World History 1942-1943

1942 Singapore Surrenders - The British fortress at Singapore was forced to surrender to the Japanese. The Japanese advanced down through the Malayan pennisula. They crossed onto the island of Singapore on the night of February 7, and forced the more numerous British troops to surrender.
1942 Java Sea-A series of battles make up what is called the Battle of Java Sea. In the first engagement, on February 4, the US cruiser Marblehead was attacked from the air repeatedly. Though damaged, the Marblehead managed to limp back to the United States. The cruiser Houston was also hit, and had its aft 8 inch guns knocked out.

On February 27, an Allied task force, led by Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, sailed to attack the enemy east of Baewen. The force included the Dutch flagship De Ruyter, the British cruiser Exeter, the USS Houston, the Australian cruiser Perth and the Dutch cruiser Java.

The battle began at 1616, with Japanese heavy cruisers under the command of Vice-Admiral Takagi Takeo opening fire on the Houston and the Exeter. Following this, the light cruiser Jintsu led a group of destroyers in an attack on British destroyers. Three British destroyers went down.

A general engagement then ensued between the Allied and Japanese cruisers. When it was over, the Dutch cruisers De Rutyer and Java were sunk, and the Perth and Houston were forced to withdraw.

The USS Langley, the first US carrier, had been converted to a seaplane tender. Along with the freighter Seawitch, the Langley sailed to Java with its cargo, planes and pilots. Unfortunately, on February 27, they were spotted by Japanese reconnaissance planes. Land-based Japanese planes then attacked, and the Langley was so damaged it had to be abandoned. The next day, the Houston and Perth attempted to attack Japanese ships unloading at Banten Bay. They sunk four of them, but then were caught by a large force of Japanese warships. Both Allied warships went down. The same day, the Exeter, the last cruiser of the Allied forces in the area, was sunk by Japanese forces in the Sunda Strait.
1942 Doolittle's Bomber Attacks Tokyo - American bombers, under the command of General Doolittle, scored a major psychological victory when they bombed Japan. Only minor damage was inflicted by the forces of medium bombers that were specially modified to be launched from carriers.
1942 Battle of the Coral Sea- The Japanese were advancing toward Australia, with the intention of assaulting Port Moseby. US task forces engaged a Japanese force in the Coral Sea. It was the first battle in which two naval forces engaged without ever coming within shooting distance of each other. Japanese planes managed to sink the American carrier Lexington and damage the Yorktown. The Americans sank a Japanese light-carrier and put two Japanese cruisers out of commission. The Japanese advance was halted.
1942 Philippines Surrender - The Japanese caught the bulk of the American air force assigned to protect the Philippines on the ground, despite the fact that the Japanese attack took place many hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 22, 1941, 100,000 Japanese troops landed on the island of Luzon. Japanese forces converged on the capital of Manila, forcing the defenders to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula and eventually to the island of Corregidor. There, on May 6, American forces surrendered.
1942 British Launch 1,000 Aircraft Raid on Cologne- The British launched a 1,000-plane night raid on Cologne. This raid was just one of many night raids visited on German cities.
1942 Battle of Midway - The Japanese planned to attack the island of Midway, expanding their hold on the Central Pacific. American intelligence intercepted Japanese plans and knew of the impending Japanese attack. The Americans sent their entire carrier force, including the recently damaged "Yorktown," to intercept the Japanese force. The Americans succeeded in sinking four Japanese carriers, losing only the "Yorktown." This was the turning point in the Pacific War.
1942 Guadalcanal– Savo Island - The first American offensive of the war was the landing on Guadalcanal. The subsequent attempt to hold the island resulted in a number of sea battles with the Japanese. The first was the Battle of Savo Island, on August 9, 1942. The Japanese, led by Admiral Mikawa, sent a task force of five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and a destroyer to attack the American forces off the island. The
Allies dispatched five heavy cruisers and a destroyer to guard the cruiser. The American forces were divided into two groups, and totally unaware of the approach of the Japanese ships. The battle began when Japanese float planes flying unmolested above the American cruisers released flares. Within moments, Japanese guns had set the HMAS Canberra on fire. Moments later, the USS Chicago was similarly enveloped. Soon the Japanese turned their attention to the northern group, and the Astoria, Quincy and Vincensses were soon out of action and ablaze. Thus, in the worse surface warfare defeat in US Navy history, the Americans and Australians lost five cruisers without inflicting significant casualties on the enemy.
1942 Raid on Dieppe - The Raid on Dieppe took place on August 19, 1942. Its mission was to test German coastal defenses. It was carried out primarily by Canadian troops. The raid turned into one of the greatest Allied fiascoes of the war. The element of surprised was completely lost, and the air force was unable to provide sufficient air support. Of the 4,963 Canadians who took part, 3,367 were killed wounded or taken prisoner.
1942 Guadalcanal– Eastern Solomons - The Japanese decided to launch a major reinforcement of Guadalcanal, and sent three carriers, battleships, numerous cruisers and destroyers to support reinforcements. The American carriers were sent to block the move. On August 24, the Ryujo, an escort carrier which was being used as bait ahead of the main carrier force, was spotted, and the Enterprise and Saratoga launched aircraft to attack it. By the time the main enemy force had been spotted, it was impossible to contact the planes that had been sent to attack the decoy. The aircraft went on to sink the Ryujo.

