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June 5, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

Saturday, June 5, 1943
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (SOPAC): In the Solomons, American aircraft attempted their first mission against the north Solomons since the February 14, 1943 "Saint Valentines Day Massacre (St. Valentines Day Massacre)" by the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF), U. S. Navy (USN) and U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) aircraft participated in an air raid.

On June 5, 1943 Japanese Navy vessels at Shortland include minesweepers W-15, W-22, subchasers CH-12, CH-29 and Shinkoko Maru.

The mission began in the early morning, when a B-17 formation bombed Japanese installations at Kahili and the Buin area in conjunction with a the main raid by USN/USMC/USAAF aircraft against Japanese shipping between Bougainville and Shortland.

The formation consisted of a formation of fifteen SBD Dauntless from VB-21 plus twelve TBF Avengers (each bomber was armed with two 50 gallon drop tanks) escorted by twenty-four P-40 Warhawk, twenty-one F4U Corsairs: sixteen from VMF-112 (five abort, one unable to take off, eleven reach the target area) plus twelve from VMF-124 (three aborted due to mechanical trouble), plus eight P-38 Lightnings.

Between Bougainville and Shortland, the bombers attack Japanese shipping. The SBD Dauntless dive bombers claim a bomb hit on a "destroyer" (Shinkoko Maru) which was claimed as sunk A bomb hit was claimed on the destroyer which undoubtedly sank. The corvette and the cargo vessel were set on fire. Meanwhile, twenty-seven A6M Zeros from the 582 Kokutai took off from Kahili Airfield (Buin) and intercepted the formation. Three Zeros were lost (two missing, one pilot returned).

Japanese Claims: Intercepting Zeros from the 582nd Kokutai claimed a total of seventeen American aircraft. Yamamoto claimed five dive bombers.

Japanese Losses: Three Zero fighters are lost in combat with U.S. aircraft. Two of these Japanese pilots were listed as missing: PO1c Satoru Ogawa (Hei 2) and PO2c Shigehiko Ito (Hei 3) while a third Navy pilot, Izum, survived. Sunk by dive bombers was Shinkoko Maru.

U. S. Claims: A bomb hit was claimed on the destroyer [Shinkoko Maru] which sank. A corvette and the cargo vessel were set on fire. Americans claim a total of fifteen Zeros shot down plus three damaged.

U. S. Losses: TBF Avenger piloted by Snell (MIA) SBD Dauntless 06524 (MIA), SBD Dauntless 06520 (rescued), and P-40F Warhawk 41-19838 (MIA) and F4U-1 Corsair 02499 from VMF-112 over the Russells.

References
Kodochosho, 582 Kōkūtai, June 5, 1943
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1932-1945 pages 56, 232, 392 (pilots KIA)
Page 56: "In order to try and delay the new Allied offensive which was clearly in the making, the IJN planned a series of attacks to be launched from June 7 onwards. Before this could begin, on 5 June about 60 fighters and bombers attacked Buin. Interception was undertaken by 582 Ku pilots who flew a total of 28 sorties during the two scrambles. 14 of the attacking aircraft were claimed shot down plus four probables for the loss of three pilots [aircraft?]."
Page 392 :"Appendix B - JNAF Pilots Killed - PO1c Satoru Ogawa - 582 Ku - Buin / PO2c Shigehiko Ito - 582 Ku - Buin"
Thanks to Edward Rogers, Richard Dunn and Jim Sawruk for additional information

The 394th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which has been operating from Guadalcanal with B-24's since April 25, 1943 returns to it's base on Fiji.

USN: PBY Catalina 08078 took off on a night search mission, suffered an engine failure and made a force landing into the sea and sank. The entire crew was rescued.

USMC: SBD 06683 (MIA).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (SWPA)
(Fifth Air Force) HQ 345th Bombardment Group (Medium) and it's 498th, 499th, 500th and 501st Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) arrive with B-25's at Port Moresby from the US. The group will fly it's first mission on 21 Jun. Lost on a reconnaissance mission over New Britain is F5A Lightning 42-13073 (pilot later rescued).

ALASKA
(Eleventh Air Force) Seven B-24's, six B-25's, and six P-40's fly weather reconnaissance and radar-bombing missions over Kiska, being handicapped by poor weather and mechanical trouble.

CHINA
(Fourteenth Air Force) In China, P-40's strafe troop columns near Peiyang and hit a barge and boat NW of Yoyang.

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