December 23, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
THURSDAY, 23 DECEMBER 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): During the night
of 23/24 Dec, P-39's are airborne over Makin to intercept enemy
bombers; 2 bombers are shot down; 1 P-39 is lost. During the day, nineteen B-24's, staging through Tarawa from Nanumea, bomb Kwajalein; Nine B-24s from Canton staging through Baker hit Wotje and Maloelap. 10 A-24s escorted by 20 P-39's, attack Mille Atoll hitting
shore installations and a cargo vessel (wrecked by the previous day's raid)
in the lagoon.
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): 19 B-24's on a night raid bomb the railroad
terminal at Bangkok; heavy explosions and large fires result.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 29 B-24's, escorted by 7 P-51's and
23 P-40's, pound White Cloud Airfield; the and fighters claim 11 interceptors
downed. 14 P-38's dive-bomb and strafe Huang Shan Kou. Two B-25's claim one gunboat
sunk in the Formosa Straits. HQ 68th Composite Wing transfers from Kunming to Kweilin.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Seventeen B-25'a attack
gun positions and other targets at Sohano,
and 6 hit positions at Malevoli in Choiseul Bay. Sixteen P-39's on patrol bomb and strafe targets on Shortland.
18 B-24's bomb Taharai Airfield [sic Lakunai Airfield] in the Rabaul area; Vunakanau also is hit; fighter escorts claim 30 aircraft shot
down over the Rabaul area. This begins a Commander Air Solomons (COMAIRSOLS)
all-out offensive against the Rabaul area that continues until the end of March
RNZAF: Six PV-1 Venturas
attack a radar station and the German Lighthouse at Cape Saint George.
USN: Lost on an escort mission over Rabaul is F6F 25801 (MIA).
USMC: Twenty-one TBF Avengers from VMTB-232 attack Mawareka, Motupena Point, Aitara Mission and Mamagata Mission. Lost is TBF Avenger 23871 (MIA).
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 61 B-24's bomb Cape
Gloucester during the day; B-24's follow during the night of 23/24 Dec
with harassing attacks with small bombs, hand grenades, and beer bottles;
P-39s hit barges between Borgen Bay and Rein Bay, and P-40's bomb Gasmata and strafe Cape Hoskin. 80+
B-25's, B-26's and A-20's attack coastal targets from Wewak to Hansa Bay,
wide areas of the Huon Peninsula, and airfields at Alexishafen; and B-24's
bomb Nabire Airfield. Lost is B-24D "Flying Wolf" 42-41091. HQ 8th Fighter Group transfers from Port Moresby to Finschhafen.
The 501st Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 345th Bombardment Group (Medium),
transfers from Port Moresby to Dobodura with B-25's. Lost is C-47 "Windy City" 42-23500 (MIA). Lost is P-38H 42-66909 (POW, survived).