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May 21, 1944
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology

SUNDAY, 21 MAY 1944

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 120+ P-40s, P-51s, A-36s and B-25s hit Mogaung, Myitkyina, the Talawgyi-Hokat area, and Kamaing; gun positions around Myitkyina and Mogaung are also hit; a single B-24 bombs NW part of Mandalay; 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, based at Kisselbari, India with P-40s, sends a detachment to Tingkawk Sakan.

CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): 27th Troop Carrier Squadron, 443d Troop Carrier Group, moves from Sylhet, India to Yunnani; during the next nine months, detachments will operate from Chanyi, Chengtu and Kunming at various times.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA (POA, Seventh Air Force): 53 B-24s from Kwajalein bomb Wotje; 41 B-25s, based on Makin, follow up with bombing and strafing attack on Wotje. 8 B-24s stage through Eniwetok to strike Rota and rearm at Los Negros.

SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Thirteenth Air Force): On New Britain, 3 B-24s, 30+ P-39s and P-40s, and 40+ USN dive bombers hit Vunakanau Airfield and nearby plantation; 8 P-38s, followed shortly by USN aircraft, bomb Lakunai Airfield. Lost is TBF 23987. 40+ P-39s, P-38s, and P-40s fly sweeps over Bougainville; bridges at Rigu Mission and Shishigatero are reported demolished.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA, Fifth Air Force): B-24s, A-20s and P-38s attack airfields, town areas, barges, personnel and supply areas, and fuel dumps at Manokwari, Urarom and along the Moemi River and on Noemfoor and Biak; fighter-bombers. A-20s and B-25s continue almost constant pounding of supply dumps, camps, AA positions and a variety of targets along the coast from Wewak to Hansa Bay. The 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3d Bombardment Group, moves from Nadzab to Hollandia with A-20s. Thirteenth Air Task Force B-24s bombs Truk. Lost are B-25D "Tin Liz" 41-30074 (MIA) and P-47D piloted by Luton.

USN: Nine ships are lost in an ammunition explosion in West Lock of Pearl Harbor. In total, six LSTs were lost including LST-353, LST-480 and several others heavily damaged, along with twenty nearby buildings. 163 sailors and soldiers died and 396 were wounded, including many African American dock workers. The precise cause of the disaster is unknown, but likely rushed loading and storage of ammunition and a detonation that set off a chain reaction explosion. Until 1960, the accident was kept secret.

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