Japanese infantry in Malaya. They greatly increased mobility by using bikes.
- Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII - 

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

Australian infantry in North Arfrica
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Map Links:East Front Dec '41 - Feb '42 | North Africa Nov 41-July 43 | Japanese Expansion

January 13, 1942

The Soviet offensive continues and intensifies. Heavy fighting is reported at Mozhaisk, 65 miles west of Moscow and the Soviet Central Front breaks the lines at the border between the 2nd Panzer and 4th Armies, taking Kirov.

A reinforcement convoy with 50 Hurricane fighters and desperately needed anti-aircraft guns arrive in Singapore to bolster the British defenses.
The Japanese attack east of Mount Natib in heavy fighting against the US-Filipino 2nd Corps.

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January 14, 1942 

The ARCADIA conference ends with the British and American strategists adopting the “Germany first” strategy whereby the bulk of the effort in the war would be concentrated on defeating Germany before Japan. Also, it was decided that the first target for western offensive action would be to clear North Africa to reduce the threat to Atlantic shipping.

The Roosevelt administration prohibited US businesses from dealing 

with 1,800 European companies. Editor’s Note: This seems to have
had little or no effect on the dealings of one Prescott Bush, 
father of a President and grandfather of a resident. He would 
not stop dealing with the Nazi’s for nearly a year and then 
the government had to shut him down.
Japanese forces attack on the western end of the Bataan lines against the 1st US-Filipino Corps.

German U-boats continue to operate off the US coast as the Panamanian tanker Norness was sunk of Cape Hatteras.

In Byelorussia, 807 Jews were marched to a pit and gunned down at the village of Ushachi. A similar incident occurred at Kublichi, where 925 Jews were slaughtered.
Elements of the US 34th Infantry division arrive in Britain, the first US troops to be deployed to Europe.

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January 15, 1942

Japanese forces attack along the entire Bataan front taking heavy losses and making limited gains.
German forces withdraw in the Kaluga sector under heavy pressure from advancing Soviet units.

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January 16, 1942

The Japanese 15th Army crosses the Thai-Burma border.

Japanese forces break through the western US/Filipino defenses threatening the Bataan position. US-Filipino forces take heavy losses.
The RAF, outnumbered and taking serious losses, evacuate their surviving aircraft to Sumatra as Japanese air raids intensify at Singapore.

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January 17, 1942

Free French forces stormed the last German positions at Halfaya Pass, clearing the Germans from eastern Libya. Allied forces took 5500 Germans prisoner in the week long battle.

The British destroyer Matabele was sunk while escorting merchants to Murmansk. All 247 men of her crew were lost.
While flying home from the United States, Churchill’s pilot makes a navigational error, bringing the plane within 6 miles of Brest in German occupied France. The Germans caught the plane on radar and dispatched fighters to shoot down what they thought to be an intruder. The intercept failed.

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January 18, 1942

The Central and Southwest Fronts launch fresh attacks against German forces defending the Donets River and succeed in making substantial headway. In the Moscow area, Soviet paratroops are dropped behind the German lines. Further to the north In the Demyansk area, Luftwaffe transports and bombers begin dropping supplies to elements of the 2nd and 10th Corps, cut off in the frozen swamps south of Lake Illmen.

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January 19, 1942

Soviet attacks in the Moscow area succeed in recapturing Mozhaisk, eliminating the last potential threat to Moscow from ground attack. In the Crimean Peninsula, German forces counterattack and take Feodosiaya from the Russian marines.

Japanese forces cross the Muar River in Malaya and are 80 miles from Singapore.

Rommel receives a convoy of 46 desperately needed tanks to reinforce his depleted forces at Benghazi just as they are preparing to abandon the port.

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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.

Vietnam and Afghanistan

When the “war against terrorism” began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam. In the flush of “victory”, much of the gloomy projections have been relegated to the trash heap.

However, there are still some interesting comparisons that can be made.

In the early days of Vietnam, the United States inserted teams of Special Forces, to assist in establishing good relations with the locals by helping with village defense, health, and education programs. These operations were highly successful in combating the influence of the Viet Cong. In the Afghan war, a similar, and, like its predecessor, highly successful program is well underway.

Like Vietnam, we are currently destroying any good will we have with the locals by blowing stuff up. The old saying “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” is alive and well and making a comeback in Afghanistan. However, we have progressed a long way in 35 years. In Vietnam, we would send an infantry platoon with Zippos into a village and burn it down. In Afghanistan, the mud doesn’t burn, so we use precision-guided ordnance to turn peoples homes into craters. The downside of this “improved” system, is that by the time we get around to blowing up a house, a wedding party moves in and we blow up a few score party-goers like we did at Qalaye Niazi.

The biggest similarity between the two wars is the Pentagon briefings. The goals and objectives are different but the level of lies and deceits have not changed one bit. In Vietnam, the goal was to show progress by inflating “body counts”. In our new, more compassionate world, we measure progress by how many buildings we blow up in a sterile and non-violent manner, with “minimal collateral damage”.In Vietnam villages were called Viet Cong strongholds and in Afghanistan they are called Al Qaeda compounds. In reality, these are places which were filled with people, who wanted nothing more to try to scratch out a life for themselves before we came and destroyed everything in their pitiful lives.

The one area that is glaringly different is how the US press is conducting operations in the two wars. In Vietnam, the horrors and violence of war were brought home. We saw that people, our soldiers, their soldiers, innocent people, were horribly maimed and killed in war. Since Desert Storm, war for our citizens has been converted into some sort of sick bloodless video game. Our press today call sitting in a pentagon briefing journalism and don’t bother to fact check the lies they are fed by the Administration. The India Times has better, more accurate and more complete war coverage than the New York Times. This is a sad and pathetic commentary on the health of our Fourth Estate.

Like Vietnam, one of the reasons we got involved in the first place was to prop up a corrupt and inept government, which we installed. In Afghanistan, we have installed a government, but it remains to be seen just how corrupt and inept it will be. Early signs, despite what is reported in the US media, are not particularly encouraging.

In Vietnam, the primary reason for our presence was to stop Communism. In Afghanistan, we have traded the bogyman of Communism for terrorism. Both were and are vile and, if you will, evil. However, neither will be defeated by military intervention. Economic stability, justice and self-determination are the keys to defeating both of those enemies.

In both Vietnam and Afghanistan, the more compelling, and less acknowledged, reason for intervention appears to be US business interests. In the 60’s it was rubber and oil. Now it’s just oil and not even really oil, just a place to put a pipeline that the Ruskies don’t control. We seem to have an annoying habit of trading red blood for black gold.
So in the end, there are quite a few similarities. We can still avoid the bloodbath of Vietnam. There is no reason for our military to continue the bloodletting. With luck and some thought, perhaps we can avoid the need to put another black wall on our national mall. We shall see.

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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