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January 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

FRIDAY, 1 JANUARY 1943
CBI (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, six B-25s attack the railroad bridge near Myitnge, claiming several hits on the target. Myitnge Airfield is also bombed.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-24s and five B-17s bomb the airfields at Rabaul and Gasmata and Lae, and attack shipping at Rabaul. Lost is B-24D "Crosair" 41-23752.

SATURDAY, 2 JANUARY 1943
ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Three B-25s, three B-26s and eight P-38s bound for Kiska are forced back by bad wether. The weather aircraft cannot see into Kiska Harbor or Gertrude Cove. Two B-24s fly photographic reconnaissance over Amchitka and encounter poor weather. An OA-10 unsuccessfully searches the east of Segula for a missing OA-10.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, China Air Task Force fighters continue to hit transportation targets, strafing a truck convoy on the Burma Road. The strikes begin near Loiwing and cover 30 miles of highway. At least five trucks are destroyed and others damaged. Six B-25s bomb Monywa Airfield.

SOUTH PACIFIC (13th AF) B-17s with P-38s bomb destroyers 30 miles south of Shortland without loss.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s, B-24s, B-25s and B-26s hit the airfield and targets of opportunity at Lae and Gasmata. On the ground, Buna Mission is finally overrun by Australian and US forces.

USN: Abandoned is PT-43.

SUNDAY, 3 JANUARY 1943

CBI (Tenth Air Force) The 9th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Tenth Air Force with F-4s, moves from Chakulia to Pandaveswar. One flight is operating from Kweilin.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) The 394th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group with B-17s, based on Fiji, begins operating from Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal. Shot down over Munda Airfield is B-26 "Queenie" 41-17586, crew later rescued.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) P-40s strafe troops in the waters off Buna as US and Australian ground forces are mopping up in the nearby Buna Missions area. B-26s, along with a single B-24 bombs Madang and an A-20 hits Salamaua. A lone B-24 strafes the airfield on Gasmata. Lost is B-26 "So Sorry" 40-1422.

NEW GUINEA - Allied forces report that they have retaken most of the lower areas of New Guinea, and the remaining Japanese resistance is trapped in a hopeless positions.

MONDAY, 4 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Six B-24s, three B-25s, three B-26s and ten P-40s en route to Kiska, are forced back near Segula by snow squalls and low ceiling. The weather aircraft flies unsuccessful reconnaissance over Kiska and photographic reconnaissance is flown over Amchitka. An OA-10 investigates flares reported near Kagalaska Strait.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) Heavy bombers from Gaya and Pandaveswar pound the marshaling yard at Mandalay, halting the northbound flow of supplies. Tracks and cars in the southern half of the marshaling yard are heavily bombed, causing fires visible for 70 miles. Heavy bombers also damage a 15,000-ton transport at the mouth of the river at Rangoon. Meanwhile, one B-25 and nine P-40s hit rail targets at Naba.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-26s pound the Sanananda Point area as preparations for the Allied offensive in that sector underway. A-20s and B-25s hit the airfield and AA positions and buildings at Lae. B-24s, on single-plane flights, bomb the Lae airfield and attack schooners off Gasmata and Cape Kwoi in the Bismarck Archipelago.

TUESDAY, 5 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Three B-25s sink a 6,500-ton cargo vessel previously sighted by a PBY off Holtz Bay, where a weather and armed reconnaissance B-24 with a direct bomb hits and sinks another freighter shortly afterwards. A B-24 flies photographic reconnaissance over Amchitka, concentrating on Constantine Harbor. A Kiska attack mission of six heavy bombers, six medium bombers and 12 fighters is cancelled due to weather.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) The 490th and 491st Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), 341st Bombardment Group (Medium) with B-25s move from Karachi to Ondal. The units will enter combat on 10 Jan and 18 Feb 43 respectively.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) B-17s with P-38 escort attack a cruiser at Buin. They are met by twenty-five Zekes and float biplanes; three Japanese aircraft are shot down for the loss of two P-38s.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-26s pound the Sanananda Point area as Australian infantry and armored elements reach Soputa and U.S. Army 128th Infantry Regiment start northwest along the coast toward Tarakena as preliminary moves to an all-out assault on Sanananda get under way. A-20s and B-25s hit the airfield at Lae. In the Bismarck Archipelago, six B-17s and six B-24s bomb the harbor, shipping and the airfield at Rabaul. Two B-17s are lost, B-17F 41-24538 and B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 aboard is Brigadier General Kenneth Walker, Commanding General V Bomber Command.

After detecting a convoy forming at Rabaul, 5th Bomber Command launched the first daylight since 1942. During the morning, three B-17s from the 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron took off on a bombing mission against Rabaul, ahead of the main formation whose mission was to bomb Lakunai Airfield to suppress defenses. Inbound, one B-17 aborted the mission due to engine problems and returned to base. At 9:30am the two B-17s were over Rabaul but found clouds obscuring Lakunai Airfield and made three dry runs without releasing any bombs then instead bombed Vunakanau Airfield. Over the target, the two B-17s experienced intense anti-aircraft over Simpson Harbor and were attacked by A6M Zeros from the 582 Kōkūtai. Damaged, B-17F 41-24538  piloted by Jack ditched off Urasi Island and the crew was later rescued. Another B-17 was damaged and landed at Dobodura.

