2 December 1941

2 December 1941

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2 December 1941

December 1941


Eastern Front

Kleist forced to retreat by Soviet counterattack

2 December 1941 - History



Events until November 1941

Since November 1939 when "Graf Spee" first entered the Indian Ocean, German raiders had hunted there as well as in the Pacific. The Royal and Dominion Navies had not only been busy tracking them down, but also escorting Australian, India, New Zealand and other troops of the British Empire to the theatres of war. All this time Japan had manoeuvred to complete the conquest of China. By the end of 1938, northeast China as far south as Shanghai, together with the major ports was in Japanese hands. In February 1939 Japan occupied the large island of Hainan in the South China Sea. By early 1940, events were moving inexorably towards a total world war:


March - Japan established a Chinese puppet-government in Nanking.

June/July - With its possession of the Chinese ports, Japan wanted to close the remaining entry points into China. Pressure was put on France to stop the flow of supplies through Indochina, and on Britain to do the same with the Burma Road. Both complied, but Britain only until October 1940, when the road was reopened.

September - Vichy France finally agreed to the stationing of Japanese troops in northern Indochina.


April - Five Year Neutrality Pact between Japan and Russia benefited both powers. Russia could free troops for Europe and Japan concentrate on expansion southwards.

July - The demand for bases in southern Indochina was now conceded by Vichy France. Britain, Holland and the United States protested and froze Japanese assets, but the troops went in. The Dutch East lndies cancelled oil delivery arrangements and the Americans shortly imposed their own oil embargo. Japan had lost most of her sources of oil.

September - Japan and the US continued to negotiate over their differences, but as oil stocks rapidly declined Japan accelerated preparations for war.

October - War Minister Gen Tojo became Japanese Prime Minister. Also in October Australia saw the fall of the Country Party of former Prime Minister Robert Menzies who resigned earlier in August. John Curtin and the Labour Party came to power.

November - As talks dragged on and the United States demanded the departure of Japan from China as well as French Indochina, the Pearl Harbor Strike Force sailed into the North Pacific. Vice-Adm Nagumo commanded fleet carriers "Akagi", "Hiryu", "Kaga", "Soryu", "Shokaku" and "Zuikaku", plus two battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Britain's limited naval deterrent to Japanese expansion, capital ships Prince of Wales and Repulse (pictured - Maritime Quest) met at Colombo, Ceylon on the 28th, en route to Singapore. Without fleet carrier Indomitable they lacked any ship-borne aircraft support.

Strategic and Naval Background


Britain and Commonwealth Nations - Responsible for defending India, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, northern Borneo, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the Papua New Guinea/Bismarck Archipelago/Solomon Islands chain, and numerous island groups throughout the Indian Ocean and Central and South Pacific. Few forces could be spared from existing war zones to protect this vast spread of territory and its supply routes. Britain's main base was at Singapore with the two recently arrived big ships. Three old cruisers and some destroyers were in Malayan waters, and a few old destroyers at Hong Kong. By now the surviving seven cruisers and smaller ships of the Royal Australian and New Zealand Navies were back in the area.

United States - Apart from the defence of its Western seaboard, Panama Canal Zone, Alaska and the Aleutians, Hawaiian Islands and various islands in the Central Pacific, the US had responsibilities towards the Philippines. In the event of attack, the defenders were expected to hold out until relieved by the US Pacific Fleet fighting its way from the main base at Pearl Harbor, a distance of 4,500 miles. In the Philippines was the Asiatic Fleet with three cruisers, 13 destroyers and 29 submarines. The Pacific Fleet itself consisted of eight battleships, three fleet carriers, 21 cruisers, 67 destroyers and 27 submarines.

Dutch - Naval forces allocated to the defence of the many islands of the Dutch East lndies included three cruisers, seven destroyers and fifteen submarines.


Already established in Korea, Manchuria, northeast China and its main ports, Hainan, Formosa, and the Mariana, Caroline and Marshall Island groups, Japan now had the whole of French Indochina. Japan's main aim was still the conquest of China, for which the oilfields of the Dutch East lndies (DEI) were indispensable. Also important was the closing of the Burma Road over which Allied supplies continued to roll. Both moves meant war with Britain and the US, and a vital part of the Japanese strategy was the establishment of a huge defence perimeter stretching from Burma right around to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Only in this way could it hope to hold off the United States once its manpower and industrial resources were mobilised. Japan went to war with both the strategic and military advantages:

Strategically -

Japan was well placed to occupy the territory needed for the defence perimeter:

In the West - much of China was occupied and the Neutrality Pact with Russia, coupled with the German invasion meant Japan had little to fear for now from this direction. Hong Kong could be taken easily from adjacent occupied China.


To the East were the vast distances of the Pacific. By taking the US islands of Guam and Wake, and some of the British Gilbert Islands, the mandated islands (Marshalls, Caroline's, Marianas) were further protected. America was also kept at bay.

To the Southwest - Thailand and Malaya would soon fall to the invading forces from Hainan and Indochina. Thereafter the capture of Burma could proceed smoothly. The Burma Road would be cut, India threatened, and that perimeter secured.

In the South - lay the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies and the protection offered by the island chain of Sumatra, Java and Bali through to Timor. The main island of Java was the target o f two massive pincer movements:

Southeast - landings in north New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and northern Solomons would protect the Japanese Carolines. From there, forces could strike Australia and its supply routes.

Westwards - From Indochina to northern Borneo, and later direct to Sumatra and Java.

Eastwards - Fro m bases in Formosa and the Carolines to the Philippines. From there to southern Borneo, Celebes and Moluccas, and on to Timor and Bali. Then to eastern Java.

Only when Japan sought to extend the southeast and eastern perimeters - at Guadalcanal and Midway Island respectively in mid-1942 did it suffer the first defeats. America's growing power then made Allied victory inevitable.

Militarily -

Allied and Japanese naval forces were about balanced in numbers:

Major Warship types

















































There the comparison ended .

