Japanese transports burn off Guadalcanal

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

US troops come ashore in North Africa

November 3, 1942  

Rejecting out of hand Field Marshal Rommel's proposal to withdraw the Afrikakorps to the Fuka line, Hitler orders him to stand fast stating, " you can show them no other road than to victory or death." The British 9th Armored Brigade, dispite taking severe losses, holds the gap in the minefields open as the British 10th Corp moves through the corridors. Some Axis units begin to retreat as their forces are now down to about 40 tanks.

Australian troops capture Kokoda, ending the last glimmer of Japanese hopes of taking Port Morseby.

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November 4, 1942

Rommel re-issues his orders for retreat as his panzer forces are now down to 12 tanks. British pursuit is great ly hindered by congestion in the minefield corridors but RAF air attacks are intense. The Italian 20th Motorized Corps is destroyed and the British take 10,724 Axis prisoners, including nine generals.

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November 5 1942

The British attack Rommel's rearguard position at Fuka and breakthrough. 10,000 more prisoners are captured as the remnants of the Afrika Korp stream westward. The battle is  now almost 100 miles to west of El Alamein.

US forces land a large cache of machine pistols, grenades, pistols and radios in Algeria for the French resistance in preparation for the TORCH landings.

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November 6, 1942

The advance toward Baku comes to a halt before Ordshonikidse in the Caucasus, as the 13th Panzer Division is hit by superior Soviet numbers and struggles to prevent being cut off.

In a speech to the Congress of Soviet Deputies, Stalin warns the United States and Britain that 'the absence of a second front against Fascist Germany may end badly for all freedom loving countries, including the Allies themselves'. He declares that 'the aim of the coalition is to save mankind from reversion to savagery and mediaeval brutality'. He further points out that the Soviets faced 240 Axis divisions on the Russian front while Allied forces in North Africa faced a mere 15 divisions.

The British War Office announced that hostilities had ceased in Madagascar at 2:00 p. m., and that an armistice had been signed.

Further progress made by the Eighth Army with 10,000 further Axis prisoners being claimed.

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November 7, 1942

In a last gasp, Japanese forces launch a banzai attack on the Australians on the Kokoda-Gona trail. 580 Japanese soldiers died in the attack.

The US troop transport Thomas Stone off the coast of Spain, en route to North Africa, is torpedoed but stays afloat. The soldiers on board transfer to landing craft and continue their mission.

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November 8, 1942

INVASION! US and British forces land in French North Africa. It is the largest amphibious invasion in history (so far). 107,000 troops, carried in 370 transports supported by 300 warships stage landings at Algiers, Oran and Casablanca. German forces were slow to react because they thought the landings were a faint and the real attack would come at Sardinia.

Mersa Matruh is re-taken by British.

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November 9, 1942

In North Africa, naval battles off Oran and Casablanca, result in the sinking of three French destroyers. US troops advancing on both sides of Oran, take 2000 French prisoners after stiff resistance. Montgomery continued his pursuit of Rommel across Egypt. Meanwhile,German paratroops were landed at Bizerta, Tunisia without opposition from the French

The Germans opened the death camp at Majdanekkk outside Lublin, Poland. In the first day of operations, 4000 Jews were murdered.

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November 10, 1942

In North Africa, Americans capture Oran after heavy fighting. Heavy fighting is also reported at Port Lyautey in Morocco. Petain takes command of all Vichy forces. British successes in Egypt continue with the capture of Sidi Barrani and advance beyond Halfaya Pass. The French commander in Algiers, Admiral Darlan, calls for all French forces in North Africa to lay down their arms.

German U-boats mine the entrance to New York harbor.

Churchill, speaking of the recent victories for the Allies at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon stated, "Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning."

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November 11, 1942

At Stalingrad, heavy attacks in the factory district result in the German capture of the Red October Factory and the Barrikady Factory is cut off. The Germans also capture another 500 yards of precious ground along the Volga River. Ice was beginning to form on the Volga and the floating chunks brought shipping to a standstill.

After days of struggle, the 13th Panzer-Division of 3rd Panzer Korps abandons it's attempts to stabilize the situation and retreat from Ordshonikidse in order to avoid being cut off. The advance toward Baku has ended in failure.

German forces begin the occupation of those parts of France controlled by the Vichy government. In a letter to Marshal Petain, Hitler declares that the purpose of this move is "to protect France" against the allies.

The British 8th Army crosses the border into Libya.

US forces occupy Casablanca as French resistance ends. British forces are landed at Bougie, 110 miles east of Algiers.

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November 12, 1942

In North Africa, the British 8th Army retakes Sollum and Bardia in Libya, while Panzer Army Afrika continues its withdrawal toward Tripoli. British forces land at Bone, 260 miles east of Algiers, securing a forward port for the Allies for the battle of Tunisia.

US Marines on Guadalcanal surround Japanese forces along the Gavaga Creek, killing 450 enemy soldiers. 6000 men from the Americal Division reinforce the US forces on Guadalcanal. 

In New Guinea, the US 32nd Division forces the Japanese to withdraw across the Kumusi River as they occupy Bofu and Pongani.

