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Years in aviation: 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948
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Years: 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1945:

Events[edit | edit source]

  • The probe-and-drogue aerial refueling system, in which the tanker aircraft trails a hose with a stabilizing conical drogue at its end which mates to a fixed probe mounted on the receiving aircraft, is perfected. It is superior to and replaces the looped-hose system which had been in use since 1934, and it remains in use today.[1]

January[edit | edit source]

  • January 1 – The Luftwaffe targets Allied airfields in Europe in "Operation Bodenplatte", occurring during the German withdrawal from the Battle of the Bulge.
  • January 2
  • January 3 – The United States Navy creates its first aircraft carrier task group devoted to night flying, Task Group 38.5, consisting of the carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Independence (CVL-22) and six destroyers.[4]
  • January 3–4 – U.S. Navy Task Force 38 begins its support of the U.S. invasion of Lingayen Gulf with carrier air strikes against Japanese forces and facilities on Formosa, the Pescadores, the Sakishima Gunto, and Okinawa, with the loss of 22 U.S. aircraft. Bad weather curtails the strikes and makes bomb damage assessment impossible, although the task force believes it has destroyed about 100 Japanese aircraft.[5]
  • January 4
  • January 5 – Kamikazes damage the U.S. escort carrier USS Manila Bay (CVE-61) and heavy cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28) and the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia in the South China Sea west of Manila Bay.[9]
  • January 6
  • January 7
    • In clearer weather, Task Force 38 aircraft employ the "Big Blue Blanket" tactic over Luzon, flying 757 sorties, shooting down all four Japanese aircraft that they meet in the air and claiming another 75 destroyed on the ground. Task Force 38 loses 10 planes in combat and 18 due to non-combat causes. Eleven U.S. escort aircraft carriers in Lingayen Gulf contribute another 143 sorties, and U.S. Army Air Forces planes also participate. In Lingayen Gulf, kamikazes sink a destroyer and a destroyer-minesweeper.[11]
    • The second-highest-scoring American ace of World War II, U.S. Army Air Forces Major Thomas McGuire, is killed when his P-38 Lightning stalls at low altitude and crashes during a dogfight with a Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 (Allied reporting name "Oscar") fighter near Manapla over Negros Island in the Philippines. He has 38 kills at the time of his death.
  • January 8
  • January 9
    • U.S. forces invade Luzon, landing at Lingayen Gulf. During the day, kamikazes attacking ships in the gulf damage the battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) and the light cuiser USS Columbia (CL-56).[13]
    • Task Force 38 carrier aircraft strike Japanese targets at Formosa and Miyako-jima in foul weather, flying 717 sorties and dropping 212 tons (192,325 kg) of bombs. They shoot down all four Japanese aircraft they encounter in the air and claim 42 more on the ground, in exchange for the loss of 10 U.S. aircraft. They also sink a number of merchant ships and small naval craft. It is the last of seven days of Task Force 38 support to the Lingayen landings, during which it has flown 3,030 combat sorties, dropped 9,110 bombs – totaling about 700 tons (635,036 kg) of bombs – and lost 46 planes in combat and 40 to non-combat causes.[14]
    • B-29s based at Kunming, China, attack Japanese shipping along the coast of Formosa, while Mariana Islands-based B-29s drop 122 tons (110,678 kg) of bombs on Japan.[15]
  • January 11 – U.S. Army Air Forces Twentieth Air Force B-29s based at Calcutta bomb Singapore.[3]
  • January 12 – With 850 aircraft aboard its carriers, Task Force 38 strikes targets along a 420-nautical mile (778-km) stretch of the coast of French Indochina, flying 1,465 sorties; sinking 12 tankers, 17 other merchant ships, the disarmed French cruiser La Motte-Picquet, and 15 Japanese naval vessels, including the light cruiser Kashii; and destroying 15 Japanese aircraft in the air, 77 on the ground, and 20 floatplanes on Camranh Bay in exchange for the loss of 23 U.S. aircraft.[16]
