Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives

March, 1942


March 1, 1942

A US Hudson of squadron VP-82, based at Argentia in Canada, sinks U-656 off Cape Race, Newfoundland.

March 2, 1942

Japanese forces land at Mindanao in the Philippines.

The US Government opened its racist attack on the Japanese by barring all persons of Japanese ancestry, including US citizens, from Pacific coastal areas. A similar ruling for those of German or Italian ancestry in Atlantic coastal areas, of course, never materialized.

March 3, 1942

RAF Bomber Command, under its new C-in-C, Air Vice Marshal Harris, attacks the Renault plant in the Paris suburb of Bilancourt with 235 bombers. Damage to the facility was extensive as 300 bombs were reported to have hit the factory, destroying 40% of the plant. 623 French workers were killed and over 1500 injured.

The ?second? Pearl Harbor raid occurred as two ?Emily? float plane bombers, flying out of the Marshall Islands, and having refueled en-route from a submarine, dropped their eight bombs in the vicinity of Hawaii. Heavy cloud covered hampered the effectiveness of the raid and the closest any bombs came to the naval base was four miles.

March 4, 1942

US carrier based aircraft raided the Marcus Islands in the central Pacific. Damage to the Japanese base was heavy.

The only Allied surviving ships from the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea, the US destroyers Edwards, Alden, Ford, and Paul Jones, arrive in Freemantle, Australia.

Three-thousand Jews were taken out of the Baranowicze ghetto and killed, ending a two day orgy of killing which claimed 12,000 lives.

A German soldier in Paris was shot dead in a partisan attack. The Germans retaliated by rounding up 20 French Communist Party members and shooting them.

March 5, 1942

Attacks by the Soviet Central Front succeed in liberating Yukhnov.

Japanese aircraft hit the harbor at Tjilatjap, sinking 17 ships and destroying the port.

March 6, 1942

The evacuation of Rangoon begins in earnest as all facilities which may be of any use to the Japanese are ordered destroyed.

March 7, 1942

The Government of the Dutch East Indies flees Java for Australia.

Japanese roadblocks at Taukkyan hamper British troops, attempting to retereat from Rangoon.

Japanese naval forces shell Christmas Island.

The German battleship Tirpitz sorties with three destroyers from her berth in Trondheim in Naorway. Her mission was to intercept an Artic convoy heading for Russia. The British Home Fleet sortied to meet the threat and for several days both sides attempted to hit the other. Both failed.

March 8, 1942

Large-scale Japanese landings at Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea.

Rangoon falls to the advancing Japanese forces, cutting off the supply line between the Allies and the Nationalist Chinese forces. British forces were able to clear the roadblocks at Taukkyan and continue their retreat northward.

RAF Bomber Command launches a major attack (211 aircraft) in an attack against Essen in the Ruhr. This was the first raid to use the Gee navigational aide, which at least got the British bombers in the immediate vicinity of the city they were to attack. Ground haze from industrial pollution prevented accurate observation of the target area and the results were ?disappointing?.

March 9, 1942

The last organized resistance to the Japanese on Java ends. 100,000 Dutch, British, Australian and American soldiers were taken prisoner and 80,000 Dutch civilians were intured. By the end of the war, 8,500 of the Dutch POWs and 10,500 of the civilian internees would be dead.

March 10, 1942

?Vinegar Joe? Stillwell is named Chief of Staff of allied armies in the Chinese theatre of operations.

Japanese forces land on Buka in the Solomon Islands.

Aircraft from the British carrier Victorious engaged the German battleship Tirpitz in the North Atlantic. The attack failed to do any damage to the enemy.

US carrier aircraft engage Japanese shipping and troop concentrations on New Guinea as Japanese forces take the port city of Finschhafen.

RAF Bomber Command targeted Essen again. Bad weather spread the bombers all over the Ruhr as little damage was reported but bombs fell in 24 separate towns.

March 11, 1942

The cruiser HMS Naiad is torpedoed by U-565 south of Crete. She sank taking 77 of her crew down with her. 

General MacArthur leaves Corregidor and the Philippines for Australia, after being ordered to assume command of the new South-West Pacific area, which in effect meant all Allied forces in the Pacific. MacArthur's last words before leaving were "I shall return!? General M. Wainwright takes over command in the Philippines.

March 12, 1942  

The Japanese Imperial Guard Division lands without opposition on the north coast of Sumatra.

With the loss of southern Burma, British forces are compelled to abandon the indefensible Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

March 13, 1942

Red army launches a major offensive on the Kerch peninsula against the German 11th Army.

The second Nazi death camp opens at Belzec opens as the first 6000 Jews arrive to be killed. 360,000 people would be killed at this camp by the end of the war.

RAF Bomber Command launched 135 planes against Cologne. Two factories were destroyed, 1500 houses burned and 62 civilians killed. This was the first ?success? for the new Gee navigational aide.

March 14, 1942

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff formalized plans to maintain a strategic defensive posture in the Pacific while building up forces in England for an offensive against Germany.

March 15, 1942

U-503 is sunk near the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland, by another aircraft from the US squadron, VP-82.

Japanese forces begin a heavy bombardment of the US fortified islands in Manila Bay.

March 16, 1942

US bombers based in Australia begin operations against Japanese positions in the Philippines.

March 17, 1942

General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Australia and assumes command of all allied forces in the Southwest Pacific area of operations.

US fighter aircraft begin operations in Darwin, Australia, greatly diminishing the threat of Japanese bombers in the area.

March 18, 1942

Lord Mountbatten is named commander of the British commandos.

March 19, 1942  

An offensive by Army Group North to destroy the Soviet 2nd Shock Army, commanded by General Vlasov, begins in the Novgorod-Gruzino area. The Germans initial attacks succeeded in cutting off the overextended Soviet positions, but Vlasov?s army clung tenaciously to their swampy positions.

