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

October, 1942

October 1, 1942

The Japanese ship Lisbon Maru was torpedoed. 1816 British prisoners were on board as the ship began to sink. They attempted to flee the holds but the Japanese crew locked down the hatches. As the hold filled, several hundred attempted to break out. The Japanese opened fire on them. Some escaped into the water and when attempting to climb ropes to other Japanese ships standing by, they were beaten and thrown back into the water. Some of the soldiers were rescued by sympathetic Chinese vessels, but were then turned over to the Japanese.
The first US jet fighter, the Bell XP-59, took the skies over the Mojave Desert. No US Jet fighters would see action before the end of the war. Even so, US forces would never use jet propelled aircraft operationally during the war.

October 2, 1942

While making a 28-knot zig-zag course in clear weather off the coast of Ireland, the luxury liner, and now troop transport Queen Mary, bringing 10,000 Americans to Britain, rams her escort, the cruiser Curacao. The cruiser is literally cut in two and by the time the Queen Mary clears the wreck, the two halves are 100 yards apart. The captain of the Queen Mary, fearing the presence of German submarines, doesn’t even bother to slow down to determine the damage to here escort, let alone pick up survivors. 101 sailors were saved, and 338 lost their lives. After the war, a court of inquiry, incredibly, determined that the cruiser was at fault for not staying out of the way.

October 3, 1942

The latest German offensive at Stalingrad begins to bog down as German forces have reached the Volga at several points. Resistance by the 62nd Army remains strong as several bridgeheads in the south and central sectors continue to hold out. Casualties on both sides are very heavy.

German forces attacking in the Caucasus capture Elkhotovo on the road to Drag Kokh.
Werner von Braun makes the first successful launch of his A-4 rocket. The plan for the rocket is to carry a 2000-pound warhead, 2000 miles. When put into production, this rocket would be become the famous V-2.

October 4, 1942

The German forces in the northern sector of Stalingrad, primarily the 14th Panzer Korp, launch fresh attacks against the factory complexes. The massive Tractor Factory is their objective.
The British raid the Channel Island of Sark. In the attack, several Germans were captured and bound for the march to the evacuation ship. During the walk, the Germans attempted to escape and were shot. An incensed Hitler, ordered the prisoners captured at the Dieppe raid to be manicaled and any commando captured to be shot.

October 5, 1942

US aircraft based in the Aleutians bomb Japanese installations on Kiska Island.

October 6, 1942

4th Panzer Army continues its attacks in the Caucasus as 3rd Panzer Korps captures Malgobek at the bend of the Terek river. At Stalingrad, two German division hit the 37th Guard Rifle Division at the Tractor Worker Settlement. After gaining ground with heavy losses on both sides, a freak bombardment by Katusha rockets catches a German battalion in the open, annihilating it, and stopping the attack.

October 7, 1942

Marines on Guadalcanal launch a new offensive to extend the perimeter around Henderson Field.
President Roosevelt announced that at the end of the war all war criminals would be surrendered to the United Nations, and a commission would be set up to investigate war crimes. (Just and sure punishment would be meted out to "ringleaders responsible for the organized murder of thousands of innocent persons, and the commission of atrocities which have violated every, tenet of Christian faith." There would be no mass reprisals, however.

October 8, 1942

Nazi High Command abandoned attempt to storm Stalingrad and announced a plan to reduce the city by heavy artillery. (The change in program was adopted to avoid "unnecessary sacrifice" of German blood.
Strong Japanese rearguard action against the Australians at Templeton Crossing on the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea

October 9, 1942

US B-17 bombers hit industrial targets in Lille, France in the largest daylight raid to date. RAF and US fighters provided escorts claiming 100 German aircraft shot down.

October 10 1942

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree establishing a single command and abolishing political commis­sars in the army. (The commissars had gained military experience and their former status had become superfluous. The decree was issued to free responsible military commanders from any hindrances in carrying out their duties and to add to their ranks

German and Italian bombers begin a major 10-day series of raids against Malta in the Mediterranean
Gahndi’s birthday is celebrated in India by massive strikes and demonstrations amid continuing calls for independence from Britain.

