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1942 In Aviation

 

1942 In Aviation

Years in aviation: 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Centuries: 19th century · 20th century · 21st century
Decades: 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s
Years: 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1942:

Contents

  • Events 1
    • January 1.1
    • February 1.2
    • March 1.3
    • April 1.4
    • May 1.5
    • June 1.6
    • July 1.7
    • August 1.8
    • September 1.9
    • October 1.10
    • November 1.11
    • December 1.12
  • First flights 2
    • January 2.1
    • February 2.2
    • March 2.3
    • April 2.4
    • May 2.5
    • June 2.6
    • July 2.7
    • August 2.8
    • September 2.9
    • October 2.10
    • November 2.11
    • December 2.12
  • Entered service 3
    • January 3.1
    • February 3.2
    • April 3.3
    • May 3.4
    • May 3.5
    • August 3.6
    • September 3.7
  • Retirements 4
  • References 5

Events

January

February

March

  • March 1 – The U.S. Navy sinks a German submarine for the first time in World War II when a Patrol Squadron 82 (VP-82) PBO-1 Hudson piloted by Ensign William Tepuni USNR sinks U-656 off Cape Race, Newfoundland.[30]
  • March 3 – Three Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters shoot down the KNILM Douglas DC-3 airliner Pelikaan (tail number PK-AFV) as it approaches Broome, Australia, forcing it to make a belly landing in shallow surf at Carnot Bay, then strafe it, killing or seriously injuring four of the 12 people on board. A Japanese Kawanishi H6K (Allied reporting name "Mavis") flying boat bombs the wreckage the following day. A shipment of diamonds worth 150,000 to A£300,000 aboard the plane disappears, apparently stolen.
  • March 3–4 (overnight) – 235 British bombers – the largest number sent against a single target to date – attack the Renault vehicle factory at Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris in an attempt at night precision bombing. Three-quarters of the bombs hit the factory, but 367 French civilians are killed and 10,000 rendered homeless by errant bombs. The death toll in fact is greater than in any single attack on a German city thus far in the war.[31]
  • March 4 – Aircraft from the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) raid Japanese bases on Marcus Island.[32]
  • March 4–5 (overnight) – Two Imperial Japanese Navy Kawanishi H8K (Allied reporting name "Emily") flying boats fly from Wotje, refuel from a submarine at French Frigate Shoals, and fly on to bomb Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, returning safely. The mission is unsuccessful because of heavy cloud cover in the Honolulu area. It is the first combat flight of the H8K.[33]
  • March 5 – The Civil Air Patrol begins maritime patrols off the United States East Coast.[34]
  • March 7 – The Royal Air Force commits Spitfires to the defense of Malta for the first time, flying 15 of them to the island from the aircraft carriers HMS Argus and HMS Eagle.[35]
  • March 8–9 (overnight) through 10-11 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command bombs Essen, Germany, on three consecutive nights with 211, 187, and 126 aircraft respectively, losing a combined total of 16 bombers. The raids are the combat debut of the Gee navigation aid, raising British hopes that precision bombing of the Krupp armaments factory will be achieved, but it is not hit, and bombs in fact do far more damage to neighboring towns than to Essen itself. The third raid includes two Avro Lancasters, the first use of the Lancaster against a German target.[36]
  • March 9
    • Twelve Fairey Albacore torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious attack the German battleship Tirpitz while she is at sea off Norway. They score no hits, and Tirpitz shoots down two Albacores. It is the only time that Allied forces attack Tirpitz while she is in the open sea.[37][38]
    • The United States Army Air Corps (the logistics and training element) discontinued. General Henry H. Arnold, formerly Chief of the Army Air Forces, becomes Commanding General of Army Air Forces.[39] The term "Air Corps" survives until 1947, but only as a reference to the aviation branch of service of the United States Army without indicating any formal organization.
    • The U.S. Navy commissions [40]
  • March 10 – The U.S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) launch a 104-aircraft raid from south of New Guinea and over the Owen Stanley Mountains via a 7,500-foot (2,286-meter) pass to strike Japanese shipping off Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea.[41]
  • March 12–13 (overnight) – 68 British Wellington bombers raid Kiel, Germany, losing five of their number.[36]
  • March 20 – The Luftwaffe‍ '​s Fliegerkorps II further escalates its bombing campaign against Malta as truly massive air raids begin with a goal of forcing the island‍ '​s antiaircraft artillery to exhaust its ammunition and personnel, followed by large attacks on airfields and aircraft on the ground, and finally the destruction of naval forces, dockyards, and other military installations.[42]
  • March 21 – HMS Eagle makes the second delivery of Spitfires to Malta, flying off nine.[35][43]
  • March 22 – The Second Battle of Sirte takes place between Royal Navy and Italian forces in the Mediterranean. The Italians fail to prevent a convoy of four Allied cargo ships from arriving at Malta, and an attack by Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 torpedo bombers is ineffective.[35][43]
  • March 23–26 – Fliegerkorps II dedicates 326 aircraft to the destruction of the four Allied cargo ships that have arrived at Malta, sinking three of them and a destroyer and damaging one of them.[44]
  • March 26 – Fliegerkorps II begins attacks on Malta‍ '​s submarine base, sinking the British submarine HMS P39 and damaging two other submarines. From this time, submarines at Malta submerge all day while in port.[22]
  • March 26–27 (overnight) – 115 British bombers attack the Ruhr.[45]
  • March 29 – HMS Eagle makes the third delivery of Spitfires to Malta, flying off seven.[35][43]
  • March 29–30 (overnight) – In an experiment to see whether a first wave of bombers could start a conflagration in a city center that would guide later waves of bombers to the city during an area bombing attack, 234 British bombers attack Lübeck, Germany. The experiment succeeds, with the center of Lübeck largely destroyed and over 300 people killed.[46]
  • March 31
  • March 31-April 1 (overnight) – The Royal Air Force places the new 4,000-lb (1,814-kg) high-capacity "Cookie" bomb – its largest bomb to date and its first "blockbuster" bomb – into service in a raid on Emden, Germany. The RAF will drop 68,000 "Cookie" bombs during World War II.[48]

