Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 881 January 28, 1942

Malaya. During the withdrawal South to Singapore, Japanese move through rubber plantations to outflank and destroy Indian 22nd Brigade at Layang Layang. 9th Division commander General Barstow and 2 Australian staff officers go forward to find 22nd Brigade but run into a Japanese ambush. Barstow is killed. Japanese attempt a similar outflanking of Australian 27th Infantry Brigade 10 miles West on the main road, but are held in hand-to-hand fighting in the rubber plantations of the Namazie Estate. US Far East Air Force B-17 bombers from Dutch airfields on Java attack Kuala Lumpur (as well as Kendari on Celebes Island, Dutch East Indies). Overnight, British gunboats HMS Dragonfly and HMS Scorpion return to Rengit and evacuate more trapped British troops.

Battle of Bataan. Japanese begin small group attacks on what they believe are US/Filipino outpost but instead they run into dug-in machinegun positions in the main Orion-Bagac line. Japanese charge the American gun pits but make no progress for 100 dead.

Burma. Japanese 55th Infantry Division continues moving towards Moulmein which is defended by Burmese 2nd Infantry Brigade.

Dutch Borneo. On the West coast, Japanese land at Pemangkat near Singkawang II airfield and threaten to surround the Indian & Dutch troops at Ledo who decide to retreat to Sanggau.

Libya. Rommel’s improvised counteroffensive continues and Panzer Army Afrika rolls on towards Benghazi. Rommel’s thrust yesterday towards British command centre and supply dumps at Mechili (which was only a feint) causes Indian 4th Division at Benghazi to panic, believing the city will be cut off. Instead of striking South to meet the Panzer threat, they prepare to abandon Benghazi and Derna by withdrawing non-combat personnel and destroying port facilities.

At 11.21 AM in the Adriatic Sea 1 mile off Cape Planka, Yugoslavia, British submarine HMS Thorn sinks Italian tanker Ninuccia with the deck gun and torpedoes (which mostly miss).

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