Monday, September 2, 2019

February 7, 1942: The Double-V Campaign

Saturday 7 February 1942

Norman Rockwell's cover of the Saturday Evening Post for 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Saturday Evening Post (Feb. 7, 1942), cover by Norman Rockwell – Willie Gillis at the U.S.O. (1942)  - Curtis Publishing Company.
Eastern Front: After a month of vicious fighting, on 7 February 1942, Finnish II Army Corps (General Laatikainen) recovers the town of Krivi, Maaselkä Isthmus (north of Lake Onega), from the Soviet 367th Rifle Division. Finnish reinforced 19th Brigade (Col. Kai Savonjousi) leads the final charge. The battle begins at 03:00 and lasts until 14:45. There are at least 4000 Soviet dead and only 152 prisoners, while the Finns lose 12 missing or killed. Further south, Soviet ski troops attack the town of Poventsa (Povenets) but are pushed back. These actions restore the Finnish lines from before the Red Army's winter offensive and secure the Finnish eastern flank north of the lake.

Short Stirling instrument panel, photo taken on 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The pilots' instrument panel and flight controls of a Short Stirling Mk I of No. 7 Squadron RAF at Oakington, Cambridgeshire, February 1942." © IWM (CH 17086).
Battle of the Pacific: The Japanese have grand ambitions in the Southwest Pacific. This is illustrated on 7 February 1942 when submarine HIJMS I-25 launches a Yokosuka E14Y1, Navy Type 0 Small Reconnaissance Seaplane to fly over Sydney, New South Wales.

The United States Army Air Force 5th Air Force, which now controls operations in the southwest Pacific, continues to build up its presence on Java in the Netherlands East Indies. Today, four more P-40s fly from Australia and make it to Blimbing Airdrome. The USAAF command at Singosari Aerodrome on Java sends nine B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to attack shipping at Balikpapan, but they are met by Japanese fighters and driven off.

The Allies in the Bataan Peninsula, the Philippines, mount a determined attack on the Japanese pockets (the Big Pocket and the Little Pocket) just south of the Main Line of Resistance (MLR). These pockets are in the western portion of the line controlled by I Corps, which sends the 92d Infantry of the 91st Division of the Philippine Army against them. Further south, other Philippine troops make good progress against the remaining Japanese trapped at Quinauan Point. USAAF P-40s drive off a Japanese seaborne attempt from Olongapo to reinforce and supply these and other trapped units in the South Sector.

Italian CR-42 fighter downed in North Africa on 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
An Italian C.R. 42 fighter which was forced to land during an encounter with RAF fighters near Sollum, Libya on 7 February 1942.
In Singapore, the Japanese continue to prepare for an invasion of the island, which the British expect will be in the northeast near the destroyed causeway. The Australian 22nd Brigade concludes two successful patrols (a third was spotted by the Japanese and eliminated) across the Johor Strait and reports their findings to Malaya Command. The Australians report large troop concentrations directly across the Strait from the northwestern shore of Singapore Island and request artillery bombardment of those positions. Malaya Command ignores the reports because they do not jibe with its expectation that the invasion will come in the northeast, not the northwest.

USS Concord, photo taken on 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
USS Concord (CL-10) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, 7 February 1942. Note the obsolete casement guns.
European Air Operations: The RAF sends 32 Hampden bombers on a minelaying mission to the Frisian Islands. They are attacked by Luftwaffe fighters and lose three bombers. Some histories of World War II mention that the RAF drops many mines in the English Channel prior to Operation Cerberus, the Channel Dash, but these mines are dropped far to the north of where Operation Cerberus takes place in the Frisian Islands.

British freighter Jessie Maersk, sunk on 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
British freighter Jessie Maersk, sunk by German E-boats on 7 February 1942.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-751 (Kptlt. Gerhard Bigalk), on its fifth patrol out of St. Nazaire, France, torpedoes and sinks 6952-ton British Catapult Armed Merchant (CAM) Empire Sun just south of Halifax. The Empire Sun was carrying 9000 tons of grain. There are 54 survivors and 11 deaths.

German E-boats intercept and sink 1972-ton British freighter Jessie Maersk while traveling north from London to Blyth. There are 20 deaths.

While being refitted as a refrigerated banana boat in Halifax Harbor, 3250-ton MV Maurienne catches fire and capsizes. She is later refloated and returned to service.

Picturegoer magazine of 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Actress Loretta Young on the cover of Picturegoer Magazine [United Kingdom] (7 February 1942).
Battle of the Mediterranean: On land, both sides have settled down to garrison duty after the rapid Afrika Korps offensive past Benghazi. However, the fighting continues offshore. Royal Navy destroyers HMS Lively and Zulu, operating out of Malta and having been alerted by aerial reconnaissance, intercept and sink 316-ton Italian armed trawler Grongo about 45 miles south of Pantelleria Island. They also sink 494-ton Italian sailing freighter Aosta, which has been running supplies to Pantelleria. There are 32 survivors from the sinkings picked up by Italian motor torpedo boats Mas 560, Mas 563 and Mas 577.

USS Portland, 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Rickard, J (3 February 2018), USS Portland (CA-33) at Mare Island, 7 February 1942 (History of War). 
US Government: President Roosevelt establishes the War Shipping Administration (WSA) by Executive Order No. 9054. February 7, 1942. The WSA takes charge of the production of special classes of ships being built by the Emergency Program such as Liberty Ships and Victory Ships. The United States Maritime Commission, established in 1936, remains in charge of the design and construction of other freighters for the United States Merchant Marine for the time being (the WSA will subsume the Maritime Commission later in 1942). Rear Admiral Emory S. Land, USN (ret.), the head of the Maritime Commission since 1938, now oversees both organizations, so they work very closely together from the start.

Donald M. Nelson, the new Chairman of the Office of Production Management, officially orders United States automakers to cease production of domestic passenger cars. Their factories henceforth will manufacture military items. Nelson's office guarantees the automakers profits over and above their expenses. This offer includes a promise to sell to the auto manufacturers the $11 billion worth of new manufacturing plants to be built during the war at a steep discount after the war is won. The few automakers still making cars continue those already on the production line, with the last new cars finished on 10 February 1942.

Latin America: Uruguay defeats Argentina 1-0 to win the South American Championship of football in Montevideo. This is Uruguay's eighth title.

Double-V Symbol, worldwartwo.filminspector.com 7 February 1942
The symbol for the Double V campaign in the Pittsburgh Courier that begins on 7 February 1942.
American Homefront: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra hit No. 1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart with "String of Pearls," recorded on 8 November 1941 in New York City. This is the second of four No. 1 hits that Miller and his band achieve in 1942, the other three being "Chattanooga Choo Choo" in January, "Moonlight Cocktail" from late February to early May, and "(I've Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo" during September and October. While it has a long way to go, the Big Band era may be said to peak in 1942.

The "Double-V" Campaign begins. This is a special symbol adopted within the African-American community to denote the twin goals of fighting fascism overseas and conditions at home in the United States. The symbol first appears in the African-American newspaper Pittsburgh Courier on February 7, 1942. The campaign continues weekly in the Pittsburg Courier, which is the most circulated black newspaper with a national circulation around 200,000 subscribers, until 1943.

Pittsburgh Courier of 7 February 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Pittsburgh Courier on February 7, 1942, showing the Double-V symbol.


2019

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