From a Battle at Dawn to Sunset of Empire: An Alternate Pacific War

The War in the Pacific, the battle for supremacy of the Pacific between the West and Japan, was the greatest naval war fought so far by humanity. Powerful fleets steamed thousands of miles to strike at the very heart of their enemies strongholds, while submarines, mines and aircraft brought new ways of destroying enemy maritime commerce in ways that were decisive.

But it was not just the sailors and naval aviators who fought. On land, on islands arctic, temperate and tropical, soldiers and marines fought vicious ruthless battles to destroy their enemy, while in the jungles, mountains, ricefields and even steppe of Asia, even larger battles were fought between old enemies.

In the air, aircraft became a decisive weapon that not only destroyed shipping, but brought a devastating rain of explosives and fire on cities, fortifications and armies in the field alike. New uses of aircraft were found, moving armies and supplying by air and moving wounded and civilians to safety on a scale undreamed of before the war.

It was in the Pacific War that the art and science of the amphibious landing was perfected to a degree not seen even in Europe, and it was in the Pacific were suicide became a common tactic.

The Pacific War continues to shape the destiny of Asia, Oceania and North America even today.

This is the story of that war
authors note:
This is the master thread for my various Paciic War stories, and it will also have maps, Orders of Battle, links to books I like that are relevant and hopefully interesting to others. It will also be where the master chronology of events is posted.

The primary point of departure is the death of Douglas Macarthur in a car accident in New York City on May 1, 1937 shortly after his wedding. This sets in motion a series of events that leads to a far different preparation for the defense of the Philippines and as a secondary event, leads to the retention of Admiral James O Richardson and far more prepared defense of Pearl Harbor.

The prewar events are primarily from the American and Filipino perspective. All events in the War in Europe remain unchanged until after December 1941 with a couple of exceptions. More butterflies result in Europe and elsewhere as the story moves along.

Instead of a large overall history, I have broken down the major campaigns of the war into a series of relatively shorter stories.

Here they are so far

The Battle at Dawn: The First Battle Between the United States and Japan December 7-10, 1941
(this story is complete)

Eisenhower in the Pacific: The Shoe String Warriors of Luzon
covers the period December 1941 - July 1942 and the defense and fall of the Philippines
(this story is complete)

Rising Sun of Tropical Seas
Covers the period February - March 1942 and the Japanese Conquest of the Southern Resource area and the successful evacuation of many of the defenders of Singapore in a heroic action by the Royal Navy
(this story is complete)

Flyboys and Flattops: The Carrier War in the Pacific 1942-44
covers the carrier battles of the Pacific War, from the raids by the 1st Air Fleet and Spruance's fast carriers in the Marshall Islands, to the great battle that destroyed the Imperial Japanese Navy as an effective force.
(this story is ongoing)

A Hard Won Victory: The South Pacific 1942-43 (Eisenhower in the Pacific Part 2)
Covers the period campaign to control New Guinea, the Bismark Archipelago, and the grinding battle of attrition that was a bitter test for the Allies and Japanese air, land and naval forces
(this story has barely started)

Fire and Blood in a Tropical Paradise: The Gilbert Islands Campaign 1942-43

coming soon
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The Pacific Fleet December 6, 1941 at Pearl Harbor
US Navy Hawaiian area December 6, 1941
Task Force 9 Picket force
Destroyer minelayers Gamble, Ramsey, Montgomery, Pruitt, Tracy
submarines S-18, S-23, S-34, Gudgeon, Plunger, Tambor, Thresher

Air Search (North sector)
Navy VP11, VP12, VP14, VP21, VP22, VP23, VP24 (69 PBY, 53 available), Army RS 23, RS 31 (12 B17D, 8 available)

Air Search (South sector)
Army 18th Bomb Wing (33 B18, 21 available), Navy VJ1 (9 JRF Goose, 9 J2F Duck, 6 of each available) plus 8 SOC Seagull float planes from the battleships assigned to local patrol off the harbor entrance.