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November 13, 1942

The climactic battles for control of the sea around Guadalcanal begins as a US Navy cruiser force (5 cruisers and 8 destroyers) under Callaghan runs into Abe's IJN force (2 battleships, a cruiser, 14 destroyers) meet off Savo Island during the early morning hours. The confused night action resulted in heavy losses as four USN destroyers (Cushing, Laffey, Barton, Monssen) and two cruisers (Atlanta, Jeneau) were all sunk. The Japanese lost two destroyers (Akatsuki, Yudachi) and the battleship Hiei was heavily damaged. The Hiei was sunk later in the day north of Savo Island by US aircraft from Enterprise which were now operating from Henderson Field.

The Eighth Army captures Tobruk as the Africa Korp continues to run.

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November 14, 1942

The sea battle off Guadalcanal continues as the Japanese cruiser force under Admiral Mikawa makes a run to bombard Henderson Field at dawn. Forty planes were knocked out in the bombardment, but the field stayed open. Later in the day, the Japanese commander, Admiral Tanaka, thinking that Henderson Field had been put out of action, attempted to run supplies and reinforcements to Guadalcanal during daylight hours. 11 transports carrying 10,000 troops, with a heavy escort of surface ships and aircraft moved toward the island and were attacked by aircraft from Henderson. In the battle one cruiser (Kinugasa) was sunk, but more importantly, seven transports were destroyed.

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November 15, 1942

During the early morning hours off Guadalcanal, the Japanese made another attempt to bombard Henderson Field. The Japanese force of oen battleship, 4 cruisers and 9 destroyers ran into an American force of 2 battleships and 4 destroyers. In the confusing night action, the US Navy lost three destroyers (Walke, Preston, Benham) while the Japanese lost the battleship Kirishima and a destroyer sunk. By dawn, the four surviving  Japanese transports were able to offload their cargo, but were  sunk off Tassafaronga Point later in the day. The supplies landed were also destroyed on the beach. The Japanese had failed miserably, and with heavy losses, to reinforce their beleaguered forces on Guadalcanal.

The British aircraft carrier Avenger is torpedoed off the Algerian coast and sinks.

British forces take Tabarka, Tunisia.

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November 16, 1942

US paratroops land and take Souk el-Arba in Tunisia. Meanwhile, Vichy French troops, once loyal to the Germans, switch sides attack Axis positions in Tunisia.

General Groves and Robert Oppenheimer select the site of the boys' school Los Alamos in New Mexico for "The Project". Oppenheimer begins to tour the United States recruiting top scientists and persuading them to move to New Mexico. Edward Teller is among the first group of 100 to accept. 

US and Australian forces join up for the assault on the last Japanese stronghold in Northern Papua, the Buna-Gona bridgehead.

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

1942 Archive:
  January |  February | March  | April | May | June | July | August | September 

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor | The Doolittle Raid | Midway

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

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.

Hitler's Angel

Many of the great houses of American industry and finance had very dirty hands when it came to dealing with the Nazis. General Motors, IBM, Standard Oil and many others have had their sorted dealings with the enemies of the United States aired in public forums. However, one criminal has had little exposure - Prescott Bush, father and grandfather to two occupants of the Whitehouse.

The story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the end of World War I with the dealings of the German industrialist family of Thyssen. As German hopes for victory sank into the mud filled trenches of the western front, August Thyssen, known as the "Rockefeller of the Rhur" opened the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, placing his son Fritz at its head. The bank, being in neutral Holland, was an excellent place to hide his vast wealth as the Imperial Germany disintegrated. Meanwhile, his other son, Heinrich, married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Barron Thyssen Bornemisza de Kaszon.

After the war, Avrell Harriman, son of the rail baron E. H. Harriman, and his partner George Herbert Walker, was busy setting up their own international banking network. In 1922, Harriman met with Fritz Thyssen and agreed to set up banking interests for him in the states. By 1924, the Union Banking Corporation was born.

Meanwhile, back in Germany, the crippling effects of the war and the harsh conditions inflicted on the German economy due to the Versailles Treaty were causing widespread unrest. One of the players in this unrest was, of course, Adolph Hitler. Fritz Thyssen became an ardent follower of Hitler, embarrassing the ideas of the Nazis, especially his anti-union, anti-labor views. He provided Hitler with his first infusion of cash. Several German industrialists followed Thyssen's lead and also donated to the Nazis. After the failed "Beer Hall Putsch" in 1923, many gave up on Hitler, but not Thyssen.

The late 1920's saw a boom in the German economy. August Thyssen died, leaving his son Fritz in control of their vast holdings. Thyssen merged his steel operations with Flick who owned many coal and steel interests throughout Germany and Poland, forming United Steel Works (USW). Walker and Harriman meanwhile sold $50,000,000 in German bonds to bankroll the Thyssen/Flick Empire.

It was at this time that the young Prescott Bush entered the picture. Walker hired his new son-in-law to run the American side USW. Prescott was a hard worker and helped everyone involved make a great deal of money. 