April

May

  • France‍ '​s only aircraft carrier, the obsolete Béarn, is demilitarized at Martinique.[59]
  • May 2 – The Japanese seaplane carrier Mizuho sinks with the loss of 101 lives after the U.S. Navy submarine USS Drum (SS-228) had torpedoed her late the previous evening 40 nautical miles (74 km) off Omaezaki, Japan. There are 472 survivors.[60]
  • May 3 – In a raid on the Arctic convoy PQ 15, six Heinkel He 111s of the Luftwaffe‍ '​s I. Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 26, make Germany‍ '​s first torpedo bomber attack of World War II. They sink two merchant ships outright and damage a third, which a German submarine later sinks.[61] Three of the He 111s are lost.
  • May 4
  • May 5
  • May 6 – Four U.S. Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortresses attack the Japanese aircraft carrier Shōhō south of Bougainville, but do not damage her.[66]
  • May 7
    • The Battle of the Coral Sea, the first battle ever fought between aircraft carriers, begins between a U.S. force centered around the aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) and a Japanese force with the aircraft carriers Shōhō, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku. Early in the morning, a 56-plane strike from Shōkaku and Zuikaku sinks a destroyer and fatally damages an oiler. Later in the morning, a 93-plane strike from Lexington and Yorktown sinks Shōhō – the first Japanese carrier ever sunk – prompting an American dive bomber pilot to send one of World War II‍ '​s most famous radio messages, "SCRATCH ONE FLATTOP." In the evening, confused Japanese carrier pilots mistake Yorktown for their own carrier and begin to fly a landing pattern before realizing their mistake.[67]
    • On Madagascar, Diego Suarez falls to invading British forces. Since the invasion began on May 5, aircraft from the British aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable and HMS Illustrious have suppressed Vichy French aircraft, supported British ground forces ashore, attacked coastal artillery, a wrecked a French sloop, and sunk a French armed merchant cruiser and two French submarines.[64]
  • May 8 – On the morning of the second and final day of the Battle of the Coral Sea, the two sides launch airstrikes at almost the same time. The strike by 84 aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown badly damages Shōkaku. Shortly afterwards, the 70-plane strike from Shōkaku and Zuikaku sinks Lexington – the first American aircraft carrier ever sunk – and badly damages Yorktown, after which both sides retire with the Japanese abandoning their plans for an amphibious invasion of Port Moresby. Shōkaku‍ '​s damage and Zuikaku‍ '​s aircraft losses will keep them out of combat for two months, forcing them to miss the Battle of Midway in June. The Battle of the Coral Sea ends as the first naval battle in which ships of the opposing sides never sight one another.[68]
  • May 9
  • May 10 – The commander of Luftflotte 2, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, reports to Berlin that "the neutralization of Malta is complete," marking the end of the heavy German air campaign against the island that had begun the previous December. The same day, the newly arrived Spitfires confront Axis aircraft with a superior force over the island for the first time in months, shooting down 12 German aircraft for the loss of three Spitfires.[70]
  • May 12 – The initial submission of the Luftwaffe's Amerika Bomber trans-oceanic range strategic bomber design competition arrives in the offices of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, commander-in-chief of the Third Reich's Luftwaffe.[71]
  • May 13 – Construction of the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin resumes after a two-year hiatus.[72][73]
  • May 15 – The U.S. Navy‍ '​s Naval Air Transport Service flies it first transoceanic flight and initiates service in the Pacific with a flight by [40]
  • May 27 – 108 German aircraft attack Convoy PQ-16 in the Arctic Ocean.[74]
  • May 27–29 – After the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) arrives at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, with serious damage from the Battle of the Coral Sea that her task force commander estimates will take 90 days to repair, the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard repairs her in two days, making her available for the Battle of Midway.[75]
  • May 30–31 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command carries out Operation Millennium, its first "thousand-bomber raid," in which 1,047 British bombers attack Cologne, Germany, killing 480 people and injuring 5,000 and destroying 13,000 homes and damaging 30,000. Forty-one bombers are lost. Fifty-seven more British aircraft operate as night intruders in support of the attack.[76] The Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, retired by Bomber Command a month earlier, participates in a bombing raid for the last time, as Whitleys borrowed from Operational Training Units flesh out the Bomber Command force for the raid.[56]
  • May 31
    • Since May 1, the Germans and Italians have lost 40 aircraft over Malta in exchange for 25 British planes lost in combat. The British have lost only six aircraft on the ground, 24 fewer than the previous month.[77]
    • Since January 1, Royal Air Force Bomber Command has dispatched 12,029 sorties, losing 396 aircraft; German night fighters have shot down 167 of them, an average of 34 British bombers per month. Since February 1, aircraft losses in British bombing raids on Germany have averaged 3.7 percent.[13]

