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December 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

WEDNESDAY, 1 DECEMBER 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): In the Aleutian during the month of Dec 43, the detachment of the 344th Fighter Squadron, 343d Fighter Group, operating from Attu Airfield with P-40's, returns to Shemya.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Four B-24's, flying out of Funafuti bomb Mille Atoll.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, B-24's bomb Insein; the B-24's and escorting P-38's encounter a large number of Japanese fighters over the targets; P-51's which failed to make rendezvous with the B-24's before the attack join the formations on the return trip; US losses are high: 6 B-24's including B-24J "Bugs Bunny" 42-73222 (POW / MIA), B-24J 42-73055 (POW / MIA), B-24J 42-73159 (MIA), B-24J 42-73183 (MIA), B-24J 42-73196 (MIA) and a P-51A 43-60?0 shot down and 5 more B-24's are seriously damaged; B-25's hit the newly repaired bridge at Myitnge rendering it temporarily unserviceable.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 19 B-25's, 24 P-40's, and 10 P-51's pound Kowloon shipyards; two B-25's hit nearby Taikoo Docks in Hong Kong; Four P-40's strafe a truck convoy near Lashio, 16 sink about 30 boats in the area around Changte, and 8 bomb Bac Ninh, French Indochina and vicinity.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 18 B-25's and 8 P-38's attack Malai; P-39's strafe Tonolai Harbor and support US Navy dive bombers in an attack on the Jaba River area near Empress Augusta Bay; other Army Air Forces (AAF) and USN fighters cover dive bomber strikes on Kara and strafe targets at Tenekow, Chabai, and Mutupina Point.

USMC: VMF-214 "Black Sheep" lead by Pierre Carnnagey provide an eight plane F4U escort for bombers. After discovering their primar target Chabai covered in clouds, the formation of 48 US Navy SBD dive bombers from VMSB-236, and 24 TBFs preform strikes on Ballale supply areas. They met and observed no fighters at Ballale supply areas, only anti-aircraft fire.  Two SBDs were lost, SBD 11002 and SBD 35976.

Six B-25's bomb Sarime Plantation. A detachment of the 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, ceases operating from Fighter 2 (Kukum) with P-38's and returns to New Caledonia. During the month of Dec 43: 1. HQ XIII Fighter Command transfers from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides to Guadalcanal. 2. The 68th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, based on Fiji ceases operating from Guadalcanal with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 40+ B-24's bomb Wewak, the B-24's and P-47 escorts claiming 11 enemy fighters shot down out of interception force of about 50; 3 B-24's are lost including: B-24D "Ten Knights in a Bar Room" 42-72806 (MIA), B-24D-145-CO "Pistol Packin' Mama II" 42-41209 (MIA) and B-24D "Lobo" 42-40830 (MIA). Sixteen A-20's hit the Cape Gloucester area. 35 B-25's and B-26's bomb the Borgen Bay area. The 20th Combat Mapping Squadron, 4th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), begins a movement from Brisbane to Port Moresby with B-24's and F-7's. They will fly their first mission on 5 Apr 44. The 387th Bombardment Squadron (Dive), 312th Bombardment Group (Dive) arrives at Port Moresby from the US with P-40's. The squadron and group will be redesignated Bombardment Group/Squadron on 6 Dec. During the month of Dec 43: 1. The 90th Bombardment Group and it's 319th, 320th, 321st and 400th Bombardment Squadrons transfer from Port Moresby to Dobodura with B-24's. The 82d Fighter Squadron (Reconnaissance), 71st Reconnaissance Group, based at Dobodura with P-39's sends a detachment to Finschhafen. Lost on a local flight is C-47 "The Amazon" 42-23659 (crew rescued).

USN: Lost is F6F Hellcat 26179.

THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 1943

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 18 Japanese bombers and 30 Zekes attack Suichwan airfield; 9 P-40's intercept, shooting down 1 Japanese airplane; 2 P-40's are lost; 6 P-40's on armed reconnaissance bomb villages between Sha Nyao and Chiao Tou Chieh; 16 others bomb Japanese positions NE of Changte.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 20+ B-25's hit Malai and attack positions on the Porror River and Rigu Mission at Kieta; 20+ B-24's bomb Korovo; fighter patrols strafe Chabai area.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 50+ B-25's pound the Borgen Bay area; 20 B-25's and B-26's hit enemy forces in the Finschhafen area; and the Sio area is bombed by two B-24's.

FRIDAY, 3 DECEMBER 1943

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 8 P-40's attack barracks and other buildings at Wanling, China.

USN - Sunk at Kwajalein by aircraft is Asakaze Maru.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Three B-25's bomb Kieta Harbor and nearby supply and bivouac areas; six others hit Aitara Mission; Twenty-one B-24's pound Bonis; fighter aircraft, USAAF and USN on patrol, hit targets of opportunity in areas from Numa Numa to Koromira, at Mosiga and Chabai, and W of Rlutupina Point; B-24's on armed reconnaissance hit a variety of targets, including Kieta, Green, Greenwich, and Korovo. The 372d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy), based on Espiritu Santo with B-24's, ceases operating from Carney Field (Bomber 2) with B-24's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 60+ B-24's and B-25's bomb Cape Gloucester Airfield; One B-24 sinks several barges in Johann Albrecht Harbor while another bombs a large transport near New Hanover . 20+ B-24's bomb Waingapoe on Sumba in the Sunda. A-20's attack villages around Finschhafen; P-47's shoot down several airplanes over Wewak. Lost on a reconnaissance mission over the Bismarck Sea is B-24D 42-40475 (MIA).

RAAF: Crashed is P-40E A29-41 (KIA).

SATURDAY, 4 DECEMBER 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): 3 bombers return early from an armed sea search, due to weather.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Thirty-four B-24's from the Ellice and Canton bomb Mille Atoll 20+ others abort due to bad weather. 8 B-24's from Funafuti attack Nauru.

USN - At the close of the Gilberts Campaign, two groups of Task Force 50 (Rear Admiral C. A. Pownall), composed of four heavy and two light carriers and screening ships, bombed airfields and shipping at Wotje and Kwajalein.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): Five B-24's mine the Rangoon River while 12 others mine the Salween River at Moulmein during the night of 4/5 Dec.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 11 B-25's and 12 P-40's bomb Changte, which was taken by the Japanese earlier in the day; 11 more B-25's and 24 P-40's follow with 2 more attacks on Changte; other P-40's drop ammunition to Chinese troops on Tehshan Mountain.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 21 B-24's attack Chabai; 17 B-25's follow with a strike on the same target. Lost is B-24D 42-40636 (MIA).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Nearly 50 bombers hit Cape Gloucester Airfield and attack shore targets from Rottock Bay to Rein Bay. 12 A-20's hit villages and supply dumps in the Finshaffen area. 30+P-40's sink an oil laden lugger and 2 barges off Bogia and bomb bridge near Bogadjim. Lost in a training excercise is P-38H "Japanese Sandman II" 42-66905 (survived). Lost on a strafing mission is P-40N piloted by Croft (survived)

RAAF - Six Beauforts took off on a torpedo strike against shipping in the St George's Channel to Blanche Bay. Lost is Beaufort A9-262 (POW / MIA).

IJN - US Navy aircraft damaged Choko Maru which sinks the following day in Kwajalein Southern Atoll.

