Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 882 January 29, 1942

Battle of Bataan. Japanese 20th Battalion (16th Division) penetrate several places on the West side of the Orion-Bagac line, where Philippine Army's 1st Regular Division is still digging trenches and stringing wire. Japanese breakthrough is sealed off by 45th Philippine Scout Division, held in reserve in this sector, forming in 2 pockets (“Big Pocket” and “Little Pocket”. In the South of Bataan, well behind the front line, Philippine Scout troops begin reducing Japanese beachheads at Longoskawayan Point and Quinauan Point.

Malaya. Allied retreat to Singapore continues, with most areas successfully disengaging from the Japanese. However, Australian 27th Infantry Brigade is engaged all day in a fighting withdrawal on the main trunk road (6 killed, 25 wounded). The remainder of British 18th Infantry Division (54th and 55th Brigades) arrives by sea to rejoin 53rd Brigade which arrived on January 13 and was attached to Indian 11th Infantry Division. However, they are too late to participate in the defense of Malaya. British civilians, colonial staff and medics evacuate Johore Bahru for Singapore, causing the Sultan of Johore to complain that they did not even say ‘goodbye’.

Japanese submarines begin disrupting vital British trade routes from India. I-164 sinks American passenger/cargo ship Florence Luckenbach, 10 miles off the Indian coast near Madras (all 38 crew reach Madras by lifeboat).

At 4.10 PM 20 miles West of Reykjavik, Iceland, U-132 torpedoes American Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Alexander Hamilton escorting damaged US store ship USS Yukon (32 dead, 83 survivors picked up by Icelandic fishing trawlers and taken to Reykjavik). USCGC Alexander Hamilton sinks next day while under tow.

Britain and USSR sign a treaty with Iran to allow shipment of Lend-Lease supplies from Gulf ports overland through Iran to USSR, providing an alternative route to the hazardous Arctic convoys.

Libya. Indian 4th infantry Division is pushed out of Benghazi by 50 German tanks in 2 columns. Rommel captures a cornucopia of vehicles and supplies which had been laid in store for a never-realised British drive to Tripoli. At 9.46 PM 25 miles Northeast of Bardia, U-431 sinks British minesweeping whaler HMS Sotra (all 22 hands lost, including 6 Norwegians).

London. Churchill’s concern is not that he will lose a Vote of Confidence in the House of Commons but there is so much support that a vote won’t happen at all. James Maxton leader of the Independent Labour Party (which holds only 3 seats in Parliament) kindly challenges the Motion of Confidence and Churchill wins the vote by 464-1.

Overnight, 16 RAF bombers attack German battleship Tirpitz at Trondheim without success.

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