February 1, 1942 Mingaldon
Sunday -- Went out to work this morning in spite of my cramps. Got a lot of paperwork done in engineering and test hopped CRB's plane which was just patched up after Thursday's battle. I'm losing my touch these days, and it worries me. I've had three or five narrow calls lately at tearing up airplanes. Better get on the ball. Found out the only damage done by the Japs with all their bombing early this morning were some shrapnel holes in "25". That was my old airplane. I think that it can be fixed and flown again, with luck. It was at a satellite and was bombed in the second wave. Five of our mech's in the first Sq. arrived by air today, which is a big help. We will soon have all our planes back in condition. This afternoon CRB and I saw the Rangoon Swimming Club. -- Beyootiful!!!
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Engr. flt. on shot up aircraft 1:20
February 2, 1942 Mingaldon
Monday -- Back at steady work today and spent most of the day catching up on paperwork and reorganizing the line. My men from Kunming are pitching in well and are doing a good job. We can expect to get a lot more done with them here than we could before. We will have 13 planes in commission tomorrow, which is 100 per cent of the airplanes which aren't torn up. We were told today that in case we run short of P-40's before the new Kittyhawks we are to get arrive, the British will loan us 8 Hurricanes for awhile. Damn big hearted of them. Still indefinite about whether we will stay here longer or go back to Kunming the middle of the week. Personally, I think we will be here for a couple of weeks yet.
P-40C F.A.V.G. J.Walker- Rangoon Two ferry hops, two engr. tests 2:05
February 3, 1942 Mingaldon
Tuesday -- News today centered about the next move of the AVG. The Second Squadron is moving back to Kunming, leaving the First here to hold the fort. Part of them left today and the rest will filter out during the next three or four days. Jim and the rest of our pilots, and all the mech's and ground crew are coming down to supplement us. We have no idea how long we will be here, but it is hardly possible that it can be more than two weeks or so. The Japs are pretty damn close. They took Moulmein today and that is only 140 miles. We had one alarm of a big raid at noon but it never materialized. We spent an hour at 23,000 feet but didn't see a thing. Better luck tomorrow.
P-40C F.A.V.G. J.Walker + Patrols Ferry trip + patrols 3:20
February 4, 1942 Mingaldon
Wednesday -- I must be getting inured to this war. Last night the Japs carried out the heaviest night raid on Rangoon thus far, dropping four loads of bombs within a single mile of our house, devastating eight blocks in the city. The whole honest truth is that neither CRB or myself woke up at all. The rest of the household was out in the shelter. We heard about it in the morning. They think we are crazy -- not going to the bomb shelter on every raid. I wonder! It would make me feel very badly if I thought that Americans would show the same abject fear under the same circumstances. We made a reconnaissance trip to Moulmein, but did not see a thing in the way of activity. That is in Jap hands, but there are darn near none of them there.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Recon Mission to Moulmein 2:55
February 5, 1942 Mingaldon
Thursday -- Today was our day off -- CRB and myself, and it was a dandy. Up late last night seeing what the local night life is like, we didn't rise until ten. Then a leisurely breakfast, a morning paper, a swim at the luxurious Kokine Swimming Club, and then a shopping tour. I got several rolls of Kodachrome film and picked up on roll which I took during the boat trip over. It just came back this week, although it was sent in November. Later this afternoon we dropped by the field and learned that an American B-24 had been in with Gen. Wavell. The pilot was someone from MacDill who came around to look up Bond and me, but no one remembers his name. I am curious as hell????
