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December 22, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

WEDNESDAY, 22 DECEMBER 1943

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 11 A-24s from Makin dive-bomb cargo ships in Mille Lagoon; escort is provided by 32 P-39's and USN F6F's; the P-39's strafe the ship and AA and gasoline dumps on the and the vessel is left burning.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, seven B-25's, with fighter escort bomb Hwajung; two others claim three direct hits on a freighter 105 miles south of Hong Kong. Sixty-five Japanese bombers and fighters attack Kunming Airfield; Ten P-40's and a P-38 from Kunming and several fighters from Yunnani engage the enemy force in a 50-minute running battle, claiming 12 airplanes shot down; 2 US aircraft are destroyed on the ground; damage to airfield is not serious. Seven P-40's intercept a force of 58 airplanes heading toward Chengkung, shooting down 3 of them and preventing an attack on Chengkung Airfield.

SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): B-25'a carry out strikes against Numa Numa, the Kahili supply area, the Chinatown area of Buka and scattered targets of opportunity; fighter aircraft and B-24's attack barge concentrations and hide-outs at Sohano, Chabai-Porton area, Anewa Bay, and Ambitle and several targets of opportunity throughout Bougainville; B-24's, operating individually and in pairs, attack targets of opportunity near Bonis, Porton, and at Sohano.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 30+ B-24's, B-25's, and A-20's continue bombardment of Cape Gloucester; a Japanese air raid on Arawe causes minor damage. B-25's and P-39's bomb Madang Airfield and barges at Madang and Alexishafen Town; and A-20's and B-26's pound occupied area north of Finschhafen. The 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, transfers from Port Moresby to Nadzab with P-47's. The 408th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Dobodura to Nadzab with B-25's.

RAAF: Force landed is Spitfire A58-51 (survived).

Nearly forty B-25s from the 345th Bomb Group (345th BG) escorted by P-38s strike Wewak and Boram and ships in Wewak Harbor. The bombers are escorted by P-38 Lightnings from the 80th Fighter Squadron (80th FS) and some P-47's on sweep plus gunners aboard the bombers claim at least 13 aircraft. Lost are P-38J 42-67142 (MIA), P-38H 42-66631 (MIA), B-25D "Shif'less Skonk" 41-30021 (force landed, crew survived), B-25D "Little Stinky" 41-30080 (pilot rescued, crew KIA) and B-25D "Thumper" 41-30071 (crew rescued).

JAAF: Ki-61 Tonys from the 68th Sentai and 78th Sentai took off to intercept American aircraft over Wewak and engage escorting P-38 Lightnings. Lost was Ki-61 pilot Takatsuki (MIA / KIA), Ki-61 Tony pilot Motoyama (WIA, rescued, died) and Ki-61 pilot Tahata (WIA, rescued). Also airborne are Ki-43 Oscars from the 59th Sentai plus 248th Sentai that claim a B-25 and a P-38 shot down with the loss of four pilots.

IJA/IJN: 15th Wewak Resupply Convoy (Wewak No. 15 Convoy) including Yamagiku Maru, Kayo Maru, Samarang Maru and Umegawa Maru escorted by minelayer Shirataka, subchaser CH-32 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-3 continues to unload at Wewak Harbor. During the B-25 strike, the ships are targeted by the bombers that claim several hits. In fact, only two ships were hit but were not seriously damaged and after they finished unloading and departs after dark.

References
248th Hiko Sentai: A Japanese “Hard luck” Fighter Unit Part 2 by Richard Dunn
"Thirty-six B-25s and four squadrons of P-38s raided Wewak on the 22nd between the 248th's two shifts. Four fighters of the 248 th joined with some thirty other Japanese fighters to oppose this attack. The 248th claimed a B-25 and a P-38. As a result of combat two P-38s and a B-25 were shot down or failed to return. Four other B-25s and one P-38 were damaged and crash-landed in friendly territory. Four Japanese fighter pilots were killed or wounded in this attack."



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