Friday, October 25, 2019

March 7, 1942: British Defeat in Burma

Saturday 7 March 1942

Japanese in Java, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Japanese troops advancing in Java, March 1942 (Sectie Militaire Geschiedenes Landmachstaf).
Battle of the Pacific: The battle in Burma nears its end on 7 March 1942 when the Japanese send the 17th Indian Infantry Division defending Pegu on the road to Rangoon in full retreat. A counterattack by the 1st Burma Division and 7th Armored Division also fails. The new commander in Burma, General Harold Alexander, realizes that Rangoon is lost and orders the British Indian to move first to Taukkyan and then to Prome, 200 miles to the north. Alexander himself remains with local commands in the vicinity of Rangoon, which now has been completely abandoned with strategic facilities destroyed. This begins a hard-fought retrograde movement by the British Army to India which lasts for several months. Today decides the Burma Campaign.

As at other ports facing capture, the Allies scuttle any ships at Rangoon that can't escape - but most have been able to leave due to the proximity of India and the time taken by the Japanese to cross Burma. This includes 382-ton British freighter SS Nyounghla. In the coming decades, the British Army awards the battle honors Pegu and Pegu 1942 to participants.

Arizona Daily Star, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Arizona Daily Star for 7 March 1942 notes that "Allies Facing Exhaustion in Java Battles." Almost as interesting to the paper's readers is that "Filipinos Are Ordered to Give Up All Bolos." Bolos are knives that the locals use as both weapons and tools.
The battle on Java also is coming to an end. Allied troops have moved to the interior of Java near Bandung. Japanese troops under Colonel Toshishige Shoji moving south from Batavia arrive at the plateau of Lembang, which is within 5 miles (8 km) of Bandung. The Allies under Major-General Jacob J. Pesman, the commander of Stafgroep Bandung, prepare to make a last stand in the hills south of the town. Other Japanese forces take the key port of Tjilatjap on the south coast, which would be the Allies' only avenue of escape. The situation is hopeless for the Allies, and they prepare to surrender.

South of Java, Japanese aircraft bomb and sink 3051-ton Norwegian freighter SS Woolgar. The crew manages to launch one lifeboat, and the crew endures an epic 88-day journey to Port Blair, Andaman Islands, where the Japanese make them prisoners. Japanese destroyer Arashio intercepts Dutch minesweepers Jan Van Amstel, which also is trying to escape Java, and sinks it. There are 23 deaths and the rest of the crew become prisoners.

German Operation Sportpalast, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
German destroyers Friedrich Ihn, Hermann Schoemann and Z 25 sink Russian freighter Ishora during Operation Sportpalast on 7 March 1942. The photo is taken by V. Gernhard from Z 25. The Tirpitz, while part of the operation, was not present.
A RAAF Hudson patrol plane of No. 32 Squadron sights a convoy of 11 Japanese ships heading for Salamaua/Lae. A Japanese invasion force lands in Northern Sumatra, with Japanese ships entering the South Andaman Sea.

Pleased with the success of the flying boat raid on Hawaii of 4 March 1942, the Japanese plan a second "K Operation" for 7 March. However, the planes and crew are not ready, so the operation is postponed to 10 March. The Americans, meanwhile, have been listening to Japanese propaganda broadcasts boasting of the raid's effects (which in reality were negligible), figure out how it was carried out, and prepare to give another such attack a hot reception.

Aircraft carrier HMS Eagle in the Mediterranean, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The aircraft carrier HMS ARGUS which acted as fighter escort, with HMS EAGLE (center) and the battleship HMS MALAYA (right distance) prior to flying off to Malta of the Spitfires." 7 March 1942. © IWM (A 7953).
Eastern Front: The Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front is overstretched, and this is beginning to affect overall operations. Eighteenth Army informs the OKH that it is ready to begin Operation Raubtier ("Beast of prey"), whose aim is to re-establish the former line along the Volkhov River and thereby trap Soviet 2nd Shock Army to the west. The gap in the German lines is only about six miles wide, though the Soviet incursion bulges out to the west. Closing this gap is well within the Wehrmacht's abilities. However, the operation depends upon strong Luftwaffe support, and it is fully engaged in supplying the trapped German garrisons at Kholm and Demyansk. Knowing that the two encircled outposts cannot survive without each day's deliveries, Hitler postpones Operation Raubtier. The Eighteenth Army then tries to build up its forces sufficiently so that it can mount the operation with only minor Luftwaffe support, that but will take several days.

European Air Operations: After dark, RAF Bomber Command sends 17 bombers to attack the U-boat pens at St. Nazaire. Another 17 Hampden bombers lay mines off Lorient, another major U-boat base. One Hampden fails to return.

SS Barbara, sunk on 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
SS Barbara, sunk on 7 March 1942.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-126 (Kptlt. Ernst Bauer), on its third patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 4627-ton US freighter Barbara about 9 miles northwest of West Tortuga Island, Dominican Republic. The ship bursts into flame and the crew must jump into the sea quickly without being able to launch any lifeboats. The surviving crew clings to rafts and debris, with 16 of them, including the master and a stewardess, being picked up by a PBY Catalina flying boat (the pilot is cited for overloading his plane). Another 21 survivors make it to shore after almost three days at sea. In total, there are 26 dead and 59 survivors.

U-126 also sinks 5104-ton US freighter Cardonia in the same area. This time, Bauer uses his deck gun after the Cardonia's crew spots the U-boat sinking the Barbara and evades two torpedoes. After firing 56 rounds, the ship catches fire. After the crew abandons ship, Bauer fires a coup de grâce torpedo which sinks the ship at 12:16. Twenty of the crew make landfall in a lifeboat, while 15 others are rescued by USS Mulberry. The master, Gus Warren Darnell, is awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his evasive maneuvers and other conduct during the attack. Overall, there is one dead (in the initial attack) and 37 survivors.

U-155 (Kptlt. Adolf Cornelius Piening), on its first patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 7874-ton Brazilian tanker Arabutan about 81 miles off Cape Hatteras. Arabutan sinks within 13 minutes. Piening claims to have seen no neutrality markings. The crew successfully launches the lifeboats and are rescued quickly by USCGC USS Calypso. There are 54 survivors and one death.

SS Uniwalecto, sunk on 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
SS Uniwaleco, sunk on 7 March 1942.
U-161 (Kptlt. Albrecht Achilles), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 9755-ton South African tanker Uniwaleco. The first attack at 17:59 causes the ship to run out of control in circles, so a second torpedo is fired as a coup de grâce. The ship then sinks within three minutes. There are 33 survivors and 18 deaths.

U-701 (Kptlt. Horst Degen), on its second patrol out of St. Nazaire, torpedoes and sinks Danish 272-ton fishing trawler FV Nyggjaberg in the North Atlantic near Iceland. There are no survivors from the 21-man crew.

German destroyers sink a Soviet ship, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Russian steamer Ishora is under fire from the German destroyer Hermann Schoemann in the afternoon of 7 March 1942. The photo is taken from the German destroyer Z 25 by V. Gernhard.
Operation Sportpalast, a German sortie into the Atlantic including battleship Tirpitz, continues today. in the Arctic. German destroyers Friedrich Ihn, Hermann Schoemann and Z 25 sink Russian 2815-ton passenger ship Ijora (or Izhora or Ishora) near the Kola Inlet. Tirpitz is not present during this encounter and does not meet up with the destroyers for another 30 minutes.

HMS Eagle and Malaya, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"HMS EAGLE and HMS MALAYA whilst serving with Force H in the Mediterranean. Supermarine Spitfires are ranged on the deck of HMS EAGLE (photograph taken from the aircraft carrier HMS ARGUS)." © IWM (A 7840).
Battle of the Mediterranean: The Royal Navy sends Force H from Gibraltar on a resupply convoy to Malta. The main objective is to fly off planes from aircraft carriers HMS Argus and Eagle to the embattled garrison, which has been enduring around-the-clock air raids for many days straight. Eagle flies 15 Spitfires off which make it to the island, becoming the first Spitfires to operate there. This doubles Malta's air cover.

Applied Science: US Navy non-rigid airship K-5 conducts a successful experiment in conjunction with the submarine USS S-20 off the New London, Connecticut coast fo a radio sonobuoy. The experiment shows the utility of using sonobuoys to detect the sounds of a submerged submarine's propellers. The blimp receives the signals at a distance of up to three miles and sometimes up to five miles.

Onboard British destroyer HMS Atherstone, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The ship's doctor giving a lecture on first aid to crew members on HMS ATHERSTONE at Plymouth, 7 March 1942." © IWM (A 7761).
US Military: Major General Alexander M. Patch, arrives on New Caledonia Island. He will assume command of the New Caledonia Task Force.

US Navy Patrol Wing 10 completes a three-month, roundabout withdrawal from the Philippines via Java to Perth, Western Australia. The unit has been devastated by enemy action and having to leave equipment and ground personnel behind. Three out of its four wing squadrons (VP-21, VP-22, and VP-102) are officially stricken from the order of battle. The sole remaining squadron, VP-101, will conduct patrol operations off the Australian west coast, which the Japanese Air Force recently has raided, with its PBY-4 and PBY-5 Catalinas.

British aircraft carriers HMS Argus and Eagle, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"The aircraft carrier HMS ARGUS which acted as fighter escort, with HMS EAGLE (center) and the battleship HMS MALAYA (right distance) prior to flying off to Malta of the Spitfires." 7 March 1942. © IWM (A 7954).
Headquarters, 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) and the 35th, 36th, and 80th Pursuit Squadrons (Interceptor) arrive at Brisbane from the United States in their P-39s.

USAAF Fifth Air Force transfers the Headquarters, 22nd Bomber Group (Medium), from Brisbane to Ipswich, Australia.

The Tuskegee flying school for black pilots graduates its first class of students. They join the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The men are Capt. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., and Second-Lieutenants Mac Ross, Charles DeBow, LR Curtis, and George Roberts.

First Tuskegee airmen graduates, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The first four Tuskegee airmen graduates, including Captain Ben Davis (US Air Force Historical Foundation).
US Government: California Representative Carl Hinshaw warns the House that a major attack on the West Coast is imminent:
Word has come to us the Japanese timetable will bring the second phase of their plans into action about April 15. This includes a major attack on Hawaii, and the commencement of sabotage action on the West Coast, in preparation for events to follow. 
If our administrative officials do not get down to quick action to evacuate all Japanese and all other enemy aliens immediately — They may, by inaction, have committed so great a sin that even history may never forgive them.
There is a very real fear of a Japanese invasion all along the coast.

The New Yorker, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The New Yorker, 7 March 1942.
American Homefront: The New Yorker for 7 March 1942 publishes a brief item (on page 7) which notes that:
We've heard from a naval officer who got promoted recently, which necessitated a reshuffling of his insignia. When his stars were removed, he found, on the back of each, a label reading "Made in Japan."
Well, times sure have changed in a hurry.

The San Francisco News continues its series of "helpful hints" to ethnic Japanese regarding their coming internment. In today's entry, the paper warns against leaving too hastily to their new homes:
General DeWitt again cautioned the aliens and Japanese-Americans against a too hasty disposition of farms, shops, residences, and other property, pointed out that Federal officials are being appointed to assist them in handling and transfer of their property. Until they have an opportunity to turn their properties over to an official custodian, such persons should not dispose of their possessions unless they receive full value in return, the general said.
There is a surreal air to these articles, which treat the evacuations as akin to a going away to summer camp with the government's sole aim to make the journey as painless and safe as possible.

The Saturday Evening Post, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Saturday Evening Post, 7 March 1942.
Future History: Michael Dammann Eisner is born in Mount Kisco, New York. After graduating from Denison University in 1964, he quickly becomes involved in the entertainment industry. Very early in his career, Barry Diller at ABC hires Eisner as his personal assistant. This sets Micheal Eisner on a path to success, and he joins Paramount Pictures in the 1970s when Diller becomes chairman there. Diller makes his old assistant president and CEO of the film studio, and Eisner repays the favor by greenlighting a string of classic pictures including "Star Trek" and its sequels, "Saturday Night Fever," and "Beverly Hills Cop." In 1984, Diller leaves Paramount and Eisner moves on to the Walt Disney Company, where he becomes CEO and Chairman of the Board. Eisner once again proves to have an uncanny touch at choosing good films and is largely responsible for the "Disney Renaissance" that begins with "The Little Mermaid" in 1989. Eisner leaves Disney in 2005 and goes on to other entertainment pursuits such as his own talk show on CNBC. Michael Eisner remains involved in the entertainment industry and is a legendary corporate figure.

Tamara Faye LaValley is born in International Falls, Minnesota. In 1960, Tamara (known as Tammy Faye) meets Jim Bakker and marries him a year later. Together, they form a popular televangelist organization, the PTL (Praise The Lord) Club, which takes them to heights of fame. In 1987, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker get embroiled in scandal due to Jim Bakker's involvement with assistant Jessica Hahn. Tammy Faye divorces Bakker in 1992 after he is sent to prison for 45 years on 24 fraud and conspiracy counts. her next marriage, to property developer Roe Messner, also involves scandal when he is convicted of bankruptcy fraud. Tammy Faye Messner (her final name) passes away on 20 July 2007 from cancer.

Collier's, 7 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Collier's, 7 March 1942. During World War II, Collier's readership reaches 2.5 million.

2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

March 6, 1942: Churchill Assaults Free Speech

Friday 6 March 1942

Controversial Daily Mirror cartoon, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Philip Zec "price of petrol" cartoon of 6 March 1942 in the Daily Mirror. It sets off Winston Churchill and almost leads to censorship of a mainstream publication. This becomes an iconic image for many British citizens and is famously re-used in 1982 during the Falklands War to oppose that war.
British Homefront: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sees a political cartoon by Philip Zec in the 6 March 1942 Daily Mirror which he doesn't like. The war at sea isn't going very well due to a surge in U-boat sinkings, and the stress is beginning to tell. In fact, Churchill really doesn't like the cartoon and he decides to do something about it. The cartoon is fairly innocuous, showing a merchant seaman from a sinking ship with the caption ""The price of petrol has been increased by one penny – Official." Accompanying the cartoon is a newspaper editorial headed "Weed Them Out," attacking the "brass-buttoned boneheads" leading the British war effort. Churchill views the combined cartoon and editorial as harmful to the war effort and contemplates banning the Daily Mirror entirely.

Signal magazine, March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Signal Magazine, March 1942 #6.
Churchill summons Herbert Morrison (not the announcer from the Hindenburg tragedy, but the Home Secretary) and tells him to take action. Morrison already famously has banned the Daily Worker (on 21 January 1941), so he knows what he can do. Morrison calls in the leaders of the Mirror and tells them bluntly to stop their:
sneering attacks, mischievous misrepresentations and the sort of thing inspired by a desire for reckless sensation.
Morrison warns them that he can and will shut down the Mirror under Emergency Regulation 2D of the Emergency Powers Act just as he did the Daily Worker. Unknown to the Mirror leaders, Morrison also initiates a Special Branch investigation into both the Mirror's ownership interests and Zec's personal background. The investigation finds nothing untoward (aside from some connections to socialist Sir Stafford Cripps) and the whole matter is eventually dropped after the Mirror adopts what Churchill considers to be a more patriotic tone.

Hope Star of Hope, Arkansas, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The 6 March 1942 Hope Star of Hope, Arkansas (later famous for Bill Clinton) prints a helpful map of Japanese conquests and goals in the Pacific.
Battle of the Pacific: The Japanese continue advancing in Java from north to south. The remaining Allied forces continue withdrawing to Bandung in the middle of the island with the Japanese 2nd Infantry Division (Lt. Gen. Masao Maruyama) right behind them. The Japanese enter Buitenzorg (Bogor), not far from Bandung, and the Abe Unit makes a night attack against Porong near Surabaya. Among the retreating Allied units in East Java is the "E" Field Artillery Battery of the US Army 131st (Texas) Field Artillery Regiment. In West Java, a motley collection Allied troops from multiple nations under the command of Major-General Sir Hervey D.W. Sitwell decides to make a stand in the hills south of Bandung with the Japanese a day or two away.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A street scene in the 6 March 1942 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (p. 25).
The Allied troops' only hope of rescue is from the southern ports of Tjilatjap and other, smaller ports nearby. However, that depends on stopping the Japanese at Bandung - a tall order, as they haven't been able to stop the Japanese anywhere to date. At Poerwokerta, about 30 miles north of Tjilatjap, about 2500 RAF airmen under the command of Air Commodore B. J. Silly wait helplessly for an evacuation they know may never come. There no longer is any Allied fighter cover in Java, so everyone is wide open to Japanese air attacks.

Japanese aircraft and naval forces remain active offshore, meaning any Allied attempt to escape will be contested. Japanese aircraft sink 174-ton Dutch freighter Dayak south of Tjilatjap.

HNLMS Pieter de Bitter, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
HNLMS Pieter de Bitter, scuttled on 6 March 1942.
While the Allied armies on Java are still fighting, everyone behind the lines can see what is coming. As at other ports on other islands about to be captured, the Allies begin scuttling ships. They include:
  • 513-ton Dutch freighter Reteh
  • 1187-ton Dutch freighter Pasir
  • 395-ton Dutch tug Overijssel
  • 525-ton Dutch minesweeper Pieter de Bitter
  • 173-ton Dutch freighter Moeara Boelian
  • 525-ton Dutch minelayer Serdang
  • 1787-ton Dutch freighter Sipirok
  • 1594-ton Dutch freighter Sipora
The ports themselves also remain under fierce Japanese air attacks. With no Allied air defenses, the attacks prove deadly. Japanese bombs sink 4819-ton Dutch freighter SS Barentsz at Tjilatjap.

The Japanese advance on Borneo, too. They take the town of Sampit.

Rangoon, Burma, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Rangoon, Burma. 6 March 1942. The work of demolition parties as seen from the last aircraft to be flown out. Smoke rises from charges set at a strategic site in Rangoon. The pilot was Sergeant R. P. Curtis of Manly, NSW, and the wireless operator-air gunner Sergeant J. L. Brinkley of Cottesloe, WA, who took this photograph. A portion of their Blenheim aircraft is at the left of the picture. Australian War Memorial P02491.173.
In Burma, the Japanese advance toward Rangoon stalls temporarily as they bring up bridging equipment to replace the blown bridge across the Sittang River. The worn-out 17th Indian Infantry Division is in a bitter battle at Pegu on the road to Rangoon but is under-strength and lacks adequate weapons. Other Allied units in the area (the 1st Burma Division and the 7th Armored Brigade) also are hard-pressed. The British evacuate Rangoon and the last aircraft departs for India.

Japanese aircraft strafe and sink 527-ton Philippines freighter Fortuna MV near the Leper Colonies on Cullion Island, Calamian Islands. The ship has been requisitioned by the US Army to carry supplies to the colony. The strafing sets fire to gasoline drums on the deck which turns the ship into a blazing inferno that sinks about a quarter of a mile from the docks.

Front-Illustrierte, March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Front-Illustrierte," No. 6, March 1942.
Eastern Front: In the Crimea, the Soviets are reinforcing the Crimean Front under Lieutenant General Dmitry Timofeyevich Kozlov for another attempt to pierce the Axis line at the Parpach Narrows. The last attempt failed largely due to Luftwaffe supremacy, so the Red Air Force brings in 581 planes. However, the Soviet planes are largely obsolete models while the Luftwaffe has current models. The Soviets also mass 224 tanks, which Kozlov decides to divide up to support individual units rather than use them as a single, powerful striking force. The Germans know the Soviets are likely to attack again, so they are laying 2000 Teller mines near the key Koi-Asan position. The Soviet attack is scheduled for 13 March.

European Air Operations: The air front remains quiet as the RAF continues to build up its forces after the successful Billancourt Raid of 3/4 March.

Damage to HMS Thrasher, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Damage to the conning tower of Royal Navy submarine HMS Thrasher at Alexandria, Egypt caused by a 6 March 1942 Luftwaffe attack. The bomb failed to explode but pierced the steel. © IWM (A 13569).
Battle of the Atlantic: Several German U-boats are making the long journey across the Atlantic either to or from their bases in France. However, some U-boats and Italian submarines (which are usually overlooked in accounts of the Battle of the Atlantic) remain hard at work and score some successes.

U-710 (Kptlt. Horst Degen), on its second patrol out of St. Nazaire, torpedoes and sinks independent 213-ton British freighter Rononia about 200 miles southeast of Iceland. This follows a 12-hour span in which Degen works patiently to get into firing position. He finally attacks at 23:06 on the surface and observes the Rononia break in halves immediately due to an internal explosion. All 11 men on board perish.

U-587 (Kptlt. Ulrich Borcherdt), on its second patrol out of St. Nazaire, torpedoes and sinks 900-ton Greenlandic freighter Hans Egede south of Newfoundland. All 24 men on board perish.

US freighter Steel Age, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
US freighter Steel Age, sunk on 6 March 1942.
U-129 (Kptlt. Asmus Nicolai Clausen), on its fourth patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 6188-ton US freighter SS Steel Age about 600 miles southeast of Trinidad (130 miles northeast of Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana). The attack is made at 22:05, with two torpedoes hitting and causing the ship to sink within two minutes. The quick sinking may be due to its cargo of ore. The sole survivor recalls running topside immediately from the messroom and finding the deck already awash (U-129 picks him up and he becomes a POW). There are 34 dead and only one survivor. This sinking sometimes is said to have occurred on 7 March, perhaps due to timezone differences.

U-505 (Kptlt. Axel-Olaf Loewe), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks independent 7587-ton Norwegian tanker Sydhav between Trinidad and Freetown. The ship sinks quickly but 24 men manage to survive on two rafts. There are twelve deaths. The survivors later recall that Loewe did not bother to pick them up or another survivor in the water who he questions (who later dies) even though he had the opportunity.

Dutch freighter Astrea sunk on 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Dutch freighter Astrea, sunk on 6 March 1942.
Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli (Commander Carlo Fecia di Cossato) shells and sinks 1406-ton Dutch freighter SS Astrea en route from New York to Trinidad. The entire crew is rescued by a passing freighter after 11 days at sea.

Enrico Tazzoli also shells and sinks 3156-ton Norwegian freighter MV Tønsbergfjord in the same area. There are 33 survivors.

Italian submarine Giuseppe Finzi torpedoes and sinks 7011-ton British freighter SS Melpomene just east of the Caribbean while en route in ballast from Belfast to Baton Rouge. There are 49 survivors.

Swedish freighter Skane, sunk on 6 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Swedish freighter Skane, sunk on 6 March 1942.
Giuseppe Finzi also sinks 4528-ton Swedish freighter Skane. The Italians use their deck gun to sink the Skane in the same vicinity as the Melpomene.

German freighter Lahneck collides with another ship, SS Treunfels in the Baltic near Oksay and sinks after being taken in tow.

German battleship Tirpitz and four destroyers leave their base at Trondheim in central Norway on a rare sortie to intercept an Allied Russia convoy. The Allied ships are in Convoys QP-8 and PQ-12. The Royal Navy quickly learns that the Tirpitz is at sea and plans countermeasures.

Captured German antitank gun, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A British officer with a captured German 28mm Panzerbüchse 41 (sPzB 41)anti-tank gun in North Africa, 6 March 1942. © IWM (E 9090).
Battle of the Mediterranean: Malta has been devastated by around-the-clock air raids in recent days, and they continue today. The attacks begin early, with 43 Axis aircraft attacking at 08:16. The Junkers Ju-88 medium bombers attack the Royal Navy submarine base on Manoel Island, dropping twenty big 1000-kg bombs, ten 250-kg bombs, and fifty 50-kg bombs. The attack causes extensive damage and kills several civilians. More attacks continue throughout the day.

Bombed submarine base at Malta, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Bomb damage to the wardroom cabins at the Submarine base on Manoel Island, Malta from the attack of 6 March 1942. The damage is to wardroom cabins and laundry. This is the most serious damage during the attack on the submarine base. © IWM (A 9565).
Battle of the Indian Ocean: The British continue reinforcing Ceylon in anticipation of a Japanese attack once Java falls. Aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable flies off Hurricanes of RAF No. 30 and 261 Squadrons, while aircraft transport Engadine arrives at Trincomalee along with several other ships such as light cruiser Glasgow and submarine Trusty. Convoy SU-2, including five troops ships, departs from Colombo bound for Fremantle.

USS St. Louis (CL-49), 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The U.S. Navy light cruiser USS St. Louis (CL-49) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California (USA), on 6 March 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
American Homefront: The San Francisco News prints a helpful editorial addressed to local Japanese people, "both aliens and native-born." It sets forth the best way they can "demonstrate their loyalty to the United States." The gist of the editorial is that the Japanese can best show their loyalty by accepting their relocation to internment camps. The editorial notes that the property of the internees "will be carefully protected by the Federal Government" (which often turns out not to be the case) and that "the transfer will be made with the least possible hardship" (which doesn't mean there is no hardship, because some internees wait literally for months in transit camps as their camps are prepared). The bottom line is that this is actually being done for the internees' safety, as:
Real danger would exist for all Japanese if they remained in the combat area. The least act of sabotage might provoke angry reprisals that easily could balloon into bloody race riots.
The editorial is issued under the newspaper's byline but reads as though it were written by the Army.

Future History: Benjamin Edward Castleberry Jr. is born on March 6, 1942, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He becomes Ben Murphy when his mother remarries in 1956. Ben becomes an actor after attending eight colleges and quickly becomes a success. He appears as a guest star in episodic TV series such as "The Name of the Game" before nabbing a starring role in popular series "Alias Smith and Jones" from 1971-72. After that, Ben bounces around between series such as "Griff" without gaining much traction. Ben Murphy goes on to become a regular on television in guest-starring roles and occasion films, most recently in "The Genesis Code" (2010) and appears to be retired as of this writing.

Clark Gable promotional shot, 6 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Clark Gable on a 1939 Harley-Davidson EL, March 1942 (courtesy MGM).

2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

March 5, 1942: Japan Takes Batavia

Thursday 5 March 1942

Tempo magazine, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The cover story of the 5 March 1942 Tempo magazine is "Italian tanks in Marmarica." Marmarica is the border region between Libya and Egypt, and at this moment, the only Italian tanks in that area are captured one.
Battle of the Pacific: At dusk on 5 March 1942, the Japanese 2nd Infantry Division captures Batavia, Java. Batavia is the capital of the Netherlands East Indies. Dutch troops in the vicinity of Batavia surrender. Remaining Allied forces fall back to the south to defend Bandung in the central highlands. Also under threat, further south, is the key naval base at Tjilatjap, which Japanese naval forces bombard with airstrikes during the day. The damage to Tjilatjap is extensive and 17 ships are sunk.

Napa Register, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Napa (California) Register of 5 March 1942 predicts the fall of Java. Also worthy of the front page: a Conn Valley man is charged with failing to darken his car headlights in violation of blackout laws.
Japanese invasion forces under the command of Rear Admiral Marumo Kuninori of the Fourth Fleet depart from Rabaul, New Britain, to invade Salamaura-Lae, Papua. Serving as escorts are light cruiser Yubari, seaplane tender Kiyokawa Maru, and destroyers Oite, Asanagi, Yunagi, Mutsuki, Yayoi, and Mochizuki. This is Operation SR. The landings at Huon Gulf, New Guinea, are scheduled for 8 March.

The front on the Bataan Peninsula is quiet as the Japanese build up their forces for an offensive to eliminate the Allied presence there. Filipino saboteurs destroy Japanese transport Takao Maru, run aground off Vigan, Luzon, on 10 December 1941.

Japanese freighter Takao Maru, sunk on 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Japanese freighter Takao Maru, destroyed by saboteurs on 5 March 1942.
Eastern Front: The Soviets announce the recapture of Yukhnov, northwest of Kaluga. This town was voluntarily abandoned by the German Fourth Army with Hitler's consent as it was difficult to defend.

European Air Operations: Air operations today are minimal as the RAF recuperates from its all-out raid on the Billancourt Renault factory on 3/4 March.

US freighter Collamer, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
US freighter Collamer, sunk on 5 March 1942.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-404 (Kptlt. Otto von Bülow), on its second patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks 5112-ton US freighter Collamer off the coast of Nova Scotia. Collamer is a straggler from Convoy HX-178, having been separated by foul weather, and is trying to return to Halifax. The first torpedo kills seven men instantly, and a second torpedo sends the ship under within seconds. Fortunately, the radio operator has just enough time to get a distress call off to Halifax, 43 miles to the northwest. While 7 men perish, the other 31 are rescued quickly.

U-126 (Kptlt. Ernst Bauer), on its third patrol out of Lorient, torpedoes and sinks independent 3110-ton US freighter Mariana near Turks Island (north of Santo Domingo) in the Caribbean. All 36 men aboard perish.

German 3143-ton ammunition transport Argus blows up at Hambukt, Norway, in a mysterious explosion.

Superman cartoon of 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Superman helps to sell war bonds on 5 March 1942.
Battle of the Mediterranean: Royal Navy submarine HMS Uproar (P-31) torpedoes and sinks 5081-ton Italian freighter Marin Sanudo about 18 miles south of Lampedusa Island. The Marin Sanudo is carrying a cargo of military equipment including aircraft engines, trucks, motorcycles, helmets and shoes, and also the wages for 44,000 Axis troops in North Africa. Axis planes raid Malta throughout the afternoon and evening, bombing airfields at Ta Qali, Luqa, Hal Far, and Safi. The Luqa airfield becomes unusable for several hours.

Partisans: Partisan forces of Chetnik leader Major General Draza-Dragoljub Mihajlovic score some successes against Italian occupation forces in Montenegro.

Allied Relations: Winston Churchill badly wants New Zealand troops to remain in the Middle East, but the government of New Zealand is concerned about Japanese advances and wants them back in New Zealand. Today, Churchill tries to solve this problem by asking President Roosevelt if he would send troops to New Zealand so that the New Zealanders can stay in North Africa.

Ukrainian occupation currency, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Ukrainian occupation currency dated 5 March 1942.
British Military: Field Marshall Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, replaces Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound as Chairman of the British Chiefs of Staff Committee. Winston Churchill prefers this as he considers himself to be the ultimate naval authority and Pound, who also views everything through a naval lens, only offers redundancy at the top. Also, Churchill just gets on well with Brooke, though Brooke tends to look askance at some of the PM's personal quirks. Rightly or wrongly, Pound is a scapegoat for the recent successful German Channel Dash. He has a reputation for making decisive judgments that at times neutralize very shaky strategic wishes of Churchill (such as sending a fleet into the Baltic early in the war) but at other times turn out poorly (such as withdrawing escorts from Arctic convoys at the first signs of trouble, which leads to devastating merchant ship losses). Pound, who is known for dozing off at meetings due to insomnia relating to physical ailments, remains as First Sea Lord but accepts the appointment of a deputy first sea lord to "help him."

Tru-Life Detective Cases, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Tru-Life Detective Cases, March 1942, #5, published by Trysack. It includes tales of "Bizarre case of the woman who wanted two husbands" and "Blonde Enchantress."
Lieutenant-General Sir Harold Alexander arrives in Rangoon to become General Officer Commanding Burma Army. He replaces General Thomas Hutton, who becomes Alexander's chief of staff, and is under the command of General Archibald Wavell, Commander in Chief India. Wavell orders Rangoon held, but there is little chance of that given the disparity of forces in Burma. Alexander, with a shaky grasp of the real situation on the ground, obligingly orders the devastated 17th Indian Division to attack east of Pegu and the 1st Burma Division, guarding another important road north of Pegu, to attack as well. Neither attack accomplishes anything and today the Japanese capture the strongpoint of Pegu, which is only 50 miles from Rangoon.

USS Lexington pilots, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Pilots of US Navy Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3) of USS Lexington on 5 March 1942. Four of these men perish in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
US Military: Having completed his journey from Australia, Major General Lewis H. Brereton takes command of the USAAF 10th Air Force. Establishing his headquarters at New Delhi, Brereton has at his disposal eight B-17s. His top priority is establishing a secure supply route to China over the Himalayas, a formidable obstacle to the USAAF transport aircraft.

Air units of the 30th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bomber Group (Heavy) complete their journey from Singosari, Java, to Melbourne, Australia. The planes include B-17s, B-24s, and LB-30s. The ground echelon of this unit remains trapped in Java and the Philippines. While these transfers save the units, they leave Java without any air defense whatsoever.

Headquarters, XII Interceptor Command, is activated at Drew Field, Tampa, Florida.

Japanese Military: Imperial General Headquarters issues Navy Directive No.62. This orders the Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet, to occupy strategic points in Dutch New Guinea. The first task is to perform reconnaissance to determine the best places to occupy first.

Auschwitz victim, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
On 5 March 1942, Józef Henig, a Polish Jew, an accountant born on 26 August 1890 in Tarnów, is registered at #Auschwitz as number 26388. He shows obvious evidence of mistreatment. Henig perishes in the camp on 12 March 1942 (Auschwitz Memorial).
Soviet Homefront: Exiled Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia passes away in a Swiss clinic from complications related to tuberculosis. The Grand Duke was one of the few Romanovs to escape the wrath of the Bolshevik uprising because he was forced out of Russia before the revolution and thereafter lived abroad. The cause of the Grand Duke's exile was his involvement in the December 1916 assassination of Russian mystic Gregory Rasputin - his revolver was used to shoot him, and the Grand Duke was one of the men who threw Rasputin in the river. While in exile, there was some hope that the Grand Duke could return to Russia, overthrow the Bolsheviks, and become the next Czar, but that never happened. The Grand Duke did have tangential involvement in World War II, refusing a request by Hitler to lead a White Russian contingent in the Wehrmacht against the Bolsheviks (a task later taken up by Soviet General Andrey Vlasov).

Desert magazine, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Desert Magazine, Vol. 5 No. 5 (March 1942).
British Homefront: Proving that no economy is too trivial in wartime, the government removes pencil sharpeners from government officials' offices in order to conserve pencils.

American Homefront: The Civil Air Patrol (CAP), formed on 1 December 1941 by Director of the Office of Civilian Defense Fiorello H. LaGuardia, begins flying regular antisubmarine patrols off the east coast of the United States. During the war, the CAP claims to have flown 24 million miles and sighted 173 enemy submarines.

Around this date, an 11-year-old named Warren Buffet of Omaha, Nebraska resolves to make his first stock purchase. However, he finds that he will have to place the trade through his father's broker. This will not stop him.

Dr. Seuss, 5 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Dr. Seuss cartoon of 5 March 1942 (Mandeville Special Collections Library, UC San Diego).

2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

March 4, 1942: Second Raid On Hawaii

Wednesday 4 March 1942

Kawanishi H8K flying boat, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Japanese Kawanishi H8K is seen seconds before being shot down by a Navy aircraft in July 1944. COURTESY OF THE U.S. NAVY.
Battle of the Pacific: One of the forgotten facts of World War II is that there was not just one Japanese raid on Oahu, Hawaii, but two. Everyone remembers the 7 December 1941 raid on Pearl Harbor, but the 4 March 1942 raid is lost in the mists of time. It thus makes for a good trivia question if you are determined to stump someone who claims to know "everything" about World War II. Late on 3 March, two Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boats depart their refueling station at the French Frigate Shoals (refueled by submarines HIJMS I-15 and I-19) and embark on Operation K. They fly the 560 miles (900 km) to Oahu armed with four 250-kg (550 lb) bombs each. As on the first raid, US radar stations pick up the two approaching planes. This time, rather than ignoring them, the USAAF sends up Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters to intercept them and also Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats to seek out their presumed aircraft carrier source. However, the weather is poor, and the US planes find nothing. The Japanese planes thus reach Oahu unmolested.

Second raid on Oahu, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Soldiers inspect a crater left near Honolulu after a Japanese bombing raid on Hawaii, March 4, 1942, in this undated photo on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu. WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES.
The huge Japanese planes approach through a heavy cloud cover at 15,000 feet (4600 m). The Japanese pilots spot the Kaena Point lighthouse and their leader, Hisao Hashizuma, decides to attack from the north - the same direction as on 7 December 1941. However, for some reason, the crew of the other plane, commanded by Ensign Shosuke Sasao, does not hear this plan and instead approach Pearl Harbor from the south. Hashizuma cannot see through the clouds and the blackout on the island gives him no reference points. He winds up dropping his bombs at about 02:00 on the slopes of Tantalus Peak. These bombs shatter some windows at a nearby high school (Theodore Roosevelt High, which is still there) and create some craters nearby. According to eyewitnesses, this wakes up everyone in Honolulu. It is unclear where the second plane drops its bombs, either over the ocean or some uninhabited land. The two flying boats then slip away to the southwest, and Hashizuma returns to Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands while the second plane lands at nearby Wotje atoll.

HMAS Yarra, sunk on 4 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
HMAS Yarra, sunk by Japanese cruisers on 4 March 1942.
Due to its lack of impact, this second raid on Hawaii becomes a footnote to history. However, it is a tremendous technical achievement and does have an impact. By flying from the French Frigate Shoals to Oahu, executing his attack, and then returning to Jaluit, Hashizuma successfully completes the longest bombing raid in history up to this point. The raid causes massive confusion in the United States, with the military claiming that it had dropped the bombs at Tantalus while a spurious Los Angeles radio news report claims there were 30 dead and 70 wounded. The Japanese, meanwhile, are pleased with the raid despite not causing any real damage or obtaining useful visual data and plan another one as soon as it can be readied. On 10 March, Hashizuma and his crew also carry out that raid, but they are shot down near Midway Atoll. Propaganda broadcasts about the raid from Tokyo lead the US Navy to secure the French Frigate Shoals to prevent future attacks by stationing a destroyer there for the remainder of the war.

Dutch freighter Enggano, sunk on 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Dutch freighter Enggano, sunk by Japanese cruisers near Java on 4 March 1942.
At Java, Netherlands East Indies, the Dutch are busy blowing up installations of strategic importance as the Japanese advance. Blackforce, a unit composed of a hodgepodge of units from all the Allied combatants but principally Australian, withdraws from  Buitenzorg to Sukabumi, about 30 miles to the south. A top Japanese priority is the capture of the port of Tjilatjap on the south coast, from which Allied ships have been leaving for Australia, but that is not directly threatened yet.

SBD Dauntless, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless ready for delivery at Douglas Aircraft Company's El Segundo, California (USA), plant on 4 March 1942. This is the type of plane used during the raid on Marcus Island (US Navy National Naval Aviation Museum).
At 06:30, Vice-Admiral "Bull" Halsey's Task Force 16 attacks Marcus Island (about 725 miles northwest of Wake Island). Launched from USS Enterprise, 32 SBD Dauntlesses along with 6 F4F Wildcats fly through some heavy antiaircraft fire, losing one SBD whose crew is captured. Marcus Island is within 1000 miles of Japan, which is closer than it may seem in the Pacific.

Tanker Francol, sunk on 4 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Tanker Francol, sunk south of Java on 4 March 1942.
The Japanese Navy continues its depredations against Allied ships evacuating Java. Heavy cruisers HIJMS Atago, May, and Takao, accompanied by two destroyers, pounces on a convoy of three merchant ships (depot ship Anking, tanker Francol, and minesweeper MMS.51)) escorted by Australian sloop HMAS Yarra. The convoy has left Tjilatjap, Java, bound for Fremantle, Australia. By about 08:00, all four ships are sunk. Of the 151 sailors aboard Yarra, only 13 survive (they are rescued by a Dutch submarine on 10 March). There are two survivors of Francol, 14 survivors from MMS.51, and 57 survivors of Anking (several of whom perish from exposure within days of being rescued). The Japanese also capture an unnamed freighter which is not officially part of the convoy but sailed at the same time and remained near it. There are other naval encounters south of Java in which Japanese heavy cruiser Chikuma and destroyer Urukaze sink 5412-ton Dutch freighter Enggano. Japanese submarine I-7 torpedoes and sinks 3271-ton Dutch freighter Le Maire near Cocos Island and uses its deck to sink 865-ton Dutch freighter Merkus in the same area.

Australian Lt. Commander Robert Rankin, KIA 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Lieutenant Commander Robert Rankin, commander of HMAS Yarra, who goes down with the ship on 4 March 1942.
The Allies do have some naval successes today. Four U.S. Navy destroyers that left Surabaya late on 28 February arrive in Fremantle. The four ships of DesDiv 58 (USS John D. Edwards, John D. Ford, Alden, and Paul Jones) wisely avoided battle in the Bali Strait and are some of the very few Allied warships to escape intact from Java. US Navy submarine USS-S-39 (SS-144, Lt. J. W. Coe) torpedoes Japanese oiler Erimo south of Beltung Island (the oiler's captain beaches it, but it is a total loss), while US submarine Grampus (SS-207) torpedoes and sinks Japanese tanker Kaijo Maru No. 2 about 145 miles south of Truk. Numerous Allied ships arrive at Colombo in the Indian Ocean, including battleship Ramillies and several destroyers.

The Evening Press, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The German occupation newspaper on the Channel Island of Guernsey dated 4 March 1942 is full of good news for the Axis, such as "Japan Rules the Pacific Waves" and "Strong Soviet Tank Attacks Frustrated."
In the Philippines, the front along the Bataan Peninsula remains quiet as the Japanese continue building up their forces for a major offensive. General Douglas MacArthur (now holed up in the bunkers on the fortified island of Corregidor, which is often under air attack) is under orders to depart for Australia. Before he leaves, he reorganizes his command. He divides the Composite Visayan-Mindanao Force into two separate commands, with the Mindanao portion under Brigadier General William F. Sharp and the Visayan force under Brigadier General Bradford G. Chynoweth. General MacArthur's departure date to Australia is set for 14 March 1942.

Italian naval base of La Spezia, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Italian Navy officers at La Spezia, 4 March 1942.
Eastern Front: The German Fourth Army complete their evacuation of Yukhnov following Hitler's unexpected approval on 1 March. The men head for a new line behind the Ugra River which offers better defensive possibilities but is still a tenuous position. While this problem is "solved," the Germans still have bigger problems, one of which is the trapped garrison under the command of Generalmajor Theodor Scherer at Kholm. A relief force under Generalmajor Horst von Uckermann is almost within sight of the garrison but is stuck in deep snow and blocked by heavy Soviet tanks. The Luftwaffe finds it difficult to help Uckermann to move forward because the Soviet defenses are concealed under snow. As often happens in these types of situations, Uckermann begins attracting negative comments from the Luftwaffe, almost certainly to shield their own ineffectiveness from Hitler. They make the usual complaints that he isn't aggressive enough and "lacks confidence." On the Soviet side, Stalin is fixated on restarting his counteroffensive and places a priority on Second Shock Army and Fifty-fourth Army taking Lyuban. The Germans intend to save Lyuban by moving in behind these two armies by retaking the line of the Volkov River in proposed Operation Raubtier. However, the troops need at least another week to build up sufficient strength to surround the attacking Soviet troops.

Damage at the Billancourt Renault Factory, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Firefighting in Boulogne-Billancourt after air raid of 3-4 March 1942. Source: Archives municipales de Boulogne-Billancourt.
European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command begins a four-day period of inactivity today as it recuperates from its all-out attack on the Billancourt Renault Factory on the night of 3/4 March. While the RAF loses two bombers during the night, this is an "acceptable" loss ratio of 0.8%.

A Free French soldier from Billancourt, Georges Gorse, pens an article for the British press which praises the raid despite the inevitable French civilian deaths, writing:
If we want the liberation of France, we must clench our teeth and accept that the British must bomb occupied Paris just as the Germans bombed London and that some French people will die under those Allied bombs. They are German casualties just as much as casualties during the 1940 campaign and the men shot by the Germans at Nantes and Paris. Boulogne-Billancourt workers rightfully see the March raids as a promise of liberation. Those who have perished have contributed to the war effort.
Gorse is elected mayor of Billancourt after the war.

