World Battlefronts: Second Longest

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It was noon, and the tropic sun beat down on placid Macassar, in the Celebes, deep in the heart of The Netherlands Indies. Macassar had served the Jap well as an inner base through which to funnel supplies to forward areas. Last week there were six medium-sized cargo vessels in Macassar Harbor and a cruiser for protection. Suddenly the sky was darkened by a flock of fat-bellied Liberators, and a rain of explosives—incendiaries to one-ton bombs—fell on town and harbor. The Wilhelmina and Juliana docks burst into flame. A 2,000-pounder cracked the cruiser squarely and billowing smoke obscured it. A cargo ship was hit.

The surprised Jap manned his shore batteries and his shipboard antiaircraft. Only one fighter rose to intercept. Desperately it flung down on one of the big American bombers, locked wings and fell from the sky, bringing its victim with it. That was the only American loss. The planes returned to their Australian base, having successfully completed the second longest air raid for land-based bombers in the Pacific War—1,000 miles.*

* Longest was an Army raid on Wake Island, 1,200 miles from the bombers' base.