World War Two Timeline of Events - 1942

Sourced from the Forces War Records Historic Document Archives, the 'Timeline of Events from 1939-45' provide a fascinating picture of the war as it was viewed at the time. Looking at this detailed timeline of WWII you can see wht it was called a World War, with so many countries involved across land, sea and air.

Within this timeline you will also discover Victoria Cross recipients with citations, Shipping losses, Battles, actions, RAF operations and so much more.

World War II Day by Day - 1942

1942 Timeline

JANUARY 1942

January 1, 1942

  • A combined naval and military force returns from operations lasting several days in the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of Norway. One of our Commandos and Norwegian troops landed at four different points and some German prisoners and several quislings were brought away. Our ships, which included Polish and Norwegian units, completely disorganised the enemy’s sea communications.
  • The Russian thrust west of Moscow makes steady progress and the important town of Staritsa is captured. In the Crimea more Russian troops are landed in the Kerch and Theodosia areas.
  • In Libya South African troops, supported by British tank and artillery units, penetrate the Bardia defences and capture 7,000 to 8,000 prisoners.
  • In the Philippines the American and Filipino troops opposing the Japanese in the north and south-east are united and regrouped.
  • In Malaya the Japanese make a fresh landing in lower Perak.

January 2, 1942

  • The United States, Great Britain, Russia, China, the Netherlands and twenty-one other nations have signed a compact undertaking to employ their full military and economic resources against the common enemies and not to make a separate armistice or peace.
  • Manila is captured by the Japanese but the island fortress of Corregidor is firmly held by the Americans and north and north-west of the city the combined American-Filipino army consolidate their positions.
  • The attack on Bardia is a brilliant and rapid success. Its capture involves a substantial haul of prisoners and the release of over 1,000 British prisoners of war.
  • The Russian advance continues. Soviet forces reoccupy Malo Yaroslavets, 80 miles south-west of Moscow.
  • The R.A.F. raid Tripoli and Naples. The Germans keep up their raids on Malta.
German and Italian prisoners captured when Bardia surrendered
Some of the 7,500 German and Italian prisoners captured when Bardia
surrendered to Major-General de Villiers on 2nd January 1942

January 3, 1942

  • Announcements of critical importance are made in Washington. Allied unity is to be a fact and not merely a theory. General Sir Archibald Wavell is appointed the Supreme Commander of all the sea. land and air forces in the South-West Pacific area. Major-General George H. Brett, Chief of the Air Corps of the United States Army, is appointed Deputy Supreme Commander. Under the direction of General Wavell, the American Admiral Thomas C. Hart assumes command of all the naval forces in this area.
  • At Bardia the clearance of the battlefield establishes that 7,000 prisoners, including a German general, have been captured.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Colonel, Arthur Edward CUMMING, Frontier Force Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Edward Cumming, Commander 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment, Indian Army. On 3rd January 1942 near Kuantan, Malaya, the Japanese made a furious attack on the battalion and a strong enemy force penetrated the position. Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming, with a small party of men immediately led a counter-attack and although all his men became casualties and he himself had two bayonet wounds in the stomach he managed to restore the situation sufficiently for the major portion of the battalion and its vehicles to be withdrawn. Later he drove in a carrier under very heavy fire, collecting isolated detachments of his men and was again wounded. His gallant actions helped the brigade to withdraw safely.

January 4, 1942

  • German attempts to stay the Russian advance west of Moscow are frustrated and our Allies recover the town of Borovsk. In the Kaluga sector the Russian pursuit has reached points 25 to 30 miles beyond that town.
  • On taking up his new appointment General Wavell says that the initial advantages gained by the Japanese are those of the lawbreaker over the decent citizen, acting in the absence of the police. He is convinced that the tide will turn and turn with inexorable strength. But what has happened in the Pacific cannot be reversed by a single stroke.
  • In Malaya the Imperial forces withdraw further to the south and the Japanese pass-through Perak and enter the state of Selangor.
  • In the Philippines Corregidor Island is subjected to a fierce and sustained Japanese bombing attack.
  • The British Foreign Secretary broadcasts on the subjects of his visit to Moscow.

January 5, 1942

  • The Russians make further progress in the Crimea and the whole of the Kerch peninsula is cleared.
  • In Malaya the withdrawal south of Ipoh continues, the Japanese trying to threaten the retreat by making further landings at the mouth of the Perak and Bernam rivers.
  • The American Air Corps scores a notable success in the Philippines. Their heavy bombers attack Japanese naval vessels off Davao, on the island of Mindanao, scoring hits on a battleship and sinking a destroyer.
  • In China the Chinese fling back a large Japanese force from Changsha and four enemy divisions find themselves in a very tight corner.
  • A Japanese air raid on Rangoon is beaten off. The Germans keep up their continuous raids on Malta. The R.A.F. makes heavy night attacks on the docks at Brest and Cherbourg.

January 6, 1942

  • The total haul of prisoners at Bardia is 7,082, of which 1,804 are Germans and 5,278 Italians.
  • President Roosevelt in a message to Congress sets forth a colossal production programme for this year. Sixty thousand aeroplanes, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 anti-aircraft guns and 8,000,000 tons of shipping are the goal, and the figures for 1943 represent a further vast increase.
  • In Russia Soviet forces make a new landing at Eupatoria on the west coast of the Black Sea.
  • In Malaya the withdrawal continues but elsewhere in the South-West Pacific the news is rather more favourable. Heavy Japanese air attacks on the American fortress island of Corregidor cause little damage and at least seven aircraft are hit by the defenders’ guns.
  • A successful combined operation by the Navy and the R.A.F. is carried out in Helle Fjord in Norway.

January 7, 1942

  • It is announced that Sir Geoffrey Layton, Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet, has left Singapore to organise the Eastern Fleet so that the Allies m ay gain sea supremacy in the Far East as soon as possible. But the land situation in Malaya continues to be serious. On the lower Perak front heavy Japanese pressure is maintained on our lines and at one point their tanks succeed in penetrating our defences. British bombers make a concentrated attack on the dock area at Bangkok.
  • In the Philippines there is fighting of varying intensity on all parts of the Luzon front and a big battle is in prospect.
  • R.A.F. bombers deliver a strong night attack on the German naval bases at Brest and St. Nazaire.
  • In a great speech to Congress, President Roosevelt says that the colossal estimated expenditure of the United States reflects “our determination to devote at least half of our national production to the war effort.”
  • In Russia the Soviet advance continues and the town of Meshchovsk is reoccupied.

January 8, 1942

  • Five American bombers operating with the R.A.F. make attacks on Japanese-occupied aerodromes near Bangkok. Seven Japanese aircraft are destroyed on the ground. There is no improvement in the land position in Malaya. Our forces are withdrawn to positions south of the Slim River and some losses in guns and transport are suffered.
  • In the House of Commons Mr. Attlee reviews the war in the Prime Minister’s absence. He says that what has happened in Malaya is only what was expected. Our position was determined by our total resources and it is not fair to blame the local commanders for strategic decisions made by higher authority.
  • The Americans announce that during the Japanese attack on Wake Island one Japanese cruiser, four destroyers, a gunboat and a submarine were destroyed.
  • The Japanese have suffered a heavy reverse in their attempt to capture Changsha. It is believed that their casualties amount to 30,000.
  • A new corps, to be called the Royal Air Force Regiment, is to be formed for the specific purpose of aerodrome defence at home. Its commander is Major-General C. F. Liardet.
  • In Libya General Rommel’s forces begin to withdraw from Jedabia, the movement being favoured by a heavy sandstorm.
  • Following the damning Butt Report on the accuracy of RAF bombing (August 1941), Air Marshal Sir Richard Peirse is relieved from command of R.A.F Bomber Command. He is replaced temporarily by Air Marshal John Baldwin and then permanently by Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris.

January 9, 1941

  • After a fierce and prolonged action on the Slim River our forces in Malaya again retire southwards. There are further Japanese air raids on Singapore.
  • The cruiser H.M.S. Galatea has been sunk by a German submarine.
  • The Russian advance to the west gather’s impetus. The towns of Mosalsk, Vetchino and Serpeisk are recovered and the Germans frankly admit that they are struggling against immense superiority, and not only in numbers.

January 10, 1941

  • There is further great activity by the Japanese in the West Pacific. At night they land on the Dutch island of Tarakan, off Borneo, and at Minahasai in the Celebes. At Tarakan the attraction is oil but they are frustrated by the destruction of the wells. In Malaya they still push southwards towards Kuala Lumpur. Their aircraft bomb Muar and the railway at Tebong while Imperial aircraft bomb Sungei Patani, the enemy occupied aerodrome at Ipoh and enemy shipping at Singora. In the Philippines a fierce Japanese attack on the American and Filipino lines is beaten off.
  • It is announced that Mr. Duff Cooper, Resident Minister for Far Eastern Affairs at Singapore, is being asked to return home, the appointment of General Wavell having necessarily brought his mission to an end.
  • At night there are heavy R.A.F. attacks on the naval base at Wilhelmshaven and Emden, as well as aerodromes in the Low Countries and the docks at Boulogne. The Germans display rather more than usual activity at night and carry out minor raids on Merseyside and the East Coast.
  • In Libya General Rommel continues his retreat towards El Agheila.

January 11, 1941

  • British submarines in the Mediterranean have torpedoed a large enemy transport and a medium-sized supply vessel in the Ionian Sea.
  • In Russia the Soviet armies continue their progress in several sectors; the town of Lyudinovo and the important railway junction of Tikhonovo Pustyn are reoccupied.
  • Axis positions in the vicinity of Solium are attacked and captured by South African troops. It is announced that during the latest campaign in Libya 26,000 Axis prisoners have been taken.
  • In Malaya our withdrawal continues and the Japanese enter Kuala Lumpur. In the Dutch East Indies, the garrison is still holding out at Tarakan and fierce fighting continues in the region of Minahasa. Allied aeroplanes bring down four Japanese aircraft near this town and score two direct hits on a cruiser.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a night attack on Brest

January 12, 1942

  • The Australian Minister of the Navy says that reinforcements for the protection of Australia and the other Far Eastern theatres of war will come from Great Britain and the United States as soon as possible.
  • In Malaya the retreat from Kuala Lumpur continues. Japanese aircraft bomb Tampin and Muar and Imperial bombers attack the railway station at Singora. Heavy enemy air attacks on Singapore cause the Japanese a loss of six, and probably 10 aircraft.
  • The Dutch garrison of Tarakan Island surrenders after a heroic fight against overwhelming odds. The surrendered prisoners of war (POW’s) are then executed by Japanese troops. Allegedly in retaliation for them destroying the oil refinery.

January 13, 1942

  • The Russians announce new successes. They have made further progress west of Moscow and reoccupied Kirov and Dorokhovo.
  • More submarine successes in the Mediterranean are announced. The Italian mine-sweeper Santo Pietro has been sunk, the supply ship Sirio torpedoed and seriously damaged and another enemy supply ship shelled and set on fire.
  • At a conference of nine allied countries held at St. James’s Palace their representatives sign a solemn declaration that the punishment of Axis war criminals is among the principal war aims of its opponents.

January 14, 1942

  • General Wavell, the allied Commander-in-Chief in the South-Western Pacific, has arrived in the Netherlands East Indies with his deputy, the American Lieutenant-General Brett.
  • In Malaya our retreat continues and the state of Pahang is abandoned to the Japanese, who reach points not much more than 100 miles from Singapore. In the Philippines the Japanese do not renew the attack on the American lines on the Bataan Peninsula but make further fierce onslaughts on Gorregidor Island, losing several bombers without any result.
  • A German submarine torpedoes a Panama tanker within 60 miles of the North American coast.
  • The Russians sink two German transports, totalling 11,000 tons, in the Barents Sea.
  • Hamburg, Emden and other German ports are heavily bombed by the R.A.F.

January 15, 1942

  • A conference of Foreign Ministers of all the States of the Americas meets in Rio de Janeiro to consider what steps should be taken vis-a-vis the Axis to secure the defence of the Western Hemisphere.
  • In Libya our mobile columns near the coast move forward against stiff opposition over heavily mined country. A heavy bombardment of Halfaya by land and air is kept up all day.
  • Hamburg and Bremen are again attacked by a strong bomber force and large fires are left burning.
  • In the Western Pacific the Japanese make fierce air attacks on the Dutch base of Amboina and the east coast of Borneo. An American submarine has sunk a Japanese liner of 17,000 tons which was probably used as an aircraft-carrier.
  • The Greek and Yugoslav Governments enter into a federation agreement providing for political, economic and military unity.
  • The Russians make further progress west of Rzhev and Kalinin and arrive within artillery distance of Kharkov

January 16, 1942

  • At the Pan-American conference at Rio de Janeiro Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela table a resolution that all the nations represented shall break off diplomatic, commercial and financial relations with the Axis Powers.
  • It is announced that Sir Stafford Cripps is relinquishing his post at his own request and coming home.
  • United States warships have sunk five more Japanese vessels - two large cargo ships, two large transports and one medium transport in Far Eastern waters. In the Philippines General MacArthur’s army beats off heavy attacks by Japanese shock troops. In Malaya Australian troops come into contact with the enemy and emerge with profit and credit from their first encounter.
  • The trawler H.M.T. Lady Shirley has been lost. She was famous for having sunk a German submarine last October.

January 17, 1942

  • The Prime Minister arrives home after his momentous visit to the United States and is given a tremendous welcome. He came back in a flying-boat which he piloted himself for part of the journey.
  • The Germans announce that Field-Marshal von Reichenau has died of apoplexy, but his death at this crisis in German affairs arouses widespread suspicion.
  • The Germans and Italians at Halfaya surrender unconditionally and the last obstacle to our communications with Libya is thus removed. About 5,500 prisoners are taken.
  • In Malaya there is a bitter struggle for the possession of Gemas. Our fighters and bombers carry out attacks on the Gemas-Tampin Road. The Japanese make two heavy daylight raids on Singapore, employing 20 aircraft in the first and 50 in the second. Our aircraft attack enemy shipping off Malacca.
  • American army bombers raid the enemy-occupied airfield at Menado, Celebes, and shoot down nine Japanese fighters.

January 18, 1942

  • The submarine H.M.S. Perseus has been lost.
  • The Russians continue their advance in the Leningrad. Moscow and Ukraine sectors. At one point they are within 60 miles of Smolensk. Their aircraft destroy eight tanks, over 550 motor vehicles and three railway supply trains.
  • It is announced that the Prime Minister of Burma U Saw, has been detained in view of the fact that he got into contact with Japanese authorities after the outbreak of war with Japan.
  • The Axis counterblast to the allied plans for cooperation in all theatres of war is announced in Berlin. Germany, Italy and Japan sign a convention specifying joint operations against their common enemies.
  • Naval aircraft in the Mediterranean torpedo a large tanker and a destroyer. Enemy aircraft raid Malta.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Colonel, NX.12595, Charles Groves Wright ANDERSON, Australian Military Forces awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Groves Wright Anderson. Australian Military Forces. During the period 18th/22nd January 1942, near the Muar River, Malaya, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson was in command of a small force which destroyed 10 enemy tanks and, when later they were cut off, he led his force through enemy lines to a depth of 15 miles, being attacked by air and ground forces all the way. He was again surrounded and suffered heavy casualties, and although he attempted to fight his way back through eight miles of enemy-occupied territory, this proved impossible, and he had to destroy his equipment and work his way around the enemy. Throughout the fighting he protected his wounded and refused to leave them.

January 19, 1942

  • In their sweeping advance westwards, the Russians achieve a mighty triumph with the capture of Mojaisk, lynch-pin of the German defensive system to the west of Moscow.
  • In Malaya our centre holds, but the position is compromised by Japanese landings on the left flank at Muar, in the neighbourhood of Batu Pahat and between those two points. In Burma our forces have withdrawn from Tavoy and its important aerodrome is occupied by Japanese forces.
  • The destroyer H.M.S. Vimiera has been sunk.

January 20, 1942

  • The Japanese thrust forward on the left flank is still the disturbing feature of the situation in Malaya, involving as it does a further British withdrawal on the other sectors. Enemy aircraft raid Singapore again and drop bombs indiscriminately, mainly in residential areas. About 50 civilians are killed and 150 injured.
  • Japanese aircraft also make a heavy raid on Rabaul aerodrome, in New Guinea.
  • An American torpedo-boat has made a daring night attack in Subic Bay, in the island of Luzon, and sunk a 5,000-ton enemy ship. American army bombers have sunk a cruiser and set on fire a large tanker off Tolo.
  • The Japanese renew their attack on General MacArthur’s forces but are once again repulsed.
  • The trawlers Henrietta and H.M.T. Irvana have been sunk, but there are no casualties.
  • Senior Nazi Party and German government officials headed by Reinhard Heydrich gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”

January 21, 1942

  • What appear to be serious operations in a new theatre of war are reported from Burma. There is heavy fighting all day in the Kawkareik area, 45 miles east of Rangoon.
  • The Russians issue some very impressive figures in a special review of their military operations since the tide of battle turned on 6th December. The Germans have lost 300,000 men killed, 4,800 guns, 1,100 aircraft, nearly 4,000 trench mortars and 33,000 lorries.
  • The Japanese commence air attacks on New Ireland and New Britain, in the Bismarck Archipelago, as well as on New Guinea itself. In Luzon, General MacArthur’s force successfully repels all Japanese attacks.
  • In Libya, the enemy in three strong columns makes a reconnaissance in force to a depth of about 10 miles east of a line running south of Mersa Brega.

January 22, 1942

  • It is announced in Canada that the verdict of the Dominion on the issue of conscription will be taken by a plebiscite.
  • The R.A.F. make a concentrated night raid on Muenster, leaving large fires burning. Enemy aerodromes in Holland and the docks at Dunkirk are also bombed.
  • The American-Filipino army of General MacArthur again distinguishes itself in the defence of the Bataan Peninsula. The most ferocious and sustained Japanese attacks are beaten off in fighting lasting all day.
  • The principal change in the Pacific area is an attack on Australian territory for the first time. Japanese troops land at Rabaul, in New Britain.

January 23, 1942

  • The Russians have just achieved a sensational success in the northern sector. In the course of operations lasting 12 days, they have broken through the enemy defences on the Kalinin front, advanced 65 miles and reoccupied a number of towns, including Kholm and Toropetz. The captured material includes 350 guns and 52 armoured-cars and tanks, while more than 17,000 Germans have been killed.
  • There is disappointing news from Libya. General Rommel’s troops are on the move again but in the wrong direction - for us. They push forward from the Mersa Brega area and reoccupy Jedabya.
  • In Malaya we are just about holding our own. Singapore is heavily raided by a large force of Japanese bombers and fighters. Military damage is confined to buildings and six enemy aircraft are shot down for certain. Japanese aircraft bombing Rangoon are roughly handled and 21 out of 60 are lost.
  • There are Japanese landings in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
  • First U.S. Army troops arrive in the UK.
  • The Dutch Air Force has great success against a Japanese convoy threading its way through the Strait of Macassar. Twelve direct hits are scored on eight enemy warships and transports.
  • An attack lasting all day and during the night is made on an enemy convoy of a 20,000-ton liner, three large merchant vessels, one battleship, four cruisers and 15 destroyers in the Central Mediterranean. Our bomber and torpedo aircraft score hits on the battleship, the liner, one of the cruisers and two of the merchantmen. The liner is set on fire and almost certainly sunk and one of the merchantmen is left blazing.
The first American troops to put foot on British soil
The first American troops to put foot on British soil disembarking from their ship

January 24, 1942

  • The British submarine H.M.S. H-31 has been lost.
  • Dutch and American aircraft and American warships continue the onslaught on the huge Japanese convoy trying to pass through the Strait of Macassai. Four large enemy transports are sunk and two severely damaged. A force of American B-17 Flying Fortresses is attacked by 12 enemy fighters and shoots down five. No Japanese convoy has suffered such heavy losses.
  • In Luzon further Japanese attacks force the defending troops to give ground with considerable losses
  • In New Britain, though the Japanese have occupied Rabaul, Australian troops are keeping them penned in from hills and forests in the vicinity.
  • Mr. Curtin, the Australian Premier, says that Australia claims representation in an Imperial War Cabinet and that a Pacific Council shall be formed for joint consultation between the allied countries particularly concerned.
  • The British Army in Libya attempt to hold up General Rommel’s thrust by delaying action in the triangle Jeabya-Antelat-Saunna.

January 25, 1942

  • General MacArthur retrieves the position in Luzon by launching a heavy counter-attack on his extreme right, scoring a brilliant success.
  • In Malaya in spite of heavy Japanese pressure, our positions are on the whole well held. Our aircraft support the operations by a heavy and successful attack on military objectives at Labis.
  • The Australian Minister for the Army says that he has received a message from Mr. Churchill promising immediate consideration of the request for the creation of an Imperial War Cabinet and an Allied War Council on the Pacific area.
  • The Russian advance continues and the Soviet forces occupy the town of Nelidovo. on the railway line from Rzhev to Velikye Luki.
  • The position in Libya deteriorates. There is confused fighting over a wide area in Cyrenaica but enemy forces reach the area north and north-east of Msus.

January 26, 1942

  • The arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland marks another milestone in this tremendous war. They are given a welcome in every way worthy of the occasion.
  • The Japanese convoy in the Macassar Strait continues to have a bad time. American cruisers and destroyers sink five more transports. American and Dutch bombers damage cruisers and transports.
  • Hanover and Emden are bombed by the R.A.F.
American troops marching through the quayside at a Northern Ireland port
A detachment of American troops marching through the quayside at a Northern Ireland port, January 26th 1942

January 27, 1942

  • The Prime Minister makes a great speech in review of the war at the moment. He says that we must expect further setbacks in the Far East.
  • It is revealed that the battleship H.M.S. Barham was sunk off Solium on 25th November.
  • On patrol off Midway Atoll, USS Gudgeon detects Japanese submarine I-73 running on the surface and fires three torpedoes. I-73 dives with open vents and disappears with all hands. I-73 is the first warship ever sunk by an American submarine.
  • American “Flying Fortresses” destroy two more transports of the Japanese convoy in the Strait of Macassar.

January 28, 1942

  • Japanese air attacks on Rangoon are still an expensive failure. In a heavy raid to-day the American Volunteer Group bring down at least one-third of a substantial force of fighters. R.A.F. bombers make another heavy raid on the dock area at Bangkok.
  • Another German attempt to embroil Great Britain with Spain is reported. A further Spanish ship, the Navemar, has been sunk by Axis submarines and the enemy has broadcast that a British submarine was responsible. The Admiralty announces that no British or allied submarine was at the time anywhere near the scene of the incident.
  • Colonel Knox, American Secretary of the Navy, says that Japan attacked because Hitler wants America to throw all her growing strength into the Pacific and to stop supplying the British and the Russians. But the United States did not propose to do that. She would not fall into Hitler’s trap.

January 29, 1942

  • In Libya General Rommel’s attempt to cut off all our troops north of Bengazi has not been successful. The 7th Indian Infantry Brigade, though surrounded, decides to break through and in due course two columns of this force re-join our main body.
  • Our bombers raid motor transport and encampments between Jedabya and El Agheila. At Tripoli the Spanish Mole and motor transport parks south of the town are bombed. In the Central Mediterranean naval aircraft score hits on two merchant vessels which are left disabled and probably sinking.
  • The Chinese have won a solid success in Southern China. After a long struggle they capture the town of Waichow and push on towards Poklo.

January 30, 1942

  • Our forces have had to leave the Malay Peninsula and retire to the island of Singapore.
  • In Burma there is fierce fighting for the town of Moulmein. The first attack is beaten off in the morning. The second makes progress but throughout the night the enemy is kept at bay.
  • A new centre of activity in the Dutch East Indies is Amboina. A Japanese convoy is discovered making for this island, the second Dutch naval base in the whole area. There are Japanese air attacks and the Dutch thoroughly destroy all important installations.

January 31, 1942

  • R.A.F. bombers raid the docks at Brest, St. Nazaire and Havre.
  • In a broadcast to the people of Singapore the Governor says that substantial reinforcements have reached the island and that the battle of Singapore has begun.
  • Fighting at Moulmein continues all day but at night our troops are withdraw n over the Salween River after removing all stores and equipment.
  • The Japanese land on the island of Amboina and there is fierce fighting all day.
  • Our artillery on the island of Singapore keeps up a brisk fire on Japanese troop movements across the Strait of Johore.
  • On the island of Luzon fierce Japanese attacks on the American-Filipino lines across the Bataan Peninsula are repulsed with heavy loss. The Japanese collect launches and barges on the south side of Manila Bay for an attack on Corregidor. They are discovered and destroyed or scattered.

FEBRURY 1942

February 1, 1942

  • The United States Fleet is on the map again and has been in action against the Japanese. It is announced that a surprise attack has been made upon the Japanese naval and air bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. In the Marshalls bases on the islands of Jaluit, Wotje, Kwajalein, Roi and Taroa were raided. Japanese fleet auxiliaries were sunk, beached or otherwise extensively damaged. Military installations were bombed and shelled and many aircraft destroyed.
  • In Libya our troops retire east of Barce and apparently there has not been any further main attempt to hold up the enemy’s advance. Indian troops greatly distinguish themselves. The 11th Infantry Brigade delivers a successful counter-attack and the 7th Infantry Brigade re-joins our main body after an adventurous escape covering more than 200 miles.
  • The Russians meet stubborn resistance in their attempt to push on from Lozovo to Dniepropctrovsk and the Germans are saying openly that they cannot afford to lose any more ground in this area, which will be their springboard for a renewed offensive later on.
  • General MacArthur scores another great success in the Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese 16th and 65th Divisions suffer terrible losses in an all-day onslaught, though they are shock units specially selected and trained.
  • The Norwegian fascist leader Vidkun Quisling becomes Minister-President of Norway.

February 2, 1942

  • In spite of their boast about a general offensive having begun, the Japanese take no land action against Singapore. But they continue air raids, though without doing much damage.
  • American aircraft continue their attack on what is left of the Japanese shipping in the Strait of Macassar. Near Balik Papan they sink two transports for certain and probably a third.
  • After his destruction of the Japanese 16th and 65th Divisions General MacArthur has an easier task in frustrating two Japanese attempts to land troops on the west coast of Bataan.
  • In Libya the Axis advance continues in three columns towards Derna. There is still no indication as to where General Auchinleck will elect to make a stand. The reinforcement of Rommel has presented him with a stern problem.

February 3, 1942

  • At last, the Japanese come to grips with their principal objective in the South-West Pacific. For the first time they raid Sourabaya, the chief Dutch naval base. Substantial damage is done to naval installations and equipment and some Dutch aircraft are destroyed. The raids extend to other towns on the coast.
  • It is announced that an Empire Airways flying-boat has recently been lost with 13 passengers after an attack by Japanese aircraft between Darwin and the island of Timor.
  • The main Russian thrust is still in the Donetz area south of Kharkov, but the German resistance is stiffening.

February 4, 1942

  • At Singapore there is little activity save for Japanese air raids on the city. General Wavell sends a stirring message to the defenders, exhorting them to “make the defence of Singapore as memorable and successful an exploit as the defence of Tobruk.”
  • The Dutch keep up a stout fight on Amboina, and in Luzon the American and Filipino troops demolish the remains of a Japanese division which has been beaten off during the night.
  • Our light naval forces, including a Polish unit, intercept two laden enemy supply ships off the Channel Islands.
  • The trawlers H.M.T. Loch Alsh and H.M.T. Cape Spartel have been sunk.
  • In Russia the Soviet authorities say that the German front in the south-western sector has been broken, but the Germans claim that they have forced the Russians in the centre to retreat towards Mojaisk.
  • The Prime Minister has made some important changes in his government. Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of Production, Sir Andrew Duncan Minister of Supply, Colonel Llewellin President of the Board of Trade.
  • The Victoria Cross is awarded to Brigadier John Charles Campbell, D.S.O.
  • After a political crisis in Egypt Nahas Pasha, leader of the Wafd Party, accepts an invitation to form a government.

February 5, 1942

  • At Singapore our artillery shells enemy transport and movements across the Strait of Johore. The Japanese speak of a general offensive having begun, but so far it has only taken the form of artillery and air bombardment.
  • The submarine H.M.S. Triumph is overdue and must be considered lost. She had many successes against enemy naval and merchant vessels to her credit.
  • In Libya there is practically no land fighting, but our fighters have a good time over the back areas, wrecking enemy vehicles, including fuel-carrying transport.
  • Two German Dornier bombers, trying to attack one of our convoys, are shot down by a fighter and two of the merchant vessels.

February 6, 1942

  • There is a cheering piece of air news from the Far East. Thirty Japanese aircraft attack Rangoon and are engaged by fighters of the R.A.F. and American Volunteer Force which destroy 10 for certain and probably 10 more; all without loss.
  • A new war-leaders organisation is set up in Washington to coordinate Anglo-American action. It is divided into two groups, the American section consisting of Admiral Stark, General Marshall, Admiral King and Lieutenant-General Arnold; the British of Field-Marshal Sir John Dill, Admiral Sir Charles Little, Lieutenant-General Sir Colville Wemyss and Air Marshal A. T. Harris.
  • The corvette Genista shoots down a Focke-Wulf long-range bomber.
  • Two Axis supply ships are sunk by naval torpedo bombers in the Mediterranean.
  • Another attempt by German bombers to attack a British convoy has no greater success than yesterday. H.M.S. Leeds and H.M.S. Puffin destroy or damage three and drive off the rest.
  • At night the R.A.F. attacks the docks at Brest.

February 7, 1942

  • There are signs of trouble brewing in the Western Mediterranean. At Tangier, thanks to Axis intrigue and propaganda, a bomb outrage is represented as British work and a Moorish mob attacks the British post-office, the Consulate-General and other buildings.
  • A comparatively new feature in our aerial operations is an offensive by aircraft of Bomber Command over the North Sea.

February 8, 1942

  • After a continuous and concentrated bombardment Japanese troops land during the night on the island of Singapore between Kranji and Pasir Laba.
  • The naval base on Singapore Island has been evacuated. A fierce artillery duel rages all day across the Strait of Johore.
  • The Germans announce that Dr. Todt, the head of the famous “Todt Organisation,” and the builder of Germany’s roads and the Siegfried Line and other fortifications, has been killed in an air crash.

February 9, 1942

  • All attempts during the day to eject the Japanese from the island of Singapore end in failure. On the contrary, there are further Japanese landings and their usual methods of infiltration carry them through the gaps in the defending line and into the rear of our positions.
  • The Japanese make their first air attack on Batavia, the capital of Java. Neighbouring aerodromes suffer some damage and the streets of the town are machine-gunned but the all-important harbour escapes lightly.
  • In Burma these is fierce fighting on the River Salween, which the Japanese succeed in forcing.
  • The French liner Normandie, now taken over by the Americans, is on fire in New York harbour. In spite of tremendous efforts to save her she heels over.
  • A ministerial Pacific Council has been set up in London. Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand will each have representatives on it.
  • The destroyer H.M.S. Matabele has been sunk.

February 10, 1942

  • The Singapore battle continues to develop adversely. Having secured their landings on the west coast of the island the Japanese infiltrate towards the two reservoirs, the possession of which will make all further resistance impossible. Our few remaining fighters engage vastly superior enemy forces in a desperate effort to turn the tide.
  • The Pacific War Council in London holds its first meeting under the shadow of the bad news from Singapore.
  • The Victoria Cross is awarded to Lieutenant Philip John Gardner, M.C., of the Royal Tank Regiment, for extreme gallantry in the Libya battle on 23rd November, 1941.
  • It is made known that an American naval force, precursor of the American reinforcements for the South-West Pacific, has reached New Zealand.

February 11, 1942

  • Though the Japanese are firmly established on the western side of Singapore Island the defenders are vigorously resisting on a line south of the naval base and covering the reservoirs.
  • Australian bombers attack Japanese shipping off Gasmata, on the coast of New Britain. One transport is set on fire and two large merchant vessels are hit from mast height.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a heavy night attack on Mannheim, where the principal targets are the railway centre, factories and warehouses.

February 12, 1942

  • After leaving Brest and passing up the Channel during the night, the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen are discovered just before midday at the western entrance to the Dover Strait. They are immediately subjected to an heroic attack by six Sword fish torpedo aircraft, not one of which returns. In spite of constant onslaught by M.T.B.’s from the Dover area, destroyers from the North Sea and R.A.F. fighters and bombers, the German warships make good their escape to Heligoland. Forty-two British aircraft are lost. Eighteen enemy aircraft are shot down for certain and the number is probably larger.
  • At a ceremonial reception to General Chiang Kai-Shek at Delhi it is announced that he has been made a K.C.B. (Knights of the Bath).
  • In Russia the Soviet armies record solid progress. The enemy’s close blockade of Leningrad has been interrupted and Russian troops have reached the borders of White Russia.
  • Lord Beaverbrook has some important news to communicate in his first speech as Minister of Production. He says that he wants to redress the pessimistic opinions about our tanks. The Valentine is one of the finest of all tanks and we have a new tank gun to which the German and Italian tanks will not stand up. He also gives some remarkable figures about aeroplane production. In 1941 we sent abroad nearly 10,000 aircraft against 2,134 brought in.
  • It is announced that India is included in the War Cabinet and the Pacific War Council.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant-Commander Eugene Kingsmill ESMONDE, Fleet Air Arm awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Commander Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde, Royal Navy (825 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm). On 12th February 1942 in the Straits of Dover, Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde led his squadron of six swordfish to the attack of two German battle cruisers and the cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were entering the Straits strongly escorted by surface craft. Detached from their escorting fighters (just 10 in number) by enemy fighters, all the aircraft of the squadron were damaged, but even after Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde's plane sustained a direct hit he still continued the run-in towards his target until it burst into flames and crashed into the sea. The squadron went on to launch a gallant attack, but none of the six aircraft returned.
Royal Navy destroyer crew after raiding German ships
Royal Navy destroyer crew after raiding German ships fleeing Brest 12th February 1942

February 13, 1942

  • The desperate struggle for Singapore continues. The defenders fight on heroically but the Japanese are gradually closing in on the city from the west and the all-important reservoirs are almost in their hands.
  • The Americans issue more details about the recent operations by their Pacific fleet against the Japanese Marshall and Gilbert Islands, the base for the attack on Pearl Harbour. Among the ships destroyed was a 17,000-ton converted aircraft-carrier, a light cruiser, a destroyer, three large tankers, and eight merchant ships.
  • Germany and Italy seem determined to make a better showing in the air in North Africa. An attempt is made today to raid Tobruk harbour by a large formation of bombers escorted by fighters. They are intercepted by our fighters, suffer substantial losses and fail to reach their target.

February 14, 1942

  • We have a notable air success in Libya. Eighteen British and Australian Kitty hawk fighters rout a large force of enemy aircraft attacking our troops in the Acroma area. Without loss to themselves 20 Italian and German machines are shot down and another 10 damaged.
  • The Japanese land parachutists at Palembang in Sumatra. Their object is to prevent the Dutch from destroying the oil wells. But the attack fails and more than 700 parachutists are killed.
  • A convoy of 44 Navy and merchant ships leaving Singapore for Java to stop them falling into Japanese hands ran into a Japanese convoy heading to Sumatra. Among the vessels sunk or captured as the convoy scatters is the river gunboat H.M.S Grasshopper, The Grasshopper’s mascot, a pointer dog, Judy is among those captured and becomes the only registered animal POW (POW 81A). Judy was later awarded the Dickin Medal (the animal V.C.) “For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and also for saving many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.” 
  • R.A.F. bombers are again active at night, Mannheim and other objectives in the Rhineland and docks at Le Havre, Dunkirk and Ostend being the principal targets.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temp Lieutenant Thomas WILKINSON, Royal Naval Reserve awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Temporary Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson, Royal Naval Reserve. On 14th February 1942 in the Java Sea, HMS Li Wo, a patrol vessel, formerly a passenger steamer, commanded by Lieutenant Wilkinson, sighted two enemy convoys, one escorted by Japanese warships. The Lieutenant told his crew he had decided to engage the convoy and fight to the last in the hope of inflicting some damage – this decision drew resolute support from the whole of the ship's crew. In the action which followed a Japanese transport was set on fire and abandoned, and Li Wo stayed in action against a heavy cruiser for over an hour before being hit at point-blank range and sunk. Lieutenant Wilkinson ordered his crew to abandon ship, but he went down with Li Wo.

