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

February 1942

AIRCRAFT MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT:

  • A-20, Douglas Havoc

  • A-24, Douglas Dauntless

  • A-29, Lockheed Hudson

  • B-17, Boeing Flying Fortress

  • B-18, Douglas Bolo

  • B-24, Consolidated Liberator

  • B-25, North American Mitchell

  • B-26, Martin Marauder

  • B-29, Boeing Superfortress

  • C-39, Douglas

  • C-47, Douglas Skytrain

  • C-49, Douglas

  • DB-7, Douglas Havoc

  • LB-30, Consolidated Liberator

  • O-47, North American

  • O-49, Stinson Vigilant

  • O-52, Curtiss Owl

  • P-26, Boeing Peashooter

  • P-36, Curtiss Hawk

  • P-38, Lockheed Lightning

  • P-39, Bell Airacobra

  • P-40, Curtiss

SUNDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(HQ USAAF): Units activated on this date are VIII Bomber Command at Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia, VIII Interceptor Command at Selfridge Field, Mt Clemens, Michigan, and IX Interceptor Command at New Orleans AAB, Louisiana.
(1st Air Force): During Feb, the 63d and 64th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), cease flying ASW patrols from Dow Field, Bangor, Maine with LB-30's and B-18's respectively.
(4th Air Force): During Feb, the 75th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 42d Bombardment Group (Medium), begins flying ASW patrols from Portland AAB, Oregon with B-18's and B-26's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(Far East Air Force): In the Philippine Islands,  P-40's from Bataan bomb and strafe Ianding barges off Quinauan Point during  the night of 1/2 Feb. These strikes, in conjunction with naval and field artillery fire, cause considerable damage and casualties but fail to prevent the landings which take place S of the point, although the attempt to reinforce troops already on the point is thwarted.
HQ 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) arrives at Brisbane, Australia from the US.

MONDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(3d Air Force): 122d Observation Squadron (Light) and 154th Observation Squadron (Medium), 68th Observation Group, cease flying ASW patrols from New Orleans AAB, Louisiana and Eglin Field, Valpariso, Florida  respectively with O-47's and O-49's.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

(Hawaiian Air Force): VII Interceptor Command is activated at Ft Shafter, Territory of Hawaii with Brigadier General Howard C
Davidson in command. Major General Willis H Hale commands the VII Bomber Command.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(Far East Air Force): HQ 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and 7th, 8th and 9th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor) arrive at 
Melbourne, Australia from the US with P-40's; first mission is 14 Mar, 20 Apr and 18 Mar respectively.

TUESDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

CARIBBEAN 

(Caribbean Air Force): 31st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor),
37th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Albrook Field, Canal Zone to Chorrera, Panama with P-26's and P-40's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

( Far East Air Force): Bad weather from now until 18 Feb, along with effective interception by fighters, thwarts attempts of heavy bombers in Java to deliver damaging blows on shipping and airfields in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). B-17's strikes from Singosari, Java against shipping at Balikpapan, Borneo on 9 Feb and an airfield at Kendari, Celebes Island on 9 Feb are repulsed by fighter attacks. B-17's on a shipping strike claim hits on a carrier near Sinjai, Sumatra.

WEDNESDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

( Far East Air Force): HQ 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), and 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) begin a movement from Brisbane, Australia to Karachi, India. The 9th is operating from Jogjakarta, Java with B-17's; the 88th is operating from Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii with B-17's.

THURSDAY, 5 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ALASKA 

(Alaskan Air Force): Alaskan Air Force is redesignated 11th Air Force.

CARIBBEAN

(Caribbean Air Force): Caribbean Air Force is redesignated 6th Air Force.