October 11, 1942

The Battle of Cape Esperance in the Solomons is fought. The Japanese heavy cruiser Furutaka and three destroyers were sunk. The Japanese commander, Aritomo Goto, was killed when his flagship Aoba was damaged. The Americans lost the destroyer Duncan. Many of the Japanese sailors refused to be rescued from the sea, preferring death in the shark-infested waters to capture.

October 12, 1942

At Stalingrad, the 37th Guards Rifle Division attacked out of their bridgehead, now withing 300 yards of the Volga. The Soviet attack succeeded in pushing the Germans back into the Tractor Factory Workers Settlement.

United States Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that 600,000 Italians living in the United States would no longer be regarded as enemy aliens. (Due to the result of the "splendid showing the Italians of America have made in meeting this test [loyalty to U. S.]."
Convoy SC-104, consisting of 44 merchant ships is attacked by 13 German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. This started a ten-day running battle. In the end, eight merchants were sunik, but the Germans lost 3 submarines to the Allied escorts.

October 13, 1942

The Germans launches a major attack against the factory district in northern Stalingrad. Von Paulus unleashes two Panzer Divisions (14th and 24th) and three infantry divisions (100 Jager, 60 Motorized and 389) hitting both the Tractor Factory and Red Barricades Factory. Losses are very heavy on both sides as the Soviets give ground.

The first US Army reinforcements join the Marines on Guadalcanal as a regiment of the America Division reaches the island.

Soviet partisans launch an operation to destroy the Bryansk-Lgov railroad. Specially trained sappers were parachuted behind the lines and succeeded in blowing 178 gaps in the rail line.

Japanese forces around Guadalcanal launch massive air and naval attacks. The 16-inch guns on the battleships Kongo and Haruna bombard the island for 90 minutes. Henerson Field is closed for a short time and other damage is heavy. Only 42 planes remained in service after the debris was cleared.

October 14, 1942

In the northern part of Stalingrad, units of the 6th Army advance in bitter fighting, following a series of devastating attacks by bombers where over 3000 sorties were flown. The massed armor succeeded in breaking through the Soviet lines. 180 German tanks rush through the gap resulting in an afternoon of chaotic fighting around the Tractor Factory. By nightfall, the factory was surrounded on three sides and fighting was going on in the outer workshops. That night, 3500 seriously wounded Soviet soldiers were evacuated across the Volga. 

October 15, 1942

The Germans reinforce the attacks in the factory district with the 305th Infantry Division. 24th Panzer Division succeeded in driving the 112th Rifle Division away from the factory district and isolated them at Spartanovka. The lines at the Tractor Factory broke again and fighting was reported 350 yards from the Soviet 62nd Army HQ. The Army's guard company was thrown forward in a desperate attempt to stem the German advance. It succeeded.

4000 Japanese reinforcements are landed at Tassaforonga Point on Guadalcanal.

October 16, 1942

At Stalingrad, the Soviets reinforced the northern flank with the newly arriving 138th Rifle Division. As the troops came off the boats, they were immediately sent the short distance to the front. Chuykov, Soviet 62nd Army commander, was informed that ammunition allotments would be halved for his command in the city. Normally this would be bad news, but Chuykov recognised this as a sure sign that a supplies were being planned for major offensive in the area and knew that this would releave the pressure on his forces.

The naval convoys assemble for Operation 'Torch', the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa.
The Japanese are forced back by Australians at Templeton Crossing, New Guinea. The shelling of Henderson Airfield continues.

October 17, 1942
The Soviet 62nd Army HQ was relocated south of the Banny Gully between the Red October Factory and Mamayev Kurgan.

US forces on Guadalcanal receive 32 aircraft.

October 18, 1942

German attacks in the factory district at Stalingrad reached a crisis point for the Soviets. Under severe attacks, Chuykov, for the first time in the six week old battle ordered a withdrawal of 200 yards. The move stabilized the front, but only just.

The advance by Army Group A , 17th Army,toward the Black Sea port of Tuapse is halted due to difficult terrain and stubborn Soviet resistance.

