Events occurring on Friday, December 12, 1941  
  The United States and the United Kingdom declared war on Romania and Bulgaria after they had declared war on both the United States and the United Kingdom.  
  The Japanese 1941-42 Philippines Campaign  
  The submarine USS S 38 (SS 143) mistakenly torpedoed and sank the Norwegian merchantman Hydra II west of Cape Calavite, Mindoro, Philippine Islands, believing her to be a Japanese auxiliary. The Hydra II had been en route from Bangkok, Thailand, to Hong Kong, when she was diverted to Manila by the outbreak of war. For more information on this vessel visit the USS S-38 page on  
  During Japanese bombing of shipping off Cebu, in the Visayan Sea, the Philippine passenger vessel Governor Wright was sunk.  
  USAAF B-17s from the 19th Bombardment Group bombed Japanese shipping off Vigan, Philippine Islands and damaged the transport Hawaii Maru.  
  The Japanese Invasion of Wake Island  
  Japanese reconnaissance flying boats bombed Wake Island in a pre-dawn raid. Later in the day, naval land based attack planes bombed Wake.  
  Allied Submarine Action in the Pacific  
  Dutch submarines began operating off Malaya against Japanese invasion shipping. The HNMS K XII torpedoed and sank the army cargo ship Toro Maru off Kota Bharu. The HNMS O 16 torpedoed and damaged the army cargo ships Tozan Maru, Kinka Maru, and Asosan Maru off Patani/Singora.  
  The Pacific Theater  
  The unarmed U.S. freighter Vincent was shelled and sunk by the Japanese armed merchant cruisers Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru about 600 miles northwest of Easter Island and her entire crew captured.  
  The unarmed U.S. freighter Lahaina, shelled and torpedoed by the submarine IJN I-9 the previous day, sank about 800 miles northeast of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.  
  Events in the United States  
  The U.S. government seized French ships in that were in American ports.  
  Inquiries into Pearl Harbor Disaster  
  U.S. Secretary of the Navy William "Frank" Knox departed Oahu after inspecting the damage done by the Japanese attack of December 7.  
  German Commerce Raiders  
  Each of the four U-boats carrying all the survivors of the German commerce raider Atlantis and U-Boat supply tender Python were instructed to rendezvous with Italian submarines off the Cape Verde Islands to offload some of their passengers. Between December 13 and 17, each of them established contact with the Italian boats. Each Italian boat took up to seventy men, greatly easing the claustrophobic conditions on board the U-boats.  
  In Other News  
  Japanese Naval Aviation Pilot First Class Nishikaichi Shigenori began, with the aid of Harada Yoshio, a Japanese resident of Niihau, Territory of Hawaii, to terrorize the inhabitants of the island into returning papers confiscated on December 7. In response to this campaign of intimidation, the islanders fled to the hills.  
  The Doolittle Air Raid on Japan  
  James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle was recalled to active service by Lt. General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces, to serve on Arnold’s staff as a trouble shooter. Doolittle would lead the Halsey-Doolittle bombing raid on Japan on April 18, 1942. Learn more about the Doolittle Raid …  
  The United States Navy  
  Naval Air Transport Service was established.  
  Ships Commissioned  
  A ship's commissioning was when the ship was handed over, post fittings and trials, to the end user which, in this case, was a combatant navy.  
  The submarine U-458 was commissioned. Her first commander was Oberleutnant zur See Kurt Diggins.  
  December 1941 Calendar  
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The objective of is to provide a day by day account of the events that lead up to and were part of the greatest conflict known to mankind. There are accounts for the activities of each particular day and timelines for subjects and personalities. It is the of this website intent to provide an unbiased account of the war. Analysis, effects caused by an event, or prior or subsequent pertinent events are presented separately and indicated as text that is italicized.

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