SUNDAY, 5 DECEMBER 1943

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): During the night of 5/6 Dec, B-24's mine waters in the Moulmein area while 5 others lay mines in the Rangoon River.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 16 P-40's over the Changte area damage several large supply sampans near Ansiang and strafe various targets of opportunity in the Tehshan and Hsutu Lake areas; 20+ P-40's on patrols over the Changte area attack numerous boats and other targets throughout the nearby lake region.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Twenty-three B-25's and 20+ USN dive bombers hit the Monoitu, Aitara Mission, and Mosigetta area; fighter patrols hit several areas on Bougainville and on Shortland, including Chabai, Numa Numa, Mosigetta, Monoitu, and Faisi.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 40 B-24's bomb Cape Gloucester; A-20's destroy small craft off New Britain. In New Guinea, A-20's hit enemy forces in the Finschhafen area; B-25's, B-26's, and P-40's attack targets along the Bogadjim Road. The 110th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter), 71st Reconnaissance Group, arrives at Brisbane from the US with P-39Q's. The 531st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), (Heavy), transfers from Manbulloo to Long Strip with B-24's. The group is attached to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Force landed is F-4 Lightning piloted by Kross (WIA, died).

MONDAY, 6 DECEMBER 1943

7th AF: Force landed is P-39Q 44-2485 (survived).

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, Changte is pounded throughout the day by 30+ B-25's and numerous fighters; other fighters strafe targets of opportunity in the railway yard at Hsipaw and damage a train at Hopong.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Six B-25's bomb the Monoitu Mission area, and twenty-four B-25s with fighter support pound Tarlena village; P-40's carry out a strafing strike in the Arawa Bay area near Kieta; P-38's strafe the west coast of Buka; fighter patrols strafe the Chabai, Koromira, and Monoitu areas; the Kieta supply area is bombed by a B-24 on armed reconnaissance.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Nearly 100 B-24's and B-25's hit the Cape Gloucester and Borgen Bay areas; P-40's strafe Cape Hoskins. A-20's and B-25's attack villages and supply dumps around Finschhafen.

TUESDAY, 7 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): During the night of 6/7 Dec, 14 B-24's, staging through Tarawa, hit targets on Maloelap and Wotje. 6 B-24's from Nukufetau bomb Maloelap and one other, failing to reach the primary, drops bombs on Mille Atoll. This date marks the beginning of Operation FLINTLOCK (operations against Kwajalein and Majuro in the Marshalls).

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, Changte is hit twice by a total of 13 B-25's and several escorting fighters. Eight P-40's strafe freight cars between Mogaung and Myitkyina. The detachment of the 76th Fighter Squadron, 23d Fighter Group, that has been operating from Suichwan, China since Oct, returns to it's base at Kweilin with P-40's.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Eight B-25's carry out strikes against Kahili and Kieta Harbor. Torokina is bombed by two Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Ventura's on patrol. The 23d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), based on Bomber 1 with B-24's, ceases operating from Guadalcanal. Lost on a ferry flight is B-24D "Mammy Yokum" 42-40221 (MIA).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 90+ B-24's and B-25's attack the Cape Gloucester and Borgen Bay areas. A-20's bomb troop encampments and dumps in the Finschhafen area; P-40's strafe boats and barges near Madang. B-24's bomb Haroekoe Airfield and Haroekoe village.

WEDNESDAY, 8 DECEMBER 1943

ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): 3 B-24's fly armed reconnaissance. During the night of 8/9 Dec, another B-24 off on a photographic mission over Kasatochi in the Aleutian , turns back because of mechanical trouble.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Twenty-two B-24's from Nanumea bomb Jaluit, and eleven from Canton bomb Mille Atoll.

USN - A striking force of two carriers, six battleships, and 12 destroyers bombed and bombarded enemy installations on Nauru. Shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Nauru is F6F Hellcat 26088 (MIA) and TBF 47589 (rescued).

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 9 B-25's, escorted by 16 P-40's, pound Changte; 9 other B-25's bomb Hofuh and the 16 escorting P-40's bomb 2 villages to the N.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Fighter patrols and aircraft on armed reconnaissance bomb and strafe several targets of opportunity near Kieta, southeast of Cape Torokina, at Baniu Plantation, and along the NE coast.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): B-25's attack the Penfoei-Koepanp area on Timor. In New Guinea, B-25's and B-26's pound enemy supply dumps on the Huon Peninsula near Finschhafen; P-39's strafe barges from Saidor to Fortification Point. Ditched is C-47A Dakota 42-23851 (crew rescued).

