Soviet infantry, in full winter gear, 
attack across a railroad

- Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII - 

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

Japanese aircraft carriers on their 
way to Pearl Harbor


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November 25, 1941

The battleship HMS Barham is struck by three torpedoes from U-331 and sinks off Libya. 868 of her crew were killed.

STAVKA begins the concentration and formation of a strategic reserve north of Moscow. Within two weeks, the force would contain three new armies (10, 26 and 61) consisting of 24 division equivalents (270,000 men).

The last moments of
 HMS Barham

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November 26, 1941

General Cunningham, wanting to halt his offensive and fall back. The theater commander, General Auchinleck relieves Cunningham, CO of the British 8th Army, is relieved of command and placed by General Ritchie. Cunningham wanted to stop the Crusader offensive and withdraw to Egypt.

US Ambassador Hull informs the Japanese that their proposal of November 20 has been rejected and presents the US ultimatum (the "10 point" peace plan) to the Japanese. All parties understood quite well that this would never be acceptable. The Japanese were given until November 29 to respond.

Secretary of State Hull warned US military officials that a Japanese surprise attack was possible, stating, "There was practically no possibility of an agreement being achieved with Japan."

As previously planned, the Japanese 1st Air Fleet sets sail from the Kurile Islands for Pearl Harbor. The force, commanded by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo consists of 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers and 8 oilers.

The 1st Guard Cavalry Corp attacks the spearheads of the 2nd Panzer Army. The 17th Panzer Division at Kashira is hit particularly hard.

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November 27, 1941

The New Zealand Division of the British 8th Army at El Duba links up with the Tobruk Garrison. Rommel is forced to turn away from the frontier to deal with this new situation.

In last Italian holding in East Africa is lost. The 23,500 man garrison at Gondar surrenders after a brief but intense battle. The British take only 500 casualties. In less than a year of campaigning, a Commonwealth force of 21,500 completely destroyed the Italian army of 350,000 defending the area.

Advanced parties of German Panzer forces penetrate into the suburbs of Moscow. Some of these patrols report that they saw the spires of the Kremlin. The front stands 19 miles from the city's center.

The 17th Panzer Division (2nd Panzer Army) withdraws under heavy pressure from Kashira.

Jews in the Riga ghetto were told that they would be shifted further east. By the next day certain streets would be evacuated, and Jews were to get ready for the long journey. They did not know that the journey was to the Rumbuli Forest where 15,000 of the ghetto residents were to be killed. The Latvian population had a full view of the inhuman treatment of these thousands.

Soviet partisan activity starts to increase. One group hit the billets of elements of the 3rd SS Panzer Division south of lake Illmen, killing four, wounding 12 and burning down their camp with no losses to themselves.

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November 28, 1941

Elements of the 14th Motorized and 7th Panzer Divisions reach the Moscow-Volga canal, 20 miles north of the Kremlin.

The German 3rd Panzer Corp is forced to withdraw from Rostov as the Soviet counter-attack threatens to encircle the town. This is the first major withdrawal by German forces in the war.

Secretary of State Hull warns other US officials for the second time in three days that war with Japan is imminent.

Hitler met with the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, who told him, "the Arab world is firmly convinced of a German victory because Allah could never grant victory to an unjust cause."

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November 29, 1941

US officials notify the British government that the negotiations with Japan are coming to an end and that war was immanent.

German forces in the Crimean port city of Kerch killed 4500 Jews.

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November 30, 1941

The 2nd Panzer Division captures Krasnaia Poliana, 10 miles from the outskirts of Moscow. Extremely heavy resistance stops the attack at that point.

With the other attacking units getting bogged down, 4th Army, due west of Moscow, opens its offensive to take the city.

The Africa Korp and British 8th Army forces engage in heavy attacks between Tobruk and Sidi Rezegh.

Nine thousand Riga Jews were herded out of the ghetto, marched five miles out of town to the Rumbuli forest and shot.

For the month of November, 11,000 Leningrad civilians died of starvation and 522 were killed by the German bombardment. Of the 900 days that the city would be under the German guns, 91 had passed.

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December 1, 1941

With Emperor Hirohito in attendance, the ruling council of Japan unanimously voted to go to war with the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.

Force "K" from Malta attacked an Italian convoy. The Italian destroyer Da Mosto was sunk.

In a meeting at St. Florentin, Vichy French leader Marshal Petain and Goering reaffirm Franco-German collaboration. The Germans agree to hand over war prisoners and France allows German use of North African naval and air bases.

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December 2, 1941

The Japanese cabinet confirms the decision of the ruling council for an attack on Pearl Harbor.

Geuderian gathers the last of his army's tank strength into two groups for a final attempt to cut off the Soviet 50th Army at Tula. After some initial success, the Germans cut the Moscow-Tula road. The Soviets immediately launched strong and coordinated attacks against the exposed German spearheads forcing them to retreat back to their start lines.

The United States protests the increase of Japanese military forces in Indochina pointing out that Japan is in violation of her agreement with France. The United States accuses Japan of planning further aggression in the region.

Soviet troops completely abandon the last holdings in the Karelia Peninsula that were seized from the Finns in the 1939-40 Winter War.

The British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse arrive in Singapore in preparation with war with Japan. The task force was to also include the carrier Indomitable, but this ship had run aground in the West Indies and would not be ready to sail before Christmas.

US Naval personnel arrive for duty on the first armed merchantman, the SS Dunboyne.

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December 3, 1941

Japanese military officials send the message "Climb Mount Niitaka" to Admiral Nagumo's carrier force, confirming that the operation is to proceed.

Stalin orders the reconstituted Polish army to Iran and Iraq with the intent of providing these former enemy troops to the British. Despite needing all the troops he could find, Stalin preferred to see the countrymen of a nation he stabbed in the back gone.

The US merchantman Sagadahoc was torpedoed and sunk, presumably by a German submarine, in the South Atlantic.

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December 4, 1941

Under extremely poor weather and wave conditions, Nagumo's fleet manages to replenish its fuel stores. The replenishment ships head for the return leg rendezvous point and the carriers turn south for their final run to Hawaii.

Temperatures in the Moscow area fall to -31F as the German offensive grinds to a halt some 19 miles from the city.

The Japanese embassy in Washington begins to destroy codebooks and personal files.

The Japanese 25th Army, begins leaving Hainan Island in preparation for the invasion of Malaysia and Thailand.

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December 5, 1941

A political storm erupts in the United States when the Washington Times-Herald, New York Daily News, and the  Chicago Tribune publish details of plans for mobilization for total war against German and Japan. It was later discovered that the plans were leaked by a Captain in the War Plans Division (Ed. Note: probably a Republican). The Captain passed the plan to Senator Burton Wheeler (anti-FDR D-Montana), who in turn gave the report to the article's author Chesley Manly. The Germans gleefully turned the intelligence bonanza over to General Jodl, Hitler's operations chief, to make necessary adjustments to their plans. The official word to reporters from the Whitehouse was "Your right to print the news is, I think, unchallenged and unquestioned. It depends entirely on the decision of the publisher and editor whether publication is patriotic or treasonable." (Editor's Note - Compare this to the reaction from our current administration when a comedian made a joke.)

With temperatures hovering at -15F, Zhukov unleashes his counterattack at Moscow. Konev's Kalinin front opens the offensive against the Germans, attacking the northern edge of the Klin bulge. The fighting is very serious and resistance is stiff. Some headway is made and casualties on both sides are high.

US Navy officials order all stations in Tokyo, Bangkok, Peking, Tiensin, Shanghai, Guam and Wake to destroy all codebooks and secret files.

Hitler calls an end to the winter offensive against Moscow and orders some "limited" withdrawals.

Rommel orders the evacuation of the eastern part of the Tobruk perimeter in order to attack the British forces at Bir El Gobi. The attack fails to dislodge the British defenders.

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December 6, 1941

As a last attempt to prevent the outbreak of hostilities, President Roosevelt sends a personal message to Emperor Hirohito of Japan. The note states, "Developments are occurring in the Pacific area which threaten to deprive each of our nations and all humanity of the beneficial influence of the long peace between our two countries. . . . During the past few weeks it has become clear to the world that Japanese military, naval, and air forces have been sent to Southern Indo­china in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt on the part of other nations that this continuing concentration in Indochina is not defensive in its character. . . the people of the Philippines, of the hundreds of Islands of the East Indies, of Malaya, and of Thailand itself are asking themselves whether these forces of Japan are preparing or intending to make attack in one or more of these many directions. . . . It is clear that a continuance of such a situation is unthinkable."

Nagumo's fleet turned southeast. The crew of his flagship, the Akagi, hoist the battle flag used by Admiral Togo at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, when the Russians were decisively defeated.

Zhukov extends the counter-attack at Moscow, ordering the right flank of the West Front to attack 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies in the Klin area. The attacks are making progress as the Germans, battered and exhausted give ground.

President Roosevelt authorizes the Manhattan Engineering District. The secret U.S. project to build an atomic bomb, later to be called the Manhattan Project, is put under the direction of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary, and Rumania denouncing the aggression by these countries against Russia.

Working on a Saturday afternoon, Dorothy Edgers translated a secret diplomatic message from Tokyo to diplomats in Honolulu. The message requested continuous and detailed information on ship movements, berthing position, and torpedo netting at Pearl Harbor. Alarmed, Mrs. Edgers checked other similar messages waiting to be translated. All had similar request. At 3:00 pm she brought this information to the attention of her boss, Lt. Commander Alvin Kramer, USN. After making a few minor corrections to the translation, he told her "We'll get back to this on Monday." In less than 24 hours, the reason for the messages would be obvious, even to Kramer.

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Those wishing to contribute items. stories or comments should contact D.A. Friedrichs

Editor's Corner 

The items found in this section are comments from the editors of Project 60 and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of bartcop.

War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance

War is a brutal and savage insult on human society. For nations it is the destruction of the resources needed for the enrichment of its citizens. For families, it is the loss of loved ones and the horrors held by the survivors. For the individual, it is the loss of precious time and ultimately, life itself.

There is no honor or glory in war. The sacrifice of a generation of humans cannot be seen in anyway to be glorious. Platitudes like "just cause" and "noble purpose" are meaningless to the person whose body has been blown to bits. If there is honor, it is in survival. If there is glory it is returning to your families, friends and community.

What we, the people who did not have to experience war, must do, is remember those who gave so much for our freedom. We must redouble our efforts so that their sacrifice is not in vane, so tyranny will not threaten our world again, so no more young men and women of any nation, need be surrendered to the insanity of war again.

D. A. Friedrichs

Previous Columns

Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."

The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.

Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..." 

War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."

The First Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to hide the truth, since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and terrible acts.  


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