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


US goverment begins the relocation of Japanese-Americans to interment camps in the United States.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): During Apr, HQ 16th, 17th and 91st Bombardment Squadrons, 27th Bombardment Group, are established at Charters Towers; ground echelon remains on Bataan.

Japanese forces occupy Buka.


(10th Air Force): Major General Lewis H. Brereton, Commanding General 10th Air Force, leads three B-17's on a raid on shipping off Andaman Island during the night of 2/3 Apr; they claim hits on 1 cruiser and a transport; two B-17's are damaged by AA and fighters, but all return to base. Earlier in the evening,  a mission scheduled against the Rangoon area is aborted when B-17E piloted by Parsel crashed on takeoff and the other has mechanical trouble.

USN: Lost in a collision are SBD 2136 and SBD 2165.


(10th Air Force): Six B-17's from Asansol bomb warehouses and docks at Rangoon starting three large fires; one B-17E fails to return.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 21st and 22d Transport Squadrons, Air Transport Command, US Army Forces in Australia, are activated at Archerfield and Essendon respectively with various transport aircraft. 39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Mount Gambier to Williamstown with P-39's; first mission is 2 June.


(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 36th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Lowood to Townsville with P-39's and P-400's; first mission is 30 Apr. Over Darwin, shot down by friendly anti-aircraft fire is P-40E "Arizona" 41-5551. Shot down is P-40E 41-23873.

(IJN) Japanese aircraft bomb Darwin. Lost are G4M1 Betty T-361 plus two other G4M1 Bettys.


Manus is occupied by Japanese.

CEYLON - At dawn 125 aircraft under the command of Commander Mitsuo Fuchida of the Akagi attacks Colombo on Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with a force comprised 36 Val dive bombers, 53 Kate attack bombers, and an escort of 36 Zeros, attacking the harbor as their principal target. Admiral Nagumo kept the rest of his force, approximately another 180 aircraft, in reserve as a second wave, to be launched once Fuchida had confirmed the location of the Eastern Fleet, his principle target. RAF launched two squadrons of RAF Hurricanes and two Navy Fulmars to intercept. The Eastern Fleet was not in port, but the Japanese sank 2 cruisers (HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall), 1 carrier, and several merchant vessels and destroyer HMS Tenedos, Nagumo's forces returns to the Singapore Straits.

IJN: Lost is A6M2 Zero piloted by Yoshi’e.

USAAF: Lost is B-17E 41-2443


(10th Air Force): Ten Pan American Airways DC-3 begin hauling 30,000 gallons of fuel and 500 gallons of lubricants from Calcutta to Asansol, completing the mission on the following day. This fuel, subsequently transferred via Dinjan to China. The fuel is intended to refuel Lieutenant Colonel James H Doolittle's B-25 Mitchell bombers after their planned raid on Tokyo planned for April 18, 1942. The B-25s are already at sea aboard USS Hornet (CV-8).

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begin a transfer without personnel and equipment to the US. They will be established at Columbia AAB, South Carolina on 26 April, be re-equipped with B-25's and transfer to India in July 42.

RAAF: Damaged in combat and ditched is P-40E A29-9 (Les Jackson, survived)



(SWPA, 5th Air Force): During the night of 6/7 the Japanese break the Philippine II Corps front on Bataan, necessitating immediate removal of all remaining U. S. aircraft to Mindanao, where for the next 3 days they will fly reconnaissance, cover heavy bombers (sent to Mindanao from Australia) operating against concentrations at Legaspi, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao, and carry out a strafing attack aircraft at Davao. After the heavy bombers return to Australia on 12 Apr, the fighters will continue to fly reconnaissance until Japanese forces envelop the troops on Mindanao on 1 May. Nine 3rd BG A-24 Dive Bombers escorted by six P-40E of RAAF 75 Squadron bomb Lae. Lost is A-24 41-15798 (MIA).

HQ 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) and 2nd Bombardment Squadron transfers from Ipswich to Townsville with B-26's; first combat mission is April 8. The 8th Photographic Squadron, Fifth Air Force (attached to Allied Air Forces) arrives at Melbourne from the US with F-4's; two flights remain at March Field until 16 June. 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Brisbane to Townsville with B-26's; first mission is 21 Apr. 33d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ipswich to Antil Plains with B-26's; first mission was April 6.


(SWPA, 5th Air Force): The air echelons of the 3d, 17th and 20th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), and 21st and 34th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) [attached to 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor)] based on Bataan, begin operating from Mindanao, Philippine Islands with whatever aircraft are left.


