14 - 20 February 1942

14 February 1942

UK : RAF Bomber Command began to deploy the new GEE radio navigation device.

British Deputy Chief of Air Staff and Air Ministry informed the RAF Bomber Command that “the primary object of your operations should be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population.” German civilian population are designated as legit targets from now on.

Allied convoy PQ-11 outbound to Russia departed Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom

East Mediterranean : Royal Navy submarine HMS Thrasher survived an attack off Crete with two unexploded bombs lodged in its deck casing. Lieutenant Peter Roberts and Petty Officer Thomas Gould took 40 minutes to remove the explosives, squeezed in the narrow confines knowing the submarine might by forced to dive at any moment, leaving them trapped to drown. They both received the Victoria Cross.

Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy submarine HMA P38 torpedoed and sank Italian transport ship Ariosto in the Mediterranean Sea without realizing that of the 410 aboard, 294 of them were Allied prisoners of war. 252 survivors of the sinking were rescued by Italian destroyer Premuda and torpedo boat Polluce.

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-576 torpedoed and sank British catapult armed merchant (CAM) ship Empire Spring southeast of Nova Scotia, Canada at 0337 hours, killing all 53 aboard

Caribbean Sea : Panaman tanker Penelope was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-67 in Caribbean Sea.

British troopship Clan Chattan was bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe FW-200 bombers , all 358 passangers and crew aboard were escued by Royal Navy escorts though.

Mindanao , Philippines : US submarine USS Sargo delivered 1 million rounds of .30 caliber ammunition to Mindanao, Philippine Islands. Upon departure, the submarine evacuated 24 US Army personnel

US submarine USS Swordfish torpedoed and sank Japanese transport Amagisan Maru 91 miles east of Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands.

Burma : Indian 17th Infantry Division was ordered to defend against the Japanese advance toward Rangoon, Burma at the Bilin River.

Ceylon , Indian Ocean : Japanese submarine I-166 torpedoed and sank British freighter Kamuning 2 miles east of Ceylon at 0817 hours; 6 were killed, 63 survived.

Sumatra , Dutch East Indies : 760 paratroopers of Japanese 1st Airborne Division landed at Pangkalanbenteng airfield near Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies to capture airfield and oil refineries nearby ; in response, ABDA command sent 5 cruisers and 11 destroyers to transport troops to Palembang; Dutch destroyer HNLMS Van Ghent in this force ran aground on the next day and would be scuttled. At the same time a Japanese task force of 25 ships mostly amphibious transports commanded by Admiral Ozawa are approaching to land troops to Palambang. From this task force Japanese troop transport Inbassan Maru was bombed and sunk by RAF Bristol Bleinheim bombers from Sumatra

Meanwhile, the British cargo ship Vyner Brooke, escaping from Singapore with 300 on board, was bombed off Sumatra by Japanese aircraft ; around 100 survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reach shore on Banka island; the men were marched away by the Japanese and bayoneted and shot, the wounded were bayoneted where they laid, and the nurses were herded into the sea and machine gunned; one, Sister Vivian Bulwinkel, was wounded but survived to tell of the atrocity; she died in 2000, aged 85.

Royal Navy Motor gunboat HMS Kuala was bombed and sunk by Japanese aircraft off Pompong island, Dutch East Indies. Many survivors made it to land nearby. Same day 31 other ships and medium sized boats left Singapore full of troops , military personnel and civilians evacuated from Singapore island , 12 of them sunk by Japanese aircraft or patrolling destroyers off Singapore , the rest and managed to reach Java intact.

Java Sea : The British Royal Navy riverboat HMS Li Wo, evacuating military personnel from Java, ran into part of the Japanese invasion fleet and was blasted to pieces by Japanese destroyers. In a last desperate show of defiance, the little boat rammed one of the enemy transports (which would sink on the following day) before going down. Only 13 of the 120 aboard Li Wo survived. The commander, Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson, who went down with his vessel, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in 1946.