403rd Bomb Squadron
B-17F 41-24538  piloted by Jack, ditched, crew rescued
B-17F "The Reckless Mountain Boys" 41-24518  pilot Adams, aborted the mission
B-17E 41-2639  pilot Hocutt landed damaged

At noon, the main effort arrived including B-17s from the 43rd Bomb Group, 64th Bomb Squadron armed with 500 lbs bombs and B-24s from the 90th Bomb Group armed with 1,000 lbs bombs. Flying at roughly 8,500' the bombers approached from the southeast between Kokopo and Rapopo and bombed enemy shipping. B-24s claimed hits on two ships and B-17s claimed hits on nine including a destroyer. In fact, only the Keifuku Maru sustained two near misses that caused her to ship. Bomb fragments did cause fires aboard other ships and inflicted 20 casualties. One of the B-17s, possibly with General Walker aboard circled the harbor before attempting to rejoin the formation.

Meanwhile, at roughly 11:55-noon Zeros from 582 Kokutai and 252 Kokutai, but all but two lost the bombers in the clouds and failed to intercept. Ki-43-I Oscars from the 11th Sentai also took off from Vunakanau Airfield and intercepted.

64th Bomb Squadron
B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 pilot Lindberg, Missing In Action
B-17E "Honi Kuu Okole" 41-9244
B-17E "R. D. F. Tojo" 41-2627
B-17E "The Jersey Skeeter" 41-2664
B-17E "Lulu" 41-2665
B-17E "Blue in the Night" 41-9209
B-17F 42-24420

90th Bomb Group
Nine B-24s planned to take off from Iron Range Airfield and rendezvous with the B-17 formation over Cape Ward Hunt, but the B-24s were unable to take off due to bad weather. Instead, only six 90th BG B-24s took from 7 Mile Drome joined with the 43rd BG, 64th BS B-17s on the mission against Rabaul. On B-24 was piloted by 1st Lt. Henry L. Chovanec, his bombardier claimed to hit a 10,000 ton ship.
Refernece: 90th Bombardment Group page 32-33

The identities of the six 90th BG B-24s that participated on the January 5, 1943 mission are unknown. Possibilities include these early 90th BG B-24 Liberators that were in service at the time:
B-24D "Czech'em / The Falcon" 41-23828
B-24D "Pelly Can" 41-23688
B-24D "Sky Lady" 41-24043
B-24D "Crosby Curse" 41-23836 90th BG, 321st BS
B-24 ?
B-24 ?

At noon, the Japanese convoy departed from Kokopo bound for Lae. Following this mission, 5th Bomber Command did not attempt another daylight raid over Rabaul until October 1943.

References
The Lae Convoy by Richard Dunn
Air Power History "The Search General Walker: New Insights" Fall 2014 pages 6-19 [PDF] by Richard Dunn
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Reconnaissance is flown over Amchitka, the Semichis, Agattu and Attu. Flotsam sighted outside of Holtz Bay confirms that the freighter bombed yesterday sank. Six B-24s, six B-25s and 12 P-38s take off to attack Kiska; the P-38s and one B-24 turn back due to weather. The B-25s find the target obscured and five Zekes waiting to intercept them, whereupon they turn back without attacking. The five remaining B-24s circle Kiska without contacting enemy aircraft; one of the B-24s, exploiting a break in the cloud cover, bombs the Kiska submarine base area which the others then bomb through the clouds.

SOUTH PACIFIC (13th AF) B-17s with P-38 and P-40 escorts attack a transport near Shortland without loss.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-26s pound the forces in the Sanananda Point area; and A-20s bomb Lae Airfield. B-17s, B-24s, B-26s and P-38s attack a convoy heading southwest off the coast of New Britain heading for Lae. Ditched after the attack is B-24D "Cowtown's Revenge" 41-23750. A single B-24s bombs the airfield on Gasmata. Lost is B-24D Liberator 41-23773 (MIA) on a search mission. Force landed is B-26 "Shittenengitten" 40-1404.

