1942 in aviation

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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:

Events[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

  • 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) Lockheed 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 Supermarine 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
  • 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 Vickers 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[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

  • 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.[80] 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 USAAC Roundel 1919-1941.svg 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 US roundel 1942-1943.svg. The new marking will remain in use until July 1943.[81]
  • 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.[82]
  • 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.[83]
  • June 4
    • 32 aircraft from Junyo and Ryūjō conduct another damaging strike against Dutch Harbor. Small strikes by U.S. Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats and U.S. Army Air Forces bombers against the two Japanese aircraft carriers are ineffective.[84]
    • The Battle of Midway begins with a predawn torpedo strike by U.S. Navy Consolidated 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 Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers arrive first and achieve no hits, losing all but four of their number, but Enterprise's and Yorktown's Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers 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.[85]
  • June 6
  • 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 Consolidated LB-30 Liberator on a reconnaissance flight discovers that Japanese forces have occupied Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.[88]
  • June 11 – In response to orders from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to "bomb the enemy out of Kiska," U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers and U.S. Navy Consolidated 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.[89] 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.[90]
  • 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 Bristol 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.[91]
  • 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.[92]
  • 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.[93]
  • 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.[82] The Avro Manchester bomber flies its last combat mission in this raid.[94]
  • June 26 – The U.S. Navy's Naval Air Transport Service initiatives service between the United States West Coast and the Territory of Alaska with a flight by Air Transport Squadron 2 (VR-2).[40]
  • June 30 – Staffing of the United States Army Air ForcesAir Corps Tactical School ends, although the school will not formally be abolished until 1946.

July[edit]

August[edit]

  • 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 Lockheed 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.[101]
  • 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 Boeing 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.[103]
  • August 8 – U.S. Marines capture the partially completed Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.[104] 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.[105]
  • 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 ineffective attacks on the convoys, and a strike by Royal Air Force Bristol Beaufighter destroys five and damages 14 of the German aircraft on the ground after they return to base.[106][107]
  • August 12
    • The first American aircraft – a U.S. Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina amphibian – lands on Guadalcanal's Henderson Field.[108] 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.[109]
  • August 13 – Attacking the Pedestal convoy, Axis aircraft sink two more cargo ships and inflict additional damage on a tanker.[110]
  • August 14 – Flying a Lockheed 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.[101]
  • 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.[111]
  • 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.[112]
  • August 18–19 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command's Pathfinder Force flies its first mission, with 31 Pathfinder aircraft attempting to mark the target – the German submarine base at Flensburg – for a main force of 87 bombers. The raid is a complete failure; Flensburg is untouched, and the aircraft scatter their bombs widely over the towns of Sønderborg and Aabenraa in Denmark. One Pathfinder aircraft and three other bombers fail to return.[113]
  • August 20 – The U.S. Army Air Forces activate the Twelfth Air Force.[114]
  • August 21
  • August 24
    • Flying a Spitfire Mark V specially modified for high-altitude flight, Royal Air Force Flying Officer George Reynolds intercepts a German Junkers Ju-86P reconnaissance plane – near Cairo, Egypt, at 37,000 feet (11,278 meters). Based on Crete and beginning reconnaissance operations over Egypt in May, Ju-86Ps of the Luftwaffe′s Long-Range Reconnaissance Group 123 previously had flown with impunity because Allied fighters could not reach their operating altitude. Although the Ju-86P climbs to 42,000 feet (12,802 meters), Reynolds manages to fire at it before it escapes. The RAF concludes that it must further lighten a Spitfire so that it can intercept the Ju-86Ps.[117]
    • The Luftwaffe begins high-altitude nuisance raids against England by Junkers Ju-86R bombers carrying one 250-kg (551-pound) bomb each and capable of flying as high as 47,000 feet (14,326 meters). On the first day, two Ju-86R-2s drop one bomb each on Camberley and Southampton, doing little damage, and a Polish Royal Air Force Spitfire squadron that attempts to intercept the Ju-86Rs fail to reach the altitude of the bombers. The Luftwaffe will conduct ten more of the raids over the next three weeks.[118]
  • 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).[119]
  • 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.[113]
  • August 25
  • August 26 – Adolf Hitler orders the incomplete heavy cruiser Seydlitz to be completed as an aircraft carrier.[121]
  • August 27–28 (overnight) – 306 British bombers attack Kassel, Germany, with the loss of 31 aircraft, a 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.[122]
  • August 28 – A Luftwaffe high-altitude Junkers Ju-86R bomber drops a 250-kg (551-pound) bomb into Bristol, England, during the morning rush hour, destroying several buses, killing 48 civilians, and injuring 56 others.[118]
  • 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.[123]
  • August 29
    • Flying a Spitfire Mark V specially modified for high-altitude flight, Royal Air Force Pilot Officer George Genders intercepts a German Junkers Ju-86P high-altitude reconnaissance plane over Egypt and damages it before his guns jam. It ditches in the Mediterranean Sea on its way back to its base on Crete, giving the Allies their first victory over a Ju-86P flying at high altitude.[124]
  • 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[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

First flights[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

Entered service[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

May[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

Retirements[edit]

March[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Swanborough, Gordon, and Peter M. Bowers, United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Second Edition, London: Putnam, 1976, ISBN 978-0-370-10054-8, p. 25.
  2. ^ Koenig, William, Over the Hump: Airlift to China, New York: Ballantine Books, 1972, p. 37.
  3. ^ Baker, David, "Flight and Flying: A Chronology", Facts On File, Inc., New York, New York, 1994, Library of Congress card number 92-31491, ISBN 978-0-8160-1854-3, page 269.
  4. ^ Hardesty, Von, Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941-1945, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, ISBN 0-87474-510-1, p. 76.
  5. ^ Hardesty, Von, Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941-1945, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, ISBN 0-87474-510-1, pp. 78-79.
  6. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III: The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931-April 1942, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1988, p. 259.
  7. ^ Hardesty, Von, Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941-1945, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, ISBN 0-87474-510-1, p. 78.
  8. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III: The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931-April 1942, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1988, pp. 280-281.
  9. ^ Green, William, "The Warplanes of the Third Reich", Galahad Books, New York, 1986, Library of Congress card number 86-80568, ISBN 978-0-88365-666-2, page 363.
  10. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III: The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931-April 1942, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1988, p. 296.
  11. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 471. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. 
  12. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Volume I: The Battle of the Atlantic September 1939-May 1943, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1988, p. 154.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces vs. Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 1996, ISBN 978-0-7858-1418-4, p. 98.
  14. ^ Maurer, pp. 461-462, 466.
  15. ^ Koenig, William, Over the Hump: Airlift to China, New York: Ballantine Books, 1972, p. 25.
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  17. ^ a b Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces vs. Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 1996, ISBN 978-0-7858-1418-4, p. 99.
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  24. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan, "Australia's Pearl Harbor," Military History, March 2015, pp. 26-33.
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  26. ^ Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Lufatwaffe Night Aces vs. Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 1996, ISBN 978-0-7858-1418-4, pp. 82-83.
  27. ^ Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary Campaign Diary February 1942
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  40. ^ a b c d e Chronology of Significant Events in Naval Aviation: "Naval Air Transport" 1941 -- 1999
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  49. ^ Maurer, p. 464.
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  54. ^ Polmar, Norman, "A Lackluster Performance, Part II," Naval History, June 2017, p. 62.
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