Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 861 January 8, 1942

Following the damning Butt Report on the accuracy of RAF bombing (August 1941), Air Marshal Sir Richard Peirse is relieved from command of RAF Bomber Command. He is replaced temporarily by Air Marshal John Baldwin.

Malaya. Indian 11th Division falls back 35 miles from Slim River to Serendah on the road (only 15 miles North of the capital, Kuala Lumpur) and the Kuala Selangor river on the coast, where they repel another attempted Japanese landing from a flotilla of small boats. British General Wavell travels to the front, after arriving in Singapore yesterday as head of the new American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA). Wavell finds 11th Indian Division in tatters, unable to resist further Japanese attacks, and orders Australian 8th Division (under General Gordon Bennett) to relieve them. After the disastrous fighting withdrawal so far, Wavell also orders a retreat to Southern Malaya where better defenses can be prepared but giving up central Malaya including the capital Kuala Lumpur.

On Luzon, Philippines, Japanese forces prepare to attack the first US defensive line (Abucay-Mauban) on the Bataan peninsula. 47,500 US and Filipino troops are spread 18 miles from Mauban in the West to Abucay in the East with the 4,111 foot Mount Natib in the middle.

Japanese submarine I.56 sinks Dutch freighter SS Van Riebeeck and SS Van Rees off Cilacap, Java, Indonesia. Another Japanese submarine I.19 launches a reconnaissance seaplane to reconnoiter Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.

Eastern Front. Following the start of the Northern arm of the general offensive yesterday, Zhukov’s Soviet West Front (whose area includes Moscow) attacks towards Mozhaysk which is defended by the rested and well-dug in infantry of German 4th Army.

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