North American B-25J-5-NC Mitchell "Ruthless Ruth," serial number 43-28014, pulls up after making a skip-bombing run on IJN Coastal Defense Vessel No. 134. The plane was flown by USAAF Lieutenant Louie A. Mikell of Chatham County, Georgia, of the 499th Bomb Squadron ("Bats Outa Hell"), 345th Bomb Group ("Air Apaches"), 5th Air Force. Japanese convoy HOMO-03 left Hong Kong enroute to Shanghai, consisting of subchasers CH-9 and CH-20, destroyer IJN Amatsukaze, Kaibokan (escort destroyers) Coastal Defense Vessels No. 1 and No. 134, Tokai Maru Number 2 and Kine Maru on April 4, 1945. Attacks by US Navy Martin PBM-5 Mariner flying boats, 5th Air Force Consolidated B-24 Liberators and Lockheed P-38 Lightnings on April 5 sink the two transports, and the convoy breaks up. The subchasers return to Hong Kong while the destroyers head for Amoy, China. Enroute, CH-9, CH-20 and No. 1 are damaged by another wave of B-24s. The next day, the three destroyers are found by twenty-four B-25s of the 345th; the Americans volunteered for the long over-water flight from their base at San Marcelino, Luzon to the Japanese ships off the China coast. Lt. Mikell is not flying his usual aircraft, "Little Miss Ell II," serial number 43-36166. Lt. Mikell scored a near-miss with his delayed fuse bomb; Lieutenant Francis Thompson strafed the ship; the flight leader scored a hit amidships. No. 134 rolled over to starboard and sank, her surviving crew abandoning ship to the shark-infested waters. No. 1 was also skip-bombed and sank. Amatsukaze was beached a mile away on a reef, but slipped stern-first into the sea and sank. Captain Albin V. Johnson's aircraft was shot down during the attack and lost with his entire crew.
Six Miles South-Southwest of Amo
Caption ©2007 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain