1942 Events  
  January 1942 Events  
  The Declaration by the United Nations was signed by the representatives of 26 countries in Washington, D.C.  Japanese troops occupied Manila and the Cavite naval base in the Philippines. American and Filipino troops continued their retreat into Bataan.  The creation of a unified command in the Southwest Pacific was announced.  General Chiang Kai-shek was placed in supreme command of the Chinese theater.  U.S. and Filipino forces completed their withdrawal to a new defense line on the Bataan Peninsula.  Axis forces under command of German Lt. General Irwin Rommel’s were forced back to El Agheila.  In his State of the Union speech, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the new production military schedules.  The siege of Bataan began as U.S. and Philippine forces completed their withdrawal from the Layac Junction.  Roosevelt established the Office of Production Management.  Japan invaded North-Celebes in the Netherlands East Indies.  Japan declared war on the Netherlands and began the invasion of the Netherlands East Indies.  Operation Paukenschlag ("roll of the kettledrums") began with U-boats taking up station on the eastern seaboard of the United States.  The National War Labor Board was reestablished by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The St. James Declaration was made in London and called for punishment of those found responsible for criminal acts perpetrated by the Germans against civilian populations.  British police arrested Burma’s Premier U Saw and his secretary U Tin Tut in Egypt after they were detected meeting with Japanese officials in Lisbon.  90 carrier-based Japanese aircraft attacked Rabaul on New Britain.  The Wannsee Conference relating to the handling “the Final Solution” was held by senior officials of the Nazi German government.  Rabaul was occupied after 20,000 Japanese marines of the South Seas Force landed on New Britain.  The California Congressional delegation met in Washington to urge the evacuation of enemy aliens from the West Coast.  The last organized Allied forces left Malaya, and Allied engineers blew a 70-foot wide hole in the causeway that linked Johore and Singapore.  15 ships (99,050 tons) were sunk by U-boats and mines during January 1941.  
  February 1942 Events  
  Admiral Thomas C. Hart, set up the ABDA "Combined Striking Force" and placed them under the tactical command of Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman.  Rear Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered the U-boat fleet to use an improved version of Enigma.  The Reichcommissar of Norway, Josef Terboven, appointed Vidkun Quisling as the new Ministerpresident of the National Socialist regime in Norway.  Major General Joseph W. (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell was appointed Commanding General of all U.S. Army forces in China, Burma, and India as well as being appointed the Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republic of China.  The U.S. Asiatic Fleet commanded by Admiral Thomas C. Hart ceased to exist as a functioning organization.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Shipping Administration.  The Japanese began to cross the Jahore Strait in the first stage of the assault on Singapore.  The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate military strategy during World War II.  The Kriegsmarine conducted what became known as “The Channel Dash.” The battle cruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, and a number of other smaller vessels transited the English Channel.  Roosevelt authorized the removal of alien and citizen Japanese from the West Coast.  Grand Admiral Erich Raeder had his final interview on Operation Sea Lion with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and got him to agree to a complete "stand-down."  Japanese paratroopers landed near the oil center Palembang, Sumatra.  Lt. General Arthur E. Percival surrendered to Lt. General Tomoyuki Yamashita as Britain’s “impregnable fortress” at Singapore fell.  An ABDA naval force made an abortive attempt to intercept the Japanese invasion force bound for Palembang, Sumatra.  Japanese forces landed on Bali and occupied the capitol city of Den Pasar.  The Japanese conducted a large bombing raid on Darwin, Australia in what became known as the "Pearl Harbor of Australia."  Philippine President Manuel Quezon, his family, and other officials were evacuated from Corregidor.  A cable from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordering General Douglas MacArthur’s evacuation from the Philippines reached MacArthur’s Philippine headquarters on Corregidor Island.  Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris was appointed Commander-in-Chief RAF Bomber Command.  Voice of America (VOA) began broadcasting.  The Japanese defeated Allied naval forces in the Battle of the Java Sea.  70 ships (392,161 tons) were sunk and 12 ships (86,919 tons) were damaged by U-boats during February 1942.  
