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

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312th BG c1945

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7th SrG May 31, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated-Vultee at Fort Worth, Texas. At the factory, this aircraft was completed with aluminum finish and black anti-glare panels on the nose and inner side of each engine cowling. In the middle of May 1945 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-32-20-CF Dominator serial number 42-108532. Also known as #532 for the last three digits of the serial number.

Assigned to pilot Col. Frank R. Cook of the Air Technical Service Command based at Wright Field in command of the first three B-32's including this bomber plus B-32 42-108529 and B-32 42-108528 as the first three B-32 sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) to fly combat missions and conduct combat tests. Nicknamed "Hobo Queen II" by Cook with the nose art of a seated nude female wearing a night gown with a bindle. Previously, Cook was assigned YB-29 "Hobo Queen" 41-36393.

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 B-32 42-108529 on the next leg of the flight to Guam and the next day reached Clark Field.

On May 24, 1945 one of first two B-32's assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group (312th BG), 386th Bombardment Squadron (386th BS) at Clark Field.

On May 29, 1945 at 10:30am took off from Clark Field piloted by Col. Cook with co-pilot Captain Kent L. A. Zimmerman and bombardier 1st Lt. Edwin L. Johnson armed with nine 1,000 lbs bombs on the first combat mission for the new bomber led by B-32 "The Lady is Fresh" 42-108529 piloted by Col. Franklin K. Paul. Before take off, B-32 42-108528 aborted the mission. At noon the pair bombed from 10,000' making separate bomb runs against enemy troop concentrations at Antatet claiming damage to buildings ahead of Filipino guerrillas. Both returned safely at 1:05pm. This was the first combat mission flown by the B-32 Dominator in World War II.

On May 31, 1945 transfered from Clark Field to Floridablanca Airfield. While operating from Floridablanca Airfield, the nose art was painted with a more elaborate version with the female figure atop the ground with a large cloud in the background. Below the cockpit was a scoreboard with eleven combat missions flown by the end of the Pacific War. Each propeller hub was painted red.

On June 12, 1945 took off piloted by Col. Cook with B-32 "The Lady is Fresh" 42-108529 on a bombing mission against Basco Airfield on Batan Island. Over the target, each bomber made two passes bombing the runway from 15,500' and 16,000' and returned safely.

On June 13, 1945 took off piloted by Col. Cook on a bombing mission against Koshun. On June 15, 1945 piloted by Wells against Taito. On June 16, 1945 piloted by Col. Cook against Taito. On June 18, 1945 took off piloted by Col. Cook on a bombing mission against Hoi How on Hainan Island off China. On June 19, 1945 piloted by Col. Cook against Taito. On June 24, 1945 took off piloted by Col. Cook on a bombing mission against San Chau Island off China. On June 25, 1945 took off piloted by Col. Cook against Hatto on Formosa.

On July 6, 1945 piloted by Col. Cook against Takao. On August 11, 1945 flown to Yontan Airfield on Okinawa with B-32 42-108528. On August 15, 1945 piloted by Col. Cook on a shipping search over the South China Sea.

On August 16, 1945 at 5:30am took off piloted by Col. Cook a photographic mission over Tokyo to document Japanese compliance with the terms of surrender with B-32 42-108543 over Katori Airfield and Konoiko Airfield and were tracked by radar and one anti-aircraft position.

On August 17, 1945 at 5:43am took off from Yontan Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Frank W. Wells leading a formation of four including B-32 42-108539 on a photographic mission over Tokyo to document Japanese compliance with the terms of surrender. At 10:15am as they approached Tokyo Bay enemy fighters were spotted in "rat racing" with the formation including what were identified as Ki-44 Tojos (possibly misidentified N1K2-J Georges), Ki-61 Tonys and A6M5 Zeros including pilots WO Sadamu Komachi and Ensign Saburo Sakai. Near Chiba, what the crew claimed was a Ki-44 Tojo made a pass towards this bomber, slow rolling alongside then performed a split S maneuver then came in at the 2 o'clock position. Aboard, the crew was unsure if the fighter opened fire but the nose turret gunner fired anyway but no result was observed. Over Yokosuka, B-32 piloted by Lt. Frick and B-32 piloted by Lt. Elliot experienced anti-aircraft fire and roughly ten fighters swarmed and individually made firing passes while their gunners returned fire claiming one as damaged and dove to gain speed and escape, fearing they might attempt a ramming. The fourth B-32 was also attacked by Tojos and Tonys and returned fire claiming a probable kill. Returning, all four B-32's landed safely at 5:00pm having expended 4,000 rounds of .50 caliber rounds in their defense and several sustain damage.