THURSDAY, 9 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 19 B-24's from Funafuti bomb Mille Atoll. The B-24's claim 5 fighters destroyed.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Fifteen B-25's bomb Wuchang and Hankow, and three bomb Changte; P-40's strafe sampans above Nanhsien and attack targets of opportunity in the Salween River area, including road traffic south of Hsia Chai, barracks at Tachai, and the town of San Tsun.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 50 B-25's bomb and strafe the coast of New Britain from Borgen Bay to Rein Bay. In New Guinea, 19 B-25's and A-20's hit barges, coastal installations, and roads in the Fortification Point area; 60+ P-39's hit Bogadjim Road, barges and enemy held villages along the N coast of Huon Peninsula, and enemy positions in the Ramu River valley.

FRIDAY, 10 DECEMBER 1943

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 12 B-25's and 15 P-40's attack the marshalling yard at Hanoi, the warehouse area and railroad station suffer heavy damage. Japanese aircraft bomb Hengyang Airfield. Eight P-40's intercept 1 wave of airplanes over the field, shooting down 3 of them; 2 P-40's are lost in the combat.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): B-25's bomb the Kahili supply area and Kahili Airfield; P-39's bomb the supply area and AA positions at Tonolai and strafe 4 barges in the harbor; RNZAF Ventura's hit buildings at Arigua Plantation.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 27 B-24's bomb targets at Cape Gloucester and the Huon Peninsula. 40 B-25's and B-26's bomb supply and bivouac areas and bridges along the Bogadjim Road; P-39's strafe barges in the Madang area. HQ 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group and it's 20th Combat Mapping Squadron transfer from Brisbane to Port Moresby with B-24's and F-7's. HQ 43d Bombardment Group and it's 64th Bombardment Squadron transfer from 7-Mile Drome to Dobodura with B-24's. Force landed is P-40N piloted by Linder (survived). Crashed on a training mission is P-70 piloted by Crum (MIA).

RAAF - Force landed is F-4 Lightning A53-3 (WIA, died)

SATURDAY, 11 DECEMBER 1943

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 14 B-25's and 10 P-40's attack Shihshow and Ansiang; 3 B-24's bomb Hankow Airfield; 9 P-40's intercept about 30 Japanese airplanes over Nanchang shortly after the enemy force bombs Suichwan; the P-40's claim 10 aircraft shot down.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): On Bougainville, 16 B-25's, in 2 waves, attack Kahili; several other B-25's hit Arigua Plantation; 20+ B-24's bomb the village and wharf area at Tsirogei; 8 P-39's bomb Tonolai; several aircraft on armed reconnaissance, operating individually or in small flights, attack targets of opportunity scattered throughout Bougainville and the Shortland area; Allied night fighters carry out a strike on a Japanese bivouac along the Jaba River; others hit Buka and Bonis. A detachment of the 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), based on Guadalcanal begins operating from Bougainville with F-5's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): B-25's bomb and strafe the Borgen Bay area. B-25's and B-26's hit bivouacs and other installations near Fortification Point and in the Finschhafen area. B-24's bomb Makassar and Balikpapan. The 65th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from 7-Mile Drome to Dobodura with B-24's. The 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, transfers from Port Moresby to Dobodura with P-38's.

SUNDAY, 12 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 25 B-24's flying out of Ellice bases bomb Emidj.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 28 B-25's and 13 B-24's carry out a saturation bombing strike against bridge at Myittha, over which a large volume of Japanese goods is flowing to the north. Despite this large air effort only the approach spans suffer effective damage.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Forty-one Japanese bombers and fighters bomb the west side of Hengyang Airfield, causing considerable damage; 31 P-40's and 6 P-38's intercept the enemy force, claiming 20 airplanes shot down; 2 P-40's are lost. Nine B-24's bomb Hankow Airfield.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Six B-25's strafe Arigua Plantation; Nine B-25s with fighter support, bomb the supply area at Bonis; the fighters afterwards strafe Japanese forces between Kieta and the Aropa River; other fighter aircraft strafe Tonolai Harbor and cover USN dive bomber strikes against targets in the Ratsua-Porton-Chabai-Soraken areas and the Kieta Harbor-Tobera Bay area; and 20+ B-24's bomb the Kahili area and Poporang.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): P-40's dive-bomb Bogadjim Road. B-24's make light raids on Ceram in the Moluccas and in the far W part of Netherlands New Guinea.

