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  B-32-20-CF "Hobo Queen II" Serial Number 42-108532  
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
386th BS

Click For Enlargement
312th BG c1945

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated-Vultee at Fort Worth, Texas. Assigned to the US Army.

Wartime History
On May 12, 1945 took off from Fort Worth Army Air Field piloted by Col Frank R. Cook on a flight with B-32 42-108529 bound for Mather Army Air Field. On May 16, 1945 departed Mather Army Air Field with #529 on a flight to Hickam Field but the bombers became lost flying 260 miles off course before landing safely. In Hawaii, this B-32 had minor repairs performed. On May 23, 1945 departed with #529 for Guam then departed the next day for Clark Field arriving on May 24, 1945.

One of nine B-32s assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 386th Bombardment Squadron for combat tests. Cook nicknamed this B-32 "Hobo Queen II" with the nose art of a seated nude figure. This bomber was "II" because Cook's previously assigned aircraft was YB-29 "Hobo Queen" 41-36393.

This B-32's first combat mission was flown on May 29, 1945. Prior to takeoff, B-32 42-108528 aborted the mission. Took off from Clark Field at 10:30am piloted by Col. Cook armed with nine 1,000 lbs bombs with B-32 "The Lady is Fresh" 42-108529. The pair, led by Col. Paul bomb troop concentrations at Antatet ahead of Filipino guerrillas. Both B-32s made separate bombing runs at noon from 10,000' damaging buildings, then returned to base at 13:05.

Next, flew two combat missions against China piloted by Col Cook.

On June 18, 1945 flew a bombing mission against Hoi How on Hainan Island. Then on June 24, 1945 a mission against San Chau Island.

On August 17, 1945 took off from Yontan Airfield at 6:55 piloted by Captain James F. Klein, with B-32 108578, B-32 42-108539 and F7B Liberator on a mission to photograph the Tokyo area from Chiba to Kido and Higurashi to Iwabe. Although the war had ended, the bombers encountered anti-aircraft fire from Miyakawa Airfield and were intercepted by fourteen Japanese fighters over Chosi, including an A6M5 Zero piloted by Saburo Sakai. The fighters made ten firing passes singularly, without causing damage or pressing their attacks. Returned to base at 18:30. This was the last aerial combat between American and Japanese aircraft during World War II.

On August 25, 195 took off from Yontan Airfield on another photographic mission over Tokyo. On the way to the target this bomber and B-32 "Harriet's Chariot" 42-108543 aborted the mission due to mechanical problems and returned to base safely.

On August 25, 195 took off from Yontan Airfield on another photographic mission over Tokyo, but aborted due to mechanical problems and returned to base along with B-32 "Hobo Queen II" 42-108532, leaving only #528 and #544 to finish the mission.

On August 28, 1945 flew a mission over Atsugi Airfield to observe if the terms of surrender were being observed, and propellers removed from Japanese aircraft. Unable to tell for sure, they returned to base. During the mission, this bomber suffered an electrical fire in the bomb bay tank causing smoke which was extinguished before returning to base.

On October 10, 1945 while taking off from Yontan Airfield when the nose wheel accidentally retracted on the ground, damaging the nose. Two days later, a hoist lifting the B-32's nose dropped the bomber twice, causing further damage. Written off on the aircraft was scrapped during May 1946.

References
Rampage of the Roarin' 20s pages 201 (color photo), 305 (photo), 306-307 (photo), 309, 330-334, 356, 396 (profile #36)
Air Force Magazine, 1980
Dominator pages 40, 42, 43, 46 49 (photos)
312th Bomb Group DVD includes interviews with B-32 crew member of this bomber
Echoes of the Dominator pages 64-68, 72, 74-77, 82, 84-85, 89, 90-92, 95, 106, 108, 112, 115, 118-119, 121, 125, 128 , 137-138 , 147
J-Aircraft "Saburo Sakai's Last Battle"

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

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