Asia Pacific 1942: Doolittle Raid
In April, with the Japanese on the advance everywhere, the United States launched their reprisal for the Pearl Harbor attack. This, the Doolittle Raid, consisted of bombers launched from an aircraft carrier with the intention of striking Japan and crash-landing in China. It achieved little militarily, but demonstrated to the world that Japan was still vulnerable.
8 Mar 1942 Invasion of Salamaua–Lae▲
Japanese forces—supported by 4 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 8 destroyers—landed at Lae and Salamaua, in the Australian Territory of New Guinea. A small detachment of New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and radio staff at Salamaua did not contest the invasion, opting to withdraw into the hills towards Mubo.
8 Mar 1942 Royal Netherlands East Indies Army surrenders to Japanese in Java▲
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army surrenders to Japanese in Java
31 Mar–10 Apr 1942 Indian Ocean Raid▲
In Operation C, a Japanese fast carrier strike force under Chuichi Nagumo advanced into the Indian Ocean. Between 5 and 9 April they attacked the Royal Navy bases at Colombo and Tincomalee in Ceylon, sinking two cruisers, two destroyers, and the light aircraft carrier Hermes, while a Japanese cruiser force raided merchant shipping in the Bay of Bengal. However the British had been alerted, and managed to withdraw most of their fleet to the Maldives and the Persian Gulf.
9 Apr 1942 US forces in Bataan surrender to Japanese▲
US forces in Bataan surrender to Japanese
18 Apr 1942 Doolittle Raid▲
Sixteen US Army Air Force B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched beyond fighter escort range from the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the western Pacific Ocean, flying on to bomb the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on the island of Honshu. Fifteen of the bombers carried on to land in China—landing a medium bomber on an aircraft carrier being impossible—with the 16th landing in Vladivostok, Soviet Union. The success of the mission demonstrated the vulnerability of Japan and was a major morale boost for the US.