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

January 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

  • LB-30, Consolidated Liberator

  • O-47, North American

  • O-49, Stinson Vigilant

  • O-52, Curtiss Owl

  • O-57, Taylorcraft Grasshopper

  • O-58, Aeronca Grasshopper

  • O-59, Piper Cub/Grasshopper

  • P-39, Bell Airacobra

  • P-40, Curtiss

THURSDAY, 1 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN

(Caribbean Air Force): HQ 53d Pursuit Group (Interceptor) arrives at Howard Field, Canal Zone from the US.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The Declaration of the United Nations is signed. Each signatory pledges not to make a separate peace and to employ its full resources against members of and adherents to the Tripartite Pact with which it is at war.
The 43d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Pope Field, North Carolina to MacDill Field, Florida and continues flying ASW patrols with B-17's.
During the month of January, the following squadrons begin flying antisubmarine patrols:
2d Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) and 27th and 38th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Muroc, California with A-29's.
6th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy), MacDill Field, Florida with B-17's.
31st Observation Squadron, IV Air Support Command at San Bernardino AAFld, California with O-49's.
46th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium) at Muroc, California with B-18's.
52d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at MacDill Field, Florida with B-17's.
During the month of January, the following squadron cease flying antisubmarine patrols:
2d, 19th and 33d Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) and 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) at Muroc, California with B-26's.
8th, 13th, 89th and 90th Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 3d Bombardment Group (Light) at Savannah AAB, Georgia with A-20's.
12th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), 39th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Geiger Field, Washington with B-17's.
13th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) and 65th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Dow Field, Maine with B-17's.
15th Bombardment Squadron (Light), V Air Support Command at Ft Dix AAFld, New Jersey with A-20's.
84th, 85th, 86th and 97th Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 47th Bombardment Group (Light) at Hammer Field, California with B-18's and LB-30's. 
109th Observation Squadron (Medium), 67th Observation Group, at Savannah AB, Georgia with O-38's, O-47's, O-49's and O-58's.
113th Observation Squadron (Medium), 67th Observation Group, at MacDill Field, Florida with O-47's, O-49's and O-52's.
153d Observation Squadron (Light), 67th Observation Group, at
Bluethenthal Field, North Carolina with O-47's, O-49's and O-52's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): HQ 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) transfers from Clark Field to Mariveles, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
The ground echelon of the 14th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Clark Field, Luzon to Bugo, Mindanao, Island. The air echelon is operating from Singosari, Java with B-17's.
The air echelon of the 93d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Batchelor Field, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia to Singosari, Java with B-17's. The ground echelon is still on Luzon and Mindanao Islands in the Philippines.

FRIDAY, 2 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN

(Caribbean Air Force): The 13th, 14th and 15th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor), 53d Pursuit Group (Interceptor), arrive at Howard Field, Canal Zone; Chame, Panama; and LaChorrera, Panama respectively, from the US with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): The Japanese occupy Manila and Cavite naval base.

SATURDAY, 3 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 104th Observation Squadron, 59th Observation Group transfers from Detrick Field, Maryland to Atlantic City MAP, New Jersey. The air echelon has been flying ASW patrols from Ft Dix AAFld, New Jersey with O-46, 0-47, O-49 and O-59's since 30 Dec 41.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): President Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston S Churchill announce the creation of a unified command in the SW Pacific, with General Sir Archibald
P Wavell as supreme commander of American, British, Dutch, and Australian (ABDA) forces in that area.

SUNDAY, 4 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): Fighters from Bataan Peninsula, Luzon Island, attempt the interception of a bombing raid on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. The fighters, failing to intercept until the enemy airplanes are over the target, have little effect on the raid. Several fighters depart for Mindanao Island following the mission. 
The 21st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group
(Interceptor), transfers from Lubao to Bataan Peninsula, Luzon, Philippine Islands with P-40's.

MONDAY, 5 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): The air echelon of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), which has been operating from Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii since 18 Dec 41, departs for Singosari, Java with B-17's. The ground echelon is at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): B-17's from Malang, Java stage through Samarinda, Borneo during the night of 4/5 Jan and attack shipping in Davao Bay on Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands. US Forces in Australia (USFIA), which controls FEAF, is redesignated US Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), and Major General George H Brett assumes command.
The ground echelons of the 17th and 91st Bombardment Squadrons (Light), 27th Bombardment Group (Light), transfer from Limay to Bataan Peninsula, Luzon, Philippine Islands. The air echelons are operating from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia with A-24's.

THURSDAY, 8 JANUARY 1942

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

UNITED KINGDOM

Major General James E Chaney is designated Commanding General US Army Forces in British Isles USAFBI); he continues as the Chief,  Special Observer Group, US Army (SPOBS).

FRIDAY, 9 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN 

(Caribbean Air Force): The 74th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 6th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Rio Hato, Panama to Guatemala City, Guatemala and continues flying ASW patrols with B-18's.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 21st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begins flying ASW patrols from Muroc AAB, California with A-29's.
The 48th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 41st Bombardment Group (Medium) transfers from Muroc AAB to Bakersfield MAP, California and continues flying ASW patrols with A-29's and B-18's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Kendari, Celebes Island, strike shipping in Davao Bay, Mindanao, Philippine Islands.

