12/07/41

International

Japan attacks Hawaii and other US and British possessions in the Pacific without warning. Japan already is at war with China, and Great Britain is at war with the Axis powers, Germany and Italy, which control most of Western Europe. The RAF is conducting an aerial offensive against Germany, and the Luftwaffe is engaged in a campaign against Britain. Russians are fighting German forces that have invaded the USSR. British troops are battling Italians and Germans in Africa.


12/07/41

Hawaiian AF

First wave of Japanese carrier-based airplanes (almost 200) hits US naval base at Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field at 0755. Attacks follow quickly against Wheeler and Bellows Fields. A second wave of Japanese airplanes strikes other naval and military facilities. Hawaiian AF loses 163 men, with about 390 others wounded or missing; has 64 of its 231 assigned aircraft destroyed. Only 79 of the remaining aircraft are deemed usable, and much of the AF's ground facilities are destroyed. These losses are light in comparison with the Navy's: more than 2,000 killed or missing, and more than 900 wounded; 4 battleships sunk; 3 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 3 destroyers damaged; and over half of the Navy's 169 airplanes in the area destroyed. The Japanese lose 20 aircraft over Hawaii, including 4 claimed destroyed by 2d Lt George S Welch (47th Pur Sq) piloting a P-40,one of the few US ftrs to successfully attack airplanes during the day. About 20 other aircraft are lost by the Japanese during carrier landings. Altogether the Japanese pay a small price for the damage done to the Americans on Oahu. For the remainder of the day, following the attacks, AAF carries out fruitless searches for the carriers.


12/07/41

Alaska Def Cmd

Upon learning of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Cmd's 6 B-18's and 12 P-36's take to the air to avoid being caught on their fields.


12/08/41

International

US, Great Britain, the Netherlands,Canada, Union of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia Free France, and 8 Latin American republics declare war against Japan.


12/08/41

Far East AF

First word of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is received on Luzon in the Philippines by commercial radio between 03000330 local time. Within 30 minutes radar at Iba Field plots formation of airplanes 75 mi offshore, heading for Corregidor. AAF P-40's are sent out to intercept but make no contact. Shortly before 0930, after aircraft are detected over Lingayen Gulf heading toward Manila, B-17's at Clark Field are ordered airborne to prevent being caught on the ground. Ftrs from Clark and Nichols Fields are sent to intercept the enemy but do not make contact. The airplanes swing E and bomb military installations at Baguio. Tarlac, Tuguegarao, and A/Fs at Cabantuan are also attacked. By 1130 the B-17's and ftrs sent into the air earlier have landed at Clark and Iba for refueling, and radar has disclosed another flight of aircraft 70 mi W of Lingayen Gulf, headed S. Ftrs from Iba make a fruitless search over S China Sea. Ftrs from Nichols are dispatched to patrol over Bataan and Manila. Around 1145 a formation is reported headed S over Lingayen Gulf. Ftrs are ordered from Del Carmen to cover Clark Field but fail to arrive before the Japanese hit Clark shortly after noon. HBs and many ftrs at Clark Field are caught on the ground, but a few P-40's manage to get airborne. 2d Lt Randall B Keator (20th Pur Sq) shoots down the first Japanese aircraft over the Philippines. The P-40's earlier sent on patrol of S China Sea return to Iba Field with fuel running low at the beginning of an attack on that A/F. They fail to prevent bombing but manage to prevent low-level strafing of the sort which proved so destructive at Clark. At the end of the day's action it is apparent that the Japanese have won a major victory. The effective striking power of Far East AF has been destroyed, the ftr strength has been seriously reduced, most B-17 maintenance facilities have been demolished, and about 80 men have been killed.


12/08/41

Alaska Def Cmd

Starting today bmrs fly armed rcn each morning from Anchorage to Kodiak.


12/08/41

ZI

First and Fourth AFs are made responsible for air def on the E and W coasts, respectively. CG First AF orders I BC to begin overwater rcn with all available aircraft to locate and attack any hostile surface forces which might approach the E coast. Similar rcn is ordered off W coast. Aircraft of 1st Pur Gp from Selfridge Field begin to arrive at San Diego, being the first reinforcements of air strength on the W coast.


12/09/41

FEAF

Shortly after 0300 aircraft attack Nichols Field. This attack, added to the previous day's raids on Clark and Iba Fields, leaves FEAF strength reduced by half. Only 17 of 35 B-17's remain incommission; about 55 P-40's,3 P-35's, and close to 30 other aircraft (B-10's, B-18's,and observation airplanes) have been lost in aerial combat or destroyed on the ground. During morning and afternoon, B-17's from Mindanao fly rcn missions and land on Clark and San Marcelino Fields. Several more B-17's are flown from Mindanao to these Luzon bases for resistance against possible invasion attempt.