USS Hobson near Charleston, SC, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A cropped photograph of the USS Hobson off Charleston, South Carolina, 4 March 1942. She is painted in camouflage Measure 12 (Modified). This photograph has been censored to remove radar antennas atop her foremast and Mark 37 gun director (Official U.S. Navy Photograph NH-53548, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.).
Battle of the Atlantic: It is a fairly quiet day in the North Atlantic. British 3915-ton freighter Gypsum Prince collides with fellow freighter Voco about 4 miles off Lewes, Delaware. British 6675-ton freighter Frumenton hits a mine and sinks near Orfordness.

There is a report published in the NY Times that "an enemy vessel, presumably a submarine," shelled the cliffs of Mona Island, about fifty miles southwest of Puerto Rico on 3 March. However, there is no confirmation from any other source that this actually happened. The paper touts this as the "First Land Attack on Us in Atlantic Waters."

North Africa, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A soldier's dog looks after his master's boots and rifle while he takes a shower provided by a mobile bath unit in the Western Desert, 4 March 1942. © IWM (E 9068).
Battle of the Mediterranean: Malta remains under heavy Axis air attack throughout the day. The War Office today places Malta under the direct supervision of Middle East Commander General Claude Auchinleck, with General Dobbie, the Malta commander, now reporting to him rather than directly to the War Office. There is a hint of annoyance in the telegram to Dobbie which suggests that his daily complaints about lack of supplies and military resources on the island led to this change. Dobbie remains as governor for the time being.

War Crimes: The Japanese conclude the Sook Ching massacre in Singapore. This elimination of ethnic Chinese considered potential threats or simply inconvenient began on 18 February and results in many thousands of deaths (actual totals are just estimates). This leads to bitter resentment by locals against both the Japanese who actually commit the crimes and the British for not doing enough to prevent them or later punish those who committed them. There is a war crimes trial after the war which is widely considered unsatisfactory for failing to dispense adequate punishments. The Sook Ching massacre influences events in Singapore for decades and remains a lingering issue.

US/Canadian Relations: The US and Canada sign a treaty "for the avoidance of double taxation."

Japanese freighter Erimo, sunk on 4 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Japanese freighter Erimo, sunk by a US Navy submarine on 4 March 1942.
Japanese Military: Flush with success, the Japanese High Command begins expanding the map of conquest. Its new targets include New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Fiji Islands, and American Samoa. Most of these new objectives have little economic value, unlike the oil-rich Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese aim is to create a far-flung defensive perimeter to protect the homeland from any US Navy strikes in which to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

US Military: Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell establishes the Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma, and India, at Chungking. It is staffed by Stilwell's U.S. Task Force in China and the American Military Mission to China (AMMISCA) personnel.

The USAAF Fifth Air Force in Australia continues its frantic reorganization following Japanese advances in the region, including the imminent fall of Java. The 11th and 22d Bombardment Squadrons of the 7th BG (Heavy) arrive in Melbourne, Australia, from Jogjakarta, Java. Also arriving at Melbourne are the air units (B-17s, B-24s, and LB-30s) of the 14th Bombardment Squadron, which is attached to the 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy), and the air units of the 28th Bombardment Squadron, 19th BG (Heavy, which left Singosari, Java. The ground units of most of these units remain trapped at Java or Bataan, Philippines, with little hope of rescue.

Canadian Military: The US/Canadian buildup of forces in the British Isles continues. The first 40 Canadian Cruiser Tank Mk. I Rams arrive in England today.

Filmwelt, 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Jenny Jugo on the cover of Filmwelt Magazine, Germany, 4 March 1942. Jugo began acting for UFA in 1924, and by this point, she was a well-established star. Her career faded out after World War II and she retired in 1950. Jenny Jugo passed away in 2001 at the age of 97.
German Government: Either Adolf Hitler or Martin Bormann, Hitler's private secretary, sees a seemingly innocuous news item in the newspaper. It causes Bormann to fire off a sharply worded letter today. Bormann sends it to the head of the Reich Chancellery Hans Lammers, telling him that the Fuhrer noticed that the German Society for Mammalogy, which has passed a resolution changing the official names for bats and shrews. The name for bats has been shortened from Fliedermaus to Flieder, while the name for bats has been shortened from Spitzmaus to simply Spitz. Bormann writes:
The Führer subsequently instructed me to communicate to the responsible parties, in no uncertain terms, that these changes of name are to be reversed immediately. Should members of the Society for Mammalogy have nothing more essential to the war effort or smarter to do, perhaps an extended stint in the construction battalion on the Russian front could be arranged.
The changes are reversed immediately, and on 1 July 1942 the Society goes further and issues instructions that "terms that have become established over the course of many years are not to be altered."

Le Maire, sunk on 4 March 1942 worldwartwo.filminspector.com

US Government: The House of Representatives authorizes the construction of a "free highway bridge" from Needles, California. across the Colorado River to Arizona.

Canadian Homefront: All people of Japanese racial origin are told to leave the protected area of a 100-mile wide strip along the west coast of British Columbia. They are told to pack a single suitcase and proceed to waiting areas where trains will arrive to take them to the interior. These sealed trains arrive sporadically over the course of several months, and until then, the refugees are held in places such as local livestock buildings. All property that they leave behind, including homes and cars, will be sold at auction.

The site of the Rock End Hotel after it burned down on 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The site of the Rock End Hotel after it burned down on 4 March 1942 (Great Harbor Maritime Museum).
American Homefront: The Rock End Hotel of Northeast Harbor, Maine, burns to the ground. A very popular hotel, it lasted for 60 years. No cause for the fire is identified.

The first assembly line of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) is completed. This is one of the first plants of its kind in the country, and the majority (about 75%) of production line workers will be women. By November 22, 1943, there are 14,092 employees at AOP. The plant is closed completely by early 1946, but in the 1950s part of it is absorbed into the Little Rock Air Force Base.

Future History: PT-109, a PT-103 class motor torpedo boat, is laid down on 4 March 1942 in Bayonne, New Jersey. Built by the Electric Launch Company (Elco), it is launched on 20 June 1942 and serves in the Pacific Theater of Operations. PT-109 becomes famous when future President John F. Kennedy writes about his adventures relating to PT-109 before and after its sinking on 2 August 1943. It also is the title of a 1963 motion picture depicting the life of JFK.

Joseph Goebbels at a film premiere on 4 March 1942, worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Joseph Goebbels at the world premiere at Ufapalast of "The Great King," 4 March 1942. Goebbels is the head of the German film industry. Also visible are Christina Söderbaum and Dr. Hippler (Schwahn, Ernst, Federal Archive Bild 183-J00575).

2019