January 1942 (1)

Japanese light tanks and armored vehicles attack British Positions, Jan. '42

Japanese light tanks and armored vehicles attack British Positions, Jan. ’42

The “Oriental Blitzkrieg” did not end with the New Year’s arrival.  As the Allies attempted to reorganize, the Japanese tactics would continue for six more months.

2 January, some units of the Japanese 14th Army occupied Manila while the 48th Division pushed against the Porac Line of US defenders that were spread across the entrance of the Bataan Peninsula.  Much to Gen. Homma’s dismay, his well-trained men were being sent to Java and would replaced by the 65th “Summer Brigade” from Formosa.  Cavite naval base was taken and Brunei Bay at Borneo was occupied.

enemy tank knocked out by British antitank gunners. Jan. '42

enemy tank knocked out by the 13th Battery/ Australian 4th Anti-Tank Regiment. Jan. ’42

3 January, Allied forces in southeast Asia were put under a joint command named ABDACOM (American-British-Dutch-Australian Command).  British General Sir Archibald Wavell acted as Supreme Commander with the headquarters on Java.  This attempt at a joint structure proved to be difficult due to international rivalries, code differences and teams trying to work together with no prior experience.  In China, Chiang Kai-shek was made the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces of that nation.

the "Malahang Wreck" with Australian troops approaching.

the “Malahang Wreck” with Australian troops approaching.

4-19 January, the Indian 11th Division, British and Commonwealth forces were continually pushed back on Malaya.  The capital, Kuala Lumpur, was occupied on the 12th by the Japanese 25th Army.  On the 17th, 15 tanks burst through the lines as the enemy dropped paratroopers along the coast.   The 5th and 8th divisions’ positions pushed to within 100 miles (160 km) from Singapore on the 19th.

original crew of the USS Pollack

original crew of the USS Pollack

5-9 January, the submarine, the USS Pollack, commanded by Stanley Moseley, damaged the cargo ship, Heijo Maru; 2 days later, she sank the cargo ship, Unkai Maru No. 1 and on the 9th, she sank the freighter Telan Maru in Japanese waters.  /  Off Papua, New Guinea, the 49th Fighter Group damaged a Japanese 4,103 ton cargo ship that was then steered to the beach near Malahang.  On the 8th, she was destroyed.

9 January, Japanese Gen. Nara caused high casualties to is own troops when he ordered his over-aged Summer Brigade against the Abucay Line on Luzon.  MacArthur called on D.C. again for a “sea thrust” to be sent from Australia.  The US Chief of Naval Operations told FDR that they did not have enough ships for such an operation.  The president sent a New Year’s message to the Filipinos: “I can assure you that every possible vessel is bearing down…the strength that will eventually crush the enemy…”  Approximately 80,000 US and Filipino troops gallantly defended their positions until 23 January when I & II Corps were pushed 30 miles (48 km) south.

BATAAN

BATAAN

The moral of the American troops was waning quickly due to round-the-clock fighting, taunts from the enemy loud speakers, hunger, low supplies of medicine and lack of sleep.  Resentment was expressed for the refusal of Allied support, the Filipinos and MacArthur, who remained on Corregidor Island, in the endless verses of one of the most corrosive military dirges of WWII:

We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces
No rifles, no plans or artillery pieces,
and nobody gives a damn!

But – despite disease and lack of support, the American and Filipino troops continued to fight on.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin

SLANG2

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Farewell Salutes – 

"Wounded Warrior" painting by U.S. Marine Michael Fay

“Wounded Warrior” painting by U.S. Marine Michael Fay

John Aziz – Toronto, CAN; RC Army; WWII

Wes Banks – St. Petersburg, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

James Hurt – Pittsburg, KS; US Army, Capt. (Ret.), Vietnam, 189th Helicopter Comp., Bronze Star

Frank Knowlton – Kerhonkson, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Henry Irwin – Wichland, WA; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

John Moss – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # Y78337, Warrant Officer

Jordon Spears (21) – Memphis, IN; USMC. Corporal, ISIS Campaign

Robert Walton Jr. – Lake Worth, FL; US Navy, WWII, 1st Beach Battalion, ETO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 6, 2014, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. I have a circa 1941 photograph of my father standing with a serviceman captioned “Claude Brown, ANZAC Club, Kuala Lumpur”. I would be interested to learn if the two people who commented earlier on this site about an uncle of that name could identify the person in the photograph as their relative?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to know of your interest. If you put your cursor on their Gravatar image or name and click it – you should be able to reach them directly. If not, there should be a Reply place to click to them.

      Like

    • Hi Sirron2015, we would love to see your photo of Claud Brown at the ANZAC Club, Kuala Lumpur, c1941. It’s just possible that it may be a snap of my wife’s uncle, 4th Anti Tank, AIF, who died of wounds after the battle of Muar, Malaya, Jan 1942.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thankyou, gpcox, for amending the photo caption of the enemy tank destroyed by the Australian 4th Anti-Tank Regiment at Muar, Malaya. For anyone interested in this action, the very best source is the book “It Happened To Us” by Gunner Colin Finkemeyer of the same A.I F. regiment. It provides a first-hand account of the tank battle written from Sgt Clarrie Thornton, who commanded the forward gun on which my wife’s uncle Claude Brown was the gun-layer.
    Other interesting descriptions are at:
    http://www.andrewwarland.com.au/bakribattle17-20Jan42.html
    http://www.colin-smith.info/pages/books/extracts/singapore_burning/extract_05.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Muar

    Thankyou for your understanding.

