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

SUNDAY, 1 MARCH 1942

SWPA, 5th Air Force - The last heavy bomber mission is flown from Java, Air echelon of 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), ceases operating from Jogjakarta and begins a movement to India with B-17's and LB-30's. Ground echelon is already enroute from Australia to India. 11th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begins a movement from Jogjakarta to Melbourne with B-17's and LB-30's. Air echelon of 14th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group [attached to 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy)] ceases operating from Singosari with B-17's, B-24's and LB-30's and begins moving to Melbourne. Ground echelon is at Bugo, Mindanao. 33d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Brisbane to Ipswich, Australia with B-26's; first mission is 6 Apr. Air echelon of 91st Bombardment Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group, ceases operating from Malang and begins moving to Brisbane; ground echelon is on Bataan. 93d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Singosari to Melbourne. HQ 27th Bombardment Group transfers from Bataan to Batchelor Field. HQ 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Brisbane to New Delhi.

RN: During the Second Battle of the Java Sea (The Battle off Bawean Island) sunk are HMS Encounter (H10), HMS Exeter (68) and USS Pope (DD-225).

USN: Sunk is USS Edsall DD-219.


MONDAY, 2 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 5 B-17's and 3 LB-30's (the last airplane taking off just before midnight) evacuate the last 260 men from Jogjakarta Airfield the last airfield on Java in Allied hands. Japanese ground forces are within 20 miles at this time. Bataan based P-40's attack shipping in Subic Bay. The pilots claim considerable damage to the ships, but 4 of the few P-40's remaining on Bataan are lost. HQ V Bomber Command ceases operating on Java and ceases to function as an operational unit. HQ 19th Bombardment Group transfers from Singosari to Melbourne. 2d and 19th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfer from Brisbane to Ipswich, Australia with B-26's; first mission is in April.

RAAF: Hudson A16-101 flew a high altitude reconnaissance mission over Rabaul.



TUESDAY, 3 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): Japanese aircraft attack the airfield and harbor at Broome, Australia at 1000 hours, shortly after the arrival of 9 heavy bombers evacuating men from Java, NEI. The Japanese destroy 2 B-17's, 2 B-24's, 12 seaplanes, and 2 Hudsons, and kill at least 45 Dutch civilians and 20 US airmen.

IJN: Japanese fighters attack Broome, causing Australia's second worst air raid. 70 people were killed and 24 aircraft destroyed, including 16 flying boats by an attacking force of nine A6M2 Zeros led by C5M2 Babs piloted by Akira Hayashi. They took off from Keopang, Timor and attacked Broome for 15 minutes. Lost is A6M2 Zero Kudo (MIA). Another ditched after the mission. Lost were Loadstar LT9-18, B-24A 40-2373, Loadstar A16-119, Do24 X-1, RAF PBY Catalina, Dutch Navy PBY Catalina, S.23 "Centaurus" A18-10, S.23 "Corinna" G-AEUC, B-17E 41-2449 and B-17E 41-2454. Shot down is B-24A 40-2374.

USN - After being damaged in battle and forced to the surface, USS Perch SS-176 is scuttled by her crew who are made POWs.

RAAF - Five Hudsons took off from 7 Mile Drome on nighttime bombing raid on Gasmata. Lost overnight are Hudson A16-101 and Hudson A16-165.

 

WEDNESDAY, 4 MARCH 1942

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (7th Air Force): A lone Japanese H8K1 Emily flying boat tail Y-71 attempts to attack Honolulu, but experienced bad weather and instead bombs Tantalus harmlessly. Overcast conditions prevent successful pursuit by 7th Air Force fighters.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Melbourne from Jogjakarta with B-17's and LB-30's. Air echelon of 14th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group [attached to 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy)] begins operating from Melbourne with B-17's, B-24's and LB-30's; ground echelon is at Bugo, Mindanano attached to 5th Interceptor Command (Provisional). Air echelon of 28th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Singosari to Melbourne with B-17's, B-24's and LB-30's. Ground echelon remains in Luzon and Mindanano attached to the 5th Interceptor Command (Provisional).