The Imperial Japanese Navy had far more carriers, its surface task forces were well trained, especially in night-fighting, and they had no command or language difficulties. They also introduced the Allies to a secret and powerful weapon in the 24in Long lance torpedo. In contrast, the Allied ships were scattered and had no central command. Their main bases at Singapore and Pearl Harbor were 6,000 miles apart, and most of the strength was concentrated with the US Pacific Fleet. For its conquests, the Japanese Army fielded only slightly more troops, but these were usually better trained, and also experienced in amphibious operations. They had air superiority both overall and locally. Only the US Pacific Fleet posed an immediate danger to Japanese plans. Hence the decision to attack Pearl Harbor rather than wait for the Americans to try to fight through to the Philippines. The Japanese chose the time and place of their landings, all well escorted by cruiser and destroyer forces. Air cover was maintained by land-based aircraft or from carriers and seaplane carriers as necessary, and battleships and cruisers provided distant support. By this time the annihilation of the Allied capital ships made their presence unnecessary.

The few Allied maritime sorties - some surface, but mainly by aircraft and submarine - had few successes against the invasion fleets. And in return they suffered heavy losses.

Photos Depicting How Operation Typhoon Turned the Tables in World War II

A formation of Soviet Il-2 aircraft in flight near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941. Samaryi Guraryi A German soldier being captured, near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet armored train in a rail depot, Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet signal troops near Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet troops guarding a wooded area outside of Moscow, Russia, 1 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet 122mm gun in action near Moscow, Russia, 3 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Abandoned German vehicles on the Volokolamsk Highway near Moscow, Russia, 5 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Wrecked and partially salvaged German Panzer II tank near Moscow, Russia, 10 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet officers inspecting captured German troops and weapons, near Moscow, Russia, 20 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet troops in the village of Kryukovo near Moscow, Russia, 20 Dec 1941 note disabled German Panzer III tank. ww2dbase Russian civilians sharing a road with a German tank, Istra, Russia, Dec 1941. German Federal Archive Soviet troops advancing on skis, near Moscow, Russia, Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet troops fighting in snowy terrain near Moscow, Russia, late 1941. ww2dbase T-26 light tank near Moscow, Russia, late 1941. ww2dbase T-26 light tanks, Battle of Moscow, Dec 1941. ww2dbase Two German soldiers in snowy terrain, Russia, Dec 1941. ww2dbase Russian civilians looking at the ruins of their former home at Serpukhov south of Moscow, Russia, late 1941 or early 1942. ww2dbase Defence of Moscow. Female militia preparing for departure to protect Moscow. 1941. Pinterest Defence of Moscow. Girls stationed on rooftops that would in time see the approaching enemy aircraft.1941. Moscow. Pinterest Fresh Red Army units march through Moscow to man the defenses in Nov-Dec 1941 as the German offensive threatens the city. Soviet mobilization in record time stooped the Germans literally at the gates. Pinterest Frozen remains of a fallen soldier near Moscow, Russia, 1941-1942. ww2dbase German soldiers surrender to Russians on the outskirts of Moscow. incredibleimages4u Soviet mortar position near Moscow, Russia, 27 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Surrendered German troops near Moscow, Russia, 27 Dec 1941. Viktor Kinelovsky Soviet Army engineers preparing to build a bridge, near Naro-Fominsk, Russia, 28 Dec 1941. ww2dbase Soviet anti-aircraft gunners on the roof of the Moskva hotel. Wikipedia Soviet tank crew raising a flag on a KV-1 heavy tank, Moscow, Russia, 31 Dec 1941. ww2dbase

Infamy Speech

On December 8, 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, delivered his “Infamy Speech” in which he called for war. He referred to the attack on Pearl Harbor as a “date that will live in infamy.”

Faced with losses and humiliations they had not anticipated when they dictated unacceptable conditions to a proud but threatened nation—now enraged and filled with ferocious self-confidence—Roosevelt and the men around him began a frantic search for scapegoats.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about the Pearl Harbor attack. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to Pearl Harbor.

1941 – Dan Hicks, a country-rocker who first found fame with psychedelic group the Charlatans and formed Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, is born in Arkansas. William Powell, an original member of the O’Jays, is born in Canton, Ohio. When he left the group in 1975, Sammy Strain, born exactly a year before, replaced [&hellip]

1941 – The Japanese Raid Pearl harbor in a suprise(ahem) attack on the US naval base in Hawaii! After this day… so many people turned to sex to ease their depression… it was a rock n roll frenzy! That’s why so many famous Rock artists were born in 1942. Interesting theory… Paul McCartney… hey… back [&hellip]

WWII Axis Military History Day-by-Day: December

December 1, 1943: Conclusion of the Tehran Conference, with the three Alliesin substantial agreement on the division of postwar Germany and thewestward movement of the Polish eastern and western frontiers. TheSoviets had also put forth the notion of the summary execution of 50,000German officers, but this was rejected by the Allies.

December 2, 1941: Soviet troops evacuate the last territory (near Leningradand in Carelia) taken from Finland in the 1939-1940 war.

December 2, 1943: German forces in Yugoslavia begin a major operation againstTito’s partisan army.

December 3, 1942: Several German divisions ordered transferred from westernEurope begin arriving in the area of Heeresgruppe Don (von Manstein) SWof Stalingrad in preparation of Operation Winter Tempest, the relief ofthe encircled 6.Armee (von Paulus).

December 3, 1943: The RAF launches a heavy raid against Leipzig.

December 3, 1944: Armored units of the US 3rd Army (Patton) succeed inpenetrating the fortified German lines of the Westwall (Siegfried Line)near Saarlautern.

December 4, 1942: German forces in Tunisia capture Tebourba. The US 5th AirForce stationed in French North Africa launches its first raid againstthe Italian port of Naples.

December 4, 1943: Units of 11.Armee begin an offensive to eliminate theSoviet bridgehead at Kerch in the eastern Crimea.

December 5, 1941: Start of a Soviet counter-offensive in the area of KalininNW of Moscow.

December 6, 1941: Three Soviet armies, including some 18 divisions from theRussian Far East, with 1,700 tanks and 1,500 aircraft, begin a massivecounter-offensive to throw back and destroy the German forces ofHeeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock) before Moscow.

December 7, 1941: At 7:55 Honolulu time, 384 Japanese Navy bombers andtorpedo bombers taking off from three aircraft carriers launch asurprise attack against the US Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor,Territory of Hawaii, sinking or seriously damaging 18 major warships,including the battleships Arizona, Nevada and Virginia, and destroyingon the ground 180 USAAF aircraft. American casualties amount to 2,403killed and 1,178 wounded Japanese losses are 29 aircraft (59 airmen)and five mini-submarines. In Libya, Panzerarmee Afrika completes itswithdrawal to the Gazala line.