THURSDAY, 7 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Sixth and Eleventh Air Force) Six B-25s and 12 P-38s dispatched to Kiska turn back due to cloud cover. Six B-24s circle over Kiska for two hours until four can bomb the submarine base. AA fire damages three of the attackers. Negative reconnaissance is flown over Amchitka, Kiska, Agattu and Attu. Photographs taken reveal use of smoke pots by the defenders and also suggest construction of a fighter strip along the ridge south of Salmon Lagoon.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In China, P-40s blast fuel storage facilities at Mangshih. In Burma, China Air Task Force aircraft begin a series of raids, lasting through 10 Jan, during which they destroy trucks along the Burma Road, barges on the Irrawaddy River and stores in the Bhamo area. The 493d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group moves with its B-24s from Karachi to Pandaveswar. The squadron will fly its first combat mission on 26 Jan.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) B-17s bomb Bougainville; they are met by twelve Zekes; two are shot down without any US losses. B-26s with P-39 escort attack Rekata Bay. Lost are B-26B "'Mormon Meteor" 41-17579, B-26B "Krejan" 41-17550 abandoned due to damage is B-26B 41-17588. Also lost is B-17E 41-2396 (ditched)

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) The Japanese convoy bound for Lae is again attacked by heavy, medium and light bombers and fighters, along with Royal Australian Air Force planes, in the Solomon Sea off Finschhafen and during its progress off the south coast of the Huon Peninsula through Huon Gulf to Lae. Despite the heavy air resistance, the convoy reaches its destination. Lost are B-25D "Royal Flush" 41-29708 (MIA) and B-17F 41-24383 (three crew rescued) and B-26 "Yeah!" 40-1421 (three crew rescued). Fighters also attack Lae Airfield. Richard I. Bong shoots down two Oscars, his third and fourth victories. His first two victories were a Val and a Zeke shot down on 27 Dec.

FRIDAY, 8 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A B-24 flies photographic reconnaissance over Amchitka. Another B-24 aborts a weather run over Kiska because of instrument trouble.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, six P-40s bomb and strafe Watugyi and Nsopzup and strafe other targets, Six B-25s bomb the storage area at Bhamo.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) Heavy, medium and light bombers, with fighter cover, join Royal Australian Air Force aircraft in continued pounding of the Japanese convoy as it unloads about 4,000 reinforcements at Lae. Enemy fighter cover and Allied aircraft continue fierce aerial combat. Richard I. Bong shots down a Ki-43 Oscar, his 5th victory making him an ace. Lost are B-17E 41-9234, P-38F 42-12665 and B-25C "Pistoff" 41-12830. Damaged on take off and written off is B-26 "Sea Wolf" 40-1498.

SATURDAY, 9 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA In the Aleutians, 50+ knot winds at Adak ground all missions.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, five B-25s, with an escort of nine P-40s, bomb Bhamo; other fighters strafe targets of opportunity in the Wanling, Bhamo and Loiwing areas.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) 70th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) based in Fiji begins operating its B-26s from Henderson Field.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, US heavy, medium and light bombers and fighters, along with RAAF aircraft, continue to pound the convoy as it leaves Lae. Airfields, supply dumps and troop concentrations at Lae and Salamaua are also hit. In four days of attacks on this convoy, two transport are sunk, several vessels are damaged and about 80 aircraft are destroyed.

USN: Lost is SO3C-1 Seagull 4871.

IJN: Sunk of Cape Esperance is I-3. Sunk off Kieta by torpedoes fired by USS Nautilus is Yoshinogawa Maru.

SUNDAY, 10 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Sixth Air Force) The 24th Fighter Squadron, 16th Fighter Group with P-39s and P-70s transfers from Albrook Field, Canal Zone to La Joya, Panama.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, six B-24s and B-25s jointly attack the Myitnge bridge, knocking out a span and causing considerable damage to the entire target.

GUADALCANAL - US Army's Gen Patch XIV Corps on Guadalcanal begins offensive to the west

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) P-39s and SBDs support ground forces in the Guadalcanal battle area. A strongpoint and an ammunition dump are destroyed. B-26s attack Munda with the loss of one aircraft.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) Allied aircraft operating over the Solomon Sea south of New Britain continue to attack vessels of the Japanese convoy that departed Lae yesterday. Supply dumps and AA positions in the Lae area are also bombed. The 13th Bombardment Squadron (Dive), 3d Bombardment Group (Dive) with B-25s transfers from Charters Towers to Port Moresby. Crashed on take off B-26 "Diana's Demon" 40-1495.

USN: Sunk by depth charge attack is USS Argonaut SS-166.

MONDAY, 11 JANUARY 1943

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, fighters attack Bhamo, destroying barges, tugs, warehouses and other port facilities. In China, the fighters also strafe fuel drums along the road between Chefang and Mangshih and hit a truckful of soldiers near Ho-lu.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) B-26s and P-39s hit the Munda area.

TUESDAY, 12 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Two B-24s cover a small US Army and Navy force landing unopposed at Amchitka. Two B-25s and four P-38 escorts alson on the cover mission turn back due to weather. Weather reconnaissance is flown over Attu, Agatuu, Semichis and, lastly, over Kiska Harbor, where four ships are observed.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) B-26s, P-38s, P-39s and P-40s attack Munda with the loss of two B-26s. Other P-39s hit targets on Guadalcanal. Lost on training flight in New Caledonia are P-39K-1 42-4393 and P-39L 42-4637. Two aircraft collided on the ground C-47 41-38667 (repaired) and C-47 "The Jayhawk" 41-18598.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-24s, in single-plane actions, bomb Finschhafen and Madang.