Scouting Force (Halsey)
Task Force 2 (Brown) carrier Lexington (w 37 Dauntless dive bombers, 18 Devastator torpedo bombers, 17 Buffalo fighters), carrier Yorktown (36 Dauntless dive bombers, 18 Devastator torpedo bombers, 18 Wildcat fighters) heavy cruisers Chicago, Portland, Astoria destroyers Porter, Drayton, Flusser, Lamson, Mahan, Cummings, Case, Tucker,

Task Force 3 (Halsey) carrier Enterprise (37 Dauntless dive bombers, 18 Vindicator Dive bombers,18 Devastator torpedo bombers, 14 Wildcat fighters), heavy cruisers Northampton, Chester, Salt Lake City, destroyers Blach, Maury, Craven, Gridley, McCall, Dunlap, Benham, Fanning, Ellet

Task Force 8 (Fletcher) heavy cruiser Minneapolis, destroyers Farragut, Aylwin, Monaghan, Farragut, destroyer minesweepers Chandler, Hovey, Boggs, Lamberton, fleet oilers Platte, Tippacanoe, Santee, Sangamon

French Frigate Shoals
Passing nearby: (returning from Midway) Seaplane Tender Wright (civilians aboard), Tranport Burrows (en route to Wake Island),
station: small seaplane tender Swan, Destroyer minelayer Sicard, patrol gunboat Sacramento

small seaplane tender Avocet, destroyer minelayer Breese,

assembling off Honolulu harbor (as of 0600 hours)
TF 15 Light Cruiser (Rear Admiral Fairfax Leary) Helena, Phoenix, destroyers MacDonough, Phelps, Chew, Allen

In port Pearl Harbor
110 Dock: battleships Oklahoma (moved 0400 hours) target ship Utah (outboard)
California (inboard, moved 0400 hours), minelayer Oglala (outboard)(moved 0400 hours)
submarine Cachelot
Drydock: battleship Pennyslvania, destroyers Cassin, Downes
Floating drydock: destroyer Shaw

Naval Station docks: heavy cruisers San Francisco, New Orleans, St Louis, light cruiser Honolulu destroyers Jarvis, Mugford, Bagley, Cummings, minesweeper Greebe, destroyer minesweeper Trever, Zane, Perry Wasmuth, destroyer minelayer Breese, oiler Ramapo, repair ship Argonne, Rigel,

Southeast Loch (submarine base) docks: submarine tender Pelias, rescue ship Widgeon, repair ship Sumner, stores ship Castor, submarines Narwhal, Dolphin, Tautog,

Carrier Row: Seaplane Tenders Tangiers, Curtis (historic location of Utah), seaplane tenders (converted destroyers) Thornton (OTL location of Raleigh), Hulbert (OTL location of Detroit)

Middle loch: repair ship Medusa, hospital ship Solace (moved 0400 hours)

Battleship Row
battleship Nevada (inboard), destroyer Dobbin (moved 0400 hours)
battleship Arizona (inboard), repair ship Vestal (outboard)
battleship Tennessee (inboard), destroyer Hull (outboard)
battleship Maryland (inboard), destroyer Dewey (outboard)
tied to Ford Island dock: Oiler Neosho
battleship West Virginia (inboard), destroyer Worden (outboard)

East Loch
destroyers: Henley, Patterson, Ralph Talbot
destroyer tender: Whitney, destroyers Conyngham, Reid, Tucker, Case, Selfridge

harbor entrance
destroyers Blue, Ward, Helm, 4 minesweepers
Japanese Forces assigned Operation AI

0400 Hours December 7, 1941
Kido Butai (First Air Fleet) (Striking Force)
(260 miles north of Oahu)
Carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku, battleships Hiei, Haruna, Kongo, Kirishima, CA Tone (fleet flag Yamamoto), Chikuma, CL Abukuma, 14 destroyers, 12 fleet oilers, 414 combat aircraft (54 Zero fighters for fleet defense, 354 for striking force including 81 fighters, 143 B5N Kate torpedo/level bombers, 135 D3A Val dive bombers) plus 20 float planes for scouting

the fleet turns to the west to launch, then returns to its base course heading south so that by 0930 it will be 180 miles north of Oahu

as of 0400 hours
CL Abukuma, 3 destroyers are 30 miles in front of the fleet as an advanced screen
1 Destroyer (Arare) is moving south at 32 knots toward it's assigned mission position (which it will reach 130 miles north of Oahu at 0500 hours)
the I74 is in position 30 miles off the north coast of Oahu, off Kamuka Point
the I3 is in position 10 miles off shore in Walmea Bay

First Wave: spotted on deck (commander Lieutenant Commander Murata)
40 Kate torpedo bombers (12 each Akagi, Kaga, 8 each Soryu, Hiryu), 3 Val dive bombers (Kaga)