Singapore : While Japanese troops penetrated the lines manned by the 1st Malay Brigade at Singapore and reached the Alexandra Barracks Hospital, where 323 hospital staff and patients would soon be brutally massacred, General Archibald Wavell rejected Arthur Percival’s request to surrender Singapore despite the town is under heavy Japanese gunfire and air bombartment. Same day Singapore’s 15 inch naval guns facing sea were put out of action by their gunners.

Despite being wounded, Lt. Adnan bin Saidi continued to retire from his forward position in Singapore. When his position was finally taken by Japanese troops, he was tied to a tree and bayoneted to death.


15 February 1942

Singapore : General Arthur Percival decided to surrender Singapore. A delegation bearing a white flag was dispatched at 1130 hours, but it was turned back by the Japanese, who requested Percival to surrender in person, which Percival complied at 1715 hours. At the Ford Motor Factory at Bukit Timah, Percival signed the surrender document at 2030 hours, making the biggest capitulation in British militay history official. 32,000 Indian, 16,000 British and 14,000 Australian and 15.000 Malayan soldiers being taken prisoner. More than half of them were to die while prisoners-of-war. Japanese got definete control of key naval base and strategic port in South East Asia.

The fall of Singapore—the ‘Gibraltar of the East’—was a serious blow to Britain’s ability to resist Japan, and also a severe blow to British morale. ‘Here is the moment’, Churchill told the British people in a broadcast on February 15, ‘to display the calm and poise, combined with grim determination, which not so long ago brought us out of the very jaws of death.’ The ‘only real danger’, Churchill warned, would be ‘a weakening in our purpose and therefore in our unity—that is the mortal crime’. Whoever was guilty of such a crime, or of bringing it about in others, ‘it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea’. Churchill urged his listeners not to despair. ‘We must remember’, he said, ‘that we are no longer alone. We are in the midst of a great company. Three-quarters of the human race are now moving with us. The whole future of mankind may depend upon our action and upon our conduct.’ So far, Churchill added, ‘we have not failed. We shall not fail now. Let us move forward steadfastly together into the storm and through the storm.’

At the other hand in Japanese side a wild wave of celebration goes on. Japanese goverment will declare fall of Singapore a two day national holiday. Unfortunetely architect of this victory General Yamashita , the Tiger of Malay will find that his triumph is short lived. Japanese prime minister General Hideki Tojo thinks Yamashita has became a potential prime minister candidate in future with all his popularity , dedices to exile Yamashita to Manchurian military zone.

Dutch East Indies : 100 additional Japanese paratroopers arrived at Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, helping with the securing oil refineries and other facilities. 200 kilometers to the south, British troop transport Ocrades arrives at Oosthaven with 3,400 Australian troops, but the ship would continue on to Java without disembarking the troops. North of Palembang, Japanese troops from Admiral Ozawa!'s amphibious force disembarked at the mouth of the Musi River; the British RAF bombers frm Java interfered by attacking the landing with over 50 aircraft, sinking 20 landing craft and killing 100 Japanese. Finally, in the Bangka Strait, Japanese naval gunfire sank British tug HMS Yin Ping while transporting evacuees from Singapore; 50 were killed, 25 survived.

Dutch destroyer HNLMS Van Ghent ran aground en route to Palembang, and was scuttled.

The 537-ton Dutch merchant vessel Makasser was scuttled in Bangka Strait, which separated Sumatra from Bangka Island in the Dutch East Indies, when approached by the Japanese Nagara-class cruiser Yura and the Fubuki-class destroyer Asagiri.

Australia : An Allied troop convoy consisted of four transports (with Australian and American troops aboard) departed from Darwin, Australia for Timor, escorted by cruiser USS Houston, destroyer USS Peary, sloop HMAS Swan, and sloop HMAS Warrego

Burma : Japanese troops penetrated Indian 17th Infantry Division positions on the Bilin River north of Rangoon, Burma.

