Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 818 November 26, 1941

Japanese carrier fleet departs Tankan Bay, Iturup Island in the South Kuril Islands, for the 3300 mile voyage to attack Pearl Harbour, Hawaii (6 aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku & Zuikaku, 2 battlecruisers Hiei & Kirishima, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers and 3 submarines plus 8 tankers and supply ships). In Washington, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull responds to proposals from Japan, presenting Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura with a counterproposal demanding withdrawal of Japanese troops from French Indochina and China. US government knows that the terms will not be accepted and that Japan is likely to attack, bringing USA into the war.

Operation Typhoon. South of Moscow, Guderian’s attempt to encircle Tula fails. 17th Panzer Division is held up outside Kashira only 65 miles from Moscow, while XLIII Panzer Corps is held up after capturing Aleksin 30 miles Northwest of Tula. The Tula/Moscow rail line is still open.

Operation Crusader. Rommel’s “dash to the wire” ends when the Panzers are recalled due to the capture of Sidi Rezegh by British 7th Armored Division and the progress of 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division along the coast, linking up briefly with the garrison from Tobruk. Initially furious, Rommel realizes his staff made the right decision in his absence. British C-in-C Middle East General Auchinleck is less satisfied, having lost faith in the ability of 8th Army commander General Cunningham to press the attack. Auchinleck appoints his deputy chief-of-staff General Neil Ritchie to replace Cunningham, with instructions to “attack the enemy relentlessly, even to the last tank”.

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