Second Wave: spotted on deck
(Strike Commander: Commander Fuchida)
9 Zero fighters (Kaneohe Bay attack)(Shokaku)
21 Kate Level bombers (air base suppression)(Shokaku)
9 Zero fighters (Air Cover)(Zuikaku)
21 Kate Level bombers (air base suppression)(Zuikaku)
12 Zero fighters (air cover)(Soryu)
12 Zero fighters (air cover)(Hiryu)
9 Zero fighters (air cover)(Akagi)
9 Zero fighters (air cover)(Kaga)

Second Wave: hanger deck (begin moving to flight deck after First Wave launched, which takes 30 minutes total)
15 Kate Level bombers (Akagi)(fleet attack)
15 Kate Level bombers (Kaga)(fleet attack)
10 Kate Level bombers (Soryu)(fleet attack)
10 Kate Level bombers (Hiryu)(fleet attack)
6 Val Dive bombers (Akagi)(special attack unit)
6 Kate reconnaissance scouts (Zuikaku)
6 Kate reconnaissance scouts (Shokaku)

Third Wave (hanger decks, spotted and launched 1 hour after Second Wave)
(commander: Lieutenant Commander Egusa)
Group 1 (Egusa)
18 Val Dive bombers (Soryu)(fleet attack)
18 Val Dive bombers (Hiryu)(fleet attack)
9 Zero fighters (Hiryu)
9 Zero fighters (Soryu)

Group 2 (Shimazaki)
9 Zero fighters (Akagi)
27 Val Dive bombers (Shokaku)(air base suppression)
18 Val Dive bombers (Akagi)(fleet attack)
Group 3 (Sakamoto)
9 Zero fighters (Kaga)
27 Val Dive bombers (Zuikaku)(air base suppression)
18 Val Dive bombers (Kaga)(fleet attack)

Fleet Combat Air patrol
6 Zeros each carrier (36 total), spotted and launched after Third Wave departs

(refueling forces, the 12 fleet oilers, along with 4 destroyers are organized into 4 refueling groups. One is already en route for home, having completed its mission on December 4 (3 oilers, unescorted, meeting with 2 additional destroyers en route). Another group completed its task on December 6, and is en route for home with 2 destroyers as escorts. The third group if midway between Marcus Island and Wake Island with 2 destroyers, while a fourth group, with 2 destroyers and 3 oilers, is attached to the Midway Assault Force below)

6th Fleet (submarines)
31 fleet submarines plus 5 special attack (midget) submarines

Midway Island Assault Force
CA Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, Kinugasa, 4 destroyers, 2 gunboats, 6 submarine chasers, 1 seaplane tender, 2 tenders, 9 transports, South Sea Force (4,886 troops)

Wake Island Assault force
this force is en route to Wake Island as of December 7
CL Yubari, Tatsuta, Tenryu, 6 destroyers, 2 destroyer transports, 2 transports, (450 naval Special Landing Force Troops)

US and Filipino Ground Forces The Philippines December 7, 1941
US Army Far East (USAFE) December 1941
Commander: General Walter Krueger
Luzon Force (Eisenhower) (army level headquarters

Lingayen Defense Zone
I Corps – Wainwright (Tarlac area)
6th Cavalry Brigade - 1st Provisional tank group (US NG) (192nd and 194th tank battalion with 108 M3 Stuarts and 46 halftracks with 75 mm guns) 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts), 112th Cavalry Regiment (TX/Montana NG), (San Jose area)
12th Infantry Division - 31st US Infantry regiment, 43rd Philippines Scouts (PS) infantry regiment, 57th PS infantry regiment, 86th Field Artillery regiment (PS), plus support (10,000 men) (Rosario area)
23rd Infantry Division - 65th US Infantry regiment, 45th PS infantry regiment, 47th PS infantry regiment, 88th field artillery regiment (PS) plus support (10,000 men) (Paniqui area)

11th Infantry Division (PA) reinforced – 11th, 12th, 13th Light Infantry Regiments, 11th Field Artillery battalion (PA)(12 75 mm guns), 11th Antitank battalion (PA)(12 2.95 inch guns), plus 1st PA Coast Artillery regiment (6 x 8 inch guns, 6 x 6 inch guns, 4 x 6 pounder guns (57 mm), 2 x 3 pounder guns (47 mm) all from the old armored cruiser Baltimore, plus 6 x 155 guns (World War I issue). (these Naval guns provided in late November 1941)

Also directly attached to this command are 5 torpedo boats, 2 minelayers and 2 armed trawlers of the Philippine Coast Guard along with the 250 Filipino Coast Guardsmen and 10 US Navy advisors.
Also attached: 2nd Engineer Brigade (Philippine Army)

The coast artillery is dug in in positions recently constructed by the Philippine Army 2nd Engineer Brigade which is still at work on positions for the 11th Infantry Division when the war begins. Engineers assigned to the infantry divisions are assisting in providing cover and concealment for the I Corps mobile troops.