June

  • Royal Air Force Bomber Command mounts 20 major raids against Germany in June and July, losing 307 bombers (4.9 percent of the attacking force), as well as an additional 63 bombers lost on lesser raids.[78] Beginning in June, Bomber Command monthly loss rates begin to hover consistently around 5 percent, which the British believe is the maximum sustainable loss rate.[13]
  • June 1 – Because of the similarity of the red disc in the center of the national insignia for U.S. military aircraft to Japanese markings, the United States adopts a new national insignia without the red disc, consisting simply of a white star centered in a blue circle . The new marking will remain in use until July 1943.[79]
  • June 1–2 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command mounts what is nominally its second "thousand-bomber raid" – 956 bombers actually participate – targeting Essen, Germany. Industrial haze spoils the attack; the British bombers kill only 15 people in Essen and destroy only 11 homes there, while widely scattered bombs strike Oberhausen, Duisburg, and at least eleven other cities and towns, which suffer more damage than Essen itself.[80]
  • June 3 – In an effort to decoy U.S. forces away from planned Japanese landings on Midway Atoll and to cover planned Japanese landings on Attu and Kiska, aircraft from the carriers Junyo and Ryūjō strike Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. Although only 12 planes, all from Ryūjō, manage to reach Dutch Harbor, they inflict considerable damage.[81]
  • June 4
    • 32 aircraft from Junyo and Ryūjō conduct another damaging strike against Dutch Harbor. Small strikes by U.S. Navy PBY Catalina flying boats and U.S. Army Air Forces bombers against the two Japanese aircraft carriers are ineffective.[82]
    • The Battle of Midway begins with a predawn torpedo strike by U.S. Navy PBY Catalinas against Japanese ships, which damages an oiler. After sunrise, 108 aircraft from all four Japanese aircraft carriers – Akagi, Kaga, Hiryū, and Sōryū – carry out a destructive strike on Midway Atoll, shooting down 17 and severely damaging seven of the atoll‍ '​s 26 fighters. A series of Midway-based strikes by various types of aircraft against the Japanese carriers sees the combat debut of the Grumman TBF Avenger, but achieve no hits and suffer heavy losses. All three U.S. aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8), and USS Yorktown (CV-5) – launch strikes against the Japanese carriers; their 41 TBD Devastator torpedo bombers arrive first and achieve no hits, losing all but four of their number, but Enterprise‍ '​s and Yorktown‍ '​s SBD Dauntless dive bombers then arrive and inflict lethal damage on Akagi (which sinks on June 5) and Kaga and Soryu (which both sink later on June 4). A retaliatory strike by Hiryu fatally damages Yorktown (which sinks on June 7), but Enterprise and Yorktown dive bombers then fatally damage Hiryu (which sinks on June 5). The loss of all four of their carriers cause the Japanese to cancel the Midway operation and withdraw. It is widely considered to be the turning point of World War II in the Pacific.[83]
  • June 6
    • Flying 112 sorties, carrier aircraft from Enterprise and Hornet sink the Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma as she withdraws from the Midway area, bringing the Battle of Midway to an end. Three TBD Devastators participate; it is the last combat flight of the Devastator.[84]
