Monday, April 29, 2019

January 17, 1942: British Take Halfaya Pass

Saturday 17 January 1942

Oerlikon gun on HMS Dido, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Oerlikon gunner in HMS DIDO getting a light from a pal between bombing attacks." Eastern Mediterranean, 17 to 19 January 1942. © IWM (A 9576).
Battle of the Mediterranean: The final result of British Operation Crusader occurs on 17 January 1942 when an Italian garrison at Halfaya Pass finally surrenders to British 30 Corps. Despite being heavily fortified, the Halfaya Pass position has had no sources of supply other than occasional airdrops since the Axis garrison at Sollum fell on 12 January. About 5500 Axis troops, mostly men from the 55th Savona Infantry Division under the command of General Fedele de Giorgis, go into captivity. General Erwin Rommel, who already is preparing a counterattack 500 miles to the west at El Agheila, comments that "Superb leadership was shown by the Italian General de Giorgis, who commanded this German-Italian force in its two months’ struggle." With the loss of Halfaya Pass, the Afrika has lost about a third of its troop strength that it had on hand at the start of Operation Crusader in November 1941. However, Axis convoys recently have been getting through from Naples to Tripoli again while British forces have been diverted to the Far East. In a sign of renewed Axis vigor at sea, U-133 (Oblt. Hermann Hesse), on its third patrol out of St. Nazaire, torpedoes and sinks Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gurkha (9 casualties) off Sidi Barrani today. This is beginning to alter the balance of power in North Africa once again.

Japanese submarine I-60, sunk on 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
I-60, shown, is sunk on 17 January 1942 by HMS Jupiter. I-60 is a KD3A/B type submarine. The wreck is found many years later about 25 miles northwest of Krakatoa, Java.
Battle of the Pacific: On the Malay Peninsula, the British shift two battalions, one from West Force at Segamat and the other from East Force at Jemaluang, to block the new Japanese bridgehead at Muar. They, along with the remnants of the shattered 45th Indian Brigade, set up a camp at Bakri. The Allies plan an attack toward Muar on the 18th, but the Japanese are planning an attack of their own toward Bakri. The Japanese continue their daily bombing of Singapore, with 27 bombers wrecking Sembawang Airfield in the extreme north of the island. This increases pressure on the RAAF to transfer its planes from Singapore across the Malacca Strait to Sumatra.

Daily Express, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Daily Express, 17 January 1942, is full of news about the battles in the Philippines.
In the Philippines, the Allies on Bataan Peninsula counterattack in the eastern II Corps sector to restore their line previously held by the 51st Filipino Division. The US 31st Infantry Division moves north from its base near Abucay Hacienda to the Balantay River area and manages some progress on its left. To the west in the I Corps sector, Japanese troops advance south along the Abo-Abo River toward Orion. The Allies, having temporarily taken it on the 16th with the last cavalry charge in US military history, give up the town of Moron (Morong) on the west coast and form a new line along a ridgeline southeast of the town.

Kapitänleutnant Heinrich "Ajax" Bleichrodt, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Kapitänleutnant Heinrich "Ajax" Bleichrodt.
Battle of the Atlantic: Admiral Karl Doenitz has expanded his U-boats' operations to the Atlantic coast of the United States and also the Arctic. As part of Operation Drumbeat, U-109 (Kptlt Heinrich "Ajax" Bleichrodt) arrives off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia and heads south toward the Gulf of Maine. As part of new German efforts to interrupt the Lend-Lease shipments to Stalin, Wolfpack Ulan is in place off the northern coast of Norway. The Kriegsmarine hopes to block Allied convoys to the Soviet Union, and today U-454 (Kptlt Burckhard Hackländer), on its first patrol out of Kirkenes, attacks Convoy PQ-8. Hackländer sinks two ships, 557-ton Soviet patrol boat RT-68 Enisej and 1870-ton Royal Navy destroyer HMS Matabele, and damages a third, 5395-ton British freighter Harmatris. The British destroyer remains afloat for a few hours, at which point Hackländer tires of waiting and pumps another torpedo into it, causing it to explode. There are only three survivors. This is the first successful Kriegsmarine attack on an Arctic convoy.

Norwegian tanker Nyholt, sunk by U-87 on 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
U-87 (Kptlt. Joachim Berger) torpedoes and sinks independent Norwegian tanker Nyholt (shown) about 180 miles south of Cape Race after a wild chase. The U-boat, part of wolfpack Ziethen, hits the tanker with one torpedo at 03:59, but it continues sailing for port while pursuing a zig-zagging course. U-87 fires and misses with four more torpedoes. The tanker then tries to ram the U-boat but misses. U-87 then fires two more torpedoes, one of which hits. The tanker finally is sunk with 120 shells from the deck gun. The men take to two lifeboats, one of which disappears. There are 22 survivors out of about 40 people on board. 
Eastern Front: Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, commander of Army Group South, perishes after having suffered a stroke on the 14th. Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, already chosen as his successor, boards a train to Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia to receive his command and confer with the Fuehrer. After he arrives on the 18th, Von Bock later complains to Hitler about the decrepit state of the train, a problem which is getting worse due to lack of maintenance due to the war.

The New Yorker, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The New Yorker, 17 January 1942.
In the Crimea, the German offensive at the Parpach Narrows continues. The German 32nd Infantry Division attacks the port city of Feodosia, supported by heavy Stuka attacks. The Soviets attempt to evacuate the Soviet 236th Rifle Division in the port using the Black Sea Fleet, but they are too late. The Germans take the port and 5300 prisoners. The Soviet officer in command of the division manages to escape but is later convicted of cowardice and executed.

Japanese Type 97 tank, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A camouflaged Type 97 Te-Ke in the Battle of Muar, 17 January 1942.
Future History: Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. is born in Louisville, Kentucky. He takes up boxing at the age of 12 after being advised to by a Louisville police officer and boxing coach, Joe. E. Martin. Clay makes his amateur boxing debut in 1954 and quickly becomes a top boxer, earning the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He goes on to win the World Heavyweight Title on 25 February 1964. After that, Clay changes his name to Muhammad Ali for religious reasons and goes on to remain Heavyweight Champion off-and-on until his retirement from boxing on 27 July 1979. Muhammad Ali passes away on 3 June 2016 at age 74.

Liberty magazine featuring Mickey Rooney, 17 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Mickey Rooney on the cover of Liberty magazine, 17 January 1942. He is riding high at the box office right now and just married Ava Gardner.