Indian Ocean : Japanese submarine I-165 torpedoed and sank 4,471-ton British steam merchant ship Johanne Justesen (owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company of London) in the Arabian Sea off the southern tip of India, killing 1

Caroline Islands : Japanese carriers Akagi and Kaga departed Palau with, Carrier Division 2, and Cruiser Division 8, screened by Destroyer Squadron 1 for the attacks on Davao and Port Darwin, Australia.

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-432 torpedoed and sank Brazilian ship Buarque 40 kilometers east of Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States.

British cargo ship Biela was torpedoed by German submarine U-98 in Atlantic Ocean.

Greek cargo ship Meropi was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-566 off Nova Scotia , Canada.

Norwegian Sea : German manned cargo ship Birk struck a mine off Kirkenes Norway and sunk.

1 Like

Well, shit.

15.02, Singapore has fallen V Norman

16 February 1942

Caribbean Sea : Operation Neuland: German submarine U-156 torpedoed and sank British tanker Oranjestad off Antilles. But when she tried to bombard oil facilities at Aruba the deck gun misfired and exploded , killing both gunners. German submarine U-108 torpedoed and sank Panaman tanker Ramapo off Antilles. German submarine U-502 sank Venezuelan tanker Managas and small British tankers San Nicholas and Tia Juana in the Gulf of Venezuela, while other German and Italian submarines conducted similar attacks on Allied shipping in the region from New York to Florida and Caribbean. Once more, the darkened hulls of their victims were silhouetted against the bright lights of the still blackout-free coastal towns of the US Atlantic seaboard (US military and civilian authorities still did not implement blackout measures) , reducing the skills of naval attack to little more than those of target practice.

Dutch East Indies : 46 Japanese aircraft based in Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies attacked an Allied troop convoy (carrying Australian and American troops) intended for Timor; although the attack was driven off, the convoy was turned back in fear of further attacks.

Small Dutch steamer Tandong Pinang rescued 200 women and children, survivors of HMS Kuala, an auxiliary patrol boat serving as a civilian evacuation transport and sunken by Japanese aircraft two days prior. Tandong Pinang set sail from Pompong island for Batavia, Dutch East Indies; she would soon be captured by the Japanese while still at sea, and all aboard were taken as prisoners.

Hawaii Islands : US Navy carrier USS Lexington set sail with US Navy Task Force 11 for a raid on Rabaul, New Britain.

Singapore : The Sook Ching massacre began in Singapore during which somewhere between 5,000 (Japanese estimates) and 15,000 (Singaporean estimates) ethnic Chinese civilians were killed mostly by beheading or bayoneting during the following three weeks.

1 Like

Among those killed was prominent Chinese film director Hou Yao [director of one of the first Chinese films shown in Western theaters, Romance of the Western Chamber.]

17 February 1942

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-136 torpedoed and sank British transport ship Empire Comet (which straggled behind her convoy) 250 miles south of Iceland at 2217 hours, killing all 46 aboard.

Pacific Ocean : USS Triton sank Japanese torpedo boat Shinyo Maru No. 5 and damaged another ship off Kyushu island, Japan.

Burma : Japanese troops from 15th Army crossed the Bilin River north of Rangoon, Burma and began to encircle the Indian 17th Infantry Division.

Dutch East Indies : 9 Japanese troop transports departed Ambon for Timor in the Dutch East Indies at 0800 hours. Later in the evening, Japanese transports Sasego Maru and Sagami Maru departed Makassar, Celebes, Dutch East Indies with invasion troops for Bali.

