This day in the war in the Pacific 65 years ago.

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
I thought I would start a new thread on the 65th anniversary of the events of the war in the Pacific. Feel free to contribute.

THAILAND: Japanese troops occupy Bangkok, Thailand's capital. Thailand promptly signs an alliance with Japan. The Japanese make more landings on the Thai coast, heading into north Malaya, through dense jungles, to Singapore.

WORLD: The only two confronting nations not at war are Germany and the United States. Adolf Hitler, enroute to Berlin, tells his advisors that Franklin D. Roosevelt will do all he can to avoid a two-ocean war. Even so, he orders Nazi U-Boats to attack American shipping off the East Coast.

HAWAII: At Pearl Harbor, rescue workers with oxy-acetylene torches cut through USS Oklahoma's capsized hull and 15-inch armor to reach trapped crewmen inside. The last survivor is pulled out this day...QM1 H.S. Kennedy, father of NASU's last commanding officer.

GILBERT ISLANDS: Japanese troops land on Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert islands.
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Cool thread! Let me play catch up.
Dec 8 (from my post in the other thread)
No. 1 sqn RAAF launched a series of attacks against the Japanese invasion forces, sinking 2 ships and numerous barges and damaging one other vessel. These attacks were made by Hudsons at mast top height, two a/c were lost in the initial attack.

Dec 8 Australia announces that it is at war with Japan. Some 17,000 Australians would die in the three-and-a-half-year war against Japan, 8,000 as prisoners of war.

This is a good thread Sys, hopefully a few people will post on it so we get an idea of all the events by various nations. What is about to happen on Dec 10 should be well known to most here.
Wildcat, I always enjoy your posts regarding the ANZAC contributions. Please keep up your good work.

And if you would like to post for what happened on Dec 10th, please do. (I know what happened).

HONG KONG: Early in the morning, elements of the Japanese 38th Division attack the Shing Mun Redoubt. The redoubt consists of five pillboxes connected by trenches and underground tunnels designed to be held by a battalion for five weeks; it falls in five hours. The defenders, the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Regiment, are suffering from malaria and cannot hold. British Major General Christopher Maltby, General Officer Commanding Hong Kong, pulls his troops, including two battalions of partially trained Canadians, back to Hong Kong Island.

MALAYA: As the Japanese continue destructive attacks on airfields in northwestern Malaya, the RAF abandons the airfield at Sungei Patani and withdraws all serviceable aircraft from Butterworth. From Butterworth, an RAF bomber squadron reduced to two aircraft, withdraws to Taiping and No. 21 Squadron, RAAF equipped with (F2A) Buffalo Mk. Is (six repairable aircraft) to Ipoh. The Japanese begin a series of heavy air attacks against Penang Island. The Indian 9th Division withstands attacks while organizing delaying positions south of Kota Bharu. Indian 11th Division columns operating along the Thailand frontier attempt to delay enemy. A Far East Council is formed at Singapore.

MARIANA ISLANDS: A company of a Japanese Special Naval Landing Force and a Japanese Army detachment lands on Guam and captures the 271 Navy personnel and 122 Marines on the island.

PACIFIC OCEAN: The British Navy's Force Z under Admiral Tom Phillips left Singapore in the evening of 8 December to find the Japanese fleet. The force consists of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, battlecruiser HMS Repulse, British destroyers HMS Electra, Express and Tenedos and Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire.
The ships are spotted today in the South China Sea by the Japanese submarine HIJMS I-58 just before dawn and attacked by a force consisted of 60 "Nell" bombers (of the Genzan and Mihoro Kokutais Naval Air Corps) operating with 26 "Betty" bombers of the Kanoya Kokutai. All are based in French Indochina. The battleship HMS Prince of Wales is hit by four torpedoes and sinks at 1233 hours local. The battlecruiser HMS Repulse is hit by 14 torpedoes and sinks at 1320 hours local.
The death toll from both ships is 840 men (Repulse 513, and the Prince Of Wales, 327). A total of 2,081 men are saved by the four escorting destroyers and taken back to Singapore. The Far Eastern Fleet commander, Admiral Sir Tom Phillips goes down with his ship. In this action, the Japanese lost only four planes. After this disaster, the dominant role of battleships in war comes under grave doubt.
Four USN destroyers, USS Barker, Bulmer, Parrott and Stewart of Destroyer Division 58, USN Asiatic Fleet, that had been sent to help screen Phillips's ships, having arrived at Singapore too late to sortie with the British force, search unsuccessfully for survivors before returning to Singapore.