1942

January 1942

January 1, 1942: Declaration By United Nations
January 2, 1941: Manila Falls to Japan
January 3, 1942: ABDA Command Announced
January 4, 1942: MacArthur on His Own in the Philippines
January 5, 1942: Soviets Plan General Offensive
January 6, 1942: US Army in Europe
January 7, 1942: Soviet General Offensive Opens
January 8, 1942: Hitler Sacks Hoepner
January 9, 1942: Battle of Dražgoše
January 10, 1942: Building the Jeep
January 11, 1942: Japan Takes Kuala Lumpur
January 12, 1941: Rommel Plans Counterattack
January 13, 1942: First Ejection Seat Use
January 14, 1942: Operation Drumbeat First Sinking
January 15, 1942: U-Boat Off NYC
January 16, 1942: Carole Lombard Crash
January 17, 1942: British Take Halfaya Pass
January 18, 1942: Soviet Paratroopers in Action
January 19, 1942: FDR Approves Atomic Bomb
January 20, 1942: The Wannsee Conference
January 21, 1942: Parit Sulong Bridge Battle
January 22, 1942: Parit Sulong Massacre
January 23, 1942: Japan Takes Rabaul
January 24, 1942: Battle of Makassar Strait
January 25, 1942: Kholm Surrounded
January 26, 1942: GIs Land in Europe
January 27, 1942: Battle of Endau
January 28, 1942: Rommel Takes Benghazi
January 29, 1942: First US Coast Guard Ship Sunk
January 30, 1942: Singapore Isolated
January 31, 1942: Army Group South Averts Disaster

2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

January 16, 1942: Carole Lombard Crash

Friday 16 January 1942

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Recovery team at the site following the Carole Lombard crash on Mount Potosi of 16 January 1942.
American Homefront: Returning on 16 January 1942 from a War Bond rally in Indianapolis in which she sold $2 million bonds, Indiana, actress Carole Lombard, 33, perishes when her DC-3-382 NC1946 propliner (Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (TWA) Flight 3) crashes near Good Springs, Nevada. The twin-engined plane flies straight into a vertical cliff (Double Up Peak) on Potosi Mountain in the Spring Mountain Range and causes a fireball seen for 40 miles. The crash occurs at 19:20 local time, just after takeoff from a refueling stop at Las Vegas (a small town at the time). Everyone on board - 15 soldiers, four passengers including Lombard and her mother and agent, and 3 crew including one female stewardess - perishes. Rescue/recovery efforts are difficult because of the location and the wintry conditions. The bodies are recovered with great effort by men hauling them up steep slopes and cliffs in bags but not all of the body parts are found. Lombard is identified through dental records, her earrings, and by visual identification of her remains by acquaintances. Legend has it that Lombard's wedding ring remains on the mountain.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The impact point on Mount Potosi of the Carole Lombard crash of 16 January 1942.
The Civil Aeronautics Board concludes:
Upon the basis of the foregoing findings and of the entire record available at this time, we find that the probable cause of the accident to aircraft NC 1946 on January 16, 1942, was the failure of the captain after departure from Las Vegas to follow the proper course by making use of the navigational facilities available to him.
In essence, the CAB finds that pilot error caused the Lombard crash. The pilot or co-pilot apparently entered a proper course heading for departures from the usual stopover point, Boulder City, instead of for Las Vegas. Inevitably, some conspiracy theories arise later about the plane being shot down by German spies, an engine caught fire, and so forth. The war has a direct influence on causing the Lombard crash, as local authorities had turned off (due to vastly overblown war concerns) safety beacons on the mountain that would have warned the crew of the danger. Ms. Lombard, whose real name is Jane Alice Peters Gable, had suggested to husband Clark Gable (his real name, though it was a shortened form of William Clark Gable) that he join the military. The tragic death of his wife Carole Lombard ultimately leads Clark Gable to enlist in the US Army Air Force. Some of the plane's remains may still be seen on the mountainside, probably because they are very difficult to reach.

