Aerial photograph of the 380th Bombardment Group's low-level bombing run over Balikpapan. Photo Source: Fold3.
On this day in 1942, twelve B-24s from the 380th Bombardment Group, which was nicknamed the "Flying Circus" and "King of the Heavies", made a surprise and daring low-level bombing run over the target-rich oil refineries at Balikpapan on the east coast of the island of Borneo (then a part of the Dutch East Indies, today Indonesia). Balikpapan needed to be neutralized because the refineries there were supplying half of the Empire of Japan's aviation fuel.
Fold3 just ran a good piece on their blog utilizing content from their digitized holdings for the 75th anniversary of the bombing run made by the 380th BG.
From 1-21 July 1945, Balikpapan would be the scene of the last major Allied amphibious assault and offensive action of the Pacific War. When the Empire of Japan formally surrendered on 2 September 1945, Australian forces were still in the process of mopping-up and combing the jungle for Japanese holdouts.
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