  • January 12–13 – Kamikazes resume attacks in Lingayen Gulf, damaging a destroyer escort, a destroyer-transport, an attack transport, and several merchant ships.[17]
  • January 13 – A kamikaze damages the escort carrier USS Salamaua (CVE-96) in the South China Sea off the mouth of Lingayen Gulf. It is the last successful kamikaze attack in the waters of the Philippine Islands.[18]
  • January 14 – U.S. Army Air Forces Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Formosa.[3]
  • January 15
    • Task Force 38 carrier aircraft in bad weather strike Japanese forces in China, Formosa, and the Pescadores, sinking two destroyers, a transport, and a tanker and destroying 16 Japanese aircraft in the air and 18 on the ground in exchange for the loss of 12 U.S. aircraft.[19]
    • The German submarine U-1172 torpedoes the British escort aircraft carrier HMS Thane in the Irish Sea near the Clyde Lightvessel. Thane never again is seaworthy.[20]
  • January 16
    • Task Force 38 aircraft strike Hong Kong, Hainan, and Canton and sweep the coast of China from the Liuchow Peninsula to Swatow. Hampered by bad weather, they sink two merchant ships and damage four others and destroy 13 Japanese planes in exchange for the loss of 22 U.S. aircraft in combat and five to non-combat causes.[19]
    • U.S. Navy escort carrier support to the Lingayen Gulf landings ends. During 12 days of support, their aircraft have flown 6,152 sorties and claimed 92 Japanese aircraft destroyed in exchange for the loss of two aircraft, both FM Wildcat fighters.[21]
    • The new British Pacific Fleet departs Ceylon for Australia.[22]
  • January 16–20 – The U.S. Army Air Forces Fourteenth Air Force destroys over 100 Japanese planes on the ground in and around Shanghai, China.[3]
  • January 17 – Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Formosa.[3]
  • January 21
  • January 22
    • Task Force 38 aircraft conduct an early morning night strike against Formosa, sinking a large tanker in exchange for the loss of three U.S. aircraft, then fly 682 sorties during daylight hours to strike and conduct photographic reconnaissance missions against Okinawa, the Sakishima Gunto, Ie Shima, and Amami O Shima, destroying 28 Japanese aircraft, all on the ground. Task Force 38 then retires to its base at Ulithi Atoll. During January 1945, its aircraft have destroyed 300,000 tons of Japanese shipping and claimed 615 Japanese planes destroyed in exchange for the loss of 201 U.S. carrier aircraft.[25]
    • U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft begin a heavy bombing campaign against Japanese forces on Corregidor. By the time U.S. ground forces land on Corregidor on February 15–16, they will drop over 3,200 tons (2,903,021 kg) of bombs on the island.[26]
  • January 24
    • Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Iwo Jima.[27]
    • British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers launch strikes against the Japanese-controlled oil refinery at Pladjoe, Sumatra. The refinery never recovers its full capacity during World War II.[28]
  • January 26 – The British aircraft carriers HMS Ameer and HMS Shah support the landings of the Royal Marines on Cheduba Island off the coast of Burma.[24]
  • January 27 – Twentieth Air Force B-29s based at Calcutta bomb Saigon, French Indochina.[3]
  • January 29
    • Twentieth Air Force B-29s bomb Iwo Jima.[27]
    • British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers launch strikes against the Japanese-controlled oil refinery at Soengi Gerong, Sumatra. The refinery never recovers its full capacity during World War II. Japanese aircraft counterattack the British carriers, but the British combat air patrol shoots them all down. In the strikes on January 24 and 29 combined, the British Pacific Fleet has lost 16 aircraft to enemy action and others in accidents, as well as 30 aircrewmen, some without trace.[28]
    • The Germans scuttle the incomplete aircraft carrier Seydlitz – the proposed name "Weser" for her had never been officially assigned – at Königsberg to prevent her capture by the Soviet Union.[29]
  • January 31
    • The U.S. Army Air Forces' Seventh Air Force begins two weeks of day-and-night bombing of Iwo Jima.[27]
    • Twentieth Air Force B-29s based at Calcutta bomb Singapore.[3]
    • During January, B-29s raiding Japan have suffered a 5.7 percent loss rate.[30]