An SBD Dauntless from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise sinks Japanese submarine HIJMS I-70 about 193 nautical miles NE of Honolulu, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, in position 23.45N, 155.35W. This is one of the submarines used to scout the Hawaiian area in connection with the Pearl Harbor attack and is the first Japanese combatant ship sunk by U.S. aircraft during World War II.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: Two Japanese task forces, each consisting of about 2,000 men, arrive off northern Luzon from Formosa. Landings begin simultaneously at Aparri, on the north coast, and near Vigan on the west coast. Far East Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortresses, P-40s, and Seversky P-35As attack the two convoys landing troops and equipment; a transport at Vigan is destroyed. The strikes include the much publicized attack of Captain Colin P Kelly Jr on a warship off Aparri. Captain Kelly, who is killed when his B-17 is shot down by fighters as he is returning to Clark Field, is later posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for destroying a battleship. However, later information reveals that he attacked the heavy cruiser HIJMS Ashigara, probably scoring near misses. Cavite Navy Yard on Luzon is practically obliterated by Japanese "Nell" and "Betty" bombers based on Formosa.
Destroyers USS Peary and Pillsbury, submarines USS Seadragon and Sealion , minesweeper USS Bittern , and submarine tender USS Otus , suffer varying degrees of damage from bombs or bomb fragments; ferry launch Santa Rita is destroyed by a direct hit. Submarine rescue vessel USS Pigeon (ASR-6) tows Seadragon out of the burning wharf area; minesweeper USS Whippoorwill (AM-35) recovers destroyer USS Peary, enabling both warships to be repaired and returned to service. Minesweeper USS Bittern is gutted by fires. Antiaircraft fire from U.S. guns is ineffective. During the bombing of Manila Bay area, unarmed U.S. freighter SS Sagoland is damaged.
While flying to safety during the raid on Cavite, Lieutenant Harmon T. Utter's PBY Catalina of Patrol Squadron One Hundred One is attacked by three Japanese "Zeke" fighters ) of the 3rd Kokutai (Naval Air Corps) based on Formosa; Chief Boatswain Earl D. Payne, Utter's bow gunner, shoots down one, thus scoring the U.S. Navy's first verifiable air-to-air "kill" of a Japanese plane in the Pacific War. Utter, as a commander, will later coordinate the carrier air strikes that lead to the destruction of Japanese battleship Yamato on 7 April 1945.

UNITED STATES. A Treasury agent reports to Army authorities in San Francisco, California, that "an estimated 20,000 Japanese in the San Francisco metropolitan area were ready for organized action." The Army staff immediately began planning for mass evacuation of West Coast Japanese.

WAKE ISLAND: Twenty six Japanese naval land attack planes from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands bomb Marine installations on Wilkes and Wake islets. During the interception of the bombers, Captain Henry T. Elrod, USMC, executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Hundred Eleven, shoots down a "Nell" bomber; this is the first USMC air-to-air "kill" of the Pacific War. Japanese submarines HIJMS RO 65, RO 66, and RO 67 arrive off Wake. Shortly before midnight, submarine USS Triton, patrolling south of the atoll, encounters a Japanese warship, probably a picket for the oncoming assault force.

Japanese Ship Sunk:
Minesweeper W10, near Vigan, PI by aircraft
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Thanks K9.... but this thread is for the Pacific War.

Maybe smeone wants to start a thread for the European theater.

The mods could make them a "sticky".
Go ahead and start threads for the ETO as well. I can put them as a sticky. I think this is a good idea and gives a history of the war from the ETO and the PTO.
Good round up of the days events Sys. :cool: All I can add is -
10 dec 1941
Dutch submarine K-XI attacked Japanese landing fleet north east of Malacca.
Submarine K-XIII unsuccessfully attacked the Japanese invasion fleet off the north east coast of Malaya peninsula.
Submarine 0-16 damaged a Japanese transport ship which was either the Ayatosan Maru ( 9788t) or the Sakura Maru (7170t)

