|K e n s m e n : 4 3 r d B o m b G r o u p (H), 5 t h A A F|
1 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20s bomb and strafe forces at Guadagasal and along the trails throughout the Mubo, Komiatum and Salamaua areas. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb the runway on Gasmata Island. In the Sunda Islands of the Netherland East Indies, B-24s carry out single-plane attacks on shipping off Soemba and Soembawa Islands, and in the Solomon Sea.
Battle of the Bismarck Sea
Tuesday, 2 March, 1943
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea begins and the enemy is introduced to the 43rd BG's skip bombing techniques for the first time. On 28 February, the Japanese had dispatched a force of 8 destroyers and 8 transports from Rabaul to reinforce their New Guinea forces; this convoy was spotted yesterday. Today, 28 B-17s of the 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy) attack in 2 waves, the first 8 B-17's sinking 1 transport and claim 3 Zekes shot down. Two destroyers pick up 850 troops from this transport and land them that night at Lae, New Guinea. At dusk, 11 more B-17's attack the convoy without result.
Wednesday, 3 March, 1943
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea continues as heavy bombers are joined by medium and light bombers and fighters (US and Australian) in pounding the Japanese convoy as it moves in the Huon Gulf. After 2 RAAF Beauforts fail to score hits with torpedoes, the main attack begins with strafing runs by 13 RAAF Beaufighters. Simultaneously, 13 B-17's of the 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy) sink a transport. Then they and their 28 escort P-38's are jumped by Zekes escorting the convoy; the B-17's claim 5 Zekes and the fighters (from the 9th and 39th Fighter Squadrons) claim 15; 1 B-17 and 3 P-38's are lost. During this dogfight, 13 B-25's of the 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) and 12 B-25C gun-nosed aircraft of the 90th Bombardment Squadron (Dive) attack from 500 to 200 feet followed by 12 A-20's of the 89th Bombardment Squadron (Dive) and 6 B-25's of the 13th Bombardment Squadron (Dive); these attacks sink 2 destroyers and 3 transports. In the afternoon, 16 B-17's, 23 B-25's and 5 RAAF Bostons attack; 8 90th Bombardment Squadron sink a destroyer and 2 transport while the Boston's sink a destroyer. That night, Seventh Fleet motor torpedo (PT) boats sink the last transport. By the end of the day, all 8 transport have been sunk and Allied aircraft have destroyed 4 of the 8 destroyers and a large number of fighter aircraft covering the convoy. Dick Bong gets his 6th kill when he destroys an Oscar.
Thursday, 4 March, 1943
Allied aircraft continue to bombard remnants of the Japanese convoy in the Huon Gulf, thus ending the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, a decisive victory. Fifth Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft sink 12 of 16 vessels in 3 days. This is the last enemy attempt to use large vessels to reinforce positions on the Huon Gulf in the face of the 43rd BG's air power. In New Guinea, A-20s hit Lae Airfield and vicinity, B-17s attack power, launches off Lae. Several B-25s, a single B-17 and B-24s hit the harbor and airfield at Lae and barges off Finschhafen. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s attack Ubili and power launches off Cape Gloucester.
Friday, 5 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, heavy bombers, operating individually, hit Gasmata Island. In New Guinea, A-20s pound Lae Airfield while heavy bombers, operating individually, hit Lae and Alexishafen. In the Netherlands East Indies, heavy bombers, operating individually, hit Saumlakki on Yamdena Island in the Mulaccas Islands.
Saturday, 6 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20s hit the Guadagasal area. Single B-24s attack shipping off Manus Island in the Admiralties and off Talasea, New Britain Island and hit the Airfield on Gasmata Island. HQ 49th Fighter Group and it's 9th Fighter Squadron with P-38Fs transfer from Port Moresby, New Guinea to Dobodura, New Guinea.
Sunday, 7 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20s attack the Guadagasal area and barges offshore; B-25s bomb Toeal. Single B-24s attack a ship NW of Madang and bomb Salamaua. In the Bismarck Archipelago, single B-24s bomb Gasmata Island, and Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island.
Monday, 8 March, 1943
In New Guinea, heavy bombers, operating individually, hit occupied areas in the SE coastal region of NW New Guinea and also strike at Saumlakki and Babo.
Wednesday, 10 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-17s bomb the airfield and shipping at Wewak. Single heavy bombers attack shipping off New Guinea.
Thursday, 11 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20s bomb and strafe Vickers Ridge and the Guadagasal area. Single B-24s attack Finschhafen. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24s bomb the airfield at Rabaul on New Britain Island while single B-24s attack Cape Gloucester and Powell Point. Dick Bong gets his 7th and 8th kills when he shoots down 2 Oscars.
Friday, 12 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20s attack the Guadagasal Gap area and Salamaua Airfield. In the Celebes, B-24s and B-25s attack shipping at Amboina on Ambon Island and bomb Fuiloro on Timor. On New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb Rabaul Airfield while individual B-24s hit a wreck off Talasea and bomb Cape Gloucester.