February[edit | edit source]

March[edit | edit source]

  • March 1
  • March 4
    • Task Force 58 returns to base at Ulithi Atoll. During its two-week cruise to the Tokyo area and Okinawa its pilots have claimed 393 Japanese aircraft shot down and 250 destroyed on the ground, in exchange for the loss of 84 planes, 60 pilots, and 21 aircrewmen in combat and 59 planes, eight pilots, and six aircrewmen in non-combat incidents.[50]
    • Low on fuel after a raid on Japan, a B-29 Superfortress lands on Iwo Jima, the first of about 2,400 B-29s to do so before World War II ends in August.[51]
  • March 9 – Disappointed in strategic bombing results against Japan with B-29 Superfortresses employing high-altitude daylight bombing as used in Europe, the United States Army Air Forces' Twentieth Air Force switches to low-altitude night bombing of Japan using incendiary bombs for the rest of World War II.[52]
  • March 9–10 – The Great Tokyo Air Raid (American term Operation Meetinghouse), an overnight incendiary bombing raid by B-29 Superfortresses on Tokyo, is one of the most destructive air raids in history. It creates a conflagration which destroys 41 square kilometers (16 sq mi) of the city, killing an estimated 88,000 to 125,000 people, injuring at least 41,000 and perhaps as many as a million people, and leaving probably a million people homeless.
  • March 13–14 – An Avro Lancaster of No. 617 Squadron RAF bombs the Bielefeld Viaduct on what is the first operational use of the 22,000 lb (9,980 kg) Grand Slam bomb.
  • March 15 – The U.S. Navy assigns responsibility for the evacuation of wounded personnel to the Naval Air Transport Service.[53]
  • March 18 – Carrier aircraft of the U.S. Navy's Task Force 58 strike Kyushu.[54]
  • March 19 – Task Force 58 strikes ships in Japan's Inland Sea, damaging the battleship Yamato, the aircraft carriers Amagi and Ryūhō, and 14 other ships, followed by fighter sweeps over Kyushu.[55] Counterattacks by Japanese aircraft damage the aircraft carriers USS Wasp (CV-18), which suffers 101 killed and 269 wounded but remains in action for several more days, and USS Franklin (CV-13), which suffers 724 killed or missing and 265 wounded.[56] Franklin survives to limp home to the United States despite near-fatal damage – probably the most severely damaged aircraft carrier every to make it back to port – and never returns to service.
  • March 21 – The Imperial Japanese Navy uses its Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka ("Cherry Blossom") rocket-powered human-guided anti-shipping kamikaze attack plane operationally for the first time, but without success.
  • March 22 – USS Enterprise (CV-6) is damaged by a flight deck fire caused by American antiaircraft fire, and Task Force 58 retires from Japanese waters. During its strikes on Kyushu and the Inland Sea it has claimed 528 Japanese aircraft destroyed; Japan admits to 163 aircraft lost in air-to-air combat and additional Japanese planes destroyed on the ground.[57]
  • March 23-April 1 – Task Force 58 conducts strikes on Okinawa and vicinity.[58]
  • March 23 – The British Pacific Fleet, centered around the aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable, HMS Victorious, HMS Illustrious, and HMS Indefatigable, departs Ulithi Atoll to begin operations as Task Force 57 of the United States Fifth Fleet.[36]
  • March 24
    • 112 carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 sink an entire convoy of eight Japanese ships 150 nautical miles (278 km) northwest of Okinawa.[59]
    • Allied forces begin large-scale crossings of the Rhine River in Operation Varsity. The operation involves 2,000 transport aircraft and gliders.
  • March 25
    • Japanese aircraft make their last raid on Iwo Jima. U.S. Army Air Forces P-61 Black Widow night fighters based on the island shoot down several of the Japanese planes and drive off the rest.[60]
    • The Japanese high command issues an alert for Operation Ten-Go, a concentrated air attack against amphibious forces preparing to invade Okinawa.[61]
  • March 26
  • March 27
    • In support of the upcoming U.S. invasion of Okinawa, Twentieth Air Force B-29s strike airfields and an aircraft factory on Kyushu and lay naval mines in Shimonoseki Strait.[64]
    • A kamikaze damages the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) off Okinawa, killing 11 and wounding 49.[65]
    • The final V-2 missile to hit England falls in Kent.
  • March 31

April[edit | edit source]