GUAM: At 04:00 hours some 400 Japanese troops of the 5th Defense Force from Saipan Island came ashore at Dungcas Beach, north of Agana. While advancing toward the island's capital Agana some Japanese troops clash with the Insular Force Guard unit. In the meantime the South Seas Detached Force (app. 5,500 men) under the command of Major-General Tomitaro Horii made separate landings at Tumon Bay in the north, on the southwest coast near Merizo, and on the eastern shore of the island at Talafofo Bay. At Agana, the lightly-armed Guamanians, commanded by Marine First Lieutenant Charles S. Todd, stood off the early Japanese attacks, but had to retreat. The Japanese were simply too strong. The island's governor and military commander, Captain G.J. McMillin, decided not to endanger the lives of the thousands of civilians and soldiers in his charge by any further resistance. Shortly after 06:00 hours he surrendered the island to the Japanese naval commander and sent orders to the US marine detachment of approximately 122 men (Lieutenant Colonel William K. McNulty) at Sumay Barracks not to resist. The word did not reach all defenders, and scattered fighting continued throughout the day as the Japanese spread out to complete occupation of the island. Soon all resistance ended, and the entire garrison of approximately 430 men surrendered.
Thanks Wildcat. Keep en eye out for ANZAC operations in the PTO. You have some good stuff to post.

AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister John Curtin tells British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he favors the establishment of "a supreme authority for the higher direction and coordinated control of Allied strategy" in the Far East.

BURMA: Japanese aircraft bomb Tavoy Airdrome near Rangoon beginning their offensive against the country.

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: Six Hawaiian Air Force B-18 Bolos fly a sea-search mission. Similar missions by B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-18s, and A-20 Havocs are flown each day for the remainder of the year; several submarines are sighted and some are attacked but without positive evidence of hits

HONG KONG: Company D of the Winnipeg Grenadiers dispatched to the mainland to strengthen the Gin Drinkers' Line against the Japanese invaders, sees some action, thus becoming the first Canadian Army Unit to fight in World War II. At midday. British Major General Christopher Maltby, General Officer Commanding Hong Kong, orders the mainland troops to withdraw to the island; the Winnipeg Grenadiers cover the Royal Scots' withdrawal down the Kowloon Peninsula.

INTERNATIONAL: Political actions: Germany, Italy and Japan sign a new pact barring a separate peace with the U.S. or the U.K. The pact states:
- Article I - Italy, Germany and Japan will henceforth conduct in common and jointly a war which has been imposed on them by the United States of America and England, by all means at their disposal and until the end of hostilities.
- Article II - Italy, Germany and Japan undertake each for himself that none of the parties to the present accord will conclude either armistice or peace, be it with the United States or with England without complete and reciprocal agreement [of the three signatories to this pact].
- Article III - Italy, Germany and Japan, even after the victorious conclusion of this war, will collaborate closely in the spirit of the Tripartite Pact, concluded Sept. 21, 1940, in order to realize and establish an equitable new order in the world.
- Article IV - The present accord is effective immediately on its signature and remains in force for the duration of the Tripartite Pact, signed Sept. 21, 1940. The high contracting parties of this accord will at an opportune moment agree among themselves the means of implementing Article III above of this accord.
Political actions:
- Both Italy and Germany join Japan in a declaration of war against the US.
- Hungary breaks diplomatic relations with the U.S..
- Mexico breaks relations with Germany and Italy.
- The Netherlands declares war on Italy.
- Poland declares war on Japan.

MALAYA: The Indian 9th Division, Indian III Corps, abandons the two remaining airfields in Kelantan (Gong Kedah and Machang) in order to protect communications. The Japanese exert strong pressure against one Indian 11th Division column on the Kroh-Patani road and force the other, on the road to Singora, back toward partially prepared positions at Jitra. The RAF, now greatly depleted in strength, adopts a policy of conducting bomber operations only at night until adequate fighter support is available and of using fighters primarily for defense of the Singapore Naval Base and for protection of convoys bringing reinforcements. Indian III Corps troops are thus denied much close air support.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese submarine HIJMS I-9 torpedoes and shells a 5,645 ton, unarmed U.S. freighter about 680 nautical miles NE of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. The ship sinks tomorrow. One lifeboat is launched and all but four men reach Hawaii on 20 December.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: The Japanese Aparri force on Luzon continues rapidly south along Route 5 toward Tuguegarao and Laoag and its airfield fall to the Vigan force. The Japanese begin mining San Bernardino and Surigao Straits while commercial vessels withdraw from Manila Bay.
LUZON - More than 100 Japanese aircraft hit targets at Clark Field, Batangas, and Olongapo on Luzon Island. No hits are scored by the single B-17 that is sent against Japanese transports at Vigan. The 3d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Nichols Field to Ternate, Luzon and operating from Del Carmon, Luzon with P-40's. Japanese forces begin landing on Luzon By the end of the day, all but one B-17 Flying Fortress has been dispatched from Clark Field, Luzon, to Del Monte Field on Mindanao, which is beyond the range of Japanese aircraft.

