Saturday, February 13, 1943
(11th AF) A weather reconnaissance is flown over Kiska, Attu, Agattu, Semichi and Buldir. Five heavy bombers, 6 medium bombers and
10 P-38s bomb and strafe Kiska targets
including the Camp area, landing strip, and shipping. Of 5 float-type fighter
which attack, P-38s shoot down 3. Four P-38s and one B-25 fly a patrol mission over Amchitka and Little Kiska; a B-25 shoots
down a floatplane.This is was the last mission the B-17 was used in the Alaska theater in combat.
CBI (Tenth Air Force) Seven heavy bombers from Gaya bomb the Rangoon marshalling yard, scoring over 30 direct hits on the target. P-40s hit a headquarters
at Lonkin, buring 12 barracks. Nine B-25s hit rolling stock in the marshalling
yard at Paukkan and along the rail line from Shwebo to Sagaing.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, A-20s
pound forces in and around Mubo while B-25s hit the Lae area. In the Bismarck
Archipelago, a single B-24 bombs the sawmill area at Ubili and a B-17 hits
targets of opportunity in the Rabaul area.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) This is the baptism of fire in the Solomons for the B-24s
of the 424th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
which has just come down from Hawaii.
Six B-24 Liberators took off on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Buin area escorted by six P-38s
from the 339th Fighter Squadron plus seven P-40F Warhawks from the 44th Fighter Sqaudron. On the way to the target, 3 P-40s and 2
P-38s aborted the mission due to engine trouble, leaving the B-24s with an escort of 2 P-38s and
4 P-40s: P-40F 41-14102 (MIA), P-40F 41-14110 (MIA), P-40F piloted by Lt. Jack Bade DSC, P-40F pilot Lt. Bob Westbrook. Just after noon, the B-24s bomb a cargo ship from 14,000' just claiming one hit. Over the target, the formation was intercepted by 39 enemy fighters including A6M Zeros and floatplane fighters. Lost are B-24D 41-23597 (5 rescued, 4 MIA), B-24D 41-23980 (MIA), B-24D 41-23975 (MIA), P-38G piloted by Rist (MIA), P-38G pilot Morton (rescued), P-38G pilot Cramer (rescued) and P-38G pilot Lockridge (rescued).
USN/USMC: Seporately, nine PB4Ys from VP-51 took off escorted by eleven F4U Corsairs from VMF-124 on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Buin area. This was the first use of the F4U Corsair on a combat misison in the South Pacific.
James Claire Nolan Diary February 13, 1943 (Saturday)
"Nine planes took off this morning to bomb a “very important” (?) Jap ship south of Shortland Island. Squadron Formation Setup [diagram]
1. Moffett, 2. Davis, 3. Cooper, 4. Bacon, 5. Beswick, 6. Nolan, 10. Glans, 11. Fisler, 12. Glover. We climbed steadily to 12,000 feet accompanied by our fighter escort of 12 F4Us and four P-38s. Spotted the target ship south of Shortland and accompanied by two Jap destroyers (large type). I spotted them at 20 miles, but the skipper failed to see them till we were close aboard — too close."
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709 "Preliminary Intelligence Summary of Operations of Army Fighter Planes at Cactus - December 1, 1942 to February 17, 1943" February 21, 1943 page 3 (Morrissey, Johnson, Rist)
Army Air Forces Historical Studies No. 35 "Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force" (1945) pages 180-182 (February 13, 1943), 240 (footnotes 12-16) via Wayback Machine May 20, 2006
(Page 180) "All 6 [B-24] planes left Henderson on the morning of the 13th [February 1943], led by Col. Frank Everest, and escorted by 4 P-38's and 7 P-40's. The target was shipping at Shortland, a dangerous spot now. Engine trouble forced 3 P-40's to return before they reached the target. Two P-38's turned back just short of Buin, but the formation pressed on. (12)
...Thus the entire P-38 escort was lost. (15).
(Page 182) The B-24's had paid a stiff price in their initial mission. Three of the 6 had been lost, together with most of their escort. The single hit on the transport and the 8 Zeros [claimed] destroyed softened the loss only slightly, for the exchange was heavily weighted in favor of the Jap. (16)"
Vampire Squadron (1985) by William H. Starke pages 25-26
Air & Space Magazine "Above & Beyond: A Bougainville Mystery by Paul A. Roales, November 2006
Thanks to Paul A. Roales, Jim Sawruk, Minoru Kamada, Justin Taylan, Richard Dunn and Edward Rogers for research and analysis