Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
December 1, 1941
With Emperor Hirohito in attendance, the ruling council of Japan unanimously voted to go to war with the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.
Force “K” from
Malta attacked an Italian convoy. The Italian destroyer Da Mosto was sunk.
December 2, 1941
The Japanese cabinet
confirms the decision of the ruling council for an attack on Pearl Harbor.
Geuderian gathers the
last of his army’s tank strength into two groups for a final attempt to cut
off the Soviet 50th Army at Tula. After some initial success, the
Germans cut the Moscow-Tula road. The Soviets immediately launched strong and
coordinated attacks against the exposed German spearheads forcing them to
retreat back to their start lines.
The United States
protests the increase of Japanese military forces in Indochina pointing out that
Japan is in violation of her agreement with France. The United States accuses
Japan of planning further aggression in the region.
completely abandon the last holdings in the Karelia Peninsula that were seized
from the Finns in the 1939-40 Winter War.
battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse arrive in Singapore in
preparation with war with Japan. The task force was to also include the carrier Indomitable,
but this ship had run aground in the West Indies and would not be ready to sail
December 3, 1941
officials send the message “Climb Mount Niitaka” to Admiral Nagumo’s
carrier force, confirming that the operation is to proceed.
Stalin orders the
reconstituted Polish army to Iran and Iraq with the intent of providing these
former enemy troops to the British. Despite needing all the troops he could
find, Stalin preferred to see the countrymen of a nation he stabbed in the back
The US merchantman Sagadahoc was torpedoed and sunk, presumably by a German submarine, in the South Atlantic.
December 4, 1941
Under extremely poor
weather and wave conditions, Nagumo’s fleet manages to replenish its fuel
stores. The replenishment ships head for the return leg rendezvous point and the
carriers turn south for their final run to Hawaii.
Temperatures in the
Moscow area fall to –31F as the German offensive grinds to a halt some 19
miles from the city.
The Japanese embassy
in Washington begins to destroy codebooks and personal files.
December 5, 1941
A political storm
erupts in the United States when the Washington Times-Herald, New York Daily
News, and the Chicago
Tribune publish details of plans for mobilization for total war against
German and Japan. It was later discovered that the plans were leaked by a
Captain in the War Plans Division (Ed. Note: probably a Republican). The
Captain passed the plan to Senator Burton Wheeler (anti-FDR D-Montana), who in
turn gave the report to the article’s author Chesley Manly. The Germans
gleefully turned the intelligence bonanza over to General Jodl, Hitler’s
operations chief, to make necessary adjustments to their plans. The official
word to reporters from the Whitehouse was “Your right to print the news is, I
think, unchallenged and unquestioned. It depends entirely on the decision of the
publisher and editor whether publication is patriotic or treasonable.” (Editor’s
Note – Compare this to the reaction from our current administration when a
comedian made a joke.)
hovering at –15F, Zhukov unleashes his counterattack at Moscow. Konev’s
Kalinin front opens the offensive against the Germans, attacking the northern
edge of the Klin bulge. The fighting is very serious and resistance is stiff.
Some headway is made and casualties on both sides are high.
US Navy officials
order all stations in Tokyo, Bangkok, Peking, Tiensin, Shanghai, Guam and Wake
to destroy all codebooks and secret files.
Hitler calls an end
to the winter offensive against Moscow and orders some “limited”
December 6, 1941
As a last attempt to
prevent the outbreak of hostilities, President Roosevelt sends a personal
message to Emperor Hirohito of Japan. The note states, “Developments
are occurring in the Pacific area which threaten to deprive each of our nations
and all humanity of the beneficial influence of the long peace between our two
countries. . . . During the past few weeks it has become clear to the world that
Japanese military, naval, and air forces have been sent to Southern Indochina
in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt on the part of other
nations that this continuing concentration in Indochina is not defensive in its
character. . . the people of the Philippines, of the hundreds of Islands of the
East Indies, of Malaya, and of Thailand itself are asking themselves whether
these forces of Japan are preparing or intending to make attack in one or more
of these many directions. . . . It is clear that a continuance of such a
situation is unthinkable."
fleet turned southeast. The crew of his flagship, the Akagi, hoist the
battle flag used by Admiral Togo at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, when the
Russians were decisively defeated.