UNITED STATES: The U.S. Congress votes to declare war on Germany and Italy. With only one short speech, the Senate voted 88-to-0 for war against Germany, 90-to-0 for war with Italy. There was one abstention, Republican Pacifist Jeannette Rankin called out 'Present' - a refusal to vote. The House of Representatives voted war with Germany, 393-to-0. After the vote is taken the chamber is filled with the noise of stamping feet from the galleries as the public stomped out. It seems that the war with Italy vote (399-to-0) wasn't worth waiting around for. The resolution states, "Therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States." The Congress also votes to use U.S. forces anywhere in the world. The term of those enlisted under the Selective Service Act is extended for the duration plus six months.
The U.S. Army's Western Defense Command is established with Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt as commander. One of the units assigned is the 4th Air Force at Hamilton Field, San Rafael, California, which is reassigned from the Air Force Combat Command to the new unit. The West Coast is declared a theater of war.The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detains 1,370 Japanese Americans classified as "dangerous enemy aliens."
The Buick Division of the General Motors Corporation lowers its car prices to reflect the absence of spare tires or inner tubes from its new cars. Widespread shortages have led to many quotas and laws designed to conserve America's resources. One of these laws prohibits spare tires on new cars. Rubber, produced overseas, has become almost impossible to get. People did not mind the spare-tire law too much, though. They are too busy dealing with quotas for gasoline, meat, butter, shoes, and other essentials.

WAKE ISLAND: The USN submarine USS Triton, patrolling south of Wake, attacks the Japanese ship she had encountered shortly before midnight; she is unsuccessful.
The 450 Marines of the Wake Detachment, 1st Defense Battalion, repel an invasion by Japanese troops sinking the destroyer HIJMS Hayate with gunfire while F4F-3 Wildcat pilots sink the destroyer HIJMS Kisaragi with bombs. The Japanese invasion force retires towards the Marshall Islands. Around 0900 hours, 17 Nell bombers of the Chitose Kokutai (Naval Air Corps) based on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, bomb the naval guns on the island; the Marine pilots shoot down two of the Nells.
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From the AAF logbook for this date:
USMC F4F Wildcats sink four large Japanese vessels off Wake. This is the first significant American victory of the Pacific war.

LUZON - More than 100 Japanese aircraft hit targets at Clark Field, Batangas, and Olongapo on Luzon Island. No hits are scored by the single B-17 that is sent against Japanese transports at Vigan. The 3d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), transfers from Nichols Field to Ternate, Luzon and operating from Del Carmon, Luzon with P-40's. Japanese forces begin landing on Luzon

BURMA: The Japanese begin small-scale operations, using infiltration tactics. From Thailand, a small force crosses into lower Tenasserim unopposed. British General Sir Archibald P. Wavell, Commander-in-Chief India, is given responsibility for Burma, previously within Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham' s Far Eastern Command, and is promised reinforcements to strengthen the small garrison, fighting strength of which does not exceed 30 battalions during the campaign. Lieutenant General D. K. MacLeod's Burma Army, charged with protecting the Burma Road and Tenasserim airfields, is a heterogeneous group of Burmese, Indian, and British forces, some poorly trained, formed into the Burma 1st Division (Burma 1st and 2d Brigades and Indian 13th Brigade) and Indian 16th Brigade. The 16 obsolete RAF fighters on hand are augmented by a squadron of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) fighters, which is flown in to Mingaladon from the AVG base in China. Air strength is eventually increased but not enough to alter ground operations materially.

EAST INDIES: The bulk of the Australian "Sparrow Force" arrives at Koepang, Dutch Timor. This Force is the garrison given the code-name Sparrow Force that is to defend the island and protect the airfield at Penfui. The troops begin to take up defensive positions around Koepang, the capital of west Timor, and the aerodrome at Penfui.
This component of the Force comprises the Tasmanian 2/40th BattalionAustralian Imperial Force (AIF) supported by artillery, signals, medical and headquarters troops. Sparrow Force's anti aircraft capability is provided by a British unit, 79th Anti Aircraft Battery Royal Army, veterans of the Battle of Britain. They are joined by one of Australia's new Independent Companies, the largely Western Australian, No.2 or the 2/2nd Independent Company. The Australian elements of Sparrow Force total 70 officers and 1330 men. The existing Netherlands East Indies garrison numbers about 500. At Penfui RAAF Hudson medium bombers from No. 2 Squadron begin flying anti shipping sorties.

