1Sept39. World War II begins as Germany invades Poland.
Attacks with a power and rapidity that convincingly demonstrates to the world: blitzkrieg, or "lightning war."
3Sep39. U.S. merchant ships en route to or from Europe are to paint the U.S. flag on each side of the hull
4Sep39. British PT 9 arrives NY to become prototype for motor torpedo boats, later also called PT boats.
11Sep39. Snow Cruiser, the unique vehicle developed for polar exploration.
30Sep39. Graf Spee stops and sinks British steamship Clement 75 miles southeast of Pernambuco, Brazil. Merchant raiders could operate in this pre-radar era.
5Oct39. Hawaiian Detachment is formed and sent to its new operating base, Pearl Harbor. Carrier Enterprise (CV-6) (flagship), two heavy cruiser divisions, two destroyer squadrons and a light cruiser flagship, a destroyer tender and a proportionate number of small auxiliaries make up the force.
22Oct39. Admiral Graf Spee continues to stop British freighters, embark their crews, and sink the ships. Graf Spee sank nine British merchantmen during her cruise, totaling 50,089 tons of shipping. Not a single life was lost in the process. Notice the naval courtesy at this early stage of the war.
13Dec39. USN adds training in use of a smoke screen as a means of protection for light forces as a result British battle with Graf Spee.
24Feb40. Television was developed that was capable of airborne operation. Such equipment promised to be useful both in transmitting instrument readings obtained from radio-controlled structural flight tests, and in providing target and guidance information necessary should radio-controlled aircraft be converted to offensive weapons.
27Feb40. Development of the "Flying Flapjack", a fighter aircraft with an almost circular wing, was initiated with Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft for the V-173 -- a full-scale flying model (as distinguished from a military prototype). This design promised to combine a high speed of near 500 mph with a very low takeoff speed.
29Feb40. The Navy initiated a contract with Professor H.O. Croft, University of Iowa, to investigate the possibilities of a turbojet propulsion unit for aircraft.
22Mar40. Development of guided missiles was initiated for adapting radio controls to a torpedo-carrying TG-2 training glider.
7May40. Pacific Fleet ordered to Pearl Harbor as warning to Japan.
12Aug40. Navy informally requested priority development of proximity fuses with particular emphasis on anti-aircraft use.
29Aug40. The British Tizard Mission of scientific information exchange began with the British techniques for detecting German bombers with radar but touched upon means of identifying friendly aircraft. Shipboard and airborne radar were also discussed and British disclosure of the cavity magnetron, a tube capable of generating high power radio waves of a few centimeters in length. The degree of exchange surpassed expectations regarding World War II weaponry.
24Oct40. Navy announced plans for mobilizing aviation squadrons, which called for one third to be ordered to active duty by 7 Nov 40 and all by 1Jan1941.
28Oct40. Some form of armor and fuel protection were just beginning to go into service use and within a year all fleet aircraft would have it.
28Mar41. Yorktown (CV-5) completed five months operation with CXAM radar, reported that aircraft had been tracked at a distance of 100 miles and recommended that friendly aircraft be equipped with electronic identification devices and carriers be equipped with separate and complete facilities for tracking and plotting all radar targets.
19Apr41. Development of a Glomb (Glider Bomb) guided missile was
initiated at the Naval Aircraft Factory. The Glomb was a glider designed to be
towed long distances by a powered aircraft, released in the vicinity of the
target, and guided by radio control in its attack. It was equipped with a
television camera to transmit a view of the target to the control plane.
AAF GB-1 was a bomb with a simple wing attached to allow bombing from outside AA range. Navy Dragon (1000# bomb) and Pelican (depth charge) experimented with TV and radar guidance.
26Apr41. An unmanned O3U-6 Corsair biplane under radio control had been successfully flight-tested beyond the safe bounds of piloted flight.
3May41. Naval Aircraft Factory established a project to install and test airborne radar equipment.
06May41. Proximity fuse tested in air dropped bombs over water.
May 41. Meteor, first British jet airplane test flown.
May 41. Order for 14 test aircraft of B-29.