February 6, 1942 Mingaldon
Friday -- A great day. It started when Charlie and I were blown out of bed by four bombs that dropped almost outside our window. The Japs made one continuous raid from about 1 AM until about 6 AM. The Hurricanes shot down two of them, but the rest ran wild. This morning there were 36 bomb craters on the runways at Mingaldon. In all they dropped more than 80 bombs on the aerodrome, but the actual damage was very light. At around ten o'clock we got an alert and intercepted a batch of about 35 Jap fighters east of Rangoon. In a short fight we shot down seven, with five others probable. After that we had no more action all day. The Japs ought to get wise that they are wasting their effort. Guess they are hard headed. P.S. we didn't lose a plane today.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Combat with Japs + ferry trip 3:50
February 7, 1942 Mingaldon
Saturday -- This was fruitless and very unhappy day. Of all the bad luck to happen -- Sandel spun in this morning while testing number "11" which had just come back from repair. He was killed instantly in the crash which happened just about two miles from the aerodrome. A couple of R.A.F. pilots saw him snap-stall at low altitude after a sharp pull out from a half roll. It was a bad loss to the Squadron. The rest of the 1st Sq. men, and Liebolt and Wolfe arrived from Kunming this afternoon and I had a busy getting engineering organized for operating. Tomorrow the Second Squadron is pulling out for Kunming and the defense of Rangoon becomes the sole responsibility of our outfit. Incidentally, the damn Japs bombed from 1 AM until 6 AM last night. Got darn little sleep. I am getting so I don't care for those birds.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Combat with Japs, test hop, ferry trip 3:50
February 8, 1942 Mingaldon
Sunday -- The Second Squadron pulled out for Kunming today and now the job is ours. We had an exceptionally busy day. Sandy was buried this morning and then we spent the rest of the day organizing for future activity. Liebolt is taking charge of one side of engineering and I am handling the other side. I have several good crew chiefs and Graham as line chief. It should work out pretty well. We sent some men to Toungoo for cars today and Fritz Wolfe brought down an airplane that had been left there. It was "93" my old plane. Gove is taking over as my crew chief and it may be that happy days are back again. Neale is the new Squadron Leader. Good choice.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Escort mission for Blenheims, ferry trip 2:35
February 9, 1942 Mingaldon
Monday -- Things started out slowly this morning, but this afternoon we had some fun when we went on a bombing mission with the British Blenheims to Pa-An. For a change, the British hit the target and from our position at 24,000 feet it looked as though it was a successful mission. Two Hurricanes flew with Kuykenall and myself to serve as top cover for the Blenheims, and their tactics afforded me great amusement. I think we are far superior to them. Jim came down from Kunming, and is staying temporarily at the Minto Mansions. Charlie, Smitty, and myself, went into town to see him and say hello. Kind of expect the Japs over tomorrow -- some fun.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Escort to Pa-An, 2 ferry, 1 eng. hop 3:25
February 10, 1942 Mingaldon
Tuesday -- Still no action. We are all very deeply puzzled, for the Japs are cooking something up. Evidently we have convinced them that they cannot successfully cope with the A.V.G. unless they increase their striking force. 5 to 1 is not a sufficient margin of power, as they have learned to their sorrow. Probably they are waiting until forces can be relieved from the Singapore area and then they will hit this place like a typhoon. If Singapore falls, this spot is sure to catch hell. We will probably be here for the fun. Went on an escort mission with the British Blenheims and did several other routine flights today. Lots of flying but little combat.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Patrol and raid alarm, No Japs 2:10
February 11, 1942 Mingaldon
Wednesday -- Jim, Farrell, and the rest of the pilots arrived today and were put right to work. We had no raids, but I went on a bombing mission with the British at noon and about two hours patrolling over Jap territory looking for a fight. No soap. Situation around Singapore looks grave and so does the outlook for Rangoon. I wonder where the hell the US forces are. My old plane "93" which I got back this week is a good ship. It is the best one I've had since "12" cut out on me on takeoff up at Toungoo and I piled it up in the jungle. Day after tomorrow Bond and I have the day off. It is long overdue.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Two hour patrol over Jap territory 5:05
February 12, 1942 Mingaldon
Thursday -- Got stranded on the road back from town last night and wound up sleeping in the car which had broken down. The day was fairly uneventful except for Joe Rosbert tearing up his airplane, #14 when he hit a sharp hole while he was taxing over at Johnnie Walker. Our airplane strength was increased in spite of the accident, however, for they brought two more down from Toungoo today. Bus Keeton, who has been at Toungoo all the time, shot down one Jap bomber in a raid up there. He was the only one in the air. Nice going! Little, CRB, Geselbracht and Layer (me too) had dinner at the Silver Grill tonight. Then came fun. Tomorrow being our day off.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Patrol over Thaton, ferry hop 2:40
February 13, 1942 Mingaldon
Friday -- Day off -- and how. Played golf at Mingaldon Club this morning and had a heck of a good time. Made some nice shots, but had the most fun with my staff of caddies. Four no less. One bag carrier, one umbrella carrier and two ball spotters. In the afternoon we went swimming at the Kokine Club and acted like rich kids. Also went downtown and bought Dad a fine star sapphire ring. Paid almost $100 for the darn thing, but it is really beautiful. No more news about Singapore yet, but it is very evident that it either has fallen or soon will. More and more I get the urge to go home. It is inevitable that the A.V.G. will collapse from lack of supplies. I wonder about going home???