Then 1929 came. World financial markets crumbled to dust. However, the plutocrats -, Thyssen, Harriman and Flick maintained their empires. With the ever-deepening desperation setting into the mindset of the German public, Hitler's maniacal rants became more popular. Thyssen joined the Nazis and bankrolled their rise to power.  By 1932, despite loosing 35 seats in parliament in the national election, the Nazis were able to broker a power sharing deal. By 1934 Hitler was the dictator of Germany.

Hitler wanted to see the rebirth of Germany. He began a massive campaign to build the autobahn and rebuild his military. All of this needed steel, steel which Thyssen and Flick controlled. Profits for the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart and the Union Banking Corporation soared. Prescott Bush became managing director of Union Banking Corporation and personally ran the German end of the business.

However, all was not rosy for the gang. The Polish government was growing weary of Flick's operations in Poland and threatening to take over the businesses claiming fraudulent bookkeeping, securities fraud, tax evasion and excessive borrowing. The conflict with the Polish government ended when Hitler invaded, destroying that nation and, starting World War II in Europe.

Thyssen and Flick's Polish steel interests were centered at Oswiecim in the heart of a vast coal and steel-producing region. After Hitler's takeover, he decided to place a forced labor camp in the area in order to exploit the resource rich state. That camp became Auschwitz.

Thyssen and Flick, fearing a repeat of the collapse of Germany after WWI, bailed out, selling their Polish interests to Union Banking Corporation and fleeing Germany. As it turned out, Fritz and his brother Heinrich had made similar slights of hand between these banks and a third bank - The August Thyssen Bank of Berlin - many times, perpetrating a series of tax and securities frauds. Whenever there was a threat to the Thyssen Empire, the brothers would collude to hide their assets. In this case, Harriman became the controlling interest and Bush managed the former Polish enterprises, all of which were supplied labor from the camps at Auschwitz.

On December 13, 1941, six days after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt signed the "Trading With the Enemy Act". This act banned business dealings the enemies of the United States. Prescott Bush ignored this and continued to do business with the Nazis.

Prescott's dreams of riches began to crumble in the summer of 1942. The New York Tribune had discovered and written on the Bush-Thyssen connection. The Tribune hung the moniker of "Hitler's Angel" on Bush. On October 20, 1942, after investigation by the US government, Vesting Order 248 was executed. The order stated

Under the authority of the Trading with the enemy Act, as amended, and pursuant to law, the undersigned, after investigation, finding:

(a)    That the property described as follows:

All of the capital stock of Union Banking Corporation, a New York corporation, New York, New York, [identifying E. Roland Harriman, Cornelius Lievense, Harold D. Pennington, Ray Morris, Prescott S. Bush, H.J. Kouwenhoven and Johann G. Groeninger as shareholders]

all of which shares are held the benefit of Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V., Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which bank is owned or controlled by members of the Thyssen family, nationals of German and/or Hungary

(b) That the property described as follows is an interest in the aforesaid business enterprise held by nationals of an enemy country or countries, and also is property within the United States owned or controlled by nationals of a designated enemy country deemed it necessary in the national interest, hereby vests such property in the Alien Property Custodian, to be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States .

With that, Prescott Bush lost his power in the Union Banking Corporation. Bush resigned as managing director in 1943, but still retained his stock interests. For the remainder of the war, he engaged in fund raising activities and became the founder of the United Services Organizations (USO).

But the story, and the audacity, of Prescott Bush do not end here. For that, we must return to Fritz Thyssen.

After Holland was overrun in 1940, Hitler's auditors investigated the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart. Hitler was after Fritz Thyssen's fortune, which had been transferred to the Netherlands after he fled Germany in 1939. Transfer of funds outside the Reich was illegal. However, no evidence was found in Rotterdam and Hitler imprisoned his one-time benefactor for the duration of the war. Unknown to Hitler, Thyssen had transferred his family's assets to his brother Heinrich in Hungary.

As the war ground on and German hopes faded, Thyssen planned to transfer his empire back to "neutral" Rotterdam as in German and the Soviet bloc would not be recoverable. The only hitch in the plan was that the August Thyssen Bank of Berlin was destroyed in the war and the vault with all the Thyssen family papers were buried under a mountain of rubble. But the enterprising Thyssen brothers got Dutch authorities to dig up the vault and bring it back to The Netherlands.

Despite being held and interrogated by the Allies, Fritz Thyssen never told the authorities where his fortune was hidden and ultimately he was released from prison. He died in Argentina in 1951. Upon his death, the Alien Property Custodian released the assets of the Union Banking Corporation. The principles cashed out and the UBC was no more.

Prescott Bush received $750,000 for his share of Union Banking Corporation, a princely sum in 1951, but nothing compared to the millions the Thyssen family got back. Prescott used some of this Nazi cash to bankroll his son George Herbert Walker Bush's first business enterprise and to support his successful bid for Senate in 1952. The Thyssen's rebuilt their empire, and today, the Thyssen Group (TBG) is the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany.

D. A. Friedrichs


This column relied heavily on the writings of John Loftus, President of the Florida Holocaust Museum and Tony Rogers of Clamor Magazine. I am greatly indebted to them for their work.



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