Zhukov extends the
counter-attack at Moscow, ordering the right flank of the West Front to attack 3rd
and 4th Panzer Armies in the Klin area. The attacks are making
progress as the Germans, battered and exhausted give ground.
President Roosevelt authorizes the Manhattan Engineering District. The secret U.S. project to build an atomic bomb, later to be called the Manhattan Project, is put under the direction of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.
Britain declares war
on Finland, Hungary, and Rumania denouncing the aggression by these countries
December 7, 1941
launch a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor. The US military
forces are caught completely by surprise and suffer greatly. Two battleships,
the Arizona and Oklahoma are
complete losses. All of the other battleships are damaged, some severely. Over
2700 were killed in the attack. Aircraft losses were 180. For more information
see Bartcop's Pearl Harbor Special
Zhukov extends the
counter-attack at Moscow, ordering the West Front to attack Guderian’s
overextended 2nd Panzer Army in the Tula area.
withdraw from the immediate vicinity of Tobruk and take up defensive positions
around Gazala. The first siege of Tobruk ends.
December 8, 1941
The United States and
Britain declare war on Japan. Joining the alliance against Japan were Canada,
New Zealand, Free France, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Panama.
A thousand volunteers
were turned away from the Navy recruiting office in New York City because the
staff did not have the facilities or time to process all that were wanting to
forces hit Clark Field in the Philippines, destroying half of the US aircraft
available. Also struck were Hong Kong, Singapore, Wake, Midway and Guam.
Japanese forces land
in Malaya and Thailand.
The British Task
Force “Z” consisting of the battleship Prince of Wales and
battle-cruiser Repulse, leave Singapore to intercept the Japanese
invasion fleet. A note on the Repulse’s wardroom wall read, “We are
off to look for trouble. I expect we shall find it.”
at Moscow has expanded to include all three fronts on the Moscow axis. Heavy
fighting is reported at Kalinin, Klin, Solnechnogorsk, Istra, Tula and Elets.
Active and severe fighting was now going on over a front of 175 miles. Most
advances were limited to a few miles but some units had penetrated up to 20
miles since the 5th. The attacks at Klin were particularly serious for that town
was the nexus for all the communication and supply roads for 3rd
Panzer Army. Its loss would be a catastrophe for the Germans.
10,000 Jews are
marched out of the Riga Ghetto and taken to Rumbuli Forest where they are
executed, completing the systematic execution of most Latvian Jews.
After contending with
serious attacks by the Soviet 4th Army for several weeks, the 39th
Panzer Corp at Tikhvin, withdraws, loosening the cordon around Leningrad.
December 9, 1941
occupy Bangkok after signing an agreement with the Thai government allowing
Japanese troops right of passage.
Japanese forces land
at Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands.
China, despite being
at war with Japan for over a decade, makes a formal declaration of war on Japan,
Germany and Italy. Cuba and South Africa declare war on Japan.
December 10, 1941
British Task Force Z,
in a brave, but ultimately, foolhardy attempt to intercept the Japanese invasion
force in Malaya is attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft. Four torpedoes hit
the battleship Prince of Wales. Fourteen torpedoes hit the battle cruiser
Repulse. Both ships sink. This eliminated the British naval presence in
the southwest Pacific. 2100 sailors survived the attacks while 700, including
the task force commander Admiral Sir Tom Phillips, went down with their ships.
This was the first time major capital ships were destroyed from the air in
combat in the open seas.
The siege of Tobruk
ends as Rommel withdraws the Afrika Korp to Gazala.
The 500-man garrison
at Guam surrenders to the 6000 Japanese invaders.
In the Philippines,
the US naval base at Cavite is destroyed by Japanese bombers. 4000 Japanese
troops landed on the northern tip of Luzon.
The German spy Karel Richter, is executed in Wandsworth Prison by the British.