USN - First Raid on Marcus USS Enterprise, as part of Task Force 16 (Vice Admiral W. F. Halsey), moved to within 1,000 miles of Japan to launch air attacks on Marcus Island.



THURSDAY, 5 MARCH 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): Major General Lewis H Brereton who arrived in India from the NEI on 25 Feb, formally takes command of the 10th Air Force, which at this time has 8 tactical aircraft (B-17's). British remove Thomas Hutton from command of their forces on Burma, and replace him with General Sir Harold Alexander, who two days later will have to retreat from Rangoon.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): Air echelon of 30th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrives at Melbourne from Singosari with B-17's, B-24's and LB-30's. The ground echelon is on Luzon and Mindanao , Philippines attached to the 5th Interceptor Command (Provisional).

FRIDAY, 6 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): HQ 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and 35th, 36th and 80th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor) arrive at Brisbane, Australia from the US with P-39's; first mission in Apr.

SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 1942

BURMA - British forces retreat from Rangoon.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): HQ 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) transfers from Brisbane to Ipswich, Australia.

USN - Patrol Wing 10 completed withdrawal from the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies, and established headquarters in Perth, for patrol operations along the west coast of Australia.

USN - The practicability of using a radio sonobuoy in aerial anti-submarine warfare was demonstrated in an exercise conducted off New London by the K-5 blimp and the S-20 submarine. The buoy could detect the sound of the submerged submarine's propellers at distances up to three miles, and radio reception aboard the blimp was satisfactory up to five miles.



SUNDAY, 8 MARCH 1942

ALASKA (11th Air Force): Colonel William O Butler assumes command of the 11th Air Force with HQ at Ft Richardson, Anchorage.

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): HQ 10th Air Force begins moving from Patterson Field, Fairfield, Ohio to India. Between this date and 13 Mar, the 8 B-17's in India transport 474 troops and 29 tons (26.3 metric tonnes) of supplies from India to Magwe, Burma and on the return flights evacuate 423 civilians.

JAVA - The last mission by the Allied air force in Java is flown by two Hurricanes. On the next day the island commander surrenders to the Japanese.

SWPA, 5th Air Force): Air echelons of 16th and 17th Bombardment Squadrons, 27th Bombardment Group, cease operating from Batchelor Field and begin a movement to Brisbane with A-24s; ground echelon is on Bataan. 89th and 90th Bombardment Squadrons, 3d Bombardment Group transfer from Brisbane to Charters Towers with A-20's; first mission is in Apr. Following units transfer from Brisbane to Ballarat, Australia: HQ 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) and 15th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) with B-26's. Ground echelon of 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) also transfers; air echelon of 69th remains in US until May 42. 39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) with P-39's.

USN - Inshore Patrol Squadron VS-2-D14, which had arrived at Bora Bora on 17 February, inaugurated air operations from the Society Islands.

MONDAY, 9 MARCH 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): Japanese forces complete the capture of Rangoon dealing China a great blow by cutting off supplies from the Burma Road.

TUESDAY, 10 MARCH 1942

SWPA, 5th Air Force: HQ 3d Bombardment Group and 13th Bombardment Squadron transfer from Brisbane to Charters Towers with A-20's; first mission is 6 Apr. Arriving at Brisbane are the A-24 air echelons of the following 27th Bombardment Group units: 16th and 17th Bombardment Squadrons from Batchelor Field and 91st Bombardment Squadron from Malang. Ground echelon of all 3 squadrons is on Bataan.

