Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 924 March 12, 1942

Dutch East Indies. Sumatra. Japanese troops from Singapore land at several sites in Northern Sumatra (Sabang at 2.35 AM, Koetaradja at 3.30 AM, Idi at 5.40 AM and Laboehanroekoe at 7 AM), meeting almost no resistance from Dutch forces. They advance 13 miles inland and capture the airfield at Medan. Java. Although Dutch have surrendered on Java, Japanese General Maruyama accepts the formal capitulation of British General Sitwell, Australian Brigadier Blackburn and US Colonel Searle at 7.30 AM at Bandoeng. At the Allied officers’ request, the text includes a Japanese promise to adhere to the Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs. 60,000 Allied troops go into captivity but General Maruyama keeps the surrender document.

U-126 sinks 2 US freighters 20 miles North of Puerto Padre Bay, Cuba; SS Texan at 2.34 AM (all 47 crews abandons ship in 2 lifeboats but both capsize as Texan sinks, 9 drowned, 38 survivors picked up at 5.30 M next morning by Cuban fishing boat Yoyo) and SS Olga at 6.11 AM (1 dead, 32 survivors). In the early hours 520 miles Northeast of the British Virgin Islands, Italian submarine Morosini sinks British freighter Manaqui.

Allies establish a naval base on the Free French island of New Caledonia, 950 miles East of Australia, to prevent further Japanese expansion into the South Pacific around the Northwest corner of Australia. US Americal Division arrives at Nouméa (the capital of New Caledonia) from Melbourne, Australia, on troop transports escorted by US cruisers USS Honolulu & USS New Orleans and destroyer USS Mugford. Americal Division (abbreviated from American, New Caledonian Division) is 1 of only 2 un-numbered US Army divisions in WWII.

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