Taking time out from murdering prisoners, Japanese "soldiers" stage a photo op during the Bataan "Death March"

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

Survivors from the Bataan "Death March" carry their dead along with them as they march into captivity.   

April 7, 1942  

Red Army troops force a very narrow corridor to Leningrad, opening a tenuous rail link to the city. Trains ran into the city with desperately needed supplies and came out with civilians and the wounded, all under heavy artillery fire from the Germans.

In Germany, Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, a protestant theologian, was arrested along with three Catholic priests for criticizing Nazi rule. They were all executed seven months later. 

King George awards the defenders of Malta the "George's Cross" as the 2000th air raid against the island occurs.

2500 Jews from Zamosc were trained to Sobibor where a new Nazi death camp had just opened. All but one of these people were gassed after their arrival.

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April 8, 1942

2000 of Bataan's defenders escaped to the dubious safety of Corregidor Island.

US planes begin operations "over the Hump" as supplies are flown from India, over the Himalayans, to China.

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April 9, 1942  

Japanese forces clear the Bataan Peninsula after three months of heavy combat. 76,000 US-Filipino troops are captured. This was the largest capitulation US forces in World War II.

Japanese aircraft from the carriers Soryu, Hiryu and Akagi sink the British carrier Hermes, the destroyer Vampire and three other ships in Indian Ocean.

With the breakdown of autonomy negotiations in India, British forces crack down on dissidents. Mahatma Gandhi arrested.

Heavy fighting is reported in the Crimean peninsula as Red Army forces attack at Kertsj. The attacks fall on stubborn German defenses and fail. In other attacks, Russians made headway against the Germans in the Orel area.

The Germans launch fresh attacks in the Lake Illmen area and make limited advances towards their surrounded units at Kholm-Staraya Russa.

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April 10, 1942

The Bataan Death March starts as the prisoners  begin a 65 mile march from Mariveles to San Fernando. Little water or food were given ot the prisoners. Those not able to keep up were beaten or bayoneted on the roadside.

Japanese forces begin landing troops on Cebu and Billiton Islands in the Philippines

Heavy fighting in the Kholm area is again reported as German forces continue to make headway against stubborn Soviet defenses.

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April 11 1942

The Russians land troops near Eupatoria in the Crimea. Fast response on the Germans part bottles up the Red Army forces on their beachhead.

Two British commandos paddled their canoe into the German occupied harbor of Bordeaux, destroying a German tanker.

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April 12, 1942

Major action on the east front comes to an abrupt halt as the Spring thaw turns the landscape into a quagmire. In any case, the Soviets had extended their winter offensive to the limits of their thin and tenuous supply lines. The dry weather would see the initiative back in the hands of the Germans.

As the "Bataan Death March" continues, 400 Filipino captives are hacked to death by sword wielding Japanese "soldiers".

Japanese forces in Burma break British lines and threaten the oil fields.

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April 13, 1942

The destroyer Roper sinks U-85 south of Norfolk, Virginia becoming the first US warship to sink a German U-boat.

German forces in Africa begin attacks on the Gazala line near Tobruk. In one action on this day, the Corporal Jack Edmondson, mortally wounded in the neck and stomach, drove off a German attack of his position. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the first Australian to be so honored in the war.

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

1942 Archive:
  January |  February | March

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 Past Through Tomorrow

The following is a fictitious report to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff summarizing the War in Afghanistan. To date, the events described have come to pass. No one knows if the future events described will occur. We can only hope for the best.


The US entered the territory of Afghanistan in the last days of September 2001 with the mission of "rendering ineffective the Al Qaeda terrorist organizations and their Taliban allies controlling Afghanistan." Thus, with this extremely vague goal and limited military planning time, the US peoples were cast into a bloody war that would last for nine years, one month and eighteen days. The war took the lives of 55,000 US citizens and did not result in the desired victory for the government.

At the same time, the unsatisfactory political and military-strategic results of the war should, in no way reflect adversely on the quality of the US armed forces, especially in the area of operational art and tactics. During the course of the war, US operational art and tactics developed under the particular conditions of Afghanistan - the physical geography, the local economy, the peoples, the history and the internal and foreign affairs of the last decade.

In light of the defining military-political missions and ongoing combat, the conduct of the US-Taliban War can be divided into four phases.

PHASE 1 (October 2001 - December 2001)

This phase began with the entry of US forces into Afghanistan, their stationing in garrisons, and their final organization for securing bases and various installations. During this phase, the enemy deployed comparatively powerful forces against the US forces. The US forces (Special Forces and air assets) did not avoid direct conflict with them. The US forces fighting alongside Northern Alliance forces, took the most difficult missions for themselves. The Northern Alliance forces were poorly trained to conduct independent actions and attacked only after US bombardment guaranteed success in the fulfillment of operational and tactical missions.

PHASE 2 (January 2002 - February 2007)

Active combat characterized this phase. US forces undertook combat on a wide scale, mainly employing only US forces, but also conducting joint actions with units of the former Northern Alliance and newly constituted Afghan Army. By the start of this phase, the enemy, having suffered heavy losses, was switching to guerrilla tactics and moving into the mountains. Principally, these tactics consisted of avoiding combat with superior US forces; conducting surprise action against small groups; and refusing to fight conventional, positional warfare while conducting widespread maneuver using autonomous groups, and detachments. If the Taliban were unable to avoid combat, they reverted to close combat where it was difficult, if not impossible, to use air strikes and artillery fire against their dug-in firing positions. Under these circumstances, the US forces attempted to conduct "combat operations" with a clear superiority in forces and means.

PHASE 3 (March 2007 - November 2008)

During this phase, the US conducted a two-step conversion from primary active combat to supporting reconstituted Afghan Army forces with aviation, artillery and engineer subunits. US airmobile, airborne and light infantry forces became the reserves to raise the morale and warrior spirit of the friendly Afghan forces. US Special Forces continued to operate to stop the supply of weapons and ammunition from across the border. During this phase, US authorities began withdrawing forces from the country.

PHASE 4 (December 2008 - December 2010)

This phase marked by US forces' participation in the Afghan government's program of national reconciliation. During this time, the US forces conducted virtually no offensive actions and went into combat only when attacked by the Taliban or when supporting combat by Afghan forces. During this phase, the US forces prepared for their total withdrawal.


Interestingly, this "fictitious" account is quite true. The original story is, of course, a summary of the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War. The report above was gleaned, with no major editing, from the original study prepared for the General Staff of the Soviet Union and published under the title  "The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost" (pages 12-14).  The only changes made (other than grammatical) were as follows

  • All dates were shifted 22 years and 11 months ahead.
  • Soviet became US
  • Various unit and command designations changed for appropriate country
  • Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) became Northern Alliance or reconstituted Afghan Army
  • Mujahideen forces became Taliban forces

It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation's actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way. Phase I was nearly identical, if not in details, then in outcome, to the Soviet invasion in 1979 and early 1980. The recently concluded "Operation Anaconda" is a classic Phase 2 type operation. Our efforts to reconstitute an Afghan national army are the first steps toward Phase III.

One can only hope that this does not happen and the rest of the story turns out to indeed be fiction.

D.A. Friedrichs



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