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Thursday, November 12, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): Bombers are on alert at Umnak and Adak to attack any reported naval targets; intermittent fighter patrols fly over Adak. The 344th Fighter Squadron, 343d Fighter Group, based at Elmendorf Field sends a detachment to Cold Bay Airfield with P-40s.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): B-17s bomb shipping at Tonolai Harbor. The U. S. Army 3rd Battalion of the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32d Infantry Division, is airlifted from Port Moresby to Pongani; the troops immediately start overland toward Natunga; the 2d Battalion, flown in earlier reaches Bofu. HQ 374th Troop Carrier Group is activated at Brisbane.

IJN: G4M1 Betty bombers from 703, 705 and 707 Kōkūtai took off on a torpedo mission against American shipping off Guadalcanal. The bombers are escorted by 12 A6M Zeros from the 582 Kokutai led by WO Yoshio Wajima plus 12 A6M Zeros from 252 Kokutai and six Zeros from 253 Kokutai. The only escorting fighter loss was A6M Zero piloted by PO2c Ito. The bombers suffered 14 out of 19 G4M1 Bettys shot down with the loss of ten crews.

USN: At the start of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 12-15, 1942) began when Japanese aircraft attack U.S. warships and transports in Iron Bottom Sound off the north coast of Guadalcanal. At 2:16pm a G4M1 Betty released a torpedo that missed, USS San Francisco (CA-38). The same Betty was hit by anti-aircraft fire and deliberately crashed into the after control station that killing 30 crew. This was the only damage inflicted on the American vessels by the Japanese bombers. Also damaged was USS Buchanan (DD-484) that was hit by friendly gunfire that killed five aboard and forced it to be withdrawn for repairs.

USMC: Lost is F4F Wildcat 5172 (pilot Bate survived) and R4D-1 Dakota 01648.

References
Kodochosho, 582 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
Kodochosho, 253 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
Kodochosho, 703 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
Kodochosho, 705 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
Kodochosho, 707 Kōkūtai, November 12, 1942
History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II page 114
"On the 12th [November 1942] two battalions of the Army's 182d Infantry Regiment were unloading off Kukum Point when the Japanese sent over 25 torpedo planes with 8 escorting Zeros. One crashed into the after control station of the cruiser San Francisco, killing 30 men including the executive officer, Commander Marl H. Crouter USN. Three transports took only minor casualties. The destroyer Buchanan was hit by friendly AA and had to go south that night. But only one Japanese bomber survived the attack; the F4F's and P-39's shot down 16 bombers and 5 Zeros. AA accounted for 5 more bomber. Three Marine planes and one P-39 were lost in return. Admiral Turner had his transports 90 per cent unloaded when they were withdrawn.
During the afternoon 11 Japanese transports, escorted by 12 destroyers headed south to finish off the soldiers and marines after the battlewagons had finished off Henderson Field."
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces 1937-1945 page 43, 391
(Page 43) Wf Officer Yoshio Wajima led 12 562 [sic, 582] Ku A6Ms to the island [Guadalcanal] on 12 November [1942], claiming five destroyed and four probables from a force of 20 plus interceptors for one loss. Wajima himself claimed two and one probable. On the same day 12 A6Ms of 252 Ku and six of 253 Ku fought F4Fs, the former unit claiming seven shot down and a probable without loss, while the 253 Ku piloted added two and a probable., also without loss. Despite this successful conclusion for the fighters, they failed to prevent the loss of 14 out of 19 Rikkos which were attempting a torpedo attack on a US convoy making for the island."
(Page 391) 582 Ku PO2c Isao Ito November 12, 1942 Guadalcanal
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII page 65
"On 12 November [1942], under the leadership of Tomo-o Nakamura (now a lieutenant commander), 19 Type 1 Rikko (seven 705, nine 703 and three 707) armed with torpedoes went after a major US convoy off Lunga, commanded by their 'old friend' Rear Adm Turner. What followed would break the back of Rabaul's land attack force.
F4Fs of VMF-121 and VMF-112, Army P-39s of the 67th FS and ships' anti-aircraft fire decimated the rikko ranks as they went into their low level runs. The lead formation from 705 lost three bombers, whilst three others (including Nakamura's command aeroplane) made emergency landings at Buin, and one reached Vunakanau. But 705 was lucky compared to 703 and 707. Out of the nine-aeroplane chutai from 703, only one aeroplane made it back. Six went down to enemy fire, and two others (including the leader, Res Lt(jg) Yoshihiko Fukuchi) crash-landed on Guadalcanal, but the men were rescued by Japanese troops on the island and eventually rejoined the unit.
The shotai from 707 was wiped out, one rikko being destroyed and the remaining two being forced to ditch with nine dead crewmen between them. No fewer than 14 out of the 19 Type 1 Rikko sortied had been lost, along with ten entire crews. No torpedoes hit home. Indeed, the damage and casualties aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco were caused when it was struck by one of the rikko intent on jibaku [self-destruction] with honour. This was the only wound inflicted on the enemy."
Guadalcanal Cactus Air Force contre Marine Impériale Vol. 2 Tome II pages 320-327

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