There is original footage below of Lombard and the recovery process.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc., Douglas DC-3-382 NC1943, the same type aircraft as NC1946. (Boeing Images).
Eastern Front: The commander of Army Group South, Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, recently suffered a stroke and is not expected to survive. Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, removed in mid-December from his command of Army Group Center for "health reasons," is planning a lengthy vacation in the Austrian Alps when he receives a telephone call on 16 January 1942 from the army personnel office (not Adolf Hitler, who sometimes makes these calls personally). The anonymous staff officer asks von Bock if he would be willing to take over command of Army Group South. Startled, von Bock instantly agrees and indicates that he will be on a train to Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia on the 17th. The incident is very odd, as Hitler does not particularly like von Bock and has many other options. Von Bock later learns informally that the true reason for his return is Hitler's concern about unfavorable publicity both within the Reich and abroad about all of the German generals who have been fired recently (and there are more to come). Regardless of the reason, von Bock quickly goes from almost certain retirement to command of the army group that is destined to decide the fate of the Third Reich over the next year.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Scene of the crash of Transcontinental and Western Flight 3 on Potosi Mountain, Nevada. The point of impact was at an elevation of 7,770 feet (2,368 meters). (Bettman Archive via Lost Flights).
Reichenau also becomes a subject of interest on the Soviet side. The Red Army has retaken Klin from the Germans, and they have found many Wehrmacht documents. One of these is von Reichenau's infamous 10 October 1941 "Severity" order. The order, issued when von Reichenau commanded the German 6th Army, authorized the indiscriminate killing or starvation of Soviet civilians and Red Army soldiers whenever it would benefit the Wehrmacht. The Soviet government publishes the order in the belief that it will stiffen Soviet resistance to the German invaders.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Transcontinental and Western Air Douglas DC-3 NC1945, sister ship of NC1946, TWA Flight 3. (TWA).
In the Crimea, the Soviets land the 226th Rifle Regiment at Sudak, which is behind the German lines. The troops are supported by powerful naval forces offshore that include the battleship Parizhskaya Kommuna, the cruiser Krasnyi Krym and four destroyers. There is only a small Romanian garrison in Sudak that offers little resistance. Back near Sevastopol, General Erich von Manstein, commander of 11th Army, regards this as a diversion and only sends a couple of Romanian infantry battalions to keep an eye on the bridgehead. The Luftwaffe gets in some practice against the Soviets, and artillery also makes the Soviets' lives very unhealthy. The Red Army troops continue to hold out, however, and area commander Lieutenant Dmitry Kozlov decides that the German failure to quickly wipe out the small force indicates weakness. So, he makes plans to reinforce them. Manstein, meanwhile, keeps his eye on the objective and continues building up his forces on the all-important line along the Parpach Narrows.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The German Commander of the U-boat, Oeberleutnant Zur See Horst Elfe, leaving the destroyer." Elfe was the commander of U-93, sunk by HMS Hesperus (which picked up the survivors) west of southern Spain on 15 January 1942. This photo was taken on 16 January 1942 when Hesperus reached Gibraltar (© IWM (A 8117)).
Battle of the Pacific: Before dawn, Japanese troops quietly cross the Muar River on the Malay Peninsula and capture barges moored there. They tow them downstream to the town of Muar, where Japanese troops climb aboard and then cross the river in them. The only Allied troops in Muar are members of the 45h Indian Brigade who are not expecting any trouble because they still think the Japanese are far upstream. Australian artillery nearby begins opening fire at the motley collection of packed barges and Chinese junks sailing across the mouth of the river. The Japanese crossing at Muar itself is repulsed by the artillery fire, but the Japanese quickly get an entire division across the Muar River a little further upstream. The defense is hampered when the commanders of the Rajputana Rifles and the Royal Garhwal Rifles are killed along with most of their officers in fighting near the town and a Japanese aircraft raid on its headquarters decapitates most of the leadership of the 45th Indian Brigade. By nightfall, the Indian 45h Brigade has retreated in disarray several kilometers down the coast to Parit Jawa and the Japanese are in control of Muar Town and its valuable harbor. This is a critical breach of the British defense of Johore, the final slice of the mainland before Singapore. There are still British troops inland far to the north retreating from Gemas whose retreat can easily be cut off from Muar. The Australian troops nearby prepare to launch a counterattack on the 17th to retake these critical areas.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Prisoners who were taken from U-93 are now on their way to a prison camp at Gibraltar, 16 January 1942. © IWM (A 8120).
In Singapore itself, it's already getting too hot for some to handle. The daily Japanese air raids are virtually unstoppable and getting worse all the time. The anemic Royal Australian Air Force presence is unable to both defeat the raids and also help the stumbling army units to the north. So, they have to choose one or the other priority, and neither choice exerts a decisive result. Today, a dozen RAAF Brewster Buffalos focus on ground support and successfully shoot up a Japanese convoy near the Gemas-Tampin road. In addition, four Buffalos sink four barges at Malacca, while six RAAF Hudsons join in the attempt to stop the Japanese crossing of the Muar River. This is all useful to some extent to the British army, but meanwhile, the daily Japanese bombing raids on the Buffalos' own airfields in Singapore while the Brewsters are operating further north are destroying the RAAF's ability to function at all. The situation is so bad that the RAAF is preparing to abandon Singapore entirely and transfer west to Sumatra in the Netherlands East Indies. There, they at least will be able to continue functioning but be of limited value to the retreating British army on the Malay Peninsula and the air defense of Singapore. Once the defending fighters are gone, the Japanese bombers will have virtually complete control of the skies over "Fortress Singapore." That is an extremely dangerous situation for the British no matter how bravely they intend to defend Singapore.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Tamil workmen clearing debris in Singapore after a Japanese air raid, 16 January 1942." © IWM (HU 57224).
In the Philippines, the Japanese have made an incursion into the Allied line on the western (the II Corps) half of the line. The Filipino 51st Division counterattacks but completely fails to reestablish its line. The Japanese also have split the center of the Allied line between I and II Corps on Mt. Naib, which provides a dangerous opening to the south. The Americans quickly shift the U.S. Philippine Division in as reinforcements to the area. They at least temporarily halt the Japanese, but it is unclear who truly has the upper hand. The Americans consider withdrawing to the Reserve Battle Line running from Casa Pilar to Bagac but hold their ground. Further west, in the I Corps sector, the Japanese cross the Batalian River and attack the coastal town of Moron (Morong). The US troops counterattack and force the Japanese back to the river but take heavy losses. The battle at Moron is notable because Lieutenant Edwin P. Ramsey of the 26th Cavalry Regiment orders his mounted troops to charge into the town when he sees the opportunity for a surprise attack. The 27 heavily outnumbered Filipino and American cavalrymen charge and succeed in scattering the Japanese forces who have entered the town. This enables the Allies to briefly retake the town. It is the last mounted charge by U.S. cavalry to date.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Australian soldiers at a coastal fortress near Brisbane, 16 January 1942. Close-range shot of a group of four Australian soldiers, wearing helmets, kneeling around a mortar that is about to be fired. A sergeant is kneeling behind the men supervising the activity. The location is undisclosed. Caption: 'Battle Station at an important coastal fortress near Brisbane (Information was taken from The Courier-Mail Archives, 16 January 1942 - picture not published)."
The US Navy sends Task Force 8, centered around USS Enterprise, to the Marshall and Gilbert Islands to launch a strike. The Task Force is about 800 miles northeast of the Solomon Islands when one of its planes fails to return. The three men in the Torpedo Squadron Six TBD Devastator run out of fuel and take to a raft in the middle of nowhere, with nothing in sight but water. This is the beginning of a 34-day ordeal with no stored food or water that they somehow survive.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Fallschirmjäger Feldwebel Helmut Arpke, born 20 March 1917 in Graudenz; killed in action 16 January 1942 near Schaikowka, Russia. This photo was taken in May 1940 when he won his Ritterkreuz (Federal Archive Bild 146-1980-108-36A).
US Military: President Roosevelt asks his cabinet to consider the need and feasibility of a military roadway through Canada to Alaska. This idea of an Alaskan Highway (ALCAN Highway) has been kicking around since Thomas MacDonald, director of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, proposed an international highway spanning the United States and Canada in the 1920s. Roosevelt has made several unsuccessful attempts in the intervening years to convince the Canadians of its usefulness, but it has never been built. World War II has made such a highway more interesting to both countries. Among the issues to be considered is the actual route, on which there is no agreement, and whether Army leadership and the US Army Corps of Engineers feel the highway is feasible and worth the immense effort required to build it. The construction season in the region is short and would require diversion of many construction units from other priorities.

Carole Lombard plane crash 16 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Boeing 314A flying boat of the type that took Winston Churchill across the Atlantic on 16 January 1942.
British Government: Having concluded his visit to Washington, D.C., for the Arcadia Conference, Prime Minister Winston Churchill returns to England. He does this in a novel way, by airplane. This is the first time that any head of state crosses the Atlantic by air. Churchill is no stranger to flying, even across large bodies of water such as the English Channel, but crossing the Atlantic is full of danger. Churchill uses a Berwick, a Boeing 314A flying boat. It is painted in olive drab camouflage with large Union Flags under the cockpit windows and piloted by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) pilot Captain John Kelly Rogers under military orders. The original plan had been for Churchill to simply fly to Bermuda and then take a ship home, but he enjoyed the flight there so much that he decided to complete the journey in the flying boat, too. It is luxuriously appointed with comfortable bunks, and Churchill is so taken with this quick mode of transportation that he prefers flying for his future transatlantic journeys, too. One major special accommodation is made for Churchill, the addition of a special oxygen mask created by the Institute of Aviation Medicine at Farnborough which he wears even while sleeping.




1942

January 1942

January 1, 1942: Declaration By United Nations
January 2, 1941: Manila Falls to Japan
January 3, 1942: ABDA Command Announced
January 4, 1942: MacArthur on His Own in the Philippines
January 5, 1942: Soviets Plan General Offensive
January 6, 1942: US Army in Europe
January 7, 1942: Soviet General Offensive Opens
January 8, 1942: Hitler Sacks Hoepner
January 9, 1942: Battle of Dražgoše
January 10, 1942: Building the Jeep
January 11, 1942: Japan Takes Kuala Lumpur
January 12, 1941: Rommel Plans Counterattack
January 13, 1942: First Ejection Seat Use
January 14, 1942: Operation Drumbeat First Sinking
January 15, 1942: U-Boat Off NYC
January 16, 1942: Carole Lombard Crash
January 17, 1942: British Take Halfaya Pass
January 18, 1942: Soviet Paratroopers in Action
January 19, 1942: FDR Approves Atomic Bomb
January 20, 1942: The Wannsee Conference
January 21, 1942: Parit Sulong Bridge Battle
January 22, 1942: Parit Sulong Massacre
January 23, 1942: Japan Takes Rabaul
January 24, 1942: Battle of Makassar Strait
January 25, 1942: Kholm Surrounded
January 26, 1942: GIs Land in Europe
January 27, 1942: Battle of Endau
January 28, 1942: Rommel Takes Benghazi
January 29, 1942: First US Coast Guard Ship Sunk
January 30, 1942: Singapore Isolated
January 31, 1942: Army Group South Averts Disaster

2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

January 15, 1942: U-Boat Off NYC

Thursday 15 January 1942

Snows in Russia, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A man and his horse pulling a Panje cart in Russia, 15 January 1942 (Lachman, Hans, Federal Archive Picture 183-B15084).
Battle of the Atlantic: Having already sunk two freighters on its Operation Drumbeat patrol to the east coast of the United States, U-123 (Kptlt Reinhard Hardegen) cruises on the surface to New York Harbor. The U-boat arrives in the early morning hours of 15 January 1942. The crew, having grown accustomed to the blacked out conditions in Europe, is dazzled by the bright lights of New York City. Hardegen records:
I cannot describe the feeling in words, but it was unbelievable and beautiful and great. . . We were the first to be here, and for the first time in this war, a German soldier looked out on the coast of the USA.
Hardegen is in position to lob a few shells from his deck at Coney Island (as Japanese submarines have been doing to Hawaii) just for the heck of it and to make a statement. However, he decides not to do that because it would give his position away for little profit. Instead, Hardegen uses the Americans' lack of preparedness to do a little real business. Before the night is out, he spots 6768-ton British tanker Coimbra. It is easy to spot, as the city lights behind the tanker are blotted out as it moves east to join the convoys heading for Great Britain. Hardegan torpedoes the tanker, which explodes in a massive fireball that rises 650 feet into the air. There are 36 deaths (ten perish in the lifeboats) and six survivors. People in the Hamptons, 27 miles directly to the north, see the explosion and report it. Hardegen is astounded that the US military does not respond at all to the sinking. He sails away on the surface looking for more prey, now with three solid victories during the patrol.

North Atlantic convoy, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A North Atlantic convoy seen as a storm lashes shipping off Hvalfjordur, Iceland, 15 January 1942. Seen from USS Albemarle (AV-5).
Even aside from U-123, Admiral Doenitz's U-boat fleet has a mixed day in the Atlantic on a very stormy day in the northern latitudes. There are several other successes:
  • U-552 sinks 4133-ton British freighter Dayrose just south of easternmost Newfoundland
  • U-203 sinks 623-ton Portugues trawler Catalina southeast of Newfoundland
  • U-553 torpedoes 8106-ton British tanker Diala, also southeast of Newfoundland. The tanker is badly damaged and ultimately sinks after a tug attempts to tow it. There are 57 deaths and 8 survivors.
However, on her seventh patrol from St. Nazaire, U-93 (Oblt.z.S. Horst Elfe) is sunk between Portugal and the Azores about 219 nautical miles (406 km) northeast of the Madeira Islands during a depth charge attack by HMS Hesperus (H-57). U-93 was a member of Wolfpack Seydlitz, which was tracking Convoy HG 78 out of Gibraltar. There are 6 deaths and 40 survivors. U-93 winds up its career with a total of eight ships sunk totaling 43,392 gross register tons. The war at sea already is heating up again after a brief quiet period during the winter. Another four U-boats are closing in on the east coast of the United States as part of Operation Drumbeat, so more successes are likely to occur soon.

Junkers Ju 87 Stuka captured in North Africa, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Benina, Cyrenaica, Libya. 15 January 1942. Obbedire...Combattere...Dux. 'Obey, fight, the Duce! says the large lettering on the hangar wall at Benina airfield. But the Axis mechanics, heedless of their instructions, fled incontinently leaving this German Junkers JU 87 dive bomber aircraft intact to fall into the hands of the advancing Allied forces." Australian War Memorial MED0289. In the Luftwaffe, it is considered a dishonor to allow your plane to fall intact to the enemy. There appears to be a Bf-109 virtually intact to the right, too.
Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy Swordfish from RAF No. 815 Squadron use depth charges to sink U-577 (K.Kapt. Herbert Schauenburg) northwest of Mersa Matruh, Egypt. Everyone aboard perishes. U-577 was an unlucky boat, sailing on three patrols with no victories. On Malta, RAF personnel are being trained in ground combat out of fear that the Axis is about to invade.

Camden, New Jersey, News, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Camden (New Jersey) News, 15 January 1942. "Americans Holding Out," screams the main headline, but the other headlines recite positive but largely fake news.
Battle of the Pacific: Japanese submarine I-65 torpedoes and sinks 5102-ton Indian freighter Jalarajan northwest of Padang, West Sumatra in the Indian Ocean.

The Japanese increase their presence in Burma by sending the 55th Division across the border from Thailand north of Mergui (Myeik) in the middle of the southern sliver of the country. This protects the Japanese flank in the Malay Peninsula, though that is not under much of a threat. It also provides a potential launching pad for attacks to the north. The British have two divisions (one Burmese, one Indian) much further north to prevent a Japanese breakout into the heart of the country. However, already the Japanese have seized some very useful airfields in the south of the country, helping them to achieve local aerial supremacy.

Battle of Gemas, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"At this stage the guns of "C" Troop, 30th Battery, 2/15th Australian Field Regiment, here depicted, are ahead of the infantry, firing at 300 yards at Japanese advancing through the rubber plantation. A few men of the 2/30th Australian Infantry Battalion, which was deployed in the rear of the guns, can be seen in the foreground, Gemas, Malaya." This depicts the action of 15 January 1942 near Gemas. The guns are 25-pounders. Australian War Memorial ART24498.
On the Malay Peninsula, the Japanese attack at a rubber plantation in the Gemas area in the morning. The Japanese troops, who suffered about 600 casualties at the Battle at Gemencheh Bridge on the 14th, are supported by dive-bombers and tanks. The artillery of 2/15th Australian Field Regiment and soldiers of Australian 2/30th Battalion, 27th Brigade, 8th Division, stop the attack and destroys six of eight tanks. The Australians, after holding for 24 hours, then withdraw after dark. The engagement is a costly Japanese victory, but at this stage of the war, they can afford such victories. On the west coast, the Japanese advance to the Muar River and establish a small bridgehead on the south bank between Muar and Batu Pahat. Indian 45th Brigade is defending this area, which is critical because an advance here would threaten British lines of communication to Singapore. In Singapore itself, the authorities impose martial law.

Stranded trawler Nordale, lost on 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
British 181-ton fishing trawler Nordale is among the ships wrecked during the storms sweeping the North Atlantic, though the weather apparently is not the cause. Around dusk on the 14th, the Nordale hits the Carskey Rocks off the tip of Kintyre two miles southwest of Borgadelmore Point. The crew, unable to take to the boats, spends a perilous night aboard. At daylight on 15 January 1942, one crewman gets ashore to alert local authorities and they are rescued using a Breeches Buoy. Despite all of the 14 crew surviving the night, five men perish during the 15th due to exposure, drowning, or fatigue. A court of inquiry later finds the mate responsible.  
In the Philippines, the Japanese attack II Corps, which holds the eastern half of the line across the Bataan Peninsula. Despite fierce resistance by Filipino 41st and 51st Divisions, the Japanese secure a small foothold across the Balantay River. This is a very dangerous incursion into the Allies' main line of defense, and General MacArthur transfers several units east from I Corps to contain the Japanese and attempt to throw them back across the river. In the I Corps sector on the western half of the Peninsula, the Japanese advance closer to Moron along the coast. They are supported by powerful naval units just offshore.

Female war worker, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"A female war worker fixes her hair and checks her appearance in the mirror in the bedroom she shares with another war worker at the hostel attached to ROF Bridgend. Her friend is looking for something in the wardrobe. Family photos and a vase of flowers help to brighten up the dressing table. According to the original caption, this was a "central-heated bedroom, fitted with wash-basin, wardrobe, and chest of drawers." January 1942. © IWM (D 6332).
The Netherlands East Indies are not yet a battlefield, but everyone knows it is only a matter of time before the Japanese attack. Pursuant to the recently concluded Arcadia Conference in Washington, D.C., British General Sir Archibald Wavell establishes his ABDA command assumes supreme oversight of all forces in the area. Wavell's deputy is Lieutenant General George H. Brett, USAAF, while Admiral Thomas C. Hart, USN, is to command naval forces. The Dutch have a very powerful naval squadron on hand under Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, who has his flag aboard light cruiser De Ruyter based at Surabaya. Doorman's orders are to use the ABDA Combined Striking Force to intercept and defeat invasion attempts.

British trawler Ocean Tide, lost on 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
British 227-ton trawler Ocean Tide gets caught in the storms sweeping the North Atlantic on 15 January 1942 and runs aground at Mammal, Tiree, Inner Hebrides. The trawler, based at Ayr, is wrecked.
Eastern Front: The Soviet General Offensive continues unabated on 15 January 1942. Third Shock Army crosses the vital Kholm-Demyansk Road, threatening both cities with encirclement. With his entire position south of Lake Ilmen at risk, Field Marshal Ritter von Leeb of Army Group North issues Adolf Hitler with an ultimatum. Either give me the necessary freedom of action, Leeb demands, or relieve me. Hitler does not have to think about this very long and has OKH chief of staff General Franz Halder call Leeb's chief of staff - not Leeb - General Brennecke with a message:
[P]ut all of the powers of the General Staff in motion... and extirpate this mania for operating. The army group has a clear order to hold.
In the Wehrmacht at this point, "operating" is a synonym for "retreating," which pretty much encapsulate the entire situation on the Eastern Front. Leeb technically remains in command for the time being, but it is common practice within the Wehrmacht at this point to simply bypass a general who is soon to be relieved.

Churchill Mark IV infantry tanks, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Churchill Mark IV infantry tanks of the 16th Tank Brigade (1st Polish Corps) go into action during the 'Jay' Exercise. Fife, Scotland, 15 January 1942." © IWM (H 16628).
On the Crimea, both sides are gearing up for their own offensives to break the stalemate at the Parpach Narrows. Neither side believes the other is strong enough to launch its own attack, so neither adopts a defensive posture. Both sides make their own moves today. The Soviets land 226 soldiers from destroyer Sposobnyi about 40 km southwest of Feodosia. This is intended as a diversion, but the Germans are not fooled and only divert one company of Panzerjäger to contain this small force. Red Army General Dmitry Kozlov, hearing reports of this incident and the seemingly desultory Wehrmacht response, wrongly concludes that the Germans have few troops nearby. In fact, the Germans have been transferring forces east from the perimeter at Sevastopol and have four full divisions at hand ready to launch their own offensive.

The Germans, however, have plans of their own and are not allowing themselves to be distracted. At daybreak on 15 January, the Luftwaffe begins attacking the Red Army line along the Parpach Narrows with Stukas and Heinkel He 111 bombers. The bombers hit the headquarters of Soviet 44th Army, wounding its commander and leaving it leaderless. The German 213 Infantry Regiment jumps off following the Luftwaffe preparation and makes good progress. By mid-afternoon, the Germans are in possession of the ridgeline to the west of Feodosia and in a good position to launch an attack on the port within a couple of days. The German 30 Corps of General Fretter-Pico takes 500 casualties during the day but re-establish German dominance in the field of battle.

Polish troops using a 4.5-inch howitzer, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Gunners of the 1st Polish Corps preparing to repel a 'tank attack' with 4.5-inch howitzers during the 'Jay' Exercise. Fifeshire, Scotland, 15 January 1942." © IWM (H 16623).
Partisans: The Germans launch the first of many large-scale counter-insurgency operations, Operation Southeast Croatia (Unternehmen Südost Kroatien). It targets Yugoslav Partisans in eastern Bosnia, who call it the "Second Enemy Offensive."  The German 342nd Infantry Division pushes into the Drina Valley from the east while the 718th Infantry Division advances from the west near Sarajevo and Tuzla.

Allied Relations: In Brazil, representatives from 21 American republics meet in Rio de Janeiro for an Inter-American Conference. They unanimously agree to sever diplomatic relations with the Axis powers, but Argentina and Chile actually do not do this. The United States government already has prevailed upon high-profile ambassadors, including Walt Disney and Orson Welles, to drop all of their other projects and head south to Latin America. This is a public relations move to show unity with the country's southern neighbors. Disney and Welles gladly volunteer to help the war effort. While Welles' career suffers due to his absence from Hollywood, some believe that Walt Disney saves his studio by helping the war effort in this way following some disastrous losses from unsuccessful (financially) films such as "Pinocchio." This is because Walt Disney Studios earns substantial sums of money by making films for the government related to this endeavor such as "Saludos Amigos" (1942) and "Los Tres Caballeros" (1944).

Collision of USS Wichita with freighter West Nohno on 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Original caption: "A runaway freighter at Hvaljardur, Iceland, during the "big blow." This shows USS Wichita (CA-45), a heavy cruiser, colliding with freighter SS West Nohno in Hvalfjörður, Iceland, on 15 January 1942. The freighter (apparently, judging by the caption) broke loose from its moorings during a strong winter storm. Wichita not only hit freighter West Nohno but it also hit British trawler Ebor Wyke. The cruiser then ran aground off Hrafneyri Light but was quickly got off. The Wichita then turned around and made it to New York City for repairs, where Captain Alexander of the Wichita was relieved of his command. The Wichita, which had been at Iceland on a journey to join the British Home Fleet, ultimately made it to its destination, Scapa Flow, on 5 April 1942 (US Navy via the "USS Wichita (CA-45) 1939-1945 cruise book" at Navysite.de).
US Military: The US Army Air Force activates the Alaskan Air Force at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, Alaska. Lieutenant Colonel Everett S Davis is in command of the base, which is named in honor of Captain Hugh M. Elmendorf, killed on 13 January 1933, while flight testing the experimental Consolidated Y1P-25, fighter, 32-321, near Wright Field, Ohio. The base has been under construction since 8 June 1940 and is intended as a major and permanent military airfield. While the base is active, it does not yet have any USAAF units assigned to it. Elmendorf is perfectly situated to conduct operations over the Aleutian Islands, which both sides already are eyeing as strategically important locations due to their proximity to Japan. The 23rd Air Base Group, 18th Pursuit Squadron, and Eleventh Air Force all will be at Elmendorf soon.

US Secretary of War Henry Stimson projects that almost 2 million men will be inducted into the US military during 1942. The draft is in full swing, but many men are volunteering, too.

Maclean's, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Maclean's, 15 January 1942.
Indian Government: Jawaharlal Nehru, recently released from prison by the British, succeeds Mohandas K. Gandhi as head of India's National Congress Party.

China: The third Battle of Changsha, which began on 24 December 1941, concludes after a successful Chinese counterattack. Three Japanese divisions which have crossed the Liuyang River flee back across it and are devastated by Chinese troops waiting there for them. Overall, the Japanese lose 1591 killed and 4412 wounded (according to the Japanese), while the Chinese suffer 29,217 total casualties. While the Chinese suffer more losses, they occupy the battleground, and this is the first land victory over the Japanese since Pearl Harbor. While the Japanese are hardly defeated in China and the battle is only a Chinese victory in the sense that they stopped a Japanse attack, the Battle of Changsha greatly enhances China's standing in the Allied community and earns Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek greatly enhanced prestige both abroad and at home.

Airmen training at Edmonton, Canada, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Edmonton, Alberta. 15 January 1942. Leading Aircraftman (LAC) H. J. Barker (front left), 405381 LAC Thomas Hector McNeill of No. 460 Squadron (middle), LAC E. R. (Blue) Freeman (right) at the passing out dinner. LAC Barker finished the war as a Squadron Leader and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for night photographs of Essen Dortmund and Dusseldorf and the Bar to DFC for continued enthusiasm and skill on sorties to Berlin after ninety operations over Europe, sixty with the Pathfinder Force. LAC McNeill was killed in action over Holland, in a flying battle. LAC Freeman survived fifty operations and was then awarded DFC for skill and fortitude in operations against the enemy." Australian War Memorial P03239.003.
American Homeland: President Franklin D. Roosevelt sends a "green light" letter to longtime Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis allowing Major League Baseball to play the 1942 season. He writes, "I honestly think it would be best for the country to keep baseball going." This comports with general US policy to keep important entertainment producers such as the film industry functioning during the war. While FDR also encourages more night baseball so as to allow war workers to attend the games or listen to them on radio, the Chicago Cubs already have dropped plans to install lights at Wrigley Field.

President Roosevelt's Greenlight letter to Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Franklin Roosevelt's "Greenlight" letter to Judge Landis, 15 January 1942 (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum).
General Motors produces its first "blackout" Cadillacs. These 1942 models lack items that contain materials banned by the government, such as spare tires (rubber), trim (chrome), and other normal accessories. Auto production at the major car factories now is taking place side-by-side with military production.

The Shadow magazine, 15 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Shadow, "The Book of Death," 15 January 1942. This is considered one of the classic covers of The Shadow.

1942

January 1942

January 1, 1942: Declaration By United Nations
January 2, 1941: Manila Falls to Japan
January 3, 1942: ABDA Command Announced
January 4, 1942: MacArthur on His Own in the Philippines
January 5, 1942: Soviets Plan General Offensive
January 6, 1942: US Army in Europe
January 7, 1942: Soviet General Offensive Opens
January 8, 1942: Hitler Sacks Hoepner
January 9, 1942: Battle of Dražgoše
January 10, 1942: Building the Jeep
January 11, 1942: Japan Takes Kuala Lumpur
January 12, 1941: Rommel Plans Counterattack
January 13, 1942: First Ejection Seat Use
January 14, 1942: Operation Drumbeat First Sinking
January 15, 1942: U-Boat Off NYC
January 16, 1942: Carole Lombard Crash
January 17, 1942: British Take Halfaya Pass
January 18, 1942: Soviet Paratroopers in Action
January 19, 1942: FDR Approves Atomic Bomb
January 20, 1942: The Wannsee Conference
January 21, 1942: Parit Sulong Bridge Battle
January 22, 1942: Parit Sulong Massacre
January 23, 1942: Japan Takes Rabaul
January 24, 1942: Battle of Makassar Strait
January 25, 1942: Kholm Surrounded
January 26, 1942: GIs Land in Europe
January 27, 1942: Battle of Endau
January 28, 1942: Rommel Takes Benghazi
January 29, 1942: First US Coast Guard Ship Sunk
January 30, 1942: Singapore Isolated
January 31, 1942: Army Group South Averts Disaster

2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

January 14, 1942: Operation Drumbeat First Sinking

Wednesday 14 January 1942

U-123, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
U-123 readying its deck gun, January/February 1942 (Tölle, Alwin, Federal Archive Bild 101II-MW-4006-31).
Battle of the Atlantic: The Kriegsmarine has sent six U-boats (five of which actually make it across the Atlantic) to attack shipping along the east coast of the United States, and on 14 January 1942 they score their first victory there. This is the true beginning of Unternehmen Paukenschlag (Operation Drumbeat), which is intended to be a quick raid lasting only about a month. This is the beginning of the Second Happy Time for Admiral Doenitz's fleet, the first having begun in 1940 and lasted until March 1941.

Tanker Norness, sunk by U-123 on 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Panamanian tanker Norness, the first victim of U-boat Operation Drumbeat.
Shortly after midnight, the lookout on U-123 (Kptlt Reinhardt Hardegen) spots 9577-ton Panamanian tanker Norness southeast of Montauk, Long Island, and about 73 miles southwest of Nantucket Island. Hardegen pumps three torpedoes into the tanker, sinking it. The tanker crew is able to take to lifeboats, and later in the morning, a patrol blimp spots the survivors. There is one death, and US Coast Guard cutter Argo rescues six survivors and destroyer US Ellyson picks up 24 more. While U-123 already had sunk the freighter Cyclops on 11 January, that was on the voyage across the Atlantic and is not considered part of Operation Drumbeat. Following this attack, U-123 heads toward New York Harbor, where the 14 January 1942 morning newspapers have enough time to announce the sinking.

Japanese troops in Labuan, North Borneo, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Labuan, Borneo. 1942-01-14. Japanese troops march through the streets of Labuan Island, off the west coast of British North Borneo. Note the Japanese flags on the buildings." Australian War Memorial 127908.
Battle of the Pacific: On the Malay Peninsula, Japanese forces advancing toward Singapore reach Gemas on 14 January 1942, where they are ambushed by Australian 8th Division (Major-General Gordon Bennett). This marks the first large battle between Australian and Japanese troops on the peninsula. The site of the ambush is a wooden bridge across the Sungei Gemencheh river. The Japanese tanks have had virtually no opposition since taking Kuala Lumpur and reach the bridge at 16:00 when "B" Company 2/30th Battalion under Captain Desmond Duffy opens fire and blows up the bridge. The engagement lasts for only about 20 minutes and causes roughly 600 Japanese casualties, but the Japanese recover quickly and send the Australian troops into a quick retreat toward Gemas. Japanese engineers repair the bridge within six hours. The Japanese wind up battling for Gemas for the next two days, attempting to outflank the Australians to the west in the Battle of Muar, and lose six of their eight tanks while continuing their advance. The most significant outcome of the Battle of Muar is that it gives the Allies more time to retreat into the State of Johore, the final stop on the mainland north of Singapore.

Australian troops after a tough battle on the Malay Peninsula, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Australian troops disembarking from a lorry after the 14 January 1942 battle at Gemas.
Japanese forces at Truk Lagoon embark transports which will take them to New Britain Island, where their goal is to capture the key Australian naval base at Rabaul. The naval task force is under the command of Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue and includes aircraft carriers Akagi and Kaga, seven cruisers, 14 destroyers, and many other vessels. The Australians know they are badly outnumbered and also know that they cannot expect reinforcement.

Japanese troops landing on Labuan Island, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Labuan, Borneo. 1942-01-14. Japanese troops land off the west coast of British North Borneo." Australian War Memorial 127907.
In the Philippines, the Japanese continue pressing against the western flank of II Corps, which defends the eastern half of the line across the neck of the Bataan Peninsula. Filipino 41st and 51st Divisions abandon the outpost line and retreat behind the Balantay River. In the I Corps sector on the western half of the line, the Japanese attack along the west coast toward Moron. Japanese naval vessels guard their sea flank and land some troops along the line of march. Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright recognizes the danger in the I Corps sector and quickly sends troops to Moron to block the Japanese advance.

Wrecks in Benghazi Harbor, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Benghazi, Cyrenaica, Libya. 14 January 1942. The harbor is a mass of sunken Axis shipping in Benghazi harbor following a sustained Allied bombing campaign." Australian War Memorial MED0288.
Battle of the Mediterranean: Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel is planning a counterattack in North Africa, but the front is quiet today. However, there is a lot going on to the north over Malta, where there are 17 air raid alerts in 24 hours. There are 61 Axis aircraft spotted during the daylight raids. There also are attacks at night, when the planes drop flares to illuminate their targets. The British defense is hampered by the RAF's inability to use its airfields at Hal Far and Ta Qali due to the wet ground from recent rain.

Winnipeg Free Press, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The western media - here the Winnipeg Free Press - is full of good news about the war on 14 January 1942.
Eastern Front: Both sides are sending reinforcements to the Parpach Narrows on the Crimea in order to end the stalemate there. The Soviets wish to relieve Sevastopol, their original objective for their invasion, while the Germans wish to eliminate the Red Army presence on the Crimea so they can conquer Sevastopol. Neither side has local superiority, but the Luftwaffe has control of the air under the command of General Robert Ritter von Greim while the Soviets have a slight advantage at sea. The real question is which side will attack first, and whichever side that is may lose so many men in the attack that it may badly dilute their defense.

The commander of Army Group South, Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, suffers an incapacitating stroke while out for his daily jog. The army group makes plans to fly him back to Germany for treatment. Aside from on the Crimea, the army group has few active operations which require close attention and Hitler does not immediately make a formal command change. This may be in part due to growing talk both in the Reich and abroad about all of the command changes that have been taking place within the Wehrmacht recently. Hitler is extraordinarily sensitive about such impressions and often places political considerations which reflect upon his own prestige above strictly military ones.

Gunner I.R. Mackintosh in the Auckland Weekly News, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Gunner I.R. Mackintosh, a New Zealand soldier, in the 14 January 1942 Auckland Weekly News (Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19420114-29-21.).
Field Marshal von Leeb, commander of Army Group North, returns to the front after a discussion with Adolf Hitler at Rastenberg. He finds that the Red Army is approaching a critical road between Demyansk and Kholm. Large garrisons at the two towns are determined to hold out, but there are few Wehrmacht forces in between them and almost none behind them. Hitler has told Leeb to his face to hold his positions, so Leeb must watch helplessly as it appears certain that both garrisons will be surrounded. Field Marshal Keitel telephones the army group to emphasize the "unconditional necessity" of holding the army group's right flank in the Kholm/Demyansk/Staraya Russa area south of Lake Ilmen. Of the three towns, Staraya Russa is the most critical because it forms the tie-in with Lake Ilmen, but the loss of Demyansk and Kholm would leave it vulnerable to encirclement and capture.

Borger Daily Herald, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Borger Daily Herald (Borger, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 46, Ed. 1 Wednesday, January 14, 1942.
Allied Relations: The Arcadia Conference which began on 22 December 1941 in Washington, D.C., concludes. While The United States and Great Britain had been coordinating strategy for at least a year, this was the first time that actual military strategy was discussed. A tentative decision is made to invade French North Africa during 1942 (this becomes Operation Gymnast) and not western Europe as greatly preferred by Joseph Stalin. The overall conclusions from the Arcadia Conference are the policy of defeating Germany first, the formation of a Combined Chiefs of Staff, the establishment of a single military command for each theater of operations (including the ABDA Command in the Far East and the European Theater of Operations on the Western Front), a joint policy for supporting China (which is not represented at the conference), and continued cooperation in all shipping matters. It is important to remember that only the United States and Great Britain are involved in these decisions, and many different conclusions may have been reached had other powers such as the Soviet Union been given a voice.

Uncle Sam Brass Knuckles cartoon, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
An editorial cartoon from the 14 January 1942 Berkeley Gazette. It depicts Uncle Sam with "brass knuckles" that show budget projections for US military production in fiscal 1942 and 1943 (Berkeley Historical Society). 
Special Operations: The British Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE) conduct Operation Postmaster. This is a mission to steal British and Italian ships in the harbor of the Spanish island of Fernando Po (Bioko) off West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. The British believe that the Italian ship is feeding military intelligence to the Axis, so its capture is the top priority. The Commandos aboard Brixham trawler Maid Honour, enter the harbor aboard two tugs, secure two vessels (8500-ton Italian freighter Duchessa d'Aosta and German tug Likomba), and take them out to be "captured" by the Royal Navy. The British tug towing the Likomba has engine trouble and thus that vessel does not make it out to the rendezvous, but the Italian ship is successfully taken. Operation Postmaster is a successful mission in the sense that a large freighter is captured, but it damages relations between Great Britain and neutral Spain (and those relations then remain poor for decades) and is used by the Germans for propaganda purposes. The British feel the mission was worth it to "act tough" and impress (or perhaps intimidate) other neutrals.

Vought-Sikorsky VS-316A aka USAAF R-4, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The first flight of the Vought-Sikorsky VS-316A, US Army Air Force designation R-4, on 14 January 1942 at Stratford, Connecticut. Chief Test Pilot Charles Lester "Les" Morris is at the controls.
US Military: The United States Army Air Force has designated Igor Sikorsky's experimental VS-316 helicopter the XR-4 under its "Rotorcraft" designation. On 13 January 1942, the XR-4 makes its first flight, which lasts for about three minutes. Test pilot Les Morris makes five more flights during the day for a total of 25 minutes. The Army still has not accepted the XR-4 for production and use, but this is a major step. The Germans are far ahead in helicopter research but have had difficulties finding military uses for them. The other major powers also have placed great emphasis on autogyro development, but the United States military has not. Thus, the USAAF has a lot of catching up to do in rotorcraft development.

Sikorsky XR-4C 41-18874 that flew on 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Sikorsky XR-4C 41-18874 that flew on 14 January 1942 is preserved at the National Air and Space Museum. (NASM).
Holocaust: The Voćin massacre takes place in Voćin, Independent State of Croatia. The Ustaše Croatian fascist organization executes about 350 Serb civilians. This occurs on the Serbian New Year. The casualties are not limited to just one location but include virtually all of the male inhabitants of the villages Jorgići, Zubovići, Dobrići, Kometnik, and Sekulinci. The victims are buried in a mass grave east of Voćin, along the Voćinka river. There is a memorial to this massacre that was erected in 2007.

American Homefront: All enemy aliens are required to register with local authorities. The bulk of these people are on the west coast of the United States in California, Oregon, Washington, and the territory of Hawaii.

The Berkeley Daily Gazette (California) reports that:
After a holiday vacation of nearly six weeks, the University of California campus was thronged today with students and faculty in preparation for the opening of registration for the spring semester. Students returned with the knowledge that this may be the longest vacation they will have for ‘the duration’ since University officials are furthering plans to add another semester to the academic year to meet the demands of the war emergency.
Berkeley did add another semester.

Actress Lynn Bari, 14 January 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The Hays-Approved Sweater." This refers to the motion picture industry's Hays Code, which mandated that everything films be innocent and pure. The caption reads, "Lynn Bari, always a gratifying subject, was snapped like this by a candid photographer on the outdoor set of Fox's "Ten Gentlemen from West Point." This promotional shot is from the 14 January 1942 Hollywood Star PM Daily. Lynn Bari was a top movie star during World War II. During 1941, she filmed "Sun Valley Serenade," which is considered a classic musical and is still played daily at the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn in Idaho. Incidentally, Bari was not in the final version of "Ten Gentlemen from West Point."

1942

January 1942

January 1, 1942: Declaration By United Nations
January 2, 1941: Manila Falls to Japan
January 3, 1942: ABDA Command Announced
January 4, 1942: MacArthur on His Own in the Philippines
January 5, 1942: Soviets Plan General Offensive
January 6, 1942: US Army in Europe
January 7, 1942: Soviet General Offensive Opens
January 8, 1942: Hitler Sacks Hoepner
January 9, 1942: Battle of Dražgoše
January 10, 1942: Building the Jeep
January 11, 1942: Japan Takes Kuala Lumpur
January 12, 1941: Rommel Plans Counterattack
January 13, 1942: First Ejection Seat Use
January 14, 1942: Operation Drumbeat First Sinking
January 15, 1942: U-Boat Off NYC
January 16, 1942: Carole Lombard Crash
January 17, 1942: British Take Halfaya Pass
January 18, 1942: Soviet Paratroopers in Action
January 19, 1942: FDR Approves Atomic Bomb
January 20, 1942: The Wannsee Conference
January 21, 1942: Parit Sulong Bridge Battle
January 22, 1942: Parit Sulong Massacre
January 23, 1942: Japan Takes Rabaul
January 24, 1942: Battle of Makassar Strait
January 25, 1942: Kholm Surrounded
January 26, 1942: GIs Land in Europe
January 27, 1942: Battle of Endau
January 28, 1942: Rommel Takes Benghazi
January 29, 1942: First US Coast Guard Ship Sunk
January 30, 1942: Singapore Isolated
January 31, 1942: Army Group South Averts Disaster

2019