    • Four U.S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bombers led by Major General Clarence L. Tinker take off from Midway to attack the Japanese bomber base on Wake Island. Tinker‍ '​s plane disappears after take-off and no wreckage or bodies are ever found.[85]
  • June 8 – Conducting experimental visual and photographic observations during night flight, the U.S. Navy blimps G-1 and L-2 are destroyed in a mid-air collision, killing 12.
  • June 10 – An U.S. Army Air Forces LB-30 Liberator on a reconnaissance flight discovers that Japanese forces have occupied Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.[86]
  • June 11 – In response to orders from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to "bomb the enemy out of Kiska," U.S. Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers and U.S. Navy PBY Catalina flying boats begin a bombing campaign against Japanese forces at Kiska in the "Kiska Blitz." The PBYs bomb almost hourly for 72 hours before withdrawing on July 13, while Army Air Forces continue with twice-daily raids until late June.[87] Flying a 1,200-mile (1,900 km) round trip, the Army bombers will continue to raid Kiska from a base on Umnak until September.[88]
  • June 14–16 – German and Italian aircraft join Italian surface warships and submarines in opposing Operation Harpoon, an Allied Malta resupply convoy from Gibraltar escorted by the British aircraft carriers HMS Argus and HMS Furious, and Operation Vigorous, a simultaneous resupply convoy from Alexandria, Egypt; Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft from Malta and North Africa provide support to the convoys. Before the remnants of the Harpoon convoy arrive at Malta and the Vigorous convoy turns back to Alexandria, Axis aircraft sink three merchant cargo ships, fatally damage three destroyers, a cargo ship, and a tanker, and damage the British light cruisers HMS Birmingham and HMS Liverpool. Royal Air Force Beaufort torpedo bombers knock the Italian battleship Littorio out of action for two months, and disable the Italian heavy cruiser Trento, allowing a British submarine to sink her.[89]
  • June 20 – In North Africa, Axis forces begin the final phase of the Battle of Gazala with a massive aerial bombardment of Tobruk by between 296 and 306 aircraft. Tobruk surrenders the next day.[90]
  • June 21–22 – In response to an erroneous report that a Japanese task force is threatening Nome in the Territory of Alaska, 55 U.S. Army Air Forces and commandeered civilian aircraft carry out the first mass airlift in U.S. military history, carrying 2,272 men, 20 antiaircraft guns, and tons of supplies in 179 trips from Anchorage to Nome over a 24-hour period. The airlift will continue until early July.[91]
  • June 23 – Germany's latest fighter aircraft, a Focke-Wulf Fw 190, is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales.
  • June 25–26 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command flies its third "thousand-bomber raid," with 1,067 bombers targeting Bremen, badly damaging the city in exchange for the loss of 55 bombers; night fighters of II Gruppe of the Luftwaffe‍ '​s Nachtjagdgeschwader 2 alone shoot down 16 of them.[80] The Avro Manchester bomber flies its last combat mission in this raid.[92]
  • June 26 – The U.S. Navy‍ '​s Naval Air Transport Service initiatives service between the [40]