February 15, 1942

  • A black day in the history of the British Empire and the British Army. After stern resistance Singapore surrenders at 12.30 p.m. It is believed that about 60,000 men are taken prisoner by the Japanese.
  • The Prime Minister makes no attempt to hide the seriousness of the blow. He describes it “as a heavy and far-reaching military defeat.” He also says that all he has to offer is hard, adverse war for many months ahead.
  • Following on yesterday’s parachute attack the Japanese make landings on the coast of Sumatra near to Palembang. But they are baulked of their prey, the great oil installations, which are destroyed by the Dutch. In general, resistance to the Japanese invasion is growing in the vital areas. Australian and American troops have arrived and are arriving in the Dutch East Indies. Japanese shipping in the Strait of Macassar has been attacked by twelve American Flying Fortresses.
  • Our submarines in the Mediterranean continue to decimate Axis shipping. One large and one medium sized supply ship have been sunk.

February 16, 1942

  • Enemy submarine depredations in the Western Mediterranean are becoming serious. Seven tankers are torpedoed and sunk or damaged by a submarine or submarines off Aruba and Curacao in the Dutch West Indies. Oil refineries are also shelled.
  • There is no substantial change in the position in the Western Pacific, where the Japanese are plainly gathering all their strength for an all-out attack on Java. The coming of allied reinforcements is indicated by a concentrated Japanese bombing of shipping passing through the Timor Sea. Not one ship is hit.
  • In Burma the Imperial army withdraws to the line of the River Bilin.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Petty Officer CJX147945 Thomas William GOULD, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Petty Officer Thomas William Gould, Royal Navy. On 16th February 1942 north of Crete, HM Submarine Thrasher, after attacking and sinking a supply ship, was itself attacked, and later, after surfacing, two unexploded bombs were discovered in the gun-casing. The first lieutenant and Petty Officer Gould removed the first one without too much difficulty, but the second was lying in a very confined space and they had to approach it lying full length. Petty Officer Gould then lay on his back with the bomb in his arms while the lieutenant dragged him along by the shoulders. It was 40 minutes before they got the bomb clear and dropped it over the side.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson ROBERTS, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts, Royal Navy. On 16th February 1942 north of Crete, HM Submarine Thrasher, after attacking and sinking a supply ship, was itself attacked, and later after surfacing, two unexploded bombs were discovered in the gun-casing. Lieutenant Roberts and a petty officer removed the first one without too much difficulty, but the second was lying in a very confined space and they had to approach it lying full length. The petty officer then lay on his back with the bomb in his arms while the lieutenant dragged him along by the shoulders. It was 40 minutes before they got the bomb clear and dropped it over the side.
HMS 'Thrasher' submarine crew
HMS 'Thrasher' submarine crew (containing 2 V.C., 1 D.S.O., 2 D.S.C. & 6 D.C.M. recipients)
with Jolly Rodger (11 ships sunk, 1 warship, 7 gun kills)

February 17, 1942

  • After the escape of the German warships and the Singapore disaster the Prime Minister has to meet a somewhat critical House of Commons. He says that he has no further news of the latter incident and the former is to be the subject of an investigation by a tribunal presided over by Mr. Justice Bucknill.
  • Australia is at last fully awake to her dangers. The Government orders full military, civil, economic and industrial mobilisation. Mr. Curtin, the Prime Minister, says that “the Government has now assumed supreme powers over the private life and property of every individual.”
  • In Burma there is fierce fighting along the River Bilin. The Japanese succeed in forcing a crossing at some points.

February 18, 1942

  • The Japanese are not having it all their own way in the Dutch East Indies. Dutch and American aircraft have destroyed a large Japanese transport and many barges conveying troops, as well as damaging two more transports. Twenty-four Japanese aircraft attack Scura-baya harbour, doing some damage but losing live.
  • In Burma the Japanese effect a crossing of the River Bilin at some points.
  • The Admiralty announce that certain convoys have successfully passed through the Central Mediterranean recently. Two merchant ships had to be sunk after being damaged but no casualties in personnel were suffered on our side. An attempt to intercept by enemy cruisers and destroyers was a complete failure. Our naval torpedo aircraft scored hits on two cruisers and a destroyer and a submarine hit an 8-in. gun cruiser with two torpedoes.

February 19, 1942

  • There are some striking changes in the War Cabinet. Sir Stafford Cripps becomes Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons, Mr. Attlee Secretary for the Dominions and Mr. Oliver Lyttelton Minister of State with special responsibility for all branches of production. The ministers to leave the War Cabinet are Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Kingsley Wood and Mr. Arthur Greenwood.
  • The war is brought to Australia. The Japanese make two bombing raids on Darwin causing considerable damage and several casualties. In Burma the fighting is continued on the Bilin River with varying fortunes. It is announced that Rangoon has been abandoned as the port of entry for war material via the Burma Road as a new line of supply is being opened up between India and China.
  • The Japanese begin to land troops on the island of Bali, due east of Java. The Dutch immediately destroy all essential installations. Before the landing is affected the Japanese transports and their escorting warships are heavily attacked.
  • German E-boats and aircraft are destroyed and others damaged during an unsuccessful attack on one of our convoys in the North Sea.
  • In the House of Commons, the Secretary for War nails down the lie that the British are letting other people do the fighting for them. Half the armies in Africa and the Middle East consist of troops from this country. Seventy per cent of the casualties in land fighting have been British.
wrecked jetty at Darwin, Australia, after the first Japanese air raid
The wrecked jetty at Darwin, Australia, after the first Japanese air raid, in which six enemy aircraft were shot down

February 20, 1942

  • The attack on the Japanese armada off Bali continues day and night. Nineteen Japanese warships and transports are sunk by Dutch and American warships and aircraft. The Japanese capture Dilli, the capital of Portuguese Timor, and land near Kupang, the capital of Dutch Timor.
  • During offensive patrols over the Channel and Northern France our fighters attack two factories, set an E-boat on fire and destroy an enemy fighter.

February 21, 1941

  • In Burma our troops have to be withdraw n from the line of the River Bilin, after fierce and stubborn fighting.
  • There is news of more activity from Libya where there has been little or nothing to report of late. A patrol of the Royals gets behind Rommel’s positions and penetrates as far west as Msus, destroying enemy vehicles and capturing prisoners.
  • In Singapore Japanese troops machine-gun civilians in an attempt to impose order on the local population. Estimates range up to 100,000 were killed in the following two weeks in the Sook Ching massacre.

February 22, 1942

  • More ministerial replacements are announced. Lord Cranborne becomes Secretary for the Colonies, Sir James Grigg Secretary of State for War, Mr. Dalton President of the Board of Trade, Colonel Llewdlin Minister of Aircraft Production.
  • Fuller particulars of the great allied sea and air attack on the Japanese armada off Bali show that the battle of the Macassar Strait has been repeated. But the Japanese strengthen their hold on the island and secure possession of the aerodrome at Den Pasar.
  • In Burma our troops have taken up a line along the River Sittang and a bridgehead cast of the river is abandoned.

February 23, 1942

  • This is the twenty-fourth anniversary of the formation of the Red Army which celebrates it in notable fashion by pressing the winter offensive and capturing the town of Dorogobuzh, in the vitally important central sector between Vyazma and Smolensk. Stalin issues a special order of the day and the Prime Minister sends him and the Soviet forces a message expressing the admiration and gratitude of the British Empire.
  • It is also the anniversary of George Washington’s birthday and the American President in a broadcast dispassionately reviews the troubled situation. He says that America will continue increasingly the policy of carrying the war to the enemy in distant lands and distant waters, “as far as possible from our home grounds.”
  • In preparation for an all-out attack on Java the Japanese have devoted all day to continuous onslaughts on the Dutch airfields in the island.
  • There is more air activity in Libya. R.A.F. bombers make night attacks on Tripoli, Bengazi, Martuba and Derna.

February 24, 1942

  • The Russians announce their most important victory of the year. Their troops south of Leningrad, commanded by Lieutenant-General Kurochkin, have surrounded the German 16th Army in the vicinity of the road and rail junction of Staraya Russa, just south of Lake Ilmen. As the Germans refused to surrender, they have been attacked, with the result that three German divisions have been routed, with casualties of 12,000 in killed alone.
  • The Prime Minister tells the House of Commons about the reasons for the changes in the Government and says that there will be others.
  • The Japanese are being well and truly harassed in their attempts to establish themselves in the West Pacific Islands. Australian bombers attack them fiercely at Rabaul, in New Britain, and also their landing-places in Dutch and Portuguese Timor.
  • The enemy is keeping up practically continuous raids on Malta, the base for our air attacks on his shipping in the Central Mediterranean.

February 25, 1942

  • Sir Stafford Cripps makes a good impression with his first speech as leader of the House. He reiterated the call for an all-out war effort inconsistent with some of the amusements and extravagances still in vogue. The Government are to make a new approach to the Indian problem.
  • The feature of the war in the Far East is a great success in air fighting in Burma. R.A.F. and American volunteer airmen give Japanese bombers and fighters a taste of what happened to the Luftwaffe over Britain. In one attack 30 enemy aircraft are destroyed.
  • General MacArthur gives the Japanese in Luzon a surprise with a local offensive which carries his line a considerable distance in some sectors.

February 26, 1942

  • American submarines have been active in the South-West Pacific. Two Japanese transports, an auxiliary warship and a cargo boat have been torpedoed. In Burma yesterday’s outstanding air success has been followed up by another in which a further 21 Japanese aircraft have been brought down.
  • Australian airmen make two attacks on Japanese shipping and port installations at Rabaul; immense damage is done to ships, buildings and grounded aircraft.
  • The Japanese raid the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
  • It is announced that a German cruiser of the “Prinz Eugen” class was attacked successfully by the submarine Trident a few days ago. She was seen to be damaged aft and in tow at Trondheim. The First Lord of the Admiralty says that it is known for certain that the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were both severely damaged on their voyage through the Channel.
  • The Admiralty announces that one of our submarines in the Mediterranean recently hit every ship in an Axis convoy of three.

February 27, 1942

  • Britain strikes at the Germans in France. A parachute raid, in which the Navy, Army and Air Force play an equally important part, is directed against a valuable German radiolocation unit at Bruneval, 12 miles from Havre. The operation is a complete success, despite strong opposition, the apparatus being completely destroyed with heavy casualties to the defenders.
  • In spite of an heroic attack by the Dutch Navy and allied aircraft the Japanese succeed in landing at three points on the island of Java.
  • The Russians report a striking success against German and Rumanian forces on the southern part of the front. The Rumanian 1st Infantry Division and the German 113th Infantry Division were completely defeated with the loss of 7,500 in killed alone and at least 57 guns.
  • Mr. Sumner Welles says that United States Government has received a specific assurance from Vichy that the French Fleet and French territory will not be surrendered to anyone.
  • The Victoria Cross is awarded to the late Lieutenant-Commander Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde, D.S.O., R.N., who led the six Swordfish aircraft which made an heroic torpedo attack on the German warships as they were passing up the Channel.

February 28, 1942

  • The Allies keep up their air and sea attacks on the Japanese landing in Java but without materially affecting their operations. During the day the invaders secure control of most of the northern plain. The Dutch lose their principal warships, two cruisers of about 6,000 tons each, which fall into a Japanese submarine trap.
  • In Russia German efforts to extricate their 80,000 men virtually surrounded at Staraya Russa meet with no success. In the Crimea the Russians make strong attacks at Sebastopol and in the Kerch peninsula.

MARCH 1942

March 1, 1942

  • The Japanese are firmly established in Java and there seems little hope of expelling them though the Dutch and Javanese troops are everywhere on the offensive against the invaders. The Dutch destroy military and industrial installations at Batavia in anticipation of having to evacuate the capital.
  • The Soviet has a particularly successful day in the air. For a loss of eight aircraft Russian aeroplanes destroy 10 enemy machines in the air and 67 on the ground.
  • In the English Channel a force of our M.T.B.’s under the command of Lieutenant Gamble attack two German tankers, strongly escorted. One of them was hit and left drifting.

March 2, 1942

  • General Wavell has returned to India and the command of the allied land, sea and air forces in the Dutch East Indies has been handed over to the Dutch General, Ter Poorten.
  • Allied aircraft make vigorous attacks on Japanese shipping lying off the coast of Java. Two transports, one of 10,000 and the other of 8,000 tons, are hit. A Dutch submarine sinks a large enemy tanker.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a heavy attack on shipping in the harbour of Palermo. A fierce fire is started in a large merchant ship which has motor transport as deck cargo. Large fires are left raging in the area of the engineering works, the dry dock and the seaplane base.

March 3, 1942

  • At night R.A.F. bombers make a very heavy attack on the Renault works at Billancourt, a suburb of Paris. These works are engaged in the production of war material for the Germans. The Germans, for their own purposes, seriously exaggerate the number of casualties, but there is no doubt that the damage is extremely extensive.
  • General MacArthur’s aircraft in Luzon make a surprise attack on Japanese ships in Subic Bay. Three large vessels, of 12,000, 10,000 and 8,000 tons respectively, are sunk and many other ships are damaged.
  • In Java the Japanese land advance is held up for the moment but they keep up incessant air raids on Bandoeng, the military headquarters of the Dutch forces. Japanese aircraft again attack the Australian mainland. The ports of Wyndham and Broome are bombed

March 4, 1942

  • The Dutch in Java have some success in holding up the Japanese advance. Soebang is recovered. The Japanese make several air raids on Bandoeng aerodrome. Darwin, in Northern Australia, is again raided, this time by Japanese fighters, and a certain amount of damage is done.
  • Among other ministerial changes is the appointment of Sir William Jowitt as Paymaster-General, with special regard to post-war reconstruction.
  • The Germans continue their incessant hammering of the aerodromes on Malta. They attack all day and suffer substantial losses without doing any military damage worth mentioning.
  • The submarine H.M.S Torbay enters Corfu habour and sinks the Italian merchant ship Maddalena G
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Commander Anthony Cecil Capel MIERS, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Commander Anthony Cecil Capel Miers, Royal Navy. On 4th March 1942 in Corfu Harbour, Commander Miers, commanding HM Submarine Torbay, having followed an enemy convoy into the harbour the previous day, fired torpedoes at a destroyer and two 5000-ton transports, scoring hits on two supply ships, which almost certainly sank. Torbay then had a very hazardous withdrawal to the open sea, enduring 40 depth-charges. The submarine had been in closely patrolled enemy waters for 17 hours.

March 5, 1942

  • The Russian armies score a substantial success in the central region by recapturing the town of Yukhnov, south-west of Moscow. Two German divisions are defeated by Soviet Guards under General Golubov. The Germans make a night raid on Moscow for the first time for weeks but have very little success.
  • In Java the Japanese make further progress, the allied counter-attack having failed. At night Batavia, the capital, is captured and the enemy presses on against Bandoeng, the military centre of Dutch resistance in the island.
  • In New Guinea the Japanese keep up their raids on Port Moresby.
  • In Burma our troops receive the support of tanks and successfully resist Japanese pressure in the region of Pegu. Lieutenant-General the Hon. Sir Harold Alexander succeeds Lieutenant-General Hutton as commander in this area. The Japanese claim the capture of the aerodrome at Mingaladon, near Rangoon.

March 6, 1942

  • American submarines have completed a good week in the Far East. A destroyer leader and a large tanker have been sunk and hits scored on an aircraft-carrier and three cruisers.
  • In Libya our bombers carry out further night attacks on enemy shipping at Bengazi and Tripoli. A vessel lying at the Cathedral mole at Bengazi is hit and blows up. Danger to the Axis powers in this region is threatening from a new quarter. Free French troops from Chad territory capture an enemy position in Fezzan and the garrison of an enemy post.

March 7, 1942

  • Java seems lost. Shortly after midday the official wireless station at Bandoeng broadcasts a farewell message to the effect that it is shutting down. “Long live our Queen; good-bye till better times” are the final words.
  • In Burma we suffer a further disaster. A battle rages all evening for Rangoon and shortly after midnight the last Imperial troops are withdrawn and the enemy occupies the great port which is the sea gate to the Burma Road to China.
  • The Japanese claim the sinking or capture of a large number of allied ships which were trying to escape from ports on the north coast of Java.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a night attack on the German naval base at St. Nazaire.
  • Vichy is trying to work up feeling against this country in connection with the raid on the Renault and other factories near Paris. There are mass funerals of the victims and the day is set aside as a day of national mourning.

March 8, 1942

  • Java having fallen, the Japanese turn their attention to New Guinea, as a stepping-stone to Australia. They effect a landing in some strength at the small port of Salamaua. A few hours later there is another landing at Lae. Australian aircraft bomb Japanese ships.
  • The R.A.F. delivers two powerful blows against the German war machine. In the afternoon our bombers attack the Matford factory at Poissy, near Paris, which is producing war material for Germany. Both the factory and the lorry park are hit. Other bombers attack the power station at Comines, near Lille, and the railway yards at Abbeville. At night there is a very heavy raid on Essen, the heart of Germany’s industrial concentration. No less than 22 big fires are counted before the last bomber turns for home.
  • The Australians have a great air success in Libya. Flying American Kittyhawk fighters in an action over Tobruk, they bring down without suffering any loss three German dive-bombers and six Italian fighters.

March 9, 1942

  • A small force of R.A.F. bombers raid the power and industrial plant at Mazingarbe, near Bethune.
  • The Japanese are exultant - and inaccurate - over the scale-of their success in Java. They say that the allied forces have surrendered and nearly 100,000 prisoners are in their hands. But the vast bulk is Japanese and not European.
  • Admiral Harold Stark, American Chief of Naval Operations, is appointed Commander of the United States Naval Forces in European waters.
  • During the morning the German battleship Tirpitz is discovered proceeding in a northerly direction up the Norwegian coast from Trondheim. She is attacked with torpedoes from naval aircraft. The result is not observed but she is last seen retiring under cover of a heavy smoke-screen.
  • The Russian Air Force has one of its best days, destroying 83 German aircraft, including 39 Ju.52 transport planes which were carrying food and other supplies to surrounded German forces.
  • There are further furious German air attacks on Malta, particularly the aerodromes.

March 10, 1942

  • Australian and American aircraft make a very heavy attack on Japanese war vessels and shipping off Salamaua and other points on the northern coast of New Guinea. Four ships are left burning and two sinking, while another is beached. The aerodrome is also bombed.
  • The German raids on Malta continue and the enemy’s losses are one Ju.88 and two Me.109’s damaged.
  • Mr. Anthony Eden reveals that the Japanese were guilty of the most appalling atrocities - including the raping of women and the bayoneting of captured soldiers - after the fall of Hong Kong. He says that the vaunted Japanese bushido, or code of chivalry, is pure hypocrisy.

March 11, 1942

  • The Red Army breached a strongly fortified line on the Kalinin front.
  • Free French announced capture of Axis outpost at Temessa.
  • An Army communique from the far East stated that fresh Japanese landings had been made in the Irrawaddy delta. Australian and American bombers carried out dawn to dusk attack on Japanese forces in New Guinea.
  • Sir. Churchill announced that Sir Stafford Cripps would go to India to negotiate on Government plan to end the long constitutional dead lock. Greek Maritime Court opened in London.

March 12, 1942

  • The R.A.F. made night raids on Kiel and other targets in north-west Germany.
  • Relentless air attack on Japanese in New Guinea continued.
  • Thirteen enemy ships reported sunk or put out of action. Washington reported that a U.S. submarine had sunk three enemy freighters, and one passenger and cargo ship in Japanese waters.
  • Enemy raiding aircraft shot down off Welsh coast.

March 13, 1942

  • R.A.F. bombers attacked marshalling yards at Hazebrouck. Night raid on Cologne.
  • On the Russian Front gigantic battles raging along the whole front. Several important points recaptured on the Donetz front.
  • Far East operations proceeding in Burma in the Nyauugebin Shwegy in area. U.S. Flying Fortresses blasted Japanese airfields at Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea. Tokyo claimed occupation of Medan, capital of Sumatra.

March 14, 1942

  • Admiralty communique on the three-day battle of the Java Sea gave Allied losses as twelve ships. British; Cruiser H.M.S. Exeter; Destroyers H.M.S. Electra, H.M.S. Jupiter, H.M.S. Encounter and H.M.S. Strong hold. Australian Cruiser H.M.A.S Perth and Sloop Yarra. U.S. Cruiser Boston and Destroyer Pope.
  • R.A.F. fighter destroyed 10 enemy aircraft without loss to themselves during offensive sweep over channel.
  • On the Russian Front there is a new Russian attack in the Crimea.

March 15, 1942

  • Five German E-boats sank and five damaged by Navy and R.A.F. in night to dawn flight in the Channel. Destroyer H.M.S. Vortigern lost.
  • On the Russian front a big battle in the Crimea continues. On central sector Red Army attacked Olshanks and Chotinetz, south west and North west of Orel. Railway to Kursk reported cut.

March 16, 1942

  • Soviet troops captured a number of villages in various sectors. Capture of a Black Sea port announced by Moscow radio.
  • In the Mediterranean the Island of Rhodes is attacked by British bombers and naval units before dawn.
  • In the Far East the Japanese fleet movements are reported of west Australia. Rabaul and Gasmata again bomber by R.A.A.F.

March 17, 1942

  • Soviet communiques stated that Russian forces had broken through enemy defensive positions on the South West sector of the front. Big-scale battle for Kharkov developed.
  • Cairo communique reported repulse of strong enemy column in the Cherima area, 20 miles south of Tmini.
  • U.S. announced that General MacArthur had been appointed Supreme Commander of all the United Nations Forces in the south west Pacific. Maj.-Gen. John Wainwrigt to command the Philippines.

March 18, 1942

  • It is announced in America that in operations in the South-West Pacific area the American and Australian air forces will form a single organisation, flying the same types of aircraft. Simultaneously it is made known that the Japanese suffered serious losses in recent Australian-American air attacks against Japanese ships and land installations in and near Salam au and Lae, in New Guinea. Two enemy heavy cruisers and one light cruiser are believed to have been sunk; three cruisers were damaged, two of them heavily; four destroyers were damaged, if not sunk.
  • Australian aircraft raid Rabaul and bomb shipping in the harbour. They also attack enemy aerodromes at Kupang, in Dutch Timor.

March 19, 1942

  • The Prime Minister announces that the Australian Minister in Washington, Mr. Casey, is to be Imperial Minister of State in the Middle East and a member of the War Cabinet of the United Kingdom.
  • The Japanese raid Darwin and Port Moresby but do-little damage.
  • Serious trouble is brewing among the satellites in the Axis camp. A sensation is created in enemy circles by a speech by the Rumanian Foreign Minister in which he says that Rumania still has an account to square with Hungary over the loss of Transylvania.

March 20, 1942

  • There are savage enemy air raids on Malta. Escorted bombers and fighter-bombers come over in swarms.
  • A Chinese expeditionary force is assisting in the defence of Northern Burma and is stationed south of Toungoo. To-day a Chinese cavalry detachment assists our forces in destroying three Japanese armoured-cars and inflicting about one hundred casualties. In the Irrawaddy sector we evacuate Tharawaddy.
  • After desultory raids during the night the Germans make three determined raids on shipping in the Grand Harbour of Malta. No military damage is done.
  • There has apparently been some difference of opinion between Mr. Churchill and Mr. Curtin over Mr. Casey’s new appointment. Mr. Curtin acquiesced only under protest.

March 21, 1942

  • In Burma there is little change in the military situation. R.A.F. bombers, escorted by fighters, make a successful attack on Mingaladon aerodrome, destroying 10 Japanese aircraft.
  • General MacArthur arrives in Melbourne. He says that he has every confidence of the ultimate success of our cause but “success in modern war requires something more than courage and willingness to die, it requires careful preparation.”
  • Yesterday and to-day our mobile patrols have been engaged in a successful operation against enemy positions in the Tmimi area in Libya. Before returning to their base, they have heavily bombarded the aerodrome at Martuba.
  • The enemy keep up their savage raids on Malta but little damage is done to military objectives. In the attacks of the last two days, they have lost at least 17 aircraft.

March 22, 1942

  • This is a red-letter day in the history of the British Navy. An Italian naval force consisting of one battleship of the “Littorio” class, two heavy 8-in. gun cruisers, four other cruisers and several destroyers tries to intercept and destroy a convoy on its way to Malta. It is attacked by our light cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear-Admiral Philip Louis Vian, D.S.O. A brilliant torpedo attack forces the enemy to retire without having made contact with our convoy. The battleship is set on fire, one enemy cruiser is severely damaged and another is hit.
  • An American-Australian force of four Flying Fortresses, nine P-40 fighters and two Hudson bombers raids the Japanese aerodrome at Lae, in New Guinea, destroying three heavy bombers, 10 fighters and two other aircraft.
  • In Central Burma there are further serious Japanese raids on an aerodrome, causing damage to R.A.F. property. The Japanese reach their “furthest south” in air attacks on Australia by bombing Katherine, 200 miles south of Darwin.

March 23, 1942

  • Sir Stafford Cripps arrives at Delhi. He says that he has come to discuss with the leaders of Indian opinion the conclusions which the War Cabinet have unitedly reached in regard to India.
  • The Italian naval force having been disposed of the enemy renews his air attacks on the Malta convoy. During this series of attacks one ship is hit and subsequently sinks and one destroyer is hit but reaches harbour.
  • Our Middle East Command bombers are active during the night, raiding targets at Salam is and the Piraeus in Greece, Heraklion and Tympaki in Crete and Bengazi and the Martuba-Tmimi area in Cyrenaica.
  • The Germans make night raids on rather a heavier scale than of late, Dover being the chief target.
  • In the House of Commons Sir John Anderson says that in case of invasion the civil population must not adopt a purely passive role.
  • The Admiralty announces further successes by our submarines in the Mediterranean. Two U-boats, two supply ships, six schooners and a motor vessel carrying troops have been successfully attacked.

March 24, 1942

  • In Burma the Chinese divisions are having a hard struggle in the defence of their position at Toungoo. A Japanese force works round the flanks and establishes itself at Kyangin on the Toungoo-Pyinmana road. American Volunteer Group aircraft destroy and damage many grounded aircraft on the airfield at Chiengmai.
  • In New Guinea the Japanese keep up their air attacks on Port Moresby. About 40 bombers are sent over with a fighter escort but their efforts to destroy the aerodrome have little or no result.
  • The enemy renews his air attacks on the Malta convoy but no further damage is inflicted.
  • R.A.F. bombers, escorted by fighters, attack a power station at Comines and other objectives in Northern France this afternoon. The Germans carry out a further series of large-scale attacks on the harbour and aerodromes of Malta.

March 25, 1942

  • In Burma the Japanese slip round the right flank of the Chinese force at Toungoo and capture the aerodrome north of the town.
  • The Americans announce that on 24th February a naval and air force made an attack on the Japanese occupied Wake Island and on 14th March on the Japanese owned Marcus Island. Considerable damage was done to shore installations, defence positions, aircraft runways and water tanks by a combined bombardment from aircraft and surface vessels. Patrol boats were sunk and seaplanes destroyed.
  • In the afternoon R.A.F. bombers, escorted by fighters, attack the shipyards at Le Trait, on the Seine. At night the offensive against Germany is continued and the industrial area of the Ruhr is again very heavily bombed.
  • German aircraft make a concentrated attack on Malta and their losses are heavy.

March 26, 1942

  • The Japanese attack the Chinese force at Toungoo from all sides, but without making any headway.
  • The island of Corregidor in Manila Bay is attacked for six hours by Japanese heavy bombers. Little military damage is done and casualties are slight.
  • Another air attack on Malta is the heaviest yet.
  • The Home Secretary, attacked in some quarters for his threat to suppress the Daily Mirror, tells the House of Commons that the systematic publication of mischievous material will not be tolerated.
  • R.A.F. bombers make a daylight attack on shipping at Le Havre. At night the attack on the Ruhr is renewed and other objectives are enemy aerodromes in Holland, an oil refinery near Ghent and the docks at Le Havre.

March 27, 1942

  • The Japanese claim that the last remnants of the Allied Forces in Sumatra have surrendered and the whole island is in their hands.
  • General Sir Thomas Blarney, who has returned to Australia with part of the Australian force in the Middle East, is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the allied land forces in Australia. Major-General Sir Leslie Morshead succeeds him in command of the Australian troops in the Middle East.
  • R.A.F. bombers attack Ostend in the afternoon.
  • The Chinese force at Toungoo breaks through the Japanese encirclement and withdraws to the north. Fierce attacks by two Japanese divisions, supported by aircraft, tanks and artillery, had failed to dislodge the Chinese from their positions.
  • In an Australian bomber raid over Koepang, in Timor, a 7,000-ton ship is hit and set on fire.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Commander Stephen Halden BEATTIE, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Commander Stephen Halden Beattie, Royal Navy. On 27th March 1942, in the attack on St Nazaire, France, Lieutenant-Commander Beattie was in command of HMS Campbeltown. Under intense fire directed on the bridge from a range of about 100 yards, and in the full blinding glare of many searchlights, the lieutenant-commander steamed Campbeltown into the lock gates, as instructed, and beached and scuttled her in the correct position. The Victoria Cross was awarded not only in recognition of Lieutenant-Commander Beattie's own valour, but also of the unamed officers and men of the ship's company, many of whom did not survive.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Sergeant 1874047 Thomas Frank DURRANT, Royal Engineers awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 1874047 Sergeant Thomas Frank Durrant, Corps of Royal Engineers, attached No. 1 Commando. On 27th March 1942 at St Nazaire, France, Sergeant Durrant was in charge of a Lewis gun on HM Motor Launch 306 which came under heavy fire during the raid. Although he had no protection and was wounded in several places he continued firing until the launch was boarded and those who were still alive taken prisoner. He died of his wounds the next day.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Charles NEWMAN, Essex Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Colonel Augustus Charles Newman (33927), The Essex Regiment (attached Commandos). On 27th March 1942 in the attack on St Nazaire, France, Lieutenant-Colonel Newman was in charge of the military forces and he was one of the first ashore, leading his men and directing operations quite regardless of his own safety. Under his inspiring leadership the troops fought magnificently and held vastly superior numbers of the enemy at bay until the demolition parties had done their work. The colonel then attempted to fight through into open country and not until all the ammunition was spent were he and his men overwhelmed and taken prisoner.

March 28, 1942

  • In the early hours of the morning a grand British raid on St. Nazaire results in the destruction of the main lock gate of the dry dock, the only one on the Atlantic coast which can accommodate the Tirpitz. The destroyer Campbeltown, with bows specially stiffened and filled with five tons of delay-action high explosive, forces her way through the torpedo boom and rams the centre of the main lock gate. Commando troops are landed and effect various kinds of demolition.
  • In a daylight sweep over France 13 enemy fighters are destroyed. At night a strong force of bombers attacks the important Baltic port of Luebeck. The port is heavily bombed and fierce fires are left burning. The Germans issue the most sensational reports of the damage done.
  • In Burma the Japanese advance up the Irrawaddy valley. Their advance guard makes contact with Imperial reconnaissance elements at Paungde, 30 miles south of Prome. Our armoured forces move down to attack.
  • In the Philippines the Japanese make a heavy, but fruitless, attack on the American defences on the Bataan Peninsula.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Commander Robert Edward Dudley RYDER, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Commander Robert Edward Dudley Ryder, Royal Navy. On 28 March 1942 in the attack on St Nazaire, France, Commander Ryder, commanding the Naval Force, led HMS Campbeltown in under intense fire. When the main objective of the expedition had been accomplished and Campbeltown had been beached, Commander Ryder remained on the spot evacuating men from Campbeltown and conducting operations while exposed to heavy fire, and did not withdraw until it was certain that his ship could be of no more use. His motor gun boat (MGB. 314), full of dead and wounded, survived by a miracle and managed to withdraw through an intense barrage of fire.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Able Seaman C/JX.173910 William Alfred SAVAGE, Royal Navy awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: -  Able Seaman William Alfred Savage, C/JX. 173910, Royal Navy. On 28th March 1942 in the attack on St Nazaire, France, Able Seaman Savage who was a gun-layer of a pom-pom in Motor Gun Boat 314, engaged enemy positions ashore, shooting with great accuracy. Although he had no gun-shield and was in a most exposed position, he continued firing with great coolness until at last he was killed at his gun. The Victoria Cross was awarded not only for his own gallantry, but for the valour shown by many others unnamed, in motor launches, motor gun boats and torpedo boats who carried out their duties in entirely exposed positions against enemy fire at very close range.

March 29, 1942

  • On the Sittang Valley front in Burma the Chinese launch a counter-attack and occupy Nangyun and Kyungon aerodrome. A Japanese battalion headquarters is captured.
  • German surface vessels and U-boats try to prevent a convoy with British and American supplies from reaching Russia. The attack is beaten off. H.M.S. Trinidad and H.M.S. Eclipse, though suffering some damage, sink one enemy destroyer, and possibly another, and three U-boats are severely damaged, if not sunk.
  • On the Irrawaddy front in Burma a mixed Japanese and Burmese force crosses the river and cuts the Prome road at Schwedaung in the rear of our position.
Her Majesty talking to a Chelsea pensioner who presented her with a boquet
Her Majesty talking to a Chelsea pensioner who presented her with a boquet during
her visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 29th March 1942

March 30, 1942

  • To-day the Government makes known its plan for the solution of the Indian problem. Its 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.
  • Explaining the declaration in a broadcast to the people of India, Sir Stafford Cripps says that the British people desire the Indian peoples to have full self-government and that we have invited the appointment of a representative of India to the War Cabinet and to the Pacific Council of the United Nations.
  • It is announced that the 5,450-ton cruiser H.M.S. Naiad has been sunk.
  • The battle area in Libya seems to be warming up, particularly in the air. We continue bombing attacks on the landing-ground and camps in the Derna, Tmimi and Martuba areas and at night an onslaught is made on enemy shipping off Bengazi. Four ships, each of about 3,000 tons, are damaged.

March 31, 1942

  • To-day’s main event is the opening of a new and tremendous Japanese attack on the American and Filipino position on the Bataan Peninsula. Japan means to spare no effort to remove this painful thorn in her flesh.
  • Laval leaves Paris for the country and there are widespread rumours that he is intriguing to re-join the French Government with a view to securing French resistance to any Anglo-American attempt to land on the Continent.

APRIL 1942

April 1, 1942

  • Early this morning the violent Japanese attack on Bataan ceases without having caused any material change in the position though some American outposts have had to withdraw a short distance. On Mindanao a small American force burns down 23 enemy warehouses, containing large stocks of food, petrol and ammunition, at Digos, in the Gulf of Davao.
  • American Navy and Army forces have sunk 25 Axis submarines since the United States entered the war.
  • Twelve German aircraft are destroyed in mass raids on Malta. R.A.F. bombers attack industrial objectives and communications in Western Germany and the Matford works at Poissy near Paris.

April 2, 1942

  • Our bombers again attack the Matford works.
  • In Burma our covering force in Prome, on the Irrawaddy, moves back to positions north of the town as the result of Japanese infiltration through jungle to the east.
  • On the Bataan Peninsula the Japanese deliver a heavy attack on the left of the American line and secure a foothold in the main line but are thrown out again by a counter-attack. V
  • Malta again suffers the full fury of the German air blitz. The enemy is intent on knocking out the aerodromes and destroying the harbour.

April 3, 1942

  • At New Delhi there is a conference between Sir Stafford Gripps in an endeavour to surmount the Indian objections to the British Government’s proposals for the defence of the country during the war.
  • American Flying Fortresses, starting from a base in India, attack enemy shipping at Port Blair, in the Andaman Islands, setting fire to one Japanese cruiser and one troopship and probably damaging another.
  • It is announced that in the Java Sea actions in February the American Navy lost the aircraft-tender Langley, the destroyer Peary and the tanker Pecos.
  • In Burma our troops withdraw northwards from Prome, being heavily attacked from the air in the process. The Japanese make a ferocious and indiscriminate air attack on Mandalay.

