Dirty, tired, hungry and undefeated -
1st Marine Division marches to the rear as they are relieved on Guadalcanal

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

Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism

The new Red Army soldier -
Well equipped, proud, and victorious

December 1, 1942

Axis convoys between Italy and Tunisia continue to be interdicted by British naval forces. Four supply convoys set off from Italy. Three were turned back and the fourth had four transports and one escort sunk. The British lost a destroyer in the action.

Australian forces capture parts of the Japanese defenses at Gona.

Admiral Darlan takes command of French forces in North Africa indicating that Marshal Petain was virtually a prisoner of the Germans

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December 2, 1942

Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist, along with Arthur Compton, working in a small lab under the racket courts at the University of Chicago, successfully completes the first controlled nuclear reaction at Chicago Pile 1 (CP-1). Use of the power of the atom was now a reality. After completing the last rod extraction, Fermi said, “Put the rods back down. That’s all for now, put the rods down, let’s go to lunch.”

The Stalingrad and Don Fronts launch massed attacks against the Germans encircled in Stalingrad. Fighting was very heavy and losses high on both sides, little progress was made in reducing the perimeter.

Further north, at Rzhev, the German 41st Panzer Corps begins a counterattack on the west face of the salient. That attack succeeds in destroying the 47th Mechanized Brigade.

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December 3, 1942

German units, previously stationed in France, begin arriving in Army Group South, in preparation for the attack to relieve Stalingrad.

In Tunisia, the 10th Panzer Division launches limited attacks capturing Djedeida and Tebourba. French and American forces captured the Faid Pass in southern Tunisia.

In yet another desperate attempt to land supplies for the beleaguered Japanese defenders on Guadalcanal, Admiral Tanaka runs 10 destroyers down the slot with 1500 containers. Instead of landing the supplies, they were simply dumped. 300 containers made it to shore.

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December 4, 1942

British and American bombers continue to strike Italian ports. On this day, the Italian light cruiser Muzio Attendolo was sunk.

German forces in Tunisia capture Tebourba.

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December 5, 1942

Strong attacks by US forces at Buna are bloodily repulsed. Malaria and heat prostration also take a heavy toll.

The German hospital ship Graz hit a mine off Bizerta, Libya.

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December 6, 1942

In Tunisia, German forces hit British forces, inflicting heavy losses, destroying 25 tanks and taking 400 prisoners.

Heavy fighting is reported in both Buna and Gona in New Guinea.

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December 7, 1942

After five days of heavy fighting and suffering serious losses, the Soviets suspend the attacks by the Don and Stalingrad Fronts against the German in the Stalingrad pocket. Outside the pocket, the Soviets launch probing attacks against the Germans along the Chir River which are repulsed by counterattacks from the 11th Panzer Division.

Further north, German attacks on the west face of the Rzhev salient intensified as 30 and 41st Panzer Corps (5 Panzer divisions in all) hit the Soviet 41st Army nier Belyi. Fighting was intense.

The Italians launched three manned “Chariot” torpedoes into Gibraltar harbor. No losses were reported.

To commemorate the anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States launches the new battleship New Jersey, along with 11 other ships.

US make an amphibious landing south of Buna, cutting off Japanese forces in the area.

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December 8, 1942

The Australian 21st Brigade makes concerted effort to take Gona. The attack fails.

In Tunisia, German counter-attacks hit the American forces at El Guettrar. In this first major contact between the Germans and Americans, the US forces fought with great confusion and retreated in disorder. The Germans also occupy the port of Bizerte in Tunisia.

The Japanese made two more attempts to run supplies and reinforcements into Guadalcanal. The first attempt was forced back by air attacks. The second, a run by destroyers down the slot was turned back by US PT boat attacks.

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December 9, 1942

After months of poor and short rations, and living in the jungle nightmare, the 1st Marine Division is relieved by fresh troops from the 14th Corps at Guadalcanal.

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December 10, 1942

The Italians launched another “Chariot” (manned torpedo) raid into the port of Algiers. This attack succeeded in sinking four supply ships.

Australian troops finally dislodge the Japanese from Gona.

Germans counterattack at Belyi succeeds in cutting off the 41st Army, destroying the only success Zhukov had enjoyed in Operation Mars. Despite the failure of his operation, he doggedly ordered fresh formations thrown into the meat grinder at Rhzev.

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December 11, 1942

The Germans finally realize that their attempt to take Baku and the rich oil fields of the Caucasus had failed and began to withdraw from Elista and Mozdok.

Montgomery’s 8th Army starts to advance through Libya again after its leisurely rest and refit.

Zhukov launches fresh attacks from the Vazusa River bridgehead as the Soviet 20th and 29th Armies supported by 350 tanks from the 5th and 6th Tank Corp. Despite the amount of men and material thrown into the attack, the Germans held and inflicted hellish losses on the Russians.

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December 12, 1942

The Germans launch their attacks to relieve the Stalingrad pocket. General von Manstein commences Operation “Winter Storm”, sending Battle Group Hoth (a mere 13 divisions with 230 tanks) forward in the area around Kotelnikovo. Initial attacks hit the Soviet 51st Army which gives ground but remains intact.

British commandos succeed in destroying eight ships at Bordeaux up the Gironde River. The commandos were landed by submarine at the base of the river and spent five days and nights paddling up 50 miles of enemy held river to get to the anchorage.

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December 13, 1942

The wizards at Bletchly Park succeeded in breaking the “Shark” Enigma key. This code was the one used by Germna U-boats and had been unreadable for over a year. This came none too soon as the previous month had been one of the most successful for the Germans as they sunk 83 ships (721,700 tons), their highest total of the war.

Rommel begins to retreat from his positions El Agheila, as the Eighth Army closes once again.

Hoth’s tanks continue to make headway against the 51st Army as the German drive to relieve Stalingrad continues.

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December 14, 1942

The “Desert Rats” of the British 7th Armored Division hit the German rearguards at El Agheila while elements of the New Zealand Division attempt a flank move to cut them off.

US forces capture most of Buna but diehard Japanese forces still occupy strongholds.

Japanese forces land a battalion of infantry (800 men) 30 miles west of Gona and advance threatening the Australian’s flank.

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

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

Special Editions:
Pearl Harbor | The Doolittle Raid | Midway

Editor's Corner Archive:

Hitler's Angle "The story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the end of World War I..."

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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