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October 15, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): 3 B-26s bomb and 1 B-24 flys a photo reconnaissance over Kiska and Attu. B-26s hit a large cargo ship afire in Gertrude Cove. On Attu, they hit buildings. AA claims a B-26 shot down.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA HQ 318th Fighter Group is activated at Hickam Field; squadrons assigned, all equipped with P-40s, are the 44th Fighter Squadron and 72d Fighter Squadron at Bellows Field and the 73rd Fighter Squadron on Midway.

SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Joint Chiefs of Staff): Aviation fuel arrives at Henderson Field from Espiritu Santo by aircraft and ship. At 4:00pm SBDs spot a Japanese "Tokyo Express" convoy north of Guadalcanal. Four P-39s took off armed with 300 pound bombs and two P-400s armed with 100 lbs bombs, plus SBD Dauntless of VMSB-141 took off from Henderson Field to attack six transports off Santa Isabel. Afterwards, no gasoline was available at Henderson Field, so fuel was siphoned off two 11th BG B-17s that were abandoned at the airfield. Refueled, seven Airacobras (3 x P-39s and five P-400s) took off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal at 5:15. Two Airacobras (Sawyer and Haedtler) aboarted due to mechanical problems and crashed while landing in the dark, killing a ground crewman. The SBDs scored two near misses, and all the aircraft strafed. The returning aircraft were forced to land at Fighter 1 Airfield, due to Haedtler's crash. Returning, P-400 pilot Barr (rescued) ditched off the Russells. Missing is P-39K Airacobra 42-4287 (MIA).

IJN: Japanese transports Sasako Maru , Azumasan Maru and Kyūsyū Maru are bombed by U.S. planes and run aground on Guadalcanal.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): A-20s and P-40s pound forces south of Templeton's Crossing and Popondetta; B-25s bomb Salamaua and hit targets in the Owen Stanley Range and in the area around the bridge at Wairopi. A single B-17 attacks shipping near the Treasury Islands.

An award ceremony was held at Mareeba Airfield for members of the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG) at Mareeba Airfield. In attendance is Major General George C. Kenney (C.O., 5th Air Force), Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker, Lt Colonel Richard H. Carmichael (C.O. 19th BG). LIFE photographer George Strock took extensive photographs of the ceremony and were later used in a news wire story “Nemesis of Big Jap Force”.



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