Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 869 January 16, 1942

Malaya. Overnight, Japanese 4th Imperial Guards Regiment crosses Muar River undetected in small native Malay boats and infiltrates 45th Indian Brigade defenses, which are picked off piecemeal. 5th Imperial Guards Regiment crosses the river further inland, outflanking the town of Muar and threatening to surround 45th Brigade. Indians withdraw from the town overnight. Japanese capture of Muar threatens the main Kuala Lumpur-Johor Bahru highway, which would cut off Australian 8th Division inland at Gemas, 40 miles North.

Japanese troops cross the border from Thailand into Southern Burma heading for the British airfield at Tavoy (now Dawei) only 30 miles away. They are engaged in the mountainous terrain by Burmese troops of the 6th Battalion Burma Rifles (a regiment of the British Army).

Eastern Front. 215 miles Northwest of Moscow, Soviet 3rd Shock captures Andreapol, opening a gap between German Army Group North and Army Group Center. The need for food drives the starving Red Army onwards towards the massive German supply dumps at Toropets. In Moscow, Stalin publishes the notorious “Reichenau Order” from German 6th Army commander Field Marshal von Reichenau, a copy of which was found in German documents at Klin.

At 11.15 AM North of the Azores, U-402 blows the rudder off British troopship Llangibby Castle in convoy WS15 from Britain to Egypt, via the Cape of Good Hope (only 26 troops killed from 181 crew, 11 gunners, 1168 troops on board). Llangibby Castle reaches Horta in the Azores, under attack by German Fw200 bombers, and will eventually return to Britain for repairs having sailed 3400 miles without a rudder.

German bombers sink British minesweeping trawler HMS Irvana off Yarmouth, England (2 killed).

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