April 4, 1942

  • The Japanese renew their onslaught on the Americans and Filipinos on the Bataan Peninsula. A violent infantry attack achieves a small success but Japanese attempts to land troops on the eastern shore are frustrated.
  • The United States Navy Department announces that American submarines have sunk a Japanese cruiser, probably sunk another and damaged two seaplane tenders, a supply ship, a large transport and an unidentified transport.
  • The Australian Air Force keeps up its continuous attacks on the Japanese bases of Koepang, in Dutch Timor, and Lae, in New Guinea. In the course of these raids and a Japanese raid on Darwin about 27 Japanese aircraft are destroyed or damaged for the loss of two Australian aircraft.
  • The Indian Congress leaders meet Sir Archibald Wavell in Delhi in connection with their demand that the defence of India shall be the sole concern of a native Indian government.
  • As a result of negotiations, the repatriation of some sick and wounded Imperial prisoners of war from Italy and of Italian prisoners from the Middle East has been arranged. To-day a British hospital ship picks up an Imperial contingent at an Italian port.

April 5, 1942

  • The Japanese get a most unpleasant surprise when attempting a second “Pearl Harbour” operation this morning. A large number of their bombers, based on aircraft-carriers, attack the aerodrome and the harbour area at Colombo, Ceylon. Twenty-five are shot down for certain by our fighters, five more probably shot down, and 25 are damaged.
  • The non-stop Japanese attacks on the Bataan Peninsula continue. The enemy makes some gains though only at the cost of heavy casualties.
  • The R.A.F., at a cost of five bombers, makes raids in great force over Western Germany, Cologne being the chief target. Another important target is the Gnome-Rhone works and other factories at Gennevilliers, near Paris.

April 6, 1942

  • American submarines report further successes. A cargo ship and two tankers have been added to the list of their victims.
  • A Japanese naval force, including an aircraft-carrier, is operating in the Bay of Bengal. Several attacks have been made against merchant ships, both by surface craft and aircraft. Two Indian ports, Vizagapatam and Cocanada, are bombed by a small number of enemy aircraft.
  • Australian and American bombers make a very heavy raid on Japanese-occupied Rabaul and inflict much damage on enemy shipping.
  • Bad weather prevents our home-based bombers from repeating their feat of yesterday, but on a minor scale objectives in the Ruhr and the Rhineland are again attacked.
  • The Japanese attack on Bataan continues with unabated violence. The crisis is reached in this ferocious struggle and the Americans admit that the enemy has had some success.
  • Enemy bombers make a very heavy attack on Alexandria, the casualty list being 52 killed and 80 wounded.

April 7, 1942

  • In an endeavour to meet the objections of the Hindu Congress and the Moslem League to its plan the British Government has agreed that the Defence Minister shall be a representative Indian. Discussing the Indian position in New York, Lord Halifax says that “no one any longer will be able to fool an audience by accusing Britain of bad faith in India.”
  • The destroyer H.M.S. Havock has been wrecked off the Tunisian coast.
  • A United States submarine in the China Sea has sunk a passenger and cargo ship of about 10,000 tons and a cargo ship of about 5,000 tons.
  • Mass attacks on Malta by the German air force continue all day. A raid in the afternoon is the heaviest which the island has ever experienced

April 8, 1942

  • In spite of unfavourable weather, a strong force of bombers attacks objectives in North-West Germany, including Hamburg.
  • In London vital Anglo-American conferences begin with a meeting between the Prime Minister and General George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and Mr. Harry Hopkins, the administrator of the Lease-Lend scheme.
  • The wonderful American-Filipino defence of the Bataan Peninsula seems to have come to an end at last. It is announced that the east flank of the defenders’ Second Corps has been enveloped and a counter-attack by the First Corps has failed, due to the complete physical exhaustion of the troops. The indications are that the defences have been overcome.

April 9, 1942

  • A large force of Japanese bombers and fighters carries out an attack on the naval base of Trincomalee in Ceylon. Damage is caused to the harbour and aerodrome buildings but 21 Japanese aircraft are destroyed for certain, 12 others probably destroyed and two damaged. A near miss is scored on an enemy aircraft-carrier off Ceylon.
  • It is announced that the 10,000-ton cruisers H.M.S. Dorsetshire and H.M.S. Cornwall have been sunk by Japanese air attacks in the Indian Ocean. It is known that more than 1,100 survivors have been picked up. It is also announced that enemy naval and air attacks against shipping in the Bay of Bengal have resulted in the sinking of several merchant ships.
  • An Italian 8-in. cruiser of 10,000 tons has been torpedoed and sunk in the Central Mediterranean by a submarine.

April 10, 1942

  • The aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Hermes has been sunk by Japanese air attack off the coast of Ceylon.
  • An American and Australian bomber force makes heavy raids on Rabaul in New Britain. Harbour installations, transports and supply ships are damaged and many bombers and fighters on the ground are destroyed.
  • The Japanese in Burma are again on the move northwards. The American Volunteer Group have destroyed 18 out of 24 Japanese fighters attacking an airport in the last two days.
  • Though the Americans in the Philippines are continuing their resistance from Corregidor and the other islands the Bataan Peninsula has now been completely overrun.
  • The Hindu Congress rejects the proposals of the British Government, mainly on the alleged ground that the defence of India against Japanese aggression is not entirely in Indian hands.
  • An attack by one of our submarines in the Mediterranean has resulted in the sinking of one large and one medium supply ship.
  • Our bombers are over Western Germany in large numbers to-night and industrial objectives in the Ruhr are heavily bombed. Some 1,000 tons of bombs have been dropped on the Rhineland and Ruhr in the last four nights. In the Mediterranean area aerodromes in Crete and the harbour at Bengazi are again raided.

April 11, 1942

  • The Japanese keep up violent and continuous raids on Corregidor but the damage inflicted is slight and only a few casualties are suffered. A Japanese cruiser has been sunk near Cebu.
  • The American and Australian aerial onslaught on Japanese bases in New Guinea and New Britain continues. At Rabaul aerodromes and shipping are attacked. At Lae the targets are aerodrome buildings and aircraft on the ground.
  • The American submarine Perch is reported lost, but it is announced that one American submarine in a single patrol has sunk one Japanese cruiser, probably sunk another and damaged a third, sunk a destroyer and a large transport and torpedoed several supply ships.
  • In Burma the Japanese launch a heavy attack on British positions south-west of Taungdwingyi; they are pressing hard and the famous oilfields are in danger.

April 12, 1942

  • During a large offensive sweep by Spitfires over Northern France there is very fierce fighting. They are protecting a formation of bombers attacking the marshalling yards at Hazebrouck.
  • Our night bombers are out again in full force. A heavy attack is made on industrial districts in the Ruhr and a long-range visit is paid to targets in Northern Italy, notably Turin and Genoa.
  • There are further heavy German air raids on Malta, but the price paid by the enemy is two Ju 88s, four Ju 87s and two Me 109s.

April 13, 1942

  • A force of American Flying Fortresses and other bombers, under the command of Brigadier-General Ralph Royce, carry out a daring raid on the Philippines, destroying and damaging military and harbour installations, aeroplanes, and transports.

April 14, 1942

  • Marshal Petain has surrendered to German threats.
  • Laval is back in the Vichy Cabinet as head of the Government and has plainly been installed by the Germans as the apostle of active Franco-German collaboration. It is clear that the Nazis are very nervous about what may happen in France while the German armies are putting everything, they know into a final attempt to eliminate the Soviet Union. Laval himself says that his policy is to maintain friendly relations both with Germany and the United States.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer introduces a new budget. The figure of expenditure is enormous but so too is the financial provision being made by the nation. The bulk of the new money is being raised from additional heavy taxes on luxuries.
  • British aircraft make a successful raid on the harbour of Port Blair, in the Andaman Islands. Thirteen Japanese flying-boats are destroyed or damaged. In further raids on Malta the enemy lose nine more aircraft.
  • At night R.A.F. bombers attack the Ruhr again. Industrial objectives are heavily bombed and many fires, some of them very large, are left burning.
  • H.M.S Upholder, one of Britain’s most successful submarines having sunk 1 destroyer, 3 submarines and 12 merchant supply ships, disappears in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya with the loss of all hands.

April 15, 1942

  • The British air offensive continues in the West. From morning to night R.A.F. fighters are active over France, escorting bombers to attack an aerodrome and the docks at Cherbourg. At night the Ruhr is heavily bombed again and other targets include the docks at St. Nazaire and Le Havre and aerodromes in the Low Countries.

April 16, 1942

  • The island fortress of Malta is awarded the George Cross, “to bear witness,” in the King’s words, “to a heroism that will long be famous.”
  • In Burma the situation is becoming ever more serious. Our forces in the Irrawaddy valley retire north of Minhla, covered by the King’s Own Yorkshire Light infantry. On our left the Chinese, too, are driven back and the Japanese cut behind their left flank.
  • Big fighter sweeps are again the order of the day in the West. Escorted Bostons and bomb-carrying Hurricanes attack the power-station, docks and shipping at Le Havre, the dock area at Dunkirk and an aerodrome in the Cherbourg peninsula. At night our heavy bombers attack the submarine base at Lorient and the docks at Le Havre.
  • The Prime Minister has an important conference with Mr. Harry Hopkins and General Marshall.
The King inspecting members of the Women's Royal Naval Service
The King inspecting members of the Women's Royal Naval Service during a visit
to a naval depot in the South-East on 16th April 1942

April 17, 1942

  • In Burma the great oilfields at Yenangyaung have been destroyed. The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, after their successful rear-guard action, with-draw by night and re-join the main body.
  • A large Italian transport has been sunk by one of our submarines in the Mediterranean. It was hit by two torpedoes and sank in seven minutes.
  • The air activity over Northern France continues. Bomb-carrying Hurricanes hit a shell-filling factory at Marquise. Boston bombers attack targets at Calais, Rouen and Cherbourg. At Calais the main railway line is hit. At Rouen a power-station, shipyards and fuel tanks are hit.
  • The most sensational air feat of the war is performed by a force of 12 Lancaster bombers. They fly across Germany at a very low level in broad daylight and bomb the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuemberg, which manufactures half the Diesel engines used by the German submarine fleet, as well as other important war material. Though seven out of the twelve bombers are lost their object is achieved.
  • At night a strong force of Stirling, Wellington, Manchester and Hampden bombers make a heavy attack on the port of Hamburg. The submarine base at St. Nazaire, the docks at Le Havre and aerodromes in France and the Low Countries are also bombed.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Squadron Leader 41452 John Dering NETTLETON, Royal Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Acting Squadron Leader John Dering Nettleton (41452), No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron. On 17th April 1942 over Augsberg, Germany, Squadron Leader Nettleton was the leader of one of two formations of six Lancaster bombers detailed to attack in daylight a diesel engine factory. Sometime after crossing into enemy territory the formation was attacked by enemy fighters and four of the bombers were shot down, but the squadron leader held his two-remaining aircraft on their course, and through intense anti-aircraft fire they flew low over rooftops and dropped their bombs. The second aircraft had to crash-land, but Squadron Leader Nettleton brought his Lancaster safely back to base, though riddled with holes.
Men of the Royal Malta Artillery marching up Kingsway, Valetta
Men of the Royal Malta Artillery marching up Kingsway, Valetta after the presentation
of the George Cross to the people of the island on 17th april 1942

April 18, 1942

  • [Doolittle Raid] The horrors of war are brought home in striking fashion to the Japanese homeland itself. American bombers, coming from no one knows where, make heavy raids lasting several hours on Tokyo. Yokohama. Kobe and Nagoya.
  • American Army heavy bombers conduct a successful night raid on harbour installations in Rangoon, where docks and other facilities are attacked. British bombers make a successful attack on a number of Japanese four-engined flying-boats at Port Blair in the Andamans. Two are left burning and three severely damaged.
  • It is announced that the Free French submarine Surcouf has been lost. With a displacement of 2,880 tons, she was the largest submarine in the world.
  • The Germans resume mass raids on Malta. Referring to the award of the George Cross, the Governor, Lieutenant-General Dobbie, says that Malta is “keeping a large portion of the enemy’s forces so busy that other theatres of war are correspondingly weakened.”
B-25B Mitchell medium bomber which attacked Tokyo on 18th April 1942
A U.S B-25B Mitchell medium bomber which attacked Tokyo on 18th April 1942, taking off
from the flight deck of the US Aircraft carrier Hornet

April 19, 1942

  • By agreement among the Governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States, the South-West Pacific area has been constituted. The command has been given to General MacArthur.
  • Laval forms his new government in France. His colleagues are all more or less nonentities and he is virtually dictator of France.
  • General Marshall and Mr. Harry Hopkins return to the United States after their highly important visit to this country.
  • In the Philippines the Japanese open intense artillery fire on the American forts and positions on the islands in Manila Harbour.

April 20, 1942

  • Laval shows his hand in a broadcast to the French nation. He makes no reference to the United States, a power with which he professes to desire friendly relations. But he does his best to make bad blood between France and Britain. He accuses us of dragging France into the war, deserting her, trying to destroy her fleet, murdering her sailors, starving the nation and completing the destruction of the country by air bombardment.
  • In Burma Chinese and British forces make a joint attack on the oil town of Yenangyaung, which is recaptured. The stroke enables the British main body in that sector to withdraw across the Pinchaung River.

April 21, 1942

  • The American bombing raids on Japanese cities have produced consternation in the country. High officers in local commands are to be court-martialled for dereliction of duty.
  • The American authorities announce that in a night attack in the Philippines area United States torpedo-boats seriously damaged a Japanese cruiser, leaving it in a sinking condition.
  • Sir Stafford Cripps arrives back in this country after his visit to India.
  • The Germans and Italians have not succeeded in driving the R.A.F. away from Malta. In to-day’s heavy enemy raids our aircraft destroy three bombers and two fighters, severely damage four aircraft and damage
  • V.C.s are awarded to the late Second-Lieutenant G. W. Gunn and Rifleman John Beeley for exceptional heroism and gallantry at Sidi Rezegh.
  • In Burma a serious threat develops on the left of the Chinese positions. The Japanese appear to be attempting a flanking thrust direct for the Burma Road at Lashio.

April 22, 1942

  • A new turn is given to the war in the West by a commando raid on the French coast nearest to Britain.
  • The German coastal defences near Boulogne are penetrated over a front of 800 yards by a British patrol which withdraws after two hours with negligible casualties.
  • The presence of American troops in India is revealed by Colonel Johnson, the President’s special representative there.
  • The Japanese are engaged in a direct thrust for the Burma Road through the heart of the Shan States and well east of the areas of operations in the Sittang and Irrawaddy valleys. They occupy Loikaw and isolate a Chinese force to the south.
  • The R.A.F.’s night objectives are the Rhineland and the docks at Le Havre. In the Mediterranean area allied airmen concentrate on one of the enemy airfields in Sicily from which the incessant attacks on Malta are kept up.
Major Lord Lovat giving orders to officers of the British forces
Major Lord Lovat giving orders to officers of the British forces which raided the French coast on 22nd April 1942

April 23, 1942

  • The Chinese force cut off south of Loikaw succeeds in breaking through the Japanese encirclement and re-joining the main body. The Japanese reach the important strategic town of Taunggyi, south-east of Mandalay.
  • In a speech in New York Lord Beaverbrook says that as Stalin is convinced that the best form of defence is attack, Britain should adopt that policy by setting up somewhere along the 2,000 miles of coast-line now held by the Germans a second front in Western Europe.
  • The ding-dong air battle in New Guinea continues. The Japanese raid Port Moresby three times to-day, but with very little effect. American and Australian aircraft attack Rabaul.
  • At night hundreds of R.A.F. bombers carry out an extremely heavy raid on Rostock. Immense damage and huge fires are caused in the port and the vast Heinkel works.

April 24, 1942

  • Rostock is again heavily attacked by the R.A.F. at night. Large fires are left burning in the Heinkel aircraft works. During the day Fighter Command carries out its biggest single offensive operation of the war when many squadrons of Spitfires take a force of Boston bombers to Flushing. Many large buildings in the docks and on the pier receive direct hits.
  • In the Far Eastern theatre, the Japanese renew their raids on Port Moresby but their design is frustrated by allied fighters.
  • After a fierce struggle the Chinese recover possession of Taunggyi.
Queen inspects Canadian soldiers
Queen inspects Canadian soldiers, 24th April 1942

April 25, 1942

  • For the third night in succession Rostock is deluged with bombs. Another force of heavy bombers attacks objectives in Southern Germany, the Skoda works at Pilsen and the docks at Dunkirk.
  • In what they call “reprisal raids,” the Germans make a sharp attack on Bath, singling out workmen’s dwellings and objectives of artistic and antiquarian interest. Not even the pitiful excuse of reprisals can be pleaded for three deliberate daylight raids to-day on hospitals in Malta.
  • The Japanese are finding bombing raids expensive. In a heavy attack on Darwin to-day they lose eight bombers and three fighters. A further attempt on Port Moresby has no better luck than its predecessors.
  • General Giraud, one of the French Army commanders who was captured in May, 1940, has escaped from the fortress of Koenigstein.
  • All Japanese attempts to recover Taunggyi are frustrated but further east their columns, headed by tank units, are progressing towards the Burma Road.

April 26, 1942

  • Our submarines have again been busy in the Central Mediterranean. One, under the command of Lieutenant H. S. Mackenzie, has recently torpedoed and sunk two, while another, commanded by Commander Linton, has sunk two more.
  • In a curious speech to the Reichstag, Hitler asks for special powers to enable him to supersede the ordinary forms of law and legal procedure. According to him things are happening and may happen in Germany which require more summary treatment than by the ordinary methods of justice. He also reveals that it was only by a hair’s breadth that the German Army escaped the fate of Napoleon’s in the winter war in Russia.
  • Rostock and the Heinkel works are again attacked by a strong force of our bombers and the docks at Dunkirk are visited once more. The Germans make another raid on Bath and extensive damage is done by high explosive and incendiary bombs.
The Queen is talking to a Red Cross nurse from the city of Bath
The Queen is talking to a Red Cross nurse when their Majesties visited the
city of Bath after air raids on 26th April 1942

April 27, 1942

  • The air offensive against Germany is in full swing. Soon after dawn Hurricanes bomb and machine-gun enemy aerodromes at Mardyck and Le Touquet. Next the aerodrome near St. Omer is attacked. Then Boston bombers, escorted by fighters, visit targets at Lille and Ostend. At night the principal target is Cologne, but another substantial bomber force makes a heavy attack on the German naval base at Trondheim in Norway.
  • The German night attack is concentrated on Norwich and several fires and considerable damage are caused. The enemy announces that the Luftwaffe will specialise in attacks on buildings marked with three stars in Baedeker.
The Old Boar's Head a famous Inn  which was damaged by air raid
The Old Boar's Head a famous Inn built in 1495 which was damaged by air raid on
Norwich during the night of 27th April 1942

April 28, 1942

  • President Roosevelt gives some interesting news in a broadcast to the world. American troops are in the Near East and Middle East and American warships are in the combat in the North and South Atlantic, the Arctic, the Mediterranean and the North and South Pacific. He also says that the United Nations will take measures, if necessary, to prevent the use of French territory in any part of the world for military purposes by the Axis.
  • More enemy supply ships have been sunk by our submarines in the Mediterranean. A large enemy supply ship has been torpedoed and sunk off Norway by the submarine Trident.
  • The main night targets of the R.A.F. are Kiel and Trondheim. The Germans concentrate their “hate” on York.
  • The Japanese thrust in Northern Burma has succeeded. To-day they enter the suburbs of Lashio, southern terminus of the Burma Road.

April 29, 1942

  • In Burma the Japanese complete the capture of Lashio after a fierce attack with large numbers of tanks, armoured cars, and aircraft. The resultant cutting of China’s life-line is a very serious matter for our ally.
  • What looks like the last phase of Japanese operations in the Philippines begins with a very severe bombardment of the island of Corregidor carried on with the largest siege guns mounted on the tip of the Bataan Peninsula. Attack from the air is almost continuous.
  • The bombing match north of Australia continues. The Japanese make three attacks on aerodromes at Port Moresby while Australian and American aircraft make a most successful attack on the Japanese aerodrome at Lae, damaging 20 Japanese machines on the ground.
  • At night our air offensive is concentrated on the Gnome-Rhone works and the Goodrich tyre factory at Gennevilliers, near Paris. Much damage is done.
  • Hitler and Mussolini meet at Salzburg. They are accompanied by Ribbentrop, Ciano, and Generals Keitel and Cavallero.

April 30, 1942

  • There is great air activity in the West to-day. In an attack on enemy shipping off Brittany a German destroyer is damaged. The docks at Le Havre and Flushing, Morlaix aerodrome, and the railway yards at Abbeville are bombed by escorted Bostons.
  • The American Admiral, Harold R. Stark, arrives in England to take command of the United States Naval Forces in the European theatre.
  • The conferences between Hitler and Mussolini are concluded. As usual, it is announced that complete agreement has been reached, but no hint is given as to what is the subject of agreement save a vague general determination to prosecute the war to victory.
  • The Australian and American Air Forces carry out another heavy raid on Lae and cause more damage among grounded aircraft.
  • Proportionately to the numbers employed, the Germans suffer very heavy losses in scattered night raids over this country. Eleven bombers are destroyed out of a force of between 40 and 50.
  • While protecting a convoy between Great Britain and Murmansk the 10,000-ton cruiser H.M.S. Edinburgh is torpedoed by German submarine U-456 and subsequently sinks.

MAY 1942

May 1, 1942

  • The Russians publish some interesting figures of recent achievements. Fighting on the Leningrad front alone cost the Germans 58,000 casualties in April. In the same period 248 enemy aircraft were destroyed and 48 damaged.
  • Our bombers in the Middle East have a night out against the enemy’s submarine repair base at Porto Laki bay, on the island of Leros. Other targets are the aerodromes at Menidi, near Athens, and at Maritza, in Rhodes. In North Africa, the harbour of Bengazi and the aerodrome at Barce are the targets.
  • In Burma the Chinese and British forces evacuate Mandalay. Allied destruction, following on Japanese bombing, have left the town a burning ruin. Japanese attempts to push northwards from Lashio are frustrated at Hsenwi.
  • The convoy from Murmansk mentioned yesterday is attacked three times by German destroyers off the North Cape of Norway. None of these attacks is successful.

May 2, 1942

  • As might have been expected, a general election in Japan results in a resounding triumph for the Government party. Of course, General Tojo claims the result as a vindication of the policy of intervention in the war.
  • Dr. Evatt, the Australian representative for the War Cabinet and the Pacific War Council, arrives in this country.
  • On the Mandalay front all British troops are being withdrawn from positions north of the Irrawaddy. The road and rail bridges are demolished.
  • President Roosevelt announces that the defence of Persia and Iraq is considered vital to the defence of the United States and that Lend-Lease aid will be given to them.

May 3, 1942

  • The R.A.F. daylight offensive over France is resumed. Three enemy fighters are destroyed in a morning sweep over the Pas-de-Calais. In the afternoon Bostons, escorted by fighters, bomb the docks at Dunkirk and Hurricanes bomb an aerodrome at Abbeville.
  • At night our heavy bombers concentrate on the great submarine building yards at Hamburg and the German submarine base at St. Nazaire. Coastal Command aircraft bomb the German airfield and barracks near Kristiansand in Southern Norway.
  • Official information is issued about the sequel to the escape of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen from Brest last February. The Gneisenau, severely damaged, has been located at Gdynia, in Poland. The Scharnhorst is still being repaired at Kiel. The Prinz Eugen, though she reached Germany unharmed, was subsequently attacked and much damaged off the Norwegian coast by the submarine Trident.

May 4, 1942

  • The intense Japanese artillery and air bombardment of Corregidor is rising to a climax and seems to presage infantry assault. In New Guinea both the Japanese and the Americans are very active in the air. Japanese heavy bombers, escorted by fighters, again attack Port Moresby, but without much result.
  • A strong force of bombers makes a night attack on Southern Germany; the objectives include the important industrial town of Stuttgart. A detachment of Stirlings bombs the Skoda works at Pilsen and the docks at Nantes are also attacked.

May 5, 1942

  • After all-day bombardment and air attack Japanese infantry cross the channel separating Corregidor from the Bataan Peninsula and commence a final attack on the defenders of the island fortress.
  • The United Nations have anticipated the enemy once again and at a point of vital strategic importance. As the inability or unwillingness of Vichy France to keep Japan out of Madagascar has been plain enough for weeks a British expeditionary force lands at Courier Bay near Diego Suarez, the great naval base at the northern tip of the island. Operation Ironclad

May 6, 1942

  • Though the French put up a vigorous resistance and hold their own in the defence of Diego Suarez, their position in the northern extremity of Madagascar is seriously compromised and they say themselves that capitulation is merely a matter of time. They admit to the loss of the submarines Bougainville and Beveziers and say that two cruisers, Marseillaise and Lamolte Picquet, have vanished.
  • Our aircraft are busy over France during the day. A power station at Caen and targets at Calais and Boulogne are among the objectives. At night the main target is Stuttgart.
  • In the Philippines General Wainwright surrenders Corregidor and the other fortified islands in Manila harbour. The Japanese capture the airfield at Akyab in Burma. American aircraft raid the aerodrome at Mingaladon. The destroyer Jaguar has been sunk.

May 7, 1942

  • The naval base of Diego Suarez is captured after the surrender of the Oronjia batteries which command its entrance.
  • The Americans announce that a recent naval engagement between United States and Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands resulted in the following damage to the enemy: one light cruiser, two destroyers, four gunboats and one supply vessel were sunk; one light cruiser, one cargo vessel and one transport were badly damaged; six aeroplanes were destroyed. American submarines have sunk one medium-sized cargo ship, one medium-sized tanker and one small cargo ship.
  • General Lord Gort, V.C., is appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta in succession to Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie.
  • In daylight sweeps escorted Boston bombers attack the docks at Boulogne and an industrial plant at Zeebrugge. During the night Hudson aircraft of Coastal Command made very effective attacks on a heavily escorted convoy of 12 supply ships off the Dutch coast.
  • According to Russian reports, the Germans in the Crimea are using gas in shells thrown by mortars.

May 8, 1942

  • The American-Japanese naval and air action in the Pacific is again in full swing. In addition to the previous enemy losses reported American forces have now sunk one enemy aircraft-carrier and badly damaged a second; one heavy cruiser has also been sunk and another badly damaged. The Japanese take to invention. They claim that a British battleship of the “Warspite” class was heavily damaged but the Admiralty say that there is no truth whatever in the statement. The Americans also deny the Japanese claim to have sunk American battleships and aircraft-carriers.
  • In Burma the important port of Akyab is evacuated. American bombers again attack the docks at Rangoon.
  • What may be the beginning of the German offensive in the East opens with a joint German and Rumanian attack on the Russian position across the neck on the Kerch Peninsula in the Crimea. The Germans say that over 2,000 dive-bombers are employed in the onslaught on the Russian lines which none the less hold firm.

May 9, 1942

  • Our occupation of Madagascar is only one of the consequences of Laval’s return to power in France. The Americans announce that their Admiral Hoover is to seek with Admiral Robert, French High Commissioner at Martinique, an understanding with respect to the local problem presented by the French possession in the Caribbean arising out of the collaboration policy of Laval. The Allies are determined that the French authorities in the French Caribbean and Atlantic coast shall not furnish aid or comfort to the Axis forces.
  • Axis aircraft suffer an unpleasant surprise over Malta to-day. Fighters have arrived to assist in the defence and 30 enemy aircraft are destroyed or damaged.
  • The Japanese attempt to thrust into China via the Burma Road is frustrated in an action near Chefang, in the province of Yunnan. The Chinese rout the invaders who flee back the way they came. The Chinese have also recaptured Maymyo. The further withdrawal of British forces from positions in Central Burma to prearranged positions farther north has been carried out successfully.
  • The Nazi onslaught on the Soviet troops in the Kerch Peninsula continues. A bombardment of the most extreme violence from land and air is in progress.

May 10, 1942

  • It is made known that the aeroplanes which recently raided Japan were United States Army bombers. Military, naval and industrial plants were the objectives in the vicinity of Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and other localities. The Japanese had broadcast that there were between 3,000 and 4,000 casualties.
  • The fighting in the Coral Sea (South-West Pacific) is over for the time being. The authorities are tantalisingly reticent and the Americans confine themselves to an announcement that the action represents a continued effort by the Japanese to extend their aggressive conquest southward and westward. A co-ordinated attack by combined forces was initiated several days ago. Allied naval forces then attacked in interception. The enemy has been repulsed.
  • The Prime Minister speaks hopefully in a broadcast to the nation.
  • The German bombardment in the Crimea proves irresistible and the Soviet forces withdraw eastwards.
  • The R.A.F. has another great day over Malta. In two days, 63 Axis aircraft have been destroyed or damaged.

May 11, 1942

  • United States submarines in the Far East have had further successes. A destroyer and two cargo ships have been destroyed.
  • The Germans make further headway in the Kerch Peninsula but the Russians cling stoutly to certain points.
  • The Axis loses 17 more aircraft destroyed or damaged in attacks on Malta.

May 12, 1942

  • We have lost three destroyers, H.M.S. Lively, H.M.S. Kipling and H.M.S. Jackal, by enemy air attack in the Mediterranean.
  • A force of our fighters in Libya intercepts a formation of German transport planes and fighters. Thirteen Junkers 52s are shot down into the sea.
Mr Winston Churchill inspecting the Home Guard
Mr Winston Churchill inspecting the House of Commons Home Guard
in the courtyard of the House on 12th May 1942

May 13, 1942

  • The Russians admit that they have fallen back from their original positions on the Kerch Peninsula. The Germans, of course, claim a final and decisive break through, with the capture of over 40,000 prisoners, nearly 200 tanks and 600 guns. Elsewhere general anticipation is surprised by a large-scale Russian offensive in the Kharkov sector. The Germans are caught napping and considerable progress is made on a wide front.
  • The Vichy Government replies to the United States note on the subject of Martinique and Guadaloupe; though the substance of the reply is a secret it is believed that its tenor is conciliatory.
  • Sir William Beveridge’s fuel rationing scheme is shelved and it is announced that the Government will produce a scheme covering coal production as well as distribution.
  • H.M. the King becomes Colonel-in-Chief of the Home Guard.
  • Malta has a good day with Axis raiders, securing a bag of six bombers destroyed and one badly damaged and five fighters destroyed and nine damaged.

May 14, 1942

  • The United States Government makes it clear that it is not going to deal with Vichy, but with the local commander only, in the matter of Martinique. As regards the military danger, nothing is being left to chance. The immobilisation of the French naval vessels is already in progress.
  • The initial Russian success in the Kharkov region is substantial, if not sensational. The Donetz has been crossed at many points, large areas have been recovered and the push westwards continues. On the other hand, it seems clear that the Russians must lose the valuable Kerch peninsula. The German and Rumanian forces reach the town of Kerch itself.

May 15, 1942

  • The aggressor powers have sunk a Mexican merchant ship and to-day the Mexican Government sends a strong note to Germany, Italy and Japan requiring full satisfaction and indemnities.
  • Spitfires and Hurricane bombers attack three German minesweepers off the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula. One blows up, another is set on fire and left sinking and the third is hit and damaged. At night Hudsons of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a squadron of the Royal Dutch Naval Air Service make a series of low-level attacks on two strongly defended German convoys off the Frisian Islands. Three supply ships are set on fire and several others are hit.
  • North, south and east of Kharkov the Soviet armies are pressing into the heart of the formidable German defences. Whether having more far-reaching strategical objectives or not, the Russian offensive is clearly having the effect of drawing in enemy reinforcements massed for an attack towards the Caucasus or elsewhere.

May 16, 1942

  • The news from the Ukraine is meagre but the Russian advance continues even against an enemy who is being reinforced every hour. Our ally has a good day in the air, bringing down 65 enemy planes for a loss of 20. It is announced that a German transport of 6,000 tons has been sunk by Russian warships in the Barents Sea.
  • The Prime Minister draws an encouraging picture in a speech at Leeds. When we began this war, we were a peaceful and unarmed people. But “it is not now going to be brave men against men armed, but a fight of people not only with the resolve and the cause but who also have the weapons.”
  • The Chinese are not demoralised by the loss of Burma. They are engaged in a great effort to drive out such Japanese forces as have penetrated into the Chinese province of Yunnan. The Japanese open an offensive in the Chinese maritime province of Chekiang. They are out to deprive the Americans of bases for bombing Japan.

May 17, 1942

  • The “second front” in the West is not a popular idea thrust upon a reluctant Government. Sir Stafford Cripps says to-day that the Germans will show something more than nervousness when the British and American Governments translate the militant offensive spirit of their peoples into offensive action, “as they certainly will at the moment, they judge it opportune.”
  • The German cruiser Prinz Eugen is caught by a force of Coastal Command, Beauforts Hudsons, Blenheims and Beaufighters as she is steaming south along the coast of Norway. Though escorted by four destroyers and formations of fighters she is hit by torpedoes from the Beauforts.
  • Things are stirring on the North African front. To-day there is considerable activity. Our bombers raid objectives at Bengazi, while fighters successfully attack enemy motor transport vehicles and camps in the Mekili, Sengali and Tengeder areas.
Crew of a Beaufort getting ready to assault the German cruiser Prinz Eugen
Crew of a Beaufort getting ready to assault the German cruiser Prinz Eugen
which was sighted along the Norwegian coast on 17th May 1942

May 18, 1942

  • Sir Andrew Cunningham gives up his command of the Mediterranean Fleet on his appointment as Head of the British Admiralty delegation in Washington. He is succeeded by the victor of the River Plate battle, Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Harwood. In a farewell message to the Fleet, Sir Andrew says that he looks forward to the day “when the Mediterranean Fleet will sweep the sea clear and re-establish our age-old control of this waterway.”
  • The German riposte to the Russian Kharkov offensive is now in progress. An enemy offensive starts in the Izyum-Barvenkovo sector, the south flank of the great pocket created by the Russian advance.
  • There is an unpleasant incident with the Vichy French off the north coast of Africa. A Catalina flying-boat, falsely stated to have been over French territorial waters, is shot down by a Vichy plane.

May 19, 1942

  • The arrival is announced of the largest contingent of the American Army which has ever landed on British shores.
  • The Germans claim that the battle of the Kerch Peninsula is over as they now occupy the entire eastern coast of the Strait. This appears to be at least premature as the Russians say that their forces are still fighting in many places.
  • After a long pause, the R.A.F. is active over Germany again. A powerful force of bombers makes a heavy attack on objectives at Mannheim.

May 20, 1942

  • A leading American aircraft manufacturer, speaking “on sufficient authority,” says that the Allies are now producing twice as many aircraft as the Axis and that the United States will reach President Roosevelt’s goal of 60,000 planes in 1942.
  • In Russia the Soviet forces hold the powerful German flank attack in the Izyum-Barvenkovo sector.
  • The Japanese press on with their converging offensive in the eastern coastal province of Chekiang. In Burma our activity takes the form of bombing the Japanese-held aerodrome at Myitkyina.
  • Goering startles Germany, and indeed the world, by a speech in which he says that the army escaped disaster by a hair’s breadth in the Russian winter and that it was only by the inflexible resolution of Hitler himself that the battle-line was not withdrawn to the western side of Russia’s scorched zone.