GUADALCANAL - US is now in control of Guadalcanal and losses are totaled: over 1,700 dead and nearly 5,000 wounded. The Japanese lost aproximatly 30,000.

(Australian Army) M3 Stuart 2565 is disabled moving towards Sanananda.

WEDNESDAY, 13 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Three bombers and four fighters are in the air. The weather reconnaissance aircraft returns west of Kiska due to high winds. Constantine Harbor is patrolled until weather forces aircraft to return. An attack on Kiska is cancelled.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) The Thirteenth Air Force and its subordinate XIII Bomber Command and XIII Fighter Command are activated to assume administrative control over all USAAF units in the South Pacific. HQ Thirteenth Air Force (Major General Nathan F. Twinning) and HQ XIII Fighter Command (Brigadier General Dean C. Strother) are established at Noumea, New Caledonia; HQ XIII Bomber Command (Colonel Harlan T. McCormick) is established on Espirtu Santo , New Hebrides. Operational control of the Thirteenth's subordinate units is exercised by the USMC officer commanding USMC air units on Guadalcanal. In the Solomons, P-39s strafe forces on the beach at Kokumbona and hit Visale (both on Guadalcanal) in support of the ground offensive. Also, B-26s with P-39 and P-38 escort pound the Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel area; no aircraft are lost.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s bomb and strafe the Sanananda Point area and forces along the Sanananda Track. Heavy and medium bombers hit dock facilities at Lae and Lae Airfield and Salamaua Airfield.

THURSDAY, 14 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Sixth Air Force) HQ 6th Bombardment Group is transferred from Rio Hato, Panama to Albrook Field, Canal Zone.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) In the Solomons, P-39s, dropping improvised gasoline bombs in the Guadalcanal battle area around Mount Austen and Kokumbona, pound forces and supplies throught the day. Other fighters hit barges and launches at Kaimana Bay and Aruligo Point. B-17s bomb Buka Airfield without loss.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, A-20s strafe the Labu area and small boats in Sachsen Bay. B-25s bomb the fuel dump and other supplies along the beach in the vicinity of Voco Point near Lae. B-24s carry out single-plane attacks on Madang and Finschhafen, and also bomb Gasmata.

USN: Lost on a night mission is SOC-1 Seagull 9911.

FRIDAY, 15 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Eight P-38s, three B-25s and a B-24 patrol Constantine Harbor, fly reconnaissance over Kiska, where one ship is sighted, and fly negative armed reconnaissance runs over Attu, Semichi and Buldir.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) Six B-24s hit shipping in the Rangoon area, claiming one vessel sunk and another damaged. Six P-40s bomb barges at Bhamo; six others bomb Nsopzup; three more hit footbridges and targets of opportunity at Taihpa Ga, Yupbang Ga, and other points in northern Burma.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) In the Solomons, SBDs with F4F and P-39 escort attack nine destroyers of the Tokyo Express. They are met by 12 Oscars; eight are shot down with the loss of one SBD and five US fighters. B-17s, P-38s, P-39s and P-40s attack five destroyers near Faisi; they are met by float biplanes and 13 are shot down with no loss of USAAF aircraft. SBDs with F4F and P-39 escort bomb a cargo ship off Munda; they are met by 12 Zekes; seven are shot down with the loss of one US fighter. B-17s and PBYs bomb Kahili.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s strafe the Sanananda Point area as US troops envelop pockets along the Soputa-Sanananda Track. B-25s bomb supply dumps at Lae; B-24s carry out single-plane attacks on bridge construction at Wewak. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24s hit the airfield on Gasmata and carry out single-plane attacks on the runway at Cape Gloucester.

SATURDAY, 16 JANUARY 1943

Despite being hampered by disease, US forces finally manage to subdue the Japanese resistance in Papua. Over 60% of the US forces was incapacitated by various illnesses, mainly malaria and dysentery.

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Six B-24s off to hit Kiska return due to weather. A B-24 flies negative reconnaissance over Buldir, Semichi, Attu and Agattu.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) China Air Task Force P-40s intercept Japanese aircraft that attempt a strike on Yunnani and claim seven Zekes shot down in the air battle. Anticipating that the Japanese planes will land at Lashio Airfield, six B-25s and eleven fighters are sent to that field in the hope of catching the enemy on the ground; finding no aircraft there, the B-25s and fighters attack the town of Lashio. This is the last raid by the China Air Task Force before a fuel shortage grounds the fighters for the remainder of January and the B-25s for 33 days. In Burma, India Air Task Force B-25s hit Mandalay-Lashio and Sagaing-Ye-u branch railroad lines with three strikes on 16 and 17 Jan, knocking out two important rail hubs. Ten B-25s bomb the railroad yards at Maymyo.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) In the Solomons, B-26s from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides join P-38s and P-39s in the Guadalcanal campaign, pounding the Japanese at Tassafaronga. Munda is also bombed. B-17s bomb the Buin-Faisi area, concentrating on Kahili Airfield and Ballale Airfield. The 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Photographic Reconnaissance Group with P-38s and F-5s transfers from Noumea to Guadalcanal. The air echelon of C and D Flights remain in the US. The squadron will fly its first combat mission on 5 Feb 43 and will be redesgnated 17th Photographic Squadron on 6 Feb 43.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s pound the Soputa-Sanananda Trail, the Kurenada area, and the area south of the Kumusi River, after which US Army and Australian ground forces open an assault on Sanananda which falls tomorrow. B-25s again bomb supplies at Lae. B-24s carry out single-plane attacks on airfields at Gasmata the town of Finschhafen, and a cruiser ESE of Cape Orford.

