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April 14, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

WEDNESDAY, 14 APRIL 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force) Thirty P-40's, seventeen P-38's, nine B-24's and six B-25's fly ten missions to Kiska, bombing and strafing Kiska Airfield, North Head area, installations, parked seaplanes, and facilities on Little Kiska.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force) P-40's dropping 1,000 pound bombs hit Myitkyina Airfield and Manywet Airfield, rendering the runways at both unusable.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force) In China, P-40's strafe pack horses south of Tengchung, barracks and warehouses in Lungling, and cattle and trucks no of Lungling.

USMC: Crashed is F4F Wildcat 11789 pilot Allen was killed in the crash.

RAAF: After observers in the Trobriands and radar reported the incoming Japanese formation bound for Milne Bay and gave time to notify vessels to disperse. At 11:00am at Milne Bay a total of 33 P-40K Kittyhawks scrambled 12 P from 75 Squadron with another joining plus fifteen from 77 Squadron with five more joining later scrambled to intercept. Lost was one P-40 from 75 Squadron, pilot later rescued. One P-40 from 77 Squadron and its pilot was missing. Seven P-40s 77 Squadron P-40s sustained minor damage with only one out of action for an extended period. Two 75 Squadron P-40s made force landings, one written off the other out of action for several weeks.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, heavy and medium bombers carry out widespread but unsuccessful attacks on individual enemy vessels. Japanese aircraft carry out a heavy attack on the Milne Bay area as part of Operation I-GO, severely damaging 1 vessel, beaching 1 vessel, and hitting 2 others, but doing very little damage to USAAF facilities in the area. AA defenses and the 40+ P-40's and P-38's that intercept the enemy strike claim 14 airplanes shot down. Dick Bong becomes a double ace when he gets his 10th kill shooting down G4M1 Betty. Lost is P-38F 42-12849 (KIA).

IJN: Operation I-GO: Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft from Rabaul launch two seporate air attacks against Milne Bay. Before the raid, a Ki-46 Dinah flew over the target area at 31,000' to report on shipping and was not intercepted or targeted by anti-aircraft fire.

1) The first strike was by 45 G4M1 Bettys led by Lt. Commander Miyauchi Shichiso (Hikocho, 705 Kokutai) including 26 from the 705 Kokutai and 17 from the 751 Kokutai armed with 250kg and 60kg bombs targeting Allied shipping in Milne Bay with a secondary target of airfields. The bombers were escoted by 54 A6M Zeros. Inbound to the target, six from the 751 Kokutai aborted the mission, including two that suffered a midair collions. Over the target at 25,500' they passed over USS Hilo AGP-2 at Kana Kopa then were intercepted by RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks before bombing Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip) at 12:45pm. Also intercepted by six P-38 Lightnings from the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron. Losses inluded three bombers from the 705 Kokutai, including at least one shot down by 1st Lt. Richard I. Bong, his tenth victory. Returning, two Bettys one from the 705 and one from the 751 force landed at Gasmata Airfield.

2) The second strike was by 24 D3A Val dive bombers including 12 from Hiyō (some armed with 20mm cannons) plus 12 from Junyō. The dive bombers were escorted by 75 A6M Zeros. Four dive bombers attacked and scored a hit on MS Van Heemskerk which caught fire and later sank. Gorgon (3,500 Tons) sustained a bomb hit to the engine room and stern and sank but was later refloated. Van Outhorn (2,070 Tons) was damaged by two near misses and a fire started aboard that was extinguished. Bombs fell near other ships but no other damaged was reported. Damaged by strafing were Australian corvettes and Moa Moa off at Kana Kopa. In total, the Allies aboard the ships suffered 15 killed and 80 wounded.

Referencens
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII page 70
P-38 Lightning Aces of the Pacific and CBI page 13
Operation A by Richard Dunn

 

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