May 21, 1942

  • The German Marshal von Bock makes some progress in his counter-attack in the Izyum-Barvenkovo sector to force a passage up the Donetz in rear of the Russian forces straining towards Krasnograd. The Russian offensive is partially checked while this very real threat is being dealt with, but in one sector the Soviet forces advance six miles.
  • In China the Japanese support their new drive in the province of Chekiang by ruthless bombing of Chinese inland towns.
  • The Germans reply, by the sinking of another Mexican tanker, to the Mexican Government’s demand for an apology and compensation for the recent torpedoing of a tanker. Feeling in Mexico is running high and there is an all but universal demand for a declaration of war on the Axis.
  • V.C.s for great gallantry in the attack on St. Nazaire are awarded to Commander Ryder, R.N., Lieutenant- Commander Beattie, R.N., and the late Able Seaman Savage.

May 22, 1942

  • There is more good news of the sinkings of Japanese ships by American submarines. It is announced to-day that a 7,100-ton cruiser and two merchant ships, one of 9,000 tons and another of 6,000 tons, have been destroyed.
  • German thrusts in the Izyum-Barvenkovo sector are again repulsed in a fierce all-day battle.
  • President Roosevelt assures the United Nations that though submarines of the Axis aggressors have taken heavy toll America “will perform the near miracle of ship production.” But he warns his people that the war will be a long one.
  • Australian and American aircraft renew their raids on Rabaul and the harbour and aerodrome at Lae, in New Guinea. Many heavy bombers on the ground and five intercepting fighters are destroyed.
  • Blenheim Z9808 of 60 Squadron R.A.F was returning over the Bay of Biscay from a bombing raid on Japanese airfields in Burma when they were spotted by five Japanese fighters. Despite never previously having fired his guns in action the turret gunner, Flt Sgt John (Jock) McLuckie managed to fight off all five fighters. Damaging two and ringing down that of the Japanese ace Lt Col Tateo Kato. He was awarded this commendation from the Air Officer Commanding Burma: “Please convey my congratulations toward Warrant Officer Huggard, Sergeant Howitt and Sergeant McLuckie on the successful action they fought against four enemy fighters which took place over Akyab on 22 May, and which resulted in Lt Col T A Keo Kato [sic], leader of the Japanese fighter force being shot down.”

May 23, 1942

  • The Russians finally abandon the Kerch Peninsula and it is frankly stated that the Germans have owed their success to their ability to concentrate a huge force of aircraft against a very short front. South of Kharkov the Germans claim that a very large Russian force has been isolated.
  • Something is brewing in Libya. Bomber and fighter activity is on an increased scale to-day. The enemy landing ground at Derna is effectively bombed. Elsewhere enemy motor transport vehicles are attacked. In the Gulf of Sirte an enemy merchant vessel is hit by cannon and machine-gun fire and is brought to a standstill.
  • Japanese forces are converging on Kinhwa, the capital of the Chinese province of Chekiang, in spite of stubborn Chinese resistance. It is believed that the enemy’s objective is to seize certain aerodromes which were perhaps used by the American aircraft that bombed Japan.
  • Brazil is not going to tolerate Axis attacks on her ships. To-day Brazilian aeroplanes bomb and sink a submarine which is prowling off the north-east coast of the country.

May 24, 1942

  • The Russians deny the enemy’s claim to have surrounded large forces in the Lozovo salient but admit that fierce engagements with German tanks and infantry are in progress on the south side of the Kharkov salient.
  • The Germans have found a scapegoat for their increasingly difficult food situation. He is Walther Darre, the Minister of Agriculture, and a very vocal champion of the most extreme Nazi doctrines.
  • On his return from a visit to Libya General Smuts tells South Africa that though this year may well prove the most terrible of the whole war he thinks that as a result the corner will be finally turned and we shall be able to see in what direction the end will come.

May 25, 1942

  • Bitter fighting rages in the vicinity of Kinhwa. The Japanese are making desperate efforts to capture the city and are being constantly reinforced.
  • German air attacks against Malta have notably weakened of late, perhaps because they have achieved their object of preventing air attack upon the passage of reinforcements to Rommel. But a bomber and two fighters are shot down to-day.
  • The Germans persist in their claim to a big haul of prisoners in the salient west of the Donetz. The Russians admit that certain units have been isolated but truly claim that they have frustrated von Bock’s effort to seize all the Donetz crossings south of Kharkov.
  • Our intervention in Burma is now limited to air operations, but we are making the most of our opportunities. To-day our bombers attack barges, launches and steamers used by the Japanese on various Burmese rivers.

May 26, 1942

  • The storm breaks in Libya and it is Rommel who moves first. Enemy columns, including tanks in some strength, advance eastwards. By nightfall they are in the vicinity of our advanced positions between Gazala and Bir Hakeim.
  • The heads of the American army and naval air forces have arrived in this country for consultations with our war leaders on all matters relating to a common air policy.
  • Italy has been blackmailing France with renewed demands for the cession of Savoy, Nice and Corsica. To back up words with deeds, the King of Italy to-day holds a review of 300,000 troops on the French frontier.

May 27, 1942

  • In Libya the enemy armoured force which had been observed the previous evening moving eastwards is engaged on the southern flank by allied armoured forces. Axis columns are also reported to be on the move in other directions.
  • Russian positions in the Kharkov area are consolidated and a number of enemy attacks in the Izyum-Barvenkovo area are repelled.
  • For the third night in succession Port Moresby, New Guinea, is visited by Jap an ese aircraft, but they are intercepted by allied fighters.
  • The Japanese Prime Minister, General Tojo, during a special session of the Diet, warns Australia that “she must reconsider her attitude towards Japan.”
  • Operation Anthropoid - In Prague a bomb attempt is made on the life of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Gestapo in the occupied countries.

May 28, 1942

  • General Rommel attempts to envelop the allied left flank in the direction of Bir Hakeim and also to force a way north-east to El Adem. All his attacks are repulsed, as also are those on our positions south of Gazala. The R.A.F. give vigorous support to our land forces, effectively bombing the enemy’s airfields and attacking his transport columns.
  • Sharp attacks by Axis tanks and infantry are made in the Izyum -Barvenkovo area, where the Germans endeavour to force a crossing of the Donetz River.
  • The Japanese, following desperate resistance by the Chinese, force an entry into Kinhwa.
  • United States submarines, it is announced, have sunk in Far Eastern waters one large auxiliary ship and one medium-sized cargo, severely damaged and probably sunk another medium cargo ship and damaged by torpedoes one heavy cruiser.

May 29, 1942

  • The great tank battle raging in the track centre about 12 miles south of Acroma, called Knightsbridge by the British troops, is still being fought out. Unable to break through, the Axis armoured column which attempted to move on El Adem swings north-westward to join the panzer division in the Knightsbridge area. A few enemy tanks penetrate as far as the coast road north-west of Acroma. Tmimi, Bengazi, and the harbour at Derna are effectively bombed.
  • Berlin reports that the battle for Kharkov has ended, but from Moscow comes the announcement that German resistance has relaxed, and that a village has been captured by the Russians. During the day 143 Nazi aircraft are destroyed.
  • Gennevilliers, near Paris, the site of the Gnome-Rhone aero-engine works and the Goodrich rubber works, is successfully attacked by a strong force of our bombers. Other objectives are Cherbourg and Dieppe.
  • Seven aircraft out of about 50 which attempt to raid coastal areas of East and South-East England are destroyed.

May 30, 1942

  • Fighting around Knightsbridge increases in intensity and considerable dam age is inflicted on enemy armoured forces. Some of the fiercest encounters take place at gaps made by Rommel in our minefields. Both our bomber and fighter aircraft give close support to land operations by attacking Axis mechanised columns and destroying large numbers of motor transport vehicles.
  • Moscow announces that the Russian High Command have now achieved the object aimed at in launching the Kharkov offensive.
  • The R.A.F. launch the biggest air raid in history on the Ruhr and Rhineland, with Cologne as the main target, when for the first time more than 1,000 bombers are concentrated on the attack, which lasts for about 95 minutes - one bomber every six seconds. More than 2,000 tons of bombs, including many of the new 4000-lb. type, are dropped on the city, which sustains terrific damage. Forty-four of our aircraft fail to return.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Flying Officer 66542 Leslie Thomas MANSER, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser, 50 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On 30th May 1942 over Germany, Flying Officer Manser was captain and first pilot of a Manchester bomber which took part in a raid on Cologne. He bombed the target successfully but the aircraft was hit repeatedly, the rear gunner was wounded, the front cabin filled with smoke and the port engine was overheating. Flying Officer Manser was determined to save his aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands and it was not until he knew that a crash was inevitable that he gave the order to bale out. As the crew parachuted down, they saw the bomber, still carrying their captain, crash in flames.
Some members of RAF crews of aircraft on their return from a successful night raid
Some members of RAF crews of aircraft on their return from a successful night raid
over Cologne and the Rhineland on 30th May 1942

May 31, 1942

  • In Libya, where Spitfires are reported to be taking part for the first time, fighting is stated to have reached a climax. A bitter struggle between opposing tanks takes place in the triangle formed by El Adem, Acroma and Bir Hakeim.
  • Canterbury is chosen by the Germans for a reprisal raid to offset our 1,000-bomber onslaught on Cologne. Only a small force reaches the city and three of them are destroyed.
Churches and schools were damaged by the bombing of Canterbury
Churches and schools were amongst buildings that were severely damaged
following Luftwaffe bombing of Canterbury on 31st May 1942

JUNE 1942

June 1, 1942

  • In Libya the enemy concentrates his forces westward of the gaps made in our minefields, where they are pounded by artillery and from the air. We capture Rotunda Segnali, a position some 30 miles west of the main allied strength.
  • H.M.S. Trinidad, an 8,000-ton cruiser of the “Fiji” class, has been sunk.
  • An audacious raid by Japanese midget submarines is made on Sydney harbour. Only slight dam age is caused, but there are a number of people killed.
  • The second 1,000-bomber raid in 48 hours - 1036 bombers are actually engaged - is launched on the
  • Ruhr, the main target being the Krupp works at Essen. Thirty-five of our machines are lost.
Pilots and other members of the crews who took part in raids on Essen
Pilots and other members of the crews who took part in raids on Essen
on the 1st June 1942 after returning to thier aerodrome

June 2, 1942

  • The first phase of the Libyan struggle ends with the forward columns of Rommel’s army passing through the gaps to a point where the Axis forces are being concentrated. The area between the gaps is also occupied by the enemy. Fighting is mainly centred in the locality west of Knightsbridge and near Bir Hakeim, where an all-day attack is staged by Axis forces. Tamar is captured from the enemy, who lose 14 tanks in the engagement.
  • Essen is again the target of the R.A.F., but by a smaller force of bombers than on the previous night. Large fires are left burning. Dieppe docks are also visited.
  • The Admiralty announces that a large convoy carrying important supplies for Russia was attacked for five days and nights from 25th - 30th May by U-boats, bombers, dive-bombers and torpedo-carrying aircraft, but got through safely with the loss of only a few ships.

June 3, 1942

  • A wider gap is made by Rommel in our minefields during the past 24 hours, but the situation at the opening of the second phase of the Libyan battle is described as favourable. It is reported that in a night sortie from Bir Hakeim, which is being valiantly defended by the Free French forces, a detachment raided an Axis prisoners-of-war camp and released 600 men of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade.
  • Heavy fighting is in progress in Chekiang province, where the Japanese, strongly resisted by our Chinese allies, make a determined attack from three directions on Chuki (Chuhsien).
  • Dutch Harbour, an important U.S. naval base in the Aleutian Islands, is attacked by a force of Japanese bombers and fighters from aircraft-carriers. High explosives and incendiaries are dropped, but casualties are slight and damage negligible. A few hours later a second raid is made without material result.
  • A new Government plan for the coal industry is submitted to Parliament in a White Paper, and Major Gwilym Lloyd George is appointed Minister of Fuel, Light and Power. A rationing scheme has been prepared, but will not be put into operation unless the necessity arises.
British troops returning from Boulogne-Le Touquet raid
British troops wade ashore returning from Boulogne-Le Touquet raid 3rd June 1942

June 4, 1942

  • British tanks, armoured-cars, infantry and mobile artillery close in on Rommel’s forces east of the gaps in the minefields, in an area called the Devil’s Cauldron, and during the night enemy positions west of Knightsbridge are attacked. The new 28-ton General Grant tanks take part in the fighting in this area. The Free French at Bir Hakeim repel another assault by the Germans, who are also attacked from the rear by British and Indian units.
  • Midway Island, in the Pacific, is the objective of a Japanese air attack. An enemy battleship, an aircraft-carrier and other warships are stated to have been damaged.
  • It is officially announced from Australia that in a raid on enemy shipping lanes an allied submarine has achieved the most important success yet in the South-West Pacific in sinking two heavily loaded and armed supply ships of 10,000 and 6,000 tons and an armed transport of 6,000 tons, and badly damaging a supply ship of 700 tons.
  • In the early hours of the morning a reconnaissance landing by Commandos is carried out on the French coast between Le Touquet and Boulogne. Valuable information is obtained.
  • Bremen is heavily assaulted by a strong force of bombers; one large fire and several smaller ones are started.
  • Heydrich, the Gestapo chief, dies from the wounds inflicted on him on 27th May. As a reprisal 157 Czechs have so far been executed.
A German tank knocked out in battle at Knightsbridge
A German tank knocked out in battle at Knightsbridge being closely
inspected by the General Grant tank crew who disabled it

June 5, 1942

  • The attack on Knightsbridge, which was launched the previous night, continues throughout the day, our air forces co-operating with the land forces.
  • On the Russian Front there occur only local operations, in which the Soviet forces wrest several strongholds from the Germans.
  • A claim to the capture of Foochow, capital of Kiangsi province, is made by the Japanese.
  • Industrial districts of the Ruhr are again visited by our bombers.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Sergeant 4458 Quentin George Murry SMYTHE, South African Army awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 4458 Sergeant Quentin George Murray Smythe, Royal Natal Carabineers, South African Forces. On 5th June 1942 in the Alem Hamza area, Western Desert, during an attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded, Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although he was himself wounded in the head. When our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy machine-gun nest he attacked it with hand grenades, capturing the crew. Although weak from loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance and stalking an anti-tank position, he again attacked and captured it single-handed killing several of the enemy.

June 6, 1942

  • In Libya one of the biggest battles ever to be fought in the Western Desert is developing and British armoured forces which have reached Harmat hold tenaciously to their positions. After two days of severe fighting Rommel’s forces are checked in the first phase of the battle of the Cauldron and are compelled to retire to their original positions. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Two more attacks on Bir Hakeim are thrown back.
  • In the Midway Island battle which began on Thursday the Japanese are now stated to have had two or three aircraft-carriers sunk, with all aircraft, and one or two more badly damaged, three battleships damaged, one badly, and four cruisers and three transports damaged.

June 7, 1942

  • Against our positions at Knightsbridge the enemy launches his main armoured forces, but our artillery and infantry beat off the attack. Another assault on Bir Hakeim by tanks and infantry is smashed by the Free French, and the R.A.F. continue their successful onslaughts on Axis supply columns.
  • Stubborn fighting proceeds in the Sebastopol sector of the Russian Front, where the enemy makes several attacks and meets with heavy losses.
  • Admiral Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief the U.S. Pacific Fleet, states that the Japanese fleet is apparently withdrawing from the Midway Island engagement, the U.S. forces having lost contact during the previous night. The American losses so far reported are one destroyer sunk and an aircraft-carrier damaged. At Dutch Harbour the position remains obscure, the only known fact being that a battle of manoeuvre of some kind is in progress.

June 8, 1942

  • A further heavy assault is made on Bir Hakeim, which is repulsed with the aid of the R.A.F., who also destroy more than 100 transport vehicles and many tanks. On the rest of the front there is little activity.
  • In the Sebastopol sector the Germans continue to batter at the Black Sea port with increasing violence.
  • Although the weather is unfavourable Bomber Command sends a strong force to attack the industrial districts of the Ruhr, the docks at Dieppe and other objectives.

June 9, 1942

  • The Germans appear to be throwing in everything in an effort to overwhelm the Bir Hakeim garrison, who are supported by the R.A.F. in repelling all attacks.
  • Further heavy onslaughts are made on Sebastopol, but they result only in heavy losses for the enemy.
  • The Admiralty announce that H.M.S. Turbulent (Commander J. W. Linton, D.S.C., R.N.) has effectively attacked an Axis convoy in the Central Mediterranean, sinking three medium-sized supply ships, a 1,628-ton Italian destroyer of the “Navigatori” class and a small merchant vessel.

June 10, 1942

  • During the day more attacks on Bir Hakeim are repelled, the Free French being assisted by British armoured and motorised forces, but at night, on the order of General Ritchie, the gallant garrison under General Koenig is withdrawn, after having withstood numerous fierce attacks for 16 days and effectually delayed the enemy’s plans.
  • The Japanese claim to have occupied the Western Aleutian Islands.
  • Chuhsien, the airport city in Chekiang province, is evacuated by the Chinese.
  • As an act of reprisal for the killing of Heydrich, it is reported that all the men residents of the Czech village of Lidice, near Kladno, have been shot, the women deported to a concentration camp, and the children removed to “educational centres”. All the buildings in the village, which had a population of more than 1,000, have been razed to the ground.

June 11, 1942

  • The Russians offer stout opposition in the Kharkov sector to enemy tanks and infantry when General von Hoht launches a strong offensive.
  • General Rommel’s forces storm Bir Hakeim but find only an empty shell.
  • The terms of a treaty of alliance between Great Britain and Russia are published. The treaty provides for full collaboration between the two nations during and after the war, and is to remain in force for 20 years. It is signed on behalf of the Soviet Union by M. Molotov, who had come to London to take part in its preparation.

June 12, 1942

  • Following our withdrawal from Bir Hakeim, General Rommel starts a fresh tank attack to the east between the evacuated garrison and Harmat. Meeting resistance from the British tank forces he turns north towards the coast. There is heavy fighting to the south of El Adem, which is itself attacked by the enemy. The Italians are dislodged from their positions west of Mteifel, which is situated about 20 miles west of Knightsbridge.
  • Beleaguered Sebastopol announces that the position has become tense. The Germans are throwing 10 divisions into the assault, and in one attack lose 50 tanks.
  • Official disclosures of the Japanese losses in the Coral Sea battle early in May come from the U.S. Navy Department: they are 15 warships sunk, including the new aircraft-carrier Ryukaru, and three heavy cruisers; two ships probably sunk and 20 damaged; and more than 100 aircraft lost. The U.S. lost the aircraft-carrier Lexington and two other ships.

June 13, 1942

  • Some of the fiercest fighting in Libya up to the present takes place. Having failed in his attempt to capture El Adem, Rommel turns to attack Acroma and is heavily engaged. Our tanks suffer heavily from a strong concentration of the enemy’s anti-tank artillery.
  • Furious fighting continues on the Kharkov front, where the Germans maintain their new offensive. Sebastopol is again the object of heavy attacks, which fail-to achieve any material result.

June 14, 1942

  • The battle in Libya becomes fluid, with Rommel attacking northwards from the Trigh Capuzzo and our mobile forces in turn attacking the enemy’s rear from the south. What is described as probably the most violent armoured battle ever to be staged in Libya takes place to the south of Acroma. An Italian report claims that the allied army has been cut in two and Axis forces have reached the coast.
  • General von Bock continues his offensive on the Kharkov front, but none of his attacks can be forced home.
  • The U.S. Navy Department confirm that the Japanese have made a small-scale landing at Attu, the most westerly of the Aleutians. In a table of comparative naval losses, the Navy Department shows that those inflicted on the Japanese in the Coral Sea battle were greater than all the U.S. losses to date, including those at Pearl Harbour.
  • The King and Queen with the Princesses and the heads of a number of the allied countries attend a United Nations Day ceremony. The flags of 22 States are honoured during a march past Buckingham Palace of representatives of the Services, Civil Defence organisations and war workers.
  • H.M. Submarine Olympus (Lieut.-Commander Herbert George Dymott, R.N.) is reported to have been lost.
The King taking the salute as the Indian contingent march past
The King taking the salute on 14th June 1942 United Nations Day as the Indian contingent march past

June 15, 1942

  • Fighting on the Kharkov front increases in violence and the enemy suffers heavy losses in man-power and equipment. General von Bock’s tank columns are reported to be falling back. If anything, the siege of Sebastopol increases in intensity.
  • Strong enemy attacks on our positions around El Adem are repelled with heavy loss to the Axis forces. It is reported that our troops have been withdrawn from Knightsbridge.
  • Heavy attacks are made by Axis naval and air forces on two of our Mediterranean convoys carrying supplies for the Tobruk and Malta garrisons. American airmen, as well as the Fleet Air Arm and R.A.F., take part in the battle that ensues. Twenty-three hits are registered on one Italian battleship and 15 on another; a 10,000-ton 8-in. gun cruiser of the “Trento” class and at least two destroyers are sunk, and the enemy also suffers heavy air losses.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that five Japanese warships, believed to be three cruisers, a destroyer, and a gunboat, have been damaged off the Aleutian Islands.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temporary Lieutenant Colonel Henry Robert Bowreman FOOTE, Royal Tank Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Robert Bowreman Foote (31938), 7th Royal Tank Regiment. During the period 27th May to 15th June 1942 in Libya, Lieutenant Colonel Foote commanded his battalion with outstanding courage and leadership, always being at the crucial point at the right time. On 6th June, although wounded, he continued to lead his battalion from an exposed position on the outside of a tank, and succeeded in defeating the enemy's attempt to encircle two of our divisions. On 13th June when a number of our tanks had been destroyed, he went on foot, from one tank to another, encouraging the crews under intense artillery and anti-tank fire. By his magnificent example the corridor was kept open for the brigade to march through.

June 16, 1942

  • It is officially reported from Cairo that the South African Division and the 50th Division have Been successfully withdrawn from Gazala under the cover of a magnificent fight by our forces round Acroma. A strong Axis patrol makes an early morning thrust towards Sidi Rezegh, and in spite of bombing by allied aircraft continues towards El Adem, but is engaged by our forces and held.
  • On the Kharkov front the Russians counter-attack and advance at several points, the enemy sustaining heavy losses in tanks.

June 17, 1942

  • In Libya, further attacks by the Axis forces are repelled, but the situation becomes increasingly serious. The landing-ground at Gazala is successfully attacked.
  • The siege of Sebastopol is stated to have entered on a critical stage, but the Germans are losing heavily in both men and material as a result of their attacks. No material change is reported on the Kharkov front.
  • Our bombers raid the submarine base at St. Nazaire, and other targets in France and Belgium are also bombed.
  • A force of 12 Junkers 88’s attack H.M.S. Destroyer Wild Swan and a Spanish trawler fleet about 100 miles off the west coast of France. The Wild Swan (Lieut.-Commander Claude E. L. Sclater, R.N.) shoots down four of the enemy aircraft and causes two others to fall into the sea. Later the destroyer collides with one of the trawlers and founders.

June 18, 1942

  • The position in Libya is reported as grave. Our defensive posts at El Adem and El Duda are relinquished, and probably that at Acroma also. Our forces are also withdrawn from Sidi Rezegh.
  • Germany claims to have captured the northern fortifications at Sebastopol.
  • It is announced by the Admiralty that the minesweeper H.M.S. Fitzroy (Commander Auberon Charles Alan Campbell Duckworth, R.N.) has been sunk.
  • The Presidium of the. Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. meets to ratify the London Treaty.
  • An unofficial balance-sheet of naval losses suffered by Japan and the U.S. in the Pacific since the outbreak of war gives a total of 142 enemy ships sunk or probably sunk, the U.S. loss being 31.
British troops investigating a wrecked German tank
British troops investigating a wrecked German tank, Libya 1942

June 19, 1942

  • The 8th Army retires to fortified positions on the Libya-Egypt frontier. One of our columns operating from the south shells enemy troops on the El Adem aerodrome, and our forces in Tobruk destroy three enemy tanks and damage four others.
  • Mr. Churchill is reported to be in Washington, where he is in conference with President Roosevelt.
  • The posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Lieut.-Col. Geoffrey Charles Tasker Keyes is announced. Lieut.-Col. Keyes lost his life in a daring raid on General Rommel’s headquarters in Libya in November, 1941.
  • Aerodromes and shipping at Rabaul, New Guinea, are heavily attacked, a 10,000-ton transport receiving three direct hits.

June 20, 1942

  • After advancing eastwards Rommel’s forces converge on Tobruk, which is stated to be preparing for the enemy’s onslaught.
  • A strong force of bombers attack Emden and other parts of North-West Germany, following up a visit of the previous night.
  • The Burmese port of Akyab is visited by R.A.F. bombers and direct hits are scored on a number of buildings.
  • H.M. submarines are reported to have sunk three Japanese supply ships in the Strait of Malacca.
  • Vancouver Island, Western Canada, is shelled by an enemy submarine, but no damage results.

June 21, 1942

  • Tobruk is reported to have fallen to the Axis forces after a determined but unavailing resistance by the allied garrison. The Germans claim to have taken more than 25,000 prisoners.
  • Continued pressure on Sebastopol compels the defenders to retire to new positions on one part of the front.
  • Southampton has a short attack by the Luftwaffe; considerable damage to property is caused and several people are killed. Four of the raiders are destroyed.
  • Mr. Oliver Lyttelton returns from his three-weeks’ visit to the United States.
  • During the day seven Axis aircraft are brought down in making raids on Malta.
  • The U.S. Navy Department reports that another of the Aleutian Islands – Kiska - is in Japanese occupation.
  • United States troops are reported to have arrived in Britain as well as in Northern Ireland.

June 22, 1942

  • Moving eastwards after the fall of Tobruk, an enemy column comes into contact with our mobile forces near Sidi Azeiz. Gazala is again attacked by our heavy bombers.
  • Japanese concentrations in Burma are bombed three times during the day, and Akyab and its aerodrome receive two visits from our air forces.
  • Another attack, the third in four nights, is made on Emden. It is a concentrated assault, occupying less than an hour, and very considerable damage is done.
  • Speaking in New York, Mr. Harry Hopkins predicts a great combined United Nations offensive, with a second, third and fourth front if necessary.

June 23, 1942

  • Small parties of Rommel’s forces are engaged north of Solium, and our mobile columns are active all day to the west of our positions. Bombers and fighter-bombers of the R.A.F. and South African Air Force successfully attack enemy transport concentrations, and also landing-grounds at Gazala.
  • The Russians report a slight withdrawal in the Kharkov area, and the beating off of severe attacks at Sebastopol, where the Germans fail to take advantage of the wedges they have driven into the fortress’s defences.
  • Mr. Attlee makes a statement in the House of Commons on the situation in Libya, and reads a report on the operations from General Auchinleck.
  • According to official figures published in Moscow, not less than 3,500,000 Germans have been killed in the first year of war with the Soviet Union. The number of wounded and missing is given as 6,500,000. Russian losses - killed, wounded and missing - are placed at 4,500,000.
  • Auschwitz concentration camp begins the systematic slaughter of Jews using Zyklon B in gas chambers. The first group to enter the chambers are a group of Parisian Jews.

June 24, 1942

  • General von Bock opens a new offensive on the Kharkov front, which is stoutly resisted by the Russians.
  • Rommel’s forces are reported to be advancing into Egypt in three main columns, and have reached a point south-east of Sidi Barrani. Our mobile forces are causing the enemy heavy losses, and the R.A.F. are battering continually at their tanks and transport columns. Our positions at Solium and Sidi Omar are evacuated, and the Germans also claim Halfaya and Fort Capuzzo.
  • In China our ally claims to have recaptured Kweiki, in Kiangsi, but in Chekiang the Japanese launch a drive against Linshui and make some progress.
  • H.M. King George VI signs the instrument ratifying the Anglo-Soviet Treaty.
  • Five enemy raiders are destroyed in attacks on the West Midlands and East Anglia.

June 25, 1942

  • The Germans continue their pressure in the Ukraine and make some advance; the Russians, after stubbornly resisting the enemy, are compelled to evacuate Kupiansk. Numerous fierce onslaughts on Sebastopol are repelled.
  • General Auchinleck assumes command of the 8th Army personally in succession to General Ritchie. Enemy advance troops, who approach to within 30 miles of Mersa Matruh, are engaged by our forces.
  • Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt meet the Pacific War Council in Washington.
  • For their third 1,000-bomber raid on Germany the R.A.F. choose Bremen for the target. The attack, in which all the operational commands take part, is concentrated into 75 minutes, and large fires are started and considerable damage is done to factories and other military objectives. We lose 52 aircraft.

June 26, 1942

  • Following the fall of Kupiansk, the Russians continue to fight with undiminished vigour to the east of the town. The capture of Izyum is claimed by the enemy.
  • Rommel’s forces continue to advance, and reach positions facing ours in the vicinity of Mersa Matruh. One column is engaged by our battle groups and another by our armoured forces.
  • It is reported that M. Litvinov, Russian ambassador to the U.S.A., is taking part in the Washington talks with Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt.
  • Three German bombers are destroyed when a night attack is made on Norwich.

June 27, 1942

  • Our forces close with Rommel’s army and heavy fighting proceeds throughout the day. Battle groups join action with German armoured forces which had by-passed our positions west of Mersa Matruh. The New Zealand battle groups successfully engage enemy armoured forces and infantry.
  • Mr. Churchill arrives home from his visit to President Roosevelt, and a joint statement is issued simultaneously in London and Washington. It gives an optimistic account of munition production, refers to steps being taken to reduce the losses in merchant shipping, and mentions coming operations which “will divert German strength from the attack on Russia”.
  • A strong force of bombers visits North-West Germany and again Bremen is the principal target, large fires being left burning. Nine of our aircraft are lost.
  • Wake Island, the American Pacific Island in Japanese occupation, is bombed by U.S. aircraft.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private 4270383 Adam Herbert WAKENSHAW, Durham Light Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. 4270383 Private Adam Herbert Wakenshaw, 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry. On 27th June 1942 south of Mersa Matruh, Western Desert, Private Wakenshaw was a member of a crew of a 2-pounder anti-tank gun, when the enemy attacked, silencing the gun and killing or seriously wounding all the crew. Private Wakenshaw's left arm was blown off but he crawled back to his gun, loaded it with one arm and fired five more rounds with considerable effect. He was then blown away from the gun by an enemy shell and was again severely wounded, but he still managed to crawl back and was preparing to fire again when a direct hit on the ammunition killed him and destroyed the gun.

June 28, 1942

  • The Germans set up an offensive in the Kursk area, north of Kharkov, and drive a wedge into the Russian defences. Sebastopol again beats off a number of attacks. In the Kharkov sector, east of Kupiansk, Marshal Timoshenko prevents the enemy from making further progress by launching a counter-attack.
  • In Egypt, the battle rages over an extensive area, the chief fighting being between mobile and armoured forces to the south-east and south-west of Mersa Matruh, which General Auchinleck decides to evacuate. The Germans claim the capture of 6,000 prisoners at Mersa Matruh. A heavy force of Axis tanks is attacked west of Fuka.
  • Weston-Super-Mare is the object of a short but sharp attack by the Luftwaffe. Two raiders are brought down.

June 29, 1942

  • In his new Kursk offensive, the enemy launches heavy tank attacks but none of them meets with success. Fresh reserves are sent into the assault on Sebastopol, where the Germans make some progress at great cost in life and material.
  • In Egypt there is fierce fighting over a wide area covering several hundreds of square miles between Mersa Matruh and Fuka.
  • An official statement gives the complete Japanese losses in the Midway Island battle as: four aircraft-carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu) sunk; two, probably three, battleships damaged, one severely; two heavy cruisers sunk, three others damaged; one light cruiser damaged; three destroyers sunk, and one probably sunk; four transports or cargo ships hit by bombs or torpedoes, with one or more probably sunk. U.S. losses are confirmed at one destroyer lost and one aircraft-carrier damaged.
  • For the third time in the week Bremen is battered by a strong force of bombers, and many more fires are started. Nine of our aircraft are missing. A small force of enemy bombers visits the East Midlands and East Anglia.
  • The loss of the destroyer H.M.A.S. Nestor is reported while on convoy duty in the Mediterranean on 15th June. Three of the crew were lost.
  • Reconnaissance aircraft have located the Gneisenau in the Polish port of Gdynia, where it lies severely damaged from R.A.F. bombing attacks.

June 30, 1942

  • The advance of the German forces on the Kursk front is halted, the enemy having met with colossal losses. More than 150 tanks are put out of action. Sebastopol still holds the besiegers at bay.
  • Rommel’s forces are reported to have passed El Daba (90 miles west of Alexandria) in their coastal march eastwards. Our troops are continually in touch with the enemy throughout the day, and in one engagement a number of enemy tanks are put out of action.

JULY 1942

July 1, 1942

  • The main armoured forces of both sides engage in battle west of El Alamein, 65 miles from Alexandria. In a stirring order of the day General Auchinleck pays a tribute to the forces, saying that “no troops could have fought better.”
  • The Germans claim the fall of Sebastopol and state that the Russians have retired to the Khersones Peninsula. No further progress appears to have been made by the enemy in the Kursk offensive.
  • It is reported that a well-equipped naval base has been built by the United States at Londonderry, and that it has been in commission since 5th February.
  • The announcement is made that the U.S. aircraft-carrier Wasp has been successfully employed in transporting aircraft reinforcements for Malta.
  • M. Jevat Achikalin, it is reported, has been appointed Turkish Ambassador to the U.S.S.R.
  • In the House of Common Mr. Oliver Lyttelton replies to the no-confidence motion moved by Sir John Wardlaw-Milne.
  • Hankow aerodrome is bombed by U.S. aircraft, hangars, runways and ten grounded aircraft being damaged.
The crew of a Lancaster on their return from the raid on Duesseldorf
The crew of a Lancaster on their return from the raid on Duesseldorf on the night of 31st July-1st August 1942

July 2, 1942

  • The battle at El Alamein rages violently, and the view is expressed that the fighting is “not unfavourable” to our army. A break-through by Rommel’s tanks is successfully countered. Allied reinforcements continue to arrive.
  • There is large-scale tank activity in the Kursk area, and stubborn fighting is taking place in the Byelgorod and Volchansk directions. Fierce hand-to-hand engagements occur in the outskirts of Sebastopol.
  • Mr. Churchill winds up the debate in the House of Commons, and the no confidence motion is rejected by 476 votes to 25.
  • A heavy force of bombers is over Bremen for half an hour, a great weight of bombs being dropped on submarine building yards and other military objectives.
  • The French Island of Mayotte, in the Mozambique Channel, is occupied by British forces.
  • American aircraft attack Nanching aerodrome, several hangars receiving direct hits and three aeroplanes being damaged.

July 3, 1942

  • Following the heavy fighting on the previous two days, Rommel withdraws his forces two to three miles to the west to re-form them. Fighting is resumed and the battle continues throughout the day. At night the New Zealanders successfully attack strong enemy gun positions. Our troops put a number of tanks out of action and capture 40 guns and more than 400 prisoners. Allied air forces co-operate with land forces “on a scale unprecedented in the Middle East.”
  • The Germans suffer heavy losses in making a tank attack on a 100-mile front between Kursk and Volchansk with the object of crossing the River Seim. The enemy casualties in one day of fighting are reported at 15,000 officers and men killed and 250 tanks put out of action. A Soviet communique confirms the enemy claim to have taken Sebastopol.
  • It is officially confirmed by the Admiralty that H.M.S cruiser Hermione and destroyers H.M.S Bedouin, H.M.S Hasty, H.M.S Grove and H.M.S Airedale were lost in the Mediterranean in convoy operations in June. The Polish destroyer O.R.P Kujawiak was also lost.

July 4, 1942

  • Allied forces continue to attack in the El Alamein area and compel enemy armour to evacuate a ridge to the south of El Alamein after putting out of action several tanks. Our air activities are on a maximum scale, and landing grounds round El Daba are heavily attacked.
  • In the Kursk area fighting continues with unabated fury, but the Russians are compelled to withdraw to new positions near Byelgorod.
  • U.S. air crews are engaged for the first time, jointly with the R.A.F., in a bombing attack on enemy-occupied territory when they visit airfields in Holland.
  • Four Japanese destroyers are torpedoed off the Aleutians by U.S. submarines, two being sunk and one set on fire.
His Majesty King George VI inspecting Naval cadets at Buckingham Palace
His Majesty King George VI inspecting Naval cadets at Buckingham Palace on 4th July 1942

July 5, 1942

  • Our land and air forces continue to engage the enemy throughout the day in the El Alamein area, driving them from one strong point with heavy casualties.
  • The Germans make some progress in the Ukraine following their heaviest offensive of the year, and the Soviet forces are compelled to withdraw in the Kursk and Byelgorod sectors. The enemy throw 1,000 tanks into their attack and claim to have reached the River Don.