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: Japanese Naval Aviation Pilot First Class NISHIKAICHI Shigenori begins, with the aid of HARADA Yoshio, a Japanese resident of Niihau Island, to terrorize the inhabitants of the island into returning papers confiscated on 7 December. In response to this campaign of intimidation, the islanders flee to the hills.

HONG KONG: British troops evacuate Kowloon in any vessel that can sail to Hong Kong Island. The Royal Engineers destroy anything useful on the north side.

INTERNATIONAL: Declarations of war:
- Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia declare war on the U.K. and U.S.
- Croatia and Romania declare war on the U.S.
- Haiti, El Salvador and Panama declare war on Germany and Italy

MALAYA: British Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, General Officer Commanding Malaya Command, decides to withdraw the Indian III Corps from Kelantan since the airfields there are already in possession of the Japanese; movement of surplus supplies to rear is begun. Troops fight delaying actions while awaiting rolling stock in which to withdraw. The Japanese penetrate the Jitra position and force the Indian 11th Division task force back to the Kedah River. The Indian 11th Division force, called the Krohcol force, on the Kroh-Patani road, also falls back under pressure and at midnight 12/13 December, passes to the direct command of corps. The Indian 12th Brigade Group is released from reserve for action on the west coast.

PACIFIC OCEAN: The unarmed 6,210 ton U.S. freighter SS Vincent en route from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to Panama, is shelled and sunk by Japanese armed merchant cruisers Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru about 555 nautical miles WNW of Easter Island in position 22.41S, 118.19W. All 36 crewmen are captured by the Japanese; two die in captivity.
In the Sulu Sea, USN submarine USS S-38 mistakenly torpedoes and sinks Norwegian merchantman SS Hydra II west of Cape Calavite, Mindoro, Philippine Islands, believing her to be a Japanese auxiliary. SS Hydra II had been en route from Bangkok, Thailand, to Hong Kong, when she is diverted to Manila by the outbreak of war.
In the South China Sea, Dutch submarines operate off Malaya against Japanese invasion shipping. HNMS K XII torpedoes and sinks a Japanese army cargo ship about 1.4 nautical miles NE of Kota Bharu, in position 06.08N, 102.16E.; meanwhile, HNMS O 16 torpedoes and damages three Japanese army cargo ships off Patani/Singora, Thailand.
The USN heavy cruiser USS Pensacola departed Pearl Harbor 29 November 1941 with a convoy bound for Manila in the Philippines. Today, the U.S. troops aboard the troop transports are organized as Task Force South Pacific and placed under command of Brigadier General Julian F. Barnes. The convoy is ordered to proceed to Australian.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: The Japanese make another preliminary landing, at Legaspi, southern Luzon. The task force of 2,500 men from Palau Islands, Caroline Islands, goes ashore unopposed and secures Legaspi and the airfield. Major General George M. Parker, Jr., whose South Luzon Force consists of 41st and 51st Divisions (Philippine Army), sends elements of the 51st forward to delay the Japanese, but contact is not made for several days. Tuguegarao Airfield falls to the Aparri force early in morning. Japanese planes attack Luzon in force. Over 100 Japanese aircraft hit targets at Clark Field, Batangas, and Olongapo on Luzon Island. The single Far East Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress that is sent against Japanese transports at Vigan damages a transport.
Captain Jesus A. Villamor led the open-cockpit monoplane P-26A Peashooter fighterss of the 6th Pursuit Squadron Philippine Air Force, the only ones of their type to see action in World War II. Villamor shoots down a Japanese "Nell" bomber (Mitsubishi G3M2, Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber) of the First Kokutai (Naval Air Corps) based at Tainan, Formosa, over Batangas.

UNITED STATES: The Government seizes French ships in U.S. ports. One of the ships seized is the largest and most luxurious ocean liner on the seas at this time, France's SS Normandie, while it is docked at New York City. The ship is 1,029 feet (314 meters) long and a beam of 119 feet (36 meters), displaces 85,000 tons and can do 32.1 knots. She was placed in "protective custody" by the Navy when France surrendered to the Germans in June 1940; it was clear that the U.S. government was not about to let a ship of such size and speed fall into the hands of the Germans, which it certainly would upon returning to France. She is formally requisitioned by the Maritime Commission on 16 December, transferred to the USN on the 24th, renamed Lafayette and assigned hull number AP-53. A contract for her conversion to a troop transport is awarded to Robins Dry Dock Repair Co., a subsidiary of Todd Shipyards, Inc., on 27 December.
The Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) is established under the Chief of Naval Operations to provide rapid air delivery of critical equipment, spare parts, and specialist personnel to naval activities and fleet forces all over the world.