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(4th Air Force): 47th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Muroc AAFld to Visalia AAFld, California with A-29's and continues flying ASW patrols.
(3d Air Force): 113th Observation Squadron (Medium), 67th Observation Group, transfers from Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi to New Orleans AAB, Louisiana and starts flying ASW patrols with O-47's, O-49's and O-52's.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

( Hawaiian Air Force): Hawaiian Air Force is redesignated 7th Air Force.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

( Far East Air Force): Far East Air Force is redesignated 5th Air Force.
Air echelon of 91st Bombardment Squadron (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), ceases operating from Brisbane, Australia with A-24's and begins a movement to Malang, Java. The ground echelon is based on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

FRIDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(HQ US Army): The War Department announces the creation of the US-British Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) in Washington, DC.
(4th Air Force): 94th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter), 1st Pursuit Group (Fighter), transfers from Naval Air Station San Diego to Long Beach Municipal Airport, California with P-38's and continues ASW patrols.

SATURDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(3d Air Force): 14th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) and 68th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfer from MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida to Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana with B-24's and continue ASW patrols. The 14th will be redesiganted 404th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr.
(4th Air Force): 27th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Muroc AAFld to March Field, Riverside, California with A-29's and continues ASW patrols.

SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(4th Air Force): 79th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 20th
Pursuit Group (Interceptor), ceases flying ASW patrols from Oakland Municipal Airport, California with P-40's and returns to base at Hamilton Field, San Rafael, California.

MONDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ALASKA 

(11th Air Force): 36th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 28th Composite Group, transfers from Elmendorf Field, Anchorage to Ft Greeley, Kodiak Island, Aleutian Islands with B-18's.

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(1st Air Force): 78th and 79th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), 45th Bombardment Group (Medium), begin flying ASW patrols from Grenier Field, Manchester, New Hampshire with B-18's and DB-7's.
(3d Air Force): 66th and 67th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida to Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana with B-24's and continues ASW patrols.
(4th Air Force): 38th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Muroc AAFld to March Field, Riverside, California with B-18's and continues ASW patrols.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

(7th Air Force): 12 B-17's are detached and released to Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) for assignment to Task Force (TF) 11 for operations in the S Pacific.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Between this day and 18 Feb,  heavy bombers fly at lesst 14 missions, but they result in claims of only 3 hits on shipping.

TUESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 1942

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

( 7th Air Force): 12th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 50th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), arrives on Christmas Island, Line Islands from the US with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Air echelon of the 88th Reconnaisssance Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begins a movement from Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii to the Fiji Islands with B-17's. The ground echelon is enroute from Australia to India.

WEDNESDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(4th Air Force): 21st Bombardment Group (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (under control of 28th Composite Group), transfers from Muroc AAFld to March Field, Riverside, California wtih A-29's and continues ASW patrols.

THURSDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(8th Air Force): Lieutenant General Henry H (Hap) Arnold indicates that 16 heavy bomber groups, 3 pursuit groups, and 8 photo-reconnaissance squadrons will be sent to the UK during 1942. Brigadier General Asa N Duncan, Commanding General 8th Air Force, requests that his force, inadequate for its intended mission under Operation GYMNAST (early Allied plan for the seizure of Casablanca and the invasion of NW Africa), be strengthened by several bombardment and pursuit groups. This move, if carried out, would require diversion of units originally intended for other task forces.
(10th Air Force): HQ 10th Air Force is activated at Patterson Field, Fairfield, Ohio.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Air echelon of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrives at
Nandi Airport, Fiji Islands from the Territory of Hawaii with B-17's. The ground echelon is enroute from Australia to India.

SATURDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 1942

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

( 7th Air Force): A B-17 flies a photo reconnaissance mission over Wake Island.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): 9th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Melbourne to Williamstown, Australia with P-40's; first mission is 18 Mar.
A detachment of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), based at Jogjakarta, Java begins operating from Nandi Airport, Fiji Islands with B-17's under control of US Navy (USN).

SUNDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(3d Air Force): 89th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) and
95th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfer from Pendleton Field, Oregon to Columbia AAB, South Carolina with B-25's and continue ASW patrols.

