January 1942

Jan

21

1942

Rommel’s surprise attack in the Desert

A British Matilda tank in the Western Desert, recaptured from the Germans who had used it against the British in Bardia, 3 January 1942.

We had now developed a new method of attack. With our twelve anti-tank guns we leap-frogged from one vantage-point to another, while our Panzers, stationary and hull-down, if possible, provided protective fire. Then we would establish ourselves to give them protective fire while they swept on again. The tactics worked well and, despite the liveliness of the fire, the enemy’s tanks were not able to hold up our advance.

Jan

20

1942

Nazis meet to organise ‘Final Solution’

Hitler had promised 'the annihilation of all Jews in Europe', now the Nazi's made detailed plans for how this would be achieved.

In the course of the practical execution of the final solution, Europe will be combed through from west to east. Germany proper, including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, will have to be handled first due to the housing problem and additional social and political necessities.The evacuated Jews will first be sent, group by group, to so-called transit ghettos, from which they will be transported to the East.

Jan

19

1942

The final journey from ghetto to death camp

An auxiliary jewish police force kept order in the ghetto's and was was used by the Germans to organise the selection of people for deportation.

It was said: they were to go to Polish villages to work the land. But this was only rumor. The only thing the ghetto knew and saw was the expulsion every day of 700 to 800 Jews from their huts and holes and rooms. The police entered the apartments of those who were being deported. Not infrequently they found starved children, old people frozen to death. Fear had seized the ghetto.

Jan

18

1942

Australians ambush Japanese at the Muar River

Japanese tanks destroyed during the opening stages of the Battle of the Muar River, Malaya, January 1942

The leading tank was level with the foremost anti-tank gun when the gun sergeant (Thornton) gave a notable exhibition of courage and coolness. Turning his back on the other tanks, he fired high-explosive shells into the first three as they went down the road. When the other tanks entered the battalion perimeter they came under fire of the rear gun also. All were disabled. Although he was wounded in the engagement, Thornton prepared his gun for further action, and soon three more tanks approached the position.

Jan

17

1942

U-Boats move to the U.S. east coast

U -123 returning to the French port of Lorient after a successful patrol in 1941.

Fired stern torpedo. Target angle 90°, distance 750 meters. Running time 57 seconds. A very heavy detonation, strong, dark black smoke plume. Hit bridge. The steamer sinks immediately. As the smoke from the detonation cleared, only the masts were still visible above the water, and shortly thereafter sank. Water depth of 45 meters. I depart at maximum speed eastwards because the day is dawning and I need some more water under our keel during the day.

Jan

16

1942

Churchill returns to Britain by air

The Prime Minister, Mr Winston Churchill, smoking a cigar whilst at the controls of a Boeing 314 Flying Boat 'Berwick' (piloted by Commander Kelly Rogers OBE) during his return flight from the USA to Bermuda in January 1942. This flight occurred at the conclusion of the Prime Minister's visit to the USA, and prior to his Trans-Atlantic flight to Great Britain.

I thought perhaps I had done a rash thing that there were too many eggs in one basket. I had always regarded an Atlantic flight with awe. But the die was cast. Still, I must admit that if at breakfast, or even before luncheon, they had come to me to report that the weather had changed and we must go by sea, I should have easily reconciled myself to a voyage in the splendid ship which had come all this way to fetch us.

Jan

15

1942

Australians take on Japanese in Malaya

Thousands of Australian troops had arrived in Singapore during the second half of 1941, more would arrive during January 1942.

Under this hell of fire we at once dived flat on the ground, as it didn’t seem possible for any human being to escape the blazing fury. A barbed wire fence near us was ringing backwards and forwards from the bullets. But our skipper sang out, “On you feet men; we must take their position.” I, like all the others, expected a bullet at any period, but I had only one thing in mind – to reach the trees and kill every Jap I saw.

Jan

14

1942

“Five aircraft failed to return”

The twin engined Manchester was the predecessor to the hugely successful Lancaster bomber.

She heard a loud popping sound of a throttled back aero engine at low altitude and rushed outside to see the plane pass low to the south, with flames apparently coming from the rear. Seconds later the plane hit the ground and there was a flash and explosion. The source of the fire is unknown, but possibly an uncontrollable fire in the port Vulture engine would have given the same appearance to a ground observer.

Jan

13

1942

Daylight raid on Lowestoft kills 63

Clearing up the remains of Wallers department store in Lowestoft on the morning after a lone bomber had attacked the east coast town.

One of the worst raids on Lowestoft took place on the afternoon of 13 January 1942 the day before we were to return to school after the Christmas holiday. Some of our pupils were having tea in a café when four explosive bombs were dropped on the main shopping centre. Three of our pupils were killed including a friend from my class. It was a sad beginning to the term.

Jan

12

1942

‘Conspicious gallantry’ in desperate battles on Bataan

The Philippine Scouts passing an M3 light tank on Bataan.

Enemy snipers in trees and foxholes had stopped a counterattack to regain part of position. In hand-to-hand fighting which followed, 2d Lt. Nininger repeatedly forced his way to and into the hostile position. Though exposed to heavy enemy fire, he continued to attack with rifle and hand grenades and succeeded in destroying several enemy groups in foxholes and enemy snipers.