USN - Task Force 11 carrier air strike was launched from aircraft carriers Lexington and Yorktown in the Gulf of Papua.  Supporting them was Heavy Cruiser USS Astoria. 104 aircraft participated, flying over the Owen Stanley Mountains of New Guinea.  SBDs hit Lae and the bomber and torpedeo squadrons hit Salamaua, both raids caught the Japanese by surprise and hiting shipping engaged in landing troops and supplies. One converted light cruiser, Tenyo Maru and Yokohama Maru were sunk and other ships damaged including Kokai Maru. Lost is SBD Dauntless 2130. Two SBDs landed at Port Morseby on the way back. Six B-17s of the 435th BS lead by Major Carmichael took off from Garbutt Field on a bombing mission against Lae Airfield. This was the only mission in the New Guinea theater when US Navy and USAAF units operated together.

USN - A contract with the Office of Scientific Research and Development became effective whereby the Johns Hopkins University agreed to operate a laboratory which became known as the Applied Physics Laboratory. This was one of several important steps in the transition of the radio-proximity fuze from development to large scale production. Other steps taken within the next 6 weeks included the organizational transfer of Section T from the National Defense Research Committee directly to the Office of Scientific Research and Development and the relocation of most of the Section T staff from the Carnegie Institution of Washington to the Applied Physics Laboratory at Silver Spring, Maryland.

WEDNESDAY, 11 MARCH 1942

PHILIPPINES - At dusk on 11 March General MacArthur on PT 41, and Admiral Rockwell on PT-34 escapes Corregidor by PT boat to Mindanao, then from Del Monte Airfield aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress on March 15.


THURSDAY, 12 MARCH 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): 10 P-40's arrive in Karachi, India by ship from Australia. Arriving at Karachi are: HQ 7th Bombardment Group and 88th Reconnaissance Squadron from Australia; the air echelon of the 88th is at Townsville with B-17's; 88th will be redesignated 436th Bombardment Squadron on April 22nd; last mission from Australia is March 14; first mission is CBI is 4 June; and 16th and 25th Pursuit Squadrons, 51st Pursuit Group, from the US with P-40's; first mission is in July 42.

NEW CALEDONIA - US Forces arrive in New Caledonia.

FRIDAY, 13 MARCH 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): 26th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 51st Pursuit Group (Interceptor), arrives at Karachi from the US with P-40's; first mission is 15 Oct.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 36th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Brisbane to Lowood, Australia with P-39's.

RAAF - During a Japanese strafing attack Ford Trimotor A45-2 is destroyed on the ground at 7-Mile Drome.


SATURDAY, 14 MARCH 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS (10th Air Force): HQ 51st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) arrives at Karachi from the US. 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrives at Karachi from Australia with B-17's; first mission is 2 Apr.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 13th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Melbourne to Laverton with B-17's; the 13th will be redesignated 403d Bombardment Squadron on 22 Apr; first mission is Oct 42. Air echelon of 14th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), ceases operating from Melbourne, Australia with B-17's; men and equipment are transferred to other units; the ground echelon is at Bugo, Mindanano and fights as infantry; the unit is carried as an active unit but is not manned or equipped after the surrender of the Philippiness in May 42. Detachment of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group, ceases operating from Townsville and returns to base at Melbourne with B-17's. 40th Reconnaissance Squadron is formed at Townsville, Australia with LB-30's and assigned to 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy); first mission is today; squadron is redesignated 435th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr. Air echelon of 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), ceases operating from Townsville with B-17's and begins moving to Karachi; squadron is redesignated 436th Bombardment Squadron on 22 Apr; first mission in CBI is 4 Jun. Crashed is B-17D "The Gazelle" 40-3079 (one killed).

IJN: G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by A6M2 Zeros attack Horn Island at 11:25am. Over the target, the formation is intercepted by 49th Fighter Group P-40's. Lost is A6M2 piloted by Oishi.

SUNDAY, 15 MARCH 1942

ALASKA (11th Air Force): XI Interceptor Command is activated at Elmendorf Field Colonel Norman D Sillin commanding. Its operational components are the 11th and the 18th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor).

SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (SOPAC, 7th Air Force): 67th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 58th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), the first AAF tactical unit in the theater, arrives on New Caledonia from the US with P-400's.

MONDAY, 16 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): Three B-17's of the 40th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group begin evacuating General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and his staff from Del Monte to Bachelor Field.

