Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 866 January 13, 1942

Operation Drumbeat. Off Nova Scotia, U-130 sinks Norwegian steamer Frisco at 1.16 AM and Panamanian SS Friar Rock at 9.48 AM.

Malaya. Having withdrawn 100 miles Southwest from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Allied troops establish new defensive positions from Muar River on the West coast 40 miles inland to the town of Gemas, where B company 2/30th Australian Battalion (Australian 8th Division under Australian General Gordon Bennett) prepares an ambush at Gemencheh Bridge over the Kelamah River.

Convoy DM1 arrives at Singapore from Durban, South Africa, with 9100 troops (including British 53rd Brigade), 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns and 52 RAF Hurricane fighters. There are only 24 pilots for the Hurricanes which are quickly demolished by Japanese Zero fighters within 2 weeks.

Eastern Front. Red Army meets stubborn German resistance in towns Northwest and West of Moscow. Both sides are immobilised by lack of equipment and supplies and by the extreme cold, leading to fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Soviet 11th Army and German 18th Motorised Division contest possession of Staraya Russa. Soviet 29th and 39th Army fail to penetrate German 9th Army defenses around Rhzev, leading to the creating of a German salient. Soviet 11th Cavalry Corps charge is held up Southwest of Rzhev, allowing Germans to maintain a corridor West from Rzhev along the main highway to Vyazma and Smolensk. The railway goods yard at Sychevka is contested in frenzied close quarter combat.

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