Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 842 December 20, 1941

Malaya. The main Japanese advance along the West Coast road nears the Allied defensive positions behind the River Perak. A separate Japanese infantry thrust South from Thailand along the Grik Road, a valley parallel to the West Coast, threatens to outflank these defenses. This attack is held by a battalion of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Lenggong but Japanese troops take to rafts and float down the River Perak to Kota Tampan and attack the Scots from the rear.

Hong Kong. 600 British troops fail to dislodge the Japanese from Wong Nei Chong Gap and withdraw with heavy casualties. Attempting to disrupt further Japanese landings, British motor torpedo boats MTB.12 & MTB.26 are sunk and MTB.7, MTB.11 & MTB.18 are damaged.

Wake Island. At 3.30 PM, US Navy Catalina flying boat brings news that a relief convoy is on the way (due December 24) but it will never arrive.

Eastern Front. Having pushed back the Panzer Armies to the North and South of Moscow, Zhukov turns his attention to the infantry in the middle (von Kluge’s 4th Army dug in behind the Nara River Southwest of Moscow). Soviet 5th, 33rd, 43rd & 49th Armies make a series of futile frontal assaults. Further South, a mobile group (31st Cavalry, 112th Tank and 154th Rifle Divisions) attacks West from Tula into a gap between Kluge’s stationary 4th Army and Guderian’s retreating 2nd Panzer Army, aiming for the German’s supply base at the rail and road junction of Kaluga. In Germany, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels broadcasts an appeal for warm winter clothing for the German troops.

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