least one mission that was 18 hours. Also the Russia Shuttle Missions were quite long as well.

    Jim Harley
    collings foundation
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    That had to be the 380th BG mission(s) to Balikpapen.
     
  15. RAF Liberators

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    I think you'll find it's one from 99 Squadron as the Collings Lib is ex No. 99 Squadron RAF, I believe.
    356 Squadron also have Ops 18+ hours, I've got all the Ops records for 99/355/356 Squadrons (and many others) I'll have a poke around if anyone "really" wants to know.
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Every source I have for the longest B24 mission that was a bombing mission, was for the 380th group in 1943.

    That was for a standard production aircraft, with full compliment of crew and defensive weapons, plus the payload (3000 pounds I believe).

    Other B24 groups had an "almost" as long mission in 1944 when they bombed Balikpapen from Biak. But that distance was a couple of hundred miles shorter.

    The B29 mission I mentioned below is undoubtably the longest bomber mission of the WW2.
     
  17. RAF Liberators

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    Ah that's cos you don't have the RAF Ops records, us Brits flew them as well you know ;)
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #18 syscom3, Nov 2, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
    Then provide the information. Untill that time, the longest missions were done by the B29's in 1945, and the 380th in 1943.

    http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/1988/June 1988/0688valor.aspx

    First at Balikpapan
    By John L. Frisbee
    Contributing Editor
    In August 1943, crews of the 380th Bomb Group flew three of the most daring missions of World War II.

    The October 1987 "Valor" story "Top Gun" credited Fifth Air Force fighter pilots with escorting the first Army Air Force bombing attack on oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo. It was the first strike accompanied by fighters, but honors for the very first attack on Balikpapan belong to the 380th Bombardment Group, "The Flying Circus," assigned to Fifth Air Force but operating in considerable obscurity with the Royal Australian Air Force.

    The 380th, commanded by Lt. Col. William A. Miller, arrived at bases near Darwin in northern Australia during the spring of 1943. Within a few weeks, the scant intelligence available indicated that the refineries at Balikpapan, which had been disabled by the retreating Dutch, were back in full swing, reportedly producing more than half of Japan's aviation fuel and lubricating oils. It was a fat target, but there were problems, described in the Presidential Unit Citation later awarded to the Group.

    The 17-hour mission would cover 2,700 miles, longer than "any strike previously attempted in the Southwest Pacific." Most of the route was over water and past Japanese air bases of undetermined strength. Target data was meager, and weather forecasts were of dubious accuracy.

    Miller and his staff were confident that their B-24s could do the job. A 12-plane mission was laid on for Aug. 13, 1943. Each bomber would carry an overload of fuel and six 500-pound bombs. They were to take off from Darwin at five-minute intervals, beginning at 5 p.m., in order to reach hopefully moonlit targets shortly after midnight. Crews would navigate to the area independently, where half the force would bomb refineries, and the other half would bomb shipping in the harbor from minimum altitude. The bombers had to penetrate three severe tropical fronts. Because of weather, mechanical problems, and fuel shortages, only nine reached Balikpapan.

    First over the target at 12:20 a.m., was Capt. Gus Connery's B-24. The Japanese, believing they were beyond the range of American bombers, were taken by surprise. The city and harbor were brightly lighted. Connery's bombardier, Lt. Jim Wright, later to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, dropped his bombs on one of the refineries. The lights immediately went out, and succeeding B-24s were met by a barrage of flak.

    The last B-24, flown by Lt. Douglas Craig, cleared the area at 2 a.m. Then for all of them, many with battle damage, it was eight long hours back through those vicious fronts. All made it except Craig's crew, which was attacked by fighters near Timor. Evasive action burned so much fuel that they had to land on a salt flat in north Australia.

    How much damage had Balikpapan suffered? The next day, Aug. 15, two B-24s flown by Lts. Jack Banks and Howard Hahn were dispatched on a daylight photo mission to find out. Both got excellent photos, dropped their three bombs, and were attacked by fighters. Banks ended up in an hour-long engagement during which his crew shot down four Zeros, while Hahn's crew was credited with one kill.

    After seeing the photos, the group was eager for another go at a target they knew would be on alert and probably reinforced. On Aug. 17, 11 B-24s launched into very bad weather for a second night strike. Again, only nine reached Balikpapan. Hits on Lt. Jim Soderberg's plane set a fire that finally was put out. Three of Capt. Bill Shek's crew were wounded.

    Cannon fire got Lt. Bob Fleming's bombardier, Lt. Elvin Mellinger, and started a fire in the nose compartment. The bleeding bombardier dropped his bombs on a tanker and put out the fire before submitting to first aid. The attack also knocked out Fleming's No. 1 engine. Near Timor, No. 2 quit. The crew nursed their limping bomber 400 miles to a safe landing.

    From the start, no one thought the 380th's few B-24s could put Balikpapan permanently out of action. Nevertheless, in 20 sorties the group had temporarily shut down the refineries, destroyed many tons of stored fuel, sunk 30,000 tons of shipping, and forced the Japanese to redeploy elements of their defense forces from New Guinea to Borneo. Not a bad show.

    The 380th, while still in Australia, earned a second Unit Citation before moving to the Philippines in the spring of 1945. There, they operated against targets on Taiwan and the Asian mainland. But for the men of the 380th Bombardment Group, the high point of its long and distinguished combat record will always be those first long, pioneering missions to Balikpapan, the Ploesti of the Pacific.

    Published June 1988. For presentation on this web site, some Valor articles have been amended for accuracy.
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #20 syscom3, Nov 3, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
    That was a mission that did not return back to the starting place. If the airfield in Eritrea didn't exist, then the mission couldnt have been flown.

    Still, it was an impressive mission.

    Heres some other long range B24 missions I was able to find:
    June 19, 1945
    In a coordinated shipping search, a B-24 flies the theater's longest mission, a 2,700-mile (4,345 km) roundtrip lasting 15.5 hours and flying as far as Uruppu Island, Japan; turning N the B-24 bombs a small convoy 25 miles (40 km) SW of Shimushu Bay, Shimushu Island, Kurile Islands, sinks a vessel, heavily damages another, and sets 2 more afire.

    30 Sept 1944; 5th, 307th and 90th BG’s mission from Noemfoor to Balikpapen, 2600 mile round trip.


    “..... The 307th Bomb Group chalked up some of the longest missions of the war: 13 hours to hit Wake (from Midway?), 16 hours to hit Yap, 17 hours to hit Balikpapan. .....”
     
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