USS Langley in 1928 -
 Sunk 1942

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

German Bruneval radar station   

February 24, 1942

Soviet attacks near Lake Illmen succeed in surrounding the German II Corp at Starryy Russa.

America's first aircraft carrier, now converted to a flying boat tender, the venerable Langley, is sunk 50 miles off Tjilatjap, Java by Japanese aircraft. She was delivering 32 P-40 fighters to the beleaguered defenders. All were lost.

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February 25, 1942

Japanese attacks in Burma break the British lines at Pegu, threatening to cut the Rangoon-Mandalay railroad.

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February 26, 1942

British bombers hit the Gneisenau while she was undergoing repairs in the Kiel drydock. The damage was extensive and she would not put to sea again during the war.

The Japanese submarine I-23 was sunk. I-23 was involved in the Pearl Harbor attack and became the first Japanese vessel from the attack to be destroyed.

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February 27, 1942

The first major surface action of the Pacific war , the Battle of the Java Sea, opened. Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman, leading a rag tag band of Allied warships attempted to intercept the Japanese invasion fleet heading for Java.  At 1620, contact was made between the two fleets. The Japanese fleet, scored first, hitting the British cruiser Exeter with an 8-inch shell. She lost most of her power, and was knocked out of the battle. The next catastrophe for the Allies came when the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer was hit midship by a torpedo, broke in half and sank. Soon afterward, the British destroyer Electra was sunk by three Japanese destroyers. Allied fire managed to damage the Japanese Asagumo forcing her out of the battle. As dusk approached, Doorman withdrew to regroup his scattered fleet and attempt to swing around the Japanese screen to hit the enemy transports. At 2125, the British destroyer Jupiter struck a mine and blew up. At 2300, the Japanese spotted Doorman's cruisers and succeeded in sinking Java and De Ruyter. The Perth and Houston withdrew to Batavia. The Japanese had won handily.

British paratroops made a daring raid into France. The Germans had erected a radar station at Bruneval, near Le Havre and the British wanted to get a hold of the new German equipment. The raid was more than successful. Only two British paratroops were killed. The radar sets were captured intact and as a bonus, one of the German operators was captured and brought back to England.

Japanese aircraft hit Indian territory for the first time in the war, raiding the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, south of Burma.

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February 28, 1942

Elements of the Japanese 16th Army land on the north coast of  Java. The main body of the invasion force heads for Batavia, capital of the Dutch East Indies.

Upon making repairs, the British cruiser Exeter, escorted by the destroyers Encounter and Pope, leave Surabaya. At 0930, they were spotted by the Japanese and sunk.

The cruisers Perth and Houston, attempting to evade the Japanese, steam straight into the Japanese transports, debarking at Bantam Bay in the Sundra Strait. The two ships immediately attacked and in the hour and half battle managed to cause heavy damage to the Japanese (3 destroyers damaged, a minesweeper and transport destroyed and three other transports wrecked) before they were sunk. Evertsen, a short way off attempted to join the battle, but was spotted by Japanese cruisers and destroyed.

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March 1 29, 1942

A US Hudson of squadron VP-82, based at Argentia in Canada, sinks U-656 off Cape Race, Newfoundland.

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March 2, 1942

Japanese forces land at Mindanao in the Philippines.

The US Government opened its racist attack on the Japanese by barring all persons of Japanese ancestry, including US citizens, from Pacific coastal areas. A similar ruling for those of German or Italian ancestry in Atlantic coastal areas, of course, never materialized.

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1941 Archive:
June | July | August | September | October | November | December

1942 Archive:
  January |  February

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor

Editor's Corner Archive:

Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.

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.  

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.

The Afghan War and the Geneva Convention

This is part two of a four-part essay on the application of the Geneva Convention toward the Afghan War. The importance of this issue is that the Bush administration, by its complete misreading of international law has left the United States vulnerable to charges of war crimes. Our nation is better than that and those who supposedly lead us, should not act in criminal manners. Bush, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld have managed, in their ridiculous declaration regarding POWs in this war, to lay waste to any pretext we have to be the guardians of human rights in the world today.