Manila Defense Area
II Corps – Ord
1st Infantry Division (PA) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd Infantry regiments, 4th Field Artillery regiment (24 75 mm guns, 6 105 mm guns, all World War I era), 1st antitank battalion (18 37 mm guns with jeeps, 12 .50 caliber machine guns with jeeps) (Fort McKinley)

21st Infantry Division (PA) reinforced – 21st, 22nd light infantry regiments, 21st artillery battalion, 21st anti tank battalion, 1st battalion / 2nd PA Coast Artillery (12 x 155 guns) Infante area (coast artillery) / Lamon Bay area (infantry) As of December 8 only the coast artillery is dug in, the remaining units are still in tents. This division has almost no vehicles aside from its artillery prime movers and a few staff cars for the division staff and a few trucks for moving supplies.

The 23rd Light Infantry Regiment along with the 2nd Battalion / 2nd PA Coast Artillery (12 x 155 guns) is stationed at Balayan on Balayan Bay, and is fully dug in at the command of the regimental commander.
3rd Engineer Brigade (Lamon Bay) which is about to begin improving defenses for the 21st Infantry Division and attached coast artillery.

Bataan / Subic Bay defense area
III Corps – King
51st Infantry Division – 51st, 52nd, 53rd light infantry regiments, 51st artillery battalion, 51st anti tank battalion. This division is strung out defending the Iba Field area, as well as the long coast from Subic Bay to Cape Bolinao. It is deployed as a picket force except for the 51st regiment and artillery and anti tank battalions that are deployed around Iba Field.

4th Marine Regiment - 1st and 2nd battalions, 1st separate battalion (anti aircraft), provisional 3rd battalion (forming as a training unit to train Filipino marines). (Subic Bay) (attached is the 3rd Battalion / 2nd PA Coast Defense Artillery with 8 x 8 inch guns)
4th Engineer Brigade – construction work in Bataan
III Corps has administrative control of the 11th Infantry Division (PA) that is in the I Corps area

Manila Bay Forts
Harbor Defense Command – Moore
Fort Mills (Corregidor), Fort Drum, Fort Frank, Fort Hughes (also Fort Wint at Subic Bay)
garrison: 91st, 92nd Coast Artillery (PS), 59th Coast Artillery (US), 60th Coast Artillery (anti aircraft, US)
attached: 91st MP Brigade (PA) (garrison troops for Fort Mills)

Other units
4th Engineer Brigade (PA) (airfield construction central Luzon)
101st MP Brigade (PA) garrison duty USAFE facilities in central Luzon (less several companies in northern Luzon as picket forces)
IV Corps – Sharp
31st Infantry Division (PA) Cebu, Panay, Leyte
41st Infantry Division (PA), 803rd airfield construction battalion (US) Mindanao


The War in the Pacific, the battle for supremacy of the Pacific between the West and Japan, was the greatest naval war fought so far by humanity....(snip)...
This is the story of that war

I can picture a 1940's black & white map of the Pacific with this intro scrolling across the film screen.

Chronology December 1941 - May 1942
Major Events so far

Field Marshal (and Major General US Army) Douglas Macarthur is killed in a traffic accident in New York City on May 1. Major (and quickly Lieutenant Colonel) Dwight D Eisenhower becomes principal architect of the Philippine Army which is revised from Macarthur's dream of a “Switzerland in Asia” model to goals that are more realistic for the Filipino budget and likely mission post independence.


In reaction to Japanese moves against French Indochina, the US Pacific Fleet is sent to Pearl Harbor. Admiral James Richardson strongly protests the move, but concerned that the Admiral may get himself into trouble with the President, the Secretary of the Navy convinces him to accept the situation. The Admiral then proceeds to demonstrate in Fleet Problem XXII that the most dangerous threat to Pearl Harbor is a possible air attack. This leads to changes in command for the US Army in Hawaii, as well a much stronger emphasis on air defense and long range patrolling, as well as joint Army/Navy air defense and reconnaissance headquarters.

