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December 8, 1941
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

Monday, December 8, 1941
Luzon: The first word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is received on Luzon by commercial radio between 0300-0330 hours local. Within thirty minutes radar at Iba Field plots a formation of airplanes 75 miles offshore, heading for Corregidor. P-40's are sent out to intercept but make no contact. Shortly before 0930 hours, after Japanese land based aircraft from Formosa are detected over Lingayen Gulf heading toward Manila, B-17's at Clark Field are ordered airborne to prevent being caught on the ground.

Fighters from Clark Field and Nichols Field are sent to intercept the enemy but do not make contact. The Japanese aircraft swing east and bomb military installations at Baguio, Tarlac, Tuguegarao, and Cabantuan Airfield (Maniquis) are also attacked.

By 11:30am, the B-17's and fighters sent into the air earlier have landed at Clark Field and Iba Field for refueling, and radar has disclosed another flight of Japanese aircraft seventy miles west of Lingayen Gulf, headed south. Fighters from Iba Field make a fruitless search over the South China Sea. Fighters from Nichols Fields are dispatched to patrol over Bataan and Manila.

Around 11:45am a formation is reported headed south over Lingayen Gulf. Fighters are ordered from Del Carmen to cover Clark Field but fail to arrive before the Japanese hit Clark shortly after 12:00 hours. B-17's and many fighters at Clark Field are caught on the ground. Destroyed on the ground are B-17D 40-3069, B-17D 40-3095. A few P-40s manage to get airborne, including 2nd Lt. Randall B. Keator, 20th Pursuit Squadron, 24th Pursuit Group claims the first Japanese aircraft shot down over the Philippines.

The P-40's earlier sent on patrol of the South China Sea return to Iba Field with fuel running low at the beginning of a Japanese attack on Iba Airfield. The P-40's fail to prevent bombing but manage to prevent low-level strafing of the sort which proved so destructive at Clark Field.

At the end of the day's action it is apparent that the Japanese have won a major victory in the Philippines. The striking power of the US Army Air Force's Far East Air Force (FEAF) has been destroyed, the fighter strength has been seriously reduced, most B-17 maintenance facilities have been demolished, and about 90 men have been killed.

USN: Sunk at Malalag Bay are PBY Catalina 1229 and PBY Catalina 1230.

IJN: Japanese aircraft attack Guam and Wake. Meanwhile, a Japanese invasion force depart Kwajalien bound for Wake. Japanese forces landed at Kota Bharu in Malaysia.

RAAF: Shot down attacking the Japanese invasion force off Kota Bharu is Hudson A16-19. Crashed after take off is Catalina A24-15.

Caribbean Air Force: All Army Air Force units in the Caribbean begin flying ASW patrols.

December 8, 1941 by William Bartsch

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