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December 8, 1941
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

Monday, 8 December 1941

Luzon: Between 3:00am to 3:30am local time, the news about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu is received on Luzon via commercial radio. 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 9:30am, 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-40B Warhawks 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 the first Japanese aircraft shot down over the Philippines.circumstantial evidence points to him shooting down A6M2 Zero piloted by Hirose Yoshio, Maki chutai of the Tainan Kokutai.

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 over 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. H5K2 Emily from Toko bombs Cebu.

RAAF: Shot down attacking the Japanese invasion force off Kota Bharu is Hudson A16-19. Crashed is Catalina A24-15 crashed into Gemo Island off Port Moresby.

Caribbean Air Force: All Army Air Force units in the Caribbean begin flying ASW patrols.

Netherlands: The Kingdom of the Netherlands declares war on Japan.

December 8, 1941 (2003) by William H. Bartsch

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