Nov 6th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Advanced HQ, Seventh Air Force, is set up on Funafuti Atoll in the Ellice to provide a HQ closer to targets in the Gilbert and Marshall . VII Air Force Service Command and VII Bomber Command also establish forward echelons at Funafuti. Landing fields are being built on Baker; and Nukufetau and Nanumea to be used, along with existing fields at Canton in the Phoenix and Funafuti Atoll in the Ellice as operational bases for attacks on Tarawa and Makin; Mille; Maloelap and Jaluit Atolls in the Marshall and Nauru . These operations will mark the assumption of the offensive by the Seventh Air Force and will play a conspicuous role in the invasion and occupation of the Gilbert and Marshall
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 2 B-24's lay mines in the Rangoon River during the night of 6/7 Nov.
INDIA: The Government of India accepts the offer of U.S. troops to help operate the Bengal and Assam Railroad.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 9 B-25's with USN fighter support hit the airfield and harbor of Buka. 1 B-25 bombs Kieta and attacks Tinputs Harbor; 7 barges and small vessels are claimed sunk; 24 B-25's with fighter support follow USN dive bombers and fighters in an attack on Kara Airfield; and 17 B-24's bomb Bonis Airfield.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): P-40's hit Gasmata. Enemy airplanes attack Nadzab, Dumpu, and Finschhafen but cause no major damage. Lost due to engine failure is P-40E "The Spoddessape" 41-25178 and B-24D "Miss Deed" 42-72814. The 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment) and 82d Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter), 71st Reconnaissance Group, arrive at Milne Bay, New Guinea from the U.S. with B-25's and P-39's respectively. The squadrons will fly their first missions on 28 Jan 44 and 27 Nov respectively.
PACIFIC OCEAN: After 0200 hours, the USN submarine USS Haddock sinks an oiler and an armed oiler about 102 nautical miles WNW of Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville Island, the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, arrives to reinforce the 3d Marine Divisions beachhead. Meanwhile, Japanese troops, transported by destroyers, land near Cape Torokina.
Nov 7th 1943
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 2 B-25's pound Amoy harbor, claiming several boats sunk. 6 P-40's attack a bridge at Hsiangyangchiao, causing only minor damage.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): In the Solomons, 8 B-25's bomb barge concentration and beach targets in Atsinima Bay. 21 B-24's pound the airfield on Buka.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville Island, the American beachhead undergoes its first major counterattack. Japanese destroyers from Rabaul, New
Britain Island, Bismarck Archipelago, land 475 troops between the Laruma and Koromokina Rivers early in morning. The troops attack at once in the vicinity of Koromokina lagoon and are held off by the 3d Marine Regiment, although a small outpost is cut off and must be rescued by sea.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Aproximately 10 Japanese bombers and Ki-43 Oscar fighters of the 13th and 59th Sentai attack Nadzab. Intercepting were eight P-39Qs (40th FS) and eight P-47Ds (36th and 342nd FS). Lost were two bombers were lost including Ki-21 Sally 6323 and three Ki-43s.
25 B-24's, with an escort of 60+ P-38's, bomb Rapopo Airstrip; a large force of enemy fighters intercepts the formations and in the ensuing battle US airplanes claim 20+ fighters shot down and several more destroyed on the ground. 5 P-38's are lost: P-38H 42-66911 (pilot POW), P-38G 43-2199, P-38G 43-2386, P-38H 42-66669, P-38 of 475th FG.
9 B-25's bomb Wewak and 40+ others turn back when the fighter escort is intercepted by airplanes over Nadzab; enemy aircraft attack Nadzab and Bena Bena; 16 US aircraft are destroyed or damaged by the raids but 14 airplanes are claimed as shot down by US fighters. HQ 71st Reconnaissance Group arrives at Port Moresby from the U.S. The 529th BS (Heavy), transfers from Manbulloo to Long Strip with B-24's.
PACIFIC OCEAN: USN aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga and small aircraft carrier USS Princeton of Task Force 38, are attacked by 100 Japanese aircraft, 240 nautical miles SE of Rabaul, New Britain Island, Bismarck Archipelago, but they emerge unscathed.
Nov 8th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): The 73d Fighter Squadron, 318th FG, transfers from Mokuleia Field to Bellows Field with P-47's.
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 5 B-24's lay mines in the Rangoon River during the night of 8/9 Nov.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 2 B-25's bomb the Kiungshan airfield, scoring direct hits on 2 hangars; 6 P-40's attack Hsiangyangchiao bridge, causing little damage.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): On Bougainville in the Solomons , 22 B-24's bomb Bonis airfield; 6 B-25's hit targets of opportunity at the month of the Laruma River and NW of Torokina while 6 others bomb Kieta.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force):
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24s on armed reconnaissance bomb Garowe Island in the Vitu Islands.
NEW GUINEA: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators hit Utarom (Kaimana) Aerodrome.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Major Gen Alexander Vandegrift, Commanding General I Marine Amphibious Corps pending arrival of Major General Roy S. Geiger, reaches Bougainville and takes command of operations there and on the Treasury Islands.
Advance elements of the 37th Infantry Division, Regimental Combat Team 148, also arrive to take over the left flank of the beachhead and are attached to 3d Marine Division. The Battle of Koromokina Lagoon ends as the 1st Battalion of the 21st Marine Regiment, after extremely effective preparatory fire, attacks and eliminates subdued remnants of the Japanese counterlanding force.
Japanese Navy aircraft, 26 "Val"s and 71 "Zeke"s attack U.S. ships off Cape Torokina, Bougainville, at 1200 hours damaging light cruiser USS Birmingham and two attack transports USS Fuller and USS President Jackson.