2June41. Long Island (ACV-1), first escort carrier of the U.S. Navy, was commissioned . Long Island was converted into a flush-deck carrier in 67 working days from the cargo ship Mormacmail.
4June41. Development of airborne television had progressed to the point that signals could be used to alter the course of the transmitting plane.
June 41. Jeep, designed in 1940, selected by US Army.
Caproni-Campini jet plane flies Rome to Malan at over 300 mph.
30June41. Turboprop engine development was initiated as a joint Army-Navy project, with Northrop Aircraft for the design of an aircraft gas turbine developing 2,500 hp. at a weight of less than 3,215 pounds.
7July41. Marine Air Group 1 was organized; the first of five wings organized during the war.
18July41. British type ASV radar has been installed in one PBY Catalina and two PBM Mariners. Initial installation of identification equipment (IFF) was made about the same time. In mid-September radar was issued for five additional PBMs and one PBY. Squadrons operated from Norfolk, Quonset Point, and advanced bases on Greenland, Newfoundland, and Iceland during the last months of the neutrality patrol.
21July41. The requirement that all naval student pilots be given time in each of the three basic aircraft types was abolished, and the practice of specialized training in either fighters, scout bombers or torpedo planes began.
29July41. The Navy approved the installation of a Radar Plot aboard carriers as "the brain of the organization" protecting the fleet from air attack. The first installation was planned for the island structure of the Hornet (CV-8).
1Aug41. A microwave (AI-10) radar featuring a Plan Position Indicator (PPI) was given initial airborne test in the XJO-3 Electra Jr., which continued through 16 October. Surface vessels were detected at ranges up to 40 miles; radar-guided approaches against simulated enemy aircraft were achieved at ranges up to 3.5 miles. Operational radars developed from this equipment were capable of searching a circular area.
6Aug41. Patrol Squadrons initiated routine air patrols from Reykjavik, Iceland, over North Atlantic convoy routes.
6Aug41. In recognition of the radical change which radar was causing in the method of using fighters to protect the fleet, carriers and other ships equipped with radar immediately organize fighter direction centers.
7Aug41. Long range search radar (British ASV or American ASA) was to be installed in patrol planes. Short range search radar (British Mk II ASV modified for Fleet Air Arm or American ASB) was to be installed in one torpedo plane in each section commencing with the TBF while space needed for search radar was to be reserved in new scout-dive-bombers and scout-observation planes. Interception equipment, when available, would be installed in some F4U's and a British AI Mk IV radar was being installed in an SBD with a view to its use as an interim interceptor. The plan also included installation of radio altimeters in patrol and torpedo planes, and recognition equipment in all service airplanes.
8Oct41. "Special Project Dog" established for guided missiles to test and operate radio-controlled offensive weapons. Also to develop a radio-controlled fighter plane--"aerial ram" or "aerial torpedo"--to be flown into enemy bomber formations and exploded.
31Oct41. Reuben James (DD-245), sunk by U-boat with a heavy loss of life --the first loss of an American warship in World War II.
1Nov41. The President directed that the Coast Guard operate as a part of the Navy until further notice.
17Nov41. Archer (BAVG-1) is the first of 38 escort carriers transferred to the United Kingdom during the war under the Lend-Lease program.
18Nov41. The initial design of a 3-cm aircraft intercept radar was completed.
26Nov41. Kitty Hawk (AKV-1), first of two aircraft ferries, was commissioned.
7Dec41. Pearl Harbor
10Dec41. Aircraft from Enterprise attacked and sank the Japanese submarine
I-70 in waters north of the Hawaiian Islands. This submarine scouted Hawaii
for the Pearl Harbor attack and was the first Japanese combatant ship sunk by US aircraft.
Gunner on PBY in Philippines downs first Zero
16Dec41. The Secretary of the Navy approved an expansion of the pilot training program from the existing schedule of assigning 800 students per month to one calling for 2,500 per month thereby leading to a production of 20,000 pilots annually by mid-1943.
17Dec41. Flight tests in a PBY of radar utilizing a duplexing antenna switch; thereby, the necessity for cumbersome "yagi" antenna no longer existed, a factor which contributed substantially to the reliability airborne radar.