SUNDAY, 17 JANUARY 1943

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) P-39s pound mortar positions near Allied lines on Guadalcanal. Ground supply lines to the Mount Austen battle area reopen after three days of being closed because their extension outran the capacity of the native carriers. During the three days, B-17s from Henderson Field airlift rations, water, and ammunition to the troops, using what improvised cargo parachutes are available and in may cases wrapping the supplies in burlap or canvas and pushing them out. The 31st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group with B-17s transfers from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal .

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s strafe Mambare River delta and hit positions between Bakumbari and Salamaua. B-25s again pound supply stroes at Lae. B-24s, operating individually, attack Finschhafen and Madang wharf areas, Lahang Airfield and a vessel southeast of Rambutyo . In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb landing grounds and shipping in Rabaul. B-24s, operating individually, attack the airfield on Gasmata.

IJN - 24 G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by 20 A6M Zeros bombed Milne Bay at 12:40, dropping 230-250 x 100kg bombs over Turnbull Airfield (No 3 Strip) destroyed are B-17F "Fire Ball Mail" 41-24551, B-17F 41-24540, B-24D 41-23824, P-39D 41-38499, P-39D at Gurney. Damaged are Hudson A16-206, Hudson A16-239. Damaged are Hudson A16-154. Hudson A16-163, Hudson A16-185, Hudson A16-189, Hudson A16-200, Hudson A16-213, Hudson A16-214, Hudson A16-239, Hudson A16-244. Returning from a night mission, B-17E "Tugboat Annie" 41-2599 ditched off Buna.

RAAF - Lost is Wirraway A20-492.

MONDAY, 18 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A B-24 on reconnaissance reports two vessels in Kiska Harbor. Thereupon four B-24s, four B-26s, one B-25 and six P-38s fly out of Adak. Mechanical trouble forces two B-26s to return. The bomb run is negative. Meanwhile bad weather closes in on Kiska and Adak. Six aircraft are lost; one B-24 lands in a 20 mph downwind and crashes into two P-38s while three other B-24s are missing on the return flight, lost is B-24D 41-23908.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, eight P-40s and a B-25 of the India Air Task Force attack Kamaing.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-17s, P-38s and P-40s attack shipping at Shortland, bomb Ballale and attack a schooner south of Santa Isabel. Hits are scored on two vessels. The fighter escort shoots down two Rufes with the loss of one US fighter.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, B-25s bomb a motor pool and supply dumps at Lae. B-24s, operating individually, bomb Madang and Lahang Airfields and attack a cargo ship southeast of Rambutyo. Lost on an administrative flight is B-25C "Algernon IV" 41-12485. Crashed on landing is C-47 Dakota

TUESDAY, 19 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) In the Aleutians, the crew of one of the three B-24s missing yesterday, which had crashlanded at Great Sitkin , is picked up by a Navy tender. Weather prevents missions and searches.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) Two flights of India Air Task Force B-24s depart Pandaveswar for raids on Burma and Thailand. In Burma, one flight of B-24s bombs Thazi, a railroad junction south of Mandalay while 14 P-40s and a B-25 pound Kamaing. In Thailand, the second flight of B-24s carries out photographic reconnaissance of Kanchanaburi and bombs the docks at Bassein during the return trip. This reconnaissance flight, the largest mission in the CBI Theater to date, reveals construction of a new railline from Thailand to Burma.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-17s, escorted by P-38s and P-40s, bomb the runway and revetments at Munda Airfield. The 394th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group that has been operating from Guadalcanal with B-17s since 3 Jan returns to their base on Fiji.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, A-20s strafe troops in the Kurenada area; B-25s hit barracks area and supply dumps at Toeal and pound supply dumps at Lae. Heavy bombers carry out individual attacks on various targets at Lae, Madang, Cape Hollman, Cape Saint George, Finschhafen and Gasmata.

WEDNESDAY, 20 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) In the Aleutians, the weather aircraft aborts shortly after takeoff. A B-24 and a Navy PBY search without results for the two B-24s missing since Monday.