Japanese carrier aircraft from Ryujo bombed and sank Dutch destroyer HMNS Van Nes, escorting Dutch troopship Sloet van Beele, in the Bangka Strait; 69 were killed, 60 survived. Troopship Sloet Van Beele was herself torpedoed by Japanese aircraft a few hours later with all 500 troops (one full Dutch Indies battalion ) on board

Australian Bill Reynolds, an official with the Johore Government Service, captured small Japanese fishing vessel Krait and took on 70 survivors of HMS Kuala, an auxiliary patrol boat serving as a civilian evacuation transport and sunken by Japanese aircraft three days prior. Krait would be successful in delivering the survivors from Pompong island to Tembilahan, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. (Under Australian service , Krait would be extremely valuable later to raid Japanese occupied Singapore harbour in Operation Jaywick in September 1943)

Kalinn-Western Sector , Eastern Front : On the Eastern Front, the Red Army struggled to push back the German line near Rzhev, launching a new offensive on February 17. As well as a frontal assault, 7,373 soldiers were dropped by parachute behind the German lines; because of fog, more than a quarter fell directly on to the German positions and were taken prisoner. The German forces, despite heavy losses, and a temperature which fell to minus fifty-two degrees centigrade, held on to their line. One SS regiment came out of the battle with only thirty-five of its original two thousand men.

Germany : To ‘make way’ for the wounded German soldiers evacuated from the Eastern Front, Germany’s remaining mental asylums were being ‘cleared’ of their patients. The method used was euthanasia: death by gassing or by lethal injection. On February 19 the British Government received a report to this effect from Sweden, sent by a leading Swedish expert on euthanasia who had just returned from a visit to Germany. He told of one asylum ‘where 1,200 people had been removed by poison’.

1 Like

18 February 1942

Ukraine : Soviet forces under General Timoshenko launched a fresh offensive against the German Army Group South on the central front; the southern front was marked by strong gains by Soviet troops in the Ukraine.

Atlantic Ocean : Luftwaffe FW-200 bombers sank British minesweeping trawler HMT Botanic in the North Sea.

Newfoundland : US destroyer USS Truxton ran aground and broke apart at Ferryland Point, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in poor weather; 119 were killed, 33 survived.

German submarine U-432 torpedoed and sank Brazilian tanker Olinda 30 kilometers off Virginia, United States.
British cargo ship Somme was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-108 off Caribbean

Burma : After three days of confused fighting along the Bilin river in Burma, Major General “Jackie” Smyth learned that he was threatened with being outflanked to the south by the Japanese 143rd Regiment which crossed Bilin river. He committed his last reserves, 4/12th Frontier Force Regiment who fought a stiff action on 16th Indian Brigade’s left but ultimately failed to dislodge the Japanese from their bridgehead.

Burma’s Premier U Saw was detained by the British for allegedly being in communication with the Japanese.

General Archibald Wavell commander of ABDA Command orders Rangoon to be evacuated

Dutch East Indies : Japanese aircraft bombed and sank Dutch coastal defense ship Surabaya and Dutch submarine K7 at Surabaya Harbor, Java, Dutch East Indies.

Berlin , Germany : Germany, Italy, and Japan military attaches signed a military convention in Berlin, Germany, laying down “guidelines for common operations against the common enemies.”

19 February 1942

France : Vichy government in France tried General Gamelin, Leon Blum, and Paul Reynaud for being responsible for 1940 defeat (Riom Trials) Two former premiers of defunct French Third Republic , Leon Blum and Edouard Daladier along with three of their ministers and former French Commander in Chief General Maurice Gamelin went to trial first. Both ex premiers blamed French High Command while General Gamelin stayed silent. Daladier also blamed Germany which started the war and accused the trial doing bidding of German occupation authorities.

Washington , USA : US President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, allowing the US military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Atlantic Ocean : British tanker British Consul was torpedoed and sunk off Trinidad in Caribbean Sea

British cargo ship Miraflores was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-432 off Virginia Capes

British cargo ship Empire Seal was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-96

US cargo ship Pan Massachussets was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-128 in Atlantic Ocean

Burma : Mandalay, capital of Burma came under Japanese aerial attack for the first time. Meanwhile, the Japanese 143rd Regiment, having crossed the Bilin Estuary arrived at Taungzon, effectively bypassing the British and Indian positions along the Bilin River; Lieutenant General Hutton had no option but to permit a withdrawal to the Sittang river.

