WW2 PACIFIC, the early years
Carrier Movements in the First Year
Dec 8 . The carriers are at sea and not attacked at Pearl Harbor where 8 battleships are sunk
or damaged. By the end of the first year, four of the seven carriers the US had for both oceans
are sunk in the Pacific.
Dec 12 Yorktown scheduled for maintence, just gets most .50" mg replaced with 37mm
and a tweak to her radar, loads aircraft and supplies.
- Lexington (CV-2) is on her way with TF 12 to deliver planes to Midway.
Turns away to search for Japanese fleet.
- Saratoga (CV-3) is on the West Coast having just completed overhaul.
Immediately loads with planes for transport to Wake Island.
- Enterprise (CV-6) is returning from delivering aircraft to Wake Island.
There are four carriers in the Atlantic.
- Ranger (CV-4) is returning to Norfolk from an ocean patrol near Trinidad.
- Yorktown (CV-5) is at Norfolk after another Neutrality Patrol.
- Wasp (CV-7) lays at anchor in Grassy Bay, Bermuda, part
of "Neutrality Patrol".
- Hornet (CV-8) commissioned six weeks ago and is training out of Norfolk
- Plus, Long Island (AVG-1), the new escort carrier operates out of Norfolk, conducting
experiments to prove the feasibility of aircraft ferry operations from converted cargo ships.
Dec 13. Lexington returns to Pearl Harbor.
Dec 14. Lexington (VAdm Brown) sails for
Jaluit, Marshall Islands to relieve pressure on Wake Island.
Dec 16. Yorktown sails for Pacific.
Dec 16. Saratoga (RAdm Fletcher) sails to relieve Wake Island.
Dec 19. Enterprise (VAdm Halsey) to cover Lexington and Saratoga actions.
Dec 20. Lexington raid canceled, ordered to join Saratoga to relieve Wake Island
Dec 23. Wake Island captured; carriers recalled.
Dec 25. Saratoga flies off aircraft to Midway.
Dec 27. Lexington and Saratoga return to Pearl.
Dec 30. Yorktown arrives San Diego.
Jan 1 . TF-17 (RAdm Fletcher) formed on Yorktown (CV-5).
Jan . Lexington patrols Oahu-Johnston-Palmyra triangle.
Jan 6 . Yorktown (Fletcher) sails from San Diego to take Second Marine Brigade to
Jan 11. Enterprise (CV-6), TF 8 (Halsey) departs Pearl to join escort of marines to Samoa.
Jan 12. Saratoga
( (Fitch TF 11) torpedoed 500 miles SE Hawaii. She is able to return to Pearl and is
sent to West Coast for repairs until June 1.
Jan 20. Marines arrive Pago Pago covered by Enterprise and Yorktown.
Jan 21. The two task forces set course for the Japanese-held Marshalls and Gilberts.
Jan 22. Lexington (CV-2) TF 11 (VAdm Brown) departs to raid Wake Island, but
cancels when the fleet oiler is sunk.
Jan 23. Neches (AO-5), fleet oiler, torpedoed and sunk Lexington has to cancel
raid on Wake Island.
Jan 30. Lexington (Brown) sent to south to cover the attack on the
Gilberts and Marshalls.
Feb 1 . Enterprise (Halsey, TF 8) bombs Kwajalein and Spruance's
cruisers hit Wotje in Marshalls. Enterprise damaged.
Feb 2 . Yorktown TF17 (Fletcher) strikes Makin, Mili and Jaluit in the Gilberts.
Feb 5 . Enterprise returns Pearl.
Feb 6 . Yorktown returns Pearl.
Feb 14. Enterprise (Halsey) leaves Pearl Harbor for Wake Island.
Feb 15. Yorktown (Fletcher) left Pearl Harbor to patrol South Pacific.
Feb 16. Lexington TF 11 (VAdm Brown) heads for an attack on Rabaul, New Britain
Feb 19. Lexington (Brown) discovered and fights off an air raid and cancels his air attack on Rabaul.
Feb . Lexington patrols Coral Sea.
Feb 24. Yorktown to New Hebrides to meet Lexington for another Rabaul raid.
Feb 24. Enterprise (Halsey) raid on Wake Island.
Mar 4 . Enterprise (Halsey) raids Marcus Island.
Mar 6 . Lexington (Fitch) and Yorktown (Fletcher) join up intending raid on Rabaul
Mar 8 . Jap invade New Guinea at Lae and Salamaua.
Mar 10. Lexington and Yorktown attack Japanese invasion force at New Guinea, sinking four ships, damaging 13 out of 18.