  • April 1
  • April 4 – During trials for rubber decks to be installed aboard future aircraft carriers, Royal Navy test pilot Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown declares an emergency and lands his Fleet Air Arm Bell Airacobra AH574 aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Pretoria Castle. It is the world's first carrier landing by an aircraft with retractable tricycle landing gear.
  • April 6–7 – The Japanese begin Operation Ten-Go with the first and largest of ten major Kikusui ("Floating Chrysanthemum") kamikaze attacks against Allied naval forces off Okinawa, committing 355 kamikazes and 341 bombers. On the first day, they sink two destroyers, a destroyer-minelayer, a tank landing ship, and two civilian ammunition ships and badly damage eight destroyers, a destroyer escort, and a minelayer. The Americans claim 357 Japanese planes destroyed. On the second day, the Japanese damage the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46), a destroyer, and a destroyer escort.[70]
  • American USS BELLEAU WOOD CVL-24,USS BENNINGTON CV-20, USS HORNET CV-20 launched their planes against Kamikaze airfields and other targets on Miyako Jima and Ishigaki Jima at Sakishima Gunto.[71]
  • April 7
    • Accompanying B-29 Superfortresses, P-51 Mustangs of the U.S. Army Air Forces' 15th, 21st, and 506th Fighter Groups based on Iwo Jima become the first Allied fighters to escort bombers all the way to Tokyo, Japan, and back. The escort flights last seven to eight hours.[72] Fifty-four B-29s land on Iwo Jima during the day.[73]
    • 386 carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 attack an Imperial Japanese Navy task force bound for Okinawa while it is steaming in the East China Sea, sinking the battleship Yamato, the light cruiser Yahagi, and four of their eight escorting destroyers.[74] It ends the last offensive sortie by Japanese surface ships of World War II.
  • April 9
  • April 10 – The Luftwaffe flies its final sortie over the United Kingdom, a reconnaissance mission from Norway by an Arado Ar 234.
  • April 11 – British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers launch strikes against Formosa.[69]
  • April 12–13 – The second Japanese Kikusui attack on Allied ships off Okinawa includes 145 kamikazes, which attack along with 150 fighters and 45 torpedo bombers. U.S. Navy ships and aircraft claim 298 Japanese aircraft destroyed. On April 12, the destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) becomes the first ship to be sunk by an Ohka. Kamikazes also hit the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43), four destroyers, four destroyer escorts, a destroyer-minelayer, a minesweeper, and several smaller craft.[77]
  • April 13 – British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers launch a second strike against Formosa. During the April 11 and 13 strikes, their aircraft shoot down at least 16 Japanese planes, destroy additional Japanese aircraft on the ground, and strike airfields and road and railroad targets, for the loss of three British aircraft.[69]
  • April 14–15 (overnight) – An Avro Lancaster on a night mission against Potsdam becomes the last British bomber shot down by a German night fighter during World War II.[78]
  • April 15–16
    • Task Force 58 launches fighter sweeps over Kyushu, claiming 29 Japanese aircraft shot down and 51 destroyed on the ground on the first day.[79]
    • The third Japanese Kikusui attack on ships off Okinawa includes 165 kamikazes. They sink the destroyer USS Pringle (DD-477) and a minesweeper and damage the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11), three destroyers, a destroyer escort, a minesweeper, and a landing craft.[80]
  • April 16 – The final Soviet assault against Berlin begins with strikes by 150 Soviet Air Force night bombers of the 4th and 16th Air Armies against German positions in the early morning hours, coordinated with mortar and artillery attacks. By 1500 hours, 647 Soviet combat aircraft are in the air. The day ends with the Soviet Air Force having flown 5,300 sorties, claiming 131 German aircraft shot down in exchange for 87 Soviet aircraft.[81]
  • April 18
  • April 19 – The International Air Transport Association is founded in Havana, Cuba, with 57 member airlines from 31 countries.
  • April 20
    • British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers launch strikes against the Sakishima Gunto.[84]
    • A Swordfish from the Merchant Aircraft Carrier (or "MAC-ship") MV Empire MacAndrew drops two depth charges on a periscope sighting position in the last attack on a submarine by a MAC-ship's aircraft. During World War II, no submarine makes a successful attack against a convoy containing a MAC-ship. MAC-ship aircraft have attacked 12 German submarines; although they never sink one, their activities have proven very effective in convoy defense.[85]
  • April 23 – The United States Navy puts its first radar-guided bomb, the SWOD-9 "Bat" into use, dropping it from Consolidated PB4Y Liberators on Japanese shipping in Balikpapan Harbour.
  • April 25
  • April 26/27 (overnight) – 563 bombers of the Soviet Air Force's 18th Air Army strike Berlin.[86]
  • April 27–28 – The fourth Japanese Kikusui attack on ships off Okinawa includes 115 kamikazes. They sink an ammunition ship and damage four destroyers and the hospital ship USS Comfort (AH-6).[87]
  • April 30-May 7 – To divert Japanese attention from Operation Dracula and suppress Japanese airpower in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, aircraft from the British aircraft carriers HMS Empress and HMS Shah fly 400 sorties over eight days against Japanese airfields and shipping in the islands, losing one aircraft.[88]

May[edit | edit source]

