February 17th, 1942 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The House of Commons holds a debate on the escape of the German ships from Brest, France. Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces the formation of a commission of inquiry under Mr. Justice Bucknill. (Jack McKillop)
Submarine HMS Unswerving laid down.
Submarine HMS Unshaken launched
Rescue tug HMS Favourite launched.
NORTH SEA: Five Bostons of RAF Bomber Command fly an uneventful shipping search off the Dutch coast. (Jack McKillop)
FRANCE: During the night of the 17-18th, three RAF
Bomber Command Hampdens drop leaflets over Paris. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: During the night of the 17-18th, 12 RAF Bomber Command bombers are sent on a roving commission over northwestern Germany but visibility is poor and most bombing results are unobserved; eight other aircraft bomb the city of Essen. (Jack McKillop)
U-533 is laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORWAY: RAF Bomber Command dispatches one Whitley during the night to drop leaflets over Oslo. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.S.R.: In Russia, the Soviet Army struggles to push the German lines back near Rhzev, on the Moscow front. The Soviet Air Force drops 7,373 Soviet paratroopers behind German lines amid fog; more than a quarter fall directly onto German lines and are taken prisoner. (Jack McKillop)
MIDDLE EAST: General Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander in Chief Middle East Command, is ordered to release two more divisions for action in the Far East, the British 70th and the Australian 9th. The Australian 9th Division is subsequently allowed to remain in Middle East. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: The Japanese maintain pressure against the Indian 17th Division along the Bilin River and continue outflanking attempts. (Jack McKillop)
JAPAN: Tokyo: Singapore is renamed Shonan [Light of the South].
SOCIETY ISLANDS: (Which are located in the western portion of French Polynesia) Task Force 5614 with almost 5,000 troops arrives at Bora Bora Island. This force consists of the 102d Infantry Regiment (minus the 3d Battalion), the 198th Coast Artillery Regiment (Antiaircraft) and the Bobcat Detachment of the First Naval Construction Battalion. This is the first operational deployment of the Seabees. Bora Bora is to be used as a refuelling base to support the Southern Lifeline to Australia. (Jack McKillop)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Off JAPAN, the submarine USS Triton (SS-201) torpedoes and sinks Japanese gunboat No. 5 Shin'yo Maru off Nagasaki. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer HNLMS Van Nes sunk by aircraft from aircraft carrier Ryujo in position 03.27S 106.38E while escorting Dutch passenger ship Sloet van Beele which carried a detachment of troops from Billiton to Batavia. 68 of her crew went down with the ship. (Dave Shirlaw)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: On Bataan, the I Corps completely restores the main line of resistance without opposition as the Japanese continues to withdraw. (Jack McKillop)
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Eight USAAF 5th Air Force P-40s stage
through Batavia Airdrome on Java to mount a low-level bombing and strafing
attack against Japanese shipping at Palembang, Sumatra. The P-40s are attacked
by Japanese fighters before they reach the target and the pilots of five
aircraft jettison their bombs to defend themselves. The P-40 pilots claim five
Japanese aircraft and three of the P-40 pilots are able to release their bombs
among a group of landing barges. No P-40s are lost. (Jack McKillop)
On Sumatra, about 2,500 RAF airmen, 1,890 British troops, 700 Dutch soldiers and some 1,000 civilian refugees had embarked in twelve various sized vessels at Oosthaven and escape the island. (Jack McKillop)
AUSTRALIA: The Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, cables British and New Zealand government officials requesting that all Australian troops then in transit or about to sail for the East Indies be diverted to Australia, and that the 9th Division and other Australian Imperial Force units in the Middle East be recalled at an early date. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: Minesweeping training ship HMCS Dalehurst (ex-HMCS Glendale V) requisitioned. Former fishing boat. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Shubrick laid down.
Submarine USS Albacore launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2217, MS Empire Comet, a straggler from Convoy HX-174, was torpedoed and sunk by U-136 west of Rockall. The master, 37 crewmembers and eight gunners were lost. (Dave Shirlaw)
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