17Dec41. Seventeen SB2U-3 Vindicators, led by a PBY, arrived at Midway Island from Oahu, completing the longest mass flight by single-engine aircraft then on record in 9 hours, 45 minutes. It was the same squadron that was en route to Midway on 7 December aboard Lexington when reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor forced the carrier to turn back short of her goal.
2Jan42 . The first organized lighter-than-air units of World War II were established at NAS Lakehurst.
January . Testing of proximity fuse reaches 52% success rate in anti-aircraft shells. Leds to 22 million fuzes built for the war effort.
10Feb42. General Instructions for Refueling at Sea, First, tech bulletin 2-42. Standardized on procdures that allowed fleets to remain at sea for many weeks at a time. Had been doing it and learning.
16Feb42 . A Navy developed Air-Track blind landing system was in daily use in Iceland for landing flying boats. Other blind-landing systems were in various phases of development, and work on the Ground Controlled Approach system had progressed to the point that Navy personnel had made talk-down landings at the East Boston (Commonwealth) Airport.
17Feb42 . Seabees (First Naval Construction Battalion) arrive at Bora Bora, Society Islands.
1Mar42 . Lockheed PBO Hudson on an antisubmarine sweep, bombs and sinks German submarine U-656 south of Newfoundland, the first U-boat sunk by U.S. Navy forces during World War II.
10Mar42 . Lexington (CV-2) and Yorktown (CV-5) attack Japanese invasion fleet off Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea, the first time in which two carrier air groups attack a common objective. The success of the carrier strike convinces Japanese war planners that continued operations in the New Guinea area will require carrier support, thus setting the stage for confrontation in the Coral Sea.
12Mar42 . First British armed trawlers sent to augment U.S. Navy patrol force efforts off the German submarine-plagued Eastern Seaboard, HMS Wastwater and HMS Le Tigre, begin patrol operations off Atlantic City and Barnegat, NJ.
26Mar42 . TF 39 including battleship Washington (BB-56), carrier Wasp (CV-7), heavy cruisers Wichita (CA-45) and Tuscaloosa (CA-37), and eight destroyers, sails from Portland, Maine, for Scapa Flow, to reinforce the British Home Fleet. [Fair trade for two armed trawlers.]
26Mar42 . Commander Eastern Sea Frontier is given operational control of certain USAAF units for antisubmarine patrol duty in the Atlantic. Unity of units operating over water to protect shipping and conduct antisubmarine warfare is thus vested in the Navy.
29Mar42 . The forward echelon of Marine Fighter Squadron 212 arrived at Efate to construct an air strip and initiated operations in the New Hebrides on 27 May.
9Apr42 . A radio controlled TG-2 drone made a torpedo attack on the destroyer Aaron Ward steaming at 15 knots in Narragansett Bay. Utilizing a television camera mounted in the drone, the torpedo was released about 300 feet directly astern of the target and passed under it. Note
19Apr42 . Two tests of using drone aircraft as guided missiles were conducted in Chesapeake Bay. One, utilizing visual direction, crash-dived a BG-1 drone into the water beyond its target. The second, Project Fox, a BG-2 drone equipped with a television camera was controled from a plane 11 miles distant; the drone crash-dived into a raft being towed at a speed of 8 knots.
20Apr42 . Wasp (CV-7) on special ferry duty out of Glasgow, Scotland, entered the Mediterranean and launched 47 Spitfires of the RAF to Malta. The operation was duplicated on 9 May,
29Apr42 . First coastal convoy leaves New York for the Delaware River.
7May42. The Battle of the Coral Sea is the first engagement in modern naval history in which opposing warships do not exchange a shot; all damage is inflicted by carrier aircraft. First Zero shot down by an F4F.
10May42. The possibility of increasing the range of small aircraft, by operating them as towed gliders, was demonstrated with two F4F's hooked to tow lines streamed behind a twin-engined BD (Army A-20), cut their engines and were towed for an hour at 180 knots at 7,000 feet.
