Fenton Field
Air Raids
380th Bomb Group
AWM Plaque Dedication
60th Anniversary
North Fort
3.7" Gun Located
Picture Gallery


380th Bomb Group

The 380th history is not only enormous but extremely fascinating. While stationed at Fenton Field they made devestating raids on Japanese oil refineries, airfields and shipping. After the war in the pacific ceased a Senior Staff Officer from HQ of the Imperial Japanese Air force stated that he believed that "the heavy American bombers, with their great defensive power and amazing aggressiveness in battle…. were fundamentally responsible for the defeat of Japan".(1)

The 380th Bombardment Group were equipped with B24 Liberators, these huge 4 engine bombers had a wingspan of 110 feet and a total of 67 feet in length. They were capable of flying speeds of up to 300 mph and it was said that the Liberator could fly faster, higher and farther than any other bomber available. More B24's were built during WWII than any other aircraft, the Ford plant at Willow Run, at its peak were making a Liberator every 55 minutes costing around $137,000.

B24 Liberator, Brown collection

The 380th had been scheduled to go to England in mid-April 1943 but because of an appeal from General Kenney of the 5th AF to General Arnold, Commanding General
of USAAF, and President Roosevelt it was redirected to Australia and the Southwest Pacific Area.

The 380th conducted numerous and successful sorties against the Japanese from Fenton and made the longest bombing missions during WW11, for which they received two Unit citations and these were recommended by General Macarthur and George C Kenney.

During its stay in Australia, the 380th:
· Flew 954 missions comprising 4,393 sorties over the whole of the East Indies and New Guinea, now Indonesia.

· Flew the longest bombing missions of WWII to Balikpapan, Borneo, and Surabaya, Java.

· The initial cadre was 38, B-24 aircraft with a total of 137 used while in Australia.
Of the latter, 44 were lost due directly or indirectly to enemy combat action, and 34
to non-combat causes (accidents, salvage and transfer to other groups; four were transferred to RAAF).

· The 380th trained 52 Australian crews in the combat operation of the B-24, along
with their associated ground staff. These crews flew as full crews in ours and their own aircraft in mixed formations with the 380th crews. Following this training, these crews were the cadres for the B-24 Liberator Squadrons of the RAAF.

· The 380th operated with Section 22 and SOA (Z Force) units as required as part
of our regular combat duties in carrying out radar intelligence and Special Operations missions.

Nose art, Sandra Kay named after a crew members daughter.

'Sandra Kay' completed 130 combat missions.

Howes collection.

Information kindly provided by 380th Bomb Group Association. Author Ted Williams