German recon team on the
 move in North Africa

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

Another island - another landing
 Japanese forces hit the beaches again  

February 3, 1942

German forces, regrouped and reinforced, launch attacks against the overextended Soviet spearheads in the Vyazma region. Several Soviet divisions are encircled in the attack.

Japanese aircraft hit Port Moresby and the naval base at Surabaya on Java.

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February 4, 1942  

The Japanese request and the British refuse the surrender of Singapore. The Japanese launch massive air attacks against the city for the next four days.

The Africa Korps recaptures Dema as the British 8th Army continues its withdrawal to the Gazala line.

British forces in Egypt seized the royal palace of King Farouk, forcing the king to appoint a pro-British government.

An Indian troop transport, Empress of Asia, heading to reinforce Singapore, is sunk. Most of the soldiers were rescued, but all equipment and supplies were lost.

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February 5, 1942

British efforts to assist the Yugoslavian partisans took a step forward as agents were parachuted into German occupied areas around Sarajevo to link up with the local partisan bands.

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February 6, 1942

Japanese forces capture the oil facilities at Samarinda in Borneo.

Among the many killings on this (and every other day), 500 Jews were driven from their homes in Sierpc, Poland, marched toward Mlawa and gunned down on the road.

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February 7, 1942

The Japanese launch a diversionary attack, landing a force on Pulua Ubin Island, east of Singapore. The British mistakenly move their force to counter a threat that did not exist.

Running low on supplies and reserves, the Afrika Korps counteroffensive comes to a halt as it approaches the Gazala-Bir Hacheim line. The British have constructed a series of interlocking defensive positions that Rommel is unable to deal with (at this time).

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February 8, 1942

The Japanese, meeting little resistance, land on the western side of Singapore Island.

MacArthur informs FDR that the Bataan force has suffered 50% losses and was "near done". FDR gives permission for MacArhur to surrender the Filipino troops but forbids the surrender of US forces.

The Soviet 11th and 1st Shock Armies link up along the Lovat River west of Demyansk, cutting off the last tenuous land link with the German rear for the 2nd and 10th Corps. In all 90,000 Germans are surrounded in the Demyansk area.

Fritz Todt's plane crashed on takeoff at Rastenburg. Todt was the brainchild behind the Todt Organization", which ruthlessly utilized slave labor throughout the Reich. The equally ruthless Albert Speer succeeded Todt.

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February 9, 1942

The Japanese 5th and 18th Divisions, having established a secure beachhead on the island, move out to capture the city of Singapore. They succeed in capturing the Tengah airfield, insuring easy and quick resupply. The end for the British in Singapore is only a matter of time.

Japanese forces are hit by counter attacks in Luzon. Heavy casualties are reported, as well as some withdrawals.

Auguste Hirt, head of the Anatomy Institute at the University of Strasbourg wrote Heinrich Himmler indicating, "By procuring the skulls of the Jewish-Bolshevist Commissars, one has a chance to obtain palpable scientific data. Following induced death of the Jew, the head, which should not be damaged, should be separated from the body and sent in a hermetically sealed tin can filled with preservative fluid." Himmler was all to pleased to assist Hirt, supplying 115 such skulls.

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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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