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March 16, 1945
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


ALASKA (Eleventh Air Force): Because of a navigational error, two B-24s on a photo mission to Matsuwa reach 130 miles south of the island, the deepest penetration of the Japanese Home Islands to date. Afterwards, the B-24s turn north to photograph Matsuwa and bomb Shimushiru with unobserved results.

CHINA THEATER (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 32 B-24s, escorted by 10 P-51s, pound the N railroad yards at Shihkiachwang; 1 B-25 and 2 P-51s attack the railroad between Sinsiang and Shihkiachwang; the detachment of the 16th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Group, operating from Laohokow with P-51s, returns to base at Chengkung (another detachment is operating from Poseh).

INDIA-BURMA THEATER (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 23 P-47s support forces of the Chinese 50th Division in the Hsipaw area; 4 P-38s, supporting the British 36 Division, bomb artillery positions NE of Mogok; 12 B-25s blast a fuel dump and troop concentration at Panghai; and 40 P-38s sweep roads S of the bomb line. Transport operations continue on a steady basis.

Seventh Air Force: 13 Guam based B-24s bomb Susaki Airfield; during the night of 16/17 Mar, Susaki Airfield is hit again, by 5 B-24s flying individual harassment strikes. Iwo Jima is declared secure although fierce resistance continues on some parts of the island. VII Fighter Command: 16 Iwo Jima based P-51s dive-bomb and strafe radio and radar installations, gun positions, and a storage area on Chichi Jima. In Mar 45 HQ VII Fighter Command will be established on Iwo Jima from where some of its units escort B-29 missions.

HQ AAF (Twentieth Air Force): Mission 43: 307 XXI Bomber Command B-29s, of 331 airborne, fire-raid Kobe in the heaviest attack to date, bombing from 5,000 to 9,500 feet (1,524 to 2,896 m) during the predawn hours of 16/17 Mar; the attack lasts for 2 hours and 8 minutes; about 2.9 square miles (7.5 square km), i.e., 20%, of the city's area is burned destroying about 500 industrial buildings and damaging 162; 65,951 homes are lost leaving 242,468 people homeless. Casualties are 2,669 dead or missing and 11,289 injured. The B-29 crews see 314 enemy aircraft which make a total of 93 individual attacks; the AAF claims 1-0-? Japanese aircraft; 3 B-29s are lost, none to the fighters.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: On Luzon, A-20s and B-24s continue pounding Japanese installations at Baguio; P-51s strike Patapat, hitting vehicles and supplies; fighters hit Caballo; the Batangas area is again pounded by fighter-bombers and A-20s. B-24s hit Talisay and Carolina Airfields on Negros and bomb targets pinpointed by guerrillas on Cebu. B-25s bomb San Roque Airfield on Mindanao and attack Tarakan and Jesselton Airfields. On Formosa, B-24s also hit the town of Taihoku, Heito Airfield and Okayama Airfield. HQ 43d Bombardment Group and the 65th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) move from Tacloban to Clark Field with B-24s; the 419th Night Fighter Squadron, XIII Fighter Command, moves from Middelburg to Puerto Princesa with P-61s.

RAAF: Crashed is Beaufort A9-625 (MIA)

KPM: SS Sibigo is sunk during a cyclone.

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