December 8, 1939: The Fascist Grand Council confirms the Axis alliance,but votes to remain out of the conflict.

December 8, 1940: The House of Commons and the Tower of London are hit ina heavy Luftwaffe night raid. The 5,000 ton German ship Idarwald isintercepted off Cuba by HMS Diomede. She is at once scuttled by her crewand sunk.

December 8, 1941: The Unites States and Great Britain declare war on theEmpire of Japan. The Soviet offensive against Heeresgruppe Mitte beforeMoscow succeeds in breaking through the German lines in many places,causing hasty withdrawals by ill-prepared and frost-bitten troops thatare forced to abandon much heavy equipment immobilized by the below-zeroweather. In Cyrenaica, British forces of the 8th Army (Wavell) succeedin lifting the German siege of Tobruk.

December 8, 1942: German troops occupy the port of Bizerte in Tunisia.

December 8, 1944: In Hungary, the Red Army begins an offensive towardBudapest. In the West, German troops evacuate Jülich on the Roerriver.

December 9, 1939: Russia discovers that Italy is sending military suppliesto Finland via Germany.

December 9, 1940: The Wehrmacht High Command announced:- … during themonth of November, 7,455 tons of bombs were dropped on British targets bythe Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe estimate the British dropped 475 tons duringthe same month.

December 9, 1941: The Red Army recaptures Klin and Tikvin. China declares waron Japan, Germany and Italy.

December 9, 1943: The Allies further consolidate their lines around MonteCamino after repulsing a series of German counterattacks. In the east,Medorovo falls to the Soviet Army. They then move on to attackZnamenka

December 9, 1944: The 2nd Ukraine Front, north of Budapest, reaches theDanube River.

December 10

December 10, 1940: Two German spies, Jose Waldberg and Carl Meier, are thefirst people to be executed since the start of the war. They were hungin Pentonville jail in London. The pair landed in Englandseveral weeks prior with a radio transmitter, English money and some ironrations. They planned to spend the nights hiding, and theirdays collecting information – from the unwary public in trains, pubs andbuffets, and by observation of military bases. Also, Hitler issues adirective for the seizure of French military resources andthe future occupation of Vichy France (Operation Attila), and cancelsplans to invade Gibraltar via Spain (Operation Felix).

December 10, 1942: Hitler replaces General Halder with General Zeitzler aschief of staff of the OKH. Little ground is gained at Rzhev by a smallGerman counterattack on the Eastern Front.

December 10, 1944: In the West, the US Third Army (Patton) captures Hagenauand Saargemünd.

December 11

December 11, 1939: Finnish soldiers cut off the Russian 163rd Division atSuomussalmi, Finland during the Winter War. Also, the League ofNations demands that Russia cease hostilities against Finland.

Decemeber 11, 1940: German raiders devastate a large area of Birmingham inarial attacks.

December 11, 1941: In a speech before the Reichstag Hitler, after denouncingthe un-neutral and warlike anti-German policies of President Rooseveltand citing Germany’s obligations under the Tri-Partite Pact with Japanand Italy, declares war on the United States. His ally, Mussolini,follows suit some hours later. Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republicand Nicaragua declare war on Germany.

December 11, 1942: In Libya, Panzerarmee Afrika abandons the Gazala line andcontinues its retreat west toward the Mareth line in Tunisia.

December 12

December 12, 1939: The German liner Bremen arrives at Bremerhaven fromMurmansk, having evaded the British blockade. In the east, Russiarejects the League of Nations demands for peace with Finland.

December 12, 1940: In England, Sheffield suffers heavy Luftwafferaids.

December 12, 1941: Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania declare war on the UnitedStates. In order to improve relations with Germany, Yugoslavia signs afriendship pact with Hungary.

December 12, 1942: A hastily assembled force of 13 divisions, including threePanzer divisions, under the control of 4.Panzerarmee (Hoth), beginsOperation Winter Tempest, the relief of 6.Armee (von Paulus) encircledat Stalingrad. In the Mediterannian Sea, Italian midget submarinessink four ships in the harbor at Algiers.

December 13

December 13, 1939: In the south Atlantic the German raider, the pocket battleshipAdmiral Graf Spee, fights an action against three British cruisers, HMSAchilles, Ajax and Exeter, which results in serious damage to bothsides, with Exeter rendered a blazing hulk and the Graf Spee withdrawingto the River Plate for repairs.

December 13, 1940: Hitler issues Directive No. 20, the order for the preparation ofOperation Marita, a plan for sending German forces to revive thebogged-down Italian offensive in Albania.

December 13, 1941: In the East, the Red Army launches a counter-offensive from theKalinin area toward besieged Leningrad. German forces of HeeresgruppeMitte (von Bock) evacuate Tula.

December 13, 1942: In Libya, Panzerarmee Afrika evacuates El Agheila.

December 13, 1943: Heeresgruppe Mitte becomes engaged in a series of heavy defensivebattles in the area of Witebsk.

December 13, 1944: In northern Alsace, German forces of 7.Armee(Brandenberger) withdraw to fortified positions of the Westwall (SiegfriedLine).

December 14

December 14, 1939: Because of its brutal aggression against Finland, the Soviet Unionis expelled from the League of Nations.

December 14, 1941: German forces evacuate Kalinin 100 miles NW of Moscow.

December 15

December 15, 1943: The Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain break offdiplomatic relationd with the Yugoslav government-in-exile and recognizeTito’s Communist Popular Liberation Committee as the government-to-be ofthe country.

December 16

December 16, 1942: In the East, the Red Army begins an offensive in the direction ofRostov-on-Don to cut off the German forces of Heeresgruppe A in theCaucasus.

December 16, 1944: The German Army in the West begins Operation Wacht am Rhein (Watchon the Rhine), eventually to become known as the Battle of the Bulge,with the objective of splitting the Allied forces and capturing thestrategic port of Antwerp. Being under the control of Heeresgruppe B(Model), the attacking forces pouring forth from the Ardennes Forestcomprise 6.SS-Panzerarmee (Dietrich), 5.Panzerarmee (von Manteuffel),with 7.Armee (Brandenberger) providing flank support to the south of theline of advance.

