03 - 09 January 1942

03 January 1942

Philippines : US and Filipino troops fell back to the Guagua-Porac defensive line, 15 miles from the Bataan peninsula on Luzon, Philippine Islands.

Washington , USA : General Marshall was advised by the American Army planners that there were insufficient forces to send a relief expedition to the embattled Philippines.

Port Moresby , New Guinea : Australian 39th and 53rd Battalions arrived at Port Moresby, New Guinea from Sydney, Australia.

Dutch East Indies : Japanese submarine I-158 torpedoed and sank Dutch cargo ship Langkoeas off Bawean Island, Dutch East Indies; all 94 aboard escaped on lifeboats. I-158 rammed one of the lifeboats and attacked the others with machine guns, killing many of the survivors. Ultimately, only 3 would survive.

Malaya : British Colonel Arthur Cummings, commanding officer of the Indian 12th Frontier Force Regiment, gallantly led a rearguard unit near Kuantan, Pahang, Malaya as the main body of his division retreated further south, suffering a bayonet wound in his stomach and a gunshot in the arm. He would survive the war and be awarded the Victoria Cross for this action.

The Japanese made an amphibious attack at Kuala Selangor in western Malaya, which was repelled by Indian troops. In eastern Malaya, Japanese troops pushed through Indian 9th Division defenses and crossed the Kuantan River, capturing the airfield nearby.

Mediterranean Sea : Five freighters and one tanker departed Messina, Brindisi, and Taranto in Italy to form Axis convoy M.34, carrying 1,200 troops, 54 tanks, artillery pieces, armored cars, 1,000 tons of ammunition, and 5,300 tons of fuel for Tripoli, Libya. A powerful escort force of 4 Italian battleships, 5 cruisers, 19 destroyers, and 5 torpedo boats provided cover from a distance.

North Sea : British cargo ship Corfen struck a mine and sank off Thames Estuary

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04 January 1942

Central Front , Russia : Soviet Army took Kaluga near Moscow, Russia.

Malaya : Indian 11th Infantry Division withdrew from Kampar Hill in western Malaya, falling back to a new defensive line at the Slim River. Retreating British Indian forces were also bombarded by Japanese aircraft

Philippines : Following a heavy bombardment, Japanese Lingayen Force penetrated the US-Filipino Guagua-Porac defensive line at Luzon, Philippine Islands and captured the town of Guagua and the Del Carmen airfield. On the same day, American B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from Australia attacked Japanese shipping at Malalag Bay, Davao, Mindanao, damaging cruiser Myoko.

Java Sea : British cargo ship Kwangtung was shelled and sunk by Japanese submarine I-156 which rammed and machine gunned the lifeboats , only 35 out of 135 aboard survived.

Black Sea : Soviet light cruiser Krasnyi Kavkaz was damaged by German Ju 87 aircraft but was able to reach Novorossiysk, Russia for repairs.

Italy : RAF Blenheim bombers from No. 21 and No. 107 Squadrons based in Malta raided the Italian base at Castelvetrano destroying eleven Axis transport aircraft on the ground and thereby hindering the amount of supplies and reinforcements that could be forwarded to North Africa.

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05 January 1942

Russia : Red Army launched general offensives over entire Eastern Front on the Leningrad, Moscow, Ukraine, and Crimea fronts. Joseph Stalin, who had taken command, refused to heed his generals who warned against a broad 1,000-mile long front , ordering to initiate several offensives all over a vast front , dilluting their strike power.

Crimea : The Soviet attempt to land at Eupatoria (Yevpatoria) was blocked by the Germans. Soviet troop transports Nogin and Zyryanin were bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe JU-87 dive bombers off Feodosia. Soviet minesweeper T-405 was hit and sunk by German field artillery off Eupatharia

Brest , France : After sundown, 140 RAF bomber aircraft attacked the port facilities at Brest, France, dropping 203 tons of high explosive bombs, followed by another wave of 126 aircraft which dropped 186 tons of high explosive bombs and 12,680 incendiary bombs. The primary targets were German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which suffered little damage.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Upholder torpedoed and sank Italian submarine Admiral Saint-Bon, with 155 tons of ammunition and gasoline on board, north of Messina, Sicily at 0542 hours; 82 crew members of Italian submarine were killed (many during the explosion), 3 survived.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Proteus torpedoed and sank Italian troop transport Citta Di Palermo 73 miles northwest of Patras, Greece at 0800 hours, killing most of the 600 Italian troops aboard.