MONDAY, 13 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Ten B-24's from Canton staging through Baker bomb Wotje.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): Twenty Japanese bombers, escorted by 25 fighters, hit Dinjan Airfield before US interceptors make contact; however, little damage is done and the US fighters catch the attackers shortly afterward; 12 Japanese bombers and 5 fighters are claimed shot down. The 436th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Panagarh to Madhaiganj with B-24's.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, Twelve B-25's, with fighter escort, bomb Li-Chou and Kungan; eight B-25's pound Wuchang Airfield; and 16 P-40's on armed reconnaissance strafe targets of opportunity from Changte to Linli to Li-Chou.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 17 B-25's bomb Porton, and their fighter escorts strafe Tenekow bivouac areas during the return flight; Twenty-four B-24's bomb Bonis; Six B-25's carry out low-level strikes against concentrations on Numa Numa. The 72d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), based on Espiritu Santo with B-24's, begins operating from Guadalcanal.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 100+ B-24's and B-25's and several P-40's bomb Gasmata. A-20's hit villages along Bogadjim Road; a small flight of P-39's strafe barges along the Huon Peninsula. The 340th Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group, transfers from 7 Mile Drome to Finschhafen with P-47's. The 403d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from 7-Mile Drome to Dobodura with B-24's.

USMC: Lost is F4U Corsair 17452 (pilot rescued). F4U Corsair 17884 (pilot rescued).

TUESDAY, 14 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 16 B-24's, flying out of bases in the Ellice , bomb Maloelap Atoll in the Marshall

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, thirteen B-25's, with fighter escort, bomb Shasi; two P-40's strafe supply trucks S of Tengchung. Six P-40's on armed reconnaissance strafe Gia Lam Airfield and railroad yard.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Eighteen B-24's with fighter support, bomb positions on Sohano. Eighteen B-25's and eight fighters hit Manob village east of Buka Passage. Other 13th Air Force fighters hit gun positions, communications targets, and other targets of opportunity at scattered points in the Bougainville-Shortland areas and cover US Navy (USN) dive bomber strikes against AA positions in Chabai area.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): In the heaviest raid to date in the Southwest Pacific Area, 228 B-24's, B-25's, and A-20's bomb Arawe in an almost continuous attack from 0645 to 1548 hours; P-39's strafe barges along the Huon Peninsula. Gasmata is hit by B-25's and B-26's. B-24's on armed reconnaissance hit Saidor, Gasmata and Unea.

RAAF: Lost on a flight from Cooktown to Horn Island is C-47 Dakota A65-3 (crew survived). Lost is Beaufort A9-211 (MIA).

