Yanks Blast Big Jap Oil Port on 2,500-Mile Trip Spread Fire and Ruin Over Wide Area Despite Heavy Anti-Aircraft Flack; Set New Long Distance Record; All Return SOMEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA. Aug. 15 (VFi American Liberator bombers which flew more than 2.500 miles last night to launch the first Allied attack on Borneo's largest oil port. Balikpapan. probably cancelled out many months of labor for the Japanese. The mission, announced in General Douglas MacArthur's communique todav. set a new distance record for land-based aircraft in the Pacific war. The bombers dropped more than ten tons of explosives, plus incendiaries, to inflict heavy damage on oil installations at stores at the Japa- , it was obvious that the destruction nese-held port. At least seven of the ' was complete." larger oil reservoirs were blown up. ; Credit for the direct hits on tne Burning oil spread and engulfed ship " the harbor was given to two large refinery groups. When the '; Captain Ed Smith of Marlmton. last of the Liberators pulled away j W. Va.. who described the raid as shortly before midnight the entire j thn.lmg from s.art to finish, port was ablaze .Hlt ShlP from 60 Fee' To reach Balikpapan on the coat ! tl "We flew between the masts of of Borneo, the bombers had to cross i the ship at 60 feet atid couMn t a chain of Japanese bases in- the j ;ss- Captain Smith said. Then Timor and Flores Seas and in the i we Ilev at the oil refineries and the Celebes k"cis "au a so si i storage Ack-Ack Fire Heavy i tanJp " lt Intense anti-aircraft fire greeted j The fir5t Liberator over the target them over the target area. They ! was Piloted by Capt. Forest L. Bris-had to dive through this barrage -V of San Francisco. He said the for low level bombine runs. Despite ; target DiacKed out as his bomber he intcnsity of the defense few i iomyS were wasted j fires from the exploding oil res-outit j ervoirs swiftly converged into one h(J(,e biiize One 500-pound bomb hit ;a medium sized cargo ship, probably explosions and fires started bv the j a tanker in je harbor and set it ' following aircraft. ' j some later bombers reported the A1 of our planes returned. The i harbor area was burnin so fiercely flew low over the harbor. Then the ack-ack opened up. Brissey termed it "very fierce." His Liberator was over the area for 15 minutes and he saw manv 'number was not disclosed Oil installations at Balikpapan effectively wrecked by the were i Dutch under their scorched earth i policy as they retreated before the ! Japanese early in the Pacific war ! more than a year ago. But the in- j vaders had extensively rebuilt the Commended By Commander The raid probably cut deeply into j the enemy's oil reserves. i "The boys did a beautiful job." lnelr commanaing onicer declared on his return from Balikpapan. they seemed to be flying through broad daylight for a distance of five miles. Pilots said an area one mile in diameter was a single huge sheet of flame which rose to 7,000 feet. Shell Misses Radio Man First Lieut port, and developed it as one of j of DaHas, Tex., flew the first bomber ! tneir principal oil reservoirs. over ?he refineries. Another pilot ! John K. Thompson j j was First Lieut. Frederick S. Hinze 1 j of Burlingame, Calif., who claimed j the string of bombs from his i "They overcame difficult flying conditions, and the job of navigation, in a way I've never seen equalled anywhere in the world. "When the pilots can take up such a heavy load, fly such a long way and hit the target accurately, you can say they are men to be proud of. They couldn't have done a better job in daylight. "I saw the target area after all Liberator scored direct hits on oil tanks and other. installations. Sergt. Ira Maxey of Spartanburg. S. C, says he is the luckiest man on the mission. He was radio operator on a Liberator. When it dove through " !' sue" pa&sea wiuun ; inches of his head. j Second Lieut. Armand Haugstad j of Columbus. N. D., a navigator, said I his bomber was caught for a short time in the beam of searchlights. but the poilt did a quick diving turn and got out of the beam. His bombs the bombs had been dropped and ' added to the ruin of Balikpapan.