Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 837 December 15, 1941

Hong Kong. At 3 AM, Japanese reconnaissance party of 300 cross the Lye Mun Channel from Kowloon but they are slaughtered by the Allied defenders as they come ashore on Hong Kong Island. Japanese begin artillery and aerial bombardment of the North shore of Hong Kong lasting 3 days, to soften up the defenses.

Malaya. Japanese attack again at dawn, with tanks, and overrun British and Indian defenses at Gurun. Allied troops retreat to safety across the Muda River, leaving the main road to Penang open to the Japanese. RAF abandon Butterworth airfield in Penang, evacuating the remaining aircraft to Singapore.

At 2.30 AM, Dutch submarine HNMS O16 sinks on a Japanese mine 22 miles Northeast of Tioman Island, Malaya (41 killed, 1 survivor Boatswain Cornelis de Wolf swims ashore 44 miles South on Aur Island after 35 hours in the water).

Japanese submarine I-1 shells Kahului, Maui, Hawaii. 860 miles West of Hawaii, I-22 shells US Navy airfield and seaplane base at US-held Johnston Island, destroying a 1,200-gallon oil tank.

Operation Crusader. Rommel uses his remaining tanks to plug the hole at Point 204, the inland end of the Gazala line (1000 Allied troops killed, only 71 escape with a battery of field artillery). At 3 PM, 4th Armored Brigade arrives at Bir Halegh el Eleba, 15 miles West of Point 204, but they lay up for the night instead of pushing on to encircle Afrika Korps at Gazala.

U-127, trying to enter the Mediterranean, is sunk by depth charges from the Australian destroyer HMAS Nestor 200 miles West of Gibraltar (all 51 hands lost).

North of Moscow, Soviet tanks cut the road West of Klin isolating 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th Panzer and 14th Motorised Infantry Divisions (3rd Panzer Army). German troops take the only route out, cross-country to the Southwest, to avoid encirclement but leave most of their equipment. Klin is abandoned at 9.30 PM.

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