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December 17, 1941
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

Wednesday, 17 December 1941

Luzon: B-17s evacuating the Philippines begin arriving at Batchelor Field near Darwin. Captain Floyd J. Pell arrives in Australia to begin arrangements for the use of Australian facilities by the Far East Air Force.

USN: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz is appointed Commander Pacific Fleet. Seventeen SB2U-3 Vindicators of VMSB-231, led by a PBY Catalina from Patrol Wing 1 (PatWing 1) arrive at Midway from Oahu completing the longest mass flight by single-engine aircraft then on record logging a duration of 9 hours, 45 minutes. The same squadron was en route to Midway aboard aboard USS Lexington CV-2 on December 7, 1941 when reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor forced the carrier to turn back before they could depart.

The Naval Research Laboratory reported that flight tests in a PBY Catalina of radar utilizing a duplexing antenna switch had been conducted with satisfactory results. The duplexing switch made it possible to use a single antenna for both transmission of the radar pulse and reception of its echo; thereby, the necessity for cumbersome "yagi" antenna no longer existed, a factor which contributed substantially to the reliability, and hence the effectiveness, of World War II airborne radar.

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