WEDNESDAY, 15 DECEMBER 1943


CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Twenty B-24's from Nanumea bomb Taroa Airfield at Maloelap Atoll. Lost is B-24J "Our Baby" 42-72969 (MIA / POW). Ten B-24s staging from Canton through Baker, bomb Wotje. Two enemy fighters are claimed destroyed.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 25 P-40's strafe parked aircraft, trucks, and several buildings at Pailochi; at least 3 enemy airplanes are destroyed; two B-25's on a sea sweep over the Gulf of Tonkin claim one ocean going tug sunk; 16 P-40's on armed reconnaissance strafe the towns of Owchihkow and Shihshow; 6 others attack the town of Luchiangpa and villages in
the area.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 21 B-24's strike Sohano; Six B-25's hit installations in the Numa Numa-Arigua area; Twenty-three B-25's and sixteen fighters attack Buka, causing heavy damage in the Chinatown area; P-40's destroy bridge at Runai. Numerous targets of opportunity are attacked by AAF aircraft, operating individually and in small flights, on armed reconnaissance over Bougainville and other N Solomons areas.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): As a preliminary to the main invasion of New Britain, US forces under command of Brigadier General Julian W Cunningham land on the west coast at Arawe at 0700 following a naval and air bombardment; B-25's pound villages in the Arawe area; B-24's bomb Cape Gloucester while P-39's strafe barges at Reiss Point. B-25's hit 2 freighters on Timor in the Sunda. The 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, transfers from 14 Mile Drome to Nadzab with P-47's. Written off during a taxi accident is B-24D "Career Girl" 42-41234 (crew unhurt).

THURSDAY, 16 DECEMBER 1943

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 9 B-25's and 11 P-40's hit the NW part of Owchihkow; four B-25's on sweeps over the South China Sea damage freighter south of Nampang, bomb Tunguan docks, and shoot down 1 bomber; 15 P-40's on armed reconnaissance strafe Pailochi Airfield; 11 others strafe boats in channels N of Nanhsien; 6 P-38's strafe a troop train near Changanyi and attack 25 sampans (destroying most of them) on the Yangtze River just above Huangtang Lake.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Fourteen B-24's bomb Monoitu. Smaller flights of B-24's bomb Poporang and Sohano and dispersal areas at Bonis Airfield. 5 B-25's, with fighter cover, hit Sankau. RNZAF Ventura's attack targets on Green plus Mawareka, Marveiropa, and Mamaregu areas. Fighter aircraft support USN dive bomber strikes on Sohano and gun positions at Bonis and afterwards strafe targets of opportunity at several points on Bougainville. The 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, which has been operating from New Georgia with P-39's since Oct 43, returns to Woodlark.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Lost on a reconnaissance mission over Gasmata is B-24D 42-41043 (MIA). B-24's hit Cape Gloucester Airfield. B-25's hit Sio and Kelana Harbor and P-40's hit Timoeka. HQ 348th Fighter Group transfers from 7 Mile Drome to Finschhafen. The 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, transfers from Dobodura to Gusap with P-47's.

JAAF - Six Ki-49 Helens of the 9th Sentai take off to attack Arawe but are intercepted over Cape Gloucester. Five are shot down, the last Ki-49 Helen 3297 (crew survived) force lands at Cape Gloucester.

USMC: Lost is SBD Dauntless 35968 (crew survived).


FRIDAY, 17 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 10 B-24's are dispatched from Nanumea in the Ellice to bomb Maloelap Atoll in the Marshall; 9 are recalled because of weather; 1 bombs the alternate target of Mille Atoll. HQ 41st Bombardment Group (Medium) transfers from Hickam Field to Tarawa Airfield.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 6 P-40's bomb and strafe barracks near Kunlong. 6 others bomb and strafe targets of opportunity in Hanoi.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): On Bougainville in the Solomon , 18 B-25's strike Malai lost is B-25D 41-30661 Six other B-25s join USN dive bombers in pounding the Mutupina Point area; 5 RNZAF Ventura's hit Poroporo and Tarekekori.

