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September 12, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


ALASKA (11th Air Force): A weather and patrol reconnaissance aircraft finds overcast at Kiska but takes photos over Tanaga, Kanaga, and Attu. The runway at Adak Airfield is completed.

South Pacific (SOPAC): B-17E 41-2404 ditched out of fuel, the crew was rescued seven days later.

(USMC) On Guadalcanal the Battle of Bloody Ridge (Battle of Edson's Ridge) begins when the Japanese Army attacks three days and result in 600 dead Japanese and 83 dead Americans while their objective Henderson Field remains in U.S. hands. By this date, there are roughly 11,000 American and 6,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, 5th Air Force): P-40s strafe Gadaibai on Goodenough. A B-17 strafes a vessel in Bismarck Sea south of Kavieng.

5th Air Force B-26, B-17s and A-20s attack Buna Airfield. The formation included five B-26 from the 22nd BG led by B-26 40-1522 piloted by O'Neill took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) armed with 300 lb bombs. Seven B-17s from the 19th BG took off from Mareeba Airfield armed with 300 lb bombs with General Kenneth N. Walker observing aboard one including B-17E 41-9234, B-17E 41-9015 and B-17E 41-2663 bombing from 1,000 to 3,000'. Also A-20 Havocs from the 3rd BG, 89th BS armed with 20 lb parafrag bomb.

Over the target the formation experiences intense anti-aircraft fire. The B-26s release 48 x 300 lb bombs from 5,000' and claim a secondary explosion at the northeast corner. The B-17s bomb from 1,000 to 3,000' dropping 84 x 300 lb. bombs. The A-20s strafe and drop their parafrag bombs, the first major use of weapon in the SWPA, claiming 17 aircraft destroyed on the ground and also strafe barges off Buna. Lost is B-17E 41-2663 (MIA/POW).

War Diary 1942 (1984) pages 90-91
"Fifteen Havocs and six Marauders hammered Buna, while one Havoc bombed and strafed the track from Efogi to Menari. A Japanese ammunition dump was blown up at Efogi. Forward Australian troops ambushed one Japanese patrol, trapping them completely and wiping out twenty Japs without loss to themselves. Reinforcements are being assembled in Australia and sent in as fast as possible and by every means at our disposal. Commercial planes have even been switched from civilian services, and every available ship is being sent to Moresby. The harbor almost every day now is crowded with shipping and everybody is amazed that the Japs don't send over a big bombing force to attack these very juicy targets. Presumably they cant spare planes. Tulagi being shelled again by Japanese warships before dawn today. Five Fortresses were sent out after two Jap destroyers seen off Normanby Island. 500 pound bombs fell right on the stern of one destroyer which was last seen in flames, listed right over and sinking by the stern. She was certainly destroyed. No hits on the second ship. [Yayoi sunk September 11, 1942]"
Fortress Against the Sun (2001) pages 245-246
Revenge of the Red Raiders (2006) pages 139-140
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis

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