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Seventh Air Force) The 371st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group with B-24s and based at Wheeler Field begins operating from Midway.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) The 75th Fighter Squadron, 23d Fighter Group with P-40s transfers from Chanyi to Yunnani.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-26s claim a hit on a destroyer off southern Bougainville . B-17s with fighter escort attack ships near Shortland without scoring hits. They are met by Zekes and float biplanes; eight are shot down with the loss of one US fighter. The advance grund echelon of the 18th Photographic Mapping Squadron, 4th Photographic Group arrives at Dumbea, New Caledonia from the US. THe bulk of the air echelon is still in the US.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, B-25s bomb supply dumps at Lae and targets on Aroe ; B-24s, operating singly, attack Madang and Finschhafen. B-24s, operating singly, attack Cape Gloucester and Gasmata. Lost on a patrol mission near Wewak is B-24D 41-24101, intercepting A6M2 Zero ditches into Wewak Harbor. The 64th and 65th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy) with B-17s transfers from Mareeba to 7-Mile Drome.

IJN: 6-9 G4M1 Betty bombers bomb Turnbull Airfield. Destroyed on the ground is previously damaged Hudson A16-239.

THURSDAY, 21 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A weather reconnaissance aircraft flies over the Aleutians. An attack run over Kiska and a patrol over Amchitka are call off due to weather. Air searches for the two B-24s missing since Monday continue. B-17E 41-2586 collided midair with B-17E 41-9094.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) In the Solomons, B-17s, B-26s and P-39s pound a bivouac and other targets in Munda, New Georgia . B-17s also attack shipping east of Kieta. HQ Thirteenth Air Force transfers from Noumea, New Caledonia to Espiritu Santo.

(Sixth Air Force) Crashed during a pre-dawn take off is B-17E 41-2411, crew unhurt.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb the airfield and shipping in Rabaul. In northeastern New Guinea, B-25s hit supply dumps and airfields. A single B-24 attacks a cruiser in Amboinea Harbor. The 403d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group with B-17s and B-24s transfers from Turnbull Field to Mareeba. The squadron will begin transitioning from B-17s to B-24s.

USMC: Lost is SBD-4 06796 (MIA)

FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A weather reconnaissance aircraft finds Kiska closed in and flies a negative search for the two B-24s missing since Monday. For the first time the weather aircraft draws AA fire through the overcast at Kiska, suggesting that the Japanese have fire-control radar.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, nine India Air Task Force P-40s bomb and strafe Nsopzup and hit targets of opportunity south of the town.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-17s bomb Rekata Bay on Santa Isabel without loss. HQ XIII Fighter Command and HQ 4th Photographic Group transfer from Noumea, New Caledonia to Espiritu Santo , New Hebrides

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-24s bomb Simpson Harbor shipping and searchlights at Rabaul. In the Dutch East Indies, B-24s attack a vessel off Amoina, Ambon. B-25s bomb the Lae Terrace area. A-20s strafe small boats in Baden Bay and at Woiba. Lost is B-24D piloted by Regan. On this date the Papua Campaign ends with the collapse of organized resistance on the Sanananda front. The 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Transport Group with C-47s arrives at Garbutt, Queensland, Australia from the US.

SATURDAY, 23 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Weather reconnaissance over Kiska and a search mission for the two B-24s missing since Monday reveal nothing. Enemy aircraft appear over Amchitka twice but inflict no damage. Durint the period of 18 to 23 Jan, a period of continuous storms and sudden changes to extreme foul weather, non-combat losses are exceptionally high as 13 aircraft are lost; no losses result from enemy action.

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Seventh Air Force) 24 P-40Ks of the 78th Fighter Squadron, 18th Fighter Group, escorted by three LB-30s, fly from Barking Sands to Midway. This flight of about 1,100 nautical miles is the longest over-water massed flight of single-engine aircraft made as of this date. The 78th has been dispatched to Midway to replace the 73rd Fighter Squadron which has been on the since 17 Jun 42.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) US ground forces, aided by P-39s and USMC fighter-bombers, have by this date pushed up the Guadalcanal coast and take Kokumbona and Poha. The enemy has now lost control of a good landing beach west of the airfields; captured with the beach are the artillery pieces that have menaced Henderson Field and the ground forces in the Mount Austen area. The enemy's supply routes, communications systems and ammunition dumps are also lost.

GUADALCANAL - US Army XIV Corps advances westward and captures Kokumbona on Guadalcanal.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-17s attack the airfields at Rabaul and shipping off Cape Gazelle. B-24s, operating individually, attack transports north of Rabaul and at Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. B-25s pound supply dumps in the terrace area of Lae. B-24s, operating individually, hit Madang and Finschhafen. HQ 317th Troop Carrier Group and its subordinate 40th, 41st and 46th Troop Carrier Squadrons with C-47s arrive at Garbutt Field from the US. The 63d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group with B-17s transfers from Mareeba to 7-Mile Drome.