  March 1942 Events  
  The Japanese made a surprise air raid on the airfield and harbor at Broome, Western Australia.  Jakarta was declared an open city and occupied by Japanese forces as Allied defenses in Java collapsed.  The evacuation of Rangoon by the British began and all facilities which might have been of any use to the Japanese were ordered destroyed.  The first class of five pilots African-American cadets earned their wings at Tuskegee Army Air Field.  Rangoon fell to the advancing Japanese forces, cutting off the supply line between the Allies and the Nationalist Chinese forces.  There were large scale Japanese landings at Lae and Salamaua on Huon Bay, New Guinea.  The Netherland East Indies surrendered to the Japanese.  Construction crews began work on the Alcan Highway.  General Douglas MacArthur and other staff left Corregidor in four PT boats.  The first large scale deportation of Jews within the framework of Operation Reinhard occurred.  U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed MacArthur as the commander of the combined Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific.  MacArthur arrived at Alice Springs, Australia and made the following statement to reporters: “I came through and I shall return.”  Both houses of the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 503 which authorized the evacuation of the Japanese Americans.  The Japanese occupied the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  In Czechoslovakia Reinhard Heydrich was ambushed and mortally wounded while he rode in his open car in the Prague suburb of Libeň.  A British commando raid was staged on St. Nazaire, France. A huge dry dock is destroyed, the only one capable of servicing German battleships on the Atlantic.  86 ships (452,600 tons) were sunk and 12 ships (85,287 tons) were damaged by U-boats during March 1942.  
  April 1942 Events  
  The 16 Army B-25 bombers of the upcoming Halsey-Doolittle Raid were loaded aboard the USS Hornet (CV-12).  With support from artillery and aircraft, the Japanese launched their all out final offensive to take Bataan with a major infantry assault on the Orion-Bagac line.  The Japanese Combined Fleet under Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo attacked Colombo, Ceylon.  The heavy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire were sunk in the Indian Ocean by the Japanese.  India suffered its first air raid when Japanese planes bombed Bay of Bengal ports.  Japanese forces made an amphibious landing at Bougainville.  In the largest RAF air raid to date, 272 bombers attacked Hamburg. 78,000 U.S. and Filipino forces on Bataan surrendered.  The Bataan Death March began.  The Japanese attacked the harbor at Trincomalee, Ceylon.  Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain reinstated Pierre Laval as Vice Premier of the Vichy French government.  The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI.  On April 16 Kapitänleutnant Friedrich Guggenberger of the U-81 sank 4 vessels near Beirut in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.  RAF Bomber Command conducted a rare daylight bombing mission against the MAN diesel engine factory at Augsburg in Bavaria.  The U.S. Navy seized Treasure Island from the City of San Francisco.  French General Henri Giraud escaped from the mountain fortress of Festung Königstein.  The Americans launched 16 B-25 bombers from the decks of the USS Hornet and attacked Tokyo and other targets in Japan.  The "Stars and Stripes" restarted publication.  During a press conference U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told reporters that the American planes that bombed Japan came from Shangra-La.  The Luftwaffe bombed Exeter beginning the “Baedeker Blitz.”  With the consent of the Free French government, U.S. troops landed on New Caledonia.  A Gallup Poll indicated that people preferred the term “World War II” for the ongoing global war.  77 ships (401,429 tons) were sunk and 12 ships (95,905 tons) were damaged by U-boats during April 1942.  