The main Japanese carrier force then attacked the Enterprise, which was hit, but whose damaged was controlled. Pilots from the Saratoga responded and sank a Japanese seaplane tender.
1942 German Troops Reach Stalingrad - German troops reached the Russian city of Stalingrad, on the Volga, and laid seige to it. German troops advanced on Stalingrad and broke through Russian lines, but did not succeed in taking the city. Hitler would allow no withdrawal from Stalingrad, and the Russian troops gradually wore down the Germans.
1942 Guadalcanal– Cape Esperance - The US force of two heavy and two light cruisers and five destroyers attacked the Tokyo Express in an attempt to reinforce Guadalcanal. In the battle, the US force bested the Japanese one, sinking one destroyer and one cruiser and heavily damaging a second cruiser.
1942 British Are Victorious at El Alamein- German forces, under the command of Rommel, met the British forces, under the command of General Montgomery at El Alamein. Montgomery had a two-to-one advantage in tanks, and was victorious. The victory in El Alamain eliminated the German threat to the Suez Canal and the Middle East.
1942 Guadalcanal– Battle Of Santa Cruz Islands - On October 26, US and Japanese carriers once again exchanged blows. The Enterprise and Hornet's planes successfully disabled the light carrier Zuiho and put the fleet carrier Shokaku out of the war for nine months. However, the carrier Hornet was sunk by Japanese planes.
1942 Operation Torch - The invasion of North Africa, in what was named "Operation Torch," was designed to encircle German troops stationed there. American troops went ashore in French North Africa with limited opposition. Soon after the landings, French troops defected to the American side. American and British troops advanced towards Tunisia, where they met stiff German opposition.
1942 Japanese Americans Interned - On February 20, President Roosevelt issued a Presidential order to intern Japanese-American residents of the West Coast. The Japanese-Americans, many born US citizens, were not accused of any crimes; they were simply ordered out of their homes and interned in camps in the desert. A total of 120,000 Japanese-Americans were so treated.
1942 Nuclear Chain Reaction - (12/2/42) For the first time, a nuclear chain reaction was achieved in an atomic pile. The chain reaction occurred at the University of Chicago, under the direction of Enrico Fermi.

1943

1943 Casablanca Conference - A conference was held in Casablanca, in French Morocco, January 14 - 24, between Roosevelt and Churchill and their respective staffs. At the conference, it was announced that the war would be fought until there was an unconditional surrender. Agreement, in principle, was reached on the opening of a second front.
1943 German Troops Surrender at Stalingrad - The starving German troops at Stalingrad surrendered, after being surrounded since November. Over 90,000 German troops died of starvation or exposure, while close to 100,000 died in battle during the final month. The surrender had been expressly forbidden by Hitler. Field Marshal von Paulus felt he had no choice but to surrender his 100,000 starving troops.
1943 Daylight Bombing of Germany -US forces began daylight bombing of targets in Germany. The first attacks were against German naval targets, but a few days later, the US launched its first air raid against Berlin.
1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - The remaining Jews in the Warsaw ghetto began an armed uprising against the Nazis. The Jews, numbering just 60,000– down from the half a million in the ghetto a year before– knew that those being taken away were going to Auschwitz to be murdered.

The uprising lasted from April 19 to May 16. The Nazis were able to overcome the vastly outnumbered and poorly armed Jewish resistance fighters.
1943 Battle of Kursk- The largest tank battle in history took place at Kursk. The Germans planned a counter-offensive on Soviet positions. Their target was the Kursk salient. Their goal was to cut off the salient and capture the 60 Soviet battalions inside. The Soviets, however, were prepared, and 900 German tanks met 900 Soviet ones. The battle continued throughout the day, and ended in a draw.

The Germans would never be able to amass the number of tanks they had at Kursk, while the Soviets were out-producing them every month.
1943 Allies Land at Palermo -Allied troops, under the command of General Patton, captured the city of Palermo in Sicily. The victory came less than two weeks after Allied forces first landed on Sicily. This marked the first invasion of part of an Axis homeland.
1943 Quebec Conference - British and American leaders met in Quebec to coordinate war plans. At the meetings, which were led by Churchill and Roosevelt, leaders discussed the upcoming landing in Italy, as well as summit plans with Stalin.
1943 Allies Land in Italy -On September 3, the Italian government, led by Marshal Badoglio Mussolini – having been dismissed by King Victor Emanuel – surrendered to the Allied forces. At the same time, the British and Americans began an assault on Italy, now defended by occupying Germans.
1943 Teheran Conferance -The meetings began on November 28. A close working relationship developed between Roosevelt and Stalin. Stalin's first goal at the conference was to commit the British and the Americans to a firm date for the cross-channel invasion. The Allies finally committed to May 1944. Stalin, in return, committed the Soviets to aiding the Allies against Japan once the Nazis were defeated. During the course of the conference, Roosevelt put forth to Stalin for the first time his ideas of a postwar international organization. Stalin agreed in principle. Stalin brought up the proposal to move Poland's border westward, at the expense of Germany. Roosevelt agreed in principle.