Mar 11. Enterprise (Halsey) returns to Pearl
Mar 12. Fall of Netherlands East Indies.
Mar 15. Yorktown in Coral Sea; Saratoga on W Coast for repairs; Lexington
to Pearl; Enterprise for overhaul. Hornet in transit.
Mar 20. Hornet (CV-8) arrives San Francisco.
Mar 26. Lexington arrives Pearl to dry dock for overhaul.
Apr 4 . Hornet leaves San Francisco with Doolittle's B-25's.
Apr 8 . Enterprise departs to rendezvous with Hornet.
Apr 14. Nimitz assigned to South Pacific. Sends Fletcher to
Tongatabu, south of Samoa to replenish for anticipated defense of New Guinea,
Solomon Islands at the end of the month.
Apr 15. Lexington TF 11 (RAdm Fitch) leaves Pearl to join Yorktown (Fletcher) for raid on
Apr 18. Doolittle Raid on Tokyo from Hornet, escorted by Enterprise.
Apr 20. Lexington (Fitch) arrives S Pacific.
Apr 22. Lexington joins Yorktown at Tongutabu.
Apr 25. Enterprise and Hornet return to Pearl.
Apr 27. Yorktown departs for Coral Sea.
Apr 28. Ghormley replaces Nimitz as South Pacific.
Apr 30. Enterprise and Hornet speed towards Coral Sea ; too far to
reach in time. Patrol S.Pacific.
May 1 . Yorktown (Fletcher) and Lexington (RAdm Fitch) join up.
May 4 . While Lexington (Fitch) refuels, Fletcher takes Yorktown ahead to attack Jap invasion
force at Tulagi sinking several small ships and damaging several larger.
May 7 . Battle of Coral Sea. Fletcher sends his Australian cruisers to block Port Moresby invasion
fleet at Jomard Passage, Louisiade Archipelago. Lexington attacks and sinks the support
carrier causing the invasion force to withdraw.
Meanwhile a covering fleet with two fleet carriers closes in from his rear and
destroys his oiler and a destroyer. Yorktown fighters fend off an evening
May 8 . Two fleets of two carriers each simultaneously attack the next morning.
Jap carrier Shokaku is damaged while Zuikaku escapes in a
squall but with her air group severely damaged.
Both US carriers are damaged. A later explosion cripples Lexington
which is evacuated and sunk. Yorktown returns to Pearl for repair and participation in Midway.
May-mid. Enterprise and Hornet patrol S.Pacific.
May 22. Saratoga departs Puget Sound for San Diego.
May 26. Enterprise and Hornet return to Pearl from South Pacific.
May 27. Yorktown arrives Pearl for repair.
May 28. TF 16 (RAdm Spruance) Enterprise and Hornet sortie to Midway.
May 30. TF 17 (RAdm Fletcher) Yorktown to Midway, repair crews still aboard.
June 1 . Saratoga heads for Pearl.
June 4 . Battle of Midway -- decisive battle of Pacific. Four enemy
carriers sunk by three US carriers.
June 5 . Long Island (AVG-1) arrives San Francisco, joints TF-1 of battleships
on West Coast.
June 6 . Battle damaged Yorktown sunk by submarine I-168.
June 7 . Too late for Midway, Saratoga replenished Enterprise and Hornet aircraft and heads briefly for
June 10. Wasp (CV-7), North
Carolina (BB-55), Quincy
Juan (CL-54 ) and 6 destroyers transited the Panama Canal became TF 18 (RAdm Noyes).
June 13. Enterprise, Hornet, Saratoga return to Pearl.
June 22. Saratoga ferry planes to Midway, returns June 29.
July 1 . Wasp (TF18,
Noyes) departs San Diego for Tonga Islands escorting 5 AP w/Marines
July 7 . Saratoga leaves for South Pacific
July 15. Enterprise leaves for South Pacific.
July 17. Long Island returns to West Coast to resume training pilots.
July 18. Wasp arrives Tongatabu.
Fletcher promoted to Vice Admiral with Saratoga [flag], Wasp and
July 28. Fleet rehearse for assault.
Aug 2 . Long Island departs Pearl to ferry planes to Solomons.
Aug 7 . Marines land at Tulagi (sharp fight) and Guadalcanal (no resistence).
Aug 8 . Occupation complete. Carriers withdraw
Aug 8 . Savo Island - US screening force wiped out. Navy retreats.
Aug 17. Hornet departs Pearl for Solomons.
Aug 20. Long Island flies off planes to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.
Aug 23. Japs start to reinforce Guadalcanal; fight until Feb 7, 1943.
