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1st January 1944

WWII Timeline




Events On This Day

United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSAFE). United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSAFE) is established for operational control of Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces 22 February 1944.

Eighth Air Force. The Operational Research Section, organised at Headquarters VIII Bomber Command in October 1943, is made a special staff section, accountable directly to the Chiefs of Staff. It is composed mostly of civilian specialists trained in statistical analysis and other disciplines pertinent to studying operations of a strategy bombing force. The section subsequently proves of great value in improving effectiveness of strategy bombing.

Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (AAFMTO). Complete reorganisation of United States Army Air Force (USAAF) units in Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (MTO) takes place. United States Army Air Forces, North African Theatre of Operations (USAAFNATO) is redesignated Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (MTO) Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (AAFMTO). XII Air Force Services Command becomes Army Air Forces Service Command, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (AAFSCMTO); III Air Service Area Command (Special) becomes XII Air Force Services Command (AFSC)Cameron II Air Service Area Command becomes XV Air Force Services Command. XII Air Force Engineer Command (Provisional) becomes Army Air Force Engineer Command, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations (MTO) (Provisional) and XII Air Force Training Command is changed to XII Air Force Training and Replacement Command. XII Bomber Command is reorganised as an medium bombers organisation (3 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers groups and the 3 B-26 Marauder medium bombers groups of 42d Bomber Wing) under General Knapp.

Fifteenth Air Force. The 3 remaining medium bombers groups (B-26 Marauder medium bombers) of Fifteenth Air Force are transferred to Twelfth Air Force, leaving the Fifteenth with 6 heavy bomber (2d, 93d, 97th, 99th, 301st, 376th) and 4 fighters groups (1st, 14th, 82d, and 325th), or 4 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers, 2 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, 1 P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, and 3 P-38 Lightning fighters groups.

Tenth Air Force. 6 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, along with 16 P-38 Lightning fighters, attack bridge on Mu River between Ywataung and Monywa. Major Robert A Erdin, piloting the lead medium bombers, pulls up during his bomb run to avoid a tree. He releases his bombs as he noses up, and topples 2 spans of the bridge into the river. Subsequent tests prove this is a good bridge bombing manoeuver The tactic is refined and the squadron (490th Squadron) becomes so proficient as to gain the sobriquet Burma Bridge Busters. Further North, 11 A-36 Apache dive bomber and 15 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers pound airfield at Myitkyina.

Fourteenth Air Force. 4 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) P-40 fighters bomb and strafe targets in Indochina, including barracks and rafts along the Yuan River in the Cam Duong-Lao Kay area.

Fifth Air Force. 120 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, and A-20 Havoc light bombers pound Saidor area in preparation for Allied invasion. Other B-25 Mitchell medium bombers bomb Madang and Alexishafen. A-20 Havoc light bombers continue to hit troop concentration in Cape Gloucester area. B-25 Mitchell medium bombers hit positions at Borgen Bay. P-39 fighters strafe barges along New Britain's North coast.

Thirteenth Air Force. 868th Bomber Squadron is activated to work directly under XIII Bomber Command. The unit, equipped with SB-24 Liberator heavy bombers (radar equipped aircraft used for night missions), becomes known as the Snooper Squadron. 15 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, escorted by 70 P-38 Lightning fighters and F6F Hellcat fighter, bomb Lakunai airfield. Fighter and antiaircraft opposition is heavy, with 80 to 90 fighters attempting interception. United States aeroplanes claim 20 fighters shot down. 1 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers is shot down and 2, severely damaged, crash land at Torokina. Allied fighters join Navy dive bombers in support of ground forces in Torokina area. 6 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers and 2 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers bomb Kahili. 4 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers hit Manob.

Seventh Air Force. 16 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) P-39 fighters strafe Mille harbour and attack shipping North of Mille. 2 small vessels are heavily damaged.

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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

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