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER OF OPERATIONS

Japanese forces on the Malay Peninsula capture Singapore.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

In the UK, Lieutenant Colonel Townsend Griffiss, aide to Major General James E Chaney, is killed when the aircraft in which he is a passenper is mistakenly shot down by Royal Air Force (RAF) Polish fliers. He is the first US airman to die in the line of duty in Europe since the US entered World War II. The 8th Air Force base at Bushy Park is later named Camp Griffiss in his honor.

MONDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(3d Air Force): 34th and 37th Bombardment Squadrons
(Medium), 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfer from Pendleton Field, Oregon to Columbia AAB, South Carolina with B-25's and continues ASW patrols.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): HQ 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and 7th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) transfer from Melbourne to Bankstown, Australia with P-40's; the 8th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) transfers from Melbourne to Canberra with P-40's.
Air echelon of the 16th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), transfers from Brisbane to Batchelor, Australia with A-24's. The ground echelon is on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

TUESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ALASKA 

(11th Air Force): Colonel Lidnel R Dunlap arrives from the ZI and becomes Commanding Officer of the 11th Air Force.

ZONE OF INTERIOR

(10th Air Force): Colonel Harry A Halverson becomes Commanding Officer.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): The air echeon of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), departs
Nandi Airport, Fiji Islands from Australia with B-17's. The ground echelon is enroute Australia to India.

WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Detachment of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), departs Nandi Airport, Fiji Islands from Australia with B-17's. The squadron is based at Jogjakarta, Java.
Air echelon of 91st Bombardment Squadron (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), begins operating from Malang, Java with A-24's; ground echelon is on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

THURSDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

CARIBBEAN 

(6th Air Force): 20th Transport Squadron, Panama Air Depot,
transfers from France Field to Howard Field, Canal Zone with C-39's, C-47's and C-49's.
32d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 36th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Losey Field to Arecibo, Puerto Rico with P-36's.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

( 7th Air Force): VII Air Force Base Cmmand (AFBC) is activated.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): In the NEI, A-24's, with P-40 escort, and B-17's operating out of Malang, Madioen, and Jogjakarta, Java, attack vessels landing troops on Bali; the attacks, carried out during the aftenoon of 19 Feb and throughout the morning of 20 Feb, cause considerable damage to vessels but fail to halt the landings; P-40's shoot down or turn back seversl bombers sweeping W over Java. Japanese aircraft attack Darwin, Australia, bombing vessels loaded with troops destined for the defense of Koepang on Timor Island; 10 P-40's sent to Darwin to escort the convoy are almost entirely wiped out by the attack.

FRIDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 1942

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

[Army Air Forces in Britain (AAFIB)]: Brigadier General Ira C Eaker arrives in the UK with 6 staff officers.

PACIFIC OCEAN AREA 

( 7th Air Force): 19th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 18th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Wheeler Field to Bellows Field, Territory of Hawaii with P-40's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Air echelon of 17th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), begins a movement from Brisbane to Batchelor, Australia with A-24's. Ground echelon is on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
Detachment of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) and air echelon of 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Townsville, Australia from Fiji Island with B-17's. The detachment of the 22d is under control of the USN. Ground echelon of the 22d is at Jogjakarta,
Java; ground echelon of 88th is enroute from Australia to India.

SATURDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Major General George H Brett, Deputy Commanding General American-British-Dutch-Australian Forces Command (ABDACOM) informs the War Department of his decision to evacuate the 5th Air Force and other US troops from Java, NEI. 5th Air Force bombers at Java bases fly about 20 strikes, usually in 2- and 3-aircraft elements, against shipping in the Java Sea and against targets on Bali from this date through 1 Mar. 11 strikes are complete failures; the remainder, although causing some damage to vessels and airfield facilities, fail to deter the invasion of Java.

SUNDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Air echelon of 17th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), arrives at Batchelor from Brisbane, Australia with A-24's. Ground echelon is on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

MONDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR

Japanese submarine I-17 fires 13 rounds of 5.5-in (140 mm) shells from a range of 2,500 yards (2,286 m) at an oil refinery N of Santa Barbara, California. Pursuit and bomber aircraft sent to the area are unable to destroy the sub.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

 

(8th Air Force): HQ VIII Bomber Command arrives at Daws Hill, England from the US; Major General Ira C Eaker assumes
command.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): B-17's fly the first mission against Rabaul, New Britain Island. Operating out of Townsville, Australia the force suffers mechanical trouble and runs into bad weather. Only 1 B-17 manages to bomb the target.
Major General Lewis H Brereton, Commanding General 5th Air Force, departs for India after issuing an order terminating HQ 5th Air Force. Until 3 Sep 42, units of the 5th Air Force will be initially under control of ABDACOM and then Allied Air Force (SWPA).

TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(4th Air Force): Reports of unidentified aircraft approaching Los Angeles, California from the ocean during the night of 24/25
Feb result in the "Battle of Los Angeles" in which some 1,400 rounds of 3-in (76.2 mm) AA ammunition is fired against various "targets." Later the US Army will conclude that the "battle" had been touched off by 1 to 5 unidentified aircraft, but the USN will maintain there was no reason for the firing.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Heavy bomber units begin evacuating Java, NEI.

WEDNESDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(HQ USAAF): The Air War Plans Division recommends removal of Operation GYMNAST (early Allied plan for the seizure of Casablanca and the invasion of NW Africa) from the list of current projects. This proposal, if adopted, would leave the 8th Air Force uncommitted to any operation.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

[US Army Forces in British Isles (USAFBI)]: Major General James E Chaney, Commanding General USAFBI, instructs Brigadier General Ira C Eaker and the staff of the VIII Bomber Command to proceed to HQ, RAF Bomber Command for a study of bombing operations, and to make reconnaissance of certain airfields and submit plans for the reception and assignment of Army Air Forces units.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): Arriving at Brisbane, Australia from the US are:
HQ 3d Bombardment Group (Light) and 8th, 13th, 89th and 90th Bombardment Squadrons (Light) with A-20's; first mission is in Apr.
HQ 22d Bombardment Group (Medium), 2d, 19th and 33d Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) and 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) with B-26's; first mission is in Apr.
HQ 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) and 15th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) and 69th, 70th and 71st Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) with B-26's; first mission is Jun; air echelon of 69th and 70th remain in the US until May/Jun.
39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), with P-39's; first mission is 2 Jun.

THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(4th Air Force): 2d Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 30th
Bombardment Group (Heavy) and 46th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium), transfer from Muroc AAFld to Hammer Field, Fresno, California with LB-30's and B-18's respectively and continue flying ASW patrols. 

FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 

(5th Air Force): The Battle of Java Sea. Allied air and naval units try to stop a convoy of some 80 ships approaching Java from the NE. All available B-17's, A-24's, P-40's and LB-30's are put into the air but achieve only insignificant results. An Allied naval force, 5 cruisers and 11 destroyers, under Rear Admiral Karel W Doorman, Royal Netherlands Navy, meets the enemy near Surabaya, Java and is decisively defeated, losing 5 ships. Most of the 5th Air Force ground echelon in Java is evacusted by sea. The SS Sea Witch delivers 27 crated P-40's to Tjilatjap, Java, but these will be destroyed to prevent their falling into Japanese hands. 32 P-40's aboard the Seaplane Tender USS Langley (AV-3), which sailed from Australia for India on 23 Feb, are lost when the USS Langley is sunk by aircraft 100 mi (160 km) S of Tjilatjsp. The pilots are rescued by other vessels in the convoy, but the enemy sinks these ships with the exception of a destroyer, which delivers 2 of the pilots to Perth, Australia. 
13th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrives at Melbourne, Australia from the US with B-17's; first mission is Oct 42.

SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

(1st Air Force): 92d Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium),
45th Bombardment Group (Medium), begins flying ASW patrols from Dow Field, Bangor, Maine with A-29's.