17 May 1944
  • USS Hoe damaged a Japanese freighter with 1 of 5 torpedoes fired. ww2dbase [Hoe | CPC]
  • USS Tunny received reports of a Japanese convoy from USS Sand Lance and intercepted the 3-ship and 3-destroyer convoy just after sunset in the Mariana Islands. She launched three torpedoes each against two cargo ships, sinking Nichiwa Maru. She endured a counterattack consisted of 81 depth charges, suffering no damage. ww2dbase [Tunny | CPC]
  • USS Astoria was commissioned into service with Captain George Dye in command. ww2dbase [Astoria (Cleveland-class) | CPC]
  • USS Hawkbill was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Commander F. Worth Scanland, Jr. in command. ww2dbase [Hawkbill | CPC]
  • The Japanese attack on the Blackpool site of Operation Thursday in Burma was repulsed. On the same day, William Slim handed operational control of the Chindits over to Joseph Stilwell. ww2dbase [Operation Thursday | Joseph Stilwell | William Slim | CPC]
  • U-23 began her fifteenth war patrol. ww2dbase [U-23 | CPC]
British Western Pacific Territories Burma
  • At Myitkyina, Burma, Colonel Charles Hunter ordered Chinese 150th Regiment to attack the airstrip west of the city, and ordered 1st Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) under Lieutenant Colonel William Osborne to capture the ferry terminal at Pamati one mile southwest of the airstrip on the Irriwady River. The Chinese attack began at 1030 hours and the airstrip was captured at 1200 hours, with most Japanese troops falling back into the city aboard trucks. 1st Battalion Red Combat Team remained at the ferry terminal and White Combat Team moved to the airstrip to reinforce the Chinese. At 1530 hours, Joseph Stilwell learned of the success, and gleefully noted in his diary that this capture would embarrass the British. When informed of the capture, Louis Mountbatten was angered by Stilwell's decision to hide this offensive from him. Nevertheless, Mountbatten gracefully sent a message to Stilwell to praise his leadership and to congratulate the success. Stilwell, however, did not think of sending any messages to the commanders in the field to thank them. Colonel Charles Hunter, the tactical commander, was surprised that his superior Frank Merrill failed to show in the first group of aircraft to land at Myitkyina Airfield; instead, Merrill sent a team of engineers to repair an airstrip even though Hunter had already reported that the airfield was captured in tact. Merrill also failed to send any badly needed food and ammunition. Shortly after capturing the airfield, Hunter ordered K Force of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) to move toward the airfield with speed. On the Japanese side, troops were quickly gathered at Tingkrukawng to the northeast and would arrive at Myitkyina within 24 hours. ww2dbase [William Osborne | Charles Hunter | Frank Merrill | Louis Mountbatten | Joseph Stilwell | Battle of Myitkyina | Myitkyina | CPC]
Dutch East Indies Italy
  • German troops evacuated Cassino, Italy. Meanwhile, the French penetration of the Gustav Line reached 25 miles. Nearby, Polish troops launched what was to become the final attack on Monte Cassino. ww2dbase [Battle of Monte Cassino | Cassino, Lazio | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 17 May 1944
Map depicting the arrival of Allied H, K, and M forces at Myitkyina, Burma, 17-19 May 1944Soldiers of the US 6th Army on the beach of Wakde, northwestern New Guinea, 17 May 1944Surabaya under attack, Java, Dutch East Indies, 17 May 1944, photo 1 of 2Surabaya under attack, Java, Dutch East Indies, 17 May 1944, photo 2 of 2
See all photos dated 17 May 1944

17 May 1944 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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