Combat Chronology of the
United States Army Air Forces in World War II

April 1942

AIRCRAFT MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT

  • A-20, Douglas Havoc

  • A-29, Lockheed Hudson

  • B-17, Boeing Flying Fortress

  • B-18, Douglas Bolo

  • B-25, North American Mitchell

  • B-26, Martin Marauder

  • DB-7, Douglas Havoc

  • DC-3, Douglas

  • F-4, Lockheed Lightning

  • LB-30, Consolidated Liberator

  • O-46, Douglas

  • O-47, North American

  • O-49, Stinson Vigilant

  • O-52, Curtiss Owl

  • O-59, Piper Grasshopper/Cub

  • P-39, Bell Airacobra

  • P-40, Curtiss

  • P-400, Bell Airacobra

WEDNESDAY, 1 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR (HQ AAF)

Air Corps Proving Ground redesignated Proving Ground Command, with main base at Eglin Field, Valpariso, Florida. The command performs operational tests and studies of aircraft and aircraft equipment.

(2d Air Force): During Apr, 16th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium), flying ASW patrols from Paine Field, Everett, Washington with B-18's, B-26's and A-29's, sends a detachment to Astoria, Oregon; squadron redesignated 406th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Apr.

(3d Air Force): During Apr: 24th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) and 340th, 341st and 342d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 97th Bombardment Group (Heavy), ceases flying ASW patrols from Sarasota AAFld, Florida with B-17's; the 24th is redesignated 414th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr, and 55th, 56th, 57th and 88th Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 48th Bombardment Group (Light), cease flying ASW patrols from Savannah AAB, Georgia.

(4th Air Force): 51st, 53d and 87th Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 46th Bombardment Group (Light), begin flying ASW patrols from Blythe AAB, California with A-20's. During Apr, the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium), based at Mather Field, Sacramento begins operating from NAS Alameda, California flying ASW patrols with B-18's, A-29's and LB-30's; the squadron is redesignated 396th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Apr. 

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): During Apr, HQ 16th, 17th and 91st Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), are established at Charters Towers, Australia; ground echelon remains on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

THURSDAY, 2 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(3d Air Force): 50th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 46th
Bombardment Group (Light), transfers from Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana to Galveston Municipal Airport, Texas and begins flying ASW patrols with A-20's.

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): Major General Lewis H Brereton, Commanding General 10th Air Force, leads 3 B-17's on a raid on shipping in the Andaman Islands off the S coast of Burma during the night of 2/3 Apr; they claim hits on 1 cruiser and a transport; 2 B-17's are damaged by AA and fighters, but all return to base. Earlier in the evening, a mission scheduled against the Rangoon, Burma area is aborted when 1 B-17 crashes on takeoff and the other has mechanical trouble. 

FRIDAY, 3 APRIL 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): 6 B-17's from Asansol, India, bomb warehouses and docks at Rangoon, Burma, starting 3 large fires; 1 B-17 fails to return.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): 21st and 22d Transport Squadrons, Air Transport Command, US Army Forces in Australia, are activated at Archerfield and Essendon Airdrome, Australia respectively with various transport aircraft.  39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Mount Gambier to Williamstown, Australia with P-39's; first mission is 2 Jun.

SATURDAY, 4 APRIL 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): 36th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Lowood to Townsville, Australia with P-39's and P-400's; first mission is 30 Apr.

MONDAY, 6 APRIL 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): 10 DC-3's of Pan American Airways begin hauling 30,000 gallons (113,550 l) of fuel and 500 gallons (1,893 l) of lubricants from Calcutta to the airstrip at Asansol, India, completing the mission on the following day. This fuel, subsequently transferred via Dinjan, India to China, is for use by Lieutenant Colonel James H Doolittle's Tokyo raiders, already at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8).

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begin a transfer without personnel and equipment to the US. They will be established at Columbia, AAB, South Carolina on 26 Apr, be re-equipped with B-25's and transfer to India in Jul 42.

