Commander Grear and his crew of P-46 joined up with the
other units of the XXI Bomber Command to burn out the
great industrial area of Tokyo. It was May 29 and Yokohama
was the target. Only twenty-five of the thirty-one planes
sent out hit the primary target, but they aided in creating
plenty of destruction.
this single mission, about 7 square miles of the city
was burned out, some 35 percent of Yokohama. It was a
great hit for the 39th but tough on the crew of P-46.
after bombs away over the target, the plane received direct
flak hits in No. 3 and No. 4 engines, bomb bay, radio
room, and vertical stabilizer. The fuel transfer system
was shot out and the co-pilot's throttle cables were severed.
No. 3 engine was feathered due to loss of oil while No.
4 was losing oil rapidly. The Radio Operator, Elias Schutzman,
was wounded in the right foot by flak.
after leaving the coast, the Flight Engineer called for
No. 4 to be feathered, as it was about to seize up from
loss of oil. The bomb bay doors jammed open creating excessive
drag caused the aircraft to lose altitude rapidly. It
was time to make plans to ditch.
took place at 1230 on the 29th about 120 miles northeast
of Tori-Shima. Details of the ditching are sketchy but
four men of the crew were missing by the time of rescue.
At approximately 1705, May 30, the submarine U.S.S.
Tigrone, SS419, picked up the remaining men. They
returned to North Field June 2, 1945.
were M/Sgt. Clare Lovelace, Sgt. Lawrence Toeppe, Sgt.
William Davenport and Sgt. Charles Markowitz. The wounded
Radio Operator, Schutzman, was saved. According to Christ-Janer,
most of the survivors went on to other crews and continued
to fly missions. Christ-Janer became a member of P-36.
He was also a member of P-1's
3rd replacement.source: "History
of the 39th BG"
following is from an email from Sheldon Elliott,
Nav, Crew 51 regarding
the Ditching of Crew 46 - dated Jan 18, 2003
happened that the officers’ complement of Crew P-46
shared Quonset hut quarters on Guam with the officers
of Crew P-51 and one other crew. It also happened that
2nd Lt Arland F. Christ-Janer and I had cots next to each
other. F/O Richard F. Wilcox, Pilot, had the cot opposite
Christ-Janer and on the other side of the Quonset hut.
Presumably because Christ-Janer and I were “preacher’s
kids” we hit it off very well. We had a number of
discussions of world affairs, etc that I remember very
well to this day.
One of these discussions concerned how the survivors dealt
with the circumstances surrounding the escape from the
plane after the ditching. This aspect was, of course,
of great interest to all B-29 crew members and me, in
particular. I had asked him whether any of the rest of
the crew (aside from the survivors) actually made it out
of the plane. He replied that he knew that the Flight
Engineer, M/Sgt Clare Lovelace, Jr. had made it out because
after Christ-Janer was in the rubber life raft he looked
around to help any others and he saw Lovelace swimming
in the water some distance away and shouted to direct
him in the right direction. Lovelace apparently heard
him because he looked around at him. Chirst-Janer saw
that he had a bad wound that was bleeding on his forehead
and shouted again. However, Lovelace turned around and
started swimming in the direction opposite of the raft.
Chirst-Janer supposed that he was completely disoriented
by the blow he must have taken when the plane broke up.
Lovelace was never seen again.
was of particular interest to me as a navigator to know
that the bombardier, the two pilots and the radio operator
escaped from the front of the plane without serious injury
but that the flight engineer did not. Apparently the fuselage
broke apart right at the nose wheel well, just behind
the pilots and just ahead of the navigator’s and
radio operator’s compartment, exactly where the
Flight Engineer was stationed and he was struck with debris
about the head and disabled while the others escaped.”