June 16, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
TUESDAY, 16 JUNE 1942
IJN: In the morning A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) conduct a fighter sweep over the Port Moresby area. Over the target, intercepted by P-39 Airacobras and P-400 Airacobras from the 39th Fighter Squadron and 40th Fighter Squadron and claim 17 shot down and 2 probables (in fact, 4 shot down and 2 damaged) and lost no aircraft damaged or shot down.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): FEAF was planning a joint strike against Lae and Salamaua similar to the operation of June 9, 1942. The morning schedule was interrupted by a fighter sweep by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) over the Port Moresby area. Scrambled to intercept are 32 P-39 and P-400 Airacobra of the 39th Fighter Squadron and 40th Fighter Squadron that result in four shot down and two heavily damaged. Lost is P-39F 41-7204 (pilot survived), P-39F 41-7136 (MIA), P-39F 41-7222 (pilot survived) and P-39 piloted by Lynch (WIA, survived).
In the afternoon, 22nd BG B-26s and 19th BG B-17s bomb Lae and 3rd BG B-25s hit Salamaua hitting runways and buildings and starting several
fires. They meet their Airacobra escort on the return flight. Intercepted by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai. Lost are P-39 pilot Magre (MIA) and A6M2 pilot Hidaka (MIA).