Long Island (ACV-1) arrives Efate, New Hebrides.
Aug 24. Battle of Eastern Solomons - Major Jap strike fleet turned back with
massive loss of aircraft on both sides.
Saratoga sinks Ryujo. Enterprise damaged, return to Pearl.
Aug 31. Saratoga hit by torpedo from I-26; she was out of action for the next three months.
Sept 5 . Copahee (ACV-12) departs Alameda for Noumea.
Sep 10 to Oct 16. Enterprise repaired at Pearl.
Sep 12. Wasp delivers aircraft to Henderson Field.
Sep 15. Wasp hit with three torpedoes by I-19 and sunk while screening
troops from New Hebrides to Guadalcanal.
Sep 16. Hornet only active carrier left in Pacific for over a month.
Sep 21. Saratoga arrives Pearl for repair for 6 weeks. Fletcher returns to States
Sep 28. Copahee (ACV-12) arrived at Noumea with her cargo of planes,
stores and passengers.
Oct 5 . Hornet (TF17, Murray), hit targets in the Buin-Tonolei-Faisi area.
Oct 10. Nassau (ACV-16) arrived at the Naval Air Station, Alameda,
California to load aircraft to S Pacific.
Oct 11. Copahee launches 20 marine fighter planes for Henderson Field.
Oct 13. Army troops start to relieve Marines on Guadalcanal.
Oct 14. Nassau depart Naval Air Station, Alameda, California for Pearl Harbor
Oct 16. Enterprise departed once more for the South Pacific.
Oct 16. Hornet attacked beached Japanese transports on Guadalcanal;
destroys seaplanes at Rekata Bay.
Oct 18. Halsey takes over South Pacific forces from Ghormley.
Oct 24. Hornet and Enterprise join up in New Hebrides.
Oct 26. Battle of the Santa Cruz Island. Enterprise and Hornet repulse force twice their size. Hornet lost.
Oct 29. Copahee arrives San Diego for overhaul.
Oct 30. Enterprise entered Noumea, New Caledonia, for repairs. US briefly has no active fleet carriers in the Pacific. Nassau (AVG-16) arrives Palmyra Island.
Nov 3 . Altamaha (ACV-18) departs San Diego for South Pacific.
Nov 5/10. Saratoga, repaired, departs Pearl for Fiji.
Nov 11. Enterprise sails for Solomons, repair crews still aboard.
Nov 13. Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Enterprise disables battleship.
Nov 14. Enterprise helps sink heavy cruiser.
Nov 15. Enterprise returned to Noumea to complete her repairs.
Nov 24. Altamaha delivered part of her cargo at Espiritu Santo and
continued on to New Caledonia.
Dec 4 . Enterprise trains out of Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.
Dec 5 . Saratoga arrives Noumea.
Dec 10. Saratoga patrols eastern Solomons for the next year
Yearend: Dec 31, 1942, In the Pacific
Four of the five great carrier battles of WW2 have been fought.
Fleet carriers: Lexington (CV-2), Yorktown (CV-5), Wasp (CV-7), and Hornet (CV-8) had been sunk.
Saratoga (CV-3) and Enterprise (CV-6) patrol between New Hebrides and the Solomons.
Long Island (ACV-1) trained carrier pilots at San Diego.
Nassau (ACV-16) operated between Palmyra, New Caledonia and New Hebrides.
Altamaha (ACV-18) was at Espiritu Santo for training.
Copahee (ACV-12) was in overhaul at San Diego after a delivery to S. Pacific.
Sangamon (ACV-26), Suwannee (ACV-27), Chenango (ACV-28), after
participation in the invasion of North Africa, were enroute to the Pacific.
Bogue(ACV-9) was on an extensive shakedown and repair period from Tacoma, for Atlantic.
Card (ACV-11) had just been commissioned at Tacoma and destined for the Atlantic.
Core (ACV-13) had just been commissioned at Tacoma and destined for the Atlantic.
Ranger (CV-4) was in overhaul at Norfolk after North African operations.
Santee (ACV-29) after N. Africa, was in Trinidad on way to South Atlantic.
Charger (AVG-30) area of operations throughout the war was Chesapeake Bay.
Essex (CV-9) was commissioned this day at Newport News, destined for the
Pacific in mid'43.
Return to: WW2 Menu.
Links to: US Carriers Table and to Escort Carriers Table
or to : Japanese Carriers.
About this page: Movement.html A chronology of carrier movements in the first year of the
Pacific War. This is an attempt to record where the carriers were at any time, who was in
command, and what they were doing. This would make a great animated gif.
Last updated Sept 9, 2001.
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