Saturday, 13 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-17s bomb the airfield and shipping at Wewak. In the Bismarck Archipelago, a B-l7 bombs the airfield on Gasmata Island and warehouses on Wide Bay, while a B-24 attack shipping off Netherlands New Guinea. HQ 54th Troop Carrier Wing is activated at Brisbane, Australia to control all Fifth Air Force troop carrier units.
Sunday, 14 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-17s and B-24s bomb Wewak, Tring, and Madang. In the Bismarck Archipelago, single B-17s bomb Gasmata Island, and strafe a vessel off Talasea, AA positions at Cape Gloucester, and Finschhafen Airfield. A lone B-24 bombs Dili on Timor.
Monday, 15 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25s and 4 P-38s, along with Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, bomb shipping at Dobo and Wokam. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s, on single-plane flights bomb Gasmata Island and Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island.
Tuesday, 16 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25s bomb Lae. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17s bomb Rapopo airstrip and attack Ubili, a sub off Cape Turner, the town of Marienberg, and the Cape Gloucester area. B-24's unsuccessfully attack cargo ships between Bitsjaroe Bay and Fak Fak.
Wednesday, 17 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25s bomb Langgoer.
Thursday, 18 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-24's pound the town of Madang. In the Bismarck Archipelago, single B-17's strafe a launch at Talasea and barges northeast of Cape Gloucester, while a lone B-24 bombs Timoeka and Langgoer.
Friday, 19 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20's pound forces in the Mubo area while B-25's bomb a submarine and barges in Lae harbor. In the Moluccas, B-24's hit Amboina. In the Bismarck Archipelago, single B-17's strike Arawe, Gasmata, Cape Gloucester, barges off Cape Gauffre and a cargo boat at Lorengau.
Saturday, 20 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25's bomb Langgoer and Kaimana. The landing strip at Finschhafen and the harbor area at Salamaua are bombed by single B-24's.
Sunday, 21 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, a B-24 claims a direct hit on a cargo vessel ESE of Cape Gloucester. Other isolated attacks on shipping are unsuccessful. The 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group with P-38F's transfers from Mareeba, Queensland, Australia to Port Moresby, New Guinea.
Monday, 22 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, heavy bombers pound the Gasmata Airfield. In New Guinea, in single-plane strikes, heavy bombers attack Finschhafen, Lae and Madang. In the Admiralty Islands, in single-plane strikes, heavy bombers attack the harbor at Lorengau on Manus Island. The 400th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy) with B-24's transfers from Iron Range, Queensland, Australia to Port Moresby, New Guinea.
Tuesday, 23 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-17's thoroughly pound the airfields in the Rabaul area and strafe a vessel off Cape Gazelle. Single B-24s attack Gasmata Airfield. In New Guinea, A-20's bomb and strafe forces in the Mubo area and at the mouth of the Bitoi River. B-25's strafe targets of opportunity in the Salamaua, Labu Lagoon and Nadzab areas, and at the mouth of the Markham River. Single B-24's attack Lorengau harbor and the airfield at Salamaua.
Wednesday, 24 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25's hit Langgoer and Faan. B-25's and B-17's, operating individually, attack shipping in the Netherlands East Indies and airfields and targets of opportunity at Gasmata and Mubo.
Thursday, 25 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24's pound Rabaul. Single B-17s hit Gasmata and Ubili. In the Moluccas, B-24s hit shipping, the wharf and town area at Amboina. In New Guinea, single B-17's hit Lae.
Friday, 26 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-17's attack shipping, the harbor and town area at Wewak. A-20's pound forces and targets of opportunity in the Mubo, Malahang, and Salamaus area. A single B-l7 bombs Finschhafen and unsuccessfully attacks a ship E of Talasea
Saturday, 27 March, 1943
In New Guinea, B-25's hit Lae and Salamaua. B-24s attack the harbor and shipping at Bogia. In the Moluccas, B-24s bomb Saumlakki.
Sunday, 28 March, 1943
In New Guinea, medium and heavy bombers on individual missions attack Langgoer, Dobo, Gasmata, and barges and a small boat off Finschhafen and Kerema.
Monday, 29 March, 1943
In the Bismarck Archipelago, a lone B-l7 bombs the Gasmata Airfield while another attacks the Mur-Weber Point area. Dick Bong gets his 9th kill.
Tuesday, 30 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20's, B-25's, B-24's, and B-17's pound shipping, the harbor, and town area at Finschhafen. In the Bismarck Archipelago, B-24's hit Gasmata. Single aircraft attack several targets, mostly shipping and coastal areas, in the Netherlands East Indies, northeastern New Guinea, and New Britain.
Wednesday, 31 March, 1943
In New Guinea, A-20's hit Salamaua, while B-24's bomb Babo. Individual B-24's attack Lae Airfield, Finschhafen, and Samoa Point and Timper River bridges.