SATURDAY, 10 JANUARY 1942

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): In the Philippine Islands, fighter units complete a movement (begun 24 Dec 41) from various bases on Luzon Island to Bataan Peninsula on Luzon Island.

SUNDAY, 11 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 6th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), attached to
the 41st Bombardment Squadron (Medium), transfers from Muroc AAB to Mather Field, California and continues flying ASW patrols with A-29's, B-18's and LB-30's. 

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Far East Air Force): B-17's, out of Malang, Java, attack Japanese landing forces on Tarakan Island off Borneo.

MONDAY, 12 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 112th Observation Squadron, 65th Observation Group,
begins flying ASW patrols from Dover AAFld, Delaware with O-47's, O-49's and O-57's. The patrols will continue until Oct 42.

TUESDAY, 13 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

American and British Chiefs of Staff (CoSs) formally adopt an agreement to begin the movement of US air forces to the United Kingdom as soon as possible in order to intensify the attack on Germany.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): The air echelons of the 9th and 11th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrive at Singosari, Java from the US with B-17's; the air echelon of the 22d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) arrives at Singosari from the Territory of Hawaii. The ground echelons are at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

WEDNESDAY, 14 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN

(Caribbean Air Force): The 108th Observation Squadron (Medium), 72d Observation Group, arrives at Rio Hato, Panama from the US with O-47's. The squadron will provide air defense for the Panama Canal until Nov 43.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The ARCADIA conference ends. The conference, held in Washington, DC starting on 20 Dec 41, developed plans for the proposed Anglo-American offensive against Germany. Participants include President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and their military staffs. Major discussions include the creation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) to direct the US-British war effort, and employment of the main military efforts against Germany while containing the Japanese offensive. Colonel Claude E Duncan leaves Washington for Britain to prepare for the arrival of the Shadow Staff of Bomber Command.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): HQ Far East Air Force and HQ V Bomber Command transfer from Darwin, Northern Territory,
Australia to Java.

THURSDAY, 15 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ALASKA 

(Air Force, Alaska Defense Command): The Alaskan Air Force is activated at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage. The commander is Lieutenant Colonel Everett S Davis.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 39th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), ceases flying ASW patrols from Bellingham, Washington with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Palembang, Sumatra, attack Sungei Patani Airfield, Malaysia.

FRIDAY, 16 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): The first significant deployment of aircraft from Hawaiian Air Force begins with movement of 6 B-17's, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Walter C Sweeney, to Palmyra Atoll in the Line Islands for duty with Task Group 8.9.

SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): Aircraft unsuccessfully attack submarines in the Hawaiian Island area. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 proceed from Palmyra Atoll in the Line Islands to Canton
Island in the Phoenix Islands.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Far East Air Force): On Celebes Island, B-17's from Malang, Java, staging through Kendari, hit Langoan Airfield and ships in Menado Bay.

SUNDAY, 18 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN

(Caribbean Air Force): HQ 72d Observation Group arrives at
Howard Field, Canal Zone from the US.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The first increment (1,400 men) of US forces to be sent to the United Kingdom sails for Northern Ireland.
HQ 42d Bombardment Group (Medium) transfers from Gowen Field, Idaho to McChord Field, Washington. The group's squadrons are flying ASW patrols off the Pacific Northwest.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): Another unsuccessful attack on enemy submarines in Hawaiian Island area. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 conduct antisubmarine search from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands.

MONDAY, 19 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN 

(Caribbean Air Force): The 108th Observation Squadron (Medium), 72d Observation Group, transfers from Rio Hato, Panama to Howard Field, Canal Zone with O-47's.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly antisubmarine mission from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Far East Air Force): B-17's, flying out of Malang, Java, attack shipping at Jolo Island in the Philippine Islands.
The air echelon of the 9th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Singosari to Jogjakarta, Java with B-17's. The ground echelon is at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
The air echelons of the 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfer from Singosari to Jogjakarta, Java with B-17's; the ground echelons transfer from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia to Jogjakarta.

TUESDAY, 20 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

HQ 13th Bombardment Group (Medium) and it's 39th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) transfer from Orlando AAB, Florida to Westover Field, Massachusetts and begin flying ASW patrols with B-18's and B-25's.
The 76th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 42d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Gowen Field, Idaho to McChord Field, Washington and continues flying ASW patrols with B-26's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): Major General George H Brett, Commanding General US Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), halts ferrying of aircraft from India to the Netherlands East Indies. The USAAF has been sending heavy bombers to Java by way of Africa and India, but the Japanese are able to inflict prohibitive losses on USAAF aircraft on the last stops of the route by interception from newly acquired airfields near Java.

WEDNESDAY, 21 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

CARIBBEAN 

(Caribbean Air Force): The 25th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 6th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Rio Hato, Panama to Salinas, Ecuador and begins flying ASW patrols with B-18's.