MONDAY, 24 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Six heavy bombers and six medium bombers attempt an attack on Kiska . The medium bombers abort over Semiscopochnol. The heavy bombers circle Kiska until the weather closes in. Two Japanese aircraft bomb the Amchitka harbor area before US interceptors, six P-38s, and one B-24 arrive. Two P-38s return due to mechanical troubles; the others fly a negative search over Kiska.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) The 492d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), not previously tried in battle, borrows four B-24s and one crew from the 436th Bombardment Squadron and mounts a nine-plane strike docks at Rangoon. Hits are scored on the wharves, storage areas and a 6,000-ton vessel in the harbor. P-40s bomb and strafe ammunition stores at Shaduzup, Burma.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-17s bomb the airfield, harbor and shipping at Rabaul. Single B-24s attack runways at Cape Gloucester and Gasmata. In New Guinea, B-25s hit supply dumps in the terrace area of Lae. B-24s bomb Dili. The 22d Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group with C-47s transfers from Garbutt Field to 5-Mile Drome (Wards Drome).

USN - USS Wahoo SS-238 damages Harusame off Kairiru.

RABAUL - Japanese transports begin to gather at Rabaul in preparation for the Japanese evacuation Japanese troops on Guadalcanal.

MONDAY, 25 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) P-38s are dispatched too late to engage two floatplanes bombing Amchitka. A reconnaissance is flown over Kiska, Buldir, Semichis, Attu and Agattu. One B-24 and two P-38s fly two patrol missions over Amchitka. An attack mission to Kiska is turned back by weather. B-25s unsuccessfully search for missing aircraft.

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Seventh Air Force) Six B-24s carry out a photographic reconnaissance missions over Wake and drop 60 bombs. They claim one fighter shot down.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, five B-25s of the India Air Task Force bomb the bridge (which the enemy is striving to rebuild) at Myitnge. The southern approach to the bridge is destroyed and repair work on the bridge suspended. Three B-25s add to the destruction at the Mandalay Marshaling Yard, tearing up tracks, wrecking about 75 railroad cars, and setting the freight house aflame. Three other B-25s inflict similar damage on the marshaling yard at Naba. Six B-24s pound the Rangoon dock area.

IJN: Nine G4M1 Betty with Zeros from 582 Kokutai performing ground attack with escorting Zeros from 252 Kokutai and 204 Kokutai attack Guadalcanal. Lost is A6M2 Zero Tail 114x.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) The final phase of the Guadalcanal offensive begins with orders to begin pursuit of the enemy along the northwestern coast toward Cape Esperance. The enemy retreat is to be cut off by the landing of a US battalion just southwest of Cape Esperence. B-26s and P-38s hit Munda Airfield and bomb the wharf at Repirepi, demolishing it. Other P-38s bomb installations in the Rekata Bay area.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s strafe areas in northeastern Papua where there appears to be some enemy movement. B-25s blast supply dumps and AA and machine gun positions around Lae. Single B-24s attack a beached ship at Finschhafen. Single B-24s attack runways on Gasmata and at Cape Gloucester.

TUESDAY, 26 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) In the Aleutians, all missions are cancelled due to weather. Two Japanese aircraft strafe Constantine Harbor, Amchitka .

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Seventh Air Force) Three B-24s, taking off from Funafuti fly a photographic reconnaissance missions over Tarawa, Maiana, Abemama, Beru and Tomama. The heavy bombers attack merchant vessels in the lagoon at Tarawa. Not to be outdone by the 78th Fighter Squadron, P-40Es of the 73d Fighter Squadron, 318th Fighter Group, escorted by three LB-30s, fly from Midway to NAS Kaneohe, a distance of roughly 1,100 nautical miles. The 73d had been dispatched to Midway immediately after the Battle of Midway and had been flown off the deck of the USS Saratoga, the first land based fighters to take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The 371st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group with B-24s ceases operating from Midway and returns to its base at Wheeler Field.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) Seven B-24s bomb shipping and the dock area at Rangoon; Twelve B-25s bomb Mandalay Marshaling Yards. Three B-25s and 15 P-40s hit the town area and bridge at Shaduzup, the railroad west of Meza and the Neba Marshaling Yard.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb shipping and the Rapopo airstrip in the Rabaul area. B-24s carry out individual attacks on the runways at Cape Gloucester and Gasmata. A-20s and B-25s pound the Lae area, concentrating on supply storage dumps. B-24s carry out individual attacks on Finschhafen. Crashed on take off is A-20A "Spook" 40-109.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) Two Airacobras escort B-17s bombing Ballale. Afterwards, the Airacobras damages H6K Mavis off Choisel and are intercepted by six A6M Zeros. Shot down is P-39 piloted by McKulla.

WEDNESDAY, 27 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A negative weather reconnaissance sortie is flown over Kiska. Four P-38s fly protective patrol over Amchitka. Upon their departure, three Japanese aircraft appear and unsuccessfully bomb shipping but cause three casualties.