July

August

  • The U.S. Navy light cruiser USS Cleveland (CL-55) conducts the first shipboard tests of anti-aircraft ammunition employing the Mark 32 ("VT") proximity fuse, firing at drone aircraft over the Chesapeake Bay.
  • August 4 – The P-38 Lightning fighter scores its first aerial victories, when two P-38s of the 343rd Fighter Group flown by U.S. Army Air Forces Lieutenants K. Ambrose and S. A. Long shoot down two Japanese Kawanishi H6K4 flying boats near the Aleutian Islands.[99]
  • August 7 – Operation Watchtower, the U.S. invasion of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, begins. The aircraft carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) cover the landings with airstrikes, and U.S. Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb Japanese airfields at Rabaul. Rabaul-based Japanese aircraft attack U.S. transports and their escorts off Guadalcanal, and dogfights with aircraft from Enterprise and Saratoga ensue.[101]
  • August 8 – U.S. Marines capture the partially completed Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.[102] They will rename it Henderson Field, and it will be the focal point of the six-month Guadalcanal campaign. Offshore, Rabaul-based Japanese aircraft damage a U.S. transport, which becomes a total loss.[103]
  • August 11 – Axis opposition to Operation Pedestal – an Allied resupply convoy to Malta escorted by the British aircraft carriers HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable, and HMS Eagle, against which 1,000 Axis aircraft have gathered in Sicily and Sardinia – begins when the German submarine U-73 hits Eagle with four torpedoes in the Mediterranean Sea about 80 nautical miles (141 km) north of Algiers. Eagle sinks in eight minutes, with the loss of 131 of her crew and 16 Sea Hurricane fighters. German torpedo planes launch ineffectuve attacks on the convoys, and a strike by Royal Air Force Beaufighters destroys five and damages 14 of the German aircraft on the ground after they return to base.[104][105]
  • August 12
    • The first American aircraft – a U.S. Navy PBY Catalina amphibian – lands on Guadalcanal‍ '​s Henderson Field.[106] Aircraft based there will become known as the "Cactus Air Force."
    • German and Italian aircraft attack the Pedestal convoy in the Mediterranean, damaging HMS Indomitable, sinking a destroyer and a merchant cargo ship, and possibly inflicting fatal damage on two other cargo ships. Italian aircraft employ three new weapons for the first time: the motobomba torpedo, a new bomb dropped by Re.2001 fighters designed to cause maximum damage on aircraft carrier flight decks, and an explosive-laden unmanned Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bomber controlled as a guided missile by a CANT floatplane. The motobombas strike no targets, one of the flight-deck bombs is dropped onto the deck of HMS Victorious but breaks up and fails to explode, and the SM.79 drone goes out of control and flies inland to crash in Algeria.[107]
  • August 13 – Attacking the Pedestal convoy, Axis aircraft sink two more cargo ships and inflict additional damage on a tanker.[108]
  • August 14 – Flying a P-38 Lightning fighter of the 27th Fighter Squadron, Lieutenant Elza Shaham becomes the first U.S. Army Air Forces pilot to score an aerial victory in Europe during World War II when he shoots down a German Focke Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor.[99]
  • August 16 – During a routine antisubmarine warfare patrol over the Pacific Ocean off California, the two-man crew of the U.S. Navy blimp L-8 disappears. The unmanned blimp then drifts over California and eventually crashes on a street in Daly City, California. A U.S. Navy investigation concludes that the crew left the blimp voluntarily without their parachutes, but determines no reason for them to have done so. L-8 is repaired and returns to service, but no trace of the two missing crewmen is ever found.[109]
  • August 17 – Heavy bombers of the United States Army Air Forces‍ '​ Eighth Air Force carry out their first raid, attacking a railroad marshalling yard at Rouen, France.[110]
  • August 18–19 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command‍ '​s Aabenraa in Denmark. One Pathfinder aircraft and three other bombers fail to return.[111]
  • August 20 – The U.S. Army Air Forces activate the Twelfth Air Force.[112]
  • August 21 – Flying an F4F Wildcat, U.S. Marine Corps Major John L. Smith scores the first aerial victory by a Henderson Field-based aircraft, shooting down a Mitsubishi A6M Zero over Guadalcanal.[113]
  • August 24–25 – The Battle of the Eastern Solomons takes place north of the Solomon Islands. It includes an aircraft carrier action on August 24, during which U.S. Navy carrier aircraft sink the Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō, while Japanese carrier aircraft heavily damage the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6).[114]
  • August 24–25 (overnight) – 226 British bombers attack Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, but most of their bombs land well west of the city; 16 aircraft do not return, including five Pathfinders.[111]
  • August 25 – U.S. Marine Corps SBD Dauntless dive bombers conduct the first bombing raid by Henderson Field-based aircraft, attacking Japanese shipping approaching Guadalcanal.[115]
  • August 26 – Adolf Hitler orders the incomplete heavy cruiser Seydlitz to be completed as an aircraft carrier.[116]
  • August 27–28 (overnight) – 306 British bombers attack Kassel, Germany, with the loss of 31 aircraft, a disturbingly high loss rate of 10.1 percent. However, the Pathfinders are more effective and the sky over Kassel is clear, and the raid is moderately successful.[117]
  • August 28–29 (overnight) – A raid by 159 British bombers against Nuremberg, Germany, suffers an even higher loss rate of 14.5 percent as 23 aircraft fail to return, although the raid again is moderately successful. "Red Blob," Bomber Command‍ '​s first target indicator, is used to mark the target for the first time, glowing a distinctive red.[118]
  • August 31 – Since June 1, Royal Air Force Bomber Command has dispatched 11,169 sorties and lost 531 aircraft, of which German night fighters have shot down 349, averaging 116 kills per month.[13]