Italian convoy M.43 arrived at Tripoli, Libya, delivering 54 tanks, armored cars, artillery, ammunition, and fuel.

Malaya : Japanese troops launched probing attacks at the defenses manned by Indian troops at Trolak, British Malaya; 60 Japanese were killed without achieving success.

Colditz , Germany : Four prisoners of war, two Dutch and two British, successfully escaped the Oflag IV-C camp at Colditz Castle in Germany by dressing up as German guards. Lieutenant Airey Neave, and Dutchman Tony Luteyn; both reached the safety of Swiss soil and from there to Britain within the next few days. Lt Airey Neave one of the escapees among the four, became the first British prisoner to escape from Colditz.

Gibraltar : Reaching Gibraltar from Britain on January 5, an Englishman, Donald Darling, code name ‘Sunday’, organized a secret overland communication route to France, enabling escaped Allied prisoners-of-war to travel from Marseilles to Barcelona, then on to Gibraltar or Lisbon. ‘Sunday’ was substantially helped in this by ‘Monday’, a former British diplomat in Berlin, Michael Creswell, who based in Spain, would when necessary cross the Pyrenees into France to co-ordinate the escape lines for Allied escepees on the run in Europe.

Philippines : US and Filipino troops in the Philippine Islands were put on half rations.

Netherlands : In German-occupied Europe, there was a courageous protest on January 5 by the Dutch Council of Churches, against what they described as the ‘complete lawlessness’ of the German treatment of the Jews; but, despite the protest, round-ups for forced labour and expulsion from several towns and villages into Amsterdam continued.

North Sea : Danish cargo ship Cornelia Maersk was bombed and sunk by RAF Coastal Command aircraft off South Holland. Her entire crew survived though

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6 January 1942

Moscow , USSR : In the face of over 52,000 murders in Kiev, Ukraine, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov denounced German atrocities in the Soviet Union and began to document incidents of atrocities for future actions.

Atlantic Ocean : British cargo ship Baron Erskine , straggled behind convoy was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-701 , all 41 crew was lost

New Britain , Bismarck islands : Japanese aircraft from Truk, Caroline Islands attacked Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands. Nine Japanese flying boats attacked Vunakanau Airfield at Rabaul, New Britain, destroying a direction-finding station and damaging a Wirraway fighter, a Hudson bomber, and the runways; one Wirraway fighter was scrambled and reached the flying boats, but it failed to hit the attackers.

Dutch East Indies : Japanese aircraft bombed Dutch positions on Ambon, Dutch East Indies for the first time.

Canberra , Australia : Whitehall and British Chief of Staff in London inform Australian goverment that 1st Australian Corps (6th and 7th Australian Infantry Divisions ) would be shipped from Middle East to South West Pacific. British Chiefs of Staff also decided to teransfer 17th Indian Division and 200 more aircraft to Burma and India with utmost urgency.

Libya : German forces successfully evacuated Agedabia, Libya. 13th Corps the vanguard of 8th Army reached Merse Brega. Meanwhile German Italian Panzer Group Afrika under General Rommel was reinforced with 65 new panzers from a recently arrived Italian convoy

Norway : 11 British RAF Coastal Command Halifax bombers attacked Luftwaffe base at Sola Airfield at Stavanger, Norway in indirect support of the Operation Kitbag naval attack at Florø, Norway.
Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Sheffield, destroyer HMS Inglefield, and destroyer HMS Intrepid departed Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom for Operation Kitbag at 0300 hours, reaching Florø, Norway by the evening, sinking a German trawler and damaging fish processing facilities.

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07 January 1942

Philippines : Japanese troops made probing attacks at the opening of the Bataan peninsula at Luzon, Philippine Islands. Meanwhile, General MacArthur organized his forces into two corps and a rear area service command. A Japanese invasion force departed Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands for Tarakan, Dutch Borneo.

Leningrad , USSR : The Soviet Volkhov Front attempted to force Germans back from Leningrad. Soviet Army began an offensive near Lake Ilmen in Russia, with the aim of encircling Demyansk. Soviet counter-offensive is focused on north of Novgorod. Much of the fighting took place across a frozen swamp. Thousands of German soldiers were unable to fight because of frostbite. Amputations, and even double amputations, were frequent. Because of a severe shortage of blankets, wounded men froze to death even in field hospitals; each night the temperature fell to minus forty degrees centigrade.

Washington , USA : US President Franklin Roosevelt submitted a US$29,000,000,000 budget to the US Congress to fund the construction of 60,000 aircraft, 45,000 tanks, and 8,000,000 tons of shipping.

