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January 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

THURSDAY, 1 JANUARY 1942
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): HQ 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Clark Field to Mariveles. The ground echelon of the 14th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Clark Field to Bugo, Mindanao. The air echelon is operating from Singosari with B-17's. The air echelon of the 93d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Batchelor Field to Singosari with B-17's. The ground echelon is still on Luzon and Mindanao.

RAAF: Lost off Ambon is Hudson A16-29.

FRIDAY, 2 JANUARY 1942
The Japanese occupy Manila and Cavite. The Pentagon receives a depressing radio message from the Philippines that says: "Manila, Cavite lost; MacArthur fights on, holding Corregidor."

USN - The first organized lighter-than-air units of World War II, Airship Patrol Group 1, Commander George H. Mills commanding, and Airship Squadron 12, Lieutenant Commander Raymond F. Tyler commanding, were established at NAS Lakehurst.

SATURDAY, 3 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): President Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston S Churchill announce the creation of a unified command in the SW Pacific, with General Sir Archibald P Wavell as supreme commander of American, British, Dutch, and Australian (ABDA) forces in that area.

SUNDAY, 4 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): Fighters from Bataan Peninsula, attempt the interception of a bombing raid on Corregidor in Manila Bay. The fighters, failing to intercept until the enemy airplanes are over the target, have little effect on the raid. Several fighters depart for Mindanao following the mission. The 21st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Lubao to Bataan with P-40's.

MONDAY, 5 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): The air echelon of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), which has been operating from Hickam Field since 18 Dec 41, departs for Singosari with B-17's. The ground echelon is at Brisbane.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's from Malang stage through Samarinda, during the night of 4/5 Jan and attack shipping in Davao Bay on Mindanao. US Forces in Australia (USFIA), which controls FEAF, is redesignated US Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), and Major General George H Brett assumes command. The ground echelons of the 17th and 91st Bombardment Squadrons, 27th Bombardment Group transfer from Limay to Bataan. The air echelons are operating from Brisbane with A-24s.

USN - A change in regulations, covering display of National Insignia on aircraft, returned the star to the upper right and lower left wing surfaces and revised rudder striping to 13 red and white horizontal stripes.

WEDNESDAY, 7 JANUARY 1942

Expansion of naval aviation to 27,500 planes was approved by the President

THURSDAY, 8 JANUARY 1942

USN - VT-3 TBD Devistator is lost.

FRIDAY, 9 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Kendari strike shipping in Davao Bay.

SATURDAY, 10 JANUARY 1942

Philippines - Fighter units complete a movement (begun 24 Dec 41) from various bases on Luzon to Bataan Peninsula. General Douglas MacArthur inspects troops on Battan. This eight-hour visit is MacArthur's only visit to the area.

USN - VT-3 TBD Devistator is lost.

SUNDAY, 11 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's, out of Malang attack Japanese landing forces on Tarakan. Damaged is B-17D "Swoose" 40-3097.

USN: Saratoga while operating at sea 500 miles southwest of Oahu, was hit by a submarine torpedo and forced to retire for repairs. Patrol Squadron 22, with PBY-5 Catalinas, joined Patrol Wing 10 at Ambon, the first aviation reinforcements from the Central Pacific to reach southwest Pacific Forces opposing the Japanese advance through the Netherlands East Indies.

USN: USAT Liberty is damaged by torpedoes fired by Japanese submarine I-166 roughly 10 miles southwest of Lombok Strait off northern Bali Island and is later beached.

Japan: Declares war on the Netherlands to coincide with their assaults on Tarakan, Borneo, and the Celebes.

MONDAY, 12 JANUARY 1942

(RAAF) Lost on a mission in Malay is Buffalo W8202.

TUESDAY, 13 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): The air echelons of the 9th and 11th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Singosari from the US with B-17's; the air echelon of the 22d Bombardment Squadron arrives at Singosari from the Territory of Hawaii. The ground echelons are at Brisbane.

WEDNESDAY, 14 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): HQ Far East Air Force and HQ V Bomber Command transfer from Darwin to Java.

USN - The formation of four Carrier Aircraft Service Units (CASU) from four small Service Units, previously established in the Hawaiian area, was approved.

THURSDAY, 15 JANUARY 1942

ALASKA (Air Force, Alaska Defense Command): The Alaskan Air Force is activated at Elmendorf Field. The commander is Lieutenant Colonel Everett S Davis.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Palembang, attack Sungei Patani Airfield.

(RAAF) Catalina flying boats from Rabaul via Kavieng bomb Truk. Lost during take off from Kavieng is PBY Catalina A24-11 (crew MIA / KIA).

FRIDAY, 16 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): The first significant deployment of aircraft from Hawaiian Air Force begins with movement of 6 B-17's, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Walter C Sweeney, to Palmyra Atoll in the Line for duty with Task Group 8.9.

Alaska: A group of B-26s on a ferry flight run out of fuel and force land near Smith River, British Columbia. Lost are B-26 40-1464 and B-26 40-1459.