December 17

December 17, 1939: Unable to complete repairs of the Graf Spee within 24hours, the time limit stipulated by international law for foreignwarships in neutral ports, and under strict orders by OKM not to go intointernment in Uruguay, Capt. Langsdorff takes his ship outside theharbor of Montevideo and orders his crew to scuttle her, thus denyingthe fleet of British Navy vessels converging on the River Plate theopportunity of destroying her in an unequal battle.

December 17, 1940: In pursuit of the retrating Italian forces, the British 8th Army(Wavell) captures Sollum in Cyrenaica.

December 17, 1944: The German offensive in the West, after some deep penetrationsinto the lines of the unprepared US forces in the area, makes only slowprogress due to limited roads as well as difficult terrain and weatherconditions, not reaching any assigned first-day objectives.

December 18

December 18, 1940: Hitler issues Directive No. 21, ordering plans for the preparationof Operation Barbarossa, the attack against the Soviet Union, to besubmitted by May 15, 1941.

December 18, 1941: Field Marshal von Brauchitsch resigns as head of OKH, Hitlerhimself assuming personal command of the Heer, especially of itsoperations on the Eastern front.

December 18, 1944: In the West, Operation Wacht am Rhein begins to bog down in theface of stiffened US resistance and lack of adequate logistical support,notably fuel for the armored Kampfgruppen of Dietrich’s and Manteuffel’sarmies.

December 19

December 19, 1940: Mussolini requests German assistance for his hard-pressed troopsin Cyrenaica in the form of a Panzer Division and various logisticalsupport.

December 19, 1941: Frogmen of the Italian Navy penetrate the port of Alexandria inEgypt and damage the British battleships HMS Valiant and QueenElizabeth. Colombia severs diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy.

December 19, 1944: SHAEF orders the 101st Airborne Division as well as the10thArmored Division to be detached from 3rd Army and moved north to supportthe US forces under attack in the Ardennes, particularly to aid the 28thInfantry Division in its defense of the vital road junction of Bastogne.

December 20

December 20, 1941: German forces of Heeresgruppe Mitte retreating from the frontbefore Moscow reach new defensive lines more than 100 m to the westwhere, following strict orders by Hitler, they are to stand and fightoff any further Soviet advances.

December 20, 1944: In their torturous advance toward the Meuse river, armored unitsof 6.SS-Panzerarmee capture Stavelot, searching for Allied fuel dumps toreplenish their near- exhausted supplies of gasoline.

December 21

December 21, 1944: In the Ardennes, units of 5.Panzerarmee capture St. Vith.

December 22

December 22, 1941: Prime Minister Churchill arrives at the White House as the guestof President Roosevelt.

December 22, 1944: US troops of the 28th Infantry and 101st AirborneDivisionsdefending besieged Bastogne receive a German surrender ultimatum whichthe CO of the 102nd, Brigadier General McAuliffe, answers with thesingle word, “Nuts!” This succinct specimen of American slang has to beinterpreted to General von Lüttwitz, CO of XXXXVII.Panzerkorps, as anegative reply.

December 23

December 23, 1941: Under the continous pressure of the British 8th Army (Wavell),Rommel and his Afrikakorps evacuate Benghasi in Libya.

December 23, 1942: Having advanced as far as the Myshkova river 30 m SW ofStalingrad, the three Panzer divisions of the force to relieve theGerman troops of 6.Armee encircled at Stalingrad have exhausted theirpower and begin withdrawing to their starting line at Kotelnikovo.

December 23, 1944: In Hungary, the Red Army captures Gran, thus cutting all Germancommunications with Budapest. In the Ardennes, US forces begin liftingthe siege of Bastogne.

December 24

December 24, 1942: Following the suspension of Operation Winter Tempest, the reliefof Stalingrad, the Red Army begins an offensive against Heeresgruppe Don(von Manstein) toward Kotelnikovo, breaking through the lines of4.Rumänische Armee.

December 24, 1943: In the Ukraine, the Red Army launches an offensive in theKiev-Shitomir area, capturing Berdichev. General Dwight D. Eisenhauer isappointed supreme commander of the Allied forces preparing for theinvasion of Europe.

December 24, 1944: In the English Channel, U-486 (Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Meyer) sinks theAllied troop carrier SS Leopoldville with the loss of 763 men of the US66th Infantry Division. All news and information on this incident issuppressed by orders of SHAEF headquarters.

December 25, 1942: Heavy fighting continues all around the perimeter of theStalingrad Kessel, while the decimated and starving troops of 6.Armeereceive their last rations of horse meat, the 12,000 horses in thepocket having now all been slaughtered.

December 25, 1944: Fighting continues in the “Battle of the Bulge”, whilein the southernportionof the German attack, surrounded US troops continue to hold out againstrepated German attempts to take the vital road junction at Bastogne.

December 26

December 26, 1943: Ordered to sail to the Barents Sea and destroy the Allied convoyJW-55B bound for the Soviet port of Murmansk, the German battle-cruiserScharnhorst (Vizeadm. Bey) encounters a protective force of the BritishHome Fleet (Vice-Adm. Burnett) consisting of the cruisers HMS Belfast,Duke of York, Jamaica and Norfolk. After a fierce action, Scharnhorst issunk, with only 36 of her crew of 1,839 surviving.

December 27

December 27, 1941: The Red Army continues its counter-offensive in the Kalinin area100 miles NW of Moscow.

December 28

December 28, 1940: Mussolini asks Hitler for support of the Italian forcesbogged-down in their offensive in Albania.

December 28, 1942: In the face of the continuing Soviet offensive towardRostov-on-Don that threatens to cut it off, Heeresgruppe A (Ruoff) isordered to withdraw its forces from the Caucasus.

December 29

December 29, 1941: In the eastern Crimea, German troops of Heeresgruppe B (vonSchobert) evacuate Kerch and Theodosia.

December 29, 1943: The British 8th Army (Montgomery) captures Ortona on the Adriaticcoast of Italy. The RAF launches a heavy raid on Berlin.

WW2: Why did the Allies win the Second World War?