In the Philippines, the Philippine Army gradually increases in size to several divisions, along with several engineer brigades that provide a useful adjunct to the US Army Far East. Included in this is a small but highly useful air force and a smaller but still useful coast guard. As the threat of war grows, General Krueger is sent to replace retiring General Parsons and along with him as his chief of staff is Brigadier General Eisenhower.

December 1941

The improvements by Richardson prevent the Japanese from achieving a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, although they still inflict heavy damage to the fleet but only at the cost of roughly a third of their attack force. American counterattacks around Midway Island prevent the Japanese seizure of that strategic island. The battles December 7-10 cost the Japanese 2 fleet carriers, a heavy cruiser, and 2 destroyers sunk, numerous other ships damaged including a fleet carrier and 2 battleships, and by the end over half of the Japanese carrier aircraft have been lost, along with many aircrew. American losses are 2 battleships, 1 fleet carrier, 2 heavy cruisers, several destroyers sunk, and 4 battleships as well as several cruisers and destroyers damaged along with heavy aircraft losses.

Among the dead is Japanese Admiral Nagumo and American Admiral Richardson, while Vice Admiral Halsey is seriously injured and knocked out of the war for a year.

Meanwhile in the Philippines Japanese air attacks kill the commander of the US Asiatic Fleet, Admiral Hart, and severely wound General Krueger, leaving General Eisenhower in command of the Philippines and US Forces Far East. Ably assisted by his aviation commander, Brigadier General Chennault, the US and Filipino forces put up strong resistance before retreating carefully to Bataan, taking vast amounts of supplies with them in addition to huge stockpiles that have been prepared for the last four years. A brave action by the US Navy at Albay Gulf briefly stalls the Japanese as well but the more important role of the Navy is the evacuation of thousands of excess military personnel, civilians, and an entire Marine Regiment, as well as most of the navy support personnel both Filipino and American from the Philippines plus the evacuation of a very large part of the ground elements of the US and Filipino air forces in the Philippines to Australia.

January – February 1942
The American and Filipino forces win a defensive battle at Bataan, throwing a spanner into the works of the Japanese timetable there. At the same time an airlift from Java continues the evacuation of wounded and vital personnel from Bataan, and when Malaya falls and Singapore is placed under direct siege, that airlift force, joined by other Allied aircraft, flies thousands of civilians and some wounded out of Singapore.

A final American evacuation attempt suffers heavy losses in the Battle of the Celebes Sea, ending any further hopes for naval support and significant sea lift for the American / Filipino forces. Reinforcements, along with a new naval commander, Vice Admiral Bellenger, arrives in Australia to provide support to Eisenhower.

The Battle of the South China Sea is fought in mid February as Allied naval and air forces cover in a sacrificial action a full scale evacuation of Singapore that rivals the evacuation of Greece and Crete nearly a year before in losses and troops evacuated to safety. The battle finishes off ABDA as a viable naval surface force as well as gutting most of its air strength but over 40,000 British troops are evacuated along with thousands of civilians and many wounded. Another 10,000 British, Indian and Australian troops meant to arrive as reinforcements are rerouted to Ceylon or remain in Australia.

As of February 12, the final battle for Singapore is imminent while elsewhere the Japanese are invading Burma and have seized much of the Eastern Dutch East Indies, and are about to invade Sumatra and Java and Timor are next. In the Philippines the Americans still hold most of the islands outside of Luzon except for southern Mindanao, and in continue to remain well dug in at Bataan and Corregidor.

General Eisenhower is on his way to Washington DC to consult with the President, as well as the Secretary of War and Army Chief of Staff, while Admiral Nimitz is in command of the Pacific Fleet and is already getting ready for the first Pacific Fleet offensive of the war.

February 1942
February 12
The last of 60,000 Australian, British, and Indian soldiers, sailors, and airmen are evacuated from Singapore, along with over 20,000 Allied civilians. Japanese air attacks on the evacuation fleet sink the battleships Revenge and Royal Sovereign and the light cruiser Durban but by doing ignore the evacuation ships. In the Philippines the siege of Bataan enters a lull for the next few weeks.

February 17
The surviving 12,000 British Imperial garrison of Singapore surrenders bringing an end to the Malaya Campaign. British losses are 54,000 total for the campaign, with Japanese losses approaching 20,000 for the campaign, with the heaviest losses in the final days of fighting. That same day the Japanese invade Sumatra.

