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August 16, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): A B-24 reconnaissance flight reconnoiters North Head, Main Camp, and northern Kiska, and observes friendly forces unopposed advance into Main Camp.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): Bombers hit and claim two small vessels sunk about 130 miles south of Rangoon. The 89th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group, transfers from Karachi to Gushkara with P-40's. The squadron will fly it's first mission on 8 Sep 43.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 4 P-40's bomb town of Tengchung, China.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): NIne B-24's bomb Papatura near Rekata Bay. 12 B-25's, 5 B-17's, and 30+ US Navy planes attack Vila Airfield.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Two B-24s bomb the oil tanks at Balikpapan. Two B-25's bomb Larat. Near Tsili Tsili, 33 Ki-43 Oscars (other sources claim 25) escort seven Ki-48 Lily bombers attack Tsili Tsili Airfield. Meanwhile, twenty four C-47s took off from Port Moresby, moving aviation fuel and supplies to the new airbase at Tsili-Tsili and Marilinan. The 5th Air Force provided a much stronger fighter escort for the C-47s following the loss of two transports to Japanese Army fighters the previous day at Tsili Tsili. Escorting the transports were 32 P-47 Thunderbolts (16 from the 340th FS, 348th FG and 16 from the 341st FS, 348th FG plus 12 P-38's of the 475th FG, 431st FS which had only recently begun operations in New Guinea provide escort. The Japanese strike is completely thwarted and twelve Japanese fighters claimed as shot down. All of the 24 transports landed safely at Tsili Tsili Airfield. While unloading was underway a Japanese strike from Wewak consisting of 33 Ki-43 Oscars escorting seve (other sources claim 3) Ki-48 Lilys attempt to attack Tsili Tsili Airfield. Each U. S. squadron became involved in separate combats with the escorting Ki-43s and numerous claims were made on both sides. Lost is P-47D pilot Leighton (MIA). Damaged is P-38 pilot Blythe but manages to land at Tsili Tsili Airfield. This mission marked the first use of the P-47 Thunderbolt in combat in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

RAAF: Ditched is Beaufighter A19-130 (rescued) off Fergusson Island

USN: Lost is PBY Catalina 2446 (rescued) off the south coast of New Guinea.

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