USAAF Thirteenth Air Force P-38s and P-40s shoot down eight "Vals" and seven "Zekes" between 1200 and 1230 hours.
Nov 9th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): HQ 11th Bombardment Group transfers from Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii to Funafuti Atoll in the Ellice.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): B-25's hit the airfield on Buka. B-25's bomb Kieta and 20+ B-24's pound Kara Airfield and Kahili Airfield. P-39's join USN aircraft in strikes on Kara Airfield and Ballale Airfield.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 40+ B-25's and A-20's, escorted by P-38's of the 475th FG and P-47's, pound the airfield at Alexishafen, destroying at least 12 enemy airplanes; US fighters claim destruction of 10-15 interceptors in combat; other fighters claim 20+ aircraft shot down over Sek Harbor, the Markham River Valley, and Lae. Lost that mission are P-38H 42-66596 also two others had a mid-air collision and both pilots and planes were lost: P-38H 42-66546 and P-38H 42-66834.
NEW BRITAIN: in the Bismarck Archipelago, B-25's bomb a fuel dump and shipping in the Rein Bay area, and P-40's bomb dumps on Gasmata. B-24's on patrol claim sinking of a destroyer near Kavieng.
BOUGAINVILLE: - The beginning of three days of bloody fighting on Bougainville as Japanese attempt to stop the American advance into the interior of the island.
Nov 10th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): The 27th Bombardment Squadron, 30th BG (Heavy), transfers from Mokuleia Field, Territory of Hawaii to Nanumea with B-24's. They will fly their first mission on 14 Nov. The 392d Bombardment Squadron, 30th BG transfers from Barking Sands, Territory of Hawaii to Canton in the Phoenix with B-24's. They will fly their first mission on 22 Nov.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, fighters on armed reconnaissance sink 3 large motor boats in the Yoyang-Sinti area and damage or sink 15 sampans and a barge in the Hwajung-Shasi vicinity.
AUSTRALIA: General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the South West Pacific, cancels the projected offensive against Gasmata on New Britain Island, Bismarck Archipelago.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 20+ B-25's carry out strikes on Kara Airfield and Ballale Airfield and attack shipping between Suhane and Tarlena. The 69th Bombardment Squadron, 42d BG (Medium), transfers from Plaine Des Gaiacs to the Russells with B-25's.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force):
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul on New Britain Island and hit a new landing ground on Duke of York Island located between New Britain and New Ireland Islands. During the night of 10/11 November, Australian Beauforts attack targets in the Rabaul area. Lost is B-24D 42-41210. In Northeast New Guinea, B-25s bomb Alexishafen Airfield.
EAST INDIES: USAAF B-24s bomb Surabaya on the north coast of Java, Netherlands East Indies.
ELLICE ISLANDS: During the night of 10/11 November, three Japanese bombers bomb Nanumea Airfield on Nanumea Island destroying a B-24 and killing one man.
PACIFIC OCEAN: In the Solomon Sea, the crew of the USN destroyer USS Spence spots a raft with four live Japanese on board. As Spence drew along side to attempt a rescue, the Japanese open fire with a machine-gun. Rather than face the shame of surrender the Japanese officer in charge of the raft then put his pistol in each man's mouth and blew out the back of each man's skull. He then turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger. All four bodies fell into the water to be devoured by sharks.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville, Marine Major General Roy S. Geiger takes command of Allied forces on Bougainville and the Treasury Islands.
USN: Buka-Bonis strike at 0810L/10 by 55 SBDs and 34 TBFs indicate an excellent coverage of the assigne targets. The SBDs carried 1000 lb. instantaneous and the TBFs 2000 lb. 1/10 delay bombs. Photos after the strike show 7 bomb craters at Buka and 10 at Bonis on the runways. A SBD bomb hit a possible ammo dump causing large explosion and fire at the southwest end of the Buka runway. Other fires were started at both fields. A total of at least 38 hits by SBDs were made on or near AA positions in the area which appreciately lessened the volume of gun fire. A direct hit was made among a group of buildings located at the south center of the Bonis runway. AA was described as of moderate intensity and light medium and heavy caliber with very intense heavy AA from the north tip of Sohana Island. Escort of 54 fighters had no contacts nor sightings of enemy aircraft.
Marine TBFs fly their first air-ground attack mission over Bougainville. At 1015 hours, 12 TBFs each drop twelve 100-pound bombs on Japanese ground targets some of which are only 120 yards ahead of the Marine infantry. This is the first attack of its kind in the Pacific.
Lost is SBD-5 Dauntless 35931.
UNITED STATES: The motion picture "Guadalcanal Diary" premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California. Directed by Lewis Seiler, this war drama about the Marines fighting on Guadalcanal is based on Richard Tregaskis' book and stars Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, Anthony Quinn and Richard Jaeckel. This is Jaeckel's first film.
Nov 11th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Japanese aircraft bomb Nanumea hitting the airfield and destroying or damaging several airplanes, including 1 B-24. The 26th and 98th Bombardment Squadrons, 11th BG (Heavy), transfer from Wheeler Field and Mokuleia, Territory of Hawaii respectively to Nukufetau in the Ellice with B-24's. They will fly their first combat mission on 14 Nov. The 431st Bombardment Squadron, 11th BG, transfers from Hickam Field to Funafuti Atoll in the Ellice . They will fly their first mission on 13 Nov.