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 16th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), attached to the 42d Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Gowen Field, Idaho to Paine Field, Washington and continues flying ASW patrols with B-18's and B-26's.
The 41st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 35th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), ceases flying ASW patrols from Paine Field, Washington with P-39's.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands to Nandi in the Fiji Islands.

THURSDAY, 22 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 3d Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), attached to
the 13th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Orlando AAB, Florida to Mitchel Field, New York and continues flying ASW patrols with B-18's and B-25's.
The 40th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 13th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfer from Orlando AAB, Florida to Westover Field, Massachusetts and continue flying ASW patrols with B-18's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): From this date through 3 Feb, B-17's launch at least 15 missions out of Malang, Java against shipping moving through Makassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes Island. 4 missions abort due to bad weather, 6 end with negative results, and the remaining 5 suffer heavy losses but sink 4 ships.

FRIDAY, 23 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The Flying Training Command is established under the Chief of Air Corps and given jurisdiction over the Southeast Gulf Coast and West Coast Flying Training Centers which had been established on 8 Jul 40.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): HQ 14th Pursuit Wing is inactivated at Wheeler Field, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return from Nandi in the Fiji Islands to Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands.

SATURDAY, 24 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The Special Court of Inquiry on Pearl Harbor, headed by Supreme Court Justice Owen J Roberts, places main responsibility for the 7 Dec 41 disaster on Admiral Husband E Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter C Short, accusing them of neglecting to heed attack warning, failing to confer with each other, and taking only minimum precautions.
The 20th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 2d Bombardment Group (Heavy), which has been operating from Mitchel Field, New York since 8 Dec 41, returns to it's base at Langley Field, Virginia and continues flying ASW patrols with B-17's.
The 89th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), attached to the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from McChord Field, Washington to Pendleton AAB, Oregon and continues flying ASW patrols with B-25's.

SUNDAY, 25 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) and 4th, 7th and 18th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfer from Westover Field, Massachusetts to Pendleton AAB, Oregon and continues flying ASW patrols with B-17's.
The 41st Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 13th Bombardment Group (Medium), transfers from Orlando AAB, Florida to Westover Field, Massachusetts and continues flying ASW patrols with B-25's.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands to Nandi in the Fiji Islands.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): The first USAAF pursuit squadron in Java, the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional) under Major Charles A Sprague, arrives with 13 P-40's flown from Australia.

MONDAY, 26 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

Lieutenant General Henry H (Hap) Arnold recommends to the General George C Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, that the AAF in Britain (AAFIB) be composed of a headquarters and 3 commands-bomber, interceptor, and base.
The 118th Observation Squadron (Light), 66th Observation Group, transfers from Jacksonville AAFld, Florida to Charleston AAFld, Florida and starts flying ASW patrols with O-46's, O-47's and O-49's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): Fighters from Bataan, Luzon Island bomb and strafe Nichols and Nielson Fields on Luzon Island during the night of 26/27 Jan, inflicting considerable damage on aircraft and fuel storage.

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

UNITED KINGDOM

The first increment of US troops arrives in Northern Ireland.

TUESDAY, 27 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

HQ 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy) transfers from Westover Field, Massachusetts to Pendleton AAB, Oregon. The group's squadrons are flying ASW patrols in the Pacific Northwest.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return to Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands.

WEDNESDAY, 28 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

HQ 8th Air Force is activated at Savannah AB, Georgia, Colonel Asa N Duncan commanding. The 8th is originally designated as the air element of GYMNAST (the Allied plan for the seizure of Casablanca and the invasion of NW Africa).
The 66th, 67th and 68th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy), 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), begin flying ASW patrols from Barksdale Field, Louisiana with B-18's and B-24's.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly an unsuccessful antisubmarine mission from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): B-17's from Malang, Java and Palembang, Sumatra attack airfields at Kendari on Celebes
Island and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

The 107th Observation Squadron (Light), 67th Observation Group, ceases flying ASW patrols and transfers from Charleston AAFld, South Carolina to Esler Field, Louisiana.

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): HQ 18th Bombardment Wing is inactivated and replaced by the HQ VII Bomber Command which is activated at Hickam Field, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. 
B-17's of Task Group 8.9 fly from Canton Island in the Phoenix Islands to Palmyra Atoll in the Line Islands.
The 70th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), US Army Forces in Fiji, arrives in Fiji from the US with P-39's.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Far East Air Force): B-17's, striking out of Palembang, Sumatra, hit Kuantan airfield in Malaysia scoring numerous hits on runways and hangars.

FRIDAY, 30 JANUARY 1942

CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS 

(Hawaiian Air Force): B-17's of Task Group 8.9 return to Hawaii, having completed a mission (began on 16 Jan 42) which afforded a pioneer look at the problem of air operations over vast Pacific areas, especially the problems of navigation and the servicing of aircraft.

SATURDAY, 31 JANUARY 1942

AMERICAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

ZONE OF INTERIOR 

Major General Ira C Eaker is designated Commanding General, Bomber Command, US Army Forces in British Isles (USAFBI) and ordered to proceed to the United Kingdom.