February 18
The Japanese Supreme War Council orders the Imperial Army and Navy to plan operations that will bring the Allies to the peace table. There is considerable friction between the two services, with both having suffered some embarrassment over the last few months. The Luzon operation and heavier than expected casualties at the Midway operation (where an entire brigade loaned to the Navy was effectively destroyed there and seizing Wake Island) and at Singapore, where in the view of the Army the Navy was lax in preventing the evacuation of British forces as well as a British naval attack that inflicted serious losses on forces commanded by Yamashita and delayed the fall of the city by almost a week. The Navy also has the embarrassment of Midway and the heavier than expected losses to Allied warships and aircraft at Hawaii, the Philippines and the South China Sea and thus is in an overall weaker position when it comes to pushing its strategy.

February 22
A devastating series of air raids finishes off British fighter protection of Rangoon and kills tens of thousands of civilians, starting a panicked flight from the city. In the Central Pacific, the American Pacific Fleet battles Japanese air and naval forces in the Raid on the Marshal Islands.

February 28
With Rangoon in ruins and under daily air attack, General Alexander orders a full scale retreat. Japanese forces however are still days away, delayed by poor roads and sacrificial efforts of the Indian 17th Division. In the Mediterranean, intense attacks on Malta whittle away the air defenses there, forcing the cancellation of plans to send 2 British carriers to the Indian Ocean as they are needed to cover the “Cub Runs” to that deliver aircraft to that besieged island. Admiral Phillips and his Force Z are ordered to avoid combat with superior Japanese forces and his primary mission is to cover the sea lanes between South Africa and the vital ports of Bombay, Karachi, Aden and Suez.

March 1942
March 2
Overwhelming Japanese air and naval forces cover the invasion of Java, as well as landings in Bali and Timor. General Eisenhower returns to Australia from Washington DC and sets up his headquarters at Brisbane. Reinforcements continue to flow into the South Pacific from the United States, while 3 Australian divisions (6th, 7th, 8th) continue their return to Australia, leaving on the New Zealand 2nd Division and Australian 9th Division still in the Middle East (where they will remain for several more months).

March 7
The final air evacuation of Java by American and Australian transport aircraft bring out 12,000 Allied military and civilian personnel, including a large number of Dutch civilians but comes to a halt after powerful air strike on Tjilitap destroys half of the air transport aircraft. In Burma, Japanese forces enter Rangoon.

March 11
British and Indian forces prepare to make a stand in central Burma. The Chinese are persuaded by General Brereton, the newly appointed commander of American forces in the China/Burma/India Theater, to send troops to help the British, as the Burma Road is vital for the Chinese.

March 12
General Chennault arrives in China and begins the initial organization of what will eventually become the US 14th Air Force and a new iteration of the Nationalist Chinese Air Force. The US 10th Air Force is formed in India (with Brereton wearing a dual hat as commander of the 10th Air Force). Neither of these organizations will have significant units assigned to them until the summer of 1942. Meanwhile the last organized Dutch resistance in Java and the remainder of the Dutch East Indies comes to an end after a formal surrender. \

March 19
The 10 day battle of Toungoo in Burma begins. The Japanese find the Nationalist Chinese troops to be tough opponents and the battle will result in 2,000 Chinese and 5,000 Japanese casualties but the Chinese will be forced out of their positions which unhinges the entire Allied position in Burma.

March 21
Final authorization is given for the planned strike on Japan by Colonel Doolittle and Vice Admiral (newly promoted) Raymond Spruance.

Meanwhile the Japanese Supreme War Council approves Operation RO, a series of operations aimed at isolating and then securing Rabaul, which will include the seizure of the Gilbert and Solomon Islands, Naura and Ocean islands, and eastern New Guinea including Port Moresby. Once this operation is concluded, Operation M will be conducted to isolate Australia from the North American West Coast by seizing Fiji, Samoa and the New Hebrides as well as New Caledonia. The Army is to provide the 8th Area Army, consisting of the 16th and 17th Armies and 6 divisions total to support these operations, with remaining landing forces and base forces to be provided by the Navy. The Navy expects to meet, engage, and destroy the US Pacific Fleet during these operations as Australia is certainly vital to American plans. An operation to seize bases in the Aleutians to secure the Kuriles and Hokkaido is also approved.

