An American POW is executed
Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII 

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

American propaganda poster "American Vengeance" remembers the defenders of Bataan. 
This Week (and then some):
April 14 | April 15 | April 16 | April 17 | April 18 | April 19 | April 20
April 21 | April 22 | April 23 | April 24 | April 25 | April 26 | April 27

  Map Links:
East Front Dec '41 - May '42 | North Africa Nov 41-July 43 | Japanese Expansion

April 14, 1942

Thirty-five hostages are killed in Paris for retaliation for underground attacks.

Marshal Petain, France’s greatest hero from World War I, destroys his reputation by becoming the ceremonial head of the pro-Nazi Vichy government. Laval remained as chief of the government’s administration and the real leader.
British forces begin destroying the sprawling Yenangyaung oil fields in Burma as the Japanese continue their advance north.

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April 15, 1942

The French underground attacks a German command post in Arras.
The Leningrad tram system resumed operation on this, the 248th day of the siege, after several months of being down for lack of power.

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April 16, 1942

4000 Japanese land on Panay Island in the Philippines. The 7000 strong American-Filipino force is ordered to the mountains to form guerrilla bands.

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April 17, 1942

In a daring and rare daylight raid, twelve RAF bombers hit the Augsburg diesel-engine factory. The planes flew into Germany at 500’ and although 7 of the bombers were shot down, the raid created such a sensation that the group leader, John Nettleton was awarded the Victoria Cross. Nettleton would die a year later in a raid over Turin.
General Henri Giraud, held in Germany’s maximum-security prison at Konigstein since June 1940, escaped by lowering himself down the castle wall onto a moving train heading for France. French morale soared upon hearing of their hero’s escape and the Gestapo was ordered to assassinate the general. However, he was able to evade capture and made his way to North Africa on a British submarine.

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April 18 1942

US bombers launch the first airraid against the Japanese home islands (see sidebar)

US officials order a blackout of all coastal areas on the eastern seaboard in an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of German U-boats.

The Germans scored a success against partisans in the Dorogobuzh area. The great Russian partisan, Colonel Yefremov, severely wounded in heavy fighting, took his own life rather than being captured by the Germans. Before pulling he pulled the trigger he extolled those around him to "kill every one of the Fascists".

Japanese forces rout the 55th Chinese Division at Lashio in Burma.

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April 19, 1942

Resistance to the Japanese on Cebu Island ends as the US-Filipino garrison surrenders.

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April 20, 1942

An assassination attempt is made against the leader of the French fascists, Doriol. It fails.

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April 21, 1942

Spain pledges to send troops to support Germany’s war effort against Russia. Berlin radio quoted Señor Suñer as saying that Spain hoped the Axis powers would win the war because "a victory of the Allies would be tantamount to a victory of bolshevism."

The German submarine U-459 sets sail. Unarmed, this floating gas station, known as a ' Milch cow', heads toward American waters to fuel armed craft to extend their patrol time. 
Roosevelt seizes all patents controlled or owned by Germany, Japan and Italy.

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April 22, 1942

British forces abandon the Yenangyaung oil fields in Burma.
US forces begin to arrive in India.

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April 23, 1942
Luftwaffe begins the 'Baedeker' raids on historic cities in Britain, with Exeter, Norwich, York and Bath all raided during the following week. However, losses were so high that the raids had to be abandoned after that time.

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April 24, 1942

The last of the Bataan Death March survivors arrive at Camp O’Donnell. Approximately 45,000 Filipino and 9,300 Americans survived the forced march. 8,000 Filipinos and 650 Americans succumb to lack of food or water or the abuses of the Japanese captors. 
In an attempt to repeat the “successful” terror bombing attack at Lubeck RAF Bomber command raided the Baltic port of Rostok. An attempt was also made to make precision attacks against the Heinkel factory in the area. The attacks failed in that the factory was not even hit and most of the bombs intended for the town hit 2-6 miles away.

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April 25, 1942
United States troops landed on Free French?controlled New Caledonia.

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April 26, 1942

General Alexander decided that the defense of Burma was hopeless and ordered his British and Indian forces back to India.
The German Reichstag granted Hitler the right to condemn any individual who “does not fulfill their duties”.

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April 27, 1942
Roosevelt announced that the American economy was to be placed on a full war footingand production non-essential civilian goods would be greatly curtailed.

For the fourth consecutive night, RAF bombers returned to Rostov. After a “disappointing” initial raid, the British succeed in destroying about 70% of the city and badly damaging the Heinkel factory.

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Special Edition:

The Doolittle Raid

April 18, 1942 - Sixteen Army B-25 bombers struck Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya Japan today. The attacks caused little physical damage to the Japanese home island, but the attack cause severe consternation in the Japanese military high command and other officials. It is felt that the blow was in large part responsible for the Japanese reducing their plans for continued expansion in the Pacific. Also, the Japanese diverted their limited resources to the occupation of Chekiang province in China in order to prevent this type of over flight mission from happening again. 

The raid was a major moral booster in America. This was some of the first really good news the country had received since the start of the war in December. When the press realized that the Army had no airfields in range of the B-25s to hit Japan, they asked Roosevelt where the planes came from. He said, “Shangri-La”. 

The Doolittle raid was one of the most bizarre if not daring stunts to be pulled in the war. James “Jimmy”. Doolittle took his flight of 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers and strapped them (literally) to the deck of the USS Hornet. The plan was to launch the bombers from the carrier, attack Japan and then make their way to friendly bases in China.

Battling heavy seas and under the constant threat of discovery, the carrier and its cargo of Army bombers snuck deep into enemy controlled waters. Just 10 hours from the scheduled launch, the task force was discovered by a Japanese surface ship. Radio operators intercepted messages radioed from the picket before the cruiser Nashville sunk the enemy. It was decided that the attack would go forward immediately even though the range would be to great to guarantee landing in friendly territory.

At 8:18 am, the first bomber lumbered down the deck of Hornet. Normally, the B-25 needs 1200' for take-off, but Doolittle had only 435' of pitching deck to work with. His plane barely reached takeoff speed when the heavily loaded bomber disappeared under the lip of the deck, and just missed hitting the water before recovering and lumbering toward Japan. The other 15 planes followed suit during the next hour

Not wasting fuel to form up, the planes headed for their targets independently. Eight of the planes bombed their primary targets, while five hit secondaries. Some of the planes hit Tokyo during a practice air raid and the locals were extremely confused when real bombs started hitting the city.

Favorable tail winds allowed most of the planes to make it to China. One plane landed in Vladivostok where the plane and crew were interned (The USSR and Japan would remain at peace until August 1945). Two planes came down in Japanese occupied China. Of the 8 crew members who survived to be captured, three were executed,  4 of the other 5 survived imprisonment and were released at the end of the war. The remaining planes made forced landings in friendly territory. 

Doolittle's Raiders were instant heroes in the states, but returned to continue the fight against the enemy

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

1942 Archive:
  January February | March

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor | The Doolittle Raid

Editor's Corner Archive:

The Past Through Tomorrow "It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation’s actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way..."

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

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