Monday, December 8, 1941
Luzon: The first word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is received on Luzon by commercial radio between 3:00am to 3:30am local time. Within thirty minutes, the radar station at Iba Field plots a formation of airplanes 75 miles offshore bound for Corregidor. P-40's are sent out to intercept but make no contact. Shortly before 0930 hours, after Japanese land based aircraft from Formosa are detected over Lingayen Gulf heading toward Manila, B-17's at Clark Field are ordered airborne to prevent being caught on the ground.
Fighters from Clark Field and Nichols Field are sent to intercept the enemy but do not make contact. The Japanese aircraft swing east and bomb military installations at Baguio, Tarlac, Tuguegarao, and Cabantuan Airfield (Maniquis) are also attacked.
By 11:30am, the B-17's and fighters sent into the air earlier have landed at Clark Field and Iba Field for refueling, and radar has disclosed another flight of Japanese aircraft seventy miles west of Lingayen Gulf, headed south. Fighters from Iba Field make a fruitless search over the South China Sea. Fighters from Nichols Fields are dispatched to patrol over Bataan and Manila.
Around 11:45am a formation is reported headed south over Lingayen Gulf. Fighters are ordered from Del Carmen to cover Clark Field but fail to arrive before the Japanese attack Clark Field shortly after noon destroying many bombers and fighters caught on the ground including B-17D 40-3069 and B-17D 40-3095. At 12:35pm, three P-40s from A Flight of the 20th Pursuit Squadron, 24th Pursuit Group managed to get airborne as bombs were hitting the runway: Joe Moore, Randall D. Keator and Edwin Gilmore and engage enemy fighters. 2nd Lt. Randall D. Keator was credited with the shoot down of the first Japanese aircraft shot down over the Philippines: A6M2 Zero piloted by Hirose Yoshi.
The P-40's earlier sent on patrol of the South China Sea return to Iba Field with fuel running low at the beginning of a Japanese attack on Iba Airfield. The P-40's fail to prevent bombing but manage to prevent low-level strafing of the sort which was so destructive at Clark Field.
At the end of the day's action it is apparent that the Japanese have won a major victory in the Philippines. The striking power of the US Army Air Force's Far East Air Force (FEAF) has been destroyed, the fighter strength has been seriously reduced, most B-17 maintenance facilities have been demolished, and about 90 men have been killed.
USN: Sunk at Malalag Bay are PBY Catalina 1229 and PBY Catalina 1230.
IJN: Japanese aircraft attack Guam and Wake. Meanwhile a Japanese invasion force depart Kwajalien bound for Wake. Japanese forces also land at Kota Bharu in Malaysia.
RAAF: Shot down attacking the Japanese invasion force off Kota Bharu is Hudson A16-19. Crashed after take off is Catalina A24-15.
Caribbean Air Force: All Army Air Force units in the Caribbean begin flying ASW patrols.
December 8, 1941 by William Bartsch
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