Aviation in 1942
January - May
German troops cut off by Soviet forces at Kholm are
re-supplied by air by using DFS230 and Go242 transport
gliders (sailplanes) in the first large scale air supply of
Germany's own forces behind enemy lines.
The United Nations Declaration is signed. The name United
Nations is adopted by the Allied coalition against Axis
The first emergency aircraft ejection is made by the German
Major Schenk when ejects from a Heinkel He280 Jet fighter
prototype when it crashes at Rechlin following problems with
heavy icing. He ejects at 7,875 feet and makes a safe
The first United States carrier offensive is made by the USS
Enterprise and USS Yorktown. Their aircraft attack Japanese
targets on several of the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.
The German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the
cruiser Prinz Eugen leave Brest and escape through the
English Channel. They are provided with a strong Luftwaffe
air umbrella during the passage.
The first air attack on Australia takes place when Japanese
bombers attack shipping in the harbour at Port Darwin.
The first United States Army Air Force (USAAF) headquarters
in Europe are established in the United Kingdom with
Brigadier General I.C. Eaker commanding.
Japanese aircraft bomb targets at Port Darwin in Australia.
The United States Navy (USN) is given sole charge of
anti-submarine warfare off the United States coastline.
The 10th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) makes its first
combat operation when heavy bombers attack shipping in the
Japanese carrier aircraft operate off the coast of Ceylon and
Japanese carrier aircraft make the first air attack on India.
United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Boeing B17 Flying
Fortresses and North American B25 Mitchells based in
Australia make the first attack against Japanese shipping and
installations in the Philippines.
In a one-way attack on Tokyo, sixteen North American B25
Mitchells led by Lieutenant Colonel J.H. Doolittle are flown
off the carrier USS Hornet, some 400 miles off the Japanese
mainland. Following the attack, the aircraft are forced land
Assam, Burma, China Ferry Command is established to air ferry
supplies into China over the Himalayas (The Hump).
The Battle of Coral Sea is fought. This is the first naval
action to be fought by opposing carrier-based aircraft where
the surface ships on both sides never sight the enemy. The
United States Navy (USN) loses USS Lexington and 69 aircraft
and the Japanese lose Shoho and 85 aircraft and Shokaku is
USS Ranger, operating off the west African Gold Coast flies
off sixty United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Curtiss P40
aircraft to Accra. They are then flown on by stages, to 10th
USAAF in India.
2 June - 4 July
A costly but successful German assault on Sevastopol takes
place, supported by concentrated German Air Force bombing
The Battle of Midway is fought. The Japanese carriers Akagi,
Hiryu, Kaga and Soryu are sunk by United States carrier-based
aircraft and the United States Navy (USN) loses the carrier
USS Yorktown. This is one of the decisive battles of the
Second World War. as the Japanese Navy is deprived of much of
its carrier force and, prevented from taking the initiative,
it is forced back onto the defensive.
Twelve United States Air Force (USAF) Consolidated B24
Liberator bombers make an unsuccessful attack on the Romanian
oil refineries at Ploesti.
Major General Carl Spaatz is appointed to command the 8th
United States Army Air Force (USAAF) in the United Kingdom.
The first Boeing B17 Flying Fortress for the 8th United
States Army Air Force (USAAF) lands at Prestwick in Scotland.
With considerable early air cover United States Marines begin
landings on Guadalcanal.
The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) makes its first
European heavy bomber raid of the Second World War. Boeing
B17 Flying Fortresses of the 97th Bombardment Group attack
Rouen-Scotteville marshalling yards in occupied France.
The 12th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) is activated at
Bolling Field in Washington DC in preparation for the
invasion of North Africa.
A Yokosuka E14Y1 (Glen) light submarine-borne reconnaissance
floatplane is launched from the Japanese submarine I25. It
makes two overflights of the wooded Oregon coast and drops
four incendiary bombs. This is the only time Japanese fixed
wing aircraft attack the USA during the Second World War.
Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Navy (USN)
Consolidated Catalina flying boats disperse a German U-boat
'wolf pack' attacking a west bound North Atlantic convoy and
one U-boat is sunk.
The 89th Bombardment Squadron of the United States Army Air
Force (USAAF) makes the first use of para-fragmentation
bombs, during sweeps over Buna airstrip in New Guinea.
Brigadier General J.H. Doolittle is appointed to command the
12th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) .
first fully successful launch of a German A4 (V2) rocket
takes place and reaches 56 miles from Peenemünde in 296
German Air Force night harassment units are formed as a
direct copy of the Soviet practice.
The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) 8th Bomber Command
flies its first operation, attacking German submarine bases
in occupied France.
United States and British aircraft provide air cover for the
invasion of North Africa and during the early days, Vichy
French units put up a spirited resistance. Large numbers of
Luftwaffe aircraft are flown into Tunis and troops are flown
in by both sea and air.
The 9th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) is formed in the
A Soviet counter attack north of Stalingrad begins and in
just three weeks, supported by four Air Armies, the German
troops fighting in the city are cut off from their colleagues
and their fate is sealed.
Luftwaffe supply flights into the Stalingrad pocket begin.
9th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Consolidated B24
Liberators make the first American attack on Italy by bombing
Japanese bombers make the first night attack on Calcutta in
The Germans lose their last remaining landing ground in the
Stalingrad pocket, when Tatsinskaya is over run by Soviet
Australian and United States forces recapture Buna airstrip
in New Guinea.
The first launch of Germany's V1 surface-to-surface pilotless