Lingayen Gulf

With the arrival at Lingayen Gulf the most active phase of Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY-ONE's combat duty began. It was to last through the month of February. Black Cat operations were resumed the night of January 12 when three planes flow offensive reconnaissance missions to Formosa and the Southeast China coast, and one plane flew a sector of the barrier patrol around the Lingayen Gulf area.

In contrast with the situation at Morotai where enemy ships were few and far between, this was virgin territory. The Japs were obviously not expecting night attacks and on one occasion even turned on landing lights at a Formosa seaplane base when one of our planes came in on a bombing run. Unescorted merchant ships wore frequently sighted near Formosa and the China coast. The enemy was soon alerted however, and shore searchlights and anti-aircraft batteries became progressively stronger, while merchant shipping, which at first had been poorly protected, changed to well escorted conveys,

Nevertheless the squadron succeeded in sinking or damaging a total of 71,585 tons of enemy shipping in low-level night attacks while operating from Lingayen, and in addition made thirteen damaging night raids on shore targets including barracks, harbor installations, radio stations, and industrial plants on Formosa and adjacent islands and in China. A total of 161 night missions was flown from Lingayen.

Anti-aircraft fire was encountered regularly on those flights and en several occasions the squadron’s planes were heavily hit. Four men wore seriously wounded by shrapnel. Enemy aircraft were frequently



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