WAKE ISLAND: Two Japanese "Mavis" reconnaissance flying boats of the Yokohama Kokutai (Naval Air Corps) based in the Marshall Islands bomb the island in a pre-dawn raid. One is shot down by a Marine F4F Wildcat pilot.
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AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister John Curtin sends a message to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt welcoming the opportunity of co-operating with the U.S., and offering the use of Australian facilities. He also seeks U.S. help in securing the French territory of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific east of Queensland.

BORNEO: A small Miri detachment (Indian company and engineers),having destroyed the oil fields and installations in British East Sarawakand West Brunei to deny them to the Japanese, sails for Kuching, capital of Sarawak, where the rest of the Indian battalion, with local and administrative attachments, is disposed to defend the airdrome. Dutch planes based on Singkawang assist RAF units on Malaya in searching for Japanese shipping heading southward from Indochina.

BURMA: The British have to evacuate their airfield at Victoria Point and the Japanese follow and move in. This airfield is in the far south of the Burma on the Kra Isthmus.

COSTA RICA: USN gunboat USS Erie (PG-50) receives 50 Japanese POWs at Puntarenas, Costa Rica, from Costa Rican government, and sends a prize crew to take charge of the motor vessel MV Albert.

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: The occupation of Niihau Island by Japanese Naval Aviation Pilot First Class NISHIKAICHI Shigenori ends: a party of Hawaiians sets out for Kauai to inform the outside world of events on Niihau; in the meantime, NISHIKAICHI burns his plane (it will not be until July 1942 that the U.S. Navy will be able to obtain an intact "Zeke" fighter to study) and the house in which he believes his confiscated papers are hidden. Later, in confrontation with a local Hawaiian, Benny Kanahele, a scuffle to grab the pilot's pistol ensues. Although Kanahele is shot three times, he picks up Nishikaichi bodily and dashes the pilot's head into a stone wall, killing him; HARADA Yoshio, the Japanese resident of Niihau who had allied himself with the pilot, commits suicide. Kanahele survives his injuries. On the basis of the report by the islanders who have arrived on Kauai after a 15-hour trip, meanwhile, Commander, Kauai Military District (Colonel Edward W. FitzGerald, USA) dispatches expedition (squad of soldiers from Company M, 299th Infantry Regiment) in the unarmed U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender USCGC Kukui to proceed from Kauai to Niihau.

HONG KONG: Japanese troops reach the Kowloon waterfront across the harbor from Hong Kong Island. The British Governor rejects a Japanese demand for the surrender of Hong Kong. The defense of the island is organized into a West Brigade, commanded by Canadian Brigadier J.K. Lawson, and including The Winnipeg Grenadiers; and an East Brigade, under British Brigadier C. Wallis, including The Royal Rifles of Canada. British Major General Christopher Maltby, General Officer Commanding Hong Kong, deploys both Canadian units to defend the southern beaches against a seaborne attack, as heavy Japanese artillery fire and air raids begin.

INTERNATIONAL: Declarations of war:
- The U.K., New Zealand and the Union of South Africa declare war on Bulgaria.
- Honduras declares war on Germany and Italy.
- Italy declares war on Cuba and Guatemala.

MALAYA: Japanese troops march into Alor Star, and take a number of Indian troops prisoner. Among the POWs is Major Mohan Singh, who agrees to set up a special unit for Indians, Burmese and Thais to fight against the British. The slogan for the unit is "Asia for the Asiatics."
The British mobile column "Krohcol" concentrates in positions 2 to 3 miles west of Kroh. The Indian 11th Division begins withdrawing from the Kedah River toward Gurun, a more favorable defense position in southern Kedah some 30 miles south of Jitra.
Fighter support is increased as No. 453 Squadron RAAF with 13 Buffalo Mk. Is from Singapore joins the few fighters based at Ipoh. Reports of a Japanese convoy moving south-southwest from Saigon, French Indochina, result in a period of sharply increased British air reconnaissance from Malaya.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: Japanese aircraft again attack Luzon, virtually completing the destruction of Far East Air Force and USN aircraft in the Philippines. Del Carmen, Clark and Nichols Fields are hit, as well as Baguio, Tarlac, Cabanatuan and Batangas. (Jack McKillop) First Lieutenant Boyd D Wagner of the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) , 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) , shoots down four Japanese airplanes near Aparri while on a reconnaissance mission over northern Luzon. In another action, Captain Jesus Villamor of the Philippine Air Force leads six P-26 Peashooters in an interception of 54 Japanese bombers attacking Batangas Field, Luzon; their harassing tactics minimized the damage to the field.