BURMA: In the British Fourteenth Army's IV Corps area, the Japanese seize Haka.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 6 B-24's bomb the Burma Road about 375 miles (600 km) W of Tungling, producing a landslide and badly damaging the road; 6 P-40's S of Yoyang knock out a gun emplacement and hit a radio station, barracks, and hostels in the area; 8 more P-40's, on armed reconnaissance in the Li-Chou-Ching-Shih area, strafe a pontoon bridge and troops, and sink a river steamer, a motorboat, and several small supply boats.
Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek replies to U.S. Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell's memo of 5 November at a conference of Chinese National Military Council at Chungking. While agreeing to a British and Chinese attack on Burma, he wants to hold the Chinese back until the British are attacking Kalewa. Replacements and supplies for the Y-Force are to be provided.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): A few B-25's and USN F4U's strafe barges and shore installations in Matchin Bay on Bougainville.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: Before dawn, 23 USAAF 5th AF B-24s bomb Lakunai airfield near Rabaul on New Britain Island.
During the morning, 239 aircraft from Task Force 38 (Rear Admiral Frederick
C. Sherman) and Task Group 50.3 (Rear Admiral Alfred E. Montgomery), attack
Japanese ships at Rabaul while U.S. Marine Corps F4Us provide a combat air patrol (CAP) over the ships.
TF 38 is built around the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga with Carrier Air Group 12 and small aircraft carrier USS Princeton with Light Carrier Air Group 23.
TG 50.3 is built around aircraft carriers USS Bunker Hill with Carrier Air Group 17 and USS Essex with Carrier Air Group 9 and the small aircraft carrier USS Independence with Light Carrier Air Group 22.
The carrier based aircraft sink destroyer HIJMS Suzunami and damage light cruisers HIJMS Yubari and Agano, and destroyers HIJMS Naganami, Urakaze, and Wakatsuki.
As the carrier aircraft depart, 42 USAAF 13th AF B-24s join USAAF Fifth Air Force and RAAF aircraft in an attack on shipping in Rabaul harbor. This is the Thirteenth Air Force's first strike on Rabaul.
Escorting fighters claim 17 Japanese fighters shot down while the bombers claim five. At 1315 hours, the Japanese send Betty bombers, 14 Kate torpedo bombers, 27 Val dive bombers escorted by 67 Zero fighters to attack the USN ships. USN fighters attack and the best estimate is that they shoot down two "Bettys," 14 "Kates," 17 "Vals" and eight "Zekes;" eleven U.S. aircraft are lost and the aircraft carrier USS Essex is slightly damaged.
Aboard the USS Bunker Hill: "The Japanese showed me what war was all about. They followed our planes back from the strike on Rabaul and things sure were lively for awhile. Fighting Squadron Seventeen with their F4U Corsairs flew out from some island and gave us coverage while we landed our air strike. They left to go home and ran into a flight of Japanese planes trying for our task force. Things got wild for half an hour or so. We got a few fighters in the air. They didn't hit any of our ships and we shot down a lot of their planes. The SB2C Helldiver entered combat for the first time also."
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): B-24's bomb Lakunai Airfield. P-39's strafe Bogadjim and B-25's hit the Madang.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The battle between the US Marines and the Japanese 23rd Regiment on Bougainville ends with the Japanese pushed back. Additional elements of the 21st Marine Regiment arrive. Marines now hold the junction of the Mission and Numa Numa Trails, having killed an estimated 550 Japanese during their drive up Mission Trail. In order to secure airfield site, Gen Geiger orders 3d Marine Division to drive east and the Army 37th Infantry Division west.
UNITED STATES: The U.S. Congress passes a bill lowering the draft age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37
Nov 12th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): HQ 30th BG and it's 38th BS transfer from Hickam Field and Kahuku, Territory of Hawaii respectively to Nanumea in the Ellice with B-24's. The 38th will fly it's first mission on 16 Nov. The air echelon of the 26th Bombardment Squadron, 11th BG (Heavy), based on Nukufetau in the Ellice begins operating from Canton in the Phoenix with B-24's. The squadron will fly it's first mission on 14 Nov. The 819th Bombardment Squadron, 30th BG (Heavy), transfers from Barking Sands to Wheeler Field with B-24's. The 819th supplies the group with replacement crews and aircraft.
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 2 B-24's mine the Rangoon River during the night of 12/13 Nov.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 10 B-25's and 24 P-40's attack Yoyang, hitting the warehouse area, railroad yards, and AA positions; 5 B-25's bomb the Yangchi Kang waterfront area and attack waterfront targets at Puchi; 6 B-25's and 12 fighters hit targets at Yoyang; 15 P-40's and a B-25 on armed reconnaissance hit several targets of opportunity in the Lungling area and between Yang-Chia-Kang and Sichai.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: The Japanese withdraw the remaining 52 aircraft of their aircraft carrier groups that have been flying off land bases at Rabaul on New Britain Island. Of 173 aircraft that arrived on 20 October, 121 have been lost, most with their pilots.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): On Bougainville in the Solomons , 18 B-25's bomb Tarlena; 6 others bomb the Matchin Bay area; and 8 P-38's strafe Bonis airfield.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: In the Treasury Islands, the 8th Brigade Group, New Zealand 3d Division, completes the elimination of a small Japanese garrison on Mono Island, the large island north of Stirling Island. For 205 Japanese dead counted, 40 New Zealanders and 12 Americans lost their lives.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): B-25's and B-26's bomb villages between Finschhafen and Saidor. Following a series of damaging allied strikes, the Japanese remove their carrier aircraft from Rabaul, New Britain, which afterwards ceases to be a serious threat to Allied forces.
EAST INDIES: In the Netherlands East Indies, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24s attack targets on Java and on Ceram Islands.
