Stories About 497th Bomb Group
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Led 1st B-29 raid on Tokyo 24 Nov 44
Robert Morgan could have gone home after completing his 25 missions in the European Theatre in the Memphis Belle. But, during the public relations tour he saw the B-29 (still cloaked in some secrecy) in Boeing’s hangar in Wichita. This was their brand new long-range bomber and it was love at first sight for Morgan. After successfully completing his B-29 training in Pratt, KS and Clovis, NM he was given command of the 869th Bombardment Squadron and arrived in Saipan in Dauntless Dotty in October 1944.
I am Jack Franklin, B29 flight engineer, 1st Lt., MOS 1028, 0868108, 20th Air Force; 21st Bomber Command; 73rd Bombardment Wing; 497th Bomb Group (VH); 870 Bomb Squadron.
On March 19th, 1945, my plane was A Square 31, New Glory, on our tenth mission where we released our low altitude incendiary bombs from 6000 ft. during a night attack on Nagoya. Almost three square miles of Nagoya proper were burned and destroyed by B29 crews that night.
Constituted as 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 Nov 1943 and activated on 20 Nov. Prepared for overseas duty with B-29's. Moved to Saipan, Jul-Oct 1944, and assigned to Twentieth AF. Began operations in Oct 1944 with attacks against Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands. Took part in the first attack (24 Nov 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas.