January 20, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
TUESDAY, 20 JANUARY 1942
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC (Far East Air Force): Major General George H. Brett, Commanding
General U.S. Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), halts ferrying of aircraft from India to the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). The USAAF has been sending bombers from the United States via the "Africa Route" via India to Java, but the Japanese are able to inflict prohibitive losses on USAAF aircraft on the last stops of the route by interception from newly acquired airfields near Java.
IJN: Carrier aircraft from Akagi and Kaga launch another strike against Rabaul and Kavieng in preparation for an amphibious assaults at each location. Kaga launched 16 x D3A1 Vals escorted by 9 x A6M2 Zeros. Akagi launched 18 x D3A1 Vals escorted by 9 x A6M2 Zeros plus B5N Kate with Commander Murata Shigeharu aboard as an observer.
At Rabaul, 11 were killed and slightly more wounded. MS Herstein is damaged in Simpson Harbor with the crew abandoning ship and drifting until it ran aground. Shot down by Australian Army anti-aircraft fire is B5N Kate pilot Sugihara that crashed onto Mount Kombiu (Mother).
At Kavieng, dive bombers strike Kavieng Airfield, Kavieng wharf while the Zeros strafed Induna Star docked at Government wharf in Kavieng Harbor.
RAAF: Lost is Hudson A16-97 (KIA) crashed on take off from Poeloeti Airfield (Penfui).