FRENCH INDOCHINA: Eight USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25s knock out a railway bridge and damage two others near Thanh Hoa. Meanwhile, fighter-bombers hit various targets of opportunity at several other locations scattered throughout northern French Indochina.
AUSTRALIA: Between 0353 and 0530 hours, Japanese aircraft bomb Parap, Adelaide River and Batchelor Airfield in the Northern Territory. This is the 64th and last bombing attack against northern Australia since February 1942.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese submarine HIJMS I-21 torpedoes and sinks the U.S. troopship SS Cape San Juan about 242 nautical miles S of Suva, Viti Levu Island, Fiji Islands, in position 22.08S, 178.06E.
The ship was en route from San Francisco, California, U.S.A., to Townsville, Queensland, Australia, with 49 crewmen, 41 USN Armed Guards and 1,348 Army troops. Sixteen men are killed when the torpedo hits the ship and a further 114 drown while abandoning ship. The survivors are picked up by a merchant vessel, a USN destroyer and a Pan American Airways flying boat. Attempts are made to tow Cape San Juan to port, but she sinks tomorrow.
Nov 13th 1943
BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, a single B-24 mines the Rangoon River during the night of 13/14 Nov.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): In the Solomons, 17 B-24's pound AA positions, dispersal areas, and runway at Bonis airfield on Bougainville . 6 B-25's carry out a low-level raid on the airfield on Buka. Night fighters harass the Shortland and Kahili Airfield and Bonis Airfield, claiming 4 grounded airplanes destroyed at the latter.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): In New Guinea, nearly 120 B-24's and B-25's pound Alexishafen, and P-40's strafe the area. Other B-24's hit Gasmata and Kaukenau and Timoeka.
EAST INDIES: In the Netherlands East Indies, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25s and RAAF Beaufighters claim the sinking of a small freighter off Tanimbar Island in the Moluccas Islands.
ELLICE ISLAND: Japanese bombers bomb Funafuti Airfield in Funafuti Atoll destroying two aircraft on the ground.
GILBERT ISLANDS: Eighteen USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators, staging through Funafuti and Nanomea airdromes in the Ellice Islands, attack Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, with fifty five 500-pound general purpose bombs and 126 twenty-pound fragmentation bombs. One B-24 is lost to antiaircraft fire. Fires are started and they could be seen up to 60 nautical miles away. This
is the first attack in preparation for the upcoming invasion.
USN land-based aircraft of Task Force 57 begin daily bombings of Japanese positions in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. TF 57 consists of six USN land-based units: two bombing squadrons with PB4Y-1s, two patrol squadrons with PBYs, one bombing squadron with PV-1 Venturas and one photographic squadron with PB4Y-1s.
INDIA: Colonel Francis G. Brink is given responsibility for training of the GALAHAD forces, (American long range penetration group), a task previously held by Lieutenant Colonel Charles N. Hunter. On 1 January 1944, the GALAHAD Force is activated as the 5307th Composite Regiment (Provisional).
MARSHALL ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Mili Aerodrome in Mili Atoll while USN PB4Y-1s fly photographic reconnaissance missions over Wotje and Maloelap Atolls.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The Japanese submarine HIJMS I-34 is on a "Yanagi" mission to German-occupied France, the third Japanese Navy submarine to
undertake such a mission. The Japanese code name for I-34 is "Momi"
(Fir); the Germans code name her the "U-Tanne".
Radio traffic between Tokyo and Berlin concerning the I-34's mission is transmitted in diplomatic code, but is intercepted and deciphered by Allied code-breakers. I-34 is carrying a cargo of raw rubber bales, tungsten, tin, quinine, medicinal opium and samples of Japanese weapons. Also aboard are Rear Admiral Hideo Kojima and two Mitsubishi engineers. Alerted by an "Ultra" special intelligence signal, the British submarine HMS/M Taurus (P339) sights I-34 running on the surface at 14 knots.
At 0730, six torpedoes are fired at the Japanese sub and one hits the starboard side just below her conning tower. She sinks at 100 feet about 16 nautical miles WSW of Penang, Malaya, in position 05.17N, 100.05E. Twenty crewmen in an after section survive the attack and manage to escape through a deck hatch. Of these, 13 are picked up by a native junk and arrive at Penang that evening, but 84 crewmembers are lost. The I-34 is the first Japanese submarine sunk by a British submarine.
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: USN submarine USS Narwhal lands men and supplies at Paluan Bay on Mindoro Island.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: At 0430 hours local, Marine Night Fighter Squadron
Five Hundred Thirty One scores its first victory when the crew of PV-1 number 54 shoots down a Betty bomber about 50 nautical miles SW of Torokina Point on Bougainville Island. The standard procedure for intercepts is that the pilot has to fly within 150 to 700 feet to visually identify the unknown aircraft ("bogey") before opening fire; this prevents the accidental shooting down of a
friendly aircraft with a malfunctioning IFF system. This Marine Squadron was commissioned 16 November1942 and is the first Marine night fighter squadron in action.
During the night of 13/14 November, USAAF Thirteenth Air Force P-70 crews begin heckling missions against Bonis Airfield in northern Bougainville and Kahili Airfield in southern Bougainville. Targets in the Shortland Islands are also attacked.
Marine Major General Roy Geiger becomes responsible to Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander South Pacific and Commander Third Fleet, as Vice Admiral Theodore Wilkinson, Commander of the 3rd Amphibious Force, relinquishes command. The 21st Marine Regiment begins an attack for the junction of the Numa Numa Trail with the East-West Trail to ensure the safety of airfield site.