USN, USMC & RNZAF: A 75 aircraft fighter sweep over Rabaul. USN 22 Hellcats, 31 USMC Coursairs and 24 RNZAF P-40s from 16 Squadron and 14 Squadron took off from Ondonga at 5:30am. They flew to Torokina Airfield to refuel, then split up into two groups, led by Freeman and Arkwright to Rabaul. Two P-40s aborted on the way to the target due to mechanical failures.  The Japanese launch a total of 72 fighters to intercept: 15 from the 201st Kokutai, 32 from 204th Kokutai and 25 from 253rd Kokutai. Three P-40s were lost, and two pilots: P-40N NZ3153 (MIA) over southern New Ireland and P-40N NZ3175 (MIA). Nine Japanese aircraft were claimed, 5 by RNZAF, 4 by USN. Force landed was F4U 17777 (survived). The Japanese claimed nine planes shot down.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): P-47's intercept 35-40 aircraft attacking Allied forces on the Arawe peninsula; at least 10 airplanes are claimed shot down; Cape Gloucester and nearby shipping are attacked by B-24's and B-25's. B-25's bomb the Sio area and P-39's sink 2 barges during a sweep along the Huon Peninsula. The 341st and 342d Fighter Squadrons, 348th Fighter Group, transfer from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) to Finschhafen with P-47's. Lost on a local flight is L-5 piloted by Mueller (crew KIA).

SATURDAY, 18 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Fourteen B-24's bomb Mille Atoll. Returning, B-24D "The Gremlin/Sexy Sue II Mother of Ten" 41-23952 crash lands at Makin Airfield. The 46th and 72d Fighter Squadrons, 15th Fighter Group, transfer from Canton and Wheeler Field respectively to Makin with P-39's. The 531st Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Seventh Air Force, transfers from Canton to Makin with A-24s.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 27 B-24's, supported by 28 P-40's, pound the airfield at Namsang; some of the P-40's strafe Laihka Airfield; Two B-25's on a sea sweep claim damaging hits on a freighter and a tanker in the Hainan Straits; 5 B-25's bomb the southwestern part of Nanhsien.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Ten B-24's bomb the Kahili supply area. Five B-24smore hit the Bonis supply area, and 19 others hit targets in the Chabai-Porton area; 5 B-25's carry out low-level strike on troop concentrations at Poroporo and 11 bomb Korovo; B-24's, operating individually and in small flights, on armed reconnaissance attack Kahili, Kieta, and Poporang; fighters strafe targets of opportunity at Numa Numa, Cape Pui Pui, and the east coast of Buka.

USN: Lost is SBD Dauntless 35961 (MIA).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 70+ B-24's, B-25's, and B-26's bomb Cape Gloucester; 20+ B-25's bomb the Borgen Bay area; and nearly 40 B-24's hit Hoskins Airfield. 33 A-20's bomb and strafe dumps and bivouacs north of Finschhafen.

JAAF: Four Ki-43 Oscars of the 248th Sentai joined with Ki-43 Oscars of the 59th Sentai and flew a fighter sweep to Arawe along with Ki-61 Tonys. The U.S. Army Air Force reference history described the combat: “[E]nemy pilots displayed considerable skill and aggressiveness. This was especially true on 18 December when 16 P-38s of the 475th FG, 433rd FS jumped 10 to 15 ZEKES (sic), OSCARS, and TONYS at midday. The P-38s dove through the enemy fighters and were in turn jumped by about 15 fighters, which had been hiding in cumulous clouds. Definitely on the defensive and outmaneuvered, the P-38s destroyed only three of the enemy while losing two P-38s…” The 248th Sentai claimed one P-38 shot down and no losses. The Japanese lost a single Ki-61 Tony fighter. Lost in an aerial collision over Arawe is P-38H "Regina Coeli" 42-66856 (survived).

SUNDAY, 19 DECEMBER 1943


CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 29 B-24's from Nanumea and Baker bomb barracks, hangars, and wharf areas on Mille and Maloelap; they claim 7 fighters shot down. P-39's from Makin strafe Mille Atoll destroying 3 airplanes and firing an oil dump; 2 P-39's are lost.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): 20 B-24's fly a night strike against newly expanded dock area at Bangkok, causing considerable destruction.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Roughly 35 Japanese bombers and fighters attack Hengyang Airfield; 26 P-40's are sent up against the attacking force and shoot down 9; 2 P-40's are lost. 12 B-25's and 8 P-40's attack Nanhsien and Ansiang.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Twenty-four B-25's bomb the Moisuru bivouac and supply dump; other planes on armed reconnaissance hit targets of opportunity at Buka, Bonis, Ratsua, Poporang, Kara, Kahili, Koiaris, and on Nissan. 16 B-24's, escorted by 50 AAF and RNZAF fighters, bomb Rabaul and Simpson Harbor.