USN - TBD 0335 ditches in the Central Pacific, the crew survive and deploy their life raft, reaching land 34 days later when they are rescued. To protect the advance of Task Force 8 for its strike against the Marshall and Gilberts, planes of Patrol Squadron 23 began daily search of the waters between their temporary base at Canton and Suva in Fiji. These were the first combat patrols by aircraft in the South Pacific.

SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): Aircraft unsuccessfully attack submarines in the Hawaiian area. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 proceed from Palmyra to Canton.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's from Malang, staging through Kendari, hit Langoan Airfield and ships in Menado Bay.

SUNDAY, 18 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): Another unsuccessful attack on enemy submarines in Hawaiian area. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 conduct antisubmarine search from Canton.

MONDAY, 19 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly antisubmarine mission from Canton.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Malang attack shipping at Jolo. The air echelon of the 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Singosari to Jogjakarta with B-17's. The ground echelon is at Brisbane, Australia. The air echelons of the 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfer from Singosari to Jogjakarta with B-17's; the ground echelons transfer from Brisbane to Jogjakarta.

TUESDAY, 20 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): Major General George H Brett, Commanding General US Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), halts ferrying of aircraft from India to the Netherlands East Indies. The USAAF has been sending heavy bombers to Java by way of Africa and India, but the Japanese are able to inflict prohibitive losses on USAAF aircraft on the last stops of the route by interception from newly acquired airfields near Java.

IJN - Japanese Naval aircraft attacks Rabaul in preparation for an amphibious assault. Lost is B5N Kate shot down by Australian anti-aircraft fire. Sunk is MS Herstein. On the ground, only 11 were killed and slightly more wounded.

RAAF - Hudson A16-97 crashed on take off.

WEDNESDAY, 21 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton to Nandi on Fiji.

New Guinea - (RAAF) On reconnaissance flights, two PBYs are lost: Catalina A24-9 and Catalina A24-8 two hours later.

(IJN) Japanese aircraft attack Salamaua and Salamaua Airfield destroying aircraft on the ground. Also the Japanese attack Lae Airfield. Attacking Bulolo Airfield A6M2 Zeros strafe and destroy on the ground G 31ba "Pat" VH-URQ, G.31 "Bulolo I Paul" VH-UOU and G 31 "Bulolo 2 Peter" VH-UOV. A Japanese flyingboat flew over Buka Airfield, and was fired on by Australian ground forces.

Near Darwin, Japanese submarine I-124 is sunk by depth charges dropped by HMAS Deloraine, the first Japanese submarine lost off Australia.

THURSDAY, 22 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): From this date through 3 Feb, B-17's launch at least 15 missions out of Malang against shipping moving through Makassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes. Four missions abort due to bad weather, 6 end with negative results, and the remaining 5 suffer heavy losses but sink 4 ships. Crashed on take off is B-17E 41-2419.

IJN - Japanese Navy attacks Rabaul, but finding few targets does aerobatics. Early in the morning, troops land and quickly secure Rabaul.

RAAF: Damaged and written off is PBY Catalina A24-7.

FRIDAY, 23 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): HQ 14th Pursuit Wing is inactivated at Wheeler Field. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return from Nandi Airfield to Canton.

USN - The first naval aircraft to operate in the Samoans, OS2Us of VS-1-D14, arrived with Marine Corps reinforcements from San Diego.

SATURDAY, 24 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): Lost on a patrol is P-40B 41-13297.

RAAF: Force landed is Hudson "Tit Willow" A16-106.

SUNDAY, 25 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton to Nandi on Fiji.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): The first USAAF pursuit squadron in Java, the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) under Major Charles A Sprague, arrives with 13 P-40's flown from Australia.

Philippines - After a two-day wait for reinforcements to arrive, Japanese commander Nara attacks Wainright's forces in Baatan.

MONDAY, 26 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): Fighters from Bataan, bomb and strafe Nichols and Nielson Fields during the night of 26/27 Jan, inflicting considerable damage on aircraft and fuel storage.

TUESDAY, 27 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return to Canton.

WEDNESDAY, 28 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly an unsuccessful antisubmarine mission from Canton.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's from Malang and Palembang, attack airfields at Kendari and Kuala Lumpur.

THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): HQ 18th Bombardment Wing is inactivated and replaced by the HQ VII Bomber Command which is activated at Hickam Field. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton to Palmyra. The 70th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) arrives in Fiji from the US with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): B-17's, striking out of Palembang, hit Kuantan airfield in Malaysia scoring numerous hits on runways and hangars. Lost on a bombing mission againts Balikpapan is B-17E 41-2476.

USN - Five-inch projectiles containing radio-proximity fuzes were test fired at the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, and 52 percent of the fuzes functioned satisfactorily by proximity to water at the end of a 5-mile trajectory. This performance, obtained with samples selected to simulate a production lot, confirmed that the radioproximity fuze would greatly increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft batteries and led to immediate small scale production of the fuze.

FRIDAY, 30 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return to Hawaii, having completed a mission (began on 16 Jan 42) which afforded a pioneer look at the problem of air operations over vast Pacific areas, especially the problems of navigation and the servicing of aircraft.

USN - The Secretary authorized a glider program for the Marine Corps consisting of small and large types in sufficient numbers for the training and transportation of two battalions of 900 men each.

 

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