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April 18, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

Sunday, April 18, 1943
AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Eleventh Air Force) In the Aleutians, 22 P-38's (some flown by Royal Canadian Air Force pilots) and 37 P-40's hit Kiska 9 times. The submarine base and gun emplacements on North Head are bombed and gun emplacements near the submarine base are silenced.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force) The 371st Bombardment Squadron and 372d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group based at Wheeler Field with B-24's begin operating from Funafuti.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force) In China, P-40's strafe an enemy-held supply village SE of Tengchung.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) "Operation Peacock": G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail 323 carrying Admiral Yamomoto and G4M1 Betty Tail 326 carrying Admiral Ugaki are intercepted by sixteen P-38 Lightning's led by Major John W. Mitchell (2 others abort) on a low-level, circuitous, over-water trip from Fighter 2 on Guadalcanal to a spot up the Bougainville coast to intercept Admiral Yamamoto who, according to U. S. intelligence, is on an inspection trip in the S Pacific and is due at Ballale at 0945 local. Admiral Yamamoto's punctuality is calculated to allow the interception to take place at 0935 local. Two hours and 15 minutes after takeoff at 0725 local, the P-38's having flown at almost sea level find the flight of 2 Betty bombers and 6 Zero escorts. The 4-aircraft attack section under Captain Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. attacks the bombers. The Zekes spot the attacking P-38's at about 1 mile and try in vain to cut off the attack while the bombers dive to low level in an attempt to escape. During the air battle, P-38G 43-2238 piloted by Captain Lanphier and P-38G "Miss Virginia" 43-2264 piloted by 1st Lt Rex Barber shoot down G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail 323 with Admiral Yamamoto aboard and G4M1 Betty Tail 326 with Vice-Admiral Ugaki aboard is also shot down and ditched. After the mission, P-38G 43-2238 piloted by Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. was the first to return and claimed both bombers shot down and was officially credited with both victories. Lost is P-38G piloted by Hine (MIA).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) B-25's bomb Penfoei Airfield. Single B-24's hit the Finschhafen and Saidor areas. A detachment of the 6th Night Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group based at Kipapa Field begins operating from New Guinea with P-70's.

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