December 26, 1943
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
SUNDAY, 26 DECEMBER 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Sixteen B-24's, staging
through Tarawa bomb Wotje.
P-39's fly reconnaissance and strafing missions over Mille Atoll. The 19th Fighter Squadron, 318th Fighter Group, transfers from Stanley
Field to Kualoa Field with P-47's.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): The 76th Fighter Squadron, 23d Fighter Group,
transfers from Kweilin to Suichwan, China with P-40's.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 7 B-25's, with 34 fighters, attack the Cape Saint George area; 25 B-25's pound the bivouac and supply area at Kahili. RNZAF Ventura's
on reconnaissance bomb Chivaroi and Faisi.
USMC: At 7:46am the 1st Marine Division (1st MARDIV) lands at Cape Gloucester.
USN: Amphibious landing at Cape Gloucester. Attacked by Japanese aircraft including D3A2 Vals and A6M Zeros that cause considerable damage to other ships and sank USS Brownson DD-518. Over the target, the force is intercepted by U. S. fighters. Lost is A6M2 Zero 8224 (pilot survived).
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 270+ B-25's. B-24's, and A-20's plaster the area between Cape Gloucester and Borgen Bay from 7:14am to 4:14pm; enemy aircraft attacking the
landing force. Approaching the target, B-24D Liberator 42-41241 pulled up to avoid the collision then snapped over inverted and then fell off in a left hand spin with eight 1000 pound bombs and nearly full fuel tanks and went into a spin and vertical dive but managed to pull up and return to base. Intercepting, P-38's, P-40's, and P-47's claim 60+ airplanes shot down over the invasion
area. Twelve P-38s of the 80th Fighter Squadron, lead by Major Edward Craig shoot down 9 aircraft: BW Adams claims two Vals, Ed Cragg claims an Oscar, Ken Ladd claims two Val's, CB Ray claimed a Val, Jay Robbins claimed two Zeros and "Corky" Smith claimed an Oscar. Lost are P-38H "Porky II" 42-66506 (MIA) P-47D 42-8095 (MIA), P-47D 42-22640 (MIA) P-47D piloted by Heckerman (rescued). Also two Michells are lost due to friendly fire: B-25D "Crabb 2nd" 41-30517 (survived), B-25D "Here's Howe" 41-30279 (MIA). Also lost is B-17E "R.F.D. Tojo" 41-2627 (two died in crash) after take off from 14-Mile Drome.