21 March 1942
Berlin , Germany : Adolf Hitler placed Fritz Sauckel in charge of mobilizing forced laborers from occupied territories. From now on all necessary workforce for German war economy would be takewn off from occupied Europe and Russian territories as “forced labourers” against their will mostly
Poland : Jews from the Lublin ghetto in occupied Poland were deported to Belzec, Majdanek, and other concentration camps.
Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-124 torpedoed and sank US tanker Esso Nashville 20 kilometers southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, United States at 0608 hours. At 1005 hours, U-124 struck again, damaging US tanker Atlantic Sun with a torpedo.
Iceland : Allied convoy PQ-13, consisted of 19 merchant ships, set sail from Reykjavík, Iceland, with 1 destroyer and 5 trawlers in escort.
Washington , US : Presient Franklin D. Roosevelt in an attempt to explain heavy shipping losses in US Eastern Seaboard , US Navy inability to deal with U-Boat threat and US admirals reluctance to initiate coastal convoys wrote to Prime Minister Churchill an explanation : My Navy has been definitely slack in preparing for this submarine war off our coast. As I need not tell you, most Naval officers have declined in the past to think in terms of any vessel of less than two thousand tons. You learned that lesson two years ago. We still have to learn it.
Mediterranean Sea : Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Argus and HMS Eagle departed Gibraltar, escorted by battleship HMS Malaya, cruiser HMS Hermione, and 9 destroyers, with Spitfire fighters for Malta. Italian submarines Mocenigo and Dandolo attempted to intercept this task force but they failed.
In East Mediterranean , Italian submarines Onice and Platino spotted British convoy MW10, which had departed from Alexandria, Egypt, off the Libyan coast. A force consisted of Italian battleship Littorio, three Italian cruisers, and ten Italian destroyers departed from Taranto on mainland Italy and Messina on the island of Sicily to intercept; Royal Navy submarine HMS P36 spotted this Italian response.
Demyansk Pocket , Russia : General Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach led a German assault out of the Demyansk, Russia to the northwest.
Sevastapol , Crimea : Soviet cargo ship Georgy Dmitrov was bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe bombers
Australia : US Army General MacArthur arrived at Kooringa, Australia by train and discovered there would be no army waiting for him to reinforce the Philippine Islands.
Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea : Four US Kittyhawk fighters arrived over Port Moresby, Australian Papua as reinforcement at 1400 hours, but nervous anti-aircraft gunners fired on them, damaging all four. Later in the day, a lone Japanese bomber attacked Port Moresby, and one of the newly arrived Kittyhawks was able to scramble and shoot down the attacker. Later in the day, 14 additional Kittyhawk fighters arrived.
New Delhi , India : Sir Stafford Cripps , lord privy seal arrives Delhi for new proposals to grant independence India after the war.
Burma : 151 Japanese bombers attacked the British airfield at Magwe in northern Burma, the operating base of the Chinese Air Force 1st American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers”; 15 Sino-American aircraft were destroyed at the cost of 2 Japanese aircraft. Meanwhile, at Oktwin, forward elements of Japanese 55th Division engaged Chinese troops.