SUNDAY, 31 DECEMBER 1944
CHINA THEATER (Fourteenth Air Force): Four B-24s claim a freighter sunk and another damaged off Hainan. Four B-25s damage two bridges and destroy or damage five buildings at Mong Ping, Burma. In China, 35 P-40s and P-51s attack troops, horses, town areas, and railroad targets at or near Hankow, Saiping, Siangtan, Hengyang, Lingling, and Kweilin. 29 other fighters on armed reconnaissance hit targets of opportunity at several points in N French Indochina, E Burma, and S China. The detachment of the 16th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Group, operating from Liangshan with P-51s, returns to base at Chengkung (another detachment is operating from Kwanghan).
INDIA-BURMA THEATER (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 28 P-47s strafe Laihka Airfield, Namsang Airfield, Aungban Airfield, Kunlon Airfield and Heho Airfield; 5 P-47s damage a bridge at Namhkai; a total of 65 P-47s and P-38s hit Japanese Division HQ at Ongyaw and troop concentrations and supply areas at Mongmit, Nawngka, Kawngtawng, Pangnim, Mong Tat, Kutkai, and Man Namman; a few B-25s fly night harassment missions against airfields. About 300 transport sorties are flown to forward areas throughout the day.
AAFPOA (Seventh Air Force): 19 B-24s from Guam hit airfields on Iwo Jima during the day; ten more B-24s hit the island with individual harassment
raids over a 6-hour period during the night of 31 Dec/1 Jan.
HQ AAF (Twentieth Air Force): Brigadier General Haywood S Hansell, Jr, and
his XXI Bomber Command Forward Echelon HQ staff close the Saipan HQ
and move to Guam where the ground echelon arrived in early December.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: B-24s and B-25s
bomb airfields in the C Philippine Islands, on Luzon and Mindanao Islands.
Other B-24s bomb Ambesia Airfield, hit Dili on Timor Island,
and pound airfields and supply areas throughout Halmahera Island. Fighter-bombers
are active against airfields, shipping, AA guns, and various targets of opportunity
on Halmahera Island and on N Celebes Island. The 63d Troop Carrier Squadron,
403d Troop Carrier Group, based on Biak with C-47s, ceases operating
from Noemfoor. The ground echelon of the 82d Tactical Reconnaissance
Squadron, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, begins a movement from Morotai to Lingayen (air echelon is operating from San
Jose with F-6 and P-40s). The 550th Night Fighter Squadron,
XIII Fighter Command, based at Hollandia with P-61s, sends a detachment
to operate from Middleburg. Lost are P-38H 42-66562 (MIA) and B-25J 44-28820 (MIA).