10May42. Ranger (CV-2) on a transatlantic ferry trip, reached a position off the African Gold Coast and launched 60 P-40 Warhawks of the AAF to Accra, from which point they were flown in a series of hops to Karachi, India, for operations with the 10th AAF. This was the first of four ferry trips made by Ranger to deliver AAF fighters across the Atlantic, the subsequent launches being accomplished on 19 July 1942, 19Jan43, and 24Feb43. Note the use of fleet carriers as aircraft ferries, See Wasp 20April above, hence the need for escort carriers.
16May42 . Submarine Tautog (SS-199) torpedoes Japanese fleet tanker Goyo Maru west of Royalist Bank, Truk. Tautog's first "fish" circles, forcing her to go deep at once.
26May42 . The feasibility of JATO, jet-assisted takeoff, was demonstrated in a successful flight test of a Brewster F2A-3, using five British antiaircraft solid propellant rocket motors reduced the takeoff distance by half.
4June42. The Grumman TBF Avenger flown by pilots of a shore-based element of Torpedo Squadron 8, began its combat career with attacks on the Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway. Five of the six are downed by Zeros.
10June42 . Airborne testing on Magnetic Airborne Detectors (MAD gear) to detect submarines by their magnetic field. Promising results made with airships and an Army B-18, 200 sets of MAD gear were then being procured.
13June42 . Loran, long range navigation equipment, was given its first airborne test. The receiver was mounted in the K-2 airship, NAS Lakehurst, and accurately determined position. The test led to immediate action to obtain operational Loran equipment.
13June42 . U-boat landing of German saboteurs at Amagansett, Long Island.
14June42 . First echelon of 1st Marine Division (MGen Alexander A.
Vandegrift) arrives at Wellington, New Zealand.
14June42. In first test of the bazooka shoulder-fired rocket, a tank is destroyed.
15June42 . Copahee (ACV-12) commissioned, first of 20 escort carriers of the Bogue Class converted from Maritime Commission hulls. Ten lend-lease to UK.
26Jun42. Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter flew first test flight.
3July42. First successful firing of an American rocket from a plane in flight, a retro-rocket was fired from a PBY-5A. The rocket, designed to be fired aft with a velocity equal to the forward velocity of the airplane, and thus to fall vertically.
4July42 . First USAAF raid on Western Europe flying American-built Bostons participate in low-level RAF raid on German airfields in the Netherlands.
7July42 . An agreement was reached between the Army and Navy, which provided that the Army would deliver a specified number of B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchells, and B-34 Venturas to meet the Navy's requirement for long range land planes. The Navy would relinquish its production at the Boeing Renton plant for expanded Army B-29 production and limit its orders for PBY's to avoid interference with B-24 production.
30July42 . German submarine U-166 attacks convoy about 25 miles SE of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and sinks U.S. passenger ship Robert E. Lee. Coast Guard escort, PC-566, drops six depth charges. Until June 2001 when the wreak of U-166 was found at the site of the attack, a J4F Widgeon, based at Houma, La., was thought to have scored the first Coast Guard kill of an enemy submarine with the sinking of U-166 off the passes of the Mississippi on 1Aug42 about 120 miles away.
2Aug42 . Women's Naval Reserve (WAVES) (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) is established with LCdr Mildred H. McAfee, who received the first WAVES commission, as the first WAVES commandant.
7Aug42. 1st Marine Division (MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, USMC) lands on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo, and Guadalcanal Islands, in the first American land offensive of the war.
12Aug42. Cleveland (CL-55), on her shakedown cruise in Chesapeake Bay, tests the newly developed proximity fused antiaircraft projectiles for the first time under simulated combat conditions; she destroys all three target drones with four proximity bursts.
20Aug42. First USMC planes arrive at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. Aircraft escort vessel Long Island (AVG-1) ferries 19 F4F's (VMF 223) and 12 SBD's (VMSB 232).
21Aug42. Twelve Japanese flame throwers captured in combat with Ichiki Force on Guadalcanal. (See 15Jan43.)
22Aug42. First five USAAF planes, P-400s, arrive at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.
24Aug42. Sangamon (ACV-26) and Santee (ACV-29) were placed in commission; the first of four large Sangamon Class escort carriers converted from Cimarron Class fleet oilers.