Was the decisive factor Hitler’s meddling, Allied maritime superiority or the codebreaking experts of Bletchley Park? Eight leading military historians try to pinpoint the definitive reason why the Axis powers’ grand plans ended in defeat

This competition is now closed

Published: April 30, 2020 at 6:25 am

What were the most decisive factors in crucial factors in Allied victory? Eight leading military historians explore…

The Nazis’ overconfidence

By Ben Shepherd

Western Allied industrial, maritime and air power were fundamental to destroying the German war machine. But to win, it was crucial to take ground and destroy the forces holding it, and on this score, it was the eastern front where the Wehrmacht was broken most emphatically.

For me, it was Hitler and his generals’ underestimation of the Red Army, coupled with their ideology-­suffused faith in their own superiority, that were most decisive to German defeat. Not all commanders succumbed to this mindset during the run­up to the invasion of the Soviet Union, but many did. Their military intelligence substituted hard facts about the Red Army with arrogant, racially coloured assumptions of chaos and incompetence. All of this blinded them to the Red Army’s true strength, and to the perilously uneven state of their own forces.

The Red Army’s initially calamitous response to the invasion looked set to prove the Germans right. But the German advance took increasingly grievous losses to Soviet resistance, and its mobility was progressively eviscerated by the country’s immense distances, harsh environment and often ramshackle transport infrastructure. By the time the Germans reached the gates of Moscow in December 1941, the blitzkrieg was already exhausted, and with it expired their one chance of decisive victory.

Over the following 18 months, the Wehrmacht strove repeatedly to regain the initiative – most famously at Stalingrad – but failed to do so to any decisive extent. All the while, the Red Army’s own fighting power burgeoned on all counts. It was fuelled by immense if brutally executed feats of Soviet industrial production, and increasingly by vast economic aid from the United States. Following further German failure at Kursk in July 1943, the Red Army pressed forward inexorably, and the Wehrmacht was never again able even to attempt to claw back the advantage.

Ben Shepherd is reader in history at Glasgow Caledonian University and the author of Hitler’s Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich (Yale, 2016).

VE Day at 75

Seventy-five years ago this month, Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies, bringing to a close the European war. Read articles from BBC History Magazine’s VE Day special supplement, in which we explore the moment of victory from several perspectives:

Allied operational capacity

By James Holland

Historians tend to view the Second World War predominantly through the prism of strategic decisions and fighting at the coalface, when an arguably more important consideration is how combatant nations marshal their resources. I’ve recently been looking at a photograph of tanks being loaded onto landing ships before the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 (above). It suggests exactly what it is: a demonstration of immense materiel power and wealth. What is so astonishing is that, at the start of the war, neither Britain nor the United States had much of an army and both had comparatively small air forces – very small in the case of the US. Yet in four years, they had grown exponentially and were fighting equally in the air, on land and at sea, on a truly global scale. They were also providing materiel support to the Soviet Union.

That the United States became the arsenal of democracy is reasonably well known, but the speed with which it achieved this is less understood. Nor is it much known that Britain’s military growth was also extremely impressive – to the tune of 132,500 aircraft, for example, and providing 31 per cent of all supplies to the US in the European theatre of operations. Lend­Lease cut both ways.

Key to this was prioritisation, which was dictated by a very clear goal or endgame, and brought research, development and production into very sharp focus. In contrast, both Germany and Japan were, after initial gains, caught in a production spiral from which they simply could not recover. Food and fuel were their biggest shortages, but materiel failure ran across the board. Japan didn’t sink the aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor, and Germany didn’t win the Battle of Britain while Britain and the US were still fighting, their materiel power – their ‘big war’ strategy – meant victory was assured.

James Holland is a historian and author. He is currently working on a new book about the 1943 Sicily campaign.

The invasion of the Soviet Union

Hitler’s June 1941 advance into the USSR – known as Operation Barbarossa – was the decisive moment of the war, because there­ after, at unspeakable human cost, the Red Army did the heavy lifting: first to contain the Germans, and finally to defeat them.

It may be argued that American supplies – everything from aluminium to spam, boots, trucks and telephone cable – made an important contribution to Soviet victory, but in the crucial first 18 months of the eastern war, western materiel reached the USSR in modest quantities, making only a marginal contribution to the Soviet war effort until 1943, by which time the battle of Stalingrad had been fought and won.

As the great historian Sir Michael Howard often said, counter­factuals are foolish, because once one variable changes, infinite possibilities are opened up. But I have always thought that if Hitler, instead of launching Barbarossa, had reinforced Rommel and completed the conquest of the Mediterranean and Middle East, as I believe he could have

done, Churchill’s government would not have survived. It might well have been replaced by a Tory administration that sought a compromise peace with Germany. After the experience of the First World War, I don’t think the British people (any more than the French) had the stomach for the ghastly struggle of attrition that proved necessary on the eastern front before the Germans were driven back. It is unlikely there was ever any easy route to winning the Second World War, or has been in any great clash between more or less evenly matched modern industrial powers.

I suppose a scenario can be pondered wherein the western Allies dallied until an atomic bomb was built, then used it against Germany. But that presupposes US entry into the war, and indeed many other things. I rest my case that an enormous amount of killing and dying had to happen before the Nazis were crushed, and though it did not seem so to the western Allies and their peoples at the time, posterity can see that the Soviets did most of it.

Sir Max Hastings is an author and journalist, whose books include Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 (William Collins, 2019).

Watch: Are we in denial about our role in WW2? Keith Lowe explains – in 60 seconds

The T-34 tank

By Andrew Roberts

Between 1941 and 1945, the Soviet Union produced 58,681 T-34 tanks. They were not the most powerful tanks in terms of firepower, nor the fastest, but their vast numbers won battle after battle for the Red Army, which is what ultimately destroyed Nazi Germany. “In the end,” Stalin is reputed to have said of the T-34, “quantity becomes quality.” Although the German Panzers were superior individually to the T-34, they could not overcome the odds of three or four or sometimes five to one that the Soviets were capable of deploying in key battles such as Kursk in July–August 1943.

A central statistic for the Second World War is that, for every five Germans killed in combat – not, therefore, including civilians killed in cities in the Allies’ Combined Bomber Offensive – four died on the eastern front. While we in the west understandably concentrate on events like D-Day, Arnhem and the battle of the Bulge, much larger campaigns were being fought in the east, allowing the Red Army to advance on Berlin, forcing Hitler to kill himself. For example, in Operation Bagration in Byelorussia from June to August 1944, some 450,000 casualties were inflicted on Ger many’s Army Group Centre. That is why the T-34 (which includes two main variants, the T-34/76 and T-34/85) was the most decisive factor in destroying nazism.