February 14, 1942 Mingaldon
Saturday -- Spent most of this day working our additional phases of the proposed plan for evacuation of the A.V.G. unit if we are forced to scram the place here as a result of the Jap's ground forces. CRB has done most of the work in preparing the evacuation program. It is well done, and should serve to get all our men and supplies out. There were no raids by the Japs so we accompanied the Blenheims on three raids over Moulmein, Pa-An and Martaba-An. This is dangerous business to my way of thinking with our airplanes in the shape they are. CRB and I went to a party at Liebolt's and Wolf's which was a dandy. Left early though so we could arise with the dawn. Hard workers.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Escort to Martaba-An, two patrols 3:35
February 15, 1942 Mingaldon
Sunday -- Results of the Squadron party last night was quite apparent this morning when the A.V.G.'s fighting pilots started drifting in. Smitty, Boyington, Prescott, Kirk and a couple of others were in bad shape much to Neale's displeasure. Can't say I blame him. He is really trying hard and doing a good job. I'm back of him all the way. There was no evening action over Rangoon today, but the Jap ground forces are coming on like hell. Tonight they are 30 miles west of Thaton which makes them only about 90 miles from Rangoon. Glad my airplane is running like a clock -- I'll be on my way if they send in any paratroops or get closer with the ground troops.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Ferry trip, escort for Lysander bombers 1:45
February 16, 1942 Mingaldon
Monday -- Singapore fell this morning. The report arrived shortly before noon and it spread gloom throughout the field. Everyone is disgusted as hell the way things are going and the inadequacies of the British in all respects. Rangoon is certainly much more of a soft touch than Singapore and here we sit, 22 F.A.V.G. pilots trying to defend it against a nation. What prize chumps we are, holding down the hot spots for the British. Accompanied three missions to bomb Jap lines, but even these lacked coordination and effectiveness. Sometimes I'm pretty disgusted at the way this life goes -- but all in all it hasn't been a bad war -- for us.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Two escort missions; eng. hop 3:05
February 17, 1942 Mingaldon
Tuesday -- The chief worry around here these days -- today in particular is when and how heavily the Japs will hit us in their next attack by air. We have apparently scared them off temporarily for there hasn't been a single raid in ten days. I think they are of the opinion they can take the place with ground forces and don't plan to waste any more air strength in fooling with the mighty A.V.G. Their ground forces are moving ahead steadily each day. They are now at Bilin, just east of Pegu. At the current rate they'll cut the road at Pegu in three days. One false alarm today and much excitement. The warnings are getting so short we can hardly get off the ground!
