1942

Mar

1

1942

HMS Exeter’s final battle

1st March 1942: HMS Exeter’s final battle – the Second Battle of the Java Sea

The ship just came to a stop in all departments. The main engines stopped through lack of steam. The dynamos stopped. The turrets were motionless on different bearings. The steering failed. The inside became full of smoke as escaping oil fuel in the forward boiler room burst into flames. There was nothing we could do except sink her.

Feb

28

1942

The fate of Soviet prisoners of war

28th February 1942: German War Crimes – The fate of Soviet prisoners of war

In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves.

Feb

27

1942

The Parachute Regiment’s first Battle Honour

27th February 1942: The Parachute Regiments first Battle Honour – the Bruneval Raid

Most were killed, but some ran away, and one tried to hide over the edge of the cliff. Having got there, he wanted to surrender, and I looked over to see him with his hands up. At the time I thought I had seen nothing funnier than a German trying to scramble up the lip of a cliff with his hands up.

Feb

26

1942

Lake Ladoga – the ice road that saved Leningrad

26th February 1942: Lake Ladoga – the ice road that saved Leningrad

The labour of the Ladoga lorry drivers is a sacred labour. It is enough to cast an eye on the road. This worn-out, bombed, tormented road which knows no peace, day or night. Its snow is turned to sand. Wrecked machines and spare parts are lying everywhere-in ruts, pot-holes, ditches, in bomb craters, there are wrecked vehicles.

Feb

25

1942

The Battle of Los Angeles

25th February 1942: Attack on the United States – The Battle of Los Angeles

“If the batteries were firing on nothing at all, as Secretary Knox implies, it is a sign of expensive incompetence and jitters. If the batteries were firing on real planes, some of them as low as 9,000 feet, as Secretary Stimson declares, why were they completely ineffective? Why did no American planes go up to engage them, or even to identify them? … What would have happened if this had been a real air raid?”

Feb

24

1942

South African dawn patrol snatches prisoners

24th February 1942: Desert War – South African dawn patrol snatches prisoners

They were miles out, in a kind of valley. Stirton stumbled on a German position about a company strong, only a Sentry half-asleep. Barney yelled, ‘Share that with your friends’ and lobbed a grenade. There was pandemonium. Shouts, screams the patrol’s tommy guns pouring in fire.

Feb

23

1942

HMS Trident torpedoes Prinz Eugen

23rd February 1942: Submarine attack on warship – HMS Trident torpedoes Prinz Eugen

0602 hours – In position 63º12’N, 07º00’E fired the first torpedo from 2000 yards and after firing the third gave the order to dive as not to be spotted by the nearest destroyer. As Cdr. Sladen shut the hatch the first explosion was heard. A second explosion was heard half a minute later.

Feb

22

1942

The Battle of the Sittang River, Burma

22nd February 1942: Invasion of Burma – The Battle of the Sittang River

After a few hours had passed the Japs started to call us, giving us the creeps and the feeling that you wanted to be just a little closer to the man next to you. We kept quiet in order to conceal our position though the temptation to yell something back was strong. Our silence did not last long before somebody thought he saw something and loosed off a round or two.

Feb

21

1942

A Soviet Army ‘destroyer detachment’ attacks Germans

21st February 1942: A Soviet Army ‘destroyer detachment’ attacks Germans

A member of the destroyer detachment entered a house and swept the people sitting there with his quick dark glance. Everyone understood that this had become his habit, the habit of a man who breaks into a house and kills. Lieutenant Matyushko, too, interpreted his glance this way and said, laughing: ‘He could have done away with all of us on his own!’

Feb

20

1942

USS Lexington fighters hit Japanese bombers

20th February 1942: USS Lexington fighters hit Japanese bombers – Lieutenant O’Hare wins Medal of Honor

Despite this concentrated opposition, Lieutenant O’Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down 5 enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point.