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18th April 1942

WWII Timeline




Events On This Day

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers carry out offensive sweeps over North France. Attack on Frisian islands by British planes.

In Burma, Chinese and British troops retire in the Sittang valley. The Chinese 55th Division is wiped out by the Japanese south of Loikaw, leaving the road to Lashio wide open to the enemy. The Chinese 22nd Division withdraws north of Pyinmana.

In the Pacific The command structure in the South West Pacific is changed. Under MacArthur, the supreme commanders, are the Commander-in- Chief of Australian forces, General Sir Thomas Blamey, who will be in charge of all land operations, the American General Brett at the head of the air forces, and Admiral Leary, hitherto head of the Anzac forces, who will command Allied naval forces.

Doolittle Raid, First American air raid on Japan. Sixteen B-25 bombers of XVII Bomber Group of the 8th United States Air Force, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Doolittle, take off from the aircraft carrier Hornet about 750 miles from Tokyo. The Hornet and her escort, the cruisers Vincennes and Nashville with their complement of destroyers, left on the 14 April 1942 from a rendezvous north of Midway Island. Another carrier, the Enterprise, joins them near Japan to provide fighter escort. The B-25s arrive over their targets at 12:15 p.m., dropping bombs on Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Nagoya and Yokosuka. They then fly on towards China, but owing to bad weather they either crash on landing or their crews make parachute jumps. One aircraft lands near Vladivostok and its crew is interned by the Russians. Two planes end up in Japanese occupied territory where their crews are made prisoner some being shot on 15 October 1942. The aircraft carriers and other ships taking part return unharmed. Although material results of the raid are trivial the psychological effect is profound. The heart of the Empire of the Rising Sun is not, as the Japanese have believed, invulnerable.

Pierre Laval's new cabinet announced. Petain remains head of state.

Fifth Air Force. Fifth Air Force units come under control of Allied Air Force Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) which is created in Australia to control Army Air Forces, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Dutch elements.

M302 Minesweeper
Commissioned 18 April 1942

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

For a complete list of sources
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