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Reconnaissance trip; no raids 1:20
February 18, 1942 Mingaldon
Wednesday -- A big surprise today for CRB and myself when Mr. Jensen, our host, and Mr. Mather, his friend, piled their personal belongings in their cars and evacuated north. Both of them were jittery as heck and I can't blame them. Mr. Jensen left us the house and the servants are staying with us. CRB and I are Lords of the manor now. It was darned nice of Jensen to do it -- and he was a mighty nice bird. This afternoon we scouted around and drew some canned provisions from the British so that we will have something to eat around the place. Little or no activity otherwise. After work CRB and I went out to the ranch and ate with the men. Good grub.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Three intercepts; no action; ferry 2:55
February 19, 1942 Mingaldon
Thursday -- This day will go down in my memory as one of the wildest and strangest of 26 years. Our men have been going down to the docks and driving in and picking up anything they want. At noon, Mac McClure of the hanger crew came by and said he had gotten a radio for CRB and myself. He said there were lots of other things available which were going to be lost to the Japs when the city falls. Mac and I went down with a 10 ton truck and picked up so much stuff it would not be believed if I listed it. Included were 15 radios and two bolts of wonderful flannel. We are sending it north on a convoy and figure to make over $1500 on it in Kunming. It's mad -- but true. Can you believe it?
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Patrol over Bilin, one escort mission 2:30
February 20, 1942 Mingaldon
Friday -- Last night CRB and myself spent a magnificent hour listening to San Francisco, U.S.A. on our newly commandeered radio. It was marvelous. The men have picked up tons of stuff -- all we can take in the convoy in addition to our own supplies. It is pitiful -- the altogether miserable organization of the British here. The city is gone because of it. Perhaps it will be hours maybe days, but it's gone. Tomorrow we are sending out another convoy leaving only a skeleton force to maintain the airplanes. A picked bunch of eight men, of which I'm tickled to say I'm one, will move up to Magwe when we are forced to evacuate here. We will operate from there patrolling the road and protecting our convoy on the way up. Good detail. Tomorrow may be our last day here.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Dull day - one false alarm :45
February 21, 1942 Mingaldon
Saturday -- A wild and hectic day. War is getting mighty close. Today we accompanied four Blenheims on a bombing mission and -- blooie -- ran right into 40 Jap fighters escorting 12 Jap bombers. It was a lucky break, but so sudden it scared the pants off us. We were below them and I had to dive out the first time without getting a shot. There were, it seemed, more than a million Jap planes all over the sky. I tried to shoot them all down myself, but only got two in a full hour of fighting. It was a wild scramble. They have no rhyme or reason to their method of flying. They were 40 against the 5 of us, but we knocked down 6 and didn't lose any. Farrell got a bullet through his canopy and I got one through my wing that shot out my right tire. Some fun.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Ran into 40 Jap fighters. Got 2 1:40
February 22, 1942 Mingaldon
Sunday -- Early this morning we were put on one hour evacuation notice when we heard that the Japs had taken Bassin, which is west of Rangoon, and were coming in from both sides. As it turned out, the scare died down and by noon we were back on 12 hour notice. Looting is all out of hand in the city and all of us are living in abandoned homes, helping ourselves to anything we want. If we only had ways and means of getting stuff north we could really make a haul. There was no Jap activity today, but we strafed a motorized Jap column near Bilin and did a terrific amount of damage. The high spot of each day is listening to news from Frisco. Man it is great!
