1942

Mar

10

1942

First Lancaster bombing raid

10th March 1942: First Lancaster bombing raid

The principal target on three nights was Krupps’ Works at Essen, a total of 336 aircraft dropping 397 tons of H.E. bombs (including 37 of 4,000 lbs.) and nearly 78,000 incendiaries. Our bombers included Lancasters, which were taking part for the first time in offensive operations. Fifteen of our aircraft are missing.

Mar

9

1942

Fleet Air Arm attacks the Tirpitz

9th March 1942: Fleet Air Arm aircraft attack the Tirpitz

Subsequently this ship was identified as the Tirpitz, which was located and attacked with torpedoes by aircraft of the Home Fleet at 0930 on the 9th, about 80 miles west of the Lofoten Islands. No hits were claimed and Tirpitz was last seen steering towards Vestfjord. The Home Fleet has returned to Scapa.

Mar

8

1942

A different look at the war in the desert

8th March 1942: Cecil Beaton takes a different look at the war in the desert

The Bedouins, in the wadis near the shore, watching the battle wage backwards and forwards along the tableland, consider the protagonists mad. They see first one army then another retiring in haste, leaving behind a wonderful amount of loot. The Bedouins steal forward and sell their spoils to the conquering army.

Mar

7

1942

Mussolini – the Italians are not up to this war

7th March 1942: Mussolini – the Italians are not up to this war

The Duce, who is dissatisfied with the way things are going, said, “This war is not for the Italian people. The Italian people do not have the maturity or the consistency for such a tremendous and decisive test. This war is for the Germans and the Japanese, not for us.”

Mar

6

1942

Can Churchill survive defeats in the Far East ?

6th March 1942: Can Churchill survive defeats in the Far East ?

Although the British are keeping a stiff upper lip, the surrender of their troops at Singapore has shattered confidence to the core – even in themselves but, more particularly, in their leaders. They don’t intend to take it lying down and I am satisfied we will see the rebirth of greater determination.

Mar

5

1942

War Cabinet discusses Japanese atrocities in Hong Kong

5th March 1942: War Cabinet discusses Japanese atrocities in Hong Kong

Two things will be clear from it, to the House, to the country and to the world. The Japanese claim that their forces are animated by a lofty code of chivalry, Bushido, is a nauseating hypocrisy. That is the first thing. The second is that the enemy must be utterly defeated.

Mar

4

1942

HMS Torbay slips into Corfu harbour for sneak attack

4th March 1942: HMS Torbay slips into Corfu harbour for sneak attack

0734 hours – Fired two torpedoes at the destroyer / torpedo boat which unfortunately ran under. At this moment one torpedo struck the first ship fired at. Torbay went deep and turned at full speed to 145º. This was the direct course for the South channel. Cdr. Miers thought it was now time to get out and not to overstay their ‘welcome’.

Mar

3

1942

The RAF’s largest bombing raid so far – on Paris

3rd March 1942: The RAF’s largest bombing raid so far – on Paris Renault

The Renault factory, in the town of Boulogne-Billancourt just west of the centre of Paris, was making an estimated 18,000 lorries a year for the German forces. 235 aircraft – 89 Wellingtons, 48 Hampdens, 29 Stirlings, 26 Manchesters, 23 Whitleys, 20 Halifaxes – were dispatched in 3 waves, the crews of the leading wave being selected for their experience.

Mar

2

1942

Rescued from the sea by the Japanese Navy

It must have been about midday, for the sun was vertical and we were just south of the equator. About 200 yards away we thought we saw a Japanese destroyer. Was she a mirage? We all saw her, so perhaps she was real, but our first emotion was not joy or relief, for we expected to be machine-gunned.

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.