Darwin , Australia : Japanese carriers Akagi and Kaga launched 152 bombers and 36 fighters at 0845 hours. The attack force reached Darwin, Australia at 0958 hours and attacked the port city for the subsequent 42 minutes, bombed and sinking US destroyer USS Peary (93 killed, 49 survived), US transport USAT Meigs and US transport ship Don Isidura , Dutch merchant ship Zealandia, US cargo ships Florance D and Mauna Loa, British freighters Neptuna and Barossa , British tanker British Motorist, and Australian coal storage hulk Kelat. 7 Japanese aircraft were shot down in this first raid, while 7 American P-40 fighters were destroyed (4 in combat, 3 on the ground). Later in the day, 54 land-based bombers based in Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies arrived for a second raid, destroying 6 Australian Hudson light bombers, 1 US B-24 Liberator bomber, and 2 US P-40 fighters , two more Japanese aircraft were shot down from this raid. Total of 239 people died in Darwin. Japanese intention of these raids are to shatter the morale of Australia which is becoming a focus point for Allied rally up in South West Pacific , not invasion though.

US Army 14th Reconnaissance Squadron pilot Major Richard Carmichael, leading a flight of 12 B-17 bombers, arrived at Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Dutch East Indies : Japanese troops landed at Denpasar, Bali in the Dutch East Indies unopposed before dawn. At 0700 hours, as the Japanese troops transports departed Bali and began to sail for their home ports, 20 American aircraft attacked the convoy, damaging transport Sagami Maru. At 2200 hours, as the Japanese convoy sailed through the Badung Strait, it was engaged by Dutch light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter, Dutch light cruiser HNLMS Java, and three US and Dutch destroyers; in the following engagement known as Battle of Badung Strait , Dutch destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein was sunk by Japanese destroyer torpedoes in the battle, killing 64.
Bali landings opened up the way for invasion of Java , main Dutch colony possesion in East Indies which is seperated from Bali with a shallow two mile wide strait from Bali.

United Kingdom : Major changes were made to the British War Cabinet. Sir Stafford Cripps became Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons. Mr. Clement Atlee became Secretary for the Dominions and Mr. Oliver Lyttleton was appointed Minister of State with special responsibilities for all branches of production. Outgoing Ministers of the Cabinet were Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Kingsley Wood and Mr. Arthur Greenwood.

1 Like

20 February 1942

Tokyo , Japan : The Chief of Staff of the Combined Fleet, Rear Admiral Matome Ugaki, began a series of war games aboard Yamato to test plans for the second-stage operations. Rear Admiral Shigeru Fukudome (Chief of the 1st Bureau (Plans and Operations) of Naval General Staff), Captain Baron Sadatoshi Tomioka (Naval General Staff), Commander Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito (brother of Emperor Showa), and Army Major Prince Tsunenori Takeda observed the war games.

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-156 torpedoed and sank US freighter Delplata 100 kilometers off Virginia, United States.

German submarine U-96 torpedoed and sank US cargo vessel Lake Osweya off Newfoundland.

German submarine U-129 torpedoed and sank Norwegian cargo ship Nordvangen 30 miles east of Trinidad at 0400 hours, killing all 24 aboard. Finally, Italian submarine Torelli torpedoed and sank British cargo ship Scottish Star 770 miles east of Martinique; 4 were killed, 69 survived. Meanwhile, three other Italian submarines just started operating in the Caribbean Sea commenced an operation that would see the sinking of fourteen merchant vessels over a four day period.

English Channel : German submarine chaser Sperrbrecher 171 struck a mine and sank off Calais , France

While trying to evade Royal Navy gunboats , German fast torpedoboat S-53 collided with another torpedoboat S-39 and sank off Cherbourg. Seven crewmen died.

Burma : 5th Japanese Division attacked the positions of 16th and 46th Indian Brigades at Kyaikto, Burma, delaying the retreat from the Balin to the Sittang Bridge for forty-eight hours, and causing total confusion among the withdrawing columns. To make matters worse the Indians came under friendly air attack from RAF and AVG aircraft. In addition most of the Divisional Headquarters’ radio equipment was lost in the confusion. In Rangoon, Hutton’s implementation of the second part of the evacuate Europeans caused wide-spread panic with much looting by drunken natives, and the emptying of the cities goals of lunatics and criminals.