12/09/41

ZI

Ftrs at Mitchel Field are dispatched to intercept hostile airplane reported (falsely) to be approaching the E coast.


12/10/41

FEAF

B-17's, P-40's, and P-35's attack a convoy landing troops and equipment at Vigan and at Aparri in N Luzon. 1 transport at Vigan is destroyed. The strikes include the much publicized attack of Capt Colin P Kelly Jr (14thBomb Sq) on a warship off Aparri. Capt Kelly, who is killed when his B-17 is shot down by ftrs as he is returning to Clark Field, is later posthumously awarded the DSC for destroying a battleship. However, later information reveals that he attacked the heavy cruiser Ashigara, probably scoring near misses.


12/11/41

International

Germany and Italy declare war on US Congress declares war on Germany and Italy.


12/11/41

Hawaiian AF

6 B-18's fly seasearch mission from Hawaiian Islands. Similar missions by B-17's, B-18's, and A-20's are flown each day for the remainder of the year; several submarines are sighted and some are attacked but without positive evidence of hits.


12/11/41

ZI

Second and Fourth AFs are assigned to Western Def Cmd.


12/12/41

FEAF

More than 100 aircraft hit tgts at Clark Field, Batangas, and Olongapo. No hits are scored by the single B-17 that is sent against transports at Vigan.


12/13/41

FEAF

1st Lt Boyd D Wagner (17 PurSq) shoots down 4 airplanes near Aparri while on rcn mission over N Luzon.


12/14/41

FEAF

B-17's are sent against beachhead at Legaspi. 1st Lt Hewitt T Wheless is later awarded DSC for bringing his bullet-riddled aircraft back from the mission to an emergency crashlanding at Cagayan.


12/16/41

FEAF

1st Lt Boyd D Wagner (17th PurSq) leadsdive-bombing raid on A/F at Vigan and shoots down his fifth aircraft, thereby becoming the first AAF 'Ace' in World War II.


12/17/41

UK

Gen Chaney, Chief SPOBS, writes to AG, USA on 'Construction Program of US Forces in UK,'which indicatesshortage of accommodations for proposed US force sin Scotland, N Ireland, and England.


12/17/41

FEAF

B-17's, evacuating Luzon, begin arriving at Batchelor Field. Capt Floyd J Pell arrives in Australia to begin arrangements for use of Australian facilities by FEAF.


12/18/41

Hawaiian AF

Gen Tinker succeeds Gen Martinas CG.


12/19/41

ZI

First AF is assigned to Eastern Theater of Operations (later Eastern Def Cmd).


12/22/41

International

Anglo-American conference(ARCADIA)opens at Washington to deal with war strategy. Churchill, Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, Lord Beaverbrook, and American and British CoSs participate.


12/22/41

FEAF

9 B-17's from Batchelor Field attack shipping in Davao Bay and land at Del Monte.


12/23/41

FEAF

4 B-17's take off from Del Monte shortly after midnight during 22/23 Dec and bomb shipping in Lingayen Gulf. 12P-40's and 6 P-35's strafe forces landing in San Miguel Bay. FEAF comes under controlof newly-created USFIA. Gen Brereton, CG, receives orders establishing Hq FEAF at Darwin.


12/24/41

FEAF

3 B-17's fly from Del Monte during 24/25 Dec,bomb A/F and shipping at Davao, and land at Batchelor Field. 2 airplanes leave Manila for Darwin with personnel of Hq FEAF. AAF units on Luzon,as well as ground forces, begin moving to Bataan Peninsula.


12/24/41

ZI

95th Bomb Sq, at Pendleton Field, claims subsunk off mouth of Columbia R, but this claim is not confirmed by committees of USN and British Admiralty which later assesses damage to enemy subs during World War II.


12/25/41

FEAF

Lt Col Charles H Caldwell sets up HQ FEAF on RAAF A/F at Darwin.


12/29/41

FEAF

Gen Brereton, CG, arrives at new HQ at Darwin. Col Harold H George remains at Manila in Cmd of air elements left in the Philippines, the chief center of AAF activity in S Philippines being Del Monte, where air personnel are under cmd of Maj Ray T Ellsmore.


12/29/41

Alaska Def Cmd

In response to repeated requests by this Cmd to the WD for additional aircraft to defend Alaska, the 77th Bomb Sq arrives at Elmendorf Field. The 11th Pur Sq arrives the next day.


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