Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives
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
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
December 3, 1942
German units, previously stationed in
France, begin arriving in Army Group South, in preparation for the attack to
In Tunisia, the 10th Panzer
Division launches limited attacks capturing Djedeida and Tebourba. French and
American forces captured the Faid Pass in southern Tunisia.
December 4, 1942
British and American bombers continue
to strike Italian ports. On this day, the Italian light cruiser Muzio
Attendolo was sunk.
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.
December 6, 1942
In Tunisia, German forces hit British
forces, inflicting heavy losses, destroying 25 tanks and taking 400 prisoners.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 12, 1942
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
December 13, 1942
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.
begins to retreat from his positions El Agheila, as the Eighth Army closes once
Hoth's tanks continue to make headway against the 51st Army as the German drive to relieve Stalingrad continues.
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.
December 15, 1942
The 2nd Guards Army moves into positions along the Myshkova River, backstopping the 51st Army, still retreating before the German relief attacks at Stalingrad.
Zhukov and Konev abandon the attacks on the eastern side of the Rzhev salient as the 20th and 29th Armies simply burn themselves out. On the other side of the bulge, the 40,000 men of the 41st Army attempted to break out of their encirclement. The force lost all of its tanks and heavy weapons and only about half of the men escaped. Operation Mars was over, an inglorious defeat for Zhukov.
British 8th Army sends the 2nd New Zealand Infantry division in an attempt to
outflank and surround the retreating Afrika Korps in Libya.
December 16, 1942
"Little Saturn" begins as the Soviet Voronezh and Southwest Fronts attack
the Italian 8th Army and elements of the Rumanian 3rd Army. The Italians were
utterly destroyed in the initial attacks along with much of the Rumanian army.
and Tatsinskaya, the main German-held airfield for resupplying Stalingrad, was
overrun. At Stalingrad, "Operation Ring" began as a new set of attacks to
reduce the German pocket began.
Fighting continues at Guadalcanal as US dive bombers attack yet another resupply effort, sinking the Japanese destroyer Kagero.
British forces attack in the Arakan Valley in Burma but move to slowly to catch the Japanese defenders before they were able to retreat to more defensible positions
December 17, 1942
joint declaration was announced in Moscow, London and Washington stating,
" the German authorities, not content with denying to persons of Jewish race
in all the territories over which their barbarous rule has been extended the
intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe Jews are being
transported, in conditions of appalling horror and brutality, to Easter
Europe None of these taken away are ever heard of again ". The Allied
governments concluded by condemning " in the strongest possible terms this
bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination."
and Australian forces launch an attack against Japanese positions at Buna. Tank
troops lead many of the attacks.
Darlan announces that the French Fleets in Dakar, Alexandria, and other North
African ports would join the United Nations.
The Volga River freezes allowing the Soviets to resupply the depleted 62nd Army in Stalingrad as Operation Winterstorm continues to inch closer to the trapped 6th Army in the city.
December 18, 1942
Heavy fighting continues at Buna as US and Japanese forces continue to make limited headway against tenacious Japanese defenses.
December 19, 1942
for several days a mere 30 miles from the pocket, Hoth's troops attack in an
all out effort to relieve Stalingrad. They succeed in reaching reached the
Myshkova. General von Manstein, knowing the relief attack will not succeeds
orders von Paulus to breakout. However, von Paulus takes the advice of his chief
of staff General Schmidt, a sycophant of Hitlers's and stays in Stalingrad.
Meanwhile, the Soviet's capture Kontemirovka and continue to grind the Italian
8th Army to a bloody pulp.
a massive effort to supply the surrounded defenders of Stalingrad from the air,
it failed. This day saw the Luftwaffe fly 250 tons to Paulus' Army, less than
half the minimum needed simply to sustain his forces. Even this inadequate level
was never met again.
British cruiser Neptune strikes a mine off Malta and sinks.