Dutch East Indies : At 0130 hours, a fresh ABDA force consisted of a Dutch cruiser and four US destroyers attempted to intercept a Japanese transport fleet in the Badung Strait in the Dutch East Indies for the second time. Dutch cruiser HNLMS Tromp (10 killed) and American destroyer USS Stewart were damaged on the Allied side, while Japanese destroyers Asashio (4 killed) and Oshio (7 killed) also suffered damage. At 0220 hours, Japanese destroyers Arashio and Michishio joined in the action; Michishio became the target of all four American destroyers, suffering several hits and 13 killed, but was able to be towed away from battle.

Elsewhere, at dawn, Japanese troops landed at Dili, Portuguese Timor and Koepang, Dutch Timor. Portuguese defenders at Dili was overrun and Portugal accepted the Japanese occupation for the duration of the war; Australian defenders at Koepang resisted, however. At 1045 hours, 323 Japanese paratroops were delivered to Koepang airfield, but most of them did not land in the drop zone, and 245 of them were killed by the Australians.

Japanese troops massacred 72 Dutch prisoners of war and 2 Dutch civilians at Balikpapan, Borneo, Dutch East Indies by beheading and gunfire for the destruction of oil facilities prior to Japanese occupation.

Philippines : Philippine president Manuel Quezon was evacuated from Corregidor , Philippines to Australia by a US submarine.

Pacific Ocean : A Japanese H6K flying boat piloted by Lieutenant (jg) Noboru Sakai spotted a US carrier force 460 miles northeast of New Britain; US pilot Jimmy Thatch of USS Lexington shot down Sakai’s aircraft at 1112 hours, but not before Sakai had alerted others. At 1202 hours, Burt Stanley and Leon Haynes shot down another H6K aircraft, flown by Warrant Officer Kiyoshi Hayashi, north of Lexington. At 1420 hours, 17 Type 1 bombers of Japanese 4th Air Group, led by Lieutenant Masayoshi Nakagawa, were launched from Rabaul, with the first wave reaching Lexington at 1625 hours. The first wave of 9 bombers were all shot down without causing any damage to Lexington; Nakagawa tried to crash into Lexington as he fell from the sky, but fell short by less than 1 mile). The second wave attacked USS Lexington and USS Minneapolis at 1705 hours, still causing no damage; Edward “Butch” O’Hare shot down 3 and damaged 4 Japanese bombers. Only 2 Japanese bombers arrived back at Rabaul at the end of the day; 100 Japanese bomber crewmen were lost during the attacks, and Japan also lost 20 men with the H6K reconnaissance flights earlier in the morning. O’Hare was given credit for 5 kills, making him an “Ace in a Day” and setting him up for a Medal of Honor award.
However since Japanese discovered location of USS Lexington , US Task Force cancels air strike to Rabaul and turns away back to Pearl Harbour

Japanese submarine I-65 sank British cargo ship Bhima 30 miles north of the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean; all 70 aboard survived

Berlin : Adolf Hitler ordered that any Russian who refused to work would be punished with death by hanging. Additionally, Russians working in German-occupied lands had no limit to their work days, and their employers were free to issue corporal punishment.

Black Sea : Oberleutnant Hansgeorg Bätcher, commanding officer of 1. Staffel of I./KG 100 of the German Luftwaffe, flying a He 111 bomber, sank a 2,000-ton Soviet freighter in the Black Sea with supplies for the Soviet garrison of Sevastopol, Russia.

UK : A Douglas DC3 aircraft of the USAAF landed at RAF Hendon bringing Brigadier General Ira Eaker and six of his fellow officers; their orders were to prepare the way for the entry of the US Army Air Force into the “European Theatre of Operations”