  • May 1 – The U.S. Navy's mixed-propulsion Ryan FR Fireball becomes the first aircraft incorporating jet propulsion to qualify for use aboard aircraft carriers.[89]
  • May 2 – The British East Indies Fleet's 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron – consisting of the aircraft carriers HMS Emperor, HMS Hunter, HMS Khedive, and HMS Stalker – begin support of Operation Dracula, a British assault on Rangoon, Burma. Their aircraft fly 110 sorties, bombing Japanese forces in support of a British amphibious landing.[88]
  • May 2–3 – With an attack on enemy airfields, Royal Air Force Mosquitoes of No. 8 Group operate the last offensive action in the war by Bomber Command.
  • May 3 – Royal Air Force Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers sink the German passenger ships SS Cap Arcona and SS Deutschland and the German cargo ship SS Thielbek in the Bay of Lübeck, unaware that the ships are carrying more than 10,000 concentration camp prisoners. About 5,000 people die aboard Cap Arcona (the second-greatest loss of life in a ship sinking in history) and about another 2,750 aboard Thielbek, and there also is a heavy loss of life aboard Deutschland.
  • May 3–4 – The fifth Japanese Kikusui attack on ships off Okinawa includes 125 kamikazes. They sink three destroyers and two smaller ships and damage the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, the light cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-62), four destroyers, a destroyer-minelayer, and three smaller ships.[90]
  • May 4 – The British Home Fleet carries out its last operation of World War II, a raid by 44 Avengers and Wildcats from the aircraft carriers HMS Queen. HMS Trumpeter, and HMS Searcher against Kilbotn, Norway, sinking a German depot ship and submarine. It is the last air raid against Norway of World War II.[91]
  • May 4–5 – Carrier aircraft of the British Pacific Fleet strike airfields on the Sakishima Gunto.[92]
  • May 5–6 – The British aircraft carriers HMS Emperor, HMS Hunter, HMS Khedive, and HMS Stalker resume support of Operation Dracula, bombing Japanese forces south of Rangoon and attacking shipping off Burma's Tenasserim coast.[88]
  • May 7 – The Royal Air Force sinks a German submarine for the last time in World War II.
  • May 8
  • May 9 – British Pacific Fleet carrier aircraft strike the Sakishima Gunto. Kamikazes hit the aircraft carriers HMS Formidable and HMS Victorious.[93]
  • May 10 – Sighting a Japanese Kawasaki Ki-45 (Allied reporting name "Nick" fighter flying high over Okinawa, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Robert R, Klingman in an F4U Corsair gives chase for over 185 miles and intercepts the Ki-45 at 38,000 feet (11,583 m). Finding his guns frozen, he climbs well above the Corsair's service ceiling of 41,600 feet (12,680 m) and cuts off the Ki-45's tail with his propeller in several passes, causing it to crash. He then belly lands safely at Kadena field on Okinawa.[94] He receives the Navy Cross for the action.
  • May 10–11 – The sixth Japanese Kikusui attack off Okinawa includes 150 kamikazes. They damage two destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), which suffers 353 killed, 43 missing, and 264 wounded. One of the most heavily damaged aircraft carriers to survive the war, Bunker Hill is out of service for the rest of World War II.[90]
  • May 11 – The Martin-Baker company makes the first live firing of an ejector seat.[95]
  • May 12 – A kamikaze hits the battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40) at Hagushi anchorage, Okinawa.[96]
  • May 12–13 – Carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 strike targets on Kyushu and Shikoku. The British Pacific Fleet's carriers strike the Sakishima Gunto.[97]
  • May 14
  • May 15 – Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Emperor attack the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the Indian Ocean, but achieve only one near-miss.[99]
  • May 16–17 – British Pacific Fleet carrier aircraft strike Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Gunto.[93]
  • May 18 – A Corsair's guns accidentally fire in the hangar deck of the British aircraft carrier Formidable, striking an Avenger. The Avenger explodes, starting a fire that destroys 28 planes.[84]
  • May 20 – 29 aircraft from the British aircraft carriers HMS Ameer, HMS Khedive, and HMS Stalker conduct devastating strikes against Japanese shipping, airfields, and communications in southern Burma and Sumatra.[100]
  • May 23–25 – The seventh Kikusui attack off Okinawa involves 165 kamikazes. They sink a destroyer-transport and two smaller ships and damage a destroyer and a destroyer-transport on May 25.[101]
  • May 24–25 – British Pacific Fleet carrier aircraft make the final strikes of the war against the Sakishima Gunto, where all Japanese airfields have now been knocked out.[102]
  • May 24/25 (overnight) – Five Imperial Japanese Army Mitsubishi Ki-21 (Allied reporting name "Sally") bombers carrying Giretsu Kuteitai special airborne attack troops make a suicide raid on Kadena and Yontan airfields on Okinawa. Four are shot down, but the fifth belly lands on the principal runway at Yontan and disgorges ten giretsu troops, who destroy seven and damage 26 planes, blow up two fuel dumps, and kill two Americans and wound 18 before being killed. Japanese planes also bomb Ie Shima during the night.[103]
  • May 27–29 – The eighth Japanese Kikusui attack off Okinawa involves 110 kamikazes. They sink a destroyer and damage two destroyers, three merchant ships, and an attack transport.[104]

June[edit | edit source]

July[edit | edit source]