Operation 'Munich' is launched. Joined by a new air detachment, German troops attack partisan bases around Yelnya and Dorogobuzh.  Another anti-partisan sweep, Operation 'Bamberg?, begins near Bobruisk. SS Police troops attack Russian villages and German security forces burn many villages, killing 3,500 people. Both operations succeeded only in infuriate the Russian civilians. Many of them joined the partisans, making the whole exercise very counter-productive. The 3rd Panzer Army diaries says "There are indications that the partisan movement in the region of Velikiye Luki, Vitebsk, Rudnya, Velizh, is now being organized on a large scale. The fighting strength of the partisans hitherto active, is being bolstered by individual units of regular red army troops."

Stillwell?s command in China is extended to include the Chinese 5th and 6th Armies operating in Burma.

Turkey restated its intent to stay neutral despite serious pressure to join the Axis.

March 20, 1942

The Red army offensive in the Crimea ends in defeat and heavy losses.

Heavy air attacks on Malta begin as Axis forces hope to eliminate the island as useful British base of operations in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Chinese troops under Stillwell engage Japanese forces along the Sittang River in Burma.

March 21 1942

The United States agrees to provide $500,000,000 in aid to China.

The British 8th Army launches raids against Derna and Benghazi in North Africa in an attempt to divert German attention from a desperately needed convoy heading to Malta. Nonetheless, the convoy came under very heavy fire and of the 26,000 tons of supplies, only 5,000 would reach the embattled island.

The American defenses on Bataan collapse and the surviving forces begin to withdraw to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.

March 22, 1942

The remaining American forces on the Bataan peninsula were issued an ultimatum to surrender.

Magwe airfield in Burma is evacuated, leaving the retreating British forces with no air cover.

March 23, 1942

Japanese forces occupy the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

March 24, 1942

The British Government refuses to hold an inquiry into the loss of Singapore during a Lords debate.

The Japanese begin an intensive bombing campaign of Bataan and Corregidor. General Homma's 14th Army receives reinforcement ready for its final offensive against the Bataan and Corregidor. This takes the form of the Japanese 4th Division, which has been shipped from Shanghai.

Chinese and Burmese forces in the Toungoo area are surrounded and supporting forces forced back to the Irrawaddy River as Japanese forces continue to advance.

March 25, 1942

Attacks by Japanese forces inflict heavy losses against the Chinese 200th Division surrounded at Toungoo.

One-thousand Jews from Tarnopol arrive at Belzec. The death camp is fully operational.

March 26, 1942  

Japanese forces capture most of Toungoo.

The first ?special train? of Jews, 999 Slovenian women, arrives at Auschwitz.

March 27, 1942

Chinese forces rally and hold on at Toungoo.

The first contingent of French Jews, 1112 men and women, arrives at Auschwitz.

March 28 1942

British commandos raid the port facilities at St. Nazaire. The purpose of the daring raid was to destroy the lock at the port, the only one capable of providing shelter to the battleship Tirpitz. By wrecking the port, Tirpitz could not operate in the Atlantic. A force of 210 men in 18 small craft and the ex-US destroyer Campbeltown, headed to the port. The keystone of the plan was to ram Campbeltown into the dock gate and flood the lock system. At 0120, the lead gunboat was spotted and the floatilla was flooded with light. The British attempted to bluff their way with confusing signals and false colors, but the Germans were not fooled for long and opened fire at 0128. Campbeltown, under intense fire and taking heavy casualties stormed through the smoke and confusion and rammed the gate, buckling 35 feet of her bow. The commandos scrambled ashore and started setting charges throughout the facility. A wild melee started throughout the town. Shortly after 0200, the charges were detonated and the facility destroyed. The commandos regrouped for the withdraw only to find that their transports were largely destroyed during the fight. The commandos were stranded, most were killed or captured. The next morning, the commander of the Campteltown was being berated by his interigators for thinking that a destroyer could damage the heavy lock gates. A short time later, the delayed charges blew and the lock was utterly destroyed. Delayed charges continued t odetonate for several days. The raid, although heavy in losses, did succeed. Tirpitz would never enter the waters of the Atlantic.

Under the new tactical doctrine of area saturation bombing, introduced by Air Vice Marshal Harris, the RAF launches a heavy incendiary attack (234 bombers) against L?beck on the Baltic that devastates 265 acres of the city.

The defenders of Bataan began slaughtering horses and mules to provide food for the troops as the Japanese blockade prevented any resupply.

Von Ribbentrop delivers a proposal for the Japanese to attack Russia in the Far East in conjunction with the planned ?crushing blow? by the Germans. Japan was not impressed.

March 29, 1942

Escorts of the Arctic convoy, beat off  a German destroyer attack, sinking U-26, and succeeded in reaching the port of Murmansk.

The text of the "Draft Declaration of Discussion, with Indian Leaders," taken to India by Sir Stafford Cripps was published simultaneously in India and Great Britain. The British Government had decided to lay down in clear terms the steps to be taken for the earliest possible realization of self-?government in India. "The object is the creation of a new Indian union which shall constitute a Dominion, associated with the United Kingdom and the other Dominions by a common allegiance to the Crown but equal to them in every respect, in no way subordinate in any aspect of its domestic or external affairs??

The Chinese defenders at Toungoo withdrew from the area, giving the town to the Japanese.

March 30, 1942

Japanese forces in Burma broke through the allied defenses at Prome.

March 31, 1942  

Six-thousand Jews from Stanislawow arrive at Belzec to be killed. New rules went into effect at Auschwitz whereby those ?fit for work? would be sent to Birkenau as forced labor rather than directly to the gas chambers.

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