TUESDAY, 22 DECEMBER 1942
CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, China Air
Task Force aircraft bomb Lashio.
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force) Detachments from the 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG)including the 370th Bombardment Squadron (370th BS), 371st Bombardment Squadron (371st BS), 372nd Bombardment Squadron (372nd BS) and 424th Bombardment Squadron (424nd BS) based in Territory of Hawaii with B-24 Liberators arrive at Midway Airfield to stage for a night bombing mission against Wake Island.
26 B-24D Liberators took off at 4:30pm from all four squadrons led by Col. William A. Matheny. Each bomber was armed with five 500 pound general purpose bombs, some fused with 1/10 second delay fuses for specific targets, the rest with instantaneous fuses.
The 370th Bombardment Squadron (370th BS) formation led by B-24D "Queenie Take It Off" 41-23870 pilot Major Edward A. Jurkens, B-24D "Starlite" 41-23987 pilot 2nd Lt. Robert L. LaMontague, B-24D 41-23814 pilot 1st Lt. Woodward B. Carpenter, B-24D "Tillie" 41-23915 pilot 2nd Lt. Samuel T. Gregory, B-24D 41-23730 pilot Lt. Flood, B-24D "Bundles For Japan" 41-23969 pilot 1st Lt. Ulmer J. Newman, B-24D "The Bad Penny" 41-23899 pilot 2nd Lt. Buford E. Flahaven.
The 371st Bombardment Squadron (371st BS) formation included: B-24D #972 pilot Captain Billings, B-24D #906 pilot Lt McCloskey, B-24D "Flying Gator" 41-23898 pilot Lt. Hoefler, B-24D #959 pilot Lt. Lundby, B-24D #923 pilot Lt. McGreevy and B-24D #910 pilot Lt. Andrews.
The formation climbed to 10,000' and flew westward crossing the international dateline and arrived over Wake Island after midnight on December 23, 1942 with clear visibility. The B-24s bomb nine different targets between midnight until 12:40am. The defending Japanese seemed to be caught off guard and did not offer a coordinated defense and anti-aircraft fire and search lights not commence until the raid began and were described as light and mostly from machine guns with some 20mm anti-aircraft fire and heavy anti-aircraft fire. Search lights did not seem to be coordinated with anti-aircraft fire and caught only a quarter of the formation in their beams. Four enemy aircraft were believed to be in the air but did not intercept.
Returning, the formation climbed to 10,000' and crossed the international dateline then returned to land at Midway Airfield on December 23, 1943 between 5:50am to 7:30am. None of the bombers sustained serious damage (aside from two with superficial damage) or injuries to crews. In total, this mission spanned over 4,300 nautical miles and reported in the press as a "Christmas Eve" raid.
CINCPAC "Action Report - Night Bombardment Raid, Wake Island 22-23 December 1942" December 26, 1942
Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) "1st Combat Reports Mission - Wake Dec. 22-23 1942 370th Bombardment Squadron
13th Bomber Command: The Bomber Command
at Work January 1943–July 1944 pages 216
(Page 216) "Wake Island Raid: On December 21, 1942, 26 B-24 airplanes of th Group, led by Colonel Matheny, took off for Midway, from where to bomb Wake Island. The planes left Midway at 4:30 in the afternoon of the 23rd and headed for the target 1050 miles away."
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Army Forces in South Pacific Area) The
26th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 11th Bombardment Group with B-17s
transfers from Efate to Bomber 1. The 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, which
has been operating from Henderson
Field with P-39s since 22 Aug, returns to its base on New Caledonia.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) B-25s
bomb Maimba mission and Buna village when Japanese ground forces continue
to resist stubbornly; B-17s hit a ship in Arawe Harbor off Arawe. In the Bismarck
Archipelago, a single B-24 attacks a transport off Gasmata.
RAAF: Lost is Wirraway A20-160 (KIA).