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8th December 1941

WWII Timeline




Events On This Day

Russian Front, The Wehrmacht advance on Moscow (Operation Typhoon) is suspended for the winter. The Wehrmacht was driven from several villages around Kalinin. Russian advance in the Taganrog area continued.

In Africa, Erwin Rommel forces being slowly driven westwards.

Far East, Constant air attacks on United States Pacific bases. Japanese troops landed in Northern Malaya. Singapore and Hong Kong bombed. Thailand capitulated within a few hours of a Japanese invasion of the country.

Britain declared war upon Japan. Small number of Luftwaffe aircraft attacked Northeast England at night.

President Roosevelt asked Congress for declaration of war against Japan. Canada, Costa Rica, Dominica, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Free France declared war against Japan. China declared war against Japan, Germany and Italy.

Far East Air Force. First word of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour is received on Luzon in the Philippines by commercial radio between 0300 0330 local time. Within 30 minutes radar at Iba Field plots formation of aeroplanes 75 miles offshore, heading for Corregidor. Army Air Forces P-40 fighters are sent out to intercept but make no contact. Shortly before 0930, after aircraft are detected over Lingayen Gulf heading toward Manila, B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers at Clark Field are ordered airborne to prevent being caught on the ground. Fighters from Clark and Nichols Fields are sent to intercept the enemy but do not make contact. The aeroplanes swing East and bomb military installations at Baguio. Tarlac, Tuguegarao, and airfields at Cabantuan are also attacked. By 1130 the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and fighters sent into the air earlier have landed at Clark and Iba for refuelling, and radar has disclosed another flight of aircraft 70 miles West of Lingayen Gulf, headed South. Fighters from Iba make a fruitless search over South China Sea. Fighters from Nichols are dispatched to patrol over Bataan and Manila. Around 1145 a formation is reported headed South over Lingayen Gulf. Fighters are ordered from Del Carmen to cover Clark Field but fail to arrive before the Japanese hit Clark shortly after noon. Heavy bombers and many fighters at Clark Field are caught on the ground, but a few P-40 fighters manage to get airborne. 2d Lieutenant Randall B Keator (20th Pursuit Squadron) shoots down the first Japanese aircraft over the Philippines. The P-40 fighters earlier sent on patrol of South China Sea return to Iba Field with fuel running low at the beginning of an attack on that airfield. They fail to prevent bombing but manage to prevent low-level strafing of the sort which proved so destructive at Clark. At the end of the day's action it is apparent that the Japanese have won a major victory. The effective striking power of Far East Air Force has been destroyed, the fighters strength has been seriously reduced, most B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers maintenance facilities have been demolished, and about 80 men have been killed.

Alaska Defence Command. Starting today bombers fly armed reconnaissance each morning from Anchorage to Kodiak.

Zone of Interior. First and Fourth Air Forced are made responsible for air defence on the East and West coasts, respectively. Commanding General First Air Force orders I Bomber Command to begin over water reconnaissance with all available aircraft to locate and attack any hostile surface forces which might approach the East coast. Similar reconnaissance is ordered off West coast. Aircraft of 1st Pursuit Group from Selfridge Field begin to arrive at San Diego, being the first reinforcements of air strength on the West coast.

The Netherlands Government declared war against Japan.

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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