15 May 1942
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru was detected by American submarine USS Tautog before dawn south of Truk; as the sun rose, USS Tautog noted the hospital ship markings and abandoned her attack. Hikawa Maru arrived at Truk later that day. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | CPC]
  • Damaged by German aircraft two hours prior on the previous date, the abandon ship order was given by the captain of HMS Trinidad at 0000 hours; at 0120 hours, she was scuttled by a torpedo from HMS Matchless north of Russia. ww2dbase [Arctic Convoys | CPC]
  • Ernest King allowed Chester Nimitz to move the two carriers currently in the South Pacific to move up to the Central Pacific area, but King noted that he was still not convinced that Midway Atoll was the primary target of the suspected Japanese offensive. Later in the same day, Nimitz responded to the message, stressing that he believed the Japanese was likely to launch a three-prong attack against Midway Atoll, Aleutian Islands, and, likely at a two-to-three-week delay, Port Moresby in Australian Papua. ww2dbase [Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands | CPC]
  • Damaged British cruiser HMS Trinidad was scuttled by 3 torpedoes from HMS Matchless 170 miles north of Norway after her crew was taken off by destroyers HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight, and HMS Forester. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-156 sank Norwegian ship Siljestad 420 miles northeast of Barbados at 0254 hours (2 were killed, 31 survived); several hours later, as Yugoslavian ship Kupa responded to the distress call and arrived to pick up survivors, she was attacked and sunk by U-156 at 2100 hours (2 were killed, 39 survived). ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • The retreating Allied columns reached Assam in northeastern India. ww2dbase [Invasion of Burma | CPC]
  • Tatsuta Maru arrived at Davao, Philippine Islands. ww2dbase [Tatsuta Maru | CPC]
Germany Hawaii India Japan
  • Irako arrived at Yokosuka, Japan. ww2dbase [Irako | Yokosuka, Kanagawa | CPC]
  • Nachi arrived at Ominato Guard District, Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, Japan for a scheduled refit. ww2dbase [Nachi | Mutsu, Aomori | CPC]
  • Aichi received a request to design the world's first propose-built submarine-borne attack aircraft. ww2dbase [M6A Seiran | CPC]
Panama Canal Zone Portuguese Timor Russia
  • Soviet test pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi made the first powered flight in the experimental Berezniak-Isaev BI-1 rocket-powered interceptor at Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, reaching an altitude of 840 meters and reaching the speed of 400 kilometers per hour. ww2dbase [BI | Sverdlovsk | AC, CPC]
  • He 111 bombers of German Luftwaffe group I./KG 100 attacked Taman harbor, Russia with the heavy 1,800-kilogram SC 1800 bombs, causing heavy damage. ww2dbase [Taman, Krasnodar Krai | CPC]
Ukraine United States
  • The first of the 489 Liberty Ships built at the Kaiser Richmond Shipyards was laid down in Shipyard No. 1. The ship was delivered 97 days later as the SS Edward Rowland Sill and served until 1967. ww2dbase [Liberty-class | Richmond, California | DS]
  • USS Wahoo was commissioned into service with Marvin Kennedy in command. ww2dbase [Wahoo | CPC]
  • The first of the 489 Liberty Ships built at the Kaiser Richmond Shipyards was laid down in Shipyard No. 1. The ship was delivered 97 days later as the SS Edward Rowland Sill and served until 1967. ww2dbase [Kaiser Richmond Shipyards | Richmond, California | DS]
  • Oveta Hobby was made the Director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. ww2dbase [Oveta Hobby | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 May 1942
Hornet in South Pacific, 15 May 1942, a week after the Battle of Coral Sea and the day before she was recalled to Pearl Harbor to prepare for the Battle of Midway.TBD Devastator torpedo bomber on the flight deck of USS Hornet, circa 15 May 1942Forward main guns of Gleaves-class destroyer USS Aaron Ward in Gravesend Bay, New York Harbor, 15 May 1942. The guns are single-mount 5”/38 caliber dual purpose guns in enclosed turrets. Note the 5” powder canisters alongside.

15 May 1942 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944


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