  • Japan produces 1,131 aircraft, its lowest monthly total since February 1943.[114]
  • A U.S. Army Air Forces air intelligence report finds that Army Air Forces aircraft had destroyed 30,152 German aircraft during the war in Europe in exchange for 18,418 Army Air Forces aircraft destroyed.[115]
  • Several manufacturers have built a combined total of 8,751 Airspeed Oxfords.[116]
  • Avro Canada is formed as a part of the Hawker Siddeley Group and takes over the former Victory Aircraft factory at Malton, Ontario, Canada.[117]
  • July 1–3 – The U.S. Navy escort aircraft carriers USS Suwannee (CVE-27), USS Chenango (CVE-28), and USS Gilbert Islands (CVE-107) with Marine Air Group 2 embarked support Australian Army amphibious landings at Balikpapan, Borneo.[118]
  • July 2
    • 532 B-29 Superfortresses drop 3,709 tons (3,365 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Kure, Kumamoto, and other cities in Japan.[111]
    • The Okinawa campaign is officially declared over with the complete defeat of Japanese forces there. During the campaign, the Allies have lost 32 ships and naval craft sunk and 368 damaged and over 4,900 naval personnel killed and 4,824 wounded. Most of the ships sunk were victims of kamikazes. The Allies also have lost 763 aircraft during the campaign.[119]
  • July 4 – 483 B-29s drop 3,752 tons (3,404 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Kōchi and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 5 – American Airlines acquires American Export Airlines and forms American Overseas Airlines.
  • July 5–11 – Aircraft from the British aircraft carriers HMS Ameer and HMS Emperor strike Japanese airfields and shipping at Car Nicobar.[100]
  • July 7 – 568 B-29s drop 4,227 tons (3,835 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Chiba and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 10 – Aircraft from the 20 aircraft carriers of U.S. Navy Task Force 38 strike Tokyo and vicinity.[120] In addition, 536 B-29s drop 3,872 tons (3,513 metric tons) of bombs on Sendai and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 12 – An Eastern Air Lines Flight 45, a Douglas DC-3-201C en route from Boston Massachusetts, to Miami, Florida, with stops in Washington, D.C. and Columbia, South Carolina, collides with a United States Army Air Forces A-26 Invader bomber 3,100 feet (940 m) above Syracuse, South Carolina, (about 20 miles (32 km) from Florence, South Carolina. The commercial pilot, G. D. Davis, lands his airliner in a cornfield. One passenger, an infant, is killed aboard the airliner. The A-26's tail is sheared off; two aboard the bomber die and one is able to parachute safely.
  • July 13 – 517 B-29s drop 3,640 tons (3,302 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Utsunomiya and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 14 – Task Force 38 carrier aircraft fly 1,391 sorties against targets in northern Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan, without any Japanese air opposition. They destroy 25 Japanese aircraft, sink three destroyers, eight naval auxiliaries, and 20 merchant ships, and damage a destroyer, three escort craft, and 21 merchant ships.[121]
  • July 15 – In a second day of air strikes on northern Honshu and Hokkaido, Task Force 38 aircraft completely disrupt the Aomori-Hakodate train ferry system and sink numerous colliers, reducing the Japanese coal-carrying capacity by 50 percent.[122]
  • July 16 – 471 B-29s drop 3,678 tons (3,337 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Numazu and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 18 – Task Force 38 carrier aircraft conduct heavy strikes against targets along the shore of Tokyo Bay, concentrating on the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, where they damage the battleship Nagato and sink a submarine, a destroyer, and three smaller vessels.[123]
  • July 19 – U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortresses strike Hitachi, Japan.[123]
  • July 20 – 473 B-29s drop 3,255 tons (2,953 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Fukui and other cities in Japan.[111]
  • July 23 – The Japanese submarines I-400 and I-401 depart Japan to launch a surprise air strike on American ships at Ulithi Atoll using six submarine-launched Aichi M6A floatplanes painted in American markings. The two submarines will abort the mission and jettison the aircraft on 16 August when they learn of Japan's surrender.
  • July 24 – Task Force 38 carrier aircraft fly 1,747 sorties against no air opposition, striking targets in the Inland Sea of Japan in one of the heaviest days of carrier air strikes of World War II. At Kure, Japan, they sink the battleship Hyūga, the heavy cruisers Tone and Aoba, and the obsolete battleship Settsu and armored cruiser Iwate, heavily damage the aircraft carrier Amagi, and damage the aircraft carrier Kaiyo.[124][125] In addition, 570 U.S. Army Air Forces B-29s drop 3,445 tons (3,125 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Osaka and Nagoya, Japan.[111]
  • July 24–26 – Aircraft from carriers of the British 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron strike Japanese airfields and shipping in northern Malaya.[100]
  • July 28
    • Task Force 38 carrier aircraft again carry out heavy airstrikes against targets in the Inland Sea without meeting aerial opposition. They sink the aircraft carrier Amagi, the battleships Haruna and Ise, and the obsolete armored cruiser Izumo and damage the aircraft carriers Katsuragi and Kaiyo.[124][125] In addition, 548 U.S. Army Air Forces B-29s drop 4,427 tons (4,016 metric tons/tonnes) of bombs on Tsu and other cities in Japan.[111]
    • A U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell bomber crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City, killing 14 people.[126]
  • July 29 – U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchells and U.S. Navy aircraft from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) further damage the Japanese aircraft carrier Kaiyo in Beppu Bay.[125]
  • July 29–30
    • Japanese kamikazes make their last attacks on ships off Okinawa, damaging two U.S. destroyers.[127]
    • Carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 strike the Maizuru Naval Arsenal and the north coast of Honshu, Japan.[124]
  • July 31 – Since beginning the strategic bombing campaign against Japan in June 1944, B-29s of the U.S. Army's Twentieth Air Force have destroyed 67 Japanese cities, leaving only four major cities – Kokura, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, – undamaged. During July 1945, the B-29s have carried an average bombload of 7.4 tons (6.7 metric tons) per plane – an increase of 4.8 tons (4.4  metric tons) since November 1944 – dropped more than 75 percent of their bombs by radar, and suffered a loss rate of only 0.4 percent of aircraft raiding Japan (down from 5.7 percent in January 1945).[128]