TUESDAY, 7 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(HQ War Department): The War Department officially states that the 8th Air Force will be established in the UK as an intermediate command between US Army Forces in British Isles (USAFBI) and the AAF commands. General George C Marshall notifies Major General James E Chaney of this decision.
(1st Air Force): 92d Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 45th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Dow Field, Bangor, Maine to Mitchell Field, Hempstead, New York and continues flying ASW patrols with A-29's; 92d is redesignated 433d Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Apr.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): During the night of 6/7 Apr the Japanese break the Philippine II Corps front on Bataan, thus necessitating immediate removal or an remaining fighters to Mindanao, where for the next 3 days they will fly reconnaissance, cover heavy bombers (sent to Mindanao from Australia) operating against concentrations at Legaspi, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao, and carry out a strafing attack aircraft at Davao. After the heavy bombers return to Australia on 12 Apr, the fighters will continue to fly reconnaissance until Japanese forces envelop the troops on Mindanao on 1 May. 
HQ 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) and 2d Bombardment Squadron (Medium) transfer from Ipswich to Townsville, Australia with B-26's; first mission is 8 Apr.
8th Photographic Squadron, Fifth Air Force (attached to Allied Air Forces) arrives at Melbourne, Australia from the US with F-4's; 2 flights remain at March Field, Riverside, California until 16 Jun.
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Brisbane to Townsville, Australia with B-26's; first mission is 21 Apr.
33d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ipswich to Antil Plains, Australia with B-26's; first mission was 6 Apr.

WEDNESDAY, 8 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(HQ AAF): V Air Support Command (activated 1 Sep 41) is
redesignated 9th Air Force with HQ at New Orleans AAB, Louisiana.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

Harry L Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Franklin D Roosevelt, and General George C Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff, arrive in London for talks with British service and supply chiefs concerning the integration of US and British manpower and war production for action in Europe. General Marshall urges an offensive in the west to relieve pressure upon the USSR and promises a constant flow of US troops, including many air units, to the UK.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): The air echelons of the 3d, 17th and 20th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), and 21st and 34th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) [attached to 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor)] based on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands begin operating from Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands with whatever aircraft are left.

THURSDAY, 9 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(HQ AAF): 8th Air Force HQ echelon is located at Bolling Field, Washington, DC, to prepare the 8th for a move overseas. 
(1st Air Force): 78th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 45th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Grenier Field, Manchester, New Hampshire to Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia with A-20's, DB-7's and B-18's and continues flying ASW patrols.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): Japanese capture Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands after 3 months. The US-Philippine forces surrender unconditionally. Japanese artillery emplaced on Bataan opens fire on Corregidor Island in conjunction with air attacks. 
2d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Townsville to Reid River, Australia with B-26's; first mission was yesterday. 
7th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Bankstown to Batchelor Field, Australia with P-40's; they have been in combat since 14 Mar.

FRIDAY, 10 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(4th Air Force): 2d Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy), flying ASW patrols from Hammer Field, Fresno, California with LB-30's, sends a detachment to NAS San Diego; 2d is redesignated 392d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr.

SUNDAY, 12 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(HQ AAF): Lieutenant General Henry H "Hap" Arnold sends air plans for Operation BOLERO, the buildup of US armed forces in the UK for an attack on Europe, to General George C Marshall in London. The plan calls for establishment of the 8th Air Force in the UK.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): Australia-based B-25's, staging through Mindanao Island, hit the harbor and shipping at Cebu, Cebu Island while B-17's carry out single-bomber strikes from Mindanao against Cebu harbor and Nichols Field on Luzon.
18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Townsville to Reid River,  Australia with B-26's; first mission is 21 Apr; 18th is redesignated 408th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Apr.

MONDAY, 13 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 
CARIBBEAN

(6th Air Force): 27th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 25th
Bombardment Group (Heavy), flying ASW patrols from Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico with B-18's, sends a detachment to Camaguey, Cuba; the detachment operates from Cuba until Aug 43; 27th is redesignated 417th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr.

SOUTH PACIFIC AREA 

(7th Air Force): Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley is assigned as Commander-in-Chief South Pacific (COMSOPAC). He is to command all Allied base and local defense forces (land, sea, and air) in the South Pacific Islands, with the exception of New Zealand land defenses.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): Australia-based B-25's hit targets in the Philippine Islands for the second consecutive day. Staging through Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao, the B-25's take off just after midnight during 12/13 Apr and bomb shipping at Cebu on Cebu Island and installations at Davao on Mindinao. Later in the day the B-25's again attack Davao, bombing the dock area.

TUESDAY, 14 APRIL 1942

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

The British Government and Chiefs of Staff (CoSs) accept General George C Marshall's Operation BOLERO plan for the Allied build-up in the UK for an attack on Germany.

WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(3d Air Force): The flight of the 97th Observation Squadron (Medium), 66th Observation Group, at Lawson Field, Ft Benning, Georgia, rejoins the squadron which is flying ASW patrols from Miami Municipal Airport, Florida with O-49's, O-52's and O-59's.