  May 1942 Events  
The Japanese occupied Mandalay, Burma.  Japanese troops occupied Tulagi, Gavutu and Tanambogo in the Solomon Islands.  The USAAF Flying Tigers shifted their base of operations to Kunming, China, and out of Japanese-occupied Burma.  The Battle of the Coral Sea began when aircraft from the USS Yorktown launched strikes against the Japanese invasion force off Tulagi.  The British landed troops in northern Madagascar at the naval base at Diego Suarez in "Operation Ironclad."  Lt. General Wainwright surrendered the American forces at Corregidor.  American aircraft severely damaged the aircraft carrier IJN Shōhō in the Battle of the Coral Sea.  The IJN Shokaku was damaged by American planes and the USS Lexington was sunk and the USS Yorktown was damaged by Japanese planes in the Battle of the Coral Sea.  The Japanese Port Moresby invasion convoy was recalled because of Allied naval presence in the Coral Sea.  Operation Bowery successfully delivered 64 Spitfires to Malta.  Major General William F. Sharp, commanding the few remaining resisting American forces in the Philippines issued orders of surrender.  The Red Army began an offensive aimed at liberating Kharkov.  Kapitänleutnant Johann Mohr U-124 attacked and sank 4 merchant ships of Convoy ONS-93 on May 12.  The Soviet positions on the Kerch Peninsula collapsed and the Soviets were in a panicked retreat.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.  Gasoline rationing began in 17 eastern states in the United States.  The Allied army in Borneo surrendered.  The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula ended with the near complete destruction of the Soviet defending forces.  The Soviet offensive at Kharkov was called off.  The Japanese conquest of Burma was completed as the Japanese forces took up defensive positions on the border with India.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler called off Operation Herkules, the planned invasion of Malta.  The Germans launched a major anti-partisan offensive, Operation Hanover, to clear the Bryansk-Vyazma railway region.  Lt. General Joseph Stilwell arrived in Delhi after a 140 mile retreat through the Burma jungle.  The Japanese Combined Fleet began sailing for the planned action at Midway Island.  The damaged USS Yorktown arrived at Pearl Harbor from its engagement in the Battle of the Coral Sea and repairs began immediately so that it could participate in the Battle of Midway.  A Czechoslovak commando team from England made an assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.  The aircraft carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Hornet (CV-12) set sail for Midway.  Operation Millennium began when the first air raid using over 1,000 bombers attacked Cologne.  The aircraft carrier USS Yorktown set sail for Midway.  Three two-man midget submarines tried to enter Sydney Harbor.  127 ships (599,426 tons) were sunk and 19 ships (117,584 tons) were damaged by U-boats during May 1942.
  June 1942 Events  
  A Warsaw underground newspaper revealed the Nazi gassing activity at the Chelmno death camp.  The German 11th Army opened up a massive artillery bombardment on the fortress city of Sevastopol in the Crimea.  The Battle of Midway was fought ending in an American victory. 4 Japanese aircraft carriers were lost.  Reinhard Heydrich died in Prague.  The Japanese captured Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutian Islands.  The Germans opened up an offensive in the Kharkov area to secure jump-off positions for the coming summer campaign.  In reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich the small mining village of Lidice was obliterated from the face of the earth.  Colonel General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps forced the British 8th Army to withdraw from the Gazala Line.  The U.S. Marines arrived in Wellington, New Zealand.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill held a series of meetings in Washington, D.C.  The Tobruk garrison surrendered to the Afrika Korps and Rommel was promoted to Field Marshal.  The U.S. announced the establishment of a European theatre of operations under command of Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of eight men who had been landed in two groups by submarines on the Long Island and Florida coasts.  The German summer offensive, “Case Blau,” began.  The British 8th Army began to take up defensive positions at El Alamein, ending their rout from the Gazala line.  134 ships (632,869 tons) were sunk and 11 ships (67,343 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during June 1942.  
  July 1942 Events  
  The First Battle of El Alamein began.  The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff issued directives specifying that Rabaul would be taken in three stages.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill survived a Motion of Censure by the House of Commons.  The British Government announced a reorganization of the Government of India.  Sevastopol fell to Germans after a 25 day siege.  The China Air Task Force of the U.S. Army Tenth Air Force was formed to replace the American Volunteer Group, the "Flying Tigers."  The ill fated Convoy PQ-17 bound for Murmansk was attacked by the Germans losing 24 of its 35 merchant ships.  After days of deceptive movements of his forces, General Claude Auchinleck went on the offensive at El Alamein.  Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin began moving massive numbers of troops into the Stalingrad area.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the creation of the Office of Strategic Services with Colonel William Donovan as its head.  The mass deportations of Dutch Jews to Auschwitz began.  Churchill suspended the convoys to Murmansk following the Convoy PQ-17 disaster.  The Japanese 18th Army landed at Buna on the northern coast of New Guinea.  Gasoline rationing using coupons began on the East Coast of the United States.  German forces captured Rostov and Novocherkassk on the Don River.  The First Battle of El Alamein ended. The British had stopped the Afrika Korps advance into Egypt.  Order No. 227 was issued by Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin acting as People's Commissar of Defense. The order is famous for its line "Not a step back!"  Japanese forces captured Kokoda halfway along the Owen Stanley pass to Port Moresby from the Australians.  97 ships (458,351 tons) were sunk and 11 ships (90,138 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during July 1942.  