Andrew Roberts is a military historian whose most recent book is Leadership in War (Allen Lane, 2019).

The Allies ruled the waves

By Nick Hewitt

Fundamentally, Allied sea power ensured Nazi Germany’s defeat. During the dark days of 1940 and 1941, Allied warships and other craft saved a succession of armies from certain destruction, evacuating them first from Norway, then famously from France via Dunkirk, and finally from Greece and Crete, despite relentless enemy attempts to prevent them. After France fell, it was the Royal Navy that saved Great Britain from invasion.

Warships protected convoys of merchant ships, carrying vital supplies from the United States, Canada and worldwide, in the face of determined Axis attempts to interdict them. This kept first Britain and then the Soviet Union in the fight. After the US entered the war in December 1941, sea power guaranteed the build-up of the overwhelming American military and air power required to take the fight back onto the continent.

Sea power kept British Commonwealth armies fighting in north Africa, despite devastating enemy attacks in the Mediterranean and perilously long supply routes around the Cape of Good Hope. Later, it gave the Allies the flexibility to move armies around the world, seizing the initiative and hitting their enemies where they were most vulnerable, from Madagascar, Morocco and Algeria to Sicily and southern Italy. For the western Allies, the Second World War was largely a naval war, fought with expeditionary armies.

Finally, it was overwhelming Allied sea power – a staggering 7,000 ships and vessels of all sizes – that put a vast Allied army ashore in Normandy on 6 June 1944, reinforced it with thousands of troops and vehicles every day, sustained it with food, petrol and ammunition, and provided everything it needed, from floating artillery support to workshops and headquarters.

D-Day forced Nazi Germany into a two-front war it could never win. It was the final, decisive triumph of Allied sea power, and brought the war in Europe to an end.

Nick Hewitt is head of collections and research at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, and the author of several works of naval history.

Hitler’s military interventions

The single greatest factor in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in Europe was the role that Adolf Hitler played in determining the offensives launched by the German military. On multiple occasions, Hitler’s decision­ making was flawed. While a political leader generally has an impact on his or her nation’s military engagements, Hitler frequently ignored the recommendations of his advisors, and ordered major opera­ tions that ultimately had enormous consequences and affected Germany’s ability to achieve final victory.

Hitler gave the green light to the invasion of the USSR on 20 June 1941, and the German invasion commenced two days later. Despite initial successes all along the front, the operation ground to a halt within months. Instead of easily defeating the Soviets, as predicted, the Germans woke a sleeping bear that refused to be budged from either Moscow or Stalingrad. Thousands of German soldiers surrendered or died while fighting in Moscow, Leningrad and Stalin­ grad. Like a meat grinder, the war in the east consumed millions of men. On 11 December 1941 – three days after he announced the end of the winter campaign – Hitler joined Mussolini in declaring war on the United States even though the Soviet Union had not yet been defeated

In the spring of 1943, despite the Wehrmacht’s crushing loss at Stalingrad, Hitler was still planning for Germany’s triumph. He authorised Operation Citadel, an attack against the Kursk salient that was one of the last major offensives on the eastern front, and which proved to be an unmitigated disaster. Following the Wehrmacht’s defeat in that battle, Soviet military forces

Hitler frequently ignored advice and launched major operations along the entire front began a steady push west towards Germany. By the summer of 1944, increasingly pressed by the western Allies, German forces faced challengers in Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Not willing to throw in the towel, Hitler authorised the Reich’s final counteroffensive in the west, Operation Autumn Mist – known as the battle of the Bulge – which also ended in defeat, and was the final nail in the coffin. Germany no longer had the chance of a victorious outcome. Although the Soviet, British, American and Canadian armies together defeated Germany, Hitler’s flawed decision ­making played a significant role in the Allied victory in Europe.

Mary Kathryn Barbier is professor of history at Mississippi State University and the author of Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals in America and Abroad (Potomac Books, 2017).

The codebreakers of Bletchley Park

As soon as their homeland was invaded in September 1939, several Polish math­ ematicians escaped to the west with the secrets of the German ‘Enigma’ encryption device. This scrambled all 26 letters of the alphabet to a pre­set key that changed every 24 hours. From the May 1940 invasion of France onwards, German reports – essentially transmitted in Enigma gibberish – were intercepted over the air and forwarded by outstations to Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes in Buckingham­ shire, which housed the UK Government Code and Cypher School and the intelli­ gence programme known as ‘Ultra’.

Several brilliant minds at Bletchley helped devise ‘bombes’: electromechanical devices designed to discover the daily settings of Enigma machines. From March 1940, these increased the pace that German messages could be deciphered, translated into English and assessed for their military importance. Understanding Enigma traffic contributed to victory in the Battle of Britain, assessing the German threats
to invade England, and was especially important during the battle of the Atlantic, on which British survival depended in 1941–42.

Enigma provided tactical intelligence of mostly short­term value. More long­ term insights into the German military mind were gleaned from mid­1941, when senior commanders started transmitting coded orders to one another using the ‘Lorenz’ wireless teleprinter, whose traffic was nicknamed ‘Tunny’. This gave access to strategic intentions and was initially deciphered by brainpower alone, until the creation of ‘Colossus’, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer, which commenced operations in February 1944.

It is challenging to measure the precise value of the work done at Bletchley, where Italian and Japanese traffic was also broken. We do know that on 12 July 1945, US general and future president Dwight D Eisenhower wrote a secret letter to thank Sir Stewart Menzies, who had kept both Churchill and Eisenhower supplied with daily Ultra material. In it, he stated: “The intelligence which has emanated from you before and during this campaign has been of priceless value to me… It has saved Intelligent design thousands of British and American lives, and in no small way contributed to the speed with which the enemy was routed and eventually forced to surrender.”

This was reinforced by Sir Harry Hinsley, a former Bletchley man and later author of the official volumes on British Intelligence in the Second World War. He stated that, without Ultra, “the war would have been something like two years longer, perhaps three years longer, possibly four years longer than it was”.

Peter Caddick-Adams is a military historian whose latest book is Sand and Steel: A New History → of D-Day (Arrow, 2020).

