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February 1, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


ALASKA  In the Aleutians, all missions are cancelled due to weather. Enemy aircraft bomb and strafe shipping in Constantine Harbor on Amchitka without inflicting damage.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force) The 424th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 307th Bombardment Group with B-24s ceases operating from Funafuti and returns to Mokuleia.

CBI (Tenth Air Force) Seven B-24s of the India Air Task Force from Pandaveswar bomb the Arakan tea sheds on the Rangoon River near Rangoon Harbor. The 9th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Tenth Air Force, with F-4s, is based at Pandaveswar with a detachment at Kunming. A detachment of the detachment begins operating from Kweilin sometime in February 1943. On 6 Feb 43, this squadron is redesignated the 9th Photographic Squadron.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) P-38s, P-39s and P-40s, along with Navy and Marine aircraft, attack four destroyers from the so-called "Tokyo Express" north of Vangunu; unlike previous missions, these destroyers are dispatched to evacuate the Japanese troops from Guadalcanal. Hits on 2 of the ships cause fires. At night, 19 more destroyers come in, evacuate troops. Makigumo hits a mine and is scuttled. The others are away by dawn. B-17s attack shipping off Shortland-Bougainville, claiming 3 direct hits on cargo vessels. Lost are B-17E 41-9151 (MIA), B-17E "Eager Beavers" 41-9122 (MIA) and B-17E "Yokohama Express" 41-2442 (MIA). A fourth plane, piloted by a Capt. Thomas (72nd BS/5th BG), was badly damaged but managed to crash land at Guadalcanal. Two crew members (radio and bombadier) were wounded.

IJN: Eighteen D3A Vals from the 582 Kokutai led by Lt. Tensai Kitamura took off from Kahilli Airfield (Buin) with three aborting after take off. Escorting were twenty-one A6M Zeros from the 582 Kokutai led by Lt. Saburo Shindo plus nineteen Zeros from Zuikaku led by Lt. Kenjiro Notomi.

Over Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal, the D3A Vals score hits sinking USS De Haven (DD-469). Returning from the mission, the formation is intercepted by USMC F4F Wildcats. Losses included five Zeros plus three damaged. Japanese losses include A6M2 6544 pilot Tanaka and A6M2 pilot Chiba from Zuikaku plus PO2c Saburo Horida and PO2c Tatsuo Morioka from the 582 Kokutai. Also lost was LA Yoshio Ozawa who ditched and was rescued.

USN: Sunk by Japanese dive bombers is USS De Haven (DD-469).

IJN: During the night, twenty Japanese destroyers steamed down the slot as part of Operation KE for the evacuation of the remaining Japanese forces from Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal.

USN: All available PT boats were sent to patrol the Savo Island to Cape Esperence area, Sunk are PT-37, PT-111 and PT-123.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb the runway and aircraft dispersal areas at Rabaul. A lone B-24 bombs the runway at Finchhafen Airfield (Prewar Airfield) then flies east where it bombs the runway at Cape Gloucester Airfield and unsuccessfully attacks a ship in Open Bay.

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