On 6 April 1945, 499th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group pilot Lieutenant Francis Thompson dove his bat-nosed North American B-25J Mitchell toward an IJN Kaiboken-class frigate, Coast Defense Vessel No. 134, in the Formosa Strait 30 miles southwest of Amoy. Thompson, piloting one of 24 B-25's managed only to strafe in this low altitude, mast-height, daylight attack as he was crowded out by his wingman who scored a near miss and did probable damage to the frigate's stern, and by the explosion of a delay-fus 500-pound bomb that had been dropped by the flight leader. Here Thompson pulled out of his attack in the fast and furious battle-a harrowing example of the dangerous missions that took the lives of 700 men from the four squadrons of the 345th.
Print margin includes 5TH USAAF AND 345 Bomb Group Air Apaches badges and highly-detailed port-side profile of the pictured 499th Bomb Squadron B-25J-22 Serial No. 4-429600