    Like

    • No problem, Bruce – I want the truth displayed here, not a copy of a history book. Some of the things I print, destroy the shine off idols and some new role models are born, but still I am going for the truth – with out any personal interjections on my part. I appreciate the book suggestion [my library is always growing] and the assistance with the Australian troops. Too often, the different dominions of the Empire are grouped together in history as Commonwealth troops. I NEED people such as yourself to speak up.
      Should you have any stories to repeat about Claude Brown, we all would be interested to hear them. Thank you for the links, I’ll get on them shortly.

      Like

    • Hi Bruce,
      My Uncle is also Claud Brown.
      I’m glad to hear he is remembered by you & your wife.
      Best wishes
      Jenni

      Thanks gpcox for a very interesting site.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting site. However the photo caption “Enemy tank knocked out by British anti-tank gunners, Jan ’42” is incorrect. The tank, along with seven others, was destroyed by the 13th Battery of the Australian 4th Anti tank Regiment, at the Battle of Muar. My wife’s uncle, Gunner Claude Brown, was the gun-layer (who aims and fires the gun) on the forward gun. This gun hit and disabled all eight tanks; a second gun at the rear assisted in their total destruction. Unfortunately Gunner Brown died of wounds a few days later, and is buried in an unknown grave somewher nearby.

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    • The picture here was in a book published in 1945, I merely copied their caption. I thank you for the added info and I will edit the site. I demand that everything here be accurate.

      Like

  4. Great read gpcox, I had read up on the role Wavell played as Supreme Commander at that time , but missed the part of ABDACOM,seems the more you read on the past military history, there is still more to research.
    Great post.
    Ian

    Like

  5. So well written & researched! Thank you~

    Like

  6. “Continued to fight on…” – what a spirit!

    Like

  7. Those guys went through a nightmare, and it was only beginning.

    Like

    • You said it, Chris! That’s why I’m always asking the readers – if you know of something I missed – PLEASE comment here. SO MANY islands, units and countries [whose name keeps changing] involved and always moving!! You should see me sometimes staring at a war map with my head in hand, eyes darting around and pointing to – how did that unit get there – they were over [oh,oh – which map was that?] You can now understand why I so often use the emoticon – O_o

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I always appreciate my history lesson from you. The Marine’s painting is incredibly well done, too.

    Like

    • Glad you like the posts, I do try to bring something for everyone. I know many are just being courteous and don’t really get into war articles, so I try to bring variety.

      Like

  9. Well said Pierre. –Curt

    Like

  10. The more I read about this theatre of operation the more I learn. It was always a hard and ‘undervalued’ war in comparison to the ETO. Yet, as you say, Japan made a direct attack on the US unlike the Germans which doesn’t make sense. Saying that, without the industrial might and numbers of the US forces the second World War and in particular the ETO would have no doubt been very different.

    Like

    • Most of the rich and powerful back then were Ivy League educated, and back then, their professors taught them the Aryan/Wealthy/Power way. German people were like them = they could relate and comprehend them. Japanese – different looks and culture = inferiority. A logical equation for them, they fully expected the Germans to be the superior enemy, so he had to wiped out and then they could snap their fingers and clean up the Pacific.
      That could have been a worse mistake than it turned out, because in the military – YOU NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m always amazed when I read your site. There’s so much I don’t know. Thank you for this good work! My Papaw (paternal grandfather) served in the South Pacific in some sort of supply capacity. He told me how they would salvage parts and organize any new shipments they received. He always did have the most organized workshop as I was growing up. 🙂

    Like

    • Oh wow, yes! Those logistics men could work wonders sometimes. Ever see M*A*S*H*? Most of those stories are true. Despite being about the Korean War, the job is pretty right-on. Thanks for reading, Emily.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. One of the greatest “untold” stories of the war in the Philippine Islands appeared in snippets in one of W. E. B. Griffin’s fictional accounts of the Marines in World War II. At the time of General Wainwright’s surrender, newly promoted lieutenant colonel Wendell Fertig decided he would not surrender and so he disappeared into the jungle. In time, he organized a first rate guerrilla campaign against the Japanese. All told, Fertig commanded some 30,000 irregular forces in the Philippines and there is no question that he deserved a promotion to general and the Medal of Honor. What he received instead was a promotion to colonel and the Distinguished Service Cross —because, you see, MacArthur could not allow two heroes in the Philippines now, could he?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remember that was a fictional account and although guerrillas did a great job in assisting the troops, I take nothing away from them on that respect, but I do recommend you read further non-fiction books on them. MacArthur was a glory-hound (not getting around that fact), but you need to look farther into exactly why the promotion was not higher, there might be other reasons.

      Like

  13. Here in California, my grandparents weren’t too happy about the “Europe First” plan – especially after my uncle’s national guard unit was sent to San Francisco to protect the KGO radio tower – his machine gun platoon was to set up an anti-aircraft defense.

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    • A lot of people weren’t very happy about the plan; after all, Japan is the one that bombed us while Germany took their good sweet time to declare war on us. I’m afraid that did not stop FDR from doing exactly as he pleased. Both coasts were nervous about infiltration, but not much happened to mainland America – Thank goodness.

      Like

  14. I think the saddest part is that they were given the idea that help was on its way when it wasn’t…but how do you tell the men, you’re on your own, we have no one to send.

    Burn’s latest documentary, Roosevelt is revealing some of FDRs human side, after being glorified by so many for years…he too, had many weaknesses.

    Like

  15. Pierre Lagacé

    Who seemed to care about the… Battling Bastards of Bataan

    We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan
    No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces
    No rifles, no plans or artillery pieces,
    and nobody gives a damn!

    The shit had hit the fan…

    Liked by 1 person

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