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December 4, 1941
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
Thursday, 4 December 1941

USN: During the night USS Arizona (BB-39), USS Nevada (BB-36) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) conduct a night training and live fire exercise and the next morning all three return to Pearl Harbor.

River gunboats Luzon (PR-7) and Oahu (PR-6) (Rear Admiral William A. Glassford, Commander Yangtze Patrol, in Luzon), followed later by submarine rescue vessel Pigeon (ASR-6) and minesweeper Finch (AM-9), reach Manila.

River gunboat Mindanao (PR-8) (Captain Lester J. Hudson, Commander South China Patrol, embarked) sails from Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, for Manila. She is the last U.S. Navy ship to depart Chinese waters prior to war. Luzon Stevedoring Company tug Ranger follows subsequently, carrying spare parts and 800 3-inch shells for Mindanao's main battery (previously stored ashore at Hong Kong). Only two U.S. naval vessels remain in Chinese waters: river gunboat Wake (ex-Guam) (PR-3) at Shanghai to maintain communications until a radio station is established at the Consulate General with Navy equipment, and river gunboat Tutuila (PR-4) at Chungking, where she furnishes essential services to the U.S. Embassy. Wake had received her new name on 23 January 1941 to clear the name Guam for a new large cruiser (CB 2).

USS Enterprise (CV-6) ferries USMC F4F Wildcats from VMF-211 to Wake Island; Task Force 8 (TF 8) under the command of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. then shapes a course to return to Pearl Harbor. TF 8 is slated to reach Pearl on December 6, 1941. Heavy weather on 5-6 December, however, will result in a delay in fueling the force's destroyers and push back the time of arrival in Pearl Harbor from the afternoon of December 6, 1941 to the morning of December 7, 1941. That same day, a routine scouting flight from the carrier sights Honolulu-bound tug Sonoma (AT-12) with Pan American Airways barges P AB No. 2 and P AB No. 4 in tow. Sonoma, armed with only two .30-caliber machine guns, will eventually reach Honolulu on 15 December 1941, with her tows.

IJN: Japanese naval land attack plane from Chitose Kōkūtai (Chitose Air Group) reconnoiters Wake Atoll undetected.

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