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January 1, 1944
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

SATURDAY, 1 JANUARY 1944

(CBI) BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 6 B-25's, along mith 16 P-38's, attack a bridge on the Mu River between Ywataung and Monywa; Major Robert A Erdin, piloting the lead B-25, pulls up during his bomb run to avoid a tree; he releases his bombs as he noses up, and topples two spans of the bridge into the river; subsequent tests prove this a good bridge-bombing maneuver; the tactic is refined and the squadron [the 490th Bombardment Squadron, 341st Bombardment Group] becomes so proficient as to gain the sobriquet "Burma Bridge Busters." Further N, 11 A-36's and 15 P-51s pound Myitkyina Airfield. The 315th Troop Carrier Squadron is activated at Dinjan assigned to the Tenth Air Force and equipped with C-47's.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 4 P-40's bomb and strafe targets of opportunity in French Indochina, including barracks and rafts along the Yuan River in the Cam Duong-Lao Kay area.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA, Seventh Air Force): 16 P-39's strafe the harbor of Mille Atoll and attack shipping to the north two small vessels are heavily damaged. During the month of January 44, HQ VII Bomber Command transfers from Funafuti to Tarawa.

SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Thirteenth Air Force): 868th Bombardment Squadron is activated to work directly under the XIII Bomber Command. The unit, equipped with radar equipped B-24's used for night missions, becomes known as the "Snooper Squadron". They will fly their first mission on 4 Jan; they used their airborne radar for low-level attacks at night, and for pathfinder operations. 15 B-24's, escorted by 70+ P-38's and US Navy (USN) F6F Hellcats bomb Lakunai Airfield; fighter and AA opposition is heavy, with 80-90 fighters attempting interception. US airplanes claim 20 fighters shot down; One B-24 is shot down and two severely damaged, crash land at Torokina Airfield. Allied fighters join USN dive bombers in support of ground forces in the Torokina area. Six B-25's and two B-24's bomb Kahili and 4 B-24's hit Manob, both on Bougainville.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): 120+ B-24's, B-25's and A-20's pound the Saidor area in preparation for an Allied invasion; other B-25's bomb Madang and Alexishafen. A-20's continue to hit troop concentrations in the Cape Gloucester area; B-25's hit positions at Borgen Bay; and P-39's strate barges along New Britain's northern coast. HQ 312th Bombardment Group arrives at Gusap from the US. The 500th Bombardment Squdron (Medium), 345th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Port Moresby to Dobodura with B-25's.



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