September

  • Italy begins conversion of the passenger liner MS Augustus into its second aircraft carrier, originally named Falco ("Falcon") and later renamed Sparviero ("Sparrow"). The conversion will halt when Italy surrenders to the Allies in September 1943 will never be completed.[116]
  • The U.S. Navy and Pan American World Airways sign a contract under which the Naval Air Transportation Service takes control of Pan American‍ '​s Martin M-130 and Boeing 314 flying boats for Navy use in service between California and the Territory of Hawaii for the duration of World War II. Pan American employees become Navy personnel until the end of the war.[119]
  • September 1–2 (overnight) – Due to heavy German jamming of Gee, Royal Air Force Bomber Command Pathfinder aircraft go astray, marking the wrong city, and the force of 231 British bombers that sets out to attack Saarbrücken instead bombs Saarlouis 15 km (9.3 mi) to the northwest.[120]
  • September 2 – The only test flight of the Soviet Antonov A-40 winged tank is partially successful. Although A-40‍ '​s aerodynamic drag forces the Tupolev TB-3 towing it to detach it early to avoid crashing, the A-40 glides to a successful landing and drives back to base as a conventional T-60 tank. The A-40 project nonetheless is abandoned due to the lack of aircraft powerful enough to tow it.
  • September 4–5 (overnight) – 251 British bombers attack Bremen, Germany. For the first time, Bomber Command uses three waves of Pathfinders – "illuminators" dropping flares followed by "visual markers" who drop colored target indicators followed by "backers-up" who drop incendiary bombs – to mark the target. Bremen suffers serious damage.[120]
  • September 6 – The U.S. Navy‍ '​s Naval Air Transport Service makes its first flight to [40]
  • September 7 – The Naval Air Transport Service establishes a detachment at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which begins survey flights as a first step establishing routes between [40]
  • September 9
  • September 10 – The United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command establishes the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), an organization of civilian women pilots who ferry military aircraft from factories to airfields to free male pilots for combat duty.
  • September 10–11 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command employs "Pink Pansy" – a target indicator that creates an instantaneous pink flash – for the first time during a raid by 479 bombers on Düsseldorf, Germany. It is the most successful Pathfinder-led raid yet, but 33 bombers (6.9 percent) are lost.[120]
  • September 12 – After German Bv 138 flying boat snoopers draw away Hawker Sea Hurricane fighters from HMS Avenger, German Heinkel He 111 bombers attack Convoy PQ 18, sinking eight merchant ships. with torpedoes.[122]
  • September 13 – U.S. Army Air Forces bombers fly a 1,200-mile (1,900 km) round-trip raid against Japanese forces at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands from Umnak for the last time. They will begin flying raids from Adak, 400 miles (640 km) closer to Kiska, the following day.[123]
  • September 13–14 – German Heinkel He 111s and Junkers Ju 88s attack Convoy PQ-18. Sea Hurricanes from HMS Avenger remain with the convoy and put up a more ffective defense, and no merchant ships are lost. During the three days of German air attacks, the Sea Hurricanes defending PQ 18 shoot down five German aircraft and damage 21 others.[124]
  • September 14
    • Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King that he is directing the establishment of the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command.[125]
    • In the first U.S. strike from Adak, the U.S. Army Air Forces fly the first combined zero-altitude strike by fighters and bombers of World War II. Twelve B-24 Liberators, 14 P-38 Lightnings, and 14 P-39 Airacobras attack Japanese forces at Kiska. Flying 240 miles (390 km) at wave-top level and attacking at an altitude of 50 feet (15 meters), they sink two Japanese ships and set three on fire and destroy three midget submarines, several buildings, and 12 Japanese floatplane fighters, and kill over 200 Japanese soldiers.[126]
  • September 15
  • Mid-September – The British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious supports a British amphibious landing during a week of attacks on the southern coast of Vichy French-controlled Madagascar during the British occupation of the island.[64]
  • September 16–17 (overnight) – 369 British bombers attack Germany, losing 39 of their number, a very high 10.6 percent loss rate. One German night fighter pilot, Hauptmann Reinhold Knacke, shoots down five bombers during the night.[13]
  • September 21 – Convoy PQ 18 arrives at Archangel in the Soviet Union. During its voyage, aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Avenger have attacked 16 German submarines and contributed to the sinking of one, and Avenger‍ '​s fighters and the convoy‍ '​s antiarcraft guns have shot down 41 German aircraft. Because of these high losses, German aircraft rarely attack Arctic convoys again.[122]
  • September 30
    • German ace Hans-Joachim Marseille is killed when his plane catches fire. He has 158 victories at the time.
    • Since June 1, German night fighters defending Germany have shot down 435 British bombers.[128]
    • The pilot of an Imperial Japanese Navy Nakajima A6M2-N (Allied reporting name "Rufe") floatplane fighter discovers the American base on Adak in the Aleutian Islands, a month after it was established. Japanese aircraft from Kiska bomb Adak daily for the next five days, but their biggest raid, on October 4, consists of only three planes. The rest of the raids consist of one plane each, and Adak suffers almost no damage.[129]

