Soviet Bt-7 tanks moving thought the streets of Moscow on the way to the front.
- Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII -
Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
Japanese infantry storm ashore
Map Links: East Front Dec '41 - Feb '42 | North Africa Nov 41-July 43 | Japanese Expansion
December 7, 1941
launch a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor. The US military
forces are caught completely by surprise and suffer greatly. Two battleships,
the Arizona and Oklahoma are
complete losses. All of the other battleships are damaged, some severely. Over
2700 were killed in the attack. Aircraft losses were 180. For more information
Pearl Harbor Special Edition.
Zhukov extends the
counter-attack at Moscow, ordering the West Front to attack Guderian’s
overextended 2nd Panzer Army in the Tula area.
withdraw from the immediate vicinity of Tobruk and take up defensive positions
around Gazala. The first siege of Tobruk ends.
December 8, 1941
The United States and Britain
declare war on Japan. Joining the alliance against Japan were Canada, New
Zealand, Free France, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Panama.
A thousand volunteers were
turned away from the Navy recruiting office in New York City because the staff
did not have the facilities or time to process all that were wanting to join up.
Japanese bomber forces hit
Clark Field in the Philippines, destroying half of the US aircraft available.
Also struck were Hong Kong, Singapore, Wake, Midway and Guam.
Japanese forces land in Malaya
The British Task Force “Z”
consisting of the battleship Prince of Wales and battle-cruiser Repulse, leave Singapore to intercept the Japanese
invasion fleet. A note on the Repulse’s wardroom wall read, “We are
off to look for trouble. I expect we shall find it.”
Zhukov’s offensive at Moscow
has expanded to include all three fronts on the Moscow axis. Heavy fighting is
reported at Kalinin, Klin, Solnechnogorsk, Istra, Tula and Elets. Active and
severe fighting was now going on over a front of 175 miles. Most advances were
limited to a few miles but some units had penetrated up to 20 miles since the
5th. The attacks at Klin were particularly serious for that town was the nexus
for all the communication and supply roads for 3rd Panzer Army. Its
loss would be a catastrophe for the Germans.
10,000 Jews are marched out of
the Riga Ghetto and taken to Rumbuli Forest where they are executed, completing
the systematic execution of most Latvian Jews.
After contending with serious
attacks by the Soviet 4th Army for several weeks, the 39th
Panzer Corp at Tikhvin, withdraws, loosening the cordon around Leningrad.
December 9, 1941
Japanese forces occupy Bangkok
after signing an agreement with the Thai government allowing Japanese troops
right of passage.
Japanese forces land at Tarawa
and Makin in the Gilbert Islands.
China, despite being at war
with Japan for over a decade, makes a formal declaration of war on Japan,
Germany and Italy. Cuba and South Africa declare war on Japan.
December 10, 1941
British Task Force Z, in a
brave, but ultimately, foolhardy attempt to intercept the Japanese invasion
force in Malaya is attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft. Four torpedoes hit
the battleship Prince of Wales. Fourteen torpedoes hit the battle cruiser
Repulse. Both ships sink. This eliminated the British naval presence in
the southwest Pacific. 2100 sailors survived the attacks while 700, including
the task force commander Admiral Sir Tom Phillips, went down with their ships.
This was the first time major capital ships were destroyed from the air in
combat in the open seas.
The siege of Tobruk ends as
Rommel withdraws the Afrika Korp to Gazala.
The 500-man garrison at Guam
surrenders to the 6000 Japanese invaders.
In the Philippines, the US
naval base at Cavite is destroyed by Japanese bombers. 4000 Japanese troops
landed on the northern tip of Luzon.
The German spy Karel Richter, is executed in Wandsworth Prison by the British.
December 11, 1941
Germany and Italy declare war
on the United States, thus ending one of the more difficult political dilemmas
for Roosevelt (how to get into the European war).
December 12, 1941
A 2500-man Japanese force
lands at Legaspi in southern Luzon.
The “Flying Tigers”, the
US volunteer group lead by Claire Chennault, moves from
China to Burma to assist that nation in defending against the Japanese
who were already infiltrating forces across the boarder from Thailand.
December 13, 1941
Soviet forces open a fresh set
of attacks as Timoshenko’s Southwest Front attacks at Telets and Livny. The
attacks split the 2nd Panzer Army and 2nd Army apart
forcing both to withdraw in haste
Japanese air raids in the
Philippines all but destroy the last US aircraft available to the island’s
The British 8th
Army launches heavy attacks against Rommel’s Afrika Korp near Gazala. The
fighting is inconclusive and casualties are heavy.
The US Department of Justice
announces that 595 Japanese and 187 German alien residents have been interned.
This would be followed-up by thousands more in time and begin one of the most
shameful chapters in US history.
December 15, 1941
Russian forces capture Klin
and Istra as the Soviet winter offensive continues to roll back the Germans
British attacks on the Gazala
line succeed in convincing Rommel to withdraw from the Cyrenaica.
The British cruiser Galatea
is torpedoed by U-557 and sinks off Alexandria.
The few surviving B-17s in the
Philippines are withdrawn to Australia.
December 17, 1941
British and Indian troops in
northern Malaya begin to retreat as Japanese forces press their forward in the
December 18, 1941
Hitler accepts the resignation
of Field marsh von Brauchitsch as head of the OKH and takes personal command of
the eastern armies. He immediately relieves the highly capable von Bock replaces
him with the unimaginative but obedient lap dog von Kluge as commander of Army
December 19, 1941
In a daring raid, Italian
frogmen penetrate the defenses of the port of Alexandria. They are able to plant
charges on the British battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant. Queen
Elizabeth sank in shallow water, but was able to be re-floated and repaired.
Valiant was heavily damaged. Both ships were out of action until 1944.
December 20, 1941
Joseph Gobbles (Ed. Note – the Karl Rove of Nazi Germany) makes a nation wide radio broadcast appealing for winter clothing for the soldiers on the eastern front.
Those wishing to contribute items. stories or comments should contact D.A. Friedrichs
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
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..."
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