March 20, 1944
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
MONDAY, 20 MARCH 1944
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In the Arakan area of Burma, 12 RAF Vengeance's
hit Japanese positions near Kaladan and Buthidaung while 6 P-38s severely damage
a bridge at Lamu; 20+ B-25s and P-51s hit communication and transportation
targets in the Katha area; 6 B-24s bomb the Moulmein-Martaban area; and 100+
fighter-bombers strike Mogaung Valley buildings and supply areas, and fuel
dumps at Mogaung, Myitkyina, Sumprabum and Sahmaw. 81st Bombardment Group (Medium),
12th Bombardment Group (Medium), arrives at Tezgaon from Italy with
B-25s; first mission is 16 Apr.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): Photo reconnaissance sorties are flown orer C
China and NE Burma.
PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA, Seventh Air Force): Twelve B-25s from Tarawa bomb the radio station and pier on Emidj. One other B-25
from Tarawa bombs Mille, rearms at Majuro and again bombs Mille on the return trip. HQ 30th Bombardment Group moves from Abemama to Kwajalein.
SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Thirteenth Air Force): 20+ fighter-bombers
hit the Ratawul supply area; later 20+ fighters attack barges in the Rabaul area
while 3 RNZAF Venturas blast several buildings at nearby Massava Bay; and 23
B-24s bomb the airfield at Vunakanau while 24 B-25s pound Lakunai. Ten P-40s and P-39s bomb Numa Numa and strafe coastal targets of opportunity.
A reconnaissance patrol of snooper B-24s cover US Marines moving onto Emirau a fighter patrol is unnecessary due to unexpected lack
of opposition and after the initial landing by the Marines other Allied ground
forces move ashore; by the afternoon of 21 Mar the occupation of the is complete
and construction of a base begins shortly. 868th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy),
Thirteenth Air Force, moves from Munda to Los Negros with B-24s; this squadron uses radar-equipped "snooper" B-24s
for low-level attacks at night and for pathfinder operations.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): 30+ B-24s bomb Tadji Airfield at Aitape; 20+ P-39s and A-20s hit Japanese HQ and other targets
along the Bogadjim Road while B-25s and P-39s on armed reconnaissance hit targets
at Milhanak, along the Gogol River, at Yeschan, Burui Airfield and at Erima;
and at night B-24s bomb remnants of a supply convoy off Cape Terabu. On New
Britain, P-40s on armed reconnaissance hit villages and barges along the Bangula
Bay coast. Lost is B-24D "The Dorothy Anne/ Not in Stock" 42-41093.
USN: Two escort carriers provided cover and aerial spotting for the battleship and
destroyer bombardment of Kavieng and nearby airfields in a covering action
for the occupation of Emirau.
4th Marines, 1st and 2nd Battalions with 3rd
Battalion in reserve made an amphibious landing on Emirau. They find only Seven Day Adventist missionaries who informed them there were no Japanese on the island.