Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 831 December 9, 1941

German U-boats have a bad day. At 2 PM 50 miles South of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, U-652 sinks Vichy French steamer Saint Denis (3 killed). At 9 PM, U-134 sinks German steamer Steinbek in a convoy 20 miles off the coast of Northern Norway in the Barents Sea (12 survivors).

Moscow counteroffensive. North of Moscow, Soviet 30th Army continues outflanking 3rd Panzer Army, so General Reinhardt pulls his panzers back into Klin, abandoning his trucks and artillery. South of Moscow near Tula, Soviets recapture Venev as Guderian pulls back 2nd Panzer Army. Further South, Soviet cavalry recapture Yelets and continue the encirclement of German 45th, 95th and 134th Infantry Divisions at Livny.

Malaya. British in Northern Malaya send Laycol and Krohcol, small columns of Indian troops in armored cars, over the border into Thailand to destroy roads and railway lines. They meet stiff resistance from Thai police units and later from Japanese 5th Division advancing South from Pattani. British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse are spotted off the East coast of Malaya by Japanese reconnaissance aircraft and Japanese submarine I-65. Their mission compromised, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse turn South to return to Singapore. Overnight, Japanese torpedo bombers from Saigon try but fail to find the British warships.

Hong Kong. At 9 PM, Japanese troops stealthily attack the British defensive line across the New Territories at "225 High Ground". Overnight, they breach the British defenses, take 27 British POWs and capture this high ground dominating the Western end of the Gindrinkers Line.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Japanese bomb and then invade Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands, beginning their strategy of establishing forward naval and air bases to defend their conquests in Asia.

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