Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 894 February 10, 1942

Singapore. In a series of organizational and communication disasters, Allied troops give up successive defensive positions despite limited Japanese pressure. As they fall back to the Jurong Line, Australian 22nd Brigade’s General Taylor misinterprets contingency plans and orders a retreat past Jurong Road. This exposes the flanks of neighbouring Indian units and precipitates an uncoordinated series of withdrawals to Woodland Road (the main road running South across the island from the causeway). Overnight, the pursuing Japanese outflank Woodland Road positions and capture the vital high ground at Bukit Timah, dominating the city of Singapore and 2 reservoirs on which the residents depend for water. Indicating the speed of the retreat, Japanese find a large cache of food and petrol in what had been considered an Allied rearguard area earlier in the day.

Battle of Bataan. Although the Japanese have halted their offensive on the Orion-Bagac line, 500 troops are still in the “Big Pocket”. US forces attempt to destroy the pocket, while Japanese try to extricate the trapped force.

Eastern Front. Luftwaffe begins flying supplies into the 2 airfields inside the Demyansk Pocket to feed and supply the 100,000 encircled German troops. A much smaller German force is also surrounded 55 miles Southwest at Kholm.

Merchant ships on the American East coast continue to sail individually along marked routes with normal lights ablaze, instead of grouping in convoys and dimming lights. Also, there is no shore blackout, easily silhouetting ships at night. To aid US defenses against the havoc being caused to East Coast shipping by U-boats, Britain offers to transfer anti-submarine ships to US Navy.

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