On August 18, 1945 at 6:55am took off from Yontan Airfield piloted by Captain James F. Klein leading a reconnaissance mission over Tokyo to document Japanese compliance with the terms of surrender with B-32 42-108578 followed by a F7B Liberator from the 20th CMS. The bombers were to photograph the area spanning from Chiba, Kido, Higurashi to Iwabe. Although Japan had surrendered, the formation encountered anti-aircraft fire from Miyakawa Airfield and over Chosi were intercepted by fourteen Japanese fighters. The fighters made ten firing passes singularly, without causing damage or pressing their attacks. This was the last aerial combat between U. S. and Japanese aircraft during World War II. The three B-32's returned to Yontan Airfield at 6:30pm with B-32 42-108578 landing first with wounded aboard.

On August 25, 1945 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 28, 1945 before dawn prepared for take off piloted by Elliott on a photographic mission over Tokyo to observe if the terms of surrender were being observed and propellers removed from aircraft at Atsugi Airfield. While this bomber was throttling up for take off, the control tower signaled with a red light as B-32 42-108544 skidded off the runway and exploded. Meanwhile, Col. Cook arrived in a jeep and signaled this bomber to cut engines. Later, that same morning, took off to complete the mission solo. The weather was scattered cumulus nimbus .1 high and cirrus clouds .1 with an undercast at 1,200'. Arriving over Atsugi Airfield they circled the area counter clockwise and noticed the runway was carefully camouflaged by painting it with streets, houses and buildings. Aboard, crew member Sgt Robert Russell was to send radio messages if any propellers were observed still attached, but the crew was unable to see from their altitude. During the flight, they saw U. S. aircraft including C-54s, C-46s, C-47s, F6F Hellcats and TBM Avengers and Tokyo Bay crowded with U. S. Navy (USN) ships. Returning, this bomber experienced electrical problems and a fire was ignited inside the bomb bay fuel tank causing smoke to fill the fuselage and required one engine to be feathered and another engine smoking but landed safely at while landing at Yontan Airfield.

On September 9, 1945 while parked at Yontan Airfield a ground crew accidentally triggered the solenoids for the nose landing causing it to retracted on the ground damaging the nose. Two days later, a hoist lifting the nose dropped the bomber twice, causing further damage. Afterwards, written off on the aircraft was scrapped during May 1946.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-32-20-CF Dominator 42-108532
"108532 ("Hobo Queen II") attacked by Japanese fighters on recon mission over Tokyo Aug 18, 1945. One of last aerial combat fights of WW2"
Air Force Magazine, 1980
Dominator (1984) pages 40, 42, 43, 46 49 (photos)
Winged Samurai (1985) pages 86 (Sakai victory claims - 8/17/45 Tokyo, Japan / B-32 x 1 damaged by 14 pilots), 134-136 (The Last Mission)
312th Bomb Group DVD (2000) includes interviews with B-32 crew member of this bomber
Echoes of the Dominator (2007) 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
Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45 (1998) page 80
"On 17 August [1945] unesccorted B-32 Dominators flew over Tokyo on a photo-reconnaissance mission and were duly intercepted by fighters from the Yokosuka AG [Air Group]. Ens Saburo Sakai and WO Sadamu Komachi chased one bomber to Oshima Island, where it ditched - the loss was recorded as operational. This incident was repeated the following day [August 18, 1945] when the bombers again returned without escorts - this time one B-32 crewman was killed in the attacks, Sgt Anothony J. Marchione dying aboard the 312th BG's Hobo Queen [sic B-32 42-108578]."
J-Aircraft "Saburo Sakai's Last Battle"
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's (2009) pages 201 (color photo), 210-211 (Profile #36), 215 (Profile #36 detail), 305 (photo), 306 (photo) 307 (photo), 309, 328 (August 16, 1945) 328-329 (August 17, 1945) 330-333 (August 18, 1945), 333-334 (August 28, 1945) 341, 356 (42-108532), 377 (photo nose damage), 396 (Profile #36 description, photo), 403 (index Cook), 404 (index Elliott), 406 (index Hobo Queen II), 416 (index Wells)

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Last Updated
September 9, 2020

 

Tech Info
B-32
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