  August 1942 Events  
  Soviet forces deployed the newly raised formations of the 57th and 64th Armies west of Stalingrad in an attempt to slow the Germans.  Three Palestinian Jewish battalions and one Palestinian Arab battalion formed the Palestine Regiment.  Operation Watchtower began as U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal and other islands in the Solomon Islands.  The airstrip on Guadalcanal was captured by the Americans and renamed Henderson Airfield.  The All India Congress party adopted a resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of the British Government from India and sanctioned nonviolent civil disobedience.  Six of the eight spies landed by Germany on the US eastern seaboard in June and July of 1942 were executed.  The Germans captured Maikop but not before the Soviets destroyed the oil installations there.  The Battle of Savo Island was fought off Guadalcanal with the Allies losing 4 heavy cruisers and withdrawing their half-unloaded transports.  The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle was sunk by the U-73 while escorting the Operation Pedestal convoy to Malta.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Moscow for discussions with Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin.  Lt. General Bernard L. Montgomery was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, 8th Army in North Africa.  221 U.S. Marines conducted a raid on Makin Atoll.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issued Directive 46 ordering harsher measures against suspected of resistance in the East and increasing the power of the SS Special Units.  The Allies launched the unsuccessful major raid on the French port of Dieppe.  The P-51 "Mustang" made its combat debut over the skies of Dieppe.  German forces reached the outskirts of Stalingrad.  The Ichiki Detachment attack on the U.S. Marines’ positions on the Tenaru River was crushed.  Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy following the sinking of six Brazilian ships by the U-507.  1,000 aircraft from the Luftwaffe bombed Stalingrad turning the city into rubble.  U.S. and Japanese naval forces engaged in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.  Japanese Marines unsuccessfully attacked the Australian base at Milne Bay.  Colonel General Georgy Zhukov was sent to take charge of the defense of Stalingrad.  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel called off his offensive at El Alamein.  114 ships (544,908 tons) were sunk and 17 ships (95,053 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during August 1942.  
  September 1942 Events  
  The Japanese Cabinet announced the "Ministry of Greater East Asia."  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel issued orders for his forces to withdraw from Alam Halfa Ridge.  The Soviets withdrew into the rubble of Stalingrad.  The Australians forced the Japanese high command to order a withdrawal from Milne Bay.  The Germans captured the key Black Sea naval port of Novorossiysk.  The Japanese opened a new offensive on the Kokoda Trail and forced the Australians to withdraw.  A Canadian-Soviet wheat agreement was signed in London.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler assumed command of Army Group A on the Eastern Front.  A Japanese warplane launched from a submarine dropped incendiary bombs on Oregon.  Australian forces stopped the Japanese offensive over the Owen Stanley Range at Ioribaiwa on the Kokoda Trail.  Major attacks by the Japanese units from the 35th Brigade took place on Guadalcanal around Lunga Ridge.  Benghazi, Barce, and Tobruk were attacked unsuccessfully by British commandos.  The aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV 7) was sunk by a Japanese submarine.  Japanese forces evacuated Attu and moved to Kiska in the Aleutians.  All atomic research was placed under military control with Brigadier General Leslie Groves as head of the Manhattan Project.  The first B-29 Superfortress experimental plane was flight tested.  British troops captured the capitol city of Tamatave on Madagascar.  The Australian offensive forced the Japanese to abandon Ioribaiwa in New Guinea and to withdrawal back up the Kokado Trail.  Turkey and Germany signed a trade agreement in which Germany would get chrome and Turkey would get arms.  101 ships (454,957 tons) were sunk and 15 ships (119,941 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during September 1942.  