The 129th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division arrives on Bougainville. During a heavy air attack the light cruiser USS Denver is hit by an aerial torpedo which knocks out all power and communications and kills 20 of her crew. The ship has to be towed away for repairs.
UNITED STATES: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill into law extending the term of President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines ". . . until the expulsion of the Japanese from the Philippines."
Nov 14th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): Betio Island on Tarawa Atoll bombed by 17 B24s from Ellice Island bases (Nukufetau), 55 quarter-ton bombs dropped as well as 744 30-lb. fragmentation bombs, with good percentage falling in target area; 4 large fires started near runway and grounded plane possibly destroyed; AA fire intense at first but decreases. No interception made. 1 B24 fails to return. Later 9 B24s bomb Tarawa using 810 fragmentation bombs while 9 others drop 80 demolition and fragmentation bombs on Mili; fires and explosions result at latter target.
Greenwich Island. Bivouac area on Greenwich Island found deserted by attacking Allied recon plane.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): P-70 night fighters hit the Shortland-Faisi area, claiming a seaplane and 2 barges destroyed.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): NEW GUINEA: Allied ground activity 1imited to arty fire against small groups of Japanese. In the Finschhafen area, Thirteen Japanese bombers unsuccessfully raid Finschhafen. Nine B-25's raid Sio and coastal area to the SE.
During night raid on Babo, Dutch New Guinea, 3 RAAF PBY's destroy grounded bombers, probably destroy others,: and start large fires in fuel and ammunition dumps. Another RAAF PBY starts fires at Kaimana.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Battle of the Cocoanut Grove concludes with withdrawal of Japanese from position S of junction Numa-Numa and East-West trails, following renewed attacks by Allied troops with tank'support. Supporting ground forces, 20 TBFs bomb and strafe Japanese positions NE of Piva; ground forces report excellent results. 49 SBDs and 8 TBFs with fighter escort attack Ballale, dropping 30 tons of bombs with good results, 11 hits observed on runway; intense AA fire but no interception encountered.
F4Us strafe Bougainville coast from Kieta northward.
Clearing of few remaining Japanese from Treasury Is. continues.
BURMA: Road and RR communications in W Burma are target for several attacks. 4 A-36 bomb and strafe enemy barracks at Noye Bun. A Supply dump 4 miles SW of Maingkwan and the Walabum-Shaduzup road; further south road bridge at Mogaung and town of Manywet hit by six P-51s and 8 A-36's with excellent results. Center span of bridge at Mogaung and west and south approaches are in ruins.Later Mogaung again attacked by twelve A-36's and six P-51's which start many fires throughout town
In central Burma 11 B-24's, then 6 B-25's bomb Maymyo and Kalewa; formation attacked by 16 enemy aircraft of which 5 are destroyed,1 probably, and 1 damaged; 3 B-24's lost.
RAF hits buildings in Kalemyo sector and in an enemyvillage near Buthedaung in Arakan district, sets fi're to bar-racks at Padaung near the E end of the Taungup Pass road, anddestroys several trucks and river craft. During the evening7 craft in-the Akyab area are damfaged and setafire
Nov 15th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 20+ B-24's from Canton in the Phoenix and Nanumea bomb Jaluit, Mille, and Makin.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 20 B-24's are dispatched against the Hong Kong-Kowloon area. Bad weather prevents 15 bombers from bombing the targets; 5 bomb the docks at Kowloon.
BURMA: On the north Burma front, the Chinese 38th Infantry Division is moving reinforcements forward for the 112th Regiment. The 114th Regiment arrives at the front and is followed in early December by the 113th.
In the 11th Army Group's Fourteenth Army sector, the Japanese take Fort White in IV Corps area, having forced the British to abandon it.
Four A-36's attack an enemy camp at Noye Bun, hitting numerous buildings in the target area with good results. In W Burma, 8, A-36's, 1 B25, and 4 P-51's bomb and strafe Kamaing, starting several fires, while 4 A-36s carry out a similar attack on the Shaduzup-Maingkwan and Kamaing-Hanywet roads; several buildings, hashas, and a jetty hit. Farther S, 6 B-25's and 8 P-51's attack RR bridges N of Shwebo, scoring hits and near misses.
RAF fighters attack enemy oil 'field installations at Nyaunghla, starting fires, and then shoot up 26 river craft on the lower Irrawaddy River. Other aircraft. damage communications in Akyab area and enemy positions in Kalefmyo 'sector.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 20 B-24's strike Buka Airfield. 18 B-24's bomb Kahili; fighter patrols destroy or damage several barges along the coast and destroy 2 fuel dumps at Tonolai. The 72d Bombardment Squadron, 5th BG (Heavy), ceases operating from Guadalcanal and returns to it's base at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides with B-24's. The 106th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), III Reconnaissance Command, arrives on Guadalcanal from the US with B 25's. The squadron will be reassigned to the Thirteenth Air Force on 19 Nov and will fly it's first mission on 30 Jan 44. The 419th Night Fighter Squadron, XIII Fighter Command, arrives on Guadalcanal from the US with P-38's and P-70's. The squadron will fly it's first mission on 10 Dec.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): 30+ B-24's pound Alexishafen; 88 B-25's heading for Wewak and Boram with an escort of 16 P-40's are intercepted by Japanese fighters that are escorting bombers attacking Gusap; the resulting battle causes the B-25's to abort the attack; the US airplanes claim 20 of the enemy shot down; 2 P-40's are lost; P-47's claim 5 more aircraft destroyed over Wewak. The 68th Troop Carrier Squadron, 433d Troop Carrier Group transfers from Port Moresby to Nadzab, New Guinea with C-47's.