The Nazis were the underdogs

Fundamentally, the European Axis – and Japan – lost because they were much weaker than the Allied coalition. The Second World War was fought between the haves and have­nots, between established powers and ‘revisionist’ ones. To the Axis leaders, world resources – both overseas and in territories within Eurasia – had been divided up unfairly and without their participation, in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and before. To quote the Axis Tripartite Pact of Septem­ ber 1940, it is “a prerequisite of a lasting peace that each nation of the world receive the space to which it is entitled”. They lacked these resources in 1939, and Germany faced the additional problem that the treaty had restricted its armed forces until the mid­1930s.

There is no space to discuss Italy or the smaller Axis satellites they too had a sense of entitlement, but could never have won without Germany. Hitler believed he could deal with the estab­ lished powers by knocking them out one by one, and at the same time consolidate a blockade­proof resource base deep in Eurasia. Related to this was the Prus­ sian­German military tradition, which counted on better­led armed forces winning quick victories in ‘wars of movement’ rather than protracted wars of attrition. This failed: by late 1941 Hitler faced a situation where he could not invade Britain nor control more than the deep borderlands of the USSR. As Hitler put it in his ‘Testament’, written in a besieged Berlin in the war’s endgame: “The tragedy of the Germans is that we never have enough time.” Historically the Axis powers were late­comers, trying to catch up from a position of weakness. Because they were weak, they failed.

Evan Mawdsley is honorary professorial research fellow at the University of Glasgow and the author of The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II (Yale, 2019).

The Sinking of the USS Arizona

Just prior to 0800 Hawaii time, the Japanese aircraft from six Imperial Navy aircraft carriers commenced their attack on the United States Pacific Fleet while it was inport Pearl Harbor. The two waves of attack aircraft would inflict significant damage on the fleet as well as various military and air facilities around the navy base.

Five minutes prior to colors onboard the USS Arizona, the air raid alarm was sounded at 0755 and the ship was placed at General Quarters. As best as it could be ascertained, the ship took eight bomb hits shortly after the attack began. One of the bombs hit the ship’s forecastle, went through the deck, and exploded in the black powder magazine. This explosion resulted in the adjacent magazines exploding. As a result, a large explosion would rip through the front-end of the Arizona. The fires resulting would continue to burn down for two days and debris from Arizona was found on Ford Island and the surrounding vicinity of Pearl Harbor and ultimately sank the ship.

Key points

  • After the bombing of the naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, people of Japanese descent in the U.S. were treated as threats to national security. Beginning in 1942, the government forced their relocation to internment camps built in remote locations and similar to prisons with guard towers and barbed wire perimeters. The artist, Roger Shimomura, was interred with his family at a camp in Idaho.
  • Although born in the U.S., Shimomura has experienced discrimination from those who still view him as primarily Japanese. In this painting, he deliberately employs Japanese stereotypes to represent his grandmother and highlight false assumptions about Japanese-Americans.
  • Superman was often depicted in World War II propaganda, fighting stereotypes of the Germans and Japanese. In Shimomura’s painting, it is difficult to tell whether Superman is there to protect or threaten his grandmother. The comic book reference also recalls the early influence of Pop Art on the artist, while evoking traditional Japanese ukiyo-e prints. Like American Pop Art, ukiyo-e images use black outlines and large planes of flat, vibrant color, so Shimomura’s style blurs boundaries within his cultural background.

Go deeper

More to think about

Consider the role of diaries to serve as primary source accounts of historical periods and events. How should we balance the writer’s idea, based on their individual experiences and perceptions, with other documents that provide broader perspective?

How would you interpret Toko Shimomura’s words, written in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor? What are some reasons you think might be why she chose to destroy many of the diaries she kept throughout her life?

“I spent all day at home. Starting from today we were permitted to withdraw 100 dollars from the bank. This was for our sustenance of life, we who are enemy to them. I deeply feel America’s large-heartedness in dealing with us.”

December 7, 1941. San Francisco instead of Pearl Harbor

That is perhaps the most important factor - the ability to vastly outbuild the Japanese in ships and aircraft.

Another significant point that stands in the way of a Japanese attack on San Diego is the sheer distance involved. Hawaii stretched the IJN to the limit sending the KB an extra couple of thousand miles is going to take more fuel, more tankers, and more forces to support and protect those tankers.
Then, they have to get all the way back across the Pacific, which is a whole new kettle of fish.
However, the voyage out is a bit more of a problem - there was an ability to approach PH from relative secrecy by staying out of sealanes getting in a striking position off SD is a much more difficult proposition, given the substantially greater probabilities of being sighted.

The cost in fuel, support, tankers to go all the way from Japan to California and back will have an impact on what in @ a maximum effort for their early amphibious ops and advances.

It will not have a major impact on American perceptions of the Japanese above and beyond what already occured. It would probably see more assets put into Coastal Defence for a while, but no major impact on the manner in which the US would make war.

Interesting to note the flow-on effects depicted regarding the Japanese invasion of Malaya. This type of event could create the butterflies for Singapore to stick around a bit longer we would need a few more for it to hold.


A Pacific Fleet was created in 1907 when the Asiatic Squadron and the Pacific Squadron were joined. In 1910, the ships of the First Squadron, were organized back into a separate Asiatic Fleet. The General Order of 6 December 1922 organized the United States Fleet, with the Battle Fleet as the Pacific presence.

The fleet's modern incarnation dates from the splitting of the United States Fleet up into the Atlantic and Pacific fleets prior to World War II.

Until May of 1940, this unit was stationed on the west coast of the United States. During the summer of that year, as part of the U.S. response to Japanese expansionism, it was instructed to take an "advanced" position at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Long term basing at Pearl was so strongly opposed by the commander, Admiral James O. Richardson, that he personally protested in Washington. Political considerations were thought sufficiently important that he was relieved by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, who was in command at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.




Actually Singapore can hold very easily. Even in OTL Yamashita took a massive gamble- he was almost out of fuel and munitions and he was terrified that Percival would try for one last push. If he had there was no way the Japanese could have held.

The one thing needed to completely alter the course of the war in the Far East is for the British High Command in Singapore to have the balls to try to hold for two more days.


The key here is change from our history. I'm thinking of how the Japanese could and/or why they might hit the California coast in December 1941. If they are trying to generate an assured scenario where they can clobber the USN steaming out of Pearl, that's in line with their war aims.

