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August 31, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Seven B-24's bomb Gia Lam Airfield; and 22 P-40's and 2 P-38's bomb a dike near Co Bi barracks. 6 B-25's hit Ichang Airfield, China while 3 others attack an oil storage area to the E; P-40's also hit the oil stores. Three P-40's claim heavy damage to a freighter off Stonecutter's Island near Hong Kong. In China, four P-38's dive-bomb Yoyang railroad yards and Sinti warehouses; a P-38 is shot down by ground fire.

USN: Second Strike on Marcus Island Task Force 15 (TF-15) under the command of Rear Admiral C. A. Pownall including USS Essex, the new USS Yorktown and USS Independence launched nine strike groups in a day-long attack on Japanese installations on Marcus Island, the first strikes by Essex and Independence Class carriers, and the first use of the F6F Hellcat in combat.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Bombers fly scattered strikes against shipping and shore targets in the Saint George Channel and in the Netherlands East Indies. Lost is B-24D 42-40984 pilot 2nd Lt William B. Cox (KIA) crashed after take off north of Port Moresby.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): P-40's, in a running battle over Vella Lavella, claim 5 Japanese airplanes shot down; other P-40's strafe barges in Timbala Bay on Vella Lavella. 22 B-25's and 50 US Navy airplanes bomb gun positions and the radio station at Vila.

U.S. Army: 1st Bn of 145th Inf, 37th Div, arrives from New Georgia on Vella Lavella and relieves 1st Bn of 35th Inf, 25th Div, of perimeter defense mission so that it can move north to Kokolope Bay. On Arundel Island U.S. Army patrols encounter light opposition on east coast.

USN: TBFs, SBDs, and F6Fs from Task Force 15 (TF 15) under the command of Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall with two carriers, one small carrier, one battleship, two light cruisers, and 11 destroyers, supported by an oiler, bomb Marcus Island in the prototype fast carrier strike. TBF Avengers from USS Independence (CVL-22) sink three Japanese small craft. USS Snook (SS-279) operates in support of TF 15.

LCT-154 is lost during amphibious operations, 37°8'N, 10°58'E.

USS Seawolf (SS-197) damages Japanese torpedo boat Sagi and sinks army cargo ship Shoto Maru and merchant cargo ship Kokko Maru, 28°30'N, 123°05'E.

U.S. tanker W.S. Rheem is torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-20 near Espiritu Santo, 15°51'S, 167°02'E, but reaches port under her own power; there are no casualties to either the 49-man merchant complement or the 25-man Armed Guard.

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