OBJECTIVE: Bomb targets in Kowloon and draw Japanese fighter pilots into a dogfight on terms favorable to American fighter pilots. This is the first American air strike on Hong Kong during the Second World War.
TIME OVER TARGET: ~1:30 p.m.
AMERICAN UNITS AND AIRCRAFT: Seven P-40Es from the 75th and 76th Fighter Squadrons (23rd Fighter Group), and a dozen B-25s from the 11th and 22nd Bomb Squadrons (341st Medium Bomb Group). All aircraft are from the China Air Task Force (CATF) commanded by General Claire Chennault. Col. Robert L. Scott, famed ace and author of God Is My Copilot, leads the American fighter planes. According to some sources, Warrant Officer Benjamin A. Proulx of the HKRNVR flies in the lead B-25 during this mission and points out the locations of POW camps to avoid an accidental bombing of Allied prisoners. However, the B-25 crew manifests for the raid make no mention of Proulx, who had escaped from North Point POW camp in January 1942. Multiple Canadian newspaper reports indicate that Proulx returned to Canada several months before the raid in July 1942. Some sources also state that Col. Merian C. Cooper flew on this raid, but the crew manifests do not list him among the airmen aboard the twelve B-25s. Cooper apparently played an important role in planning the first raids on Hong Kong, but did not fly on the actual missions.
AMERICAN PILOTS AND AIRCREW:
- P-40 pilots: Col. Robert L. Scott, Major David “Tex” Hill, Capt. John F. Hampshire, 2nd Lt. Morton Sher, 1st Lt. Mortimer D. Marks, 1st Lt. Robert F. Mayer, 1st Lt. William “Bill” E. Miller
- B-25 #06: Brigadier General Caleb V. Haynes, Major Dalene E. Bailey, Lt. Col. Herbert “Butch” Morgan, Tech Sgt. Norton G. Stubblefield, Sgt. Patrick N. Boudreaux
- B-25 #63: 1st Lt. Elmer L. Tarbox, 2nd Lt. Mason O. Brown, 2nd Lt. Joseph F. Dockwiller, 2nd Lt. Charles H. Dearth, Corporal Karl H. May, Staff Sgt. Robert L. Propst
- B-25 #18: 1st Lt. Joseph L. Skeldon, 2nd Lt. Winthrop P. Sears, 2nd Lt. Robert D. Hippert, Sgt. Robert W. Hawkins, Staff Sgt. Lawrence W. Bowen, Sgt. Joseph F. Soikowski
- B-25 #92: 1st Lt. Wilmer E. McDowell, 2nd Lt. Wilson M. Thomas, 2nd Lt. Harry G. Locknane, 2nd Lt. Carl F. Gordon, Sgt. John O. Van Marter, Staff Sgt. George B. Crandall
- B-25 #75: Major William E. Bayse, 1st Lt. Daniel E. Braswell, 1st Lt. Clayton J. Campbell, 2nd Lt. George A. Stout, Staff Sgt. Douglas V. Radney, Sgt. Robert T. Schafer
- B-25 #40: 1st Lt. John C. Ruse, 1st Lt. Joe G. Sparks, 2nd Lt. Rowland G. Hill, 2nd Lt. Stephen C. Dennis, Sgt. James W. Broughton, Staff Sgt. Walter J. Carlson
- B-25 #12: 1st Lt. Allen P. Forsyth, 2nd Lt. Albert G. Biggs, 1st Lt. Horace E. Crouch, Sgt. William H. Williams, Sgt. Roland Palagi
- B-25 #70: 1st Lt. Lynn D. Blackwell, 2nd Lt. Charles F. Whiffen, 2nd Lt. William M. Ross, 2nd Lt. Guy P. Baird, Staff Sgt. Joe Edmonson, Pvt. Thomas E. Higgins
- B-25 #20: Capt. Everett W. Holstrom, 2nd Lt. Lloyd J. Murphy, 2nd Lt. Charles J. Clarino, 2nd Lt. Robert E. Davis, Tech. Sgt. Adam R. Williams, Staff Sgt. Dail Ogen
- B-25 #74: 1st Lt. Lucian N. Youngblood, 2nd Lt. James C. Routt, 2nd Lt. Charles J. Bethea, 2nd Lt. Thomas E. Drawhorn, Corporal Norman Parker, Corporal James M. Ayers
- B-25 #03: 1st Lt. Howard C. Allers, 2nd Lt. Nicholas Marich, 2nd Lt. Murray L. Lewis, 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Cunningham, Sgt. Paul C. Webb, Sgt. James N. Young
- B-25 #66: 1st Lt. Richard A. Knoblock, 1st Lt. Donald L. Thompson, 2nd Lt. Arvis R. Kirkland, Staff Sgt. Aden E. Jones, [no rank given] Arthur E. Dewalt, Private first class Kenneth C. Prothe
ORDNANCE EXPENDED: 500-pound bombs and 17-kg incendiary bombs, plus .50-caliber machine-gun rounds
RESULTS: Bomb damage is not significant from a military standpoint, though some Japanese military personnel are killed at Whitfield Barracks. Civilians are killed as bombs fall in vicinity of Jordan Road, Austin Road, Cameron Road, and Salisbury Road.
JAPANESE UNITS, AIRCRAFT, AND PILOTS: Ki-43s, most likely from the 33rd Sentai. Twin-engine Ki-45s from an unknown unit are also reported by American pilots.
AIRCRAFT LOSSES: One American B-25 (#03) is shot down by Japanese fighters and belly-lands near Canton. Four of the six crewmen (Allers, Lewis, Webb, and Young ) are taken prisoner by Japanese soldiers and become the first American airmen captured during a raid on Hong Kong. One P-40 is damaged and force lands in friendly territory. The Americans claim to shoot down as many as twenty Japanese fighters, but Japanese records do not indicate that any pilots were lost over Hong Kong on October 25, 1942.
- Original mission reports and other documents in the Air Force Historical Research Agency archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama
- God Is My Copilot, by Robert L. Scott
- Way of a Fighter, by Claire Lee Chennault
- Japanese Army Fighter Aces, 1931-45, by Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa, and Christopher Shores
Information compiled by Steven K. Bailey, author of Bold Venture: The American Bombing of Japanese-Occupied Hong Kong, 1942-1945 (Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press, 2019).