October

  • The U.S. Army Air Forces activate the India Air Task Force.[96]
  • October 3 – The first A4 rocket, later dubbed the V-2, flies from Peenemünde, covering 190 km (120 mi) in 296 seconds at five times the speed of sound, reaching an altitude of 84.5 km (52.5 mi).
  • October 14 – The Japanese battleships Kongō and Haruna bombard Guadalcanal‍ '​s Henderson Field,[130] firing 973 14-inch (356-mm) shells in 1 hour 23 minutes. The shelling kills 41 men and leaves only 42 aircraft operational out of 90 at the airfield.
  • October 18 – A Royal Air Force Vickers Wellington of the Czech-manned 311 Squadron crashed on approach to RAF Northolt killing all onboard and six on the ground.
  • October 21 – On a flight from Hawaii to Canton Island, a B-17D Flying Fortress carrying the top-scoring U.S. World War I ace, Eddie Rickenbacker, on a tour of U.S. Pacific bases strays hundreds of miles off course due to faulty navigational equipment and ditches in the Pacific Ocean due to fuel exhaustion. All seven men aboard get into life rafts. They will remain adrift for 22 days before being rescued.[131]
  • October 22–23 (overnight) – In support of Allied operations in North Africa, RAF Bomber Command mounts the first of 14 night attacks against targets in Italy, the last of which is flown on the night of December 11–12. The series of raids consists of night attacks on Genoa, Milan, and Turin and one daylight raid against Turin. Dispatching 1,752 sorties against Italian targets, it loses only 31 bombers (1.8 percent). During the same period, Bomber Command flies only five major night attacks against Germany.[17]
  • October 23 – A U.S. Army Air Forces B-34 Lexington bomber collides with a Douglas DC-3 airliner operating as American Airlines Flight 28 over California. The B-34 lands safely, but the DC-3 crashes into Chino Canyon, killing all 12 people on board including songwriter Ralph Rainger.
  • October 26 – An aircraft carrier action takes place northeast of the Solomon Islands during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. U.S. Navy carrier aircraft badly damage the Japanese aircraft carriers Shōkaku and Zuihō, while Japanese carrier aircraft fatally damage the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). The abandoned Hornet is finished off by Japanese destroyers early the next morning.[132] becoming the only U.S. fleet carrier ever to be sunk by enemy surface ships.