July 6, 1942

  • Apart from shelling from both sides there is little activity on land in the El Alamein area, but our air forces maintain their heavy attacks over a wide extent of the battle-front.
  • Bitter fighting is in progress to the west of Voronezh and south-west of Stary Oskol, and heavy losses are inflicted on enemy tanks. Further slight withdrawals are made by the Russians east of Kursk and in the Valuiki area.
  • Sixteen Axis aircraft are destroyed over Malta.

July 7, 1942

  • In the El Alamein sector the enemy is engaged by our patrols and mobile columns, and is also subjected to intensive bombing by our air forces. Rommel extends his southern flank to the west to cope with our continuous attacks.
  • The Germans claim to have captured Voronezh, but this is not confirmed by the Soviet High Command, whose communique states that fighting continues to the west of the town, and also south-west of Stary Oskol. The Axis reports a Russian attack to the north of Orel and claims an advance in the neighbourhood of Rzhev.
  • Further raids on Malta result in one Italian and eight German fighters being destroyed, making a total of 25 in two successive days.
  • Commander Anthony Cecil Capel Miers, D.S.O., R.N., is awarded the Victoria Cross for valour when commanding H.M. submarine Torbay in a - daring and successful raid on shipping in an enemy harbour.
  • China enters on the sixth year of her war with Japan.

July 8, 1942

  • There is no important change in the Alamein area. Our patrols and mobile columns engage Rommel’s forces and it is reported that there are signs that the enemy are digging in at certain points. German positions are successfully raided, a number of guns being destroyed and some prisoners taken. Our air operations on enemy bases continue, and include an attack on landing grounds at El Daba.
  • Fierce fighting takes place to the west of Voronezh, the Germans suffering heavy losses. The Russians are compelled to evacuate Stary Oskol, but the Axis claim to have taken Voronezh is without foundation, although pressure by the enemy in the Upper Don area tends to increase. In the Orel sector the Soviet forces continue to attack, as do the Germans at Rzhev. The new German battleship Tirpitz is attacked in the Barents Sea by a Soviet submarine which scores two hits with torpedoes and badly damages her. Escorted by three heavy cruisers and four destroyers, the Tirpitz was out to attack a convoy.
  • The death of Dr. Refik Saydam, the Turkish Prime Minister, is announced.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft attack Wilhelmshaven and large fires are left burning in the shipbuilding area.

July 9, 1942

  • Both armies are awaiting the opening of a fresh attack in Egypt, and meanwhile General Auchinleck sends out strong mobile patrols and harries the enemy from the air. At night our medium bombers and naval aircraft attack Axis shipping and score two hits on an Italian destroyer and two further hits on a 5,000-ton merchant ship.
  • Fighting is heavy west of Voronezh, and the Soviet communique refers to engagements near Rossosh, the most eastern point yet mentioned. Although enemy forces have effected a crossing of the Don, they have failed so far to do so in any strength. In operations in the central sector Von Bock is said to have used about 8,000 tanks.
  • M. Sarajoglu, is appointed Prime Minister of Turkey.
  • Malta has a successful day against the Luftwaffe, 13 enemy aircraft being destroyed.

July 10, 1942

  • The lull in the Alamein sector appears to have ended, our troops attacking in the northern sector just before dawn and making a limited advance of five miles to the westward. In the south the enemy starts an eastward movement and is engaged by our forces, who destroy a number of tanks. British naval units, cooperating with our air forces, successfully shell enemy positions in and around Mersa Matruh.
  • Bitter fighting occurs west of Voronezh and also in the Kantemirovka and Lisichansk areas. The Russians admit that Rossosh is in enemy hands, and that the Don has been crossed at two points.
  • Japanese forces operating south of Nanchang are reported to have been routed by the Chinese after a three-day battle. During the night enemy forces make a landing at Juian, near Wenchow, following heavy shelling from 30 Japanese warships. The enemy is reported to have captured Tsingtien.

July 11, 1942

  • In the northern sector our troops, including elements of the Australian Imperial Force, consolidate the positions captured on the previous day in their advance to the Tel el Eisa area. In the advance more than 2,000 prisoners were taken, and guns, transport vehicles and 18 tanks were destroyed.
  • Moscow declares that the situation at Voronezh and on the front west of the Don is grave. The Russians are fighting back strenuously, but the Germans are thrusting east of Rossosh.
  • The important submarine building yards at Danzig are heavily attacked in a daring daylight raid by several squadrons of Lancasters, which flew 1,750 miles through thunderstorms and thick clouds. Flensburg also receives a visit at about the same time.

July 12, 1942

  • The north-western area of the positions recently occupied in the Alamein area are attacked by Rommel but without success. In the southern sector our battle groups harass the enemy. A number of fires are started and explosions occur when our bombers launch a heavy attack on Tobruk.
  • On the approaches to Voronezh the fighting continues with increasing ferocity. Kantemirovka and Lisichansk are evacuated by the Soviet forces and operations move in the direction of Boguchar. Terrific air battles are being fought.
  • It is stated that in the 24 hours ended at 7 p.m. to-day, the Axis lost 10 aircraft in bombing raids on Malta.
The King paid his first visit as Colonel-in-Chief of the Home Guards to a Home Guard battalion
The King paid his first visit as Colonel-in-Chief of the Home Guards to a Home Guard
battalion in the Eastern Command on 12th July 1942

July 13, 1942

  • Enemy tanks and infantry make determined attacks on our forces in the northern sector of the Alamein area, but they are effectually checked. A column of tanks and a large concentration of vehicles in the El Daba area, also the landing-grounds, are attacked by our fighters, fighter-bombers and light bombers.
  • Having crossed the Don in force at Voronezh the Germans proceed to widen and deepen the bridgehead. They are reported to have made a break through. The heaviest fighting is now stated to be in the area of Boguchar, about 25 miles beyond Rossosh and 200 miles south by east of Voronezh.
  • With a strong escort of Spitfires, Boston bombers attack the railway yards at Boulogne. At night the Ruhr is the target for a strong force of bombers, many fires being started.

July 14, 1942

  • In the Western Desert there is no activity until the evening, when Rommel’s tanks and infantry assault our positions at Tel el Eisa. Slight gains are achieved by the enemy, but our forces maintain their hold on the high ground. In the evening we initiate an attack in the central sector.
  • The Germans use flame-throwers and smoke-screens in a determined attempt to storm Voronezh. Heavy fighting continues to the south of Boguchar, where the enemy makes a heavy tank and infantry attack.
  • La France Combattante (Fighting France) is the name by which the Free French movement is to be known from now on.

July 15, 1942

  • The slight progress made in a night attack on the 14th by Rommel’s forces in the northern sector of the Alamein front is negatived by allied counter-attack at dawn, the enemy sustaining heavy casualties. In the central sector our forces start an attack which develops into a big tank battle and after our objectives have been secured the enemy makes a strong counter-attack. Our air attacks on enemy tanks and supplies are maintained.
  • On the Russian front fierce fighting continues in the Voronezh area, where powerful forces of enemy tanks are reported to be converging on the town. Our allies have withdrawn their forces from Boguchar and Millerovo.
  • A naval patrol of light coastal forces attacks off Cherbourg a convoy consisting of a laden tanker escorted by two heavily armed trawlers and some E-boats, leaving the tanker on fire and sinking and severely damaging the trawlers.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Sergeant 6751 Keith ELLIOT, New Zealand Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Sergeant Keith Elliott, 22nd Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. On 15th July 1942 at Ruweisat, Western Desert, Sergeant Elliott, while leading his platoon in an attack under heavy machine-gun and mortar fire, was wounded in the chest. Nevertheless, he carried on and led his men in a bayonet charge which resulted in the capture of four enemy machine-gun posts and an anti-tank gun. Seven of the enemy were killed and 50 taken prisoner. In spite of his wounds Sergeant Elliott refused to leave his platoon until he had reformed them and handed over the prisoners, the number of which had by then increased to 130.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Captain 8077 Charles Hazlitt UPHAM, New Zealand Army awarded the Bar to the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham V.C., (8077), 20th Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (The Canterbury Regiment). On 14th/15th July 1942 at El Ruweisat Ridge, Western Desert, Captain Upham, in spite of being twice wounded, insisted on remaining with his men. Just before dawn he led his company in a determined attack, capturing the objective after fierce fighting; he himself destroyed a German tank and several guns and vehicles with hand grenades. Although his arm had been broken by a machine-gun bullet, he continued to dominate the situation and when at last, weak from loss of blood, he had his wounds dressed, he immediately returned to his men, remaining with them until he was again severely wounded and unable to move.

July 16, 1942

  • As a result of our attack in the central sector at Alamein the important Ruweisat ridge comes into our hands. All through the day Rommel’s forces make determined efforts to dislodge our troops. Fighting also continues in the northern sector.
  • In the Don area the Axis forces continue their eastward progress and the threat to the Don basin becomes more serious, but in the Voronezh area, after 10 days on the defensive, the Russians are counter-attacking strongly.
  • Heavy fighting is in progress near Foochow, the port recently occupied by the Japanese; the Chinese report the recapture of the city of Tsingtien. Hankow water-front is attacked by allied bombers, with satisfactory results.
  • Submarine yards at Luebeck and shipyards at Flensburg are raided at dusk by our four-engined Stirling bombers.

July 17, 1942

  • General-Auchinleck makes further progress to the south in the northern sector, but some of the ground taken is relinquished as the result of violent counter-attacks. Tobruk and Mersa Matruh are heavily raided, the former by the R.A.F. and the latter by naval aircraft. Mersa Matruh is also bombarded from the sea.
  • The Russians press their counter-attack around Voronezh, and south of the town effect a recrossing of the Don, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. Voroshilovgrad, an important industrial town in the Donetz coal basin, is captured by the Germans, according to their own report. Farther south the Axis forces are moving nearer to Rostov.

July 18, 1942

  • We advance farther along the Ruweisat ridge and also make some progress in the southern sector. Tobruk is again raided by heavy bombers, and Mersa Matmh receives another bombardment by light naval forces.
  • Soviet forces continue their counter-blows against the invaders in the Voronezh area, where Timoshenko’s right wing crosses the Don, but in the Don basin the situation continues to be critical. East Prussia is raided by the Russian Air Force, the central target being Koenigsberg, where 38 fires are left burning.
  • Large-scale daylight attacks by bombers and fighters are made by the R.A.F. on various targets in occupied France, principally in the Lille-Bethune area. Industrial targets in the Ruhr are also bombed in daylight by four-engined Lancasters.
  • It is officially reported that Wing-Commander Brendan (“Paddy”) Finucane has been brought down, and believed killed, by a shot from a German machine-gun on the beach near Pointe-du-Touquet. His plane crashed into the Channel.

July 19, 1942

  • All our positions in the various Alemein sectors are held, and it is reported that in five days’ operations 4,000 prisoners have been captured. An enemy aerodrome is attacked by a strong force of light bombers and fighter-bombers, many enemy aircraft being destroyed or damaged on the ground.
  • Timoshenko’s forces which have recrossed the Don continue to hold their gains. The German report of the occupation of Voroshilovgrad is confirmed from the Russian side.
  • Lancasters, Stirlings and Halifaxes attack the submarine building yards at Vegesack, near Bremen, and a force of 200 Spitfires make a low-level attack on military objectives in occupied France.
  • SS Chief Heinrich Himmler issues the order to ‘resettle’ all Jews in German occupied areas to the concentration camps.

July 20, 1942

  • Land operations in Egypt are confined to patrols, but the R.A.F. carry out a large-scale offensive on aerodromes near Fuka, where direct hits are scored, large fires left burning and about 30 grounded aircraft damaged. Mersa Matruh is bombarded by the Royal Navy for the third time in four days, but on a heavier scale. The harbour works and shipping are attacked by high-explosive shells, about 400 shells being fired in about half an hour.
  • A German division is routed in the Voronezh area and a Don bridgehead is retaken. In some sectors in the Don basin the strenuous efforts of the Russians succeed in holding the advancing Axis forces. Some territorial gains are made by the Russians south of Lake Ilmen on the Kalinin front. Koenigsberg is again raided by bombers of the Soviet Air Force, and several large fires are raised.

July 21, 1942

  • General Auchinleck opens a fresh attack with tanks on all sectors of the Alamein front at dusk, but there is no report of the results of the fighting.
  • In the Voronezh area bridgeheads remaining in enemy hands are vigorously assaulted by the Russians, but their position in the Donetz basin is reported to be less favourable. The Germans claim to be attacking Rostov from three directions and the town is in flames.
  • Duisburg, the largest European inland port, is attacked by 300 bombers, many of them of the four-engined type, more than 50 4,000-lb. bombs being dropped. It is one of the most successful raids ever made on the Ruhr.
  • A Japanese convoy between Buna and Ambasi, New Guinea, is attacked by allied bombers, a transport receiving a direct hit.

July 22, 1942

  • On the Russian Front fighting spread to area of Tsimlyanskaya and Novocherkassk, and continued round Voronezh.
  • In Africa heavy fighting developed on all sectors of the front; our troops made same progress.
  • In Burma R.A.F. raided river craft in coastal areas.
  • In the far east Japanese troops made new landing in New Guinea at Gona, 120 m. north of Port Moresby. Allied bombers sank three transports.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private WX9858 Arthur Stanley GURNEY, Australian Military Forces awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. WX.9858 Private Arthur Stanley Gurney, 2/48th Battalion (South Australia), Australian Military Forces. On 22nd July 1942 at Tel-el-Eisa, Egypt, the company to which Private Gurney belonged was held up by intense machine-gun fire, heavy casualties being suffered, including all the officers. Private Gurney, realising the seriousness of the situation, charged the nearest machine-gun post, silencing the guns and bayoneting three of the crew. He bayoneted two more at a second post, and was then knocked down by a grenade, but picked himself up and charged a third post. Nothing more was seen of him until later, when his body was found by his comrades, whose advance he had made possible.

July 23, 1942

  • Announced that British submarines in Mediterranean had sunk three enemy supply ships.
  • R.A.F. bombers raided Duisburg and other places in Ruhr and Rhineland.
  • Russian Air Force bombed East Prussia.
  • On the Russian Front fighting continued round Voronezh. Tsimlyanskaya and Novocherkassk, and spread to Rostov area.
  • Allied bombers raided Japanese in Buna area of New Guinea; dive bombers attacked Gona.
  • Seven enemy aircraft destroyed in scattered night raids across England.

July 24, 1942

  • On the Russian Front fighting continued in neighbourhood of Voronezh, Tsimlyanskaya, Novocherkassk and Rostov. Germans claimed to have taken Rostov.
  • Japanese bombers raided aerodrome at Port Moresby. Allied bombers attacked Jap installations at Gona.

July 25, 1942

  • Russian warships sank two transports in Gulf of Finland.
  • Strong force of R.A.F. bombers again raided Duisburg by night and many Russian bombers attacked Konigsberg.
  • On the Russian Front it is announced that Germans broke through in one Rostov sector; fighting at Voronezh, Novocherkassk and Tsimlyanskaya.
  • Allied heavy bombers raided Crete.
  • In Africa land operations again confined to patrol and artillery engagements. Enemy reconnaissance planes over Nile Delia were destroyed or damaged.
  • Japanese flying-boats made first raid on Townsville, Queensland.
  • Allied bombers attacked Gona. U.S. Navy Dept, announced sinking of five more Japanese ships by U.S. submarines.

July 26, 1942

  • American Air Force pilots took part for first time in fighter sweeps over north France. Very strong force of R.A.F. bombers raided Hamburg at night.
  • On the Russian Front fighting continued in area of Voronezh, Tsimlyanskaya, Novocherkassk and Rostov.
  • In Africa land operations again limited. Allied bombers made heavy raid on Tobruk.
  • Japanese aircraft raided Darwin.
Japanese Mitsubishi Zero fighter wreckage from the raid on Darwin
Japanese Mitsubishi Zero fighter wreckage from the raid on Darwin, Australia on 26th July 1942

July 27, 1942

  • Russian warships in Barents Sea sank enemy submarine and transport.
  • On the Russian Front the evacuation of Rostov and Novocherkassk announced by Russians. Fighting continued round Voronezh and Tsimlyanskaya.
  • In the Mediterranean thirteen enemy aircraft shot down over Malta.
  • Severe fighting developed with heavy artillery duels in Africa.
  • Allied aircraft, including American dive-bombers, attacked Japanese positions at Gona.
  • Number of scattered day and night raids over England.

July 28, 1942

  • Russian warships sank three transports in Bay of Finland.
  • Hamburg again raided by strong force of R.A.F. bombers.
  • On the Russian Front fierce fighting in areas of Voronezh, Tsimlyanskaya and Bataisk.
  • Heavy bombers of Allied air forces raided Suda Bay, Crete.
  • In Burma R.A.F. bombers attacked Akyab docks and Mandalay-Rangoon Rly.
  • Nine raiders destroyed in raids on Birmingham and elsewhere.

July 29, 1942

  • There is little activity on land in Egypt, but allied fighter-bombers make a successful attack in the southern sector and destroy about 40 enemy vehicles. Tobruk is raided, and explosions are followed by a number of fires.
  • In the Voronezh and Tsymlyanskaya areas the Russians continue to engage the enemy strongly, but as a result of German pressure round Bataisk, a railway junction south of Rostov, they are compelled to make a further withdrawal. Fighting is also reported south-west of Kletskaya.
  • Advance units of Japanese forces which landed at Buna, in Papua, are checked in their advance towards Port Moresby by allied ground patrols.
  • Saarbruecken, the capital of the Saar, is the main objective of a strong force of bombers, and considerable damage is done. Nine of our aircraft are lost. Birmingham is the chief target of the Luftwaffe, who lose eight of their bombers.
  • German E-boats and trawlers protecting a convoy are engaged by our light naval forces off the Dutch coast in the early morning. One supply ship is left in a sinking condition, and two escort vessels are badly damaged.
  • Birmingham was enemy’s main night target; 8 raiders destroyed.

July 30, 1942

  • The lull in Egypt continues and only patrol activity takes place inland. Aerial warfare consists mainly of attacks on Rommel’s communications.
  • Heavy fighting is reported in the Don bend, where our allies hold the enemy, but the Russians give further ground in the lower Don area. The Germans claim to have cut the Krasnodar-Stalingrad railway at Proletarskaya.
  • Darwin and Port Hedland, the southernmost point of the Australian mainland yet visited, are bombed by the Japanese without material damage being done.
  • Japanese naval units occupy strategic points in the island groups of Kei, Aru and Tenimber, in the Arafura Sea between New Guinea and Timor.

July 31, 1942

  • Our land forces in Egypt engage in successful patrols against Rommel’s infantry, who are making efforts to dig in. In the air our fighter-bombers attack the headquarters of one of the enemy’s panzer divisions and our heavy bombers raid Tobruk and Mersa Matruh.
  • Russian resistance is stiffened in the Don elbow and on the rest of the Don front, and a tank counter-attack is launched in the Tsymlyanskaya sector. In the area south of Rostov, however, the position is still grave.
  • One of the biggest Bomber Command forces for some time raids Duesseldorf, centre of the German steel industry. In a highly concentrated attack, more than 150 4,000-lb. bombs and hundreds of thousands of incendiaries are dropped in less than an hour. Large fires in an area of four-square miles are left burning. Thirty of our aircraft are lost.
  • In three big sweeps over Northern France, one by fighters and two by bombers with fighter escort, the R.A.F. make damaging attacks on enemy communications and Abbeville aerodrome. Eleven enemy fighters are destroyed in the air, our losses being eight fighters.
  • In an attack on the West Midlands, the Germans lose nine bombers.
  • In an air battle over Hengyang, the American headquarters in China, which began on the previous day, U.S. fighters bring down 17 Japanese bombers and fighters out of a total force of 119 aircraft.

AUGUST 1942

August 1, 1942

  • A quiet day on the Alamein front, apart from attacks by the R.A.F. on the enemy’s supply lines.
  • Moscow announces that the Russians are continuously attacking in the Don area, and the enemy is being dealt heavy blows.
  • Two E-boats are destroyed and two torpedo-boats damaged by our light coastal craft in a Channel naval engagement at night. When our patrol withdrew enemy E-boats and torpedo-boats were left fighting each other, with German shore batteries firing on them.

August 2, 1942

  • In Egypt the only land activity consists of the work of our patrols, but in the air our fighter-bombers carry out attacks on enemy camps and blow up an ammunition dump. Long-range bombers destroy three motor lighters off the coast between Mersa Matruh and Sidi Barrani, and damage some others; Tobruk also receives a heavy battering, four-engined Halifaxes and Liberators taking part in the raid.
  • Fierce engagements take place in the Kletskaya, Tsymlyanskaya, Kushchevsk and Salsk areas, where the Soviet forces continue to yield ground, but the enemy is still being held in the Don elbow.

August 3, 1942

  • In spite of heavy attacks by the enemy, the Russians continue to hold fast in the Don elbow sector, but they are less successful to the south of the lower Don, where the Germans are moving towards the Kuban River.
  • Escorted by fighters, a number of U.S. bombers attack the enemy’s headquarters and positions at Linchuan, in Kiangsi province, and 12 direct hits are scored.

August 4, 1942

  • There are artillery exchanges in the northern and central sectors of the Alamein front, and enemy vehicle concentrations in the central sector are attacked by our light bombers and fighter-bombers. Four Axis motor lighters are destroyed or set on fire by our aircraft.
  • It is reported by the Admiralty that a submarine commanded by Commander Benjamin Bryant, D.S.C., R.N., has sunk in the Mediterranean the Italian steamship Adda (800 tons) and attacked and caused to be beached another enemy supply ship.
  • In the Kletskaya area and towards the south the Axis forces make further progress and report the capture of Voroshilovsk. The Germans also progress eastwards between the Don and Sal Rivers.
  • It is announced that in a recent raid on the Indian Congress offices in Allahabad documents are seized, and among them is Mr. Gandhi’s original draft of a resolution submitted to the Congress Working Committee on 27th April, in which it was stated that if India were freed from British rule “her first step would probably be to negotiate with Japan.”
  • About 30 enemy planes make scattered raids on South and South-West England and South Wales doing only slight damage and causing few casualties. Six raiders are destroyed.

August 5, 1942

  • Strong German attacks in the Don River bend and the Tsymlyanskaya area are strenuously resisted by the Russians, but south-west of the lower Don our allies are compelled to give further ground. The enemy claim to have reached the Kuban River on a wide front, and to have captured Kropotkin.
  • Apart from artillery exchanges in the northern and central Alamein sectors, there is no land activity of any importance.
  • Military objectives in the Ruhr are again attacked by aircraft of Bomber Command; five of our bombers are lost.
  • A resolution renewing the demand for the withdrawal of British power from India, and making a threat of mass struggle under Mr. Gandhi if the demand is not complied with, is passed by the Working Committee of the Indian Congress Party.
  • Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who arrived by air yesterday, visits the El Alamein front with General Auchinleck. The following day he replaces Auchinleck as Commander of 8th Army with General Gott and as C-in-C Middle East by General Alexander. Auchinleck is offered the Persia-Iraq Command but, to Churchill’s disappointment, he refuses and returns to India. The Persia-Iraq Command goes instead to General Maitland Wilson.

August 6, 1942

  • Fierce fighting continues around Kletskaya, in the Don bend, at Kotelnikovo, to the east, and to the south of the river in the Byelaya Glina and Kushchevsk areas, where more ground is yielded by the Soviet armies.
  • Once again, the Ruhr is attacked by Bomber Command aircraft, the main objective being Duisburg, the largest European inland port; aerodromes in the Low Countries are also bombed. Six of our machines are missing.

August 7, 1942

  • The Germans press forward in the North Caucasus and reach the district of Armavir; they claim the capture of the town, which is an important oil town and railway junction about 50 miles north-east of Maikop. In spite of a stiffening in their resistance to the enemy, the Russians fall back in the Kotelnikovo area, about 100 miles south-west of Stalingrad.
  • The lull in the land operations in Egypt continues. Australian light bombers make a successful attack on Axis motor lighters between Mersa Matruh and Sidi Barrani and a 10,000-ton transport is sunk in the Mediterranean by American bombers.
  • The Bristol Bombay transport L5814, 216 Squadron RAF flying General Gott from Borg el-Arab to Cairo to take command of 8th Army, is shot down by Messerschmitt Bf-109’s and crash lands. With the loss of all passengers including General Gott. Churchill gives command of 8th Army to General Bernard Montgomery, later commenting on "the part that the hand of God had taken in removing Gott at the critical moment".

August 8, 1942

  • The Germans break through the Russian lines at Armavir and fan out in the direction of Novorossisk and Tuapse on the Black Sea coast. In the Don bend area of Kletskaya and around Kotelnikovo the Russians are reported to be putting up a stronger resistance to the Germans. Soviet units which have crossed the Don south of Voronezh capture several inhabited localities.
  • United States and Australian air and surface forces open an attack on the enemy-held Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The attack is made in the Tulagi area of the group and is reported to be producing “good results.” U.S. naval forces also bombard Kiska in the Aleutian Islands, which the Japanese occupy; 3,000 shells are rained on the enemy.
  • The All-India Congress Committee ratifies the resolution of the Congress Working Committee.
  • Allied bombers drop 15 tons of bombs on Rabaul’s aerodrome and shoot down seven enemy fighters for the loss of one. Lae is also heavily attacked.

August 9, 1942

  • In the Caucasus, where the Germans claim to have reached the foothills of the mountains and the capture of Maikop and Krasnodar, the Russians continue to withdraw, but in the operations in the Don elbow and around Kotelnikovo the Soviet continue to hold the enemy.
  • The lull on land continues in Egypt; after successful night attacks on enemy landing-grounds our light bombers attack and disperse aircraft in the El Daba area.
  • A communique issued by the U.S. Navy Department states that the offensive operations against the Japanese in the Solomon Islands is meeting with considerable resistance.
  • Mr. Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Dr. Maulana Azad and all the members of the Congress Party who attended the Bombay meeting are placed under arrest. Rioting breaks out in Bombay, Poona and Ahmedabad.
  • A strong force of R.A.F. bombers attack the railway and industrial centre of Osnabrueck and the docks at Le Havre. Six of our aircraft are lost.

August 10, 1942

  • The Germans claim the capture of Pyatigorsk in the Caucasus, where the front is extending south-eastward, but in the Don loop, although constantly attacking, the enemy fails to make any impression on the Russian resistance.
  • In Egypt, transport vehicles and encampments are attacked by our fighter-bombers and fighters, and enemy coastal shipping is successfully bombed, one lighter being sunk and another damaged.
  • It is announced that in the attack on the Solomon Islands, which took the Japanese completely by surprise, several landings have been made. Severe fighting is in progress. One American cruiser has been lost so far, and two cruisers, two destroyers and one transport damaged. Many enemy aircraft have been destroyed and surface units put out of action.
  • There is some rioting in Bombay, where the police fire on the mob, and in New and Old Delhi.

August 11, 1942

  • In spite of determined resistance, the Russians are compelled to give further ground in the Caucasus, where an enemy motorised column is operating in the foothills. In the operations centred against Stalingrad, however, the Axis forces are meeting with powerful opposition and can make no progress.
  • At Alamein there are artillery exchanges only in the northern and central sectors; in the southern sector our patrols take some prisoners.
  • In the Solomon Islands the Japanese make strong counter-attacks, but the Americans hold fast to their positions.
  • Mainz, an important industrial centre in the Rhineland, is the chief target of a heavy force of R.A.F. bombers. In an attack which lasted about 45 minutes, many hundreds of tons of high-explosives and incendiaries are dropped, causing numerous large fires.
  • Rioting continues in Bombay, but it is on a reduced scale. In Old Delhi the town hall is set on fire.
Survivors of HMS Eagle which was sunk by a U-boat
Survivors of HMS Eagle which was sunk by a U-boat in the early stages of the
Malta convoy battle on 11th August 1942

August 12, 1942

  • In the fighting around Kletskaya, in the Don elbow, and Kotelnikovo, the Russians offer stout resistance to the enemy, but in the Caucasus the Germans make further progress.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of aircraft carrier H.M.S. Eagle as a result of a U-boat attack in the Mediterranean; it is reported that there are about 930 survivors. The German announcement says that the Eagle was sunk while sailing in a strongly protected convoy.
  • U.S. marines in the Solomon Islands, according to a Washington report, are consolidating their positions on three islands in the vicinity of Tulagi and operations are continuing.
  • Mainz is again attacked by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, and many more fires are started. Five of our aircraft are lost.

August 13, 1942

  • Near Kotelnikovo the Russians launch successful counter-attacks against the enemy and press strongly in the Voronezh sector. In the Caucasus, however, the enemy advances in spite of determined Soviet resistance.
  • An Axis submarine is sunk in the Gulf of Finland and three transports of a total of 28,000 tons are destroyed in the Barents Sea by our ally’s warships.
  • The Axis claim to have inflicted serious losses on a Malta convoy and its escort, including heavy damage to H.M.S aircraft-carrier Furious, but the Admiralty state that the enemy announcement is inaccurate and unreliable.
  • A British naval squadron under the command of Admiral Vian shells the Italian island of Rhodes, in the Eastern Mediterranean, for 12 minutes and leaves large fires burning.

August 14, 1942

  • At the approaches to Stalingrad Russian troops are successful in local battles, and the enemy is held in the Don elbow at Kletskaya, in which area panzer units reach the western bank of the Don at one point but are dispersed. The German advance in the Caucasus is slowed down.
  • The lull in Egypt which has lasted for the past three weeks continues, but there is some air activity in which a number of enemy planes are destroyed.
  • It is officially announced by the Admiralty that a convoy has arrived at Malta with vital supplies and reinforcements after undergoing air, sea and submarine attacks lasting for three days, in which H.M.S. cruiser Manchester (9,400 tons) and aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Eagle (previously announced) were lost. Enemy losses are so far reported as two U-boats, with two torpedo hits on cruisers.

August 15, 1942

  • Fierce resistance is offered to the German armies in their efforts to break through from the south-west towards Stalingrad and the enemy has fanned out eastwards in the direction of Astrakhan from south of Kotelnikovo. Near the west bank of the Don the Russians start a terrific counter-attack, and in the Krasnodar area German attempts to establish a bridgehead on the southern bank of the Kuban River are frustrated. The capture of Georgievsk, east of Maikop, is claimed by the enemy.
  • A medium force of R.A.F. bombers attack Western Germany; bombs being dropped on many targets. Five of our aircraft are lost.

August 16, 1942

  • After destroying the oil wells and removing all equipment and stores of oil, the Russians evacuate Maikop, which the enemy had claimed to have captured nine days ago. Despite their frantic endeavours to hold the Germans in the Don elbow our allies have lost some ground around Kletskaya.
  • Our patrols are active in Egypt and our light bombers score hits on, and probably sink, two Axis lighters.
  • Patrols of our light naval forces engage a force of five or six enemy R-boats in the Strait of Dover, sinking one and severely damaging three others.

August 17, 1942

  • The Air Efficiency Award (established in August 17th 1942) is granted for ten years’ meritorious service to airmen, airwomen and part-time officers in the Auxiliary and Volunteer Air Forces of the United Kingdom and the Territorial Air Forces and Air Force Reserves of the Commonwealth and Empire services, officers and men alike.
  • Stubborn defensive actions are fought by the Soviet troops in the area south-east of Kletskaya and also in the Krasnodar area, where the Axis forces attempt a crossing of the Kuban River. Heavy losses are inflicted on the Germans around Voronezh.
  • Our patrols are active in all sectors of the Alamein front, but there is no other land activity.
  • It is announced that Mr. Churchill has paid a visit to Moscow where, in company with Mr. Averell Harriman, as President Roosevelt’s representative, he had long conferences. On his way to Russia, he visited Cairo, where he conferred with Field-Marshal Smuts. Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Wavell and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder attended the Moscow talks.
  • Washington reports that U.S. marines are now “well established” in the Solomon Islands and in a night action with enemy naval forces the Japanese units were driven off.
  • Big fires are started in Osnabrueck when our bombers drop more than 50,000 incendiaries and many 4,000-lb. high-explosives on this industrial centre of the Ruhr.
  • Four-engined B17 Flying Fortresses drop bombs on marshalling-yards and engine-sheds at Rouen in the first daylight all-American raid.

August 18, 1942

  • To the south-west of Stalingrad, the Germans are forced to yield ground when counter-attacked, but in the Don bend they have smashed a way to the river at a few points without having effected a crossing. To the west of Krasnodar, the enemy forces crossings of the Kuban River at some points. According to the Soviet Information Bureau the German losses from 15th May to 15th August have amounted to 1,250,000, of whom 480,000 were killed.
  • The War Office announces that General the Hon. Sir H. R. L. G. Alexander, K.C.B., C.S.I., D.S.O., M.C., is appointed Commander-in-Chief, Middle East in succession to General Sir Claude Auchinleck, and that Lieut.-General B. L. Montgomery, C.B., D.S.O., is to command the 8th Army.
  • Industrial objectives in Danzig, Koenigsberg and Tilsit are attacked by large formations of Soviet bombers and many big fires are started in all three towns.
  • In an attempt to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their bombing raids the RAF introduce the Pathfinder Force. Overnight 31 Pathfinder aircraft from 7, 35, 83 and 156 Squadrons R.A.F, drop flares to assist in a raid on Flensburg, Denmark. Although in this instance they bombers miss the target and mistakenly bomb the towns of Sønderborg and Abenra 25 miles further north, they will soon prove their worth.

August 19, 1942

  • In Russia heavy fighting proceeds in the Don bend, north-east of Kotelnikovo and in the Pyatigorsk area. Our allies evacuate Krasnodar after stubborn battles.
  • [Operation Jubilee] A Combined Operations raid, the largest of the war, is carried out on Dieppe. It is described as a reconnaissance in force, and British, Canadian, U.S.A. and Fighting French troops are landed on six beaches, together with many tanks. The shore operation lasts for nine hours, during which much useful information and experience is obtained and enemy batteries, a radiolocation station and other important military objectives are destroyed. In the heaviest aircraft battle since the Battle of Britain our airmen destroy 91 enemy aircraft for certain and probably destroy or damage about twice that number. Our losses number 98, but 30 pilots are known to be safe. A large number of landing craft are lost and destroyer H.M.S. Berkeley is damaged and has to be sunk.
  • In an Admiralty report of the Malta convoy operations, it is stated that the Axis definitely lost at least 66 aircraft. Additional British naval losses were the anti-aircraft cruiser Cairo and the destroyer Foresight.
  • General Sir Claude Auchinleck in a farewell message to the 8th Army, reveals that during the past two months the Axis had lost 10,000 men in prisoners alone.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Honorary Captain John Wier FOOTE, Canadian Chaplains' Service awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Honorary Captain John Weir Foote, Canadian Chaplains' Service, attached The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. On 19th August 1942 at Dieppe, France, Captain Foote coolly and calmly during the eight hours of battle walked about collecting the wounded, saving many lives by his gallant efforts and inspiring those around him by his example. At the end of this gruelling time, he climbed from the landing craft that was to have taken him to safety and deliberately walked into the German position in order to be taken prisoner so that he could be a help to those men who would be in captivity until the end of the war.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cecil Ingersoll MERRITT, Canadian Infantry Corps awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt, Commander, The South Saskatchewan Regiment, Canadian Infantry Corps. On 19th August 1942 at Dieppe, France, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt's unit had to advance across a bridge swept by very heavy machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire. The first parties had mostly been destroyed but the colonel rushed forward and personally led the survivors of at least four parties, in turn, across the bridge, and then led them in successful attacks on German pill-boxes. Although twice wounded he continued to direct the unit's operations and having collected Bren and tommy guns, prepared a defensive position to cover the withdrawal from the beach.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Lieutenant 73033 Patrick Anthony PORTEOUS, Royal Regiment Of Artillery awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Captain (Temporary Major) Patrick Anthony Porteous (73033) Royal Regiment of Artillery (Fleet, Hampshire). On 19th August 1942 at Dieppe, France, Captain Porteous was liaison officer between two detachments whose task was to attack the heavy coast defence guns. During the initial assault Captain Porteous, with the smaller detachment was shot through the hand, but he nevertheless disarmed and killed his assailant, thereby also saving the life of a British sergeant. In the meantime, the two officers of the other detachment had been killed and the Troop Sergeant Major seriously wounded, so Captain Porteous, in the face of withering fire, dashed across open ground to take command and led the men in a successful charge against the enemy, when he was severely wounded for the second time. He continued to the final objective, however, but eventually collapsed after the last gun had been destroyed.
RAF pilots took part on Abbeville raid
Polish, Australian, Gold Coast, US, & New Zealand RAF pilots took part on Abbeville raid 19th August 1942.