  October 1942 Events  
  German scientists made the first successful test launch of a V-2 rocket.  German and Soviet forces battled for the factory complexes in the northern sector of Stalingrad.  German forces captured the oil-producing city of Malgobek in the Caucasus.  U.S. Marines launched a new offensive to extend the perimeter around Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that at the end of the war all war criminals would be prosecuted.  The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree establishing a single command and abolishing political commissars in the army.  The Battle of Cape Esperance was fought off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands between American and Japanese naval forces.  The 16-inch guns on the battleships IJN Kongo and IJN Haruna bombarded U.S. Marine positions on Guadalcanal for 90 minutes.  The Americal Division of the U.S. Army reinforced the Marines on Guadalcanal.  Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr. was appointed chief of the Pacific Command Area, replacing Admiral Robert L. Ghormley.  German Chancellor Adolf Hitler ordered that all prisoners taken from Commando or similar units were to be shot immediately.  U.S. Major General Mark Clark landed in Algiers on a secret mission to meet with pro-Allied French officers who might assist in the upcoming landings in North Africa.  The Battle of El Alamein between the British 8th Army and the Afrika Korps began.  The Battle of Santa Cruz was fought between American and Japanese naval forces.  The U.S. War Department announced that the opening of the "Alcan" military highway.  105 ships (566,939 tons) were sunk and 15 ships (99,709 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during October 1942.  
  November 1942 Events  
  Operation Supercharge, the Allied breakout at El Alamein, began.  Operation Torch began, as Allied forces landed in Northern Africa.  American forces captured Oran after heavy fighting.  The French commander in Algiers, Admiral François Darlan, called for all French forces in North Africa to lay down their arms.  Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke of the recent Allied victories saying that “Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”  U.S. forces occupied Casablanca as French resistance ended.  The British 8th Army reached Halfaya Pass and crossed into Libya.  The Germans launched Operation Anton and occupied the remainder of France and the island of Corsica.  The naval Battle of Guadalcanal took place. The U.S. Navy lost two cruisers and four destroyers and the Japanese lost two battleships and two destroyers.  The British Eighth Army captured Tobruk, Libya.  The Red Army launched Operation Uranus - the counterattack at Stalingrad.  U.S. forces in New Guinea began attacks on the heavily fortified Japanese positions at Buna.  The British Eighth Army reached Benghazi, Libya.  Seventy-five warships of the French fleet were scuttled at Toulon to prevent their capture by the Germans.  The naval battle of Tassafaronga Point off Guadalcanal took place.  123 ships (768,732 tons) were sunk and 19 ships (109,042 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during November 1942.  
  December 1942 Events  
  Axis convoys between Italy and Tunisia continued to be interdicted by British naval forces.  Gasoline rationing was extended to include the entire United States.  The first controlled nuclear reaction was successfully completed at the University of Chicago.  The first U.S. bombing raid of mainland Italy took place as the U.S. 9th Air Force bombed the harbor at Naples.  To commemorate the anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States launched the new battleship USS New Jersey (BB 62) along with 11 other ships.  On Guadalcanal, the 1st Marine Divisions was relieved by fresh troops from the U.S. Army 14th Corps.  The British 8th Army, under command of General Bernard L. Montgomery, started to advance through Libya after its halt for resupply and reorganization.  In a large operation named "Winter Storm", the Germans attempted to break through to its forces trapped in Stalingrad.  The code breakers at Bletchly Park, England succeeded in breaking the U-boat "Shark" Enigma key.  U.S. forces captured most of Buna but diehard Japanese forces still occupied strongholds.  British forces made attacks in the Arakan Valley in Burma.  U.S. forces on Guadalcanal began their assault on Mount Austen and met strong Japanese resistance.  French Admiral François Darlan was assassinated in Algiers, Algeria.  The Germans made a successful test fly the V-1 flying bomb at Peenemunde, Germany.  The Battle of the Barents Sea began between the German heavy cruisers SMS Admiral Hipper and SMS Lutzow and the Allied Arctic convoy JW-51B.  The Japanese High Command decided to evacuate Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.  63 ships (316,508 tons) were sunk and 13 ships (83,923 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines during December 1942.  
  1941 Index 1943 Index  

The objective of WW2Timelines.com 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.

  Copyright 2011
Contact us using our email page