November

December

  • The Royal Air Force begins airborne jamming of German Freya and Mammut radars with Mandrel jammers carried aboard Boulton Paul Defiants of No. 515 Squadron flying over the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands on a patrol line known as the "Mandrel Screen."[48]
  • Royal Air Force bombers begin to employ "Tinsel", a device to jam German night-fighter controllers‍ '​ speech radio frequencies.[48]
  • December 1 – Germany orders the complete dissolution of the Vichy French armed forces, including the Vichy French Air Force.
  • December 3 – A Wellington bomber specially equipped with electronic measuring equipment collects the frequency of the airborne Lichtenstein radar used by German night fighters for the first time. The information will allow the British to field an operational jammer to counter the radar in late April 1943.[149]
  • December 4 – United States Army Air Forces bombers make their first raid on Italy.
  • December 9 – 18 U.S. Army Air Forces [150]
  • December 13 – U.S. Navy PBY Catalina flying boats begin night harassment raids against Munda airfield.[150]
  • December 15 – A Western Airlines Douglas DC-3A-191 (registration NC16060) crashes near Fairfield, Utah, after performing a violent maneuver during a flight from Salt Lake City Municipal Airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Los Angeles, California. Seventeen of the 19 people on board die.[151][152]
  • December 17 – A U.S. Army Air Forces reconnaissance and bombing raid on Amchitka in the Aluetian Islands destroys every building in the deserted Aleut village there, although no Japanese are on the island.[153]
  • December 20–21 (overnight) – A de Havilland Mosquito of Royal Air Force Bomber Command uses the Oboe blind bombing targeting system operationally for the first time in a raid against a power station at Lutterade in the Netherlands.[154]
  • December 24 – A major U.S. airstrike against Munda airfield destroys four Mitsubishi A6M Zeroes in the air, 10 more on takeoff, and 12 waiting to take off. Later in the day, additional strikes destroy Japanese landing barges and bomb the airfield‍ '​s runway.[155]
  • Late December – U.S. Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortresses conduct a weeklong seies of nightly strikes against Japanese shipping in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul on New Britain, sinking one transport and damaging three transports and the destroyer Tachikaze.[156]
  • December 30 – 31 U.S. Army Air Forces and U.S. Navy aircraft drop 42,000 pounds (19,051 kg) of bombs in a night raid on Kiska, but the Japanese trick them into bombing a wrecked hulk instead of a newly arrived, fully loaded transport. They do damage some midget submarines and destroy a Nakajima A6M2-N (Allied reporting name "Rufe") floatplane fighter on the water in exchange for the loss of four aircraft.[157]
  • December 31
    • A small force of Axis bombers attacks Casablanca, French Morocco.[158]
    • During 1942, the U.S. Army Air Forces‍ '​ Eleventh Air Force has destroyed at least 50 Japanese aircraft in the Aleutian Islands campaign in exchange for the loss of 12 aircraft in combat and almost 80 to other causes. Japanese non-combat aircraft losses in the Aleutian Islands have been equally high. Since October 1, Eleventh Air Force aircraft have dropped 500,000 pounds (226,799 kg) of bombs on Japanese bases in the Aleutians.[159]
    • During 1942, German night fighters defending Germany have shot down 687 British bombers.[128]
  • December 31-January 1 (overnight) – Guided by an Oboe-equipped Mosquito, eight Pathfinder Force Avro Lancasters bomb on sky markers suspended by parachute for the first time in a raid on Düsseldorf. Bomber Command previously had employed only ground markers, and the new capability allows British bombers to bomb through ten-tenths cloud cover.[160]

First flights

January

February

March

April

May

June

  • June 26 – Grumman XF6F-1, prototype of the F6F Hellcat[168]

July

August

September

October

November

December

Entered service

January

February

April

May

May

August

September

Retirements

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