Part one discussed the status of those taken by our forces during the conflict. Part two looks at the Geneva Convention in more detail and clarifies the rights POWs have. Part three will examine, in detail, cases of war crimes committed by our soldiers in the field. Part four concludes the essay by examining the ramifications of our actions. 

 Part 2: What Rights?

The Bush administration has made a great deal of noise in attempting to show that the conditions at Camp X-Ray and the treatment of the prisoners is far better than anything they had at home and that they are being treated under conditions outlined in the Geneva Convention. The first contention is, quite frankly, immaterial and the second is a plain old-fashioned lie.


Article 25 states

Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area. The said conditions shall make allowance for the habits and customs of the prisoners and shall in no case be prejudicial to their health.

The foregoing provisions shall apply in particular to the dormitories of prisoners of war as regards both total surface and minimum cubic space, and the general installations, bedding and blankets.

The premises provided for the use of prisoners of war individually or collectively, shall be entirely protected from dampness and adequately heated and lighted, in particular between dusk and lights out.


This means that the state that the soldiers were suffering under before their capture is not the important factor. The condition that our soldiers are housed under is the guiding factor for the prisoner's conditions. The United States is not adhering to the spirit, let alone the letter of this article. By caging prisoners in open-air pens, we make ourselves very vulnerable to reasonable criticism and potential charges of war crimes.


Article 13 states  

Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited. 

Article 14 states


Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour. Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall in all cases benefit by treatment as favourable as that granted to men. Prisoners of war shall retain the full civil capacity which they enjoyed at the time of their capture. The Detaining Power may not restrict the exercise, either within or without its own territory, of the rights such capacity confers except in so far as the captivity requires.


Housing the Camp X-Ray prisoners in open-air cages, shackled, and under intense floodlights day and night would not be considered appropriate under this article of the convention.


Article 17 states

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

This is reiterated in clearer and stronger language in Article 87, which states

Collective punishment for individual acts, corporal punishments, imprisonment in premises without daylight and, in general, any form of torture or cruelty, are forbidden.

Calls from an enraged American public to torture of these men must be stamped out with gusto. These men cannot be mistreated. Not only the convention, but our own 5th Amendment prohibits the types of abuse which many in this country seem to think is just and right. Even if torture is not the case, our actions to date are not without serious question. We are very vulnerable, if not guilty out of hand for violating the convention on this point.

Article 20 regards the transport of prisoners of war and states

The evacuation of prisoners of war shall always be effected humanely and in conditions similar to those for the forces of the Detaining Power in their changes of station.

This means that we cannot hood the prisoners, we cannot drug the prisoners, we cannot beat the prisoners. This, allegedly, was not the case when POWs were moved from Afghanistan to Camp X-Ray.

Article 70 states  

Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp , every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family,

To date, the United States government has categorically refused to release any information regarding the prisoners, let alone allow them to communicate with anyone outside the prison. This is a major violation of the convention and leaves our national leaders open to war crimes charges.

 Other articles that we are ignoring include the following:

Articles 18 and 40 state that the POWs are to retain their personal belongings, badges of rank, and clothing. The Camp X-Ray prisoners have been stripped of every vestige of the personal belongings.

Article 22 refers to the housing conditions of prisoners. Open-air cages are not included in the acceptable realm of housing.

Articles 26 and 29 allow the POWs to care for and feed themselves. This is not the case at Camp X-Ray.

Article 38 allows and encourages the opportunity for POWs to exercise and participate in games. This is not the case at Camp X-Ray.

Articles 71 through 77 provide provisions for prisoners to send and receive mail and parcels. All of these provisions are being ignored by the United States.

Article 118 outlines procedures for repatriation after the end of hostilities. Since a new government has been installed in Afghanistan, these provisions are in force. Of course, they are being ignored by the United States. 

The official statements by the Bush administration that these POWs are being treated under the conditions outlined in the Geneva Convention are a transparent lie. It boggles the mind that the lie would even be attempted. It is also a war crime.


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