THURSDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 1943
(11th AF) The weather reconnaissance aircraft over Kiska,
jumped by 3 fighters, shoots 1 down. It is followed by 3 B-17s, 3 B-24s, 3 B-25s,
4 P-38s and 8 P-40s. The B-24s blast the North Head submarine base, and score
near misses on a cargo ship. The B-25s hit the vicinity of the Main Camp area;
3 of 5 floatplanes which intercept are shot down. The P-40s strafe Kiska ground installations
and sight a fighter strip southwest of Salmon Lagoon. Two Amchitka fighter patrols are flown; the first also strafes gun emplacements on Vega Point.
Five enemy bombers strike Amchitka.
CBI (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, 6 B-25s, bombing from 6,000 feet, and seven B-24s, bombing from 14,500' attack the Myitnge bridge south of Mandalay, damaging the southern approach;
3 other B-25s bomb the Myitnge railroad shops.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) A single B-17 joins Navy aircraft in pounding Kahili Airfield. Navy aircraft hit Munda Airfield. The
second evacuation by the so-called "Tokyo Express" includes 22 destroyers covered by 25 Zekes comes down
"The Slot". The destroyers are attacked 200 miles (320 km) north of Guadalcanal
by 12 SBDs and 13 TBFs covered by 8 P-39s, 4 P-38s and 16 F4Fs; 1 destroyer
is disabled and another slightly damaged. The P-39s get 1 Zeke, the F4Fs claim
6, the TBFs 2 and the SBDs 1. US losses include 1 F4F, 1 SBD and 4 TBFs. An hour later,
the same Express is hit by 12 SBDs escorted by 10 F4Fs and 4 P-40s from the 44th Fighter Squadron, 318th Fighter Group; 2 destroyers
are slightly damaged. The P-40s claim 3 Zekes, the F4Fs 4 and the SBDs 2; we
lose 1 P-40, 2 F4Fs and 2 SBDs. Lost is P-40F pilot Carter (MIA). The destroyers successfully evacuate Japanese
troops. The 70th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 38th Bombardment Group (Medium)
with B-26s returns to its base on Fiji after operating from Henderson Field since
9 Jan 43.
IJN: A6M2 Zeros from Zuikaku took off from Kahilli Airfield (Buin) on Bougainville on a mission to cover the Japanese evacuation from Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal. Lost is A6M2 Zero pilot Shigemi (MIA) and A6M2 Zero pilot Naito (MIA).
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) A-20s and B-25s bomb Lae Airfield and Huon Gulf and nearby AA positions,
and hit forces in the Mubo, Komiatum, Zaka and Wau areas. Japanese forces begin
retreating in disorder from the Wau area toward Mubo. Heavy bombers hit the airfields at Rabaul, Gasmata Airfield and Cape Gloucester Airfield, score
hits on a vessel off Arawe, and attack small boats off Lorengau, sinking one boat.
HQ 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) and the 19th and 33d Bombardment Squadrons
(Medium) with B-26s transfer from Iron Range to Woodstock. The group, which has been in combat since Apr 42,
ceased combat operations in Jan 43 for R and R. The B-26s of the 19th are overhauled
and stripped of all paint and bear the title "The Silver Fleet." The 33d, and
the group's other two squadrons, the 2d Bombardment Squadrons and 408th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium)
at Reid River, begin transitioning from B-26s to B-25Ds.