1Sept42. Sixth Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees), the first to serve in a combat area, arrives at Guadalcanal.
9Sept42. Small reconnaissance seaplane from Japanese submarine I-25 drops incendiary bombs near Mount Emily, ten miles northeast of Brookings, Oregon, in an attempt to ignite forest fires. It is the first time a Japanese aircraft has bombed the continental United States during World War II.
11Sept42. On board submarine Seadragon (SS-194), enroute to her war patrol station in the South China Sea, Pharmacist's Mate First Class performs successful appendectomy on seaman. This is the first of three such procedures that will be performed on board U.S. submarines during the war.
21Sep42. Maiden flight of protype of B-29 Super Fortress.
Sep1942. Coast Guard Horse Patrol authorized, eventually 3,200 used.
03Oct42. Prototype V-2, 12 ton rocket travels 125 miles, 60 miles high,3,300 mph.
13Oct42. 1st Marine Division is reinforced by 164th Infantry Regiment of Americal Division, the first major U.S. Army unit to reach Guadalcanal.
16Oct42. Submarine Thresher (SS-200) mines the approaches to Bangkok, Thailand, in the first U.S. Navy submarine mine plant of World War II.
19Oct42. ASB-3 airborne search radar for carrier based aircraft, had been installed in five TBF's by NAS New York and five SBD's by NAS San Pedro. One aircraft of each type was assigned to Saratoga (CV-3) and the others shipped to Pearl Harbor. Remaining sets on the initial contract for 25 were used for spare parts and training.
22Oct42. Westinghouse to construct two 19A axial flow turbojet power plants, the first jet engine of American design.
28Oct42. Procurement of the expendable radio sonobuoy for use in antisubmarine warfare; 1,000 sonobuoy's and 100 receivers.
12Nov42. Twelve P-38 Lightnings arrive Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, one is
destroyed by shelling that night.
18Nov42. Six days later; while escorting B-17's, P-38's claim three Zeros and 21 by year-end.
23Nov42. The V-173 Skimmer, a reduced-scale model of a fighter aircraft with an almost circular wing, made its first flight at the Vought-Sikorsky plant, Stratford, Conn. A military version of this aircraft, the XF5U-1, Pancake, was constructed later but never flown. [a flying saucer if there ever was one.]
02Dec42. Start first controlled nuclear reaction at U of Chicago.
27Dec42. Santee (ACV-12), first of 11 USN escort carriers assigned to Hunter-Killer duty, sorties Norfolk for free-roving antisubmarine and anti-raider operations in the South Atlantic.
30Dec42. Second B-29 protype first flew, this one armed. Crashed 18Feb43 killing 32.
31Dec42. Airborne radar was so urgent, the Navy requested trained civilian electronics specialists to train fleet units throughout the war.
31Dec42. Essex (CV-9) was placed in operating status at Norfolk; the first of 17 ships of her class commissioned during World War II.
1Jan43. Ground Controlled Approach equipment (GCA) was called into emergency use for the first time when a snowstorm closed down NAS Quonset Point a half hour before a flight of PBYs was due to arrive. The GCA crew located the incoming aircraft on their search radar and "talked" one of them into a safe landing. This recovery was made only 9 days after the first successful experimental demonstration of GCA.
5Jan43. Helena (CL-50) becomes the first U.S. Navy ship to use proximity-fused projectiles in combat, downing a Japanese Aichi "Val" carrier bomber off New Georgia, Solomons.
7Jan43. The first naval aircraft to be equipped with a turbojet engine to be developed with McDonnell was designated XFD-1. It became the prototype for the FH-1 Phantom jet fighter.
14Jan43. Independence (CVL-22) was placed in commission; the first of nine light carriers of her class constructed on Cleveland Class cruiser hulls.
15Jan43. Flame throwers were first used by US on Guadalcanal. (See 21Aug42.) Marines used them on hardened machine gun emplacements; Army did not because it exposed the operators.
17Jan43. Following tests by six experienced pilots flying F4U-1s, they reported that anti-blackout suits raised their tolerance to accelerations encountered in gunnery run and other maneuvers by three to four Gs.