August 20, 1942

  • In the Caucasus the Germans continue to advance towards the Black Sea, and in the Don bend they make desperate efforts to force a crossing of the river. After fierce fighting near Kotelnikovo the Russians gain a little ground.
  • Nearly 500 fighters take part in a sweep over Northern France when escorting a force of U.S. Flying Fortresses which bomb objectives in Amiens.
  • It is reported that in the Solomon Islands battle the heavy cruiser Canberra, of the Royal Australian Navy, was lost. According to a U.S. Navy announcement, marines are now engaged in mopping up the remaining Japanese troops on the islands recently captured.
  • As a reprisal for the sinking of several of her ships, aircraft of Brazil attack German U-boats and probably sink two.

August 21, 1942

  • The Germans are reported to be concentrating tanks and aircraft for a fresh attempt to cross the River Don. They admit that the Soviet forces are launching strong counter-attacks.
  • Makin, a Japanese-occupied island in the Gilbert group, is raided by U.S. marines and naval forces, according to a report issued by Admiral Nimitz, commanding the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
  • Eleven U.S. B17 Flying Fortresses engage a force of FW109s and destroy or damage six of them without loss to themselves.
  • East Prussia, Upper Silesia and Warsaw are attacked by a large force of Soviet bombers; many big fires are started in the Polish capital, where three explosions are observed at the railway station and two in the ordnance factory.

August 22, 1942

  • Fighting continues on all the southern fronts in Russia and the Germans are reported to have broadened their bridgeheads on the River Don.
  • The Board of Admiralty reports the loss of submarine H.M.S. Upholder (Commander Malcolm David Wanklyn, V.C., D.S.O., R.N.) ; the announcement contains a special mention of the submarine’s services.
  • Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy. The official statement says: “In the face of acts of war against our sovereignty we recognise that a state of war exists between Brazil and the aggressor nations, Germany and Italy.”

August 23, 1942

  • The battle in the Don bend grows in intensity, and east of Kletskaya the enemy succeeds in gaining a foothold on the east bank of the river, where the Russians counter-attack fiercely. The enemy claims the capture of two towns in the lower Kuban area.
  • Mr. Donald Nelson, Chairman of the U.S. Production Board, states that munitions output in America is three and a half times that of November, 1941, but is still 7 per cent below forecasts.
  • Two Wellington bombers attack Emden in daylight, and bomb the dock area.
  • General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, G.B.E., K.C.B., D.S.O., is appointed G.O.C. in C., Persia-Iraq Command, a new independent Army Command.
  • Kittyhawk fighters shoot down 13 Japanese aircraft over the Darwin area of Australia without suffering loss.

August 24, 1942

  • The situation to the west of Stalingrad is less favourable, the Germans having thrown large forces of infantry and tanks across the River Don to reinforce the troops which have already forced a passage. A wedge is also driven into the Russian defences to the north-east of Kotelnikovo by a formidable armoured force.
  • Mr. Churchill returns from his visit to the Middle East and Russia and is welcomed at Paddington by members of the Cabinet and his family.
  • A strong force of R.A.F. bombers launch heavy attacks on Frankfurt and Wiesbaden and other towns in the upper Rhineland. Sixteen of our aircraft are lost.
  • In an attack off Flushing by our light coastal forces one flak ship is probably sunk and three others are damaged.

August 25, 1942

  • The Russians strenuously resist the enemy’s progress east of the Don, where fighting is taking place about 40 miles east of Stalingrad. In the Caucasus the enemy claim that the Rumanians have reached the Black Sea at a point where the Kuban River enters it.
  • The Air Ministry announces the death of Air Commodore the Duke of Kent, youngest brother of the King, in an accident to a Sunderland flying-boat which crashed in the north of Scotland when proceeding to Iceland on R.A.F. duty. Thirteen out of a crew of fourteen lost their lives.
  • From Washington it is reported that a large-scale naval battle, which began two days ago, is in progress off the Solomon Islands. The announcement states that at least six Japanese warships, including two aircraft carriers have been damaged, and 21 aircraft have been destroyed.
H.R.H Duke and Duchess of Kent before Duke's death
H.R.H Duke and Duchess of Kent before Duke's death in a flying boat crash at Scotland, 25th August 1942

August 26, 1942

  • While the Nazis continue their drive for Stalingrad, and claim that the town is in flames, the Russians under General Zhukov on the Central and Kalinin Fronts open a strong offensive, pierce the enemy’s defences, rout six infantry and three armoured divisions, and advance some 15 to 20 miles.
  • In the Solomon Islands a Japanese attack on Guadal-canal is heavily repulsed. The U.S. Navy Department announces that two enemy destroyers and four other ships have been damaged. The results of the great sea and air battle so far are described as encouraging.
  • An enemy force is landed at Milne Bay, on the south-eastern tip of New Guinea, and is strongly attacked by our land forces and aircraft.
  • Military and industrial targets in Berlin, Danzig, Koenigsberg and other towns in Germany are bombed by the Russian air force, and many fires are left burning. The 35,000-ton U.S. battleship Iowa is launched several months ahead of schedule.
  • The ban on the publication of the Daily Worker, imposed on 21st January, 1941, is lifted.

August 27, 1942

  • On the Central Front the Soviet forces continue their counter-offensive with great vigour and advance to the outskirts of Rzhev, where heavy fighting occurs. The Russians put up a fierce resistance to Von Bock’s drive on the Stalingrad front.
  • In Egypt there is only artillery exchanges to report.
  • According to reports from Washington, the Japanese Navy appears to have withdrawn from the vicinity of the U.S. positions in the Tulagi area.
  • The German airfield at Abbeville is bombed by a squadron of Bostons, and Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Army Air Force, escorted by Spitfires of the R.A.F., bomb shipyards and shipping at Rotterdam in daylight attacks; all our aircraft return. At night Kassel is subjected to one of the heaviest raids of the war and another force of bombers make a round journey of some 1,700 miles to attack the Baltic port of Gdynia, which shelters the Gneisenau and the uncompleted aircraft-carrier Graf Zeppelin.

August 28, 1942

  • On the Stalingrad Front the most serious threat, from the north-west, is strongly countered by the Russians, who break through the German defences. Our allies also make further progress in the Rzhev area.
  • In the Eastern Mediterranean R.A.F. torpedo-carrying aircraft sink a large tanker which was carrying supplies for Rommel.
  • Nuremberg and Saarbruecken are attacked by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, and large fires are started in both towns; 30 of our aircraft are missing.

August 29, 1942

  • General Zhukov continues his advance around Rzhev, where Soviet forces are reported to be driving the enemy out of the city. In the Lake Ladoga and Kaluga areas heavy attacks are also launched. North-west of Stalingrad fierce fighting continues, as also in the area north-east of Kotelnikovo.
  • Bitter fighting is proceeding in the hills near Milne Bay, where the. Japanese land reinforcements.
  • The Chinese, who have been engaged in offensive operations in Kiangsi and Chekiang provinces, are reported to have made good progress and to have reached Nanchang.
  • Berlin, Koenigsberg, Danzig, Stettin and several other towns in Central and Eastern Germany are the targets of a large force of Soviet bombers. Forty-eight fires, including 17 large ones, are started in Berlin, and 29 in Koenigsberg.
  • The Duke of Kent is buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, among the mourners being H.M. the King, King Haakon of Norway, King George of the Hellenes, King Peter of Yugoslavia, Queen Mary and the Duchess of Kent.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private VX19139 Bruce Steel KINGBURY, Australian Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. VX 19139 Private Bruce Steel Kingsbury, 2/14th Battalion (Victoria), Australian Military Forces. On 29th August 1942 in Isurava, Papua New Guinea, when the enemy had broken through the battalion's right flank, creating serious threats to the rest of the battalion and to its headquarters, Private Kingsbury volunteered to join a platoon which had been ordered to counter-attack. He rushed forward, firing the Bren gun from his hip and succeeded in clearing a path through the enemy and inflicting an extremely large number of casualties. He was then seen to fall, shot dead by a sniper's bullet. His superb courage made possible the recapture of a position which saved Battalion Headquarters.

August 30, 1942

  • Determined opposition by the Soviet forces holds up the enemy west of the Volga bend, where the Germans have failed to progress in three days’ fighting. In the Rzhev area our allies continue to hold the initiative.
  • General MacArthur announces that the Japanese in the Milne Bay area have been caught in a trap and thrown back into the narrow confines of the peninsula north of the bay with heavy losses in men and material.

August 31, 1942

  • In the Kletskaya area of the Don bend the Russians continue to hold the enemy and regain some ground, but north of Stalingrad the Germans claim to have advanced to within 15 miles of the city. German resistance in the Rzhev area stiffens, and in the Caucasus the enemy reports further progress in the Kuban area.
  • In Egypt Rommel opens an attack at 2a.m. against the allied left flank near El Hemeimat on the edge of the Qattara depression, breaking a lull of about eight weeks. Enemy tanks make some progress in this sector, but an attack in the central sector is repelled.
  • Mopping-up operations are in progress in the Milne Bay area of New Guinea, where the Japanese are reported to have suffered a serious reverse.
  • The Japanese Foreign Minister, Shigenori Togo, resigns office for personal reasons, and the portfolio is taken over by General Tojo, the Prime Minister and Minister of War. The military now hold all the chief posts in the Cabinet.

SEPTEMBER 1942

September 1, 1942

  • In the area south of Stalingrad the Russians are forced to concede some ground, but the enemy forces which crossed the Don to the north-west suffer at the hands of the defenders. German progress towards the Grozny oilfields is halted, but the enemy reports the capture of the port of Anapa, on the Black Sea.
  • Rommel’s tanks probe our minefields in the southern sector between El Hemeimat and the Ruweisat ridge, where heavy fighting is in progress. Enemy targets in this battle area are successfully attacked by bombers of the R.A.F., the South African Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force.
  • An “outstanding success” is the description given by the Air Ministry to a Bomber Command attack on Saarbruecken; three of our aircraft are lost. A strong formation of Soviet bombers raid military and industrial objectives in Warsaw, a large number of fires resulting.

September 2, 1942

  • On the Stalingrad front the Russians make further withdrawals after heavy fighting, in which they inflict big losses on the enemy, who claims to have reached the Volga, thus threatening Soviet communications with Moscow and other important towns. North-west of Novorossisk fierce engagements are also fought.
  • In Egypt there is heavy fighting between El Hemeimat and the Ruweisat ridge, but General Montgomery states that the enemy fails to penetrate the 8th Army’s organised defended areas. Eleven Axis aircraft are destroyed by R.A.F. and American bombers, which are active over the battle area in spite of sand-storms.
  • In the Kokoda area of Papua, the Japanese increase the power of their attack and are strongly engaged by the Allied Forces.
  • Karlsruhe is the central target of a large force of R.A.F. bombers, many large fires being started; eight of our bombers are missing.
  • German Nazi security forces begin clearing the Warsaw Ghetto of 50,000+ Jews. The Jews are destined for extermination or concentration camps.

September 3, 1942

  • The threat to Stalingrad increases, and to the northwest, after countering one enemy attack, the Russians are compelled to surrender further ground. There is fierce fighting to the south-west of Stalingrad and in the Kletskaya area of the Don bend. In the Caucasus, stubborn fighting to the north-west of Novorossisk ends in the Russians retiring to new positions, and in the Mozdok area the enemy makes strenuous attempts to gain river crossings.
  • After being subjected to heavy and continuous bombardment by artillery and from the air, Rommel’s armour begins to move southward and westward.
  • Our ground forces in New Guinea, with the assistance of heavy raids by allied aircraft, hold the enemy in their thrust for a pass in the Owen Stanley range.
  • The First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. A. V. Alexander, states that July and August were the most successful months of the war for the destruction of U-boats.
  • Two of our aircraft are lost in an attack by a small force on coastal districts of North-West Germany.
  • Services are held throughout the country in response to the King’s call for the day to be observed as a National Day of Prayer.
King & Queen leave St. Paul's Cathedral following National Day of Prayer service
King & Queen leave St. Paul's Cathedral following National Day of Prayer service

September 4, 1942

  • The Russians report that enemy progress to the southwest of Stalingrad is checked, but to the west, according to a German report, the suburbs of the city have been reached. A further Axis claim is that the Kerch Strait has been crossed and that German troops have linked up with Rumanian forces advancing on the Taman Peninsula.
  • Rommel continues the westward withdrawal of his main armoured forces towards the positions he held prior to beginning his advance; the retirement is harassed throughout the day by our artillery, tanks and infantry. In the central sector our troops attack enemy positions and gain their objectives.
  • Bremen is the central target of a strong force of R.A.F. bombers and many big fires are raised; 11 of our aircraft are lost. The Russian Air Force raid Breslau, Koenigsberg, Vienna, towns in Poland, and Budapest, the capital of Hungary, which receives its first aerial attack. Thirty-three fires are started in Budapest.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Corporal QX1071 John Alexander FRENCH, Australian Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. QX.1071 Corporal John Alexander French, 2/9th Battalion (Queensland), Australian Military Forces. On 4th September 1942 at Milne Bay, New Guinea, the advance of Corporal French's section was held up by fire from three enemy machine-gun posts, whereupon he ordered the section to take cover, advanced and silenced the first two posts with grenades. He then attacked the third post with a sub-machine-gun, and although obviously badly wounded, continued to advance. The enemy guns ceased to fire and the section pushed on to find that all members of their crews had been killed and that Corporal French had died in front of the third gun. His courageous action enabled the section to complete its task.

September 5, 1942

  • There is no serious change in the Russian situation, but the enemy claims that Stalingrad will fall within 48 hours and that the capture of Novorossisk is imminent. In a particularly savage attack at the approaches to Stalingrad Von Bock employs three infantry divisions and a hundred tanks without effective result.
  • The Afrika Korps continues to fall back towards its original positions, the 8th Army meanwhile inflicting considerable losses on the retiring infantry and preventing the salvage of damaged tanks.
  • In daylight, U.S. Flying Fortresses make their biggest raid on occupied France, where they pound the marshalling yards of Rouen; Boston aircraft attack the docks at Le Havre.

September 6, 1942

  • In a special announcement the Germans claim that Novorossisk has fallen, but this is not confirmed by our allies, who mention fierce engagements near the city and also in the neighbourhood of Mozdok. To the north-west of Stalingrad, the enemy is dislodged, with heavy loss, from several inhabited places.
  • Under strong pressure from our mobile columns and infantry, Rommel’s forces withdraw farther to the west, their losses in tanks, vehicles and personnel being heavy.
  • Duisburg, the largest inland port on the Continent, is heavily attacked by a strong force of bombers; other towns of the Ruhr are also visited.

September 7, 1942

  • On all sections of the Stalingrad front the enemy is being held and in the Novorossisk area, where Russian marines have repulsed an assault on a height, fighting is still heavy. Our allies make a fierce attack in the Rzhev area, bitter fighting taking place in the streets of the town, and in the Mozdok area they drive the Germans from one inhabited place.
  • Activity in Egypt dies down, and there is little fighting apart from artillery duels and routine patrols. It is reported that Rommel’s losses in armour since the opening of his offensive action are at least four times as heavy as our own.
  • Shipyards at Rotterdam and railway yards at Utrecht are bombed by U.S. Flying Fortresses, which also shoot down 12 enemy fighters.

September 8, 1942

  • Heavy fighting is reported to the west and south-west of Stalingrad, the enemy resuming the attack with tank, infantry and air reinforcements after sustaining an initial reverse. Novorossisk is the scene of continued fighting which favours the Germans, but on the Central Front General Zhukov advances a little farther in the Rzhev area.
  • In Papua the Japanese are reported to have ascended the Owen Stanley range in making progress from Kokoda in their advance towards Port Moresby.
  • Mr. Churchill reviews the war situation in the House of Commons. During his statement he mentions the gift to Australia of the cruiser Shropshire in replacement of the Canberra, sunk in action with the enemy.
  • The Rhineland is heavily attacked by a strong force of bombers, Frankfurt receiving the brunt of the assault; seven aircraft are lost.

September 9, 1942

  • From the west of Stalingrad, the Germans make some slow and expensive progress in a direct assault, but elsewhere in this sector the Russians hold the enemy. Our allies offer fierce opposition to the Germans in the battle for the Grozny oilfields, but in their attacks in the Black Sea coast region the Nazis claim to have achieved further advances.
  • In the southern sector of the Alamein front small parties of enemy tanks are engaged by our mobile columns in the area west of Hemeimat.
  • Budapest, Berlin, Koenigsberg and other towns in Eastern Germany are visited by Soviet bombers and numerous military objectives are attacked.
  • Two of four enemy armed trawlers are sunk off Cap de la Hague by Whirlwinds, our latest fighter-bombers.
R.A.F Whirlwind pilots
RAF Whirlwind pilots following raid on the enemy

September 10, 1942

  • More reinforcements are employed in the Germans effort to make progress west of Stalingrad, but the Russians inflict heavy losses on the enemy and hold on firmly. Novorossisk is not yet in German hands, but the Russians admit that street battles are taking place. Our allies launch counter-attacks in the Grozny area and continue their pressure against the enemy in the Rzhev sector.
  • In Papua the Japanese are reported to have filtered into our positions in the gap in the Owen Stanley Mountains and to be making progress.
  • The War Office announces that further military operations are taking place in Madagascar and are continuing successfully; our forces made widespread landings on the west coast of the island. A statement by the British Government gives as the reason for the continuation of operations the refusal of the Vichy Government to allow the taking of steps to deny bases in the island to the Axis Powers.
  • A great weight of bombs, including more than 100,000 incendiaries, is hurled on Duesseldorf, the important Western Germany armament city; it is described as the heaviest raid yet undertaken on a moonless night, and heavy damage is done; 31 aircraft are missing.
RAF Lancaster crew before Duesseldorf raid
RAF Lancaster crew before Duesseldorf raid on 10th September 1942

September 11, 1942

  • Stubborn battles are in progress to the west and south-west of Stalingrad, where Von Bock is striking hardest in the central sector in a big effort to split the city in two. In the Caucasus heavy fighting occurs in the Mozdok area, and the fall of Novorossisk is announced by our allies. Fighting is also reported to the east of Leningrad, where the Russians have launched an attack along the Volkhov River near Sinyavino.
  • Following the successful occupation of Nossi Be Island, north-west of Madagascar, and the west coast ports of Majunga and Morondava our forces move inland and meet with little opposition.
  • One enemy tanker is destroyed, one large flak-ship probably destroyed and one armed trawler and at least six E- or R-boats severely damaged in a close-range naval engagement off the north coast of Holland.

September 12, 1942

  • The Germans admit that the Russians are offering stubborn resistance before Stalingrad, where Von Bock is reported from Moscow to have reached the city’s gates: many waves of tanks are repelled by the defenders. Fighting continues in the Mozdok area and in the Sinyavino area on the Volkhov front.
  • Operations in Madagascar are stated to be proceeding very satisfactorily, our forces proceeding without much opposition in the direction of Antananarivo, the capital.
  • Australian forces opposing the Japanese in the Owen Stanley range are holding up the enemy, who has made no progress in the past 48 hours. Buna is subjected to the heaviest raid yet carried out by the allied air force.

September 13, 1942

  • Some ground is yielded by the Russians to the west of Stalingrad after beating back a number of fierce attacks in which the enemy suffered heavy losses; in the south-west sector the Soviet forces counter-attack successfully. Our allies make further progress in the Volkhov area.
  • Our light naval forces, with a small army force, carry out a seaborne raid on Tobruk, in conjunction with a large-scale air attack. Strong opposition is met, but casualties and damage are inflicted; the destroyers Sikh and Zulu are lost.
  • The George Cross medal awarded to the island of Malta is officially presented to the people by Lord Gort, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
  • A powerful force of R.A.F. bombers make a heavy attack on Bremen, the 100th raid on this German port; from this and other raids 19 aircraft are lost.
  • Koenigsberg, and other towns in East Prussia, and Bucharest and Ploesti, the centre of the Rumanian oil-fields, are heavily raided by the Soviet Air Force.

September 14, 1942

  • Fierce engagements are fought west and south-west of Stalingrad, where tank and infantry attacks are made by the enemy without success. In the Leningrad area the Russians report a further advance in the Volkhov sector, but in the Mozdok area the Germans force a crossing of the Terek River and the Soviet forces retreat to new defensive positions.
  • In Madagascar the British advance continues successfully and Mevatanana, on the way to the island capital, is captured.
  • Wilhelmshaven is attacked by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, many fires being raised in the dock area and other parts of the port; an oil storage depot is believed to have been blown up. Two of our bombers are missing.
  • A large formation of U.S. Army heavy bombers bomb the harbour of Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands; they sink two minesweepers, damage three cargo ships and three submarines, and do considerable other damage; about 500 Japanese troops are estimated to have been killed or wounded.

September 15, 1942

  • The position before Stalingrad, which is being continually and heavily bombed, becomes more serious, attacks by the enemy being intensified. Attacks by the Nazis to the south of Voronezh area repulsed.
  • All home and oversea Commands of the R.A.F. celebrate the second anniversary of the Battle of Britain; on this day two years ago Fighter Command shot down the record number of 185 Axis aircraft for a loss of only 25.

September 16, 1942

  • Heavy engagements are fought to the north-west of Stalingrad on the outskirts of the city, and in one sector individual groups of enemy tanks and infantry drive wedges into the Soviet defences, but are wiped out. In repeated attacks and counter-attacks the Germans suffer heavy losses in the Mozdok area, and on the Volkhov front our allies make some further progress in the Sinyavino area.
  • Heavy fighting again breaks out in the Owen Stanley range, New Guinea, where the Japanese are endeavouring to advance.
  • M. Annet, Governor-General of Madagascar, announces by radio that he is sending representatives to the British commander to seek an armistice.
  • U.S. dive-bombers and torpedo-planes attack Japanese cruisers and destroyers south of Choiseul Island, in the Solomons group, and damage two of the cruisers.
  • The Ruhr is heavily bombed by the R.A.F. in bad weather, and many targets are set ablaze and a big explosion is observed at Essen; 39 of our aircraft are lost.

September 17, 1942

  • Single detachments of Germans penetrate into the streets of Stalingrad and hand-to-hand encounters develop and end favourably for the defenders; in the north-west outskirts the Germans are continually on the attack. The enemy are being strongly resisted in the Grozny area, and in the Black Sea area Soviet marines beat off a German attack to the south-east of Novorossisk. To the north of Rzhev our allies make a little progress.
  • The armistice terms are not accepted by the Governor General of Madagascar and fighting continues.
  • In Egypt the lull in the land fighting continues, but Tobruk receives another of its almost daily visits by allied heavy and medium bombers, many fires being started and a jetty receiving a direct hit.

September 18, 1942

  • Reinforcements from Siberia reach the defenders of Stalingrad, who recapture some of the streets taken by enemy infantry and tanks; Stalin orders all units to attack. To relieve the pressure on the city, the Russians launch a large-scale offensive from Voronezh in four directions, and capture several enemy positions. In the Grozny oilfields area fierce fighting proceeds, and several German counter-attacks are repelled.
  • In Madagascar, following the rejection of the armistice terms, one column of our troops occupies Tamatave, the chief port of the island.
  • It is disclosed by the Air Ministry that in their recent raids on Germany the R.A.F. have been dropping bombs weighing 8,000 lb.
  • A large force of British bombers lay mines in the Baltic and other enemy waters.

September 19, 1942

  • From behind barricades in the shattered streets the defenders of Stalingrad fight furiously to halt the German advance aimed at the heart of the city. At 12 different points on the Russian Front our allies launch attacks on the enemy. It is announced that General von Kleist, the German tank commander, and two other Nazi generals are reported to have been killed.
  • The U.S. Navy Department reports that Flying Fortresses have probably hit two Japanese battleships of a naval force heading for the Solomon Islands; the enemy ships were turned back.
  • Southern and Western Germany are heavily raided by the R.A.F., the Saar Valley and Munich, where large fires are started, being among the chief targets; 10 of our aircraft are lost.
  • Progress in Madagascar continues without much opposition and Brickaville and Ankazobe are occupied.

September 20, 1942

  • There is street-by-street fighting in Stalingrad, where the enemy is driven back in certain sectors with bombs and bayonets; several streets are recaptured from the Germans. Fighting is still fierce in the Mozdok area, where heavy casualties are inflicted on the enemy, and in the neighbourhood of Novorossisk. Several Nazi attacks in the Voronezh area are repelled.
  • H.M. submarine Urge (Lieut.-Commander Edward Philip Tomkinson, D.S.O., R.N.) is reported by the Board of Admiralty to be overdue, and must be considered lost.
  • In a special broadcast announcement, the German High Command claim to have inflicted heavy losses on an Arctic convoy. The claim is stated in London to be grossly exaggerated.

September 21, 1942

  • Several enemy attacks in the Stalingrad area are repulsed with heavy loss and the enemy is being held. In the Voronezh area the Germans are employing large reinforcements in an effort to stem the Russian drive. In the Caucasus, defensive actions are continued by our allies, who also repel an attack in the Grozny oilfields area. On the Volkhov front several forward movements have been made by Soviet forces.
  • In New Guinea there is considerable patrol activity in the Owen Stanley Mountains. The completion of allied mopping up of Japanese at Milne Bay is reported.
  • The Canadian Minister of the Navy announces the sinking by enemy action of H.M.C.S. destroyer Ottawa. The captain, Lieut.-Commander Clark Anderson Rutherford, and 108 ratings are missing, and believed killed.
  • According to a statement issued by the Air Ministry News Service, at least four enemy submarines have been destroyed or damaged in the Bay of Biscay recently by Coastal Command aircraft.

September 22, 1942

  • In the Stalingrad battle the Germans are driven from several positions they had recently captured, and elsewhere in the city hand-to-hand fighting continues with undiminished fury; in the main area of conflict outside the city no further advance is made by the enemy. The Soviet forces gain further ground in their offensive at Voronezh.
  • Bomber Command aircraft make a daytime attack on industrial objectives in the Lille-Lens area, among the targets hit being the power-stations at Mazingarbe and Pont-a-Veudin.
  • According to an Italian report issued to-day a British force attacked their garrison at the oasis of Gialo, about 500 miles west by south of El Alamein, on 16th September.
A German tank destroyed near El Alamein
A German tank destroyed near El Alamein, September 1942

September 23, 1942

  • Incessant attacks are launched by large forces of enemy infantry and tanks, supported from the air, on the defenders of Stalingrad, but all are repelled. To the north-west the Russians begin a counter-offensive against Von Bock’s left flank in an effort to relieve the pressure against the city, and to the south-west our allies succeed in gaining some ground. In the Mozdok area, in the Caucasus, an offensive by Nazi infantry and tanks is beaten back, as is a similar attack in the Voronezh area.
  • It is officially announced that while Tobruk was being attacked by allied air and naval forces on 13th September mobile forces were carrying out successful operations more than 500 miles behind the enemy’s front at Bengazi and Barce, destroying 30 aircraft and doing other damage to the enemy’s administrative machine. Two nights later other columns attacked the oasis of Gialo, hundreds of miles to the south, and occupied it long enough to destroy huge ammunition dumps and stores of supplies; many casualties were inflicted on the enemy garrison before our troops retired.
  • In Madagascar our forces enter Antananarivo, the capital, after meeting with some opposition.
  • The Admiralty announces that another important convoy, carrying large quantities of war material, has arrived in North Russian ports. Some loss of ships was suffered but the “great majority” arrived safely.
  • The submarine yards at Flensburg are the chief target of our heavy bombers in a raid on North and North-West Germany.

September 24, 1942

  • Many enemy attacks in the Stalingrad area are repulsed by the Soviet defenders, and ships of a Volga flotilla destroy a large group of enemy troops and eight guns. To the north-west the Red Army make further progress, and beat off several counter-attacks. There are stubborn engagements in the Sinyavino, Rzhev and Voronezh areas, and in the Caucasus the enemy suffers heavy tank and infantry losses in the Mozdok area, but gains a little territory.

September 25, 1942

  • As the result of a heavy day’s fighting in the Stalingrad area the Russians take a valuable position, and all attempts by the enemy to cut the city in two fails with heavy losses. The attack on the German left flank to the north-west progresses, and in an effort to stem it the Nazis launch fierce counter-attacks.
  • In a fuller official account of the German attack on the Arctic convoy, the largest yet sent to Russia, it is stated that the assault lasted for four days - 12th - 15th September - the ships running the gauntlet of continuous attacks by U-boats and relays of torpedo bombers and dive-bombers. At least 40 enemy aircraft were shot down, and two U-boats were almost certainly sunk and four seriously damaged. We lost four fighters. Sea Hurricane fighters operating from an aircraft carrier were used for the first time - the destroyer Somali, the minesweeper Leda and some merchant ships, some of these losses occurring in a return convoy under the escort of the same warships.
  • Mosquitoes, the R.A.F.’s new twin-engined light bombers, attack Oslo, the capital of Norway, in day light; the Gestapo headquarters are hit, and a speech that was to have been delivered by Quisling is interrupted.

September 26, 1942

  • Bitter fighting continues in the streets of Stalingrad, with both the enemy and the Soviet forces gaining and losing positions alternately; in some places the struggle is so mixed that the Germans are unable to undertake bombing for fear of destroying their own troops.
  • In New Guinea, in the Owen Stanley range, our forward units make aggressive sorties and compel the enemy to withdraw his outposts.
  • The submarine H.M.S. Thorn (Lieut.-Commander Robert Galliano Norfolk, D.S.O., R.N.) is reported by the Admiralty to be overdue, and must be considered lost.

September 27, 1942

  • Night and day battles rage in Stalingrad, where houses and factories are being used as fortresses; to the north-west all enemy efforts to deprive the Russians of captured positions prove ineffectual. As a result of fierce enemy pressure in the Mozdok area our allies are compelled to withdraw from one populated point, but south-east of Novorossisk they occupy several heights and inhabited points.
  • The Admiralty issue a description of the sinking of an Italian submarine by H.M.S. Lulworth (Lieut.-Commander C. Gwinner, R.N.), formerly a U.S. coastguard cutter.

September 28, 1942

  • Heavy fighting takes place in the Stalingrad area, and on the north-western outskirts, where numerically superior forces of infantry and tanks launch an offensive, the enemy succeeds in penetrating with a number of tanks into a worker’s settlement. A little ground is gained by our allies to the north-west of the city, and in the Rzhev area a break-through of the enemy lines of trenches is effected, 25 inhabited localities being wrested from the Germans. There is little change in the Caucasus areas of Mozdok and Novorossisk.
  • Washington announces that in the Solomons area 42 enemy aircraft have been destroyed by Army, Navy and Marine Corps flyers, without loss to themselves, in the period 25th - 28th September.
  • In Egypt our patrols are active along the entire front.

September 29, 1942

  • At Stalingrad heavy losses are inflicted on the Germans, who make attacks throughout the day with infantry and tanks, strongly supported by the air force, in the north-west outskirts of the city. Fighting also continues to the north-west, where the Soviet relief operations progress favourably. In the Rzhev area Russian troops force a crossing of the Upper Volga, but in the Terek area of the Caucasus our allies surrender some ground.
  • A filtering attack in the Owen Stanley Mountains, New Guinea, is opened by our ground troops along the loribaiwa ridge, which is occupied.
  • Enemy aircraft drop bombs at a number of places in South-East and South England, and at a school which is hit there are 31 deaths, including the headmaster, a woman teacher and 28 boys.
soldiers clearing away the debris of a South of England village school
Civil Defence members firemen and soldiers clearing away the debris of a South of England
village school bombed by a lone German raider on 29th September 1942

September 30, 1942

  • In the Stalingrad area the Germans, who employ an extra tank division, succeed in pressing Soviet units back in one place at the cost of very heavy losses. Attacks by the enemy to the north-west and south of the besieged city are repelled. In the Caucasus, a Rumanian division meets with heavy losses south-east of Novorossisk, and in the Mozdok area our allies beat back a strong German attack.
  • In a limited attack in the Munassib area of the Egyptian front British troops occupy some enemy positions.
  • Australian troops, advancing against little opposition in the Owen Stanley range, New Guinea, occupy the village of Nauro.
  • British landings at Tulear, on the south-west coast of Madagascar, and at Fort Dauphin, on the south-east coast, are admitted in an announcement from Vichy.
  • In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister reveals that casualties in the Dieppe raid amounted to nearly half of the total force engaged.
  • In his “winter aid campaign” speech in the Berlin Sport Palast, Hitler speaks derisively of Britain’s war effort and the opening of a second front. Field-Marshal Rommel attends the meeting. Hitler declares that Stalingrad will be taken.

OCTOBER 1942

October 1, 1942

  • Six attacks are launched by the Nazis in the southwestern outskirts of Stalingrad, and at the last attempt they effect a little headway. South of the city Soviet forces dislodge the enemy from one occupied locality, and to the north-west they meet with some success. In the Caucasus the German advance on the Grozny oilfields receives a check, an enemy attack being repulsed. In the Leningrad area Soviet forces succeed in piercing the German lines.
  • Our heavy bombers attack the submarine yards at Flensburg, the German Baltic seaport, and other objectives, and fires are started which could be seen 60 miles away; 17 of our aircraft fail to return.

October 2, 1942

  • Heavy fighting takes place in the factory belt in the north-western outskirts of Stalingrad, and to the north of the city the Germans occupy the suburb of Orlovka, according to their own communique, which is not confirmed from Moscow. A wedge is driven into the Russian positions south of the city, but the situation is restored by counter-attacks. Our allies make headway at several points to the north-west of Stalingrad, and in the Bryansk area they recapture a village and an important railway-junction.
  • A strong force of U.S. bombers, escorted by 400 allied fighter aircraft, attack objectives in enemy occupied France, among the targets being the air-frame factory at Meaulte.
  • Krefeld, an important centre of engineering, is the chief target of a strong force of R.A.F. bombers which visit the Rhineland; seven of our aircraft are lost.

October 3, 1942

  • Moscow reports an improvement in the situation inside Stalingrad, where the Russians recapture a number of streets and buildings. North of the city the enemy makes some headway, occupying one populated place, but in the south the Soviet forces recover ground lost on the previous day. Fierce clashes take place to the north-west of Stalingrad, where Marshal Timoshenko’s forces attacking the German left flank deepen their wedge.
  • According to a Washington Navy announcement, U.S. troops, with naval support, have occupied the Andreanof group of the Aleutian Islands and are already operating from the airfields there.

October 4, 1942

  • Six Axis attacks by tanks and infantry in the Stalingrad area are repelled and the enemy is driven out of several buildings in the vicinity of the factory district. In the fierce fighting to the north-west of the city the Soviet forces make further progress, and a breach is made in the German defences in the Voronezh area as the result of a bold attack by the Russians.
  • Australian troops continue to advance across the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea, without meeting opposition from the Japanese.
  • In a personal letter in reply to questions asked by an American news agency representative, M. Stalin says, inter alia, that he hoped the Allies would “fulfil their obligations fully and on time.”
  • Our forces in Madagascar make further progress and occupy the town of Antsirabe.