December 11, 1941
Germany and Italy
declare war on the United States, thus ending one of the more difficult
political dilemmas for Roosevelt (how to get into the European war).
December 12, 1941
A 2500-man Japanese
force lands at Legaspi in southern Luzon.
Tigers”, the US volunteer group lead by Claire Chennault, moves from
China to Burma to assist that nation in defending against the Japanese
who were already infiltrating forces across the boarder from Thailand.
December 13, 1941
Soviet forces open a
fresh set of attacks as Timoshenko’s Southwest Front attacks at Telets and
Livny. The attacks split the 2nd Panzer Army and 2nd Army
apart forcing both to withdraw in haste
Japanese air raids in
the Philippines all but destroy the last US aircraft available to the island’s
The British 8th
Army launches heavy attacks against Rommel’s Afrika Korp near Gazala. The
fighting is inconclusive and casualties are heavy.
The US Department of
Justice announces that 595 Japanese and 187 German alien residents have been
interned. This would be followed-up by thousands more in time and begin one of
the most shameful chapters in US history.
December 15, 1941
capture Klin and Istra as the Soviet winter offensive continues to roll back the
Germans around Moscow.
British attacks on
the Gazala line succeed in convincing Rommel to withdraw from the Cyrenaica.
The British cruiser Galatea
is torpedoed by U-557 and sinks off Alexandria.
The few surviving
B-17s in the Philippines are withdrawn to Australia.
December 17, 1941
British and Indian
troops in northern Malaya begin to retreat as Japanese forces press their
forward in the Penang area.
December 18, 1941
Hitler accepts the
resignation of Field marsh von Brauchitsch as head of the OKH and takes personal
command of the eastern armies. He immediately relieves the highly capable von
Bock replaces him with the unimaginative but obedient lap dog von Kluge as
commander of Army Group Center.
December 19, 1941
In a daring raid,
Italian frogmen penetrate the defenses of the port of Alexandria. They are able
to plant charges on the British battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant.
Queen Elizabeth sank in shallow water, but was able to be re-floated and
repaired. Valiant was heavily damaged. Both ships were out of action
December 20, 1941
Joseph Gobbles (Ed. Note – the Karl Rove of Nazi Germany) makes a nation wide radio broadcast appealing for winter clothing for the soldiers on the eastern front.
December 21, 1941
Japanese troops begin
major landings at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines.
December 22, 1941
The main body of the
Japanese invasion force completes its landings. The 14th Army,
consisting of some 43,000 men are 130 miles north of Manila.
December 23, 1941
return in strength to Wake Island, this time, they overwhelm the US forces on
December 24, 1941
Japanese forces make
more landings in Luzon. Pressure by the Japanese 16 Division toward Manila force
MacArthur to order the withdrawal to Bataan.
December 25, 1941
11,000-man garrison at Hong Kong is surrendered. More than 2000 Commonwealth
troops were killed or MIA while 2300 were wounded in the seven-day siege.
British forces enter
Benghazi as the Afrika Korp continues its retreat to El Agheila
Hitler removes one of
his most capable generals, Heintz Guderian from command of the 2nd
December 26, 1941
Soviet marines make a
landing on the Kerch peninsula in order to relieve the pressure on the Soviet
forced defending the besieged city of Sevastopol.
Churchill addresses a
joint session of the US congress and receives a warm and heartfelt reception.
December 27, 1941
The British launched Operation Archery, a major commando raid on Vaago and Lofoten Islands off the Norwegian coast. In the attack, the commandos killed 200 Germans and destroyed five German merchant ships totaling 16,000 tons.
Japanese bombers hit
Manila despite the public declaration that the US/Phillipine forces had
December 29, 1941
Soviet marines make a
second landing on the Kerch peninsula, this time near Feodosrya. Both Kerch and
Feodosiya were captured by the Soviet marines.
threatened with encirclement, hurriedly evacuate the Kerch peninsula.
December 31, 1941
advancing from the north, are 30 miles from Manila. The last Allied forces in
the area are withdrawn.
Sevastopol are suspended for the winter in order to stabilize the situation in