20Jan43. First destroyer escort type ship is commissioned, Brennan (DE-13).
Early 1943. Plutonium was discovered. This eventually changed the direction of US atomic bomb development.
Feb 1943. The retro-rocket became a weapon complementary to the magnetic airborne detector with Patrol Squadron 63 receiving the first service installation.
11Feb43. A contract was issued for Ryan XFR-1 fighter which incorporated a conventional reciprocating engine for use in normal operations and the turbojet for use as a booster during takeoffs and maximum performance flights. Development and production were handled on a crash basis. However, numerous bugs prevented the FR-1 Fireball's assignment to combat.
13Feb43. The Vought F4U Corsair was flown in combat for the first time when Marine pilots based on Guadalcanal ran into air opposition while escorting PB4Y Privateers on a daylight strike against enemy shipping off Bougainville.
19Feb43. Development initiated of the P2V Neptune series of land-based patrol aircraft.
22Feb43. Battleship Iowa (BB-61) is commissioned at New York, the first of the four-ship Iowa class that will be the last American battleships built.
4Mar43. Changes to Essex Class carriers include a Combat Information Center (CIC) and Fighter Director Station, additional anti-aircraft batteries, and a second flight deck catapult in lieu of one athwartships on the hangar deck.
5Mar43. Escort carrier Bogue (CVE-9) begins escort of convoy duty in North Atlantic. This is first time a ship of her type is assigned antisubmarine operations as primary duty.
20Mar43. Forty-two Navy and Marine Corps Avengers, on a night flight from Henderson Field, mined Kahili Harbor, Bougainville. A coordinated attack on Kahili airfield by AAF heavy bombers contributed to the success of the first aerial mining mission in the South Pacific.
21Apr43. The first jet flight by a U.S. Naval aviator made a flight in the Bell XP-59A Airacomet.
7May43 . Navy witnessed landing trials of the XR-4 helicopter aboard the merchant tanker Bunker Hill. The AAF pilot made about 15 flights, and in some of these flights he landed on the water before returning to the platform on the deck of the ship.
11-30May43. Occupation of Attu. Air support for the landing of Army troops and for their operations ashore was provided by Navy and Marine units on the escort carrier Nassau (CVE-16). This was the first use of CVE based aircraft in air support in the Pacific and of a Support Air Commander afloat. His team consisted of three officers and a radioman and his post was a card table aboard Pennsylvania (BB-38).
22May43. Grumman Avengers based on Bogue attacked and sank the submarine U-569 in the middle North Atlantic scoring the first sinking of the war by escort carriers on hunter-killer patrol.
23May43. British Swordfish from escort carrier HMS Archer sink German submarine U-752 in the North Atlantic with rocket projectiles; she is the first U-boat sunk by those weapons during World War II.
April 1943. Los Alamos nuclear research facility was occupied.
Summer 1943. Los Alamos scientist's wives organized to make the calculations required in the design of nuclear weapons using desk calculators
5July43. The first turbojet engine developed for the Navy, the Westinghouse l9A, completed its 100-hour endurance test.
8July43. Casablanca (CVE-55), first escort carrier designed and built as such, was placed in commission.
14July43. The first airborne firing from a TBF of a British high velocity, forward shooting rockets, which had nearly double the velocity of those tested earlier.
15July43. Established that the new element, plutonium, would fission when struck by fast neutrons.
23July43. PBYs of the first U.S. naval aircraft squadron to operate from the United Kingdom, arrives in South Wales for antisubmarine patrol duty over the Bay of Biscay.
24July43. Submarine Tinosa (SS-283) torpedoes Japanese oiler No. 3 Tonan Maru. Tinosa fires 15 torpedoes; 13 hit but only two explode! The incident highlights torpedo exploder problems that have plagued the submarine force since the beginning of the war.
18Aug43. The airship, K-74, while on night patrol off the Florida coast, attacked a surfaced U-boat and in the gun duel which followed was hit and brought down--the only airship lost to enemy action in World War II. The submarine, U-134, was damaged enough to force her return to base, and after surviving two other attacks on the way, was finally sunk by British bombers in the Bay of Biscay.