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Strafing and patrol missions 1:40
February 23, 1942 Mingaldon
Monday -- Our servant left on a convoy today and I can't blame him. The situation is getting serious. We sent out a big convoy with most of our mechs, but we plan to stay on with the planes as long as possible. Six of the group went to Magwe at noon and are going to stay there and patrol the road to insure the safety of the convoy. Late this afternoon we went on patrol over by Pegu and the Sitang river. On the way home we got a raid warning, and I took my element up to 22,000 feet to meet the skunks. It was nearly seven bells. Right before we got to all clear I saw a Jap fighter, but he lost us in the haze. Some fun! We moved in with Sawyer and Little tonight. More company.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Patrol at Pegu, Intercept attempt 3:40
February 24, 1942 Mingaldon
Tuesday -- The blow fell this morning. Gen. Wavell issued orders that Rangoon was to be defended to the last. Neale says we are going to stick it out regardless, but this seems a most foolish move on our part. However, if that's the order, that's the way it has to be. This noon six of us went on a strafing mission to the Moulmein airport and caught three Japs on the ground. We beat the hell out of those three, leaving them in flames and came on home. If we have to stay here, I have to admit that there will be nothing boring about it. But our planes are in terrible shape. Hope things go for the best. We are going to need lots of Luck. If it hadn't been for that strafing mission, today would have been a dandy.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Strafing mission at Moulmein 2:15
February 25, 1942 Mingaldon
Wednesday -- A day to long be remembered! The First Pursuit Squadron set a record for the war thus far for the number of planes shot down. In two fights we got 23 confirmed and seven probables. The first scrap was at noon and only three of our men hit the Japs, but they got four fighters. Evidently the Japs figured our strength was pretty low for at five o'clock they sent over 12 bombers escorted by about 40 fighters. For a change our radio contact was good and we hit them with all our 11 planes. I got one bomber and two fighters, and the whole total, was 19. I was the calmest I have ever been. Only one or two cases of bad judgment kept me from getting a couple more. A great day.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Biggest scrap of the war. I got 3 4:50
February 26, 1942 Mingaldon
Thursday -- The Japs are on the go now. Last night they came over and bombed like hell but didn't do much damage. In yesterday's raid the Japs got one Lysander, and damaged five Blenheims by their bombing. Two Jap fighters came in and strafed the field while we were in the scrap above. Nervy skunks. The news from the Colonel is that the A.V.G. is to be pulled out of Rangoon on March 1. A vacation! Gosh, what a thought! This day was wild. We had an alert at 8:00 A.M. and when we couldn't find them, Neale took seven of us over to Moulmein and we caught two planes on the ground at Moulmein Auxiliary field. We left them burning and jumped over to the main field just in time to catch three Jap fighters taking off and about 15 more warming up on the field. I was flying in the front element with Neale and Rossi and we came down in a diving turn and hit the three of them at about 400 feet. Neale missed his man but the Jap pulled up sharply to get out of Neale's fire and he was dead in front of me. I cold cocked him with one grand burst. Some of our outfit strafed the field, but I stayed up among them. I got one on a short shot later on, and then just missed another when my guns wouldn't fire after I had sneaked up on a bird. Altogether we got 21 certain and 5 probables. Neale's plane was badly shot up but we all got home. There were no other alarms all day. We expect to leave tomorrow.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Two more raids, strafing mission 5:20
February 27, 1942 Rangoon to Magwe
Friday -- After an early morning alarm which had us scared for awhile, we started evacuating. Neale came down to the house at midnight and Bond, Sawyer, Little and myself went out to the ranch to get the convoy started. At 10:00, Little took his flight of four planes to Kunming, while Kuykendall and Probst went direct to Kunming. In the afternoon Bond and myself took a flight of four to Magwe. As soon as we arrived Bond sent me out on a patrol of the road to see if the convoy was safe. This is a hell hole, but the British are using it as a base to replace Mingaldon. No quarters on the field so we drove out to Yenangyaung, a town in the oil fields north of Magwe, where we stayed with an American colony.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Rangoon Ferry trip, one alert no raid 1:25
P-40C F.A.V.G. Rangoon-Magwe Evacuated Rangoon, last 4 to leave 1:40
P-40C F.A.V.G. Magwe-Magwe Patrol of Burma road for convoy 2:15
February 28, 1942 Magwe
Saturday -- Since this is not a leap year there is no such day. As a result, I can use this space to catch up since I used two pages for one day a couple of days back. Last night we had a pleasant time at Yenangyaung with the Nordbloom's. They served a wonderful meal and then we sat on the lawn and drank a bunch of Scotch and sodas. Real bed, warm bath water and everything. Gosh. We are on alert here with a Brewster Squadron from New Zealand. A nice bunch of fellows. Neale and Smitty, who stayed over at Rangoon, came up this afternoon, but of all things got lost and had to land in fields to the north of here. Neale's ship is OK. He only needs gas, but Smitty's plane needs a wheel and a retractory cylinder. More delay.
P-40C F.A.V.G. Magwe-Magwe Alert on air raid, no action 1:20