August[edit | edit source]

  • August 2
    • 855 B-29 Superfortresses drop 6,600 tons (5,987 metric tons) of bombs on Toyama, Tachikawa, and other cities in Japan.[111] The attack on Toyama is an incendiary raid that destroys almost the entire city.
    • A U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura patrol plane discovers survivors of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the first indication that Indianapolis is even missing, 84 hours after she had been sunk by the Japanese submarine I-58 in the Philippine Sea. A large air-sea rescue operation lasts until August 8, but saves only 316 of her crew of 1,199.[129]
  • August 6
  • August 7 – 131 B-29s drop 830 tons (7,529 metric tons) of bombs on the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal in Japan.[111]
  • August 8 – 245 B-29s drop 1,296 tons (1,176 metric tons) of bombs on Yawata, Japan.[111]
  • August 9
    • The B-29 Superfortress Bockscar drops the plutonium-239 atomic bomb Fat Man on Nagasaki, Japan.
    • Carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 conduct devastating strikes against Japanese airfields in northern Honshu where the Japanese had been marshalling aircraft for a planned major suicide strike on B-29 bases in the Mariana Islands. The Americans claim 251 Japanese aircraft destroyed and 141 damaged.[130]
  • August 10
    • Task Force 38 aircraft again strike northern Honshu heavily, striking two previously undetected Japanese airfields.[124]
    • After suffering heavy damage during the airstrikes of July 24, 28, and 29, the Japanese aircraft carrier Kaiyo is abandoned in Beppu Bay when she lists far enough for the port side of her flight deck to be underwater. She later will be scrapped in place.[125]
  • August 13 – Carrier aircraft of Task Force 38 strike the Tokyo area, claiming 272 Japanese aircraft destroyed and 149 damaged.[124]
  • August 13–14 (overnight) – Seven B-29 Superfortresses drop five million leaflets over Tokyo, providing the Japanese population for the first time with the news that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and was negotiating for peace.[131]
  • August 15
  • August 15 (August 14 east of the International Date Line) – VJ Day; Japan surrenders, ending the war in the Pacific theater and bringing World War II to an end.
  • August 18 – Indian nationalist revolutionary Subhas Chandra Bose reportedly dies in the crash of a Japanese aircraft at Matsuyama aerodrome (now Taipei Songshan Airport) at Taipei on Formosa (now Taiwan), although the report of his death in the crash has since been disputed.
  • August 19 – Two Mitsubishi G4M (Allied reporting name "Betty") bombers carry Japan's surrender delegation to Ie Shima.
  • August 25 – A U.S. Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning fighter piloted by Colonel Clay Tice becomes the first American aircraft to land in Japan following the armistice of August 15.[134]

September[edit | edit source]

October[edit | edit source]

  • The Royal Navy cancels five of its eight planned Centaur-class aircraft carriers.[139]
  • October 1 – The first annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association begins in Montreal, Canada.
  • October 2 – A U.S. Navy PBM Mariner flying boat carrying Rear Admiral William Sample and eight others disappears near Wakayama, Japan. The wreckage and their bodies will not be discovered under 19 November 1948.
  • October 5 – National Airlines Flight 16, a Lockheed 18-50 Lodestar, overshoots the runway and crashes into a lake at Lakeland, Florida. Two passengers drown, and several of the 13 survivors are injured.
  • October 16 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff examine an intelligence report which states that the Soviet Air Force has 35,000 combat aircraft organized into 350 fighter regiments and 230 bomber regiments, all dedicated either to ground support of the Soviet Army or home air defense, and that after post-World War II demobilization was complete 410 air regiments would remain. The report states that the Soviet Union has no strategic air force and assesses that it will not field its first atomic bomb until at least 1950.[140]
  • October 23 – The U.S. Joint Intelligence Staff assesses that the Soviet Union will require five to 10 years to field an atomic bomb and create a strategic air force.[141]
  • October 24 – Using a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, American Overseas Airlines begins the first scheduled commercial transatlantic airline service by a landplane, operating between New York City and London. Since the new London-Heathrow airport is not yet available for commercial operations, AOA uses Bournemouth-Hurn Airport.