December 20, 1942
Battle Group was within sixteen miles of Stalingrad and completely spent. They
could not break trough the Soviet defense Von Manstein proposed that Paulus
break out and link up with Hoth. Paulus was unwilling to do anything without
Hitler's authorization. It would never come. The Germans at Stalingrad were
doomed. Meanwhile, the Caucasus Front opened it's offensive to drive the
Germans from that region and Soviets continue to probe the German defenses along
the Chir River and in the Millerovo area.
and Portughal announce the creation of a neutral Iberian bloc. Dispite this,
Spain's fascist leader Franco has a 20,000 "volunteers" fighting at
Leningrad, officially known as the 250th Infantry Division, but better known as
the "Blue Division".
Command begins using the "Oboe" navigation system to assist in there efforts
to burn Germany into submission.
8000 ton Japanese merchant ship struck a mine planted by US submarine forces off
the coast of Cape Inubo, east of Tokyo. This was the first ship sunk by US
forces in Japanese home waters
Japanese bomb Calcutta for the first time.
December 21, 1942
British troops cross the Burmese border from India and head Southeast towards Akyab.
December 22, 1942
The Indian 14th Division
advances in Burma moving toward Rathedaung.
The Soviet Winter Offensive continues
to roll forward as Morozovsk, Fydorovka and Kikolkoe are taken from the Germans.
December 23, 1942
Operation "Winter Storm" was
abandoned an the three exhausted Panzer Divisions which made up the fist of the
attack, were withdrawn to the startline at Kotelnikovo.
Heavy rains turn the Tunisian battlefield into a sea of mud and combat action comes to an abrupt halt.
December 24, 1942
Von Manstein was forced to withdraw Group Hoth as new Soviet attacks from the Stalingrad Front broke through the 4th Rumanian Army, threatening the German forces from the south as well as the north. Soviet offensives continue with new vigor on the Don Front as well with the apparent end of "Winter Storm".
bombers hit Wake Island.
Japanese forces in northern Burma
attempt to attack in the Chin Hills and are thrown back by Indian troops.
Admiral Darlan, leader of Free French
forces in North Aftrica, is
assassinated by a Gaullist fanatic.
Fighting on Longstop Hill continues in
Tunisia. The British occupy the position at the end of the day's fight.
December 25, 1942
troops around Stalingrad launch attacks against the German perimeter. The
fighting is very heavy and casualties are high on both sides. 6th Army slaughter
12,000 horses in the pocket, and distributes the horse-meat as regular rations
begin to run out.
see-saw battle for Longstop Hill continues This time, the Germans take the
position from the British.
The 123 Brigade (14 Indian Division) reaches Rathedaung, Burma, but is stopped from entering the city by Japanese reinforcements.
December 26, 1942
The Russians continue their advance in the middle Don region. They spearheads are 100 miles from Rostov, threatening to surround the German forces in the Caucuses and claim 56,000 prisoners since the offensive began.
December 27, 1942
allows Army Groups A and Don to retreat to a line 150 miles west of Stalingrad.
Red Army General Vlasov forms the
anti-Stalin Smolensk Soviet. The German sponsored effort was to recruit Russians
to fight communism. Vlasov's efforts would result in the creation of the
Russian Liberation Army.
December 28, 1942
forces are ordered to withdraw from Buna.
Roosevelt confirms that information on research activities will not be provided to the British unless they are actively involved in the research. The policy was specifically targeted at the ultra-secret Manhattan Project, the development of the nuclear bomb. The British were particularly upset by this non-cooperation policy.
December 30, 1942
The Soviets retake Remontnoe, 40 miles
northwest of Elista.
The Battle of the Barents Sea begins as
the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and Lutzow, escorted by 6
destroyers, leave their anchorage to attack convoy JW51-B, a 14-ship convoy
escorted by six destroyers, bound for Kola.
Attacks at Buna continue as the
Japanese position is split into two sections.
December 31, 1942
The Admiral Hipper and Lutzow
, operating independently, bring convoy JW51-B under fire. The heavily outgunned
British escorts, commanded by Captain
Sherbrooke deploy smoke screens and
the fainted torpedo attacks. The Germans refuse to press the attack and continue
to fire ineffectively at the convoy. In the action, Hipper engages and sinks the
British destroyer Bramble, and one is severely damaged Achates,
which sinks after the battle. The convoy escorts are reinforced by Admiral
Burnett's light cruisers, Jamaica and Sheffield, who damage Admiral
Hipper and sink the German destroyer Friedrich Eckoldt. The still
vastly superior German force withdraws.