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April 18, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 1942

ALASKA (11th Air Force): 18th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 28th Composite Goup, transfers from Elmendorf Field to Fort Greely, Kodiak with P-40's.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA): "Doolittle Raid" against Japan is led by Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, the first bombing mission against Japan. Sixteen B-25's took off from USS Hornet (CV-8) while at sea 668 miles off Tokyo. The Hornet departed from Alameda on April 2, and rendezvoused with USS Enterprise and ships of Task Force 16 (TF 16) under the command of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey north of Hawaii before proceeded across the Pacific. Fifteen of the B-25's hit targets in Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, and Nagoya. Since the bombers launched earlier than scheduled, they were unable to reach their intended airfields in China. Fifteen ditch or crash and one lands in Soviet Union. Participating are:

No. 1 - B-25B 40-2344 (17th BG, 34th BS) pilot Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle ditched in the South China Sea
No. 2 - B-25B 40-2292 (17th BG, 37th BS) pilot Lt. Travis Hoover force landed in a rice paddy near Ningpo
No. 3 - B-25B "Whiskey Pete" 40-2270 (17th BG, 95th BS)
No. 4 - B-25B 40-2282 (17th BG, 95th BS)
No. 5 - B-25B 40-2283 (17th BG, 95th BS)
No. 6 - B-25B "Green Hornet" 40-2298 (17th BG, 95th BS)
No. 7 - B-25B "Ruptured Duck" 40-2261 pilot Lawson ditched in the South China Sea west of Shangchow, China, crew rescued
No. 8 - B-25B 40-2242 pilot York landed in USSR, crew returned
No. 9 - B-25B 40-2303 (17th BG, 34th BS) ***
No. 10 - B-25B 40-2250 (17th BG, 89th RS) ***
No. 11 - B-25B "Hari Carrier" 40-2249 (17th BG, 89th RS)
No. 12 - B-25B 40-2278 (17th BG, 37th BS)
No. 13 - B-25B 40-2247 (17th BG, 37th BS)
No. 14 - B-25B 40-2297 (17th BG, 89th RS)
No. 15 - B-25B "TNT" 40-2267 (17th BG, 89th RS)
No. 16 - B-25B "The Bat" 40-2268 (17th BG, 34th BS)

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 5th Air Force units come under control of the Allied Air Forces (SWPA) which is created in Australia to control AAF, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Dutch elements. HQ 19th Bombardment Group transfers from Melbourne to Garbutt Field.

(22nd BG) Six B-26s take off on a bombing mission against Rabaul, three abort due to bad weather before reaching the target. Over the target, B-26 40-1486 bombed Lakunai Airfield while the other two B-26s attacked shipping in Simpson Harbor. B-26 "Shittenengitten" 40-1404 scored a single 500lbs bomb hit on Komaki Maru. The other B-26 40-1400 arrived late over the target and was intercepted by a pair of Tainan Kokutai A6M2 Zeros, damaged in the left engine and crashed near shore. Two crew bailed out and were taken prisoner.

(RAAF) Shot down is P-40E A29-21 (KIA) north of Port Moresby.



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