I'm thinking that if the IJN adjusted it's approach to wanting to completely shatter the USN's Pacific fleet in one fell swoop, including the carriers, with the idea that they'd then have a free hand to be entrenched in the western Pacific for at least two years, they might just go that route. In some ways, what I'm suggesting is almost the Pacific version of the Schelifflen Plan: KO the US fast, then shift the forces to take on the other guys.


The IJN sent two of the ten battleships(plus Yamato) and all six of the fleet carriers which represented over 75% of Japan's naval air capacity to Pearl Harbor. They anticipated a loss of HALF that strike force in return for success at Pearl Harbor.

Ergo Japan simply can't launch a major strike at Pearl Harbor and at San Diego or San Francisco or. without putting substantial forces at risk for little gain or, more probably, taking greater losses at Pearl for fewer gains and then the force attacking California runs a gauntlet which may be superior in air and gun power.

Meanwhile, which of Japan's operations against the Dutch and British colonial empires had to be abandoned entirely due to lack of naval power, said operations having been the whole point of the war?

Operation Torch was a surprisingly slapshod job to begin with but the idea of a single Japanese raid having much effect eleven months later is not very plausible. Further, if the IJN suffers heavy losses getting home then the US enjoys a much stronger position in the Pacific. If Japan loses two or three carriers of the six fleet carriers then damage to a single American port is far less serious to the US than these losses are to Japan.

A possible timeline for this:

October(?) 1941, IJN reconsiders the planned series of operations, decides to include a major strike on San Diego as well. San Diego strike to include three fleet carriers, two battleships, plus cruisers and destroyers and fleet 'tail'.

Attack on Pearl Harbor reduced to three fleet carriers. A furious Yamamoto manages to force the inclusion of an additional two battleships to the strike, openly declaring his intent to use them to bombard Pearl Harbor without regard for the survival of these ships.

November 1941, IJN forces begin to move.

December 1st(?) 1941, the disappearance of even more IJN ships from radio contact is noticed by the US, suspicion and alertness increases. slightly.

December 5th(?) 1941, IJN begin effort to clear civilian craft around Pearl Harbor and San Diego which might alert the US. Much greater shipping level around San Diego results in confused warnings being received, US goes to higher alert. IJN forces near San Diego are forced to delay full refueling of fleet due to strict deadline.

December 6th 1941, battle of USS Ward against IJN submarine combined with confused reports of ship attacks causes US naval forces to be alerted, army forces also move to a slightly higher alert level.

December 7th, 1941, morning, at Pearl Harbor US ships are manned, ship's compartments are not locked open, AA is manned, etc. IJN force has @270 aircraft, @45 are lost in first attack, US loses three battleships(two sunk, one badly damaged). Air raids on US air fields are also less effective due to inferior numbers. Second strike results in two US battleships lost including the one damaged, US has also lost @200 planes on the ground or in air combat. IJN forces lose @140 aircraft.

Afternoon at Pearl Harbor, IJN battleships engage in suicide run to bombard port facilities and oil tank farm, engaged by US four surviving battleships, submarines, coastal artillery, 200+ surviving air craft. All IJN battleships sunk, one American battleships sunk, one damaged. IJN carriers attempt to provide air support, direction noted on US radar(NOT an IJN target). Admiral Halsey's force including Lexington and Enterprise reinforced by @50 surviving land-based aircraft attack IJN carriers. With less than 80 planes including 40 Zeros the Japanese lose one carrier and scuttle a second that evening but manage to make a successful retreat.

US losses: @275-325 aircraft including the strike on the carriers, five battleships sunk, one damaged.

IJN losses: Two carriers, four battleships, 200-250 aircraft.

Raid on San Diego does unexpected damage to ship building facilities and air fields but the number of such facilities in California, not ot mention radar. US increased alert in effect. IJN loses @100 aircraft out of 270 total. Evening attack by US air called in from all available sources proves disorganized and ineffective but startles Japanese with the number involved. IJN commader(Nagumo?) determines that retreat can no longer be delayed, four IJN destroyers scuttled due to lack of time to refuel.

IJN losses: @120 aircraft. 4 destroyers.

US losses: @300+ aircraft, substantial damage to ship-building industry.

December 8th 1941, despite increased vigilance by reduced Japanese forces the British warships Repulse and Prince of Wales pound IJN forces landing in Malaysia, doing heavy damage to IJN transports. Only intervention by IJN forces centered on two older battleships prevents a serious defeat. Repulse sunk, Prince of Wales damaged and will spend three months underoing repair(plus transit both ways).

Japanese losses: Substantial merchant shipping lost, 5000+ soldiers KIA, one older battleship sunk, one older battleship damaged, two cruisers sunk.

RN losses: One battlecruiser sunk, one battleship damaged.

December 11th(?) 1941, IJN concludes that losses to the force at Pearl and the distance/fuel concerns of the San Diego force renders carrier support at Wake Island, site of unexpected resistance, impossible at this time.

December 16th(?) 1941, force retreating from San Diego sighted by US air patrol far north of Hawaii, Admiral Halsey's force now reinforced with a third carrier and the two surviving battleships unable to reach.

December 23rd 1941, IJN second attack on Wake Island fails due to lack of carrier support, also 2-3 ships assigned OTL unavailable due to use at San Diego. IJN loses one light cruiser, six destroyers, minor ships.

In OTL Admiral Kajioka openly intended to throw the destroyers ashore and use the crews as infantry if the only alternative was failing to take Wake before it could be reinforced.

December 28th 1941, reinforcement for Wake arrive, 24 older fighters and radar equipment being most important.

January 1st-February 15th 1942, Japanese advance slowed due to higher losses/fewer heavy ships available.

February 15th 1942, IJN forces at Singapore routed by Commonwealth counter-offensive, @30,000 Japanese killed. Japan forced to divert two divisions and support units to shore up the sector. Singapore will hold until June 1942, deployment of @70,000 Japanese troops will prove a serious drain on supply lines and transport.

With Japanese forces reduced and diverted USS Langley and other convoys arrive at Dutch East Indies successfully with one reinforced infantry brigade, @70 P-40 fighters, 52 A-24 bombers. IJN loses 50+ aircraft, several thousand troops, final conquest of Dutch East Indies delayed @3 weeks.

March 1942, IJN Indian Ocean Raid cancelled pending fall of Singapore.


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