Malaya : Japanese tanks wiped out the Indian 11th Division at Slim River, British Malaya early in the morning; by 0930 hours, both the road and railway bridges were secured by Japanese troops. British and Indian defenders inflict heavy casaulties on following Japanese infantry but their commanders are now pessimistic to hold Kuala Lumpur. Archibald Wavell inspected troops and defenses in Singapore and orders immediate reinforcement and fortification of its northern shores. (too little too late)

Yugoslavia : On January 7, in Yugoslavia, the Germans launched their second anti-partisan offensive, driving Tito’s forces from Olovo, to which they had been driven less than six weeks earlier, to Foca, fifty miles to the south. But although forced to flee southward, and suffering heavy losses, the partisans retained their determination to fight on.

Mediterranean Sea : Italian cargo ship Perla was torpedoed and sunk in south of Pantelleria by Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm 830 Squadron Swordfish torpedo bombers sortied from Malta

Java Sea : Dutch tanker Dijrak was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-57

Pacific Ocean : Japanese auxilary colliaer Unkai Maru was torpedoed and sunk by US submarine USS Pollack

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08 January 1942

Moscow Front , Russia : Adolf Hitler gave Günther von Kluge the permission to fall back in the Moscow, Russia region. On the same day, the Soviet West Front attacked towards Mozhaysk, Russia west of Moscow, which was defended by troops of German 4th Army.

Java Sea , Dutch East Indies : Japanese submarine I-56 sank Dutch freighters Van Riebeeck and Van Rees off Cilacap, Java, Dutch East Indies.

Iceland : Allied convoy PQ-8 departed Hvalfjörður, Iceland.

Malaya : Japanese troops penetrated the outer lines of defense at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, which was about 15 miles north of the capital city. Australian 8th Division began to move forward to replace the nearly-destroyed Indian 11th Division near Kuala Lumpur.

British North Borneo : Japanese troops from 124th Infantry Regiment captured Jsselton , capital of British Borneo. The local garrison made of one Indian battalion and local police evacuated the town before arrival of Japanese.


9 January 1942

Philippines : At 1500 hours, the main Japanese offensive against Bataan defences held by 80.000 US and Philippine troops at the Philippine Islands began, spearheaded by 6,500 men of the newly arrived and inexperienced 65th Japanese Infantry Brigade from (which replaced the veteran Japanese 48th Division) from General Homma’s 14th Army ; the first attacks at the Abucay-Mauban defensive line were repelled by US-Filipino troops. 2nd Philippine Corps placed its artillery placed carefully around Mount Natib and Abucab volcanos , inflict heavy casaulties on Japanese infantry columns , halting their advance. Meanwhile, US Marines from Batteries A and C of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment who remained on Bataan under naval control were integrated into a naval battalion for ground combat. The main problem for US and Philippine trops holding Bataan is lack of supply especially food though.

Malaya : 11th Indian Division and other units in Malaya Command were ordered to retreat to Johore. 25th Japanese Army is barely 200 miles north of Singapore now.

Pacific Ocean : US submarine USS Pollack torpedoed and sank Japanese freighter Teian Maru at night off Japan with one or two torpedoes fired. A torpedo was also fired at an escorting destroyer, but that torpedo missed.

Java Sea : Japanese submarine I-65 torpedoed and damaged a tanker and sank Dutch freighter Benkoeln in the Java Sea; 101 survived. Japanese submarine I-58 sank Dutch ship Camphuijs in the Java Sea.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMS Triumph struck a mine and sank off Milos, Greece, killing all 59 aboard.

Leningrad Front , USSR : Soviet 3rd and 4th Shock Armies attacked German defenses south of Demyansk, Russia, making advances but suffering heavy casualties.
In Leningrad, Russia the Soviet Naval Staff issued orders directing the fleet and shipyards to concentrate their efforts towards overhauling and repairing Soviet submarines (some of which were being employed as power-station generators for the besieged city) in order to prepare for a spring offensive in the Baltic Sea. Submarine crews and other specialists were recalled from the front (where many were fighting ashore) to assist in the preparation of some thirty submarines for the campaign. In Apr 1942 the submarines would be divided up into three groups by Brigade Commander A. M. Stetsenko according to their sea fitness. The first group, consisting of the most experienced Captains, such as Y. P. Afanasev, S. P. Lisin, and G. Ya. Osopov, was expected to have ten submarines ready to sail by the end of May 1942 with another seven nearing completion of their overhauls; the second group was scheduled to be ready by Aug 1942 and the third by the autumn.