US submarines begin mining the approaches to Bangkok in the Gulf of Siam.
Hitler orders the execution of all British commandos captured.

October 19, 1942

Commonwealth forces break the French resistance on Madagascar and drive south.

October 20, 1942

The U.S. government, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City that were being conducted by Prescott Bush. The U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized Union Banking Corp.'s stock shares, all of which were owned by Prescott Bush, Avrell Harriman, three Nazi executives, and two other associates of Bush (see sidebar for details).
Allied aircraft start a four-day battle to smash Axis air power and gain air superiority over the El Alamein area in preparation for Montgomery’s long awaited offensive.

October 21, 1942

At Stalingrad, German forces launch a massive attack against the Soviet positions in the Barricades and the Red October Factory. Little gains are achieved for very heavy losses.

October 22, 1942

The Germans reinforce the attacks on the Barricades Factory with the 79th Infantry division, supported by armor. Heavy fighting broke the Soviet lines routing the Russians from the complex. The Germans were not stopped before they secured a foothold in the northwest corner of the Red October Factory. "However it would ultimately destroy Hitler's Third Reich in taking Berlin in 1945. Today, many historic hotels in Berlin run tours of the old WWII battlegrounds.. 

Australian forces landed on Goodenough Island off New Guinea
A US submarine lands General Mark Clark on Algiers in a secret mission to meet with pro-Allied French officers in Algiers attempting to assist in the upcoming landings in North Africa.

October 23, 1942

The Battle of El Alamein opens as Montgomery unleashes the British 8th Army. The attack begins with a 1000-gun barrage. After 20 minutes, 30 Corps sends four of its infantry divisions forward into the German minefields on a six mile front. The 8th Australian and 51st Highland Divisions attack toward “Kidney Ridge” while slightly to the south, the New Zealand Division supported by 1st South African Division strike toward the Miteirya Ridge.

At Stalingrad, German attacks in the factory district result in heavy fighting. Soviet forces are pushed out of 2/3 of the Red October Factory.

Japanese forces attempt to cross the Mataniko River on Guadalcanal but are thrown back with heavy loses (estimated at 600 killed).

US forces under the command of General George S. Patton, sail from Hampton Roads Virginia destined to land on the North African coast in Morocco.
The RAF launches bombing raids against Genoa and Turin, Italy.

October 24 1942

The Battle at El Alamein continues as 1st (north) and 10th (south) Armored Divisions are committed to the 30 Corp breaches in the German minefield. Faint attacks to the south by 13 Corp keep the 21st Panzer Division in place but by dawn, 15th Panzer Division is launching counterattacks against the 30 Corp breaches. Fighting is intense throughout the day. By nightfall, lead elements of the 1st Armored Divisions began to immerge from the minefield, but 10th Armored to the south was still mired in the mines. Congestion was severe and German artillery was taking a heavy toll.
Fighting continues in the Red October and Barricades Factory in Stalingrad. The Soviet 37th Guard, 193d and 308th Rifle division, numbering 20,000 men a week ago, now field only a few hundred soldiers.

October 25, 1942

During the night, mounting casualties and delays in clearing the minefields in the southern corridor leads to a crisis in the British command. Montgomery, orders the bloody attack to continue. By morning, the lead brigade of 10th Armored immerges into the clear. 15 Panzer Division redoubles it’s efforts against the breakthroughs and the day is once again dominated by heavy fighting around the ridges. Montgomery made one change in plan and sent the 9th Australian Division north to cut off the Italian and German formations still manning the lines between the northern breakthrough and the coast. Rommel, on sick leave in Germany, returns to the command of Panzer Armee Afrika.
German attacks on the northern end of Stalingrad concentrate on the salient at Spartanovka. Initially, theattacks succeeded in forcing the Soviets back, but the timely arrival of the Volga Flotillia and direct fire from their guns saved the situation for the Russians.

