Saturday, February 13, 1943
(11th AF) A weather reconnaissance is flown over Kiska, Attu, Agattu, Semichi and Buldir. Five heavy bombers, 6 medium bombers and
10 P-38s bomb and strafe Kiska targets
including the Camp area, landing strip, and shipping. Of 5 float-type fighter
which attack, P-38s shoot down 3. Four P-38s and one B-25 fly a patrol mission over Amchitka and Little Kiska; a B-25 shoots
down a floatplane.This is was the last mission the B-17 was used in the Alaska theater in combat.
CBI (Tenth Air Force) Seven heavy bombers from Gaya bomb the Rangoon marshalling yard, scoring over 30 direct hits on the target. P-40s hit a headquarters
at Lonkin, buring 12 barracks. Nine B-25s hit rolling stock in the marshalling
yard at Paukkan and along the rail line from Shwebo to Sagaing.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force) In New Guinea, A-20s
pound forces in and around Mubo while B-25s hit the Lae area. In the Bismarck
Archipelago, a single B-24 bombs the sawmill area at Ubili and a B-17 hits
targets of opportunity in the Rabaul area.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) Six B-24 Liberators from the 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG), 424th Bombardment Squadron (424th BS) took off Henderson Field on their first combat mission against Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Buin area escorted by six P-38s
from the 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS) plus seven P-40F Warhawks from the 44th Fighter Sqaudron (44th FS). On the way to the target, 3 P-40s and 2
P-38s aborted the mission due to engine trouble, leaving the B-24s with an escort of 2 P-38s and
4 P-40s: P-40F 41-14102 (MIA), P-40F 41-14110 (MIA), P-40F piloted by Lt. Jack Bade and P-40F pilot 1st Lt. Robert B. Westbrook. Just after noon, the B-24s bomb a cargo ship from 14,000' just claiming one hit. Over the target, the formation was intercepted by 39 enemy fighters including A6M Zeros and floatplane fighters. Lost are B-24D 41-23597 pilot Captain Harold G. McNeese (4 MIA, 5 rescued), B-24D 41-23980 pilot 1st Lt. George K. Trager (9 MIA), B-24D 41-23975 pilot 1st Lt. Russell W. Rowe (9 MIA), P-38G pilot Rist (MIA), P-38G pilot Morton (rescued), P-38G pilot Cramer (rescued) and P-38G pilot Lockridge (rescued).
USN: Seporately, nine PB4Y-1 Liberators from VP-51 took off escorted by eleven F4U Corsairs from Marine Fighting Squadron 124 (VMF-124) on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Buin area.
Nine PB4Y-1 Liberators from VB-101, each armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb include:
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31956 Number 51-P-1 pilot LCDR William A. Moffett Jr. (C. O. VB-101)
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31954 Number 51-P-2 pilot Lt. Richard J. Davis
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31947 Number 51-P-3 pilot Stuart Trumble Cooper
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31950 Number 51-P-4 pilot Lt. Jay D. Bacon Jr.
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31957 Number 51-P-5 pilot Lt. William R. Beswick
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31960 Number 51-P-6 pilot Lt. James C. Nolan
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31951 Number 51-P-10 pilot Lt. Emil E. Glanz Jr.
PB4Y-1 Liberator 31948 Number 51-P-11 pilot Lt. Frank M. Fisler
31949 Number 51-P-12 pilot Lt. Samuel F. Glover
USMC: Eleven F4U Corsairs from Marine Fighting Squadron 124 (VMF-124) escort PB4Y-1 Liberators over the Shortland-Buin area. This was the first use of the F4U Corsair on a combat misison in the South Pacific (SOPAC).
IJN: A6M Zeros from the 204 Kokutai and 252 Kokutai took off to intercept the incoming U. S. formation. Also, A6M2-N Rufes from the 802 Kokutai based at Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.
James Claire Nolan Diary February 13, 1943 (Saturday)
"Nine planes took off this morning to bomb a “very important” (?) Jap ship south of Shortland Island. Squadron Formation Setup [diagram]
1. Moffett, 2. Davis, 3. Cooper, 4. Bacon, 5. Beswick, 6. Nolan, 10. Glans, 11. Fisler, 12. Glover. We climbed steadily to 12,000 feet accompanied by our fighter escort of 12 F4Us and four P-38s. Spotted the target ship south of Shortland and accompanied by two Jap destroyers (large type). I spotted them at 20 miles, but the skipper failed to see them till we were close aboard — too close."
Kodochosho, 204 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
Kodochosho, 802 Kōkūtai, February 13, 1943
347th Fighter Group Advanced Echelon APO 709 "Preliminary Intelligence Summary of Operations of Army Fighter Planes at Cactus - December 1, 1942 to February 17, 1943" February 21, 1943 page 3 (Morrissey, Johnson, Rist)
Army Air Forces Historical Studies No. 35 "Guadalcanal and the Origins of the 13th Air Force" (1945) pages 180-182 (February 13, 1943), 240 (footnotes 12-16) via Wayback Machine May 20, 2006
(Page 180) "All 6 [B-24] planes left Henderson on the morning of the 13th [February 1943], led by Col. Frank Everest, and escorted by 4 P-38's and 7 P-40's. The target was shipping at Shortland, a dangerous spot now. Engine trouble forced 3 P-40's to return before they reached the target. Two P-38's turned back just short of Buin, but the formation pressed on. (12)
...Thus the entire P-38 escort was lost. (15).
(Page 182) The B-24's had paid a stiff price in their initial mission. Three of the 6 had been lost, together with most of their escort. The single hit on the transport and the 8 Zeros [claimed] destroyed softened the loss only slightly, for the exchange was heavily weighted in favor of the Jap. (16)"
Vampire Squadron (1985) by William H. Starke pages 25-26
Air & Space Magazine "Above & Beyond: A Bougainville Mystery by Paul A. Roales, November 2006
Thanks to Paul A. Roales, Jim Sawruk, Minoru Kamada, Justin Taylan, Richard Dunn and Edward Rogers for research and analysis