NEW IRELAND: PBYs on night patrol damage large AK in St. George's Channel and leave it beached: also damage 6,000-ton AK in convoy NE of Rabaul with 2 direct hits.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville, the beachhead perimeter is expanded to the inland defense line Dog.
RAAF: Lost after a raid against Rabaul is Beaufort A9-217. Force landed is Boomerang A46-136 after being damaged by P-38 piloted by Gerald Johnson
Nov 16th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): B-24's from Nanumea and Nukufeta bomb Jaluit and Maloelap. Single aircraft hit Kwajalein and Makin and Tarawa.
AMERICAN SAMOA: The USMC's Central Pacific Combat Air Transport Service (CenCATS) is activated at Tutuila Airfield at Tafuna on Tutuila Island. This unit will oversee Marine transport units in the Central Pacific.
INDIA: Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer's Headquarters, Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, virtually rejects the proposals by Major General Claire Chennault, Commanding General USAAF Fourteenth Air Force, for 1944 for logistical reasons. Hump tonnage requested cannot be supplied. Since the Operation TWILIGHT plan for B-29 Superfortresses to be brought to the U.S. Army's China-Burma-India Theater is approved, the priority of Fourteenth Air Force must be lowered.
CEYLON: Admiral Louis Mountbatten activates his new command, the South East Asia Command (SEAC), and takes over operational control from Commander-in-Chief India. Movement orders are issued to U.S. forces who are to help operate the Bengal and Assam railroad.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 11 B-24's, 2 B-25's, and 4 P-40's attack the docks at Kowloon; 2 B-25's damage 2 freighters near Nampang and Saint John , 2 more score hits on a tanker off the China coast S of Swatow, and 2 others bomb barracks and a warehouse on Nampang ; 6 P-40's on armed reconnaissance in the Yen Bay-Dong Cuong area of French Indochina strafe railroad stations and barracks; 1 B-25 and 12 P-40's hit a cavalry unit, barge, houses, and numerous sampans at Shihmen; the Li-Chou area also is attacked.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): During the night of 15/16 Nov P-70's harass Kahili Airfield. In the daylight, 20 B-25's and 4 B-24's pound Buka Airfield, 20+ other B-25's fly sweeps over areas of the Bougainville coastline, Buka Passage, and Sohano; supply dumps and barges are hit; 30+ P-40's and P-39's also carry out sweeps over the area, hitting gun positions and other targets in the Buka Passage, several targets of opportunity along the E coast, Kieta Harbor, Tonolai Harbor, and Ballale. Lost is P-40N Kittyhawk NZ3166.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Bougainville, a continuous road through the beachhead is completed, vastly improving supply situation.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): B-25's hit installations near Finschhafen and bomb and strafe a coastal track west of Reiss Point; P-39's, with P-40's covering, strafe barges from Saidor to Madang. P-38'a battle a large force of fighters over Wewak, destroying 6; 2 P-38's are lost including P-38H Lightning 42-66826. The 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, transfers from Dobodura to Gusap with P-40's and P-47's.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, the Australian 26th Brigade, 9th Division, begins their advance on Sattelberg. Meanwhile, the 24th Brigade establishes positions north of Scarlet Beach; Scarlet Beach is located about 5.5 miles north of Finschhafen.
PACIFIC OCEAN: USN submarine USS Corvina is sunk by Japanese submarine HIJMS I-176, about 173 nautical miles SSE of Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, in position 05.05N, 151.10E; all 82 crewmen are lost. Corvina is the only USN submarine sunk by a Japanese submarine in World War II.
Nov 17th 1943
CENTRAL PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Seventh Air Force): 20+ B-24's from Funafuti Atoll and Canton bomb Mille Atoll, Maloelap Atoll in the Marshalls, and Tarawa Atoll in the Gilberts.
AUSTRALIA: USN submarine USS Capelin departs Darwin, Northern Territory, on her second war patrol for Molucca and Celebes Seas in the Netherlands East Indies. She is never heard from again. Capelin is
never heard from again; radio silence is broken in the attempt to reach her on 9 December, but without success. Japanese records studied after the war list an attack on a supposed United States submarine on 23 November, off Kaoe Bay, Halmahera Island, Netherlands East Indies, but the evidence of an actual contact was slight, and the action is incomplete. This is, however, the only reported attack in the appropriate area at that time.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, Australians of 9th Division open an assault against Sattelberg, which is suited by nature for defense. Sattelberg, a high peak and the key to the occupation of the Huon Peninsula, involves a hard, four-month campaign for the 9th Division. The 20th, 24th and 26th Brigades, assisted by tanks, aircraft, and artillery, participate in the battle. In the air, 58 USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators are dispatched to support an attack by the Australian 9th Division on Sattelberg, but because of bad weather only three B-24s, along with 12 RAAF aircraft, get through to the target. P-47 Thunderbolts strafe Japanese shipping between Saidor and Finschhafen.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The final elements of the 21st Marine Regiment arrive.
In the Solomons Sea at 0350 hours local, Japanese "Judy" bombers attack a convoy carrying Marine reinforcements to Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands. High-speed transport USS McKean (APD-5) is struck by a torpedo and the after magazine, containing the depth charges, explodes and ruptures the fuel tanks. Minutes later the forward magazine blows up and the ship begins to sink by the stern. The ship was carrying 185 Marines; 64 of her crew and 52 Marines are lost. The ship sinks about 21 nautical miles SSW of Torokina, Bougainville, in position 06.31S, 154.52E.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 8 P-40's strafe the airfield and barracks at Kengtung, 4 others hit construction equipment at Dong Cuong Airfield in French Indochina and 8 attack Pingkai and targets of opportunity between Pingkai and Tahsai on the Salween River.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): In the Solomons, 30+ B-25's hit the airfield on Buka and surrounding areas during the night of 16/17 Nov; 2 squadrons of B-24's follow with a daylight strike on the same target; 8 other B-24's bomb Buka and Bonis at various times during the night of 16/17 Nov; during the afternoon 3 B-25's hit Kieta.