October 26, 1942

The Battle of Santa Cruz was fought as the Japanese fleet of45 capital ships including two fleet carriers and four battleships met a US fleet of 23 ships (2 carriers and one battleship). The attack began in the morning hours as Enterprise planes bombed carrier Zuiho while planes from Hornet severely damaged carrier Shokaku, and cruiser Chikuma. Meanwhile, the American carriers came under attack. Hornet was attacked and damaged so badly that she had to be abandoned. Enterprise was hit twice by bombs that killed 44 killed and wounded 75, but she stayed in action taking many of Hornet’s orphaned planes on board. The US destroyer Porter while running air-sea rescue operations was sunk by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-21. Although the American’s lost a carrier and a destroyer to the Japanese loss of a single light cruiser, the battle was a strategic victory for the Americans. With the loss of over a hundred planes and heavy damage to her carriers, the Japanese were compelled to remove their carriers from the area leaving the airspace over Guadalcanal in American hands.

Heavy fighting is once again reported in Stalingrad, as the German 79th Infantry Division drives against the newly arrived 39th Guard Rifle Division. The 62nd Army HQ once again comes under fire and its Guard company is dispatched to shore up the lines.

Both sides continued to attack at El Alamein but the only advances made were by the 9th Australian Division toward the coast. Allied air superiority began to show its effects as German armored formation are ravaged. Fuel shortages are becoming critical for the Axis armored formations and they only get worse when two tankers – Proserpina and Tergesta – are sunk.

Transport ships left British ports for their invasion in North Africa. Operation Torch, the first Anglo-American amphibious assault in Europe had begun.
The British failed in an attempt to sink the German battleship Tirpitz. A Norwegian naval officer, Leif Larsen, operating a fishing boat snuck into the anchorage at Trondheim Fiord. The plan was to launch a pair of Chariot manned torpedoes at the battleship, but just before the attack was to commence, a squall came up and the torpedoes were lost.

October 27, 1942

German forces drive hard for the last ferry crossing not under direct German fire. Elements of the 45th Rifle Division are rushed across to the landing site and as the soldiers leave the boats are rushed forward to the lines only a few hundred meters ahead. Half of the men landed, did not survive to see the sun set that day. By nightfall, the Germans are only 400 yards from the landing. There is now no place in Stalingrad that the Germans cannot direct fire.

RAF air raids on staging areas on the south end of the El Alamein line succeeded in wrecking German armor concentrations. A counter-attack by the 21st Panzer-Division to push the attacking British forces back into the German minefields fails, costing them 50 tanks leaving Rommel with 81 operational panzers.

Japanese forces began desperate attempts to land troops on Guadalcanal.
German attacks in the direction of Baku result in the rout of the Soviet 37th Army.

October 28, 1942

The US government issued orders seizing two Nazi front organizations run by the Bush-Harriman bank - the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation.

October 29, 1942

Montgomery redirects his attacks toward the center of the El Alamein line as the Germans reinforce the north end along the coastal road. German counter attacks in that area are stopped by tenacious Australian defenses.

The Japanese reoccupied Attu Island.

The Germans capture Nalchik in the Caucasus, only 50 miles from the Grozny oil fields.
The War Department announced that the Canadian­-Alaskan "Alcan" military highway, which had been under construction since March, had been opened to military use. One of the greatest feats of civil/military engineering had been completed in record time.

October 30, 1942

British naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea near Port Said, track, attack and force the German submarine U-559 to the surface. The German crew abandons the doomed vessel, but three men from the HMS Petard jump overboard and enter the sinking sub. The three daring swimmers rescue countless secret documents, among them the Short Weather Cipher and Short Signal Book which would allow the wizards at Bletchley Park to crack the German signals system. Two of the brave sailors, Anthoney Fasson and Colin Grazier died when the submarine sunk suddenly, but their efforts would save thousands of lives. The third sailor, Tommy Brown, was found to have lied about his age and was discharged from service. He was killed two years later attempting to rescue his two sisters from a burning slum tenement.

The Australian 9th Division breaks the German lines at El Alamein and moves to blocking positions along the coastal highway, cutting off several Axis formations.
German forces clear the Red October Factory complex at Stalingrad.

October 31, 1942

Luftwaffe bombers hit Canterbury.

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