Hijli, APO 493, APO 220 & Other forgotten XX Bomber Comm. Bases in Bengal

Discussion in 'Regiment Histories' started by Diptangshu, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    I'm just recalling from XX Bomber Command's official News papers like Hellbird Herald(formerly Red Rudder) of APO 220 or Super Fort, the News Publication of the XX Bomber Command!



    You may read the interesting story of fathering two female leopards, since they were of only 10 days old(their mother was shot dead at the nearby town of Kharagpore), by S Sgt Manara (APO 215-Charra & Dudhkundi) ..

    ** Lt Maranz and Capt Newberg(XX Bomber Comm) entered in theAll-American Tennis Tournament at Calcutta ('45) ..

    **Miss Coady (Cape Cod, Massachusetts), became most notable Red Cross Girl of APO 220(Piardoba) ..
  2. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  3. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    From 1943 to 1945, there were eight airfields been constructed, redesigned or expanded to support the CBI and other far eastern war efforts. Other than two airfields/stations, all are now abandoned and many of them are under cover of jungles. Aerial view provides only some parts of 'metal runway' or the taxi bay!

    Here the name of the airfields, once they were extremly busy with the ongoing war machanisms :
    1. Hijli base area (Kharagpore APO 493 of XX Bomber Com) - now abandoned .
    2. APO 220 or Piardoba (Consol B 24 Liberator base but redesigned by '43 as B 29 Suprfrts. of 462 Bomberdment group prior to deployment to the Mariana Isls) - now abandoned.
    3. APO 631 or Chakulia - now abandoned.
    4. Digri (159 Sq Stn) - now abandoned.
    5. Kalaikunda (794 Bomb Sq of 468 Bomb wing) - active base of IAF.
    5. APO 215 or Dudhkundi and Chhara (678 Bomb Sq) - now zonal target shooting base of IAF.
    6. Salboni - now abondoned.
    7. Bishnupur - now abandoned.
    8. Salua - now an active base of the IAF.

    All they were within 3 to 7 air mins from the Hijli base area and togetherly provided an enormous support to the far eastern War mechanism.
  4. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Kalaikunda was the home of 794 Bomb Sq of 468 Bomb Wing (Operational B 29 group).
    Other groups were 512th, 792nd, 793rd, 749th and 795th Bomberdment Sq.
    Most notable it is that the 468th carried fuel, ammo, spares, medicines as well as bombs to A 7 (Pengshan, China), been the forward staging base.
    It was the HQ of 58 Bomberdment wing.
    When the B 29 redeployed to Mariana, the X Air Force 2nd Commando Group used that kalaikunda airfield.

    APO 220 of Piardoba came under X Air Force too, after the 462nd's redeployment to Mariana. Piardoba is proud to home the P 38s and P 47s of 33rd Fighter Group.
    First Combat Misson of APO 220 by the 462nd when the group attacked Makasen Railroad yrds at Bangkok, with a round trip of 2260 miles/ 3638 apprx km!
  5. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Hijli was then attached to the 1st Technical Group of AACS, when the 58th Bomberdment Wing (very heavy) shifted from APO 493, ie., Kharagpore on 8th Feb(Thursday) '45.

    136th Radio Security Dept. and 12th Radio Security Sec. (690 NY) stationed at the Hijli Base Area.

    The other most notable units were :
    * 226th Medical Dispensary.
    * 413rd Signal Co (NY 493).
    * 2nd Combat Cam Sq of AFPAA.
    * 10th Combat Cam Units.
    * 317th Troop Carrier (combat) Sq.
  6. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Construction of runways there, some 80yrs back!

    Hijli Base Area (under command of Brig Gen Wolfe) ::
  7. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Well, this clip shows that the tent camps, and the air strips of APO 631(Chakulia), APO 493 (Kharagpore), and APO 220 (Piardoba & Chhara), as per.

    From the Hijli Base Area, XXI Bomber Comm 58th Bomberdment Wing (XX Air Force) reassigned to West Field (Tinian Island of the Mariana Isls) in July'45. West Field was strategically important for the Imperial Japs due to its geographical location. Japanese Gurguan Point Airfield, as called West Point, had two parallel runway and for another one, construction was going on.

    Anyway, Hijli Base Area is still remembered in military history for its support to the Battle of Tinian and during Operation Matterhorn.

    HQ Building (primarily the Detention Camp) at Hijli Base Area ~ '45 ::
    Photo :: Marvin Williams (XX Bomber Comm, XX Air Force) ::
    " ....I was in the United States Air Force stationed at Kharagpur in 1945. The headquarters of the 20th Bomber Command of the 20th Air Force was located in that building and I worked in an office there. I have a picture of the building taken about the middle of April, 1945. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12 and the American flag on a flagpole in front of the building was flown at half mast. My picture shows that flag at half mast and a B-29 bomber from the Kharagpur air base is flying in the background. For a short time I was stationed at an air field at Dudkhundi where another part of the 20th Bomber Command was located. I enjoyed my stay in your fascinating land.
    The scanned image is almost as good as my 52 year old print but a little the sharpness was lost in the process. The flagpole with the United States flag at half staff (recognizing the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt) is half-way between the left end of the building and the left border of the picture. The B-29 bomber (not recognizable in the scanned image) is about a half inch left of the tower and about midway of the heighth of the tower. There are five army Jeeps parked opposite the main entrance to the building, and another one alongside the building at the fourth archway to the right of the main entrance. "
    - Marvin Williams, Feb 4 ' 97..

    We are grateful for the picture of the Old Building .
  8. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Digri, though it was the base of 159 Sq of XX Air Force, the base also remembered for hosting the RAF 215 Sq, RAF 99 Sq, RAF 355 Sq, RAF 357 Sq as well as RAF 358 Sq too, in between '42 to '46 !

    Digri housed the RAF 99 Sq in '43 and RAF 215 Sq in '44.

    No 357 and 358 Sq with newly arrived Liberators, in '45, conducted the 1st bombing mission (heavy) to Mandalay. RAF 355 Sq too, sent for bombing at the Central Rly Stn of Mandalay. In '45, the Burma - Siam Rail route been damaged by heavy bombing. Moreover RAF 99 Sq was the best night raider with Consol Lib VI to the Imperial Jap's targets in Burma.
  9. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    The 40th Bomb Group of XX Bomber Command's photo journal ::

    India & China ~ '44 - '45 :


    This includes the DFC and other Medal citations and also the Progress chart of the war in the Pacific.

    The DFC Recipients were 1st Lt M R Clark, 1st Lt J C Harvell and Fl Off Elmo Grey, received the same when they were at Chakulia, what I believe.
  10. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    No 356 Sq formed on 15th Jan'44 at Salboni with Liberators. Here are the lists :
    The Sq code was: P and the Sqadron flew both bombing and mining sorties.
  11. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

  12. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

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