26 June 1945, Miranda was leading his element on a daylight
strategic attack on an arsenal complex at Nagoya. This
was the Group's 32nd mission. Accompanying Capt. Miranda
that day as Colonel George W. Mundy, 39th Bomb Group CO,
flying as command pilot.
was made at the assembly point just off the coast of Japan.
P-13 fired the signal flare and Miranda turned the "City
of Galveston" into Nagoya Bay toward the I.P. A group
of five enemy "Tonys" suddenly appeared and with guns
blazing attacked our element. Nearly every turret in formation
went into action as the enemy pressed repetitive attacks.
As one came boring in toward the nose of Capt. Miranda's
aircraft, it abruptly disintegrated into a huge fireball.
Pieces of debris whisked past us (P-5),
and then fluttered like falling leaves into the sea. Later,
their bombardier, 1st Lt Oscar B. Price of Turkey Texas,
would be credited for the kill.
we reached the I.P. and headed north, cloud cover kept
getting higher and we were climbing to stay on top. When
the clouds finally closed in on us, the whole formation
dispersed. We continued to climb and maintain our heading.
Finally, breaking out over the top of cloud mass, we found
that there wasn't a plane in sight from our formation.
We proceeded on toward the target - resigned to go in
alone if necessary. At the last minute, we spotted P-13
and two other B-29's and fell in behind them.
black puffs of flak were bursting all around our four-plane
element, and it increased in intensity as we pressed toward
the target. Just as Nagoya came into view, the overcast
opened up and we made our bomb run at 24,000 feet. Holding
straight and level despite being bounced from the shock
waves of several near-hits, we simultaneously released
our bombs with the lead plane. We watched the finned projectiles
plummet downward and witnessed a good pattern exploding
around the aiming point. It appeared that we had inflicted
serious damage to the arsenal.
was going well but on for that moment. As we turned off
the target, trouble really began. A 120mm shell suddenly
tore about eight feet off the P-13's right wing, knocked
a couple feet off its aileron, and put the outboard engine
out of commission. Being behind and just below Miranda,
a section of their wing and other smaller pieces came
back and narrowly missed crashing into us. Seconds later
another burst tore off half of the left door of the forward
bomb bay, knocked open the other three doors and jammed
the closing mechanism. As a result, their right inboard
engine backfired and coughed in a further loss of power.
Miranda and Col. Mundy found themselves flying an airplane
with a short right wing with both good engines on the
opposite side. It was all they could do to keep the bomber
flying in any semblance of direction. At the dual controls
each placed his feet on his left rudder pedal and pushed
with all his strength, simultaneously steering hard to
the left. With the plane steadily losing attitude, P-13
headed out to sea in search of a friendly vessel.
the "City of Galveston's" flak hits P-5 swiftly dropped
out of formation to cover the stricken plane from enemy
fighters who were always quick to jump a disabled Superfortress.
Suddenly, Big John's voice boomed over the radio to Bob
Spaulding, A/C of P-5, "Bob get me to a sub." Spaulding
replied, "Will do John - just hang on."
the time we reached the coast, their ailing # 3 engine
had quite entirely, and the plane was rapidly losing attitude.
We continued maintain radio contact with P-13. Both Capt.
Miranda and Col. Mundy remained admirably cool throughout
the ordeal as they struggled to stay in the air.
we reached the water, our heading was southerly (180 degrees).
Al Baldi, Co-pilot of P-5 was able to contact the nearest
rescue submarine and get a fix on its location several
5's Navigator, Ed Edmundson, set to work on calculating
the course and ETA. It was soon determined that a new
heading of 270 degrees would be needed to reach the sub.
This meant nearly a full 90-degree turn. Baldi relayed
this information to Capt. Miranda.