Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 888 February 4, 1942

Siege of Leningrad is in its 150th day.

At 9.49 AM, ABDA Strike Force (sailing to intercept Japanese troop convoy in the Makassar Strait) is spotted in the Bali Sea by Japanese aircraft heading to bomb Allied naval base at Surabaya on Java, Dutch East Indies. Japanese bombers instead attack the Allied cruisers. USS Marblehead is damaged by 2 direct hits destroying the steering and a near miss leaving a hole near the waterline (15 crew killed). With USS Marblehead immobilized, the attack switches to USS Houston (hit once near the aft gun turret, 48 killed) and then Dutch cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter (minor damage, 7 killed). 4 Japanese aircraft are shot down. The planned interception of the troop convoy is abandoned and ABDA Strike Force returns to bases on Java for repairs.

Celebes Island, Dutch East Indies. US submarine USS Sculpin torpedoes Japanese destroyer Sukukaze at mouth of Staring Bay near Kendari. Sukukaze sustains major damage (9 killed), returns to Staring Bay and then sails to Sasebo, Japan, for repairs until July 23.

On the island of New Britain, Territory of New Guinea, Japanese troops murder 130 Australian POWs at the Tol Plantation, Rabaul.

Battle of Bataan. At dawn, American tanks move forward into Japanese beachhead at Quinauan Point, spraying the area with machinegun fire and knocking out strong points. Japanese troops, forced back into an area 100 yards wide at the cliff edge, jump into the sea or climb down to the rock ledge below to continue the defense rather than surrender.

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