Sunday, October 20, 2019

March 5, 1942: Japan Takes Batavia

Thursday 5 March 1942

Tempo magazine, 5 March 1942,
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,
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,
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,
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. The 36 men aboard all perish.

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

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

March 1942

March 1, 1942: Second Battle of Java Sea
March 2, 1942: Huge Allied Shipping Losses at Java
March 3, 1942: Japan Raids Western Australia
March 4, 1942: Second Raid On Hawaii
March 5, 1942: Japan Takes Batavia
March 6, 1942: Churchill Assaults Free Speech
March 7, 1942: British Defeat in Burma
March 8, 1942: Rangoon Falls to Japan
March 9, 1942: Japanese Conquest of Dutch East Indies
March 10, 1942:US Navy attacks Japanese Landings at Lae
March 11, 1942: Warren Buffett's First Stock Trade
March 12, 1942: Japan Takes Java
March 13, 1942: Soviets Attack In Crimea Again 
March 14, 1942: The US Leans Toward Europe
March 15, 1942: Operation Raubtier Begins
March 16, 1942: General MacArthur Gets His Ride
March 17, 1942: MacArthur Arrives in Australia
March 18, 1942: Japan Attacks In Burma
March 19, 1942: Soviets Encircled on the Volkhov
March 20, 1942: "I Shall Return," Says MacArthur
March 21, 1942: Germans Attack Toward Demyansk
March 22, 1942: Second Battle of Sirte
March 23, 1942: Hitler's Insecurity Builds
March 24, 1942: Bataan Bombarded
March 25, 1942: Chinese Under Pressure in Burma
March 26, 1942: Win Or Die, Vows MacArthur
March 27, 1942: The Battle of Suusari
March 28, 1942: The St. Nazaire Commando Raid
March 29, 1942: The Free Republic of Nias
March 30, 1942: Japanese-Americans Off Bainbridge Island
March 31, 1942: Japanese Seize Christmas Island


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