19Aug43. Project Gorgon, an aerial ram or air-to-air missile powered by a turbojet engine and equipped with radio controls and a homing device. The Gorgon was later expanded into a broad program embracing turbojet, ramjet, pulse jet, and rocket power; straight wing, swept wing, and canard (tail first) air frames; and visual, television, heat-homing, and three types of radar guidance for use as air-to-air, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface guided missiles and as target drones.
20Aug43. First test of a US built, high velocity, forward shooting rocket. The results of these tests were so favorable that squadrons were equipped with rockets before the end of the year.
31Aug43. Second Strike on Marcus. Essex (CV-9), the new Yorktown (CV-10), and Independence (CVL-22) launched a day-long attack on Japanese installations on Marcus Island, the first strikes by Essex and Independence Class carriers, and the first combat use of the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
18Sep43. A three-carrier task force attacked Tarawa, Makin, and Abemama Atolls in the Gilbert Islands.
1Oct43. The authorized complement of Essex Class Carriers increased the total aircraft normally on board to 36 VF, 36 VB and 18 VT. The authorized complement for CVL groups was established as 12 VF, nine VB and nine VT and revised in November 1943 to 24 VF and nine VT and remained at that level through the war.
4Oct43. Ranger (CV-4), the only U.S. Navy carrier operation carried out in northern European waters during World War II, causes "appreciable losses" to two convoys off the Norwegian coast and to shipping in the harbor of Bodo, Norway.
5-6Oct43. Second Wake Raid. Six new carriers, seven cruisers, and 24 destroyers, making the largest carrier task force yet assembled, bomb and bombard Japanese installations. Ship handling techniques for a multi-carrier force were tested under combat conditions. Lessons learned from operating the carriers as a single group of six, as two groups of three, and as three groups of two, provided the basis for many tactics which later characterized carrier task force operations.
12Oct43. Navy orders 3,000 Pelican guided missiles at a delivery rate of 300 a month.
16Oct43. The Navy accepted its first helicopter, a Sikorsky YR-4B (HNS-1).
16Oct43. American-built destroyer escorts transferred under Lend-Lease to Great
Britain (HMS Byard, HMS Bentinck, HMS Berry, HMS Drury,
and HMS Bazely) enter combat for the first time as convoy escorts.
17Oct43. HMS Byard sinks U-841. The British classify the ships as "frigates."
31Oct43. The first kill by a radar-equipped night fighter with ground-based fighter direction - it is a "Betty" destroyed during a night attack off Vella Lavella.
5Nov43. Saratoga (CV-3) and Princeton (CVL 23) make the first carrier attack on Rabaul damaging several warships of the Japanese Second Fleet.
11Nov43. In the second strike on Rabaul with five carriers, Curtiss SB2C Helldivers were used in combat for the first time.
18-26Nov43 Occupation of the Gilbert Islands. Six heavy and five light carriers opened the campaign to capture the Gilberts with a 2-day air attack on airfields and defensive installations (18-19 Nov), covered the landings of Marines and Army troops on Tarawa and Makin Atolls (20 Nov) and on Abemama (21 Nov), and supported operations ashore (21-24 Nov). Eight escort carriers, operating with the Attack Forces, covered the approach of assault shipping (10-18 Nov), flew antisubmarine and combat air patrols, and close support missions on call (19-24 Nov).
26Nov43. The first attempts at night interception from carriers were made during the campaign by a team of two Hellcats and one radar equipped Avenger operating from Enterprise and led by LtCdr E. H. (Butch) O'Hare. The fighters flew wing on the Avenger and after being vectored to the vicinity by the ship's fighter director relied on the Avenger's radar to get within visual range.
27Nov43. The first of the Martin PB2M Mars flying boats was delivered.
30Nov43. The Martin Mars with a crew of 17, took off from Patuxent River carrying 13,000 pounds of cargo that was delivered at Natal, Brazil, in a nonstop flight of 4,375 miles and of 28 hours 25 minutes duration.