November[edit | edit source]

  • The Royal Navy cancels all three of its planned Malta-class aircraft carriers.[139]
  • The report of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey on the results of strategic bombing in World War II is made public. Its critics view its findings as debatable or capable of supporting any position on the effectiveness of air power.[142]
  • November 3
    • The U.S. Joint Intelligence Committee reports on the Soviet Union's vulnerability to atomic attack, finding that the United States does not have enough atomic weapons to destroy the Soviet transportation system, power grid, or metals industry, or to be useful on conventional battlefields. It recommends that in the event of war the U.S. Army Air Forces make atomic strikes against 20 Soviet cities in an attempt to destroy research and development centers, administrative centers, and munitions and aircraft factories, but notes that the small yields of contemporary bombs means that even attacks that successfully bomb cities may be too inaccurate to destroy the intended targets.[143]
    • The Pan American World Airways Boeing 314 flying boat Honolulu Clipper, operating on an Operation Magic Carpet flight carrying 26 American servicemen home to the United States after World War II, makes a forced landing in the Pacific Ocean 650 miles east of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands without injury to passengers or crew, all of whom are rescued by a tanker the following morning. U.S. Navy attempts to repair the aircraft fail, as do Navy efforts to tow it, and the Navy eventually sinks Honolulu Clipper by gunfire on November 14.
  • November 6 – After its piston engine fails, a mixed-propulsion Ryan FR-1 Fireball fighter flown by U.S. Marine Corps pilot J. C. West makes the first landing under jet power on an aircraft carrier, landing aboard USS Wake Island (CVE-65).[144]
  • November 7 – Royal Air Force Group Captain H. J. Wilson sets a new official airspeed record of 606 mph (976 km/h) in a Gloster Meteor. Unofficial German speed records by the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163 during the war had already exceeded 625 mph (1,000 km/h) on October 2, 1941, and 1,130 km/h (702 mph) on July 6, 1944.
  • November 16 – Pan American World Airways resumes commercial seaplane service between California and Hawaii, using Boeing Clipper aircraft it has leased to the U.S. Navy during World War II.[145]

December[edit | edit source]

  • December 4 – A de Havilland Sea Vampire Mk 5 becomes the first jet aircraft to intentionally take off and land from an aircraft carrier, HMS Ocean.[146][147]
  • December 5 – Flight 19, a formation of five U.S. Navy TBM Avengers with a total of 14 men aboard, vanishes without trace over the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida. A U.S. Navy PBM-5 Mariner flying boat sent to search for the Avengers also disappears with the loss of all 13 men aboard, apparently the victim of an accidental mid-air explosion.
  • December 8 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff release a report on the effect of atomic weapons on warfare. It finds that there is no effective defense against atomic weapons and that that the appearance of such weapons in the hands of an adversary would seriously degrade American national security. It also notes that the Soviet Union has better air defenses than does the United States, leaving the United States more vulnerable to atomic attack. It finds that in a war with the Soviet Union, the United States will have to seize forward bases from which to launch bombers for nuclear strikes, and that the United States will have to strike first to preempt a Soviet nuclear attack if the Soviet Union develops an atomic arsenal and the United States detects preparations for such an attack.[148]
  • December 21 – The first flight by an American turboprop-powered aircraft takes place, when the Consolidated Vultee XP-81, previously flown with a piston engine, flies under turboprop power for the first time.[149]

First flights[edit | edit source]

January[edit | edit source]

February[edit | edit source]

March[edit | edit source]

April[edit | edit source]

May[edit | edit source]

  • May 8 – Yokosuka R2Y1 Keiun ("Beautiful Cloud"), piston-engined prototype of the R2Y2, projected as the first Japanese jet attack aircraft[160]
  • May 17 – Lockheed XP2V-1 Bu48237, prototype of the P2V Neptune (later P-2 Neptune)[161]

June[edit | edit source]

July[edit | edit source]

August[edit | edit source]

September[edit | edit source]

October[edit | edit source]

November[edit | edit source]

December[edit | edit source]

Entered service[edit | edit source]

January[edit | edit source]

March[edit | edit source]

May[edit | edit source]

August[edit | edit source]

November[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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