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

April, 1942

April 1, 1942

The United States begins to remove any person of Japanese ancestry, including citizens, from coastal areas of the Pacific. Similar actions were not taken on the Atlantic coast or of people of German or Italian descent.

As US ship losses mount, a new policy of limited convoying is implemented as merchants move only in daylight from port to port.

April 2, 1942  

Axis air raids on the Maltese port of La Valetta are renewed.

The US 10th Airforce begins operations in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater with bombing raids on the Japanese fleet operating in the Andaman Islands.

April 3, 1942

Japanese bombers hit Mandalay, killing 2000 and destroying much of the city.

The Japanese open their final offensive on Bataan with a five-hour artillery and air bombardment, followed by infantry attacks supported armor. The tank support, limited as it was, still forced the US-Filipino defensive positions. Resistance was collapsing quickly.

April 4 1942

Heavy fighting is reported on Bataan as US-Filipino forces are forced back to make their final stands.

April 5, 1942

The Pearl Harbor carriers were back in action on this day. In a raid by over 200 aircraft, the Royal Navy cruisers Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire and destroyer Tenedos are attacked and sunk off Ceylon. In another set of raids targeting Colombo and Trincomalee in the Bay of Bengal, 23 merchant ships are sunk. In all 800 British sailors and 112,000 tons of shipping were lost. The Japanese had 36 planes shot down.

In Oslo Norway, 654 of the 699 Lutheran ministers resigned their civil service positions in protest of the Nazi occupation of their country.

April 6, 1942

Red Army forces make limited advances against very stiff German resistance in the Smolensk area.

German bombers hit the port facilities in Alexandria, Egypt

April 7, 1942  

Red Army troops force a very narrow corridor to Leningrad, opening a tenuous rail link to the city. Trains ran into the city with desperately needed supplies and came out with civilians and the wounded, all under heavy artillery fire from the Germans.

In Germany, Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, a protestant theologian, was arrested along with three Catholic priests for criticizing Nazi rule. They were all executed seven months later. 

King George awards the defenders of Malta the ?George?s Cross? as the 2000th air raid against the island occurs.

2500 Jews from Zamosc were trained to Sobibor where a new Nazi death camp had just opened. All but one of these people were gassed after their arrival.

April 8, 1942

2000 of Bataan?s defenders escaped to the dubious safety of Corregidor Island.

US planes begin operations ?over the Hump? as supplies are flown from India, over the Himalayans, to China.

April 9, 1942  

Japanese forces clear the Bataan Peninsula after three months of heavy combat. 76,000 US-Filipino troops are captured. This was the largest capitulation US forces in World War II.

Japanese aircraft from the carriers Soryu, Hiryu and Akagi sink the British carrier Hermes, the destroyer Vampire and three other ships in Indian Ocean.

With the breakdown of autonomy negotiations in India, British forces crack down on dissidents. Mahatma Gandhi arrested.

Heavy fighting is reported in the Crimean peninsula as Red Army forces attack at Kertsj. The attacks fall on stubborn German defenses and fail. In other attacks, Russians made headway against the Germans in the Orel area.

The Germans launch fresh attacks in the Lake Illmen area and make limited advances towards their surrounded units at Kholm-Staraya Russa.

April 10, 1942

The Bataan Death March starts as the prisoners  begin a 65 mile march from Mariveles to San Fernando. Little water or food were given ot the prisoners. Those not able to keep up were beaten or bayoneted on the roadside.

Japanese forces begin landing troops on Cebu and Billiton Islands in the Philippines

Heavy fighting in the Kholm area is again reported as German forces continue to make headway against stubborn Soviet defenses.

April 11 1942

The Russians land troops near Eupatoria in the Crimea. Fast response on the Germans part bottles up the Red Army forces on their beachhead.

Two British commandos paddled their canoe into the German occupied harbor of Bordeaux, destroying a German tanker.

April 12, 1942

Major action on the east front comes to an abrupt halt as the Spring thaw turns the landscape into a quagmire. In any case, the Soviets had extended their winter offensive to the limits of their thin and tenuous supply lines. The dry weather would see the initiative back in the hands of the Germans.

As the ?Bataan Death March? continues, 400 Filipino captives are hacked to death by sword wielding Japanese ?soldiers?.

Japanese forces in Burma break British lines and threaten the oil fields.

April 13, 1942

The destroyer Roper sinks U-85 south of Norfolk, Virginia becoming the first US warship to sink a German U-boat.

German forces in Africa begin attacks on the Gazala line near Tobruk. In one action on this day, the Corporal Jack Edmondson, mortally wounded in the neck and stomach, drove off a German attack of his position. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the first Australian to be so honored in the war.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

April 19, 1942

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

April 20, 1942

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

April 21, 1942

Spain pledges to send troops to support Germany?s war effort against Russia. Berlin radio quoted Se?or Su?er 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.

April 22, 1942

British forces abandon the Yenangyaung oil fields in Burma.

US forces begin to arrive in India.

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.

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.

April 25, 1942

United States troops landed on Free French‑controlled New Caledonia.

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?.

April 27, 1942

Roosevelt announced that the American economy was to be placed on a full war footing  and 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.

April 28, 1942  

Chiang Kai-shek informed the American government, that as a result of the Doolittle Raid, Japanese forces had landed in several coastal areas and razed towns, killing all of the men women and children, where they suspected the locals assisted the American fliers.

April 29, 1942

The Belgian resistance destroys Tenderloo chemical works, killing more that 250.

The Japanese begin an intensive bombardment of Corregidor Island in Manila Bay

Hitler and Mussolini meet in Berchtesgaden. Among the topics discussed was the recent increase in tension between Hungry and Rumania over long standing territorial disputes. It had already been decided that Hungarian and Rumanian troops would not be stationed in adjacent sectors for fear they would turn their guns on each other rather than the Russians.

Japanese forces in Burma capture Lashio, ending a 300 mile, 18-day march. The loss of the town blocked the Burma road, the main supply line between the western Allies and Nationalist Chinese forces.

April 30, 1942  

The Japanese continue to advance out of Lashio in Burma, driving the Chinese back along the Burma Road into China while British and American forces retreat  toward India.

The month of April saw 102,497 deaths in Leningrad from starvation. This would be the worst month of the siege.


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