17Dec43. Aircraft from the Solomons joined in the air campaign to reduce the Japanese Naval Base at Rabaul with a fighter sweep of Navy, Marine Corps, and New Zealand planes led by Marine Ace, Major Gregory Boyington. Intensive follow-up attacks through February 1944 assisted in the establishment of encircling allied bases. Rabaul remained under air attack until the war's end, the last strike being delivered by Marine Corps PBJ's (B-25) on 9Aug45.
11Jan44. The first U.S. attack with forward-firing rockets was made against a German U-boat by two TBF's from the escort carrier Block Island (CVE-21).
18Jan44. PBY Catalinas began barrier patrols of the Strait of Gibraltar and its approaches with Magnetic Airborne Detection (MAD) gear and effectively closed the Strait to enemy U-boats during daylight hours until the end of the war.
4Feb44. Blimp K-29 made the first carrier landing by a non-rigid airship in a test of refueling operations with Altamaha (CVE-18) off San Diego.
mid-Feb. The first night bombing attack in the history of U.S. carrier aviation was carried out from the Enterprise with 12 radar equipped TBF's. [The Japanese made regular night raids.]
24Feb44. The first detection of a submerged enemy submarine by the use of MAD gear was made by Catalina's on a MAD barrier patrol of the approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar. They attacked the U-761 with retrorockets and with the assistance of two ships and aircraft from two other squadrons sank it.
15Mar44. The twin-engine North American Mitchell, PBJ (Navy B-25), was taken into combat for the first time in its Marine career in an attack on Rabaul.
6Sept44. A contract was awarded to McDonnell Aircraft Corporation for development of the Gargoyle or LBD-1, a radio controlled low-wing gliding bomb fitted with a rocket booster and designed for launching from carrier-based dive-bombers and torpedo planes against enemy ships.
27Sept44. TDR assault drone was demonstrated in the Treasury Islands. Stripped for pilotless flight and armed with bombs of up to 2,000 pounds, a control operator in an accompanying TBM guided the drone against heavily defended targets by radio and directed the final assault by a television camera mounted in the drone. In the initial attack, two out of four TDR's struck the target ship.
21Oct44. In the first planned suicide attacks of the war, two Kamikaze pilots
attempt to attack the Leyte invasion fleet.
25Oct44. In the Battle Off Samar, Leyte, 55 Kamikazes hit the escort carriers and sank the St. Lo (CVE-63).
26Oct44. The last attack in a month long demonstration of the TDR assault drone. A total of 46 drones were expended of which 29 reached the target areas: two attacked a lighthouse on Cape St. George, New Ireland, making one hit which demolished the structure; nine attacked anti-aircraft emplacements on beached ships achieving six direct hits and two near misses; and 18 attacked other targets in the Shortlands and Rabaul areas making 11 hits. http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/drone-propeller/#disqus_thread
07Mar45. A dunking sonar suspended from an XHOS-1 helicopter was tested successfully.
07Mar45. The Piasecki tandem rotor XHRP-X "flying banana" transport helicopter made its first flight.
08Mar45. A rocket powered Gorgon air-to-air missile was launched from a PBY-5A and achieved an estimated speed of 550 m.p.h. in its first powered test flight, conducted off Cape May, N.J.
02May45. A HNS-1 helicopter rescued 11 Canadian airmen that were marooned in northern Labrador.
23May45. PB4Y's launched two Bat glide bombs against enemy shipping in Balikpapan Harbor, Borneo, in the first combat employment of the only automatic homing bomb to be used in World War II.
16July45. Trinity, first atomic explosion generates a force of 21,000 tons of TNT.
20July45. Little Joe, a rocket-propelled surface-to-air missile, hastily developed to counter Kamikazes, made two successful flights at Island Beach, N.J.
6Aug45. Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
15Aug45. Japan surrenders
5Nov45. A FR-1 "Fireball" lost power on the forward radial engine shortly after take-off, forcing the pilot to start his aft jet engine. He returned to the ship and made a successful landing, the first jet landing aboard a carrier.
Rabaul, Bougainville, and Wake Islands were never recaptured during the war.