The Japanese called the B-29s that began bombing their homeland in June 1944 the "birds from hell". The 462nd Bomb Group adopted the name "Hellbirds" on their recommendation.
This site is dedicated to those brave men who served as Hellbirds.
No Japanese territory was outside the reach of the Hellbirds. From their bases in Piradoba, West Bengal, India, Kiunglai, Chengdu, China, and West Field, Tinian, the Hellbirds helped bring Japan to her knees with 15 months of incessant and increasingly accurate bombings.
The Hellbirds flew the first B-29 overseas, flying from the US to England, Marrakech, Cairo, Karachi, and Kharagpur in early 1944.
The Hellbirds were the first to fly the B-29 over the hump to Kiunglai, Chengdu, China, and back to India
The Hellbirds flew many missions with the other three groups from the 58th Bomb Wing. With these Groups, the Hellbirds were also first to:
- Introduce the advanced B-29 into battle for the first time - Bangkok - 5 June 1944
- Bomb mainland Japan, the first such mission since Jimmy Doolittle did it on 18 April 1942, at Yawata on 15 June 1944.
The Hellbirds trained in western Kansas, near the towns of Hays, Victoria and Walker. After the long winter of 1943-44, the Hellbird crews took their new B-29s to their main base at Piaradoba, many via the Modification Centers scattered throughout the US. The remaining men went by boat.
The Hellbirds flew missions all throughout Asia, including mainland Japan. Bombing Japan required staging raids from Kiunglai, and exposed the Hellbird crews to the dangers of flying the Hump.
After 11 months in Asia, the 58th Bomb Wing moved their operations to Tinian Island in the Marianas, where in 4 months the Hellbirds joined the rest of the 20th Air Force in bringing down the Japanese, without the need for a costly invasion.
The Hellbirds won three Distinguished Unit Citations during WWII...for missions to Yawata, Tokyo/Yokohama and Takarazuka.