The Imperial Army will consolidate its control over the Philippines, East Indies and Burma, and conduct a major offensive later in the year against the Chinese to establish a land route from Indochina to Northern China, as well as critically weaken the Nationalist Chinese and bring them to the table now that the supply route of foreign aid to China from the Allies has been cut off. Once this is accomplished, a peace offer will be made to the Nationalist Chinese.

Also in the late winter of 1942.
In the Atlantic, German U-Boats sink 168 Allied merchant ships between January 1 and March 30, 1942 or nearly 850,000 tons of shipping. This is called the "Second Happy Time" by the Uboat sailors. Every available escort ship is needed for the Atlantic, which are in serious shortage due to competing demands in the combat theaters of the Pacific, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Murmansk run.

The Germans are preparing for a major offensive in the Eastern Front, called Fall Blau.

In North Africa, the Axis under Rommel and the British under Ritchie continue to refit and build up for further operations. The Germans and Italy plan Operation Hercules, a combined airborne and amphibious assault on Malta. The British plan Operation Ironclad, the seizure of Madagascar, for April as there are concerns that the Vichy French will allow German and Japanese submarines to use it as a base.

March 23-29
The Japanese 1st Air Fleet covers the Japanese seizure of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A probe looking for the British is unsuccessful, mainly because the Royal Navy has it forces elsewhere aside from a few small escort vessels. The British Eastern Fleet has been drawn south into the southern Indian Ocean to deal cover merchant shipping in the face of attacks by German raiders and to cover vital shipping heading to Egypt and the western coast of India.

April 1942
April 3 – 5
The Japanese Good Friday Offensive on Bataan results in heavy losses to Japanese and Filipino-American forces but continued stalemate.

April 8
The Royal Navy withdraws the last of its surface units from Malta as the island continues to face heavy air attack.

April 9 – 14
The Japanese 1st Air Fleet raids into the Bay of Bengal, and attack Calcutta with the support of land based Japanese Army and Navy bombers, sinking 11 merchant ships, inflicting serious damage to the port, and resulting in over 15,000 civilian casualties but at the cost of 30 carrier and 15 land based aircraft at the hand of British fighters and flak. The 1st Air Fleet then covers the invasion of Chittagong by the Japanese 48th Infantry Division, veteran of the Luzon Campaign which is easily taken as the British have already retreated from the area in the face of heavy Japanese air attack. The Japanese are not able to restore airfield operations before the monsoon begins in May. However the attack on Calcutta and fall of Chittagong leads to the failure of the Cripps Mission and the “Quit India Movement” which begins in May 1942.

April 17
Japanese forces begin the invasion of the central Philippines and also begin mopping up Filipino-American forces in the southern Philippines.

Doolittle Raid launched by Task Force 17 (Spruance) which causes considerable embarrassment to the Japanese Army and Navy.

April 19
Battle of Batangas Bay sees the end of the Philippine Coast Guard and last elements of the US Asiatic Fleet but the evacuation of 4,000 veteran combat troops to southern Luzon, where they provide the cadre for a much larger Philippine Home Army in the future.

The First Air Fleet is recalled from the Indian Ocean in an attempt to intercept Task Force 17. It is too long a chase with too long an American lead.

April 21
Task Force 17 launches a heavy raid on Japanese held Wake Island by aircraft from the carriers Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet, inflicting heavy damage and sinking 15,000 tons of Japanese shipping as well as 2 minesweepers and destroying 12 Japanese aircraft. American losses are only 6 planes, all to flak. It is the first combat mission for the carrier Hornet which learns a number of valuable lessons and will ultimately see the carrier air group commander of the Hornet reassigned as its squadrons perform poorly compared to the squadrons from the veteran carriers.

April 21-29
The Japanese hammer away at Bataan preparing for their final offensive. The 1st Air Fleet finally returns to Japan after a fruitless search for the American carriers that raided Japan.

April 29-30
The Final Japanese Offensive on the Emperor's Birthday smashes through the exhausted defenders of Bataan who are nearly the out of ammunition, endurance and have reached the limits of morale. The Filipino-American forces on Bataan surrender on April 30

May 1942
April 30-May 3
Bataan Death March

May 3-May 26
The Siege of Corregidor intensifies with heavy air and artillery bombardment on all of the island forts.

May 5
Operation Ironclad is launched at Diego Suarez, Madagascar, involving the British carriers Indomitable, Eagle and Hermes