October 5, 1942

  • The defenders of Stalingrad repel heavy tank and infantry assaults by the enemy and make some progress in their offensive to the north-west of the city. Fierce fighting continues in the Grozny area and on the Bryansk front.
  • In Egypt an enemy strong-point is raided and the garrison wiped out.
  • All the main railway systems of Madagascar are reported to be in the hands of the British forces.
  • In New Guinea the Australians continue their advance in the Owen Stanley range, where they have progressed to a point beyond Efogi.
  • A strong force of Bomber Command aircraft attack objectives in Western Germany; they were accompanied by a new French-Canadian squadron which was making its first flight over Germany.

October 6, 1942

  • German attacks on Stalingrad continue with even greater fury, but the defenders of the city prevent any further advance being made; more than 20 separate attacks are launched by the aggressors, but all are held. Marshal Timoshenko’s relief army continues to make slow progress on the enemy’s left flank. In the Caucasus, the Russians repel three Nazi attempts to advance, but are then forced to make a slight withdrawal.
  • Giving as the reason recent acts of sabotage, the Germans announce the existence of a state of siege in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. In their advance in New Guinea, the Australians are reported to be approaching the “gap” in the Owen Stanley range, and are meeting with no enemy resistance.
  • Osnabrueck, the industrial and railway centre in the Ruhr, is the main target of a strong force of R.A.F. bombers.
German Machine gunners on the outskirts of Stalingrad
German Machine gunners on the outskirts of Stalingrad, October 1942

October 7, 1942

  • A number of tank and infantry attacks in the Stalingrad area are repulsed by the Russians who continue to hold their former positions; to the north-west of the city several enemy attacks are repelled. Stubborn engagements are fought in the Mozdok area and in the lighting to the south-east of Novorossisk newly arrived Rumanian divisions suffer heavy losses.
  • It is officially announced that the Australians are continuing to advance in the Owen Stanley Mountains, New Guinea, the Japanese still showing no signs of making opposition.
  • The Germans threaten to put in chains all prisoners captured at Dieppe as a reprisal for the alleged binding of German prisoners taken during a small-scale Combined Operations raid on Sark (Channel Islands) on 3rd October.
  • Twenty-five citizens of Trondheim, 10 on Tuesday and 15 to-day, are executed as a reprisal for alleged acts of sabotage.

October 8, 1942

  • The Germans continue to launch heavy attacks in the Stalingrad area, but only in one part of the city do they make any progress, capturing two streets; river gunboats help effectually in holding up enemy assaults. The Russians continue to inflict heavy losses on the enemy north-west of Stalingrad and also in the Mozdok area of the Caucasus. In the Sinyavino area the Germans make six tank and infantry attacks without achieving any success.
  • The threat to manacle Dieppe prisoners is put into effect and the War Office announces that unless the order is rescinded an equal number of German prisoners will be placed in chains as from noon on 10th October.
  • It is reported from Oslo that a further nine citizens of Trondheim have been put to death.

October 9, 1942

  • Two desperate attempts by the Germans to break through to the Volga are frustrated; to the north-west of Stalingrad the Soviet forces consolidate themselves in some captured positions. In the Caucasus the Russians make a little progress to the south-east of Novorossisk.
  • In daylight more than 115 U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators attack with hundreds of tons of heavy bombs industrial targets in the Lille area of occupied France, and between 450 and 500 allied fighter planes make supporting sweeps. During the raid the U.S. aircraft destroy 48 German aircraft, probably destroy 38 others, and damage 19. Four U.S. bombers fail to return; none of the allied fighters, who shoot down five enemy planes, is lost.
  • In the Solomons area U.S. Marine Corps aircraft damage an enemy cruiser, leaving it in a sinking condition, and score a hit on another cruiser.

October 10, 1942

  • Fighting back strongly the Russians recapture several streets in Stalingrad, and resist successfully the non-stop attacks of the enemy in other parts of the city. To the north-west Marshal Timoshenko’s relief army is reported to be improving its position and breaking up the Germans’ defence in some sectors. In the Grozny area the Nazis continue their strenuous efforts to break through to the oil-wells.
  • The British Government orders the manacling of 1,376 German prisoners of war in Canada in reply to similar treatment meted out to a like number of our prisoners in Germany.
  • Japanese reinforcements are reported to have been landed on Guadalcanal Island, in the Solomons group. During the landing American aircraft sank an enemy destroyer and badly damaged a 7,000-ton cruiser and another destroyer.

October 11, 1942

  • There is a temporary slackening off in the enemy’s tank and infantry activity in the Stalingrad area, but artillery duels continue; the lull is presumably caused by the enemy’s need of reinforcements. In the neighbourhood of Mozdok there is further heavy fighting.
  • In the Mediterranean U.S. aircraft attack two large enemy merchant ships protected by destroyers, one of which is left on fire and in a sinking condition.
  • After two days of. offensive operations the United States marines extend their positions westward on Guadalcanal Island.

October 12, 1942

  • In the Stalingrad area the Germans launch three heavy attacks by infantry supported with tanks, but only in one district is small progress made. To the north-west of the city Marshal Timoshenko’s relief army consolidates the positions gained in recent fighting. In the Mozdok area the Axis forces continue to attack strongly, but without gaining ground; in one sector, in fact, the Germans are forced to retire a little.
  • Aircraft of Bomber Command attack industrial targets in Northern German.
  • In an official announcement from Washington, it is stated that in the Solomons battle on 8th-9th August the U.S. cruisers Quincy, Vincennes and Astoria were sunk.
  • Forty-eight Axis raiders, during attacks on Malta yesterday and to-day, are destroyed by A.A. fire and R.A.F. fighters.
  • Mr. Churchill is presented at Edinburgh with the freedom of the city.
  • After six days a state of siege imposed in the Trondheim area is lifted.

October 13, 1942

  • In one sector of the Stalingrad area our allies recapture positions lost on the previous day; in other sectors there are artillery and mortar duels. In the Mozdok fighting all attacks by the enemy are held, and in the western Caucasus the Soviet forces improve their positions.
  • Field-Marshal Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, arrives in London.
  • Some advance is made by the Australians in the Owen Stanley range, New Guinea, where skirmishing takes place north of Myola.
  • A strong force of R.A.F. bombers make the heaviest raid yet experienced by Kiel, the important German naval base; nine of our aircraft are lost.
  • In two attacks on Malta the Axis lose another 18 aircraft, six of them bombers; more than 1,000 enemy planes have now been destroyed in attacks on the island.

October 14, 1942

  • No further heavy attack is launched on the defenders of Stalingrad, who succeed in driving the enemy out of a number of buildings. To the north-west and to the south of the besieged city the Soviet forces improve their position. German attempts to advance in the Caucasus, both on the Mozdok and Black Sea fronts, are held by our allies.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that submarines in the Far Eastern waters have destroyed or badly damaged eight more Japanese ships, including a heavy cruiser, which was sunk.
  • In the North Sea our naval forces sink an enemy E-boat and damage two others without sustaining either damage or casualties.
  • In Madagascar, after some stiff fighting, our forces advancing southwards from the island capital capture Ambositra.

October 15, 1942

  • Enemy infantry, supported by 100 tanks, launch a fierce attack against a workers’ settlement in Northern Stalingrad, and in spite of determined resistance succeed in pressing some Soviet units back, sustaining great losses, however, in effecting this small gain. Fighting continues fiercely in both areas of the Caucasus, but little progress is made by the enemy. The Russians attack and occupy the first line of German trenches in one sector of the area to the north-west of Stalingrad.
  • A fierce sea and air battle off the Solomon Islands is announced, the Japanese making an effort to help their forces on Guadalcanal Island, where they succeed in landing reinforcements. An enemy battleship is damaged by U.S. aircraft, which also score hits on three transports.
  • In four raids on Malta, Spitfires shoot down 23 enemy aircraft, 12 of them bombers.
  • An important enemy supply ship is destroyed by light naval forces in the English Channel. In another action other Axis ships are damaged.
  • Cologne is the chief target of a strong force of R.A.F. bombers which attack the Rhineland.

October 16, 1942

  • A number of attacks are launched by the enemy in the Stalingrad area, but all except one, on an industrial district, are successfully dealt with. Moscow reports that the Russians have been attacking furiously in the Leningrad area for the past few days.
  • The Axis again launch attacks on Malta; it is announced that in the course of six days’ operations over the island the Luftwaffe has lost 114 aircraft.
  • There is heavy fighting on Guadalcanal Island, where the Japanese launch a fierce artillery attack. The enemy forces are attacked by U.S. aircraft.

October 17, 1942

  • Stubborn defensive actions are fought by the Russians in Stalingrad, where enemy tanks which had forced their way through to a factory are destroyed; at night the Germans launch a terrific attack from the air.
  • The Axis air force continue their attack on Malta, four more raids being carried out, resulting in a further loss to them of four bombers and a like number of fighters.
  • Some further progress is made against the Japanese in New Guinea by the allied land forces, the enemy withdrawing from his positions at Templeton’s Crossing.
  • Fourteen enemy bombers, escorted by fighters, attack the U.S. airfield at Guadalcanal; all the bombers and two fighters are destroyed. U.S. surface vessels bombard an enemy position in the north-west of the island.
  • Ninety-four R.A.F. Lancaster bombers, in the biggest unescorted daylight raid of the war, severely damage the huge Schneider armament works at Le Creusot, in occupied France; many fires are observed, and there is one terrific explosion. The attack lasts only seven minutes, and only one of our aircraft is lost.
Lancaster bombers on their way to attack the Schneider Works
Lancaster bombers on their way to attack the Schneider Works in daylight on 17th October 1942

October 18, 1942

  • Several heavy attacks launched on Stalingrad are stoutly resisted by the Russians, who hold the enemy at bay and inflict heavy losses on him, including the destruction of 28 tanks; the position, however, is described by Moscow as being very serious.
  • Japanese warships bombard U.S. positions on Guadalcanal; one enemy cruiser is reported to have been torpedoed by Navy planes. Eight Japanese bombers and 11 Zero fighters, but of a total force of 40 aircraft which attack U.S. positions, are shot down.
  • Fighting continues in the Owen Stanley Mountains, New Guinea, to the north of Templeton’s Crossing, where the enemy’s counter-attacks are repelled with rather heavy losses.
  • Our forces in Madagascar continue to progress south-ward from Ambositra, a considerable force of Vichy troops being overwhelmed near Fianarantsoa.

October 19, 1942

  • In one factory area in Stalingrad all enemy tank and infantry attacks are held after the Germans succeed in forcing a way into one block of buildings. Some positions captured to the north-west of the city by the Red Army troops are consolidated. A wedge made in Russian positions in the Mozdok area is ironed out by a counter-attack. Two small localities are evacuated by our allies to the south-east of Novorossisk after heavy fighting.
  • Talking advantage of low clouds, enemy raiders attack East Anglia and the Thames Estuary, more than a dozen towns being visited; two of the raiders are shot down.
  • In Egypt there is a sudden increase in allied aerial activity, enemy landing grounds and concentrations of aircraft and motor vehicles being among a variety of objectives attacked.
Rescue workers and soldiers searching for victims in the debris of houses
Rescue workers and soldiers searching for victims in the debris of houses wrecked
by bombs from enemy aircraft on 19th October 1942

October 20, 1942

  • Tank and motorised infantry attacks in Stalingrad are rigorously repelled by the Soviet defenders, who hold on to all their positions. Rumanian forces suffer heavy losses to the north-west of the city.
  • Allied forces in New Guinea compel the enemy to make further retirement north of Templeton’s Crossing.
  • Air activity by the allied air forces in the Western Desert continues, among many objectives being Rommel’s supply ports and airfields.
  • It is announced by the Admiralty that the new battleships Anson and Howe, sister ships of the King George V, are now at sea.

October 21, 1942

  • Several buildings in the factory area of Stalingrad are reoccupied by the Red Army, who also repel a number of enemy attacks to the north-west of the city and in the Caucasus, both on the Mozdok and the Black Sea fronts.
  • Four more Axis ships are reported by the Admiralty to have been sunk in the Mediterranean by our submarines.
  • P51 Mustangs based in England attack in daylight objectives in Western Germany, this being the first time that single-engined fighters have penetrated into Germany. The enemy submarine base at Lorient is bombed by B17 Flying Fortresses.
  • General Smuts delivers an inspiring speech to an assembly of members of both Houses of Parliament, and pays a glowing tribute to the “unbreakable spirit” of Britain and her Allies.

October 22, 1942

  • In the factory district of Stalingrad, the enemy continues to attack, but without making fresh progress. Timoshenko’s relief army to the north-west of the city makes a surprise attack and after a stubborn battle occupies two lines of German trenches. South-east of Novorossisk enemy attacks are held, and in the Mozdok area the Russians continue to offer stout resistance.
  • There is increasing air activity in North Africa, enemy landing-grounds receiving special attention.
  • Heavier fighting develops in the Owen Stanley Mountains, New Guinea, the allied troops forcing the enemy to evacuate defensive positions to the north of Templeton’s Crossing.
  • Genoa, an important naval base in Northern Italy and one of Rommel’s chief supply ports, is heavily attacked by the R.A.F., many 4,000-lb. bombs being launched on it; all our aircraft return.
German soldiers inspect ruined equipment in Stalingrad
German soldiers inspect ruined equipment in Stalingrad Factory District.

October 23, 1942

  • The Russians improve their positions in Stalingrad, where the Nazis are reported to be building defences for the positions recently captured; buildings continually change hands after close fighting. As a result of several days’ operations to the north-west of the city, the Soviet relief army is reported to have gained some valuable ground.
  • At 10 p.m., in the light of a full moon, General Montgomery launches a full-scale attack on Rommel’s defences in North Africa, following the greatest air preparation ever made in the Western Desert. It is a frontal attack from El Alamein to the Qattara depression, a 40-mile-long line, and the initial onslaught smashes a way through the enemy’s first-line defences.
  • Four tank attacks on the U.S. western defence lines on Guadalcanal Island are repelled.
  • The Allies’ advance towards Kokoda, New Guinea, is carried a step farther by the capture of Eora.
  • More daylight attacks are made by R.A.F. bombers on Western Germany, the Ruhr and the Rhineland being the chief objectives. Genoa is again the target of another devastating raid by R.A.F. bombers, and Turin and Savona are also heavily bombed; three of our bombers are lost.
  • Mrs. Roosevelt, wife of the President of the U.S.A., arrives in London by air from America.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Sergeant SX7089 William Henry KIBBY, Australian Infantry awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - No. SX 7089 Sergeant William Henry Kibby, 2/48th Battalion (South Australia), Australian Military Forces. During the period 23rd/31st October 1942 with the initial attack at Miteiriya Ridge, Western Desert, Sergeant Kibby brilliantly distinguished himself leading the platoon when his commander had been killed. On 23rd October he silenced an enemy machine-gun, killing three of the enemy and capturing 12 others. During the following days he moved among his men directing fire and cheering them on. Several times under intense fire he went and mended the platoon line communications. On 30th/31st October in order to achieve his company's objective he went forward alone, throwing grenades to destroy the enemy only a few yards away. Just as success appeared certain, he was killed.
British Cameron Highlanders in action against the Afrika Korps
British Cameron Highlanders in action against the Afrika Korps, 23rd October 1942

October 24, 1942

  • In Stalingrad the Russians drive a wedge into some German positions and force the invaders to retreat. Heavy fighting takes place in the north part of the city, where the Nazis claim to have captured the “Red October” factory. Fierce fighting on the Volkhov front is reported.
  • After bitter fighting the 8th Army break through two of Rommel’s lines of dug-in positions and start to attack a third strongly held line; all positions so far gained are held.
  • In the Mediterranean our submarines sink five more Axis supply ships and damage another five.
  • Milan is successfully attacked in daylight by nearly 100 Lancaster bombers, three of which are lost. At night Milan is again visited, and other targets in Northern Italy are also heavily bombed. From these two raids eight of our aircraft fail to return.

October 25, 1942

  • Two more streets in Stalingrad’s factory area are wrested from the Soviet forces after fierce hand-to-hand encounters. In the north-west the Russians develop their pressure on the enemy’s left flank.
  • The 8th Army deepen and widen the “wedge” in Rommel’s defences, all counter-attacks are held and positions already won are consolidated; 1,450 prisoners have been taken.
  • In Madagascar British troops continue to advance, and take possession of Ambohimahaso.

October 26, 1942

  • Despite the German claim to the capture of the “Red October” factory there are reports of its fierce defence by the Russians, and of attacks from north and south to relieve its garrison; the enemy is said to have been forced to withdraw.
  • The 8th Army’s attack is slowly being developed and the enemy’s coastal lines are being consistently pounded by the R.A.F. British troops mop-up in the big bulge pierced in Rommel’s lines, and the occupied area is slightly extended.
  • The U.S. aircraft-carrier U.S.S. Wasp, which had ferried air reinforcements to Malta in the summer, is reported to have been lost in the Pacific.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Private WX10426 Percival Eric GRATWICK, Australian Army awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Private Percival Eric Gratwick, 2/48th Battalion (South Australia), Australian Military Forces. On 25th/26th October 1942 during the attack at Miteiriya Ridge, Western Desert, the platoon to which Private Gratwick belonged suffered a considerable number of casualties, including the platoon commander and sergeant. Private Gratwick, realising the seriousness of the situation, charged on alone and with hand grenades, killed the crew of an enemy machine-gun and an entire mortar crew. Under heavy machine-gun fire he then charged the second post with rifle and bayonet. In inflicting further casualties, he was killed by machine-gun fire, but his brave and determined action enabled his company to capture the final objective.

October 27, 1942

  • In the northern factory suburbs of Stalingrad, the Russians hold grimly to their positions throughout a day of hard fighting. The German resistance to Marshal Timoshenko’s drive from the north-west increases, and 20 counter-attacks by the enemy are repelled.
  • In their first appearance in the present battle Rommel’s panzers receive a “substantial blow” in a fierce clash which ends entirely in our favour. The R.A.F. continue to inflict damaging blows on Axis concentrations of enemy tanks, motor transports and landing-grounds.
  • A U.S. Navy Department communique announces that in a big sea battle in the Solomons area two Japanese destroyers have been sunk, a cruiser and a destroyer damaged, and a battleship, an aircraft-carrier and a cruiser hit by bombs or torpedoes. The battle for Guadalcanal hangs in the balance, and feeling in the United States is tense.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temporary Lieutenant Colonel 17630 Victor Buller TURNER, Rifle Brigade awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Buller Turner, The Rifle Brigade. On 27th October 1942, at El Aqqaqir (Kidney Ridge), Western Desert, Lieutenant-Colonel Turner was commanding a battalion of the Rifle Brigade. After overcoming a German position, the battalion fought off desperate counter-attacks by 90 tanks, destroying or immobilising more than 50 of them. During the action, one of the 6-pounder guns was left with only one officer and a sergeant, so Colonel Turner joined them as loader, and between them they destroyed another five tanks. Not until the last tank had been repulsed did he consent to having a wound in his head attended to.

October 28, 1942

  • The 8th Army continues on the offensive, and in some minor tank engagements inflicts damage on the enemy; day and night attacks on Axis landing-grounds and forward positions are carried out. In the Mediterranean a large enemy tanker is sunk by torpedoes.
  • Two more streets in Stalingrad are captured by the enemy; to the south of the city the Russians make further progress, and to the north-west all German attacks are repelled. In the Caucasus a new Axis offensive is launched against Nalchik, a town situated about 70 miles south-west of Mozdok.
  • There is stubborn fighting in the Owen Stanley range, New Guinea, where our troops compel the enemy to retire from some strong-points near Alola.

October 29, 1942

  • Despite strong resistance the 8th Army advances farther along the coast capturing several strong-points and taking a number of prisoners; enemy counter-attacks are beaten off. Air operations against landing grounds and other targets continue.
  • The enemy launches attacks in Stalingrad from several directions, but makes only a limited advance in one sector.
  • A daylight attack is made by aircraft of Bomber Command on targets in West and North-West Germany.
  • Fianarantsoa, the most important southern town of Madagascar, is captured by the British forces after only slight opposition.

October 30, 1942

  • In Egypt counter-attacks by the Axis against our new positions are repelled; in a further attack in the coastal sector our troops capture some high ground, cutting-off a number of the enemy between the railway and the coast. Air operations are successfully continued.
  • More enemy assaults at Stalingrad are repelled, and to the south Marshal Timoshenko starts a new counter offensive to relieve pressure on the city. In the Nalchik area our allies withdraw to new defence positions. In the Black Sea area, the enemy is still being firmly held.
  • Colonel Knox, U.S. Secretary for the Navy, announces that Japanese naval forces have retired from the Solomons; there is a lull in the land fighting on Guadalcanal Island.
  • The Admiralty states that destroyer H.M.S. Veteran (Lieut.-Commander Trevor Henry Garwood, R.N.) has been sunk.

October 31, 1942

  • Rommel’s troops make an unsuccessful night attack on our forces to the west of the pocket between the railway and the coast, but some enemy tanks get through to the isolated infantry. A suspected panzer headquarters is successfully attacked by our fighters.
  • The enemy’s attacks on Stalingrad are on a reduced scale, but in the Central Caucasus the Germans continue to increase the pressure and the Russians are engaged in heavy defensive fighting. On the Black Sea front our allies hold the enemy and slightly improve their position.
  • Canterbury is attacked in daylight by about 50 aircraft; 9 enemy raiders are destroyed, and 4 more during scattered raids at night.

NOVEMBER 1942

November 1, 1942

  • During the night the enemy makes heavy attacks on the 8th Army’s positions in the coastal area, all of which are repelled, our positions being maintained. No attempt is made by the Axis troops to break out of the pocket. Enemy positions in the battle area are continuously attacked during the night by our medium bombers and naval aircraft.
  • All enemy attacks in Stalingrad are repulsed, and in some sectors the Russians counter-attack and make some progress; to the south of the city Soviet troops break through the first line of German defences.
  • On Guadalcanal Island the Japanese, following an attack by a force of U.S. marines, retreat to the west.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that in the Solomons battle which took place on 26th October the Japanese had two aircraft-carriers and three cruisers damaged, two battleships bombed, 100 aeroplanes destroyed, and 50 others probably destroyed. The U.S. losses were one aircraft-carrier and one destroyer.
  • Two enemy convoys are attacked in the English Channel by our light naval forces, one in the morning and one at night; many of the convoyed ships are damaged.

November 2, 1942

  • Infantry of the 8th Army launch an attack to the south of the coastal area and make an important advance, capturing many prisoners; an armoured battle develops and continues throughout the day. Our heavy bombers make a successful raid on Tobruk.
  • In Stalingrad the Germans launch infantry and tank attacks, and hand-to-hand fighting ensues, heavy casualties being inflicted on the enemy. Nalchik is evacuated by the Soviet troops, who continue their resistance to the south-east of the town.
  • Seven German merchant ships are reported by the U.S. Navy Department to have been sunk and three others, including a converted aircraft-carrier, damaged.
  • The allied forces in New Guinea capture Kokoda and advance beyond the town, which was in a state of desolation.

November 3, 1942

  • In Egypt enemy units are reported in the official communique to be withdrawing along the coastal road.
  • The full force of the allied air striking power is concentrated on them, their slow-moving transport providing excellent targets for our light bombers and fighter-bombers.
  • The Nazis launch several fierce attacks in the northern factory area of Stalingrad, but they are repelled with heavy losses, and the Russians counter-attack and capture some positions. To the south-east of Nalchik defensive engagements are fought by the Soviet forces.
  • A further Japanese landing on Guadalcanal Island, to the east of the American-held airfield, is announced.
  • Colonel Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, states that in the naval battle on the 11th - 12th October the Japanese lost three cruisers and five destroyers, not one cruiser and four destroyers as previously announced; the engagement lasted only half an hour.
  • A number of successful daylight attacks are carried out by bombers and fighters on industrial targets in Western Germany, Holland and occupied France.
Soviet soldiers fire on German troops from behind rubble pile at Stalingrad
Soviet soldiers fire on German troops from behind rubble pile at Stalingrad

November 4, 1942

  • The dramatic news comes from Cairo that after twelve days and nights of ceaseless onslaught by our land and air forces the Axis armies are in full retreat and are being relentlessly attacked; over 9,000 prisoners, including General Ritter von Thoma, commander of the Afrika Korps, have been taken, and General von Stumme, Rommel’s deputy, is among the killed. We have destroyed 260 tanks and 300 aircraft and destroyed or captured 270 guns.
  • Heavy losses are inflicted on the Germans when attacks by infantry and tanks in the Stalingrad area are repulsed. Several enemy points of resistance north-east of Tuapse are captured by Soviet forces.
  • Allied forces in Papua continue to press forward in the direction of Oivi, towards which village the Japanese are retreating.
  • On Guadalcanal Island the U.S. forces repulse a number of Japanese counter-attacks in the western area.

November 5, 1942

  • In Egypt the 8th Army’s advance continues over the whole front and the enemy is being heavily attacked as he retreats along the coastal road.
  • The Germans fail to achieve any success in their continued attacks on Stalingrad. To the south-east of Nalchik severe fighting is in progress, the Axis forces suffering heavy losses; in the Tuapse area German counter-attacks are repelled.
  • The Japanese offer some resistance in New Guinea to the west of Oivi, but they are beaten back and the allied troops continue their advance.

November 6, 1942

  • The allied forces are reported to have advanced 110 miles west of El Alamein to the Mersa Matruh area.
  • Three Italian divisions are trapped in the southern area. The air bases of El Duba and Fuka have been captured by the R.A.F. Regiment. “Complete and absolute victory” is General Montgomery’s description of the operations.
  • All enemy attacks on Stalingrad are broken up, the Germans losing more than 1,000 men killed. In the various Caucasus areas, all German assaults are held.
  • The War Office announces that, in accordance with a request from the French Governor-General in Madagascar, hostilities ceased at 2 p.m. local time on 5th November.
  • A concentrated and effective raid is carried out on Genoa by the R.A.F., many large fires being started.
British soldier examining German and Italian signs near Mersa Matruh
British soldier examining German and Italian signs near Mersa Matruh, November 1942

November 7, 1942

  • Rommel fights rear-guard actions in an effort to save some of his fast-disappearing armour, but the 8th Army’s pursuit continues. Five Italian divisions are now reported to be trapped, and the number of prisoners captured has risen to 20,000.
  • In the Stalingrad area the Germans are dislodged from two strong-points; all enemy attacks in the Caucasus areas are brought to a standstill.
  • For the second night in succession Genoa is the target of a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, the raid being on a heavier scale than that of the previous night; extensive fires are left burning.

November 8, 1942

  • Powerful U.S. forces - army, navy and air - land at numerous points on the coast of French North Africa during the morning hours of darkness; the landings are led by United States Rangers. The combined operations, under the unified command of Lieut.-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, are supported by units of the Royal Navy and by the Royal Air Force.
  • Rommel’s retreat is now described as a rout, the 8th Army, assisted by the R.A.F., giving the Axis forces no respite as they drive them towards the frontier; hostile elements which were holding out at Mersa Matruh surrender.
  • Soviet forces eject the enemy from a number of ruined factory buildings in Stalingrad’s northern area. In the Caucasus the Russians recapture a height to the north-east of Tuapse and hold all attacks in other areas.
  • It is officially announced that all Papua is now in allied occupation with the exception of the coastal areas of Buna and Gona.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Acting Captain Frederick Thornton PETERS, HMS Walney awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Acting Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, D.S.O., D.S.C., Royal Navy. On 8th November 1942 at Oran Harbour, North Africa, Captain Peters, commanding HMS Walney, led his force through the boom towards the jetty in the face of point-blank fire from shore batteries, a destroyer and a cruiser. Blinded in one eye, he alone of 17 officers and men on the bridge survived. Walney reached the jetty disabled and ablaze and went down with her colours flying. Captain Peters and a handful of men managed to reach the shore, but he was killed in an air crash five days later.
British troops landing near Algiers 1942
British troops landing near Algiers on 8th November 1942

November 9, 1942

  • Allied Headquarters in North Africa report the occupation of Algiers and that U.S. forces which landed east and west of Oran have penetrated a considerable distance to the rear of the city after meeting with strong resistance; further landings at two points on the Atlantic coast of French North Africa are made.
  • Enemy rear-guard in the Solium and Sidi Barrani areas are engaged by 8th Army forces; clearance of the battle areas continues, more prisoners and much equipment being brought in.
  • Fighting-in the Stalingrad area is on a reduced scale. In the Mozdok area of the Caucasus an enemy attack is repelled, and our allies destroy the headquarters of the German units.
  • In daylight U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators successfully bomb the docks at St. Nazaire and R.A.F. bombers, with fighter escort, attack Le Havre. At night Hamburg and other targets in North-West Germany are bombed; 15 of our aircraft fail to return.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that American troops on Guadalcanal Island continue to advance eastwards.

November 10, 1942

  • U.S. troops, with the support of the Royal Navy, capture Oran, and American dive-bombers and heavy warships bomb Casablanca harbour, setting the 35,000-ton French battleship Jean Bart on fire. The landing of British land and air forces in Algeria is confirmed.
  • In Egypt the enemy is driven out of Sidi Barrani and his rear-guard are engaged at Buq Bus; our bombers and fighters give the enemy little rest, and Tobruk is among many places heavily bombed.
  • Activities in the Stalingrad area continue on a reduced scale, and in the Caucasus areas Soviet forces hold all enemy attacks, forcing the Germans to evacuate a height north-east of Tuapse.
  • For distinguished services in the field, General Sir H. R. L. G. Alexander, K.C.B., C.S.I., D.S.O., M.C., is promoted to be K.G.C., and Lieut.-Gen. B. L. Montgomery, C.B., D.S.O., to be K.C.B., with the rank of General.

November 11, 1942

  • Admiral Darlan orders all commanders in French North Africa to cease hostilities, and thus the first phase of the campaign ends. Bougie, 110 miles east of Algiers, is occupied by U.S. and British forces. During intermittent attacks in the Algiers area 16 Axis aircraft are destroyed. Enemy fighters and bombers are reported in Tunisia. It is announced that Lieut.- General K. A. N. Anderson is in command of the British land forces (1st Army) in French North Africa; the R.A.F. is under the command of Air Marshal Sir William Welsh.
  • German troops occupy Vichy France; they march into Lyons, Limoges, Pau, Vichy and other towns.
  • Italian troops occupy Nice.
  • The 8th Army continues to follow up the retreating remnants of Rommel’s panzer army, now well across the Libyan frontier.
  • In the Stalingrad area the Red Army repel several enemy attacks, and to the north-west of the city the Russians occupy the outskirts of an inhabited locality.
  • The Japanese are dislodged from their main position at Oivi, New Guinea.

November 12, 1942

  • In North Africa resistance ceases except in a few isolated localities; on the west coast our positions are consolidated. Vichy reports the occupation of Bone by U.S. forces landed from British ships. Six large Italian transport aircraft carrying over 200 troops back from Tunis to Sicily are shot down into the sea.
  • The Germans announce that Toulon, where many French warships are based, is not to be occupied, and that the warships will be “safeguarded.”
  • Halfaya (“Hellfire”) Pass is captured by the 8th Army, which presses forward towards Tobruk.
  • The Germans launch a fresh offensive at Stalingrad in all sectors; in the Caucasus, south-east of Nalchik, the Axis forces are driven out of two inhabited places.
  • It is announced in the House of Commons that in twelve months 3,025 aircraft, 4,084 tanks, 30,031 vehicles, 42,000 tons of aviation spirit, 66,000 tons of fuel oil and 831,000 tons of miscellaneous cargo had been despatched to Russia by the northern route alone.
  • A Japanese force is routed in the most decisive engagement of the war in New Guinea.

November 13, 1942

  • The Germans land small 12-ton tanks in Tunisia, where the French garrison in the capital and other parts of the protectorate are reported to be fighting the invaders; the Allies pour troops eastwards from Bougie, which is attacked from the air by enemy aircraft, 11 being shot down.
  • Rommel’s shattered Afrika Korps continues its westward flight, leaving Tobruk, Solium and Bardia in allied hands.
  • In the Stalingrad area the new Axis offensive is persevered with, but no progress is made except in one sector, where the Germans advance 150 yards.
  • A big naval battle is raging in the Solomons according to a U.S. Navy Department communique.
  • Genoa is heavily raided by home-based Lancasters and Stirlings; none of our aircraft is lost.

November 14, 1942

  • It is reported that British and U.S. paratroops, making their first combat jump, were responsible for the capture of Bone aerodrome, which was taken without a hitch in five minutes. They were landed to support the 1st Army’s advance to Tunis and Bizerta. General Giraud, who had escaped from Vichy France, is leading the French garrisons in Tunisia.
  • The 8th Army pursues the retreating enemy forces to the west of Tobruk.
  • Our allies effectively check the Germans in the Stalingrad area, and in the Tuapse and Nalchik areas they gain some ground.
  • St. Nazaire and La Pallice, U-boat bases on the French Atlantic coast, are bombed by U.S. Army Air Force Flying Fortresses and Liberators in daylight.
  • Royal Navy submarine H.M.S Sahib on patrol in the Mediterranean spots the Italian freighter SS Scillin en-route from North Africa to Italy without lights. Believing the ship to be involved in the war effort Sahib’s Captain gives the order to open fire and torpedoes the Scillin. Which sinks within a minute. It was only on closing to recover survivors that the Captain discovered the ship was instead overcrowed with over 800 Allied POW’s (exact numbers vary). Only 26 were rescued along with 35 Italian guards and crew. The episode was the worst of several ‘friendly fire’ incidents on Allied POW transports. Details of the sinking of the Scillin were kept secret and undisclosed to relatives until 1996. Due it is believed to its connection with the Ultra intercept, code breaking project.

November 15, 1942

  • Church bells were rung all across the United Kingdom for the first time since May 1940, in celebration of the allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein.
  • In North Africa allied and German troops are reported to be in contact near Bizerta, in Tunisia; reinforcements of German troops are arriving by air, and Italians by sea. Off the coast 13 U-boats are stated to have been destroyed in the fighting so far.
  • The landing-grounds at Martuba are occupied by the 8th Army. Fighter aircraft harass the retreating enemy and inflict damage on his transport in the El Agheila-Jedabya area. Enemy casualties to date, including prisoners, are estimated at 75,000.
  • In the Stalingrad area the Red Army hold fierce attacks and effectually counter-attack; in the Caucasus areas the Russians gain further ground.
  • Wairopi, in New Guinea, is reported to have been captured by the Australians.
  • Genoa is again visited by R.A.F. four-engined bombers; fires and explosions are observed.
To celebrate the victory of the Battle of Egypt, church bells ring throughout Britain
To celebrate the historical victory of the Battle of Egypt, direction was given to ring church bells
throughout Britain on Sunday morning 15th november 1942

November 16, 1942

  • The British 1st Army, reinforced by U.S. mobile units, advances into Tunisia. French troops begin to co-operate with the Allies.
  • Pressing hard on the Axis forces, the 8th Army occupy Derna and Mekili and continue the pursuit.
  • Soviet forces repel enemy attacks in the Stalingrad area, and consolidate positions gained to the north-west of the city.
  • The U.S. Navy Department announces that in the naval battle in the Solomons, first reported on 13th November, the Japanese lost 23 ships, including one battleship, five cruisers, five destroyers and 12 transports, and had seven ships damaged.

November 17, 1942

  • British parachute troops are landed deep in Tunisia from U.S. transport aircraft to clear the way for the 1st Army; they move swiftly eastwards to carry out reconnaissance’s. Vichy reports that Axis forces have made contact with allied troops.
  • Troops of the 8th Army are reported from G.H.Q. Cairo to have captured Cyrene and to be within 70 miles of Bengazi; they are pursuing the Axis forces on a wide front.
  • Fighting slackens in the northern sector of Stalingrad, but activity increases in the southern part; in the Caucasus, the Red Army continues to press the Germans in all areas.