UNITED STATES: So far, the U.S. Department of Justice has rounded up 831 enemy aliens in on the West coast, including 585 Japanese and 187 Germans. Congress, to meet the demand for trained enlisted men, authorizes the retention of enlisted men in the Navy upon the expiration of their enlistments when not voluntarily extended.

Japanese Ships Sunk:
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PHILIPPINES: Buzz Wagner, the first official American ace of World War II, took off on a lone reconnaissance mission over Aparri, Philippines. Because of devastating losses by the U.S. fighter force two days earlier, orders had come down restricting confrontation with enemy fighters if at all possible. His reconnaissance mission turned into a combat mission when he descended from a patch of clouds and found himself practically on top of two Japanese destroyers. Spotted and chased by a pair of Japanese fighters, Wagner eluded the enemy and took out five of 12 enemy planes. Four days later, Wagner and two associates went into combat over Vigan and left behind 17 enemy planes destroyed or burning, with an unknown number of Japanese dead lying on the runway. The mission garnered the most devastating results of the air war to date.
AUSTRALIA: The Australian "Gull Force" departs Darwin, Northern Territory, for Ambon Island in the Netherlands East Indies. The force consists of 2/21st Battalion of the 23d Brigade, "C" Troop of the 18th Antitank battery and supporting troops. The troops are in two Dutch ship escorted by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Adelaide D 47) and minesweeper HMAS Ballarat (J 184).

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: USN Task Force 11 (Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr.), comprising the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), three heavy cruisers, nine destroyers, and oiler USS Neosho (AO-23), sails to raid Japanese forces in Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Island to relieve pressure on Wake Island. U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender USCGC Kukui reaches Niihau Island with squad of soldiers from Company M, 299th Infantry Regiment. The detachment learns of the events that have transpired on Niihau since Japanese Naval Aviation Pilot First Class NISHIKAICHI Shigenori crashed there on 7 December.
Wake Island Relief Expedition (Read Adm. F. J. Fletcher) leaves Pearl Harbor

JAPAN: Imperial General Headquarters orders Japanese Navy submarines to shell the U.S. West Coast. Vice Admiral SHIMIZU Mitsumi, commander of the Advance Expeditionary Force (Sixth Fleet), issues a detailed order on the targets. The HIJMS I-15, -9, -10, -17, -19, -21, -23, -25 and -26 are each to fire 30 rounds on the night of 25 December. Rear Admiral SATO Tsutomu, aboard the I-9, is charged to execute the order.

MALAYA: Japanese forces land on Penang Isaland. Penang's military importance lay in the island's port facilities and its stocks of ammunition and stores. When the Allies were unable to stop the Japanese advance on the mainland it became clear that the island would have to be evacuated.
On the west coast, the Indian 11th Division completes their withdrawal to Gurun; the Japanese, in close pursuit, penetrate the new positions, during the night of 14/15 December. The Krohcol force is dissolved and its components, which are put under command of the Indian 12th Brigade, move to the Baling area, about 9 miles W of Kroh. The Indian III Corps sends small detachments to guard the Grik road, which is now uncovered. On the east coast, the Kelantan force continues fighting withdrawal. Since airdromes on Singapore Island are becoming congested, preparations are being made to base air units in the Netherlands East Indies.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Norwegian motorship MS Hoegh Merchant is torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine HIJMS I-4 about 29 miles off Cape Makapuu on the southeastern tip of Oahu Island. All hands (35- man crew, 5 passengers) survive the loss of the ship.
USN gunboat USS Erie (PG-50), off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, boards and takes charge of motor vessel MV Sea Boy, and takes off a Japanese POW; she orders Sea Boy into Balboa, Canal Zone, the following day.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: The Japanese Vigan and Aparri detachments are placed under the same command and ordered, after the Aparri force joins the Vigan at Vigan, to march south to Lingayen Gulf.
The USN withdraws the few remaining PBY Catalinas of Patrol Wing Ten (PatWing 10) and the three tenders servicing the aircraft from the Philippine Islands. The ships are the seaplane tenders (destroyer) USS Childs (AVD-1) and William B. Preston (AVD-7) and the small seaplane tender USS Heron (AVP-2). Patrol Wing 10 has been reassigned to the NEI.
Far East Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses are sent against the Japanese beachhead at Legaspi, Luzon, and damage a freighter and a tanker. First Lieutenant Hewitt T Wheless is later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for bringing his bullet-riddled B-17 back from the mission to an emergency crashlanding at Cagayan, Mindanao Island.
A USN boarding party transported in commandeered yacht Gem, seizes the 14,242 ton French motor mail vessel SS Marechal Joffre, in Manila Bay. The majority of the crewmen, pro-Vichy or unwilling to serve under the U.S. flag, are transported ashore. The ship, manned by a scratch crew that includes aviation personnel from Patrol Wing Ten (PatWing 10), departs Manila Bay on 18 December bound for Balikpapan, Dutch Borneo, whence she proceeded to Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. She arrives in San Francisco, California, with a cargo of wool and zircon sand on 19 April 1942. The following day, she is taken over by the U.S. Maritime Commission and transferred to the USN. She as commissioned on 27 April 1942 as transport USS Rochambeau (AP-63).