USN: Lost flying an escort mission over Rabaul is F4U 17806 (MIA).

USMC: Lost was F4U 17845 (MIA). Written off on landing is F4U 17736 (survived)

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Cape Gloucester is bombed by more than 140 B-24's, B-25's, and B-26's as pre-invasion operations increase; 37 P-40's hit Gasmata; and 20 A-20's pound forces NE of Arawe. In New Guinea, about 30 B-25's, A-20's, and P-39's hit barges, bivouac areas, and gun positions north and west of Finschhafen; 30 B-25's and B-26's pound Madang; and P-47's sweep the coastline of NE New Guinea. HQ 375th Troop Carrier Group transfers from Dobodura to Port Moresby. The 2d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Dobodura to Nadzab with B-25's. Crashed is C-47 "Hoosier Traveler" 43-30742 (KIA).

MONDAY, 20 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Sixteen B-24's flying out of Nanumea and Baker bomb Maloelap; 3 B-24's are shot down; they claim 8 fighters destroyed.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 11 B-25's and 6 P-40's from Kweilin pound the Yoyang railroad yards; P-40's from Hengyang also provide support for the B-25's.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Thirteen B-25's, with fighter cover, bomb Korovo village and docks on Shortland. Eight B-25s with fighter escort hit Buka. Afterwards the fighters strafe Kieta and Tenekow. Other fighters and RNZAF Ventura's on armed reconnaissance, patrol, and night snooper missions attack numerous targets of opportunity throughout Bougainville.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): On New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago, A-20's hit the Arawe area and P-38's in the area claim 10 enemy along S coast; B-24's on armed reconnaissance bomb a merchant ship off Cape Pomas. B-26's and B-25's hit bivouacs in the Finschhafen area and bomb the town of Alexishafen.

TUESDAY, 21 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 8 B-24's from Nanumea escort 4 USN PB4Y's on a photo mission over Kwajalein Atoll. B-24's bomb shipping and aircraft landing grounds and other facilities at Roi, Ennuebing, and Kwajalein. A-24s, along with USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) aircraft, hit shipping and airfields at Emidj. 16 P-39's strafe fuel dumps, shipping, and AA at Mille Atoll.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 29 B-24's pound the railroad yards at Chiengmai; the warehouse area along the west side of the yards suffers very heavy damage; 14 B-25's, with fighter escort, attack Hwajung.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Six B-25's attack Monoitu Mission; during the night of 21/22 Dec, snoopers bomb various bivouac areas on Bougainville.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Pre-invasion air strikes continue against Cape Gloucester as 100+ B-24's, B-25's, and A-20's pound the area; P-39's strafe targets along Borgen and Rein Bays; P-40's and A-20's hit Hoskins Airfield; and P-47's claim 17 fighters shot down in the Arawe area. A-20's hit camps north of Finschhafen; B-25's bomb and cannon Madang; and P-40's hit Kaukenau. B-24's bomb Amahai Airfield. The 110th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter), 71st Reconnaissance Group, transfers from Brisbane to Port Moresby with P-39Q's. They will fly their first mission on 21 Jan 44.

JAAF: Lost is Ki-61 piloted by Captain Shogo Takeuchi (KIA)

WEDNESDAY, 22 DECEMBER 1943

THURSDAY, 23 DECEMBER 1943

FRIDAY, 24 DECEMBER 1943

SATURDAY, 25 DECEMBER 1943

SUNDAY, 26 DECEMBER 1943

MONDAY, 27 DECEMBER 1943

TUESDAY, 28 DECEMBER 1943

WEDNESDAY, 29 DECEMBER 1943

THURSDAY, 30 DECEMBER 1943

FRIDAY, 31 DECEMBER 1943



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