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February 18, 1944
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 40+ B-25s, A-36s and P-51s attack the town of Ye-u and nearby bridge, bivouacs N of Laban, bridges in the Pyingaing area and along the Mu River, supply and troop concentrations at Waingmaw radio station and a supply area near Kamaing and gun emplacements SE of Taihpa Ga; the strikes are generally successful. 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group, arrives at Karachi from Italy; they will be equipped with P-47Ds.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Four B-25s on a sweep of the Gulf of Tonkin damage two large boats north of Bakli Bay, destroy an ammunition dump at Phu Ly and knock out a nearby railroad bridge.

USN: The Battle of Karavia Bay during the night of February 17, 1944 to February 18, 1944 Task Group 38.4 (TG 38.4) composed of the destroyers USS Farenholt (DD-491), USS Buchanan (DD-484), USS Lansdowne (DD-486), USS Lardner (DD-487) and USS Woodworth (DD-460) conducted a shore bombardment of targets on East New Britain near Rabaul. They fired on gun batteries at Praed Point (141 rounds) and a gun battery at Raluana (56 rounds). Heavy gunfire was observed from Simpson Harbor and Karavia Bay areas. On February 18, 1944 at 1:24am torpedoes were fired through the center of the mine field across the entrance to Karavia Bay. At 1:26am to to the south into Vunapopo bivouac and supply area (244 rounds), cleared Credner Island. At 1:36am observation plane dropped a stick of bombs on Cape Gazelle shore batteries. At 1:37am ceased firing Vunapopo area, shifted to Cape Gazelle shore battery (firing 284 rounds) which had opened fire on the formation. At 1:40am opened fire on Cape Gazelle shore batteries, then passed the center of channel between Duke of York Islands and Cape Gazelle. At 2:00am on the fantail of USS Lardner, the bloomer on the No. 4 gun had caught fire from the heat generated while firing and was quickly extinguished. At 2:30am an unidentified plane reported. Until 5:15am, “bogies” were reported at intervals, singly and in groups (about four) one dropped flares on starboard beam at about 3:10am. One “bogie” approached as close as as 3 miles. Due to heavy overcast and rain squalls, the Squadron Commander felt reluctant to allow the ship to return fire and reveal our presence, at 3:35am cleared St. George's Channel. During the destroyer attack, at least one A6M Zero piloted by Komachi took off from Tobera Airfield armed with two 60 kg wing bombs and made several strafing runs on the first destroyer and made a bomb and strafing run on the second destroyer until all his ammunition was expended then departed. References Siege of Rabaul page 24, Imperial Japanese Navy Aces page 33.

"Operation Hailstone" for the second day, U.S. Navy carrier aircraft attack Japanese vessels and warships in Truk Lagoon and installations on Truk. Over 400 tons of bombs and torpedo rained down on the lightly defended base. After the attacks, forty ships and thousands of men went to the bottom. Sunk are San Francisco Maru and Sankisan Maru.

USMC: 22nd Marine Regiment lands on Engebi and after a six hour battle secures most of the island.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA, Seventh Air Force): P-40s from Makin bomb and strafe Jaluit and Mille. US forces land on Engebi Island in Eniwetok Atoll.

SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Thirteenth Air Force): 34 B-25s and 18 B-24s, both forces with fighter escorts, pound Vunakanau Airfield; two B-25s and four P-38s hit Tobera. Lost on an experimental strafing mission over Buka is B-25H Mitchell Number 321, two of the crew and a dead body were rescued by PBY Catalina NZ4013.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): B-25s and RAAF Beaufighters hit Koepang, P-39s strafe targets of opportunity at Madang and Cape Raoult, New Britain Island. 499th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 345th Bombardment Group (Medium), moves from Dobodura to Nadzab with B-25s. Lost is B-25C "Hellzapopin II" 41-12464 (MIA).

RAFF: While landing, Dakota A65-17 was damaged while landing at Vivigani Airfield and later repaired.

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