39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Ballarat to Mount Gambier, Australia with P-39's; first combat is 2 Jun. 64th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrives at Sydney, Australia from the US with B-17's; first mission is 13 Aug. 68th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 58th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), arrives at Amberly Field, Australia from the US with P-39's.

TUESDAY, 17 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia to assume command of United Nations forces in the SWPA. He actually assumed command on 18 Apr. 8th Bombardment Squadron, 3d Bombardment Group, transfers from Brisbane to Charters Towers with A-20's; first mission is 1 Apr. 9th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Williamstown to Batchelor with P-40's; first mission is 18 Mar.

WEDNESDAY, 18 MARCH 1942

Crashed on take off is B-17B 38-264

THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 1942

FRIDAY, 20 MARCH 1942

SATURDAY, 21 MARCH 1942

RAAF: Shot down off Port Moresby is G4M1 Betty piloted by Kawai by P-40E Kittyhawks piloted by Wackett and Cox.

SUNDAY, 22 MARCH 1942
RAAF - S23 "Corinthian" G-AEUF crashes on landing at Darwin Harbor.

75 Squadron P-40s strafe Lae Airfield, two Zeros flying top cover dive down to attack them. Other P-40s arrive, shot down is P-40E Kittyhawk A29-16 (pilot captured, later executed). On the Japanese side, two Zeros were shot down by Hudson gunners. Lost are A6M2 piloted by Yamazaki and A6M2 piloted by Kikuchii.

MONDAY, 23 MARCH 1942


TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 1942

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA, 7th Air Force): 23d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Hickam Field to Mokuleia Field with B-17's and continues flying patrols.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): Air echelon of 91st Bombardment Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group, ceases operating from Brisbane, Australia and begins moving to Charters Towers with A-24s. Ground echelon is on Bataan.

AVG: Lost due to anti-aircraft fire is P-40B Warhawk 15452 (POW, survived).

RAAF: Crashed while landing is P-40E "Poison P" A29-125 (KIA).

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 16th and 17th Bombardment Squadrons , 27th Bombardment Group, cease operating from Brisbane with A-24s and begin moving to Charters Towers.

THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 3 B-17's of the 40th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), evacuate Philippines President Manual L Quezon and his family to Australia.

US Army - A medal of honor is presented to General Douglas MacArthur for his service in the Philippines, despite his having spent no time in actual combat.

RAAF - Force landed is Hudson A16-139



FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 30th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Melbourne to Cloncurry, Australia with B-17's; ground echelon is on Bataan and Mindanao.

RAAF: Lost is P-40E A29-19 (MIA).

IJN: Lost is G4M1 Betty piloted by Itsuda (KIA)

SATURDAY, 28 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): HQ 43d Bombardment Group and 63d and 65th Bombardment Squadrons arrive at Sydney, Australia from the US with B-17's; first mission is 14 Aug and 12 Nov respectively.

28th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Melbourne to Cloncurry with B-17's; a detachment begins operating from Perth; ground echelon is on Bataan on Mindanao.

80th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Brisbane to Lowood, Australia with P-39's; first mission is 22 Jul.

SUNDAY, 29 MARCH 1942

SWPA, 5th Air Force: 19th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ipswich to Townsville with B-26's; first mission is 6 Apr. 93d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Melbourne to Cloncurry, Australia with B-17's; ground echelon is on Bataan and Mindanao; first mission is 23 Jul.

New Hebrides - Marines arrive at Efate, New Hebrides The forward echelon of Marine Fighter Squadron 212 arrived at Efate to construct an air strip from which the squadron initiated operations in the New Hebrides on 27 May.

MONDAY, 30 MARCH 1942

USN - Two U.S. commands established in Pacific Nimitz in 'Ocean Zone' and MacArthur in south Pacific

TUESDAY, 31 MARCH 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): 8th Bombardment Squadron, 3d Bombardment Group, transfers from Charters Towers to Port Moresby with A-20's; first mission is 1 April.

 

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