WAKE ISLAND: Two raids by Japanese naval aircraft are flown by aircraft based in the Marshall Islands. Early in the morning, "Mavis" flying boats bomb the island.
At 1100 hours, 30 "Nell" bombers arrive from Roi Island in Kwajalein Atoll. They kill two marines and wound another but more seriously, they destroy one of the two remaining F4F-3 Wildcats.

Japanese Ships Sunk:
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HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: USN seaplane tender USS Tangier, oiler USS Neches, and four destroyers sail for Wake Island.
Kahului on northern Maui Island, is shelled by a Japanese submarine from the Second Submarine Squadron. Possible candidates for having carried out the shelling are HIJMS I-2, I-3, I-4, I-5, I-6, or I-7.

HONG KONG: A Japanese attempt to move from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island is defeated.

JOHNSTON ATOLL: Japanese submarine HIJMS I-122 surfaces and shells this U.S. possession causing slight damage to a few buildings and no casualties. One shell lands astern and another passes over her forecastle of USN transport USS William Ward Burrows (AP-6) but apparently she is unseen by the Japanese and she is not hit.
The atoll consists of two small islets, Johnston and Sand Islands, located about 712 nautical miles (1319 kilometers) west-southwest of Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.

MALAYA: The Indian III Corps remains under strong pressure on the west coast. During the night of 15/16 December, the Indian 11th Division begins a withdrawal from the Gurun positions to the Muda River. The garrison of Penang Island. fortress, opposite RAF Butterworth, prepares to withdraw as the RAF abandons Butterworth airdrome.

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS: Major General Lewis H Brereton, Commanding General Far East Air Force, receives permission to withdraw the few remaining B-17 Flying Fortresses to Bachelor Field, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. The air defense of the Philippines is left to the few remaining fighters.
PT-33, damaged by grounding and sunk by United States forces, Philippine Islands area, 13 d. 46' N., 120 d. 40' E.

UNITED STATES: The Congress passes a military appropriation bill of US$10 billion (US$132.9 billion in year 2005 dollars) for the defense of the country.
After a brief visit to Hawaii, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox tells the press, "I think the most effective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with the possible exception of Norway" -this despite the complete lack of evidence of such sabotage.

Norman Corwin's production of "We Hold These Truths," commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and starring Orson Welles, is broadcast simultaneously on all four national US radio networks CBS, Mutual and NBC's Red and Blue Networks. It reaches an estimated audience of 63 million people, the largest ever for a dramatic production of any kind.
Admiral Ernest J. King is offered the post of Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet. He accepts.
An American Federation of Labor (AFL) council adopts a no-strike policy in war industries, which include automotive plants being converted to military production (domestic automobile manufacturing stopped completely from 1941 to 1944).

WAKE ISLAND: Early in the morning, "Mavis" flying boats bomb the island.

CANADA: In Ottawa, Ontario, the Cabinet War Committee discusses financial aid to Britain; "the billion dollar gift."
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Borneo: The Japanese war machine lands elements of the 16th Division at Miri, Seria and Lutong in Borneo.

Philipines: 1st Lieutenant Boyd D. Wagner of the 17th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), leads a dive-bombing raid on the airfield at Vigan and shoots down his fifth aircraft, thereby becoming the first Army Air Forces "Ace" in World War II.

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