Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 958 April 15, 1942

Burma. Japanese troops break through the British defenses and cut the road from Minhia, on the Irrawaddy River, North to Yenangyaung in several places. Allies retreat using British 7th Armoured Division tanks to break the Japanese roadblocks. At 1 PM, British General Slim orders the demolition of oilfields and the refinery at Yenangyaung. 1 million gallons of crude oil are ignited and oilwells are plugged with cement (Japanese will access the oil by simply redrilling the wells).

Bataan. Japanese shelling of James and Morrison artillery batteries on Northern Corregidor Island collapses a tunnel dug by Filipino troops into the hillside for shelter (70 killed). Bataan Death March continues. More US/Filipino POWs are moved from Balanga to Orani to Lubao. The first wave is again moved on, marching another 8 miles North from Lubao to San Fernando. Many die from heat, starvation, disease and random beatings and bayoneting by Japanese guards.

King George VI writes to the Governor of Malta General Sir William Dobbie awarding the island the George Cross " to bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the siege enforced by Luftwaffe bombing. The George Cross is present in the Flag of Malta to this day.

The last US motor torpedo boat, PT-41, is scuttled at Mindanao, Philippines, to prevent capture by the Japanese.

Overnight, 152 RAF bombers (111 Wellingtons, 19 Hampdens, 15 Stirlings & 7 Manchesters) inaccurately attack Dortmund, Germany (1 house destroyed, 1 civilian killed, 6 injured). 3 Wellingtons and 1 Stirling are lost.

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