November 18, 1942

  • Advanced elements of the British 1st Army, together with British and U.S. paratroops and French forces operating with the Allies, enter Tunisia at several points; contacts are made with enemy scouting parties.
  • The 8th Army continues its speedy progress towards Bengazi, to the south of which town it is in touch with Rommel’s forces; Gyrene is captured. Fresh enemy troops are reported to be on the way from Italy to Tripolitania.
  • On the Russian Front the Axis forces continue their efforts to force a passage through northern Stalingrad to the Volga, but make only minor progress; both sides claim local successes in the Volkhov area.
  • Marshal Petain signs constitutional acts granting Laval power to make laws and issue decrees on his own signature only.
  • The Fiat works and other targets in Turin are heavily attacked by aircraft of Bomber Command; all our aircraft return.

November 19, 1942

  • A German-controlled wireless station announces that fighting has taken place between Axis and allied forces in three districts in Tunisia.
  • The 8th Army continues to advance north and south of Bengazi, which, according to a German report, is evacuated. Many prisoners are rounded up.
  • Our Russian allies claim further successes in the Caucasus on the Ordzhonikidze sector. In the Stalingrad area six enemy attacks in the northern part of the city are repelled with heavy loss; in another sector the Germans make a little progress. The Nazis admit that the Red Army has forced a wedge in their lines at Kletskaya, in the Don bend.
  • Additional heavy losses of Japanese warships in the Guadalcanal area on 14th - 15th November are announced by the U.S. Navy Department, namely, one battleship or heavy cruiser, three large cruisers and one destroyer sunk, and a battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer damaged.
  • In Papua, Australian and American troops engage the Japanese on the outskirts of Buna.
  • A commando raid by 38 sappers of 9th Field Company and 261st Field Company, Royal Engineers on the heavy water plant at Vemork, Norway (Operation Freshman), ends in disaster when bad weather and navigational issues forced their Horsa gliders to be released in the wrong areas. Several men were killed in crash landings and the rest captured and executed. Following the end of the war all those involved in the executions were tried for war crimes.

November 20, 1942

  • Allied advance elements in Tunisia engage enemy mechanised columns and drive them back. R.A.F. bombers and Flying Fortresses successfully attack airfields at Bizerta and Tunis.
  • General Montgomery’s forward troops reach the region of Jedabya; allied forces enter Bengazi.
  • The Germans are reported to be in full retreat in the Ordzhonikizde area of the Caucasus, and giving up one position after another, leaving much material behind in good condition. In the Stalingrad area the Red Army repels enemy attacks and improves its positions.
  • R.A.F. bombers take part in the heaviest raid yet on Italy, the objective again being Turin; great numbers of 4,000-lb. bombs are dropped; three of our aircraft fail to return.

November 21, 1942

  • In North Africa, British and U.S. forces continue to advance in the direction of Bizerta, in face of increasing attention from the Luftwaffe; one of the British advance units inflicts heavy damage on a German armoured column. Intense air battles are fought between the allied and German air forces; Tunis airfield is raided and several aircraft are destroyed on the ground.
  • Despite heavy rainstorms the 8th Army continues its advance against the remnants of Rommel’s army. The Red Army attacks the enemy along the entire southern front from the Don, north-west of Stalingrad, to the Caucasus, in what Berlin describes as a “veritable offensive.”

November 22, 1942

  • Good progress is made by the British 1st Army in its advance on Bizerta, contacts with the enemy being of a minor character; allied fighters carry out offensive sweeps over Tunisia and bombers attack the docks and shipping at Bizerta and objectives in Tunis.
  • A communique from Moscow says that in the past few days Soviet troops at the approaches to Stalingrad passed over to the offensive and advanced in two directions - from the north-west and the south – a distance of 40 miles, capturing Kalach, on the eastern bank of the Don; 13,000 prisoners are taken. Further progress in the Caucasus is also made.
  • Stuttgart, in Southern Germany, is heavily bombed by the R.A.F. with good results; 10 of our aircraft are missing.

November 23, 1942

  • Forward troops of the allied forces in Tunisia take part in local engagements with the enemy; in the southern sector French patrols report continued activity. The airfield at Bizerta is attacked by R.A.F. bombers, one large explosion and more than 30 smaller ones being observed.
  • Jedabya and Gialo are occupied by General Montgomery’s forces, who continue to drive the enemy towards El Agheila; heavy and medium bombers successfully attack airfields in Crete.
  • In their smashing attack on the Germans, the Soviet forces capture five more towns, take 11,000 more prisoners and kill a further 12,000 of the enemy; material left in Russian hands includes 157 tanks, 557 guns, 2,826 lorries, 32 aircraft and 1,200 railway trucks.
  • Admiral Darlan announces that French West Africa, which includes the port of Dakar, is now under his orders.

November 24, 1942

  • Progress against the enemy in Tunisia is reported to be satisfactory; extensive and successful air operations are carried out against the enemy, and R.A.F. bombers heavily attack the docks and shipping at Bizerta.
  • Further progress is made by the 8th Army, the retreating enemy being harassed between Jedabya and El Agheila; our fighter-bombers raid airfields in Sicily.
  • The Russians advance a further 25 miles on the north-west of Stalingrad and connect up with the defenders of Stalingrad in the northern part of the city; in the Don area, south-west of Kletskaya, three enemy divisions are captured; south of Stalingrad a further 12,000 prisoners are taken. The quantity of booty captured has mounted enormously.
  • The entry of Australian troops into Gona, New Guinea, and the capture of Cape Endaiadere by Americans are reported.

November 25, 1942

  • The Red Army continues its strong counter-offensive and the Axis forces before Stalingrad and in the Don elbow area are placed in danger of encirclement. According to a German report, their positions at Rzhev have been penetrated by Russian tanks and tank-borne infantry.
  • In North Africa the 1st Army makes satisfactory progress in operations against the enemy in eastern forward areas; docks and shipping in Bizerta harbour are heavily bombed.
  • The 8th Army maintains contact with Rommel’s forces between Jedabya and El Agheila; Tripoli is attacked by our heavy bombers.
  • Further heavy fighting around Buna and Gona, in Papua, is reported; an attempted landing of Japanese reinforcements is smashed, two destroyers being sunk by our aircraft.

November 26, 1942

  • In a special announcement the Russians claim the capture of five localities in the Don elbow and seven populated places to the south-west of Stalingrad. A further 12,000 prisoners are taken.
  • According to a Morocco wireless message the 1st Army has driven the enemy from Mejez-el-Bab, 30 miles south of Tunis, and to within a short distance of Bizerta; 40 planes on an enemy advanced airfield are destroyed.
  • It is announced that in the recent air attack on Genoa the Italian aircraft-carrier Roma was sunk.

November 27, 1942

  • In front of Stalingrad the Russians recapture four more inhabited places from the enemy; many more buildings in the factory area are taken, the Red October factory having been practically cleared of Germans. The Don-Stalingrad offensive continues to progress, and our allies break through the Nazi defences north-west of Moscow.
  • In Tunisia the enemy is reported to be generally on the defensive, and a counter-attack at Tebourba, now in allied occupation, is repelled.
  • Patrol activity is reported in Libya in the neighbourhood of El Agheila where Rommel is attempting to mass the remnants of his forces.
  • In the early hours of darkness German troops and tanks sweep into the naval base of Toulon, and six hours later, about 10 a.m., the big French Fleet anchored there, about 70 ships in all, is scuttled on the order of Admiral de Laborde. The first explosion comes from the Admiral’s flagship, the battleship Strasbourg, and this is the signal for the rest of the ships to be blown up. Three submarines are reported to have made their escape.

November 28, 1942

  • The Red Army’s break-through on the Moscow front develops into a big offensive in the Rzhev and Velikye Luki areas, the enemy defences being penetrated to a depth of from seven to nineteen miles. The gap at Stalingrad is reported to be closed, some 200,000 of the enemy being trapped.
  • In North Africa the enemy, who is blowing up bridges, roads and railway-lines to delay the 1st Army’s advance, is generally on the defensive. Allied aircraft bomb the aerodrome and docks at Bizerta with considerable success. Tripoli is heavily attacked by the R.A.F., shipping and harbour installations being damaged; Tunis and Bizerta are also bombed. Nine Axis supply ships and an Italian destroyer are sunk.
  • Turin is again heavily raided by a strong force of R.A.F. bombers, when 8,000-lb. bombs are used against Italy for the first time; large numbers of other high-explosive bombs and more than 100,000 incendiaries are dropped, causing very heavy destruction.

November 29, 1942

  • Before Stalingrad Soviet troops break through a new line of defence along the east bank of the Don, and south-west of Stalingrad they occupy two inhabited places and the railway station of Nebykovsky; the total of prisoners since 19th November has now reached 66,000, and 2,000 guns have been captured.
  • The 1st Army enters Djedeida Coq, north-east of Tebourba; elsewhere progress continues. Tripoli is again a target for a strong force of our heavy bombers.
  • In Papua the allied forces continue to advance in the Buna-Gona area, but progress is slowed down; Flying Fortresses drop bombs on two enemy destroyers which are set afire and probably sunk.
  • On the eve of his 68th birthday, Mr. Churchill makes a special broadcast in which he warns Italy that Africa is a spring-board for attacking her.
  • A smaller force of bombers than was sent on the previous night attacks Turin; fires started by the preceding raid are seen to be still raging.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Flight Sergeant Aus.402745 Rawdon Hume MIDDLETON, awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Flight Sergeant Rawdon Hume Middleton, Royal Australian Air Force, serving with 149 Squadron, Royal Air Force. On 28th/29th November 1942 during a raid on Turin, Italy, Flight Sergeant Middleton was captain of a Stirling bomber which was damaged by Anti-Aircraft fire over the target. One shell burst in the cockpit, destroying the captain's right eye and also wounding the second pilot and the wireless operator. Although there was heavy flak and the aircraft was hit many times, the bombs were released and then the aircraft, badly damaged and with insufficient fuel, made its difficult return journey over the Alps. Near the English coast Flight Sergeant Middleton ordered his crew to bale out, then turned and crashed into the sea to avoid causing civilian casualties.

November 30, 1942

  • Further progress is made by the Soviet forces on the Central Front to the west of Moscow and several inhabited localities are occupied. The pursuit of the enemy south of Stalingrad has extended to within 12 miles of Kotelnikovo and to the west beyond Kalach on the Don. The defenders of Stalingrad drive the enemy from the precincts of the city.
  • Despite heavy attacks by enemy aircraft, after British parachutists had seized a new advanced landing field in Tunis, the 1st Army, supported by U.S. armoured forces, forges slowly ahead.

DECEMBER 1942

December 1, 1942

  • To the north-west and south-west of Stalingrad further progress is made by the Red Army, and the position of the German forces encircled to the north-west is stated to be serious. On the Moscow (Central) Front heavy fighting continues, and the German hold on Rzhev is threatened.
  • Our forward units in Tunisia maintain strong pressure on the enemy’s position in the vicinity of Mateur and Djedeida. It is reported that a combined French and American force has penetrated to the coast between Gabes and Sfax. Light naval forces attack an enemy convoy bound for Tunisia and sink four supply ships and two escorting destroyers. H.M.S. Quentin is later attacked by a torpedo-carrying aircraft and subsequently sinks.
  • Allied forces in Papua are reported to have reached the beach east of Gona.

December 2, 1942

  • The Russians continue their offensives on the Central Front and in the Stalingrad area and occupy several inhabited localities. More than 2,000 Germans are killed in the Velikye Luki sector, and west of Rzhev the enemy is driven from several strong-points.
  • In Tunisia the Germans launch a counter-attack in the Tebourba area which is repelled by the allied forces; there are more air attacks on the airfields of Bizerta and Tunis.
  • There is patrol activity in Libya in the neighbourhood of El Agheila.
  • The Japanese try to reinforce their troops in Buna from four destroyers, which are attacked and hit by allied bombers.
  • Frankfurt and other places in Western Germany are attacked by aircraft of Bomber Command; six of our machines are lost.
  • U.S scientist make progress towards developing an atomic weapon as they successfully making a chain reaction split of uranium atoms.

December 3, 1942

  • Our allies make further progress north-west of Stalingrad and several counter-attacks by the Germans east of Velikye - Luki are repelled. On the Central Front the Soviet attack continues satisfactorily.
  • Another enemy counter-attack in the vicinity of Tebourba is repulsed, the Axis losing a considerable quantity of equipment; fighting also takes place on the western outskirts of Djedeida. Day and night air attacks are made on docks and airfields at Tunis and Bizerta.
  • There is some patrol activity in Libya and the landing ground at “Marble Arch” is attacked by our medium bombers.
  • The U.S. Navy Department states that in a naval encounter north of Guadalcanal Island on 30th November - 1st December the enemy lost two large destroyers (or cruisers), four destroyers, two troop transports and one cargo ship; one U.S. cruiser was sunk.
  • U.S. dive-bombers, torpedo aircraft and fighters attack a force of Japanese cruisers and destroyers about 150 miles north-west of Guadalcanal Island; one enemy ship is sunk and three others are set on fire.
  • Mr. A. V. Alexander announces in the House of Commons that in the landing of U.S. and British forces in North Africa the Royal Navy lost 10 ships, including two destroyers, two cutters and one small aircraft-carrier.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Temp. Major 72117 Herbert Wallace Le Patourel, Royal Hampshire Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Temporary Major Herbert Wallace Le Patourel, 2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, later the Royal Hampshire Regiment. On 3rd December 1942 at Tebourba, Tunisia, enemy forces were holding high ground and resisting all efforts to dislodge them. Major Le Patourel called for four volunteers to go with him and they attacked and silenced several of the machine gun posts. When all his men became casualties, he went on alone to engage the enemy, using his pistol and hurling hand grenades. He was eventually wounded and taken prisoner.

December 4, 1942

  • In the Stalingrad area 10 inhabited places and a railway-station are wrested from the enemy, and on the Central Front a height dominating a road in Velikye Luki is captured; the threat to Smolensk is reported to be developing.
  • Heavy fighting along the 20-mile front stretching from Mateur to Tebourba, in North-East Tunisia, is reported, substantial forces of tanks and paratroops being employed; in the northern sector the allied and French forces take a number of prisoners.
  • Long-range fighters of the Middle East attack and set on fire an enemy destroyer off the coast of Tunisia.
  • Naples is raided in daylight by U.S. Liberator bombers operating from the Middle East, all of which return safely; great damage is done to warships and port installations.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Wing Commander 33322 Hugh Gordon MALCOLM, Royal Air Force awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Wing Commander Hugh Gordon Malcolm, 18 Squadron, Royal Air Force. From November to December 1942 in North Africa, Wing Commander Malcolm commanded a squadron of light bombers. Throughout his service in that sector his skill and daring were of the highest order. He led two attacks on Bizerta airfield, pressing his attacks to effective conclusion and on 4 December he led an attack on an enemy fighter airfield near Chougui. On reaching the target, however and starting the attack, the squadron was intercepted by an overwhelming force of enemy fighters. One by one his bombers were shot down, until he himself was shot down in flames.

December 5, 1942

  • The Russians continue to advance beyond Rzhev in spite of enemy counter-attacks; in the Don-Stalingrad area the ring around the Germans is being steadily tightened.
  • As a result of tank, dive-bomber and infantry attacks by the enemy, allied forces are reported to have evacuated Tebourba and Djedeida; heavy tank and infantry battles are proceeding in the “Tunisia Triangle”.

December 6, 1942

  • Red Army pressure in Rzhev is maintained, enemy resistance being overcome and a large expanse of the German fortifications being captured; more inhabited localities in the Velikye Luki area are liberated. In the factory area of Stalingrad, the Russians engage successfully in artillery duels. In the Nalchik area of the Caucasus the Nazis are driven from a number of populated places.
  • Heavy fighting continues in the region of Tebourba on the heights dominating which town our troops have been regrouped; enemy aerodromes and communications are attacked by the allied air forces.
  • In Libya patrol activity in the vicinity of El Agheila continues and our long-range fighters attack enemy transport.
  • R.A.F. bombers, including American-built Vega Ventura light bombers, make a low-level concentrated daylight attack on the Philips radio factory at Eindhoven in Holland, and U.S. heavy bombers successfully raid the Fives-Lille locomotive works at Lille.
  • The Admiralty reports the loss of submarine H.M.S. Unique (Lieut. Robert Evelyn Boddington, R.N.).
a low-level daylight attack on a Dutch radio works, carried out by about 100 R.A.F light bombers
Artist's impression of a low-level daylight attack on a Dutch radio works, carried out by
about 100 R.A.F light bombers on 6th December 1942

December 7, 1942

  • The Germans make an unsuccessful effort to dislodge the Red Army from the positions they hold on the Rzhev-Vyazma railway in their fiercest counter-attack in the present Soviet offensive.
  • In Tunisia the enemy penetrates one of our positions in the Tebourba area but is heavily counter-attacked, and withdraws. A German source reports strong allied attacks with tanks.
  • In Libya only patrolling is reported. Our fighter-bombers successfully attack gun positions in the Mersa Brega neighbourhood, and heavy bombers raid Misurata and aerodromes near Homs; the docks at Bizerta are also bombed.
  • The world’s biggest battleship, the 45,000-ton New Jersey, is launched in the United States.
  • It is announced from Algiers that Governor Boisson has agreed to Dakar being used by the United Nations.
  • The liner SS Ceramic en-route to Australia with 278 crew, 244 military and nursing and 133 civilian passengers was torpedoed by U-515 in the south Atlantic. The ship remained afloat and the passengers and crew evacuated into lifeboats. After taking one man onboard for questioning U-515 left the area. All the lifeboats capsized in heavy seas with no survivors.

December 8, 1942

  • In Stalingrad and to the north-west and south-west of the city fierce fighting continues, with the Red Army continuing to maintain the initiative. To the west of Rzhev the Russians make more progress.
  • “Marble Arch”, landing-ground is again attacked by our aircraft in Libya and seven Messerschmitt’s are destroyed.
  • More 8,000-lb. and 4,000-lb. bombs are dropped by the R.A.F. on Turin, much damage being caused.

December 9, 1942

  • The Red Army continues to wage offensive engagements in the Stalingrad area and on the Central Front; several Nazi counter-attacks are repulsed to the north-west of Stalingrad and in the sector south-west of the city.
  • Action on land in Tunisia is confined to patrolling, but there is considerable aerial activity on the part of our fighter-bombers.
  • In Libya our patrols at night penetrate the enemy forward posts at Agheila to a distance of 2+ miles.
  • Turin is again attacked by a strong force of bombers and many new fires are started; three aircraft are lost.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of trawlers H.MT. Canna (Lieut. Wilfred Noel Bishop-Laggett, R.N.R.), H.M.T. Bengali (Lieut. R . S. Penby, R.N.R.) and H.M.T. Spaniard (Lieut. J. B. Love, R.N.R.).

December 10, 1942

  • Fierce counter-attacks are launched by the enemy in an effort to hold the advance of the Soviet armies, but except for minor progress in one sector of the Central Front none of them is successful. On the southern outskirts of Stalingrad, the Russians make some gains and in the factory area of the city they destroy a number of enemy strong-points.
  • Enemy panzer columns with infantry support make a double thrust against the 1st Army’s right flank near Medjez-el-Bab which is held. A number of Axis tanks are knocked out.
  • Patrol and artillery activity is continued in the Agheila area, the 8th Army giving the enemy no rest. Our tanks probe the defended positions of the enemy, who is reported to be showing nervousness.
  • Mr. Curtin, the Prime Minister of Australia, announces that the allied forces have completely occupied the Gona area of North Papua.
  • No.1 Demolition Squadron, PPA (Popski's Private Army), commanded by Major Vladimir Peniakoff, becomes operational as a British Special Forces unit in North Africa.

December 11, 1942

  • Several enemy counter-attacks in the Rzhev area are repelled by the Red Army, who in turn advance, capturing a number of strong-points. A strategic height in the Velikye Luki sector is taken by the Russians, who are reported to be advancing in the Abganerovo-Kotelnikovo area in a battle which has been raging for three days.
  • In Tunisia an enemy column advancing from the north shore is repulsed by 1st Army troops, the Axis losing about 100 killed and 50 prisoners; our casualties are comparatively low. An attack in the Medjez-el-Bab region is also beaten off.
  • Developments in the El Agheila area are reported to be proceeding without interference; the landing ground at Nofilia, 90 miles west of El Agheila, is successfully attacked by fighter-bombers.
  • U.S. and R.A.F. bombers from the Middle East attack Naples, the former in daylight, the R.A.F. bombers at night; Turin is again visited by home based bombers.

December 12, 1942

  • Moscow announces further advances on both the Central and Stalingrad Fronts, and German sources say the attacks are on a large scale, especially to the south of Rhzev. To the north-west of Stalingrad, the Russians successfully attack a strong-point on the enemy left flank trapped between the Don and the city.
  • In Tunisia the enemy makes unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate north and south of Medjez-el-Bab. Flying Fortresses and Lightnings bomb Tunis, hitting the docks and causing large fires; a supply ship is also hit.
  • Escorted by 300 R.A.F. fighters, U.S. heavy bombers raid Rouen and other targets in France, Belgium and Holland; 25 enemy aircraft are destroyed in air combats.
  • U.S. naval forces attack a flotilla of Japanese destroyers off Guadalcanal; one is destroyed, another set on fire and a third badly damaged.

December 13, 1942

  • In the factory district of Stalingrad and on the southern outskirts of the city the Soviet forces capture more ground. To the north-west of Stalingrad several important heights fall to the Russians, who surround a German force in the Velikye Luki area.
  • A small enemy motor convoy in Tunisia, north-east of Medjez-el-Bab, is shelled and broken up, but otherwise activity is limited. Bizerta and Tunis are attacked by our heavy bombers and our medium bombers raid the harbour at Susa and targets near Sfax.
  • The Admiralty announces further successes in the Mediterranean, including the torpedoing and sinking of an armed merchant cruiser, a large tanker and several supply ships.
  • In Libya the 8th Army turn Rommel out of his strong positions at Mersa Brega at little cost to themselves, and chase the enemy westwards. Our bombers carry out the most successful attacks yet recorded on the harbours of La Goulette and Tunis.
  • The Admiralty announces the loss of H.M.S. Penylan (Lieut.-Com. John Henry Wallace, D.S.C., R.N.), a destroyer of the “Hunt” class.

December 14, 1942

  • South-west of Stalingrad enemy infantry and tanks, at the cost of heavy losses, succeed in pressing the Russians back. German attacks on the Central Front are repelled and others south of Voronezh are also held. To the west of Rzhev an enemy infantry and tank attack ends in the loss of 26 tanks and a large number of troops.
  • The Axis forces continue their retreat from the Agheila position, their rear guards offering only slight resistance; large numbers of mines hinder General Montgomery’s advance. Naples is successfully attacked by heavy bombers, and large harbour fires are started.
  • Buna village, Papua, is captured by allied forces; fighting continues in other sectors.

December 15, 1942

  • The Red Army continues to press the enemy on the Central Front and makes a notable advance to the north-west of Stalingrad. Between the Volga and the Don, to the south-west of Stalingrad, the German offensive is brought to a halt by Soviet artillery.
  • In Tunisia heavy raids by the U.S. Air Force are made on marshalling-yards at Sfax and docks and shipping at Susa; Tunis and Bizerta are also bombed.
  • Rommel’s forces are now well to the west of El Agheila and are being continually harassed by the 8th Army and by our medium bombers, who strafe their transport columns.

December 16, 1942

  • Moscow reports the capture of an inhabited locality inside the Don bend west of Surovikhino, together with 580 guns and some 1,500 lorries, and the rout in two days’ fighting south-west of Stalingrad of an encircled enemy group.
  • In Libya the 8th Army, continuing its pursuit of Rommel’s retreating armies, is well west of El Agheila; allied bombers make harassing attacks on enemy columns.
  • In Tunisia the chief activity is in the air, the railway south of Susa being among objectives bombed.
  • The Allies are reported to be increasing their pressure on the Japanese in the Buna coastal strip.

December 17, 1942

  • Von Hoth’s attempt to relieve the German forces south-west of Stalingrad receives a further check, and on the Central Front the Red Army capture five more occupied localities and destroy two infantry battalions.
  • An advance force of the 8th Army cuts Rommel’s retreating forces in two by reaching the coast at Wadi Matratin, about 60 miles west of El Agheila; parts of two divisions are reported to be trapped, having suffered heavily in an attempt to escape. There is fighting in the Nofilia area.
  • Allied patrols are active along the whole of the Tunisian front; near Medjez-el-Bab small British reconnaissance groups penetrate more than 15 miles into Axis positions.
  • In both Houses of Parliament there are statements on Germany’s barbarous treatment of Jews; Mr. Eden issues a stern protest of warning and retribution.

December 18, 1942

  • The threat to enemy supply and communication systems between Smolensk and Vyazm a is increased by the further progress of General Zhukov’s armies in the Rzhev sector; during the day 99 Axis aircraft are destroyed. In the Caucasus the Soviet forces attack to the north-east of Tuapse and south-east of Nalchik.
  • General Montgomery’s forces continue relentlessly to pursue the Axis forces, and fighting occurs within 20 miles of Sirte. Numbers of German tanks and infantry manage to escape from the trap at Wadi Matratin.
  • Patrol activity continues in Tunisia. Heavy bombers make another big attack on Bizerta harbour, an enemy warship being hit; Tunis and La Goulette are also raided.
  • Our bombers make a night attack on targets in West and North-West Germany; 18 aircraft fail to return.

December 19, 1942

  • In a great new offensive, the Red Army smash through the German lines to a depth of 56 miles on a 60-mile front in the Middle Don area, cutting the vital Voronezh-Rostov railway line; in the course of the advance more than 200 towns and villages are reoccupied; at least 20,000 Germans are killed and some 10,000 taken prisoner.
  • The 8th Army is reported to be closing in on Sirte, the first important coastal town west of El Agheila.
  • French forces in Tunisia capture an enemy position in the district of Kerouan and hold it against counter attacks. It is reported that during the past seven days 17 Axis supply ships have been either sunk or damaged.
  • A communique from General Wavell’s headquarters announces that on the Burma front British troops have occupied Maungdaw and Buthidaung, 60 miles northwest of Akyab.
  • From Pretoria it is reported that Major-General Dan Pienaar has been killed in an air crash on his way from the Middle East to South Africa.

December 20, 1942

  • Our Russian allies advance a further 15 to 18 miles in their new Middle Don offensive, where the Axis forces are reported to be making a hurried retreat to the south-west.
  • The progress of the 8th Army, increasing in pace, forces the Axis troops to evacuate Nofilia; our aircraft attack the enemy’s transport columns as far forward as Bucrat.
  • Patrol operations continue on the Tunisian fronts; French forces advance farther in the region of Pont de Sfax. Tunis and L a Goulette are again raided by our bombers.
  • R.A.F. Mosquitoes, making a long-distance daylight raid into North-West Germany, attack railways, industrial plants and an airfield. At night a strong force of our bombers successfully attacks objectives at Duisburg, where large fires are left burning in the docks and industrial districts.
  • U.S. Fortresses and Liberators in daylight attack the aircraft depot at Romilly-sur-Seine; 44 enemy planes are also shot down.
  • American and Australian forces in New Guinea capture the area around Cape Endaiadere.

December 21, 1942

  • The enemy makes fruitless attempts to stem the Russian Middle Don offensive, in which advanced forces of the Soviet armies reach a position half-way to the Donetz River. The Germans, who suffer further heavy losses, admit their defences have been broken into.
  • In spite of having to clear large numbers of land mines and booby-traps the 8th Army continues its pursuit of the enemy, forward patrols getting in touch with Axis forces 30 miles beyond Sirte.
  • Patrol activity continues successfully in Tunisia; hits are scored by allied bombers on ships in the main basin at Tunis.
  • In Papua, tank attacks result in the capture of an air strip in the Buna area and the penetration of the Japanese main defences.
  • R.A.F. heavy bombers drop a great w eight of bombs on Munich, many fires being raised.

December 22, 1942

  • Many more localities are occupied by the Red Army forces, which continue to progress in their Middle Don offensive, heavy fighting taking place near Millerovo; the occupied places include Nikolskaya, Popovka and Kamenka; 6,700 more prisoners are captured.
  • Patrol activity continues in Tripolitania, where the work of mine clearance and road repair is proceeding satisfactorily.
  • More vigorous patrol activity is reported from Tunisia; the French force an enemy detachment to withdraw, some prisoners being captured.

December 23, 1942

  • The Soviet advance between the Rivers Don and Donetz continues to make rapid progress and there is a further penetration of from 12 to 18 miles, making a gain of between 75 and 100 miles in a week; the Russians take another 16,400 prisoners.
  • There is some patrol activity by the ground forces in Northern Tunisia; a number of Italian prisoners are taken by French forces in the south-west near Pont da Fahs. Further heavy blows are struck at enemy ships attempting to reach Tunis by our submarines and light naval forces.
  • A heavy air attack on Sabang, in Sumatra, by a naval air force is reported by the Admiralty.
  • Another Admiralty announcement states that a large convoy has reached Malta without major interference.

December 24, 1942

  • The Germans in the Middle Don area are forced to retreat still farther by the great Soviet offensive; in the Central Caucasus our allies make another strong attack on the Axis forces in this area.
  • In Tunisia, the Brigade of Guards attack the summit of an enemy-held hill and occupy most of the crest, which they retain, except for the highest ridges, against counter-attack.
  • Admiral Darlan is assassinated in Algeria by a young Frenchman, who is arrested.
  • Japanese installations at Wake Island are heavily attacked by U.S. Army aircraft, more than 75,000 lb. of bombs being dropped from a low altitude; all the raiders’ return safely.

December 25, 1942

  • Christmas Day sees no slackening in the forward movement of the Red Army in the Middle Don area, and both here and in the Central Caucasus many more prisoners are taken. German counter-attacks in the Stalingrad sector are repelled, with considerable loss to the attackers.
  • The hill captured by the Brigade of Guards on Christmas Eve is partly recaptured by the enemy, but our troops counter-attack and restore the situation.
  • Sirte, the only town of any size between Bengazi and Misurata, is occupied by the 8th Army.
  • Buna airfield, New Guinea, is now in possession of the allied forces.
  • H.M. the King makes his fourth war-time broadcast to the people of the British Empire and the United States.
British tank crew having Christmas dinner
British tank crew having Christmas dinner which consists of army biscuits, prunes,
marmalade & rum in the Desert.

December 26, 1942

  • Soviet forces in the Middle Don continue to develop their offensive successfully, advancing about 12 miles, making from go to 124 miles progress in the 11 days since it began; 812 inhabited localities have now been liberated and a total of 56,000 prisoners taken.
  • Anglo-American troops are reported to be holding new positions in Tunisia about six miles east of Medjez-el-Bab, after pushing the Germans back to the crest of a high ridge. Our heavy bombers raid ships, docks and warehouses at Susa.
  • Allied forces moving up from the Chad continue to progress in the Fezzan area.
  • The main force of the 8th Army is reported to be nearing Buerat.
  • There is patrol activity in the Arakan district of Burma, where the enemy attempts unsuccessfully to retake positions captured from him.

December 27, 1942

  • In the Middle Don area more inhabited localities fallow the Red Army, including six large places, and the west of Stalingrad an advance of six to nine miles is made; in the Caucasus, on the Central Front and south-east of Nalchik offensive engagements are waged.
  • In Tunisia there is much local activity in the Medjez-el-Bab sector, near the scene of the battle for “Long- stop Hill” on December 24-26. French troops to the south of Pont du Fahs make an important advance, taking a number of prisoners and a large quantity of material. Farther south, between Pichon and Kairouan, allied troops improve their positions against strong enemy opposition.
  • Our troops make contact with Rommel’s forces in the Wadi Bei el Kebir area, 40 miles west of Sirte. Middle East aircraft bomb Tunis and La Goulette.
  • General Giraud is unanimously elected by the French Imperial Council to succeed Admiral Darlan as High Commissioner.
  • In New Guinea the struggle to break through the Japanese last line of defence in the Buna area continues. Four large enemy ships in Rabaul harbour are wrecked by allied bombers.

December 28, 1942

  • Russian forces south of Stalingrad continue to develop their offensive, which is now threatening Kotelnikovo, and progress is also made in the Middle Don area; the position of Von Hoth’s army outside Stalingrad is becoming steadily more precarious.
  • Our Tunisian patrols attack an enemy detachment on the Medjez-el-Bab-Tebourba Road and inflict casualties and capture some prisoners. The hill captured by the Guards on Christmas Eve is evacuated after the infliction of heavy casualties on the enemy. The docks and harbour at Susa are attacked by Flying Fortresses.

December 29, 1942

  • The advance of the Red Army south of Stalingrad results in the capture of Kotelnikovo, considerable booty being taken, including tanks, aircraft and military equipment, and many more prisoners; north-west of Stalingrad Soviet troops attack and capture the first line of the enemy’s trenches. Several enemy sectors in the Velikye Luki area are occupied, and in the Middle Don area enemy counter-attacks are repelled.
  • Activity in Tunisia is mainly confined to air operations, especially on the east coast, where Flying Fortresses again attack the docks and harbour at Susa.
  • The Admiralty announces that in the Gulf of Hammamet one of H.M. submarines, under the command of Commander B. Bryant, D.S.C., R.N., has attacked and sunk an enemy patrol ship, a tanker, and a supply ship.
  • The British and Indian force in Burma working down the Arakan coast is reported to be half-way to Akyab. French Somaliland is reported to have joined forces with the United Nations. Almost the whole of the main airfield in the Buna beachhead is now in allied hands.

December 30, 1942

  • Following their capture of Kotelnikovo the Russians continue to drive the enemy along the railway towards the River Sal and Zimovniki; our allies make further progress on the Lower Don to the Tsimlyanskaya region, and pressure is made on Millerovo.
  • There is patrol activity in Tunisia in the dark hours of the early morning. French forces capture a position north-west of Haidous. Heavy and medium bombers attack the docks and railway yards at Sfax. General Giraud states that 12 persons have been arrested in connection with the Darlan assassination.
  • In New Guinea the Japanese forces defending the bridgehead at Buna are cut in two by a wedge driven to the sea by the Allies.
  • Heavy bombers of the United States Army Air Force attack the submarine pens at Lorient, in France, in daylight, and a number of bomb hits are observed.
  • The death of Sir Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador in Berlin, at the outbreak of war, is announced.

December 31, 1942

  • Soviet forces continue to press on against the Germans south-west of Kotelnikovo and occupy Zimovniki, Oblivskaya and the regional centres of Nizhne-Kirskaya and Priutnaya; considerable booty falls into their hands.
  • There is no ground activity in Tunisia, but allied aircraft attack shipping in the docks at Sfax and Susa and objectives at Gabes and in the central and south-western regions.
  • General Leclerc’s French forces pushing north from the Chad across Fezzan rout an Italian motorised column.
  • Lae, New Guinea, is heavily raided by allied aircraft; the enemy loses 20 planes, the majority being shot down in air combat.
  • The Admiralty reports a naval engagement in northern waters in which an enemy cruiser is damaged and a destroyer left sinking.
  • Victoria Cross recipient – Captain Robert St Vincent SHERBROOKE, HMS Onslow awarded the Victoria Cross: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: - Captain Robert St Vincent Sherbrooke, D.S.O., Royal Navy. On 31st December 1942 off North Cape, Barents Sea, Captain Sherbrooke in HMS Onslow was senior officer in command of destroyers escorting an important convoy for North Russia, when he made contact with a vastly superior enemy force. Four times the enemy tried to attack the convoy but was forced back each time. Early in the action Captain Sherbrooke was seriously wounded in the face and temporarily blinded. Nevertheless, he continued to direct the ships under his command and even when the next senior officer had assumed control, he insisted on receiving all reports of the action until the convoy was out of danger.

Acknowledgements

Various sources have been used to create this timeline but a large proportion have come from ‘Hutchinson’s Pictorial History of the War’ within the Forces War Records Document Library

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