EAST INDIES: In the Netherlands East Indies during the night of 17/18 November, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Surabaja (Surabaya) and Tjepoe, Java and Denpasar Airfield (Den Passar Field) on Bali, and B-25bomb a freighter off Tanimbar Island located between Australia and New Guinea.
ELLICE ISLANDS: Japanese aircraft bomb Funafuti Airfield on Funafuti Island killing two Navy Seabees and destroying a USAAF B-24 Liberator and a C-47 Skytrain.
Nov 18th 1943
MARSHALL ISLANDS (Seventh Air Force): 19 B-24's from Nanumea bomb Mille Atoll
GILBERT ISLANDS: Two USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24s from the Ellice Islands bomb Tarawa Atoll.
The USN submarine USS Nautilus enters Tarawa lagoon in the first submarine photograph reconnaissance mission. She also obtains last minute information on weather and surf conditions, landing hazards and the results of recent bombardments. At 2159 hour, mistaking her as an enemy, the USN destroyer USS Ringgold (DD-500) fired at Nautilus, sending a 5-inch shell through the conning tower damaging the main induction drain. Diving as soon as the topography permitted, the boat was rigged for depth charges and the damage control party went to work. Within two hours repairs were sufficient to allow Nautilus to continue with her primary mission.
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 12 P-40's strafe troops and horses and sink a troop barge at Shihmen; 4 others, in support of Chinese forces, strafe the Tahsai ferry.
NAURU ISLAND: Carrier-based USN carrier force (Task Group 50.4) attack the island in support of the unfolding operations to capture the Gilbert Islands. Nauru Island is a 8 square mile island in the South Pacific Ocean, located about halfway between the Gilbert and Solomon Islands. The island is rich in phosphate deposits and was occupied by the Japanese on 25 August 1942. TG 50.4 is built around the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga with Carrier Air Group Twelve, small aircraft carrier USS Princeton with Light Carrier Air Group Twenty Two and ten destroyers.
NEW GUINEA: In the Finschhafen area, the Australians send in three more tanks to replace those blocked on the main road; they encounter numerous antitank ditches.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): Four squadrons of B-24's pound the airfields on Buka and at Kara; 3 B-25's strafe Green Island.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): In New Guinea, 30+ B-25's and B-26's hit enemy positions in the Sattelberg area; B-24's carry out a light raid on Fak Fak; and P-40's bomb Iworep.
RAAF - Crashed is Beaufort A9-350.
PACIFIC OCEAN: From Glen Boren, a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill: "We arrived about 100 miles off Tarawa (Atoll, Gilbert Islands) and began cleaning up all the Jap aircraft we could find. Also got a few AA sites. It looked like it was going to be a push-over. But we now know better, don't we?
In the Celebes Sea, USN submarine USS Bluefish sinks Japanese destroyer HIJMS Sanae about 114 nautical miles south of Zamboanga, Mindanao Island in position 05.00N, 122.00E; the sub also damages an oiler
Nov 19th 1943
GILBERT ISLANDS: (Seventh Air Force): 31 B-24's from Ellice bases hit Makin and Tarawa. Lost is B-24D "Raunchy" 42-72980.
Carrier-based aircraft of USN two task groups attack Makin Island and Tarawa Atoll. Aircraft from Task Group 50.2 attack Makin; this task group is built around the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise with Carrier Air Group six and small aircraft carriers USS Belleau Wood with Light Carrier Air Group Twenty Four and USS Monterey with Light Carrier Air Group Thirty.
Tarawa Atoll is hit by aircraft from Task Group 50.3 which drop 69 tons of bombs; this TG is built around the aircraft carriers USS Bunker Hill with Carrier Air Group Seventeen and USS Essex with Carrier Air Group Nine and the small aircraft carrier USS Independence with Carrier Air Group Twenty Two.
USN pilots shoot down eight Japanese aircraft during the day
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, B-25's on shipping sweeps in the S China Sea strafe 2 vessels off Hong Kong, score damaging hits on 2 vessels at Kiungshan, damage a freighter off Tsao Tao , and leave a gunboat and freighter sinking E of Swatow; warehouses and wharves at Swatow also are hit.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): 10 B-25's bomb the Matchin Bay area on Bougainville and Ballale Airfield.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): Nearly 30 B-25's and B 26's bomb positions in the Sattelberg area; A-20's hit the Finschhafen area. B-25's attack Kentengi Anchorage in the Bismarck Archipelago. HQ 58th Fighter Group arrives at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia from the US. The 25th Liaison Squadron, Fifth Air Force, arrives at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia from the US with L-5's. The 25th and 26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, arrive at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia from the US with F-5's.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, the Australian 2/48th Battalion, 26th Brigade, 9th Division, encounters Japanese positions dug in on the slope of a large feature in the Finschhafen area. The Australians advance and take the positions with and then beat off a counter attack with the help of tanks.
PACIFIC OCEAN: USN submarine USS Sculpin, heavily damaged by Japanese destroyer HIJMS Yamagumo about 154 miles north of Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, is scuttled. Captain John P. Cromwell, the embarked submarine squadron commander in Sculpin, familiar with secret details of upcoming operations, decides to go down with the ship rather than risk capture and inevitable interrogation. For his decision to accept certain death, Cromwell is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously.