JAAF: Ki-48 Lilys escorted by Ki-43 Oscars from the 1st Sentai and 11th Sentai attack Guadalcanal. This is the only attack mission the Japanese Army Air Force conducts against Guadalcanal. Afterwards, five Ki-43 Oscars land at Ballale Airfield with damaged and abandoned.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-17E 41-2403 ditches south of Guadalcanal. Passengers included Major General Nathan F. Twining, Commanding General Thirteenth Air Force and a crew of 14 are down at sea between Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo. The entire group is rescued six days later. General Twining's raft had no radio, an item which Lieutenant General Millard F Harmon, Commanding General of US Army Forces in the South Pacific, had been requesting for some time. This incident results in the rapid appearance of dinghy radio sets in the area. Six B-26s and eight P-39s attack Munda Airfield.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s hit huts and AA positions at Garrison Hill while B-25s pound the supply storage and runway at Lahang. Individual B-24s bomb Finschhafen town and the runway. Individual B-24s bomb Gasmata Airfield.

THURSDAY, 28 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A weather aircraft encounters poor visibility over Kiska. Two patrols fly over Amchitka. The second runs into poor weather and aborts. An attack on Kiska is cancelled due to weather.

CENTRAL PACIFIC (Seventh Air Force) One B-24 flies photographic reconnaissance over Nauru and Ocean in the Gilbert .

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) Five B-26s and 12 P-39s attack the airfield at Vila. P-38s and P-40s, along with Navy aircraft, hit shipping between Choiseul and Kolombangara, claiming hits on a tanker and a smaller vessel.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, A-20s bomb the area from Garrison Hill to the Komiatum Track and B-17s hit the Wewak area. B-24s carry out individual attacks at Salamaua. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24s carry out individual attacks on a cargo vessel in Open Bay and a nearby village. In the Dutch East Indies, B-24s in individual attacks bomb a transport off Amboina and Ambon. HQ 3d Bombardment Group (Dive) and its 8th Bombardment Squadron (Dive) with A-20s and 90th Bombardment Squadron (Dive) with B-25s transfer from Charters Towers to Port Moresby.

FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Weather reconnaissance over Kiska and a patrol over Rat, flown by one B-24, two B-25s and four P-38s, are recalled early due to weather. All other missions are cancelled.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) B-26s and P-39s hit a bivouac area at Vila, and the airfield at Munda. B-17s bomb Kahili Airfield. The 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group based in New Caledonia with P-39s begins operating from Guadalcanal. This squadron will continue to operate from Guadalcanal until June 1943.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-25s pound the area around Mubo, concentrating on positions on Garrison and Mat Mat Hill. Single B-24s bomb runways at Cape Gloucester and Gasmata

USN - Night of 29 - 30 two escort carriers participate in the Battle of Rennell Island, damaged is USS Chicago.

Guadalcanal - That night the Japanese submarine I-1 is sunk by HMNZS Kiwi and HMNZS Moa near Kamimbo Bay.

SATURDAY, 30 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Two patrols, each composed of one B-25 and four P-38s, fly over Amchitka and are recalled early due to weather. One B-17, upon an alleged submarine sighting, drops four depth charges and one bomb whereupon a whale breaks water. Weather cancels other missions.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force) AA positions and the airfield area at Munda are pounded by B-17s, B-26s, P-39s and P-40s.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) B-17s bomb shipping and wharf facilities at Rabaul. B-24s, operating individually, bomb the runway at Gasmata Airfield and attack a transport vessel in Open Bay. A-20s strafe and bomb Lae and the area around Mubo in the vicinity of Garrison Hill and along the Komiatum Track.

USN - USS Chicago damged yesterday during the Battle of Rennell Island is attacked while being towed clear of the combat zone, and sunk. Lost is F4F Wildcat 11758.

MONDAY, 31 JANUARY 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) A weather and photographic reconnaissance aircraft flies twice over Kiska. During the first mission near Attu, the aircraft is jumped by 6 fighters which it eludes. Four B-17s, 2 B-24s, 6 B-25s, 4 P-38s and 4 P-40s then attempt an attack on Kiska; P-40s turn back with mechanical troubles; the other aircraft find Kiska closed in and abort the mission. Two patrol missions, each by 1 B-25 and 4 P-38s, fly over Amchitka ; two enemy floatplanes bomb Constantine Harbor on Amchitka without results.

SOUTH PACIFIC (Thirteenth Air Force & USN) P-39s join SBD Dauntless and F4F Wilcats of VMF-112 in attacks on shipping in the Vella Gulf; hits are claimed on a destroyer. Sunk is Toa Maru 2. Lost are F4F 11983 and F4F "Impatient Virgin" 03520 (pilot Jefferson J. De Blanc earns Medal of Honor). B-17s bomb the ammunition dump and airfield at Vila. P-39s, P-38s and P-40s, and other Allied fighters, carry out sweeps over Vila and Munda.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Fifth Air Force) A-20s continue to pound positions between Mubo and Komiatum. A lone B-17 bombs the runway at Wewak. B-17s pound airfields, shipping and the town area at Rabaul while a single B-24 bombs the runway at Cape Gloucester. B-24s unsuccessfully attack isolated vessels over widespread areas in the Banda Sea and Solomon Sea.

 

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