Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 873 January 20, 1942

In Berlin at 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee, SS General Reinhard Heydrich informs 15 German government administrators that the “Final Solution to the Jewish question" would be deportation of Jews to Eastern Europe for extermination or use as slave labour.

Eastern Front. 180 miles West of Moscow, Soviet 11th Cavalry Corps pushes South from Rzhev towards Vyazma, attempting to isolate German 9th Army at Rzhev. 50 miles further West, Soviet 4th Shock Army finally reaches the German supply dumps at Toropets after several days without food. They attack and capture 6 tanks, 723 trucks, artillery with 450,000 shells, small arms with millions of rounds of ammunition, 1000 drums of fuel and much food.

Malaya/Singapore. Indian and Australian troops withdraw South from Bakri but their retreat is cut off by a Japanese flanking move and the column covers only 3 miles against a series of Japanese road blocks while harassed from the flanks and rear. Overnight, they approach the bridge at Parit Sulong. Japanese land more troops at Endau on the East coast, further threatening the Allies in Southern Malaya. Recently arrived RAF Hurricanes see action for the first time and shoot down 8 Japanese bombers during an air raid on Singapore. With Singapore open to Japanese attack across the Strait of Johore, Churchill instructs ABDA Commander General Wavell; “every inch of ground to be defended, every scrap of material for defenses to be blown to pieces to prevent capture by the enemy, and no question of surrender to be entertained until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore“.

Burma. As Japanese begin advancing North from Tavoy, more Japanese troops (55th Infantry Division) cross the border from Thailand towards Moulmein (which has port facilities and an airfield). They are engaged by Indian 16th Infantry Brigade.

In preparation for landings, 100 carrier-based Japanese aircraft bomb Rabaul at the Northeast tip of the island of New Britain, part of the Territory of New Guinea.

At 4 AM, US submarine S-36 is stranded on Taka Bakang Reef in the Makassar Strait, British Borneo. The crew cannot refloat the submarine and are rescued by the Dutch motor launch Attla next day.

60 miles Northwest of Darwin, Australia, US destroyer USS Edsall and Australian minesweeper HMAS Deloraine sink Japanese submarine I-124 with depth charges (80 killed).

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