Nov 20th 1943
CHINA (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 2 B-25's hit warehouses and barracks on Nampang ; weather prevents completion of several other scheduled missions.
UNITED STATES: The USAAF activates HQ XX Bomber Command at Smoky Hill AAFld, Kansas. This new command will eventually have operational and administrative control of all B-29 Superfortress units in India.
BURMA: In the British Fourteenth Army's XV Corps area, the Indian 7th Division starts across the Mayu Range along two crude trails in preparation for an offensive.
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force): On Bougainville 45 B-25's, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Ventura's and P-38's attack Bonis airfield; a few other B-25's strafe coastal villages in the Empress Augusta Bay region.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Major General Ralph J. Mitchell, USMC, relieves Major General Nathan F. Twining, USA, as head of Solomons Air Command. Gen Twining later takes command of the USAAF Fifteenth Air Force in Italy.
On Bougainville, the 3d Marine Division is extending its positions in the vicinity of the Piva River forks against lively opposition. The 37th Infantry Division is unopposed.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Fifth Air Force): In New Guinea, 50 B-25's and B-26's pound Japanese positions in the Sattelberg area. A-20's hit the Lae area. 18 B-25s of the 345th BG escorted by four squadrons of P-47s attack the Hansa Bay area, no ships were spotted, but several barges sink or damaged and supply dump fires started. Well camoflaged AA batteries fired and damaged two B-25s, one force landed back at Port Moresby, the other B-25D 41-30522 ditched crew captured and killed. HQ 49th Fighter Group transfers from Dobodura to Gusap.
BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO: A USN PBY-5 "Black Cat" Catalina of Patrol Squadron VP-101 sinks a cargo ship in Rabaul harbor during the night of 20/21 November. 50 B-24's bomb Gasmata.
GILBERT ISLANDS: U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops invade Makin and Tarawa Atolls. Air and naval gunfire bombardment precede and closely support assault teams. Aerial supremacy over the Japanese has already been achieved.
At both atolls, landing forces are beset with supply difficulties and communications failures.
Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner's Task Force 52's landing force (the 27th Infantry Division's 165th Infantry Regiment reinforced by the 3d Battalion of the 105th Infantry Regiment, tanks of the 193d Tank Battalion, and other supporting units), under Major General Ralph C. Smith, invades Makin. (The 165 Infantry Regiment is the old 69th "Fighting Irish" Regiment of the New York National Guard.) As a preliminary to the main invasion of Butaritari Island, the largest of the Makin group, a special landing detachment sails for Kotabu Island at 0645 hours and secures the island without opposition. The invasion of Butaritari is begun on schedule at 0830 hours, when Boat Landing Teams (BLTs) 1 and 3 of the 165th Infantry start landing on Red Beaches 1 and 2 on the west coast. At 1041 hours, about 10 minutes behind schedule, BLT 2 begins landing on Yellow Beaches, located on the northern (lagoon) shore between On Chong's Wharf and King's Wharf. Both assault forces secure beach heads and with tank support push rapidly forward against light resistance, converging along the West Tank Barrier, where Japanese opposition
is overcome, although a small pocket remains to the northwest. Artillery is emplaced on Ukiangong Point.
Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill's USN Task Force 53's landing force (2d Marine Regiment of 2d Marine Division, reinforced by the 2d Battalion of 8th Marine Regiment and supporting units), under Major General Julian C. Smith, USMC, invades Betio Island, at the southwestern tip of the atoll, where an airfield and main Japanese forces are located.
Betio is 2 miles long and less than ½ mile wide The defenders are lead by Rear Admiral Shibasaki Keiji and 4,800 men with 50 artillery pieces and seven light tanks. The terrain ranges from sea level to 9 feet above sea level. Landings are made with great difficulty and very heavy casualties. Transports arrive south of the assigned area and at 0507 hours come under fire of previously alerted Japanese on Betio. While transports are moving northward out of range of Japanese guns, warships attempt, with some success, to neutralize Japanese positions. Aircraft deliver brief strikes before the forces land. Although H Hour is postponed from 0830 to 0900 hours, the first troops do not reach shore until 0910 hours. Marines land under direct fire, many wading from a partly exposed reef that fringes coast; upon reaching the shore, landing teams become intermingled and disorganized. Landings are made on three adjacent beaches (Red 1, 2, and 3, from west to east) on the northwest coast. The 3d Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment, the Red assault force, gains a beachhead on the northwest tip of the island but is isolated there. In the center, 2d Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment, is pinned down by Japanese fire on Red 2. The 2d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, favored by more protracted naval gunfire preparation, meets less opposition on Red 3 and gains a beachhead extending inland to the airfield. To strengthen their precarious hold on the island, the 1st Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment, from regimental reserve, and 3d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, from division reserve, are committed. Fortunately, Japanese counterattacks, expected after nightfall, fail to materialize, and meager gains are held. Shortly before the invasion of Betio, a scout-sniper platoon clears Japanese positions from the main pier, partly burning it in the process.
Off Tarawa the aircraft carriers of Task Force 50 cover both landings. Beginning at about 1755 hours, 16 Betty's attack Task Group 50.3 built around the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill and USS Essex and the small aircraft carrier USS Independence. F6F Hellcat pilots of Fighting Squadron VF-18 in USS Bunker Hill, shoot down five bombers and ship's gunners down four but one launches a torpedo that strikes the carrier's starboard quarter seriously damaging the ship; she retires for repairs.