Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 885 February 1, 1942

Aircraft from US carriers USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise attack Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilberts Islands. US cruisers USS Northampton, USS Chester and USS Salt Lake City also shell atolls in the Marshall Islands. They sink Japanese gunboat Toyotsu Maru and transport Bordeaux Maru and damage cruiser Katori, submarine I-23, minelayer Tokiwa, and several other ships. Rear Admiral Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi is hit by a shell, becoming the first Imperial Japanese Navy flag officer killed in WWII. USS Chester is damaged by a Japanese dive bomber (8 killed, 21 wounded) while USS Enterprise is damaged by a Japanese kamikaze plane (1 killed, 3 wounded) and 13 US aircraft are lost.

Singapore. General Percival makes an uninspiring broadcast “The battle of Malaya has come to an end and the battle of Singapore has started. For nearly 2 months our troops have fought an enemy on the mainland who has had the advantage of great air superiority and considerable freedom of movement by sea. Our task has been both to impose losses on the enemy and to gain time to enable the forces of the Allies to be concentrated for this struggle in the Far East. Today we stand beleaguered in our island fortress. Our task is to hold this fortress until help can come—as assuredly it will come. This we are determined to do.”

Norway. Germans appoint a puppet government under Norwegian Nazi, Major Vidkun Quisling, whose name will become synonymous with traitor.

Libya. With British 1st Armored Division decimated and Indian troops retreating from the Benghazi bulge, General Ritchie orders the 8th Army to withdraw to the Gazala line to regroup.

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