THURSDAY, 16 APRIL 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): B-17's take off from Dum Dum Airfield near Calcutta, India to bomb Rangoon, Burma. 6 B-17's, guided by flares, bomb the target; numerous searchlights make it impossible to estimate the bombing results.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): HQ 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Bankstown to Darwin, Australia.

FRIDAY, 17 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(3d Air Force): 124th Observation Squadron (Light), 75th Observation Group, transfers from Sherman Field, Ft Leavenworth, Kansas to Ellington Field, Houston, Texas and begins flying ASW patrols with O-46's, O-49's and O-52's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): 8th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Canberra to Darwin, Australia with P-40's; first mission is 20 Apr.

SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ALASKA 

(11th Air Force): 18th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 28th Composite Goup, transfers from Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, Territory of  ALASKA to Ft Greely, Kodiak Island, Aleutian Islands with P-40's.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA  

Doolittle Raid on Japan. 16 B-25's launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) carry out the first AAF attack on the Japanese mainland. 15 of the B-25's bomb in Japan, the principal targets being Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, and Nagoya. Since the bombers had to be launched earlier than scheduled they are unable to reach planned bases in China and have to be crash landed or abandoned, 15 in China and the other in the USSR.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): 5th Air Force units come under control of the Allied Air Forces (SWPA) which is created in Australia to control AAF, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Dutch elements.
HQ 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy) transfers from Melbourne to Garbutt Field, Australia.

MONDAY, 20 APRIL 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): Major General George H Brett assumes command of the Allied Air Forces, which has units based in N and E Australia, with advanced facilities in the Port Moresby, New Guinea area.
39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Williamstown to Woodstock, Australia with P-39's; first mission is 2 Jun.
Ground echelon of 70th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 38th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ballarat to Amberley Field, Australia; air echelon is still in the US with B-26's.

WEDNESDAY, 22 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR (HQ AAF): All Reconnaissance Squadrons are redesignated Bombardment Squadrons.

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): Aircraft begin to evacuate military and civilian personnel and supplies from Burma to India. By 15 Jun the 10th Air Force has evacuated 4,499 passengers and 1,733,026 pounds (786,095 kg) of freight.

SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

(7th Air Force): A joint US-New Zealand Naval Command is ordered established under Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley. It is to operate separately but in close liaison with General Douglas MacArthur and Vice Admiral Herbert F Leary.

FRIDAY, 24 APRIL 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): 8th Photographic Squadron, 5th Air Force (attached to Allied Air Forces), transfers from Melbourne to Brisbane, Australia with F-4's; first mission was 16 Apr.

SUNDAY, 26 APRIL 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): 35th and 36th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfer from Brisbane and Townsville, Australia respectively to Port Moresby, New Guinea with P-39's and P-400's; first mission is 30 Apr.

MONDAY, 27 APRIL 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): Ground echelon of 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Karachi to Allahabad, India; the air echelon is at Baumrauli, India with B-17's.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(8th Air Force): Advanced echelon (ADVON) of HQ 8th Air Force and bomber, interceptor and base commands, along with 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 2d Air Depot Group, and a weather detachment totalling about 1,800 men, sail from Boston, Massachusetts for the UK.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

( 5th Air Force): In Australia, US Army Air Services under Major General Rush B Lincoln takes over responsibility as an administrative, supply, maintenance and engineering command under Allied Air Forces.

TUESDAY, 28 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 
ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(1st Air Force): 105th Observation Squadron (Medium), 65th Observation Group, flying ASW patrols from Langely Field, Hampton, Virginia with O-47's and O-52's, begins operating from MCAS Cherry Point, New Bern, North Carolina.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(8th Air Force): HQ VIII Ground Air Support Command is activated at Bolling Field, Washington, DC.

WEDNESDAY, 29 APRIL 1942

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): Rangoon, Burma is again hit by a flight of B-17's which pound the dock area.

THURSDAY, 30 APRIL 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(HQ AAF): HQ Air Transport Command is established at
Washington, DC, Brigadier General Fred S Borum commanding.

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA (CBI) THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(10th Air Force): The Japanese capture Lashio, Burma and begin a move to drive the Chinese back along the Burma Road toward China and drive US and British forces back toward India.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA

(5th Air Force): In New Guinea, P-39's flying out of Port Moresby strafe airplanes and fuel dumps at Lae and Salamaua.
HQ 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) and ground echelon of 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) transfer from Ballarat to Amberley Field, Australia; air echelon of the 69th is still in the US with B-26's.
71st Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 38th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Ballarat to Batchelor Field, Australia with B-26's; first mission is 15 Sep.