Philippines - Japanese capture Bataan after 3 months. The US-Philippine forces surrender unconditionally. The voice of Freedom radio station makes its last broadcast in the Philippines, saying, "Bataan has fallen, but the spirt that made it stand... cannot fail." Japanese artillery emplaced on Bataan opens fire on Corregidor in conjunction with air attacks.

Australia - 2nd Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22nd Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Townsville to Reid River with B-26's; first mission was yesterday. 7th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Bankstown to Batchelor Field, Australia with P-40's; they have been in combat since 14 Mar.

CEYLON - IJN aircraft attack Trincomalee HMAS Vampire sunk by Japanese planes off the coast of Ceylon.


USN - A reorganization of the Pacific Fleet abolished the Battle and Scouting Forces and set up new type commands for ships and aviation. With the change, titles of the aviation type commands became Carriers, Pacific, and Patrol Wings, Pacific.

RAAF: Shot down on a solo reconnaissance mission is P-40E Warhawk A29-24 (John F. Jackson, survived).


(RAAF) After a fighter sweep over Lae, P-40E A29-38 (POW, executed) force landed at Salamaua.

(5th AF) 22nd BG B-26 attack Lakunai Drome near Rabaul. Lost is B-26 40-1418 that force lands on the return flight. Its crew return to their unit on May 28th. 3rd BG A-24 Dive Bombers bomb Lae, lost is A-24 Dive Bomber 41-15773 (KIA).

(IJN) Taijun Maru accidentally catches fire and sinks into Truk Lagoon.


(SWPA, 5th Air Force): Royce Mission (Day 1) B-25s using Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao, hit the harbor and shipping at Cebu while B-17's carry out single-bomber strikes from Mindanao against Cebu Harbor and Nichols Field. 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Townsville to Reid River with B-26's; first mission is 21 Apr; 18th is redesignated 408th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 April.

USN: PT-35 was scuttled and burned to prevent capture off Cebu.


SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPOA, 7th Air Force): Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley is assigned as Commander-in-Chief South Pacific (COMSOPAC). He is to command all Allied base and local defense forces (land, sea, and air) in the South Pacific Islands, with the exception of New Zealand land defenses.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): Royce Mission (Day 2) B-25s using Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao hit targets in the Philippines for the second consecutive day. The B-25's take off just after midnight during 12/13 Apr and bomb shipping at Cebu and installations at Davao. Later in the day the B-25's again attack Davao, bombing the dock area. Lost is B-17E 41-2447.

(5th AF) Seven A-24s from the 3rd Bombardment Group, 8th Bombardment Squadron (8th BS) escorted by eight P-40E Kittyhawks from No. 75 Squadron attack Lae. Lost is P-40E Kittyhawk A29-15 (MIA).


(RAAF) Lost is Anson AX420 (KIA).


(10th Air Force): B-17's take off from Dum Dum Airfield near Calcutta to bomb Rangoon. Six B-17's, guided by flares, bomb the target; numerous searchlights make it impossible to estimate the bombing results.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): HQ 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Bankstown to Batchelor.


(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 8th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Canberra to Batchelor with P-40's; first mission is 20 Apr.

IJN: A6M2 Zero piloted Sakai is lost on a mission to Port Moresby.

RAAF: Lost are P-40E Kittyhawk A29-7 (KIA) and P-40E Kittyhawk A29-12 (WIA).

BURMA - British engineers blow up Chinese and Allied oil fields in Burma, destroying nearly 6,000 wells to keep them out of Japanese hands.




(SWPA, 5th Air Force): Major General George H Brett assumes command of the Allied Air Forces, which has units based in N and E Australia, with advanced facilities in the Port Moresby, New Guinea area. 39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Williamstown to Woodstock with P-39's; first mission is 2 Jun. Ground echelon of 70th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 38th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ballarat to Amberley; air echelon is still in the US with B-26's.


(SWPA, 5th Air Force): Lost after a search mission, crashing into Mount Bartle Frere is B-25C 41-12486.


(10th Air Force): Aircraft begin to evacuate military and civilian personnel and supplies from Burma to India. By 15 Jun the 10th Air Force has evacuated 4,499 passengers and 1,733,026 pounds (786,095 kg) of freight.

(SOPOA, 7th Air Force): A joint US-New Zealand Naval Command is ordered established under Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley. It is to operate separately but in close liaison with General Douglas MacArthur and Vice Admiral Herbert F Leary.

Fiji Lost is P-39F 41-7104.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 8th Photographic Squadron, 5th Air Force (attached to Allied Air Forces), transfers from Melbourne to Brisbane with F-4's; first mission was 16 Apr. Lost on a ferry flight are: B-25C "Tojo's Nitemare" 41-129??, B-25C "Chattanooga Choo Choo" 41-129??, B-25C "Salvo Sadie" 41-129??.

In the morning, twelve A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai attack Port Moresby, six dog fighting with RAAF 75 Squadron P-40 Kittyhawks and six attacking other aircraft and bombers. They claimed nine shot down (five P-40s, one P-39, two B-26s) and damaged a PBY. In fact, they destroyed two B-26s [one is B-26 "Hell's Angel" 40-1428] and B-17E 41-2641. Also destroyed is PBY A24-5 and three P-40E Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron were shot down: P-40 A29-43 (Channon, KIA) and P-40E A29-76 (Crawford, survived).

USN - A new specification for color of naval aircraft went into effect. The color of service aircraft remained non-specular light gray with non-specular blue-gray on surfaces visible from above. Advanced trainers were to be finished in glossy aircraft gray with glossy orange yellow on wing and aileron surfaces visible from above while primary trainers were to be finished glossy orange-yellow with gray landing gear.


(IJN) Japanese aircraft attack Darwin.

(5th Air Force) Over Darwin, flying together for the first time, the 49th Pursuit Group claims ten Japanese bombers and three Zeros without incurring any combat losses. B-17s strike Rabaul. Lost returning from the mission is B-17E 41-2505 (MIA).

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 35th and 36th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfer from Brisbane and Townsville respectively to Port Moresby with P-39's and P-400's; first mission is 30 April. Lost on the Cape York Peninsula is P-39F 41-7210 (KIA).


(10th Air Force): Ground echelon of 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Karachi to Allahabad; the air echelon is at Baumrauli with B-17's.

(IJN) A single C5M2 Babs from 3rd Kokutai took off from Koepang at 7:30am for a reconnaissance mission over Darwin at 9:50 for ten minutes then returned safely. Meanwhile at Koepang Airfield, seventeen G4M1 Betty bombers led by Lt. Tanemasa Hirata took off from Koepang at 8:37am armed with 60kg bombs on a bombing mission against Darwin. At 9:00am, twenty-one A6M2 Zeros from the 3rd Kokutai led by Lt. Takeo Kurusawa departed to escort the bombers. Over the target at an altitude of 20,000' the Bettys dropped their bombs at 11:35am while Australian 3.7" heavy anti-aircraft guns opened fire and P-40s intercepted the formation. Returning, the Bettys landed between 1:30pm to 2:00pm and the Zeros landed at 1:50pm. References: Darwin’s Defenders (forthcoming) by Bob Alford.

(RAAF) On the ground at Darwin Airfield Japanese bombs damage No. 1 Officers accommodation block, the Airmen’s Mess kitchen, recreation hall, main North-South Road and water pipeline from Manton Dam. Killed on the ground was Sgt Vincent A. Doran, Sgt John B. Rohr and Sgt Douglas C. E. Upjohn and Cpl Frank K. Lewis were killed by Japanese bombs. References: Darwin’s Defenders (forthcoming) by Bob Alford

(5th AF) At Darwin, P-40 Warhawks from the 49th Fighter Group took off to intercept Japanese aircraft attacking Darwin. Lost is P-40E Warhawk pilot Strauss (KIA) and P-40E Warhawk pilot Fish (KIA).

RAAF: Crashed is P-40E Kittyhawk A29-69 (KIA).

(RAAF) Six Kittyhawks took off at 10:36am to intercept eight Japanese bombers escorted by A6M2 Zeros over Port Moresby.  During the combat two were lost: P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8 piloted by S/L John F. Jackson (KIA) and P-40E A29-47 piloted by F/Lt B. M. Cox (MIA).  F/O Brereton was wounded and his aircraft severely damaged but returned to base. Lost is A6M2 Zero 1575 piloted by Yoshimitsu Maeda (POW).


(10th Air Force): A flight of B-17's bomb the dock area at Rangoon.

(SWPA, 5th Air Force): In the afternoon at Batchelor Field a P-40E Warhawk piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert G. Hazard from the 49th Fighter Group lost control on take off and crashed into a parked Lockheed C-40 transport piloted by Major Joseph "Joe" H. Moore and the passengers began exiting including Brigadier General Harold Huston George and passengers aboard. Wreckage from the crash possibly one of the P-40's wheels struk General George in the head severely injuring him. Two others standing nearby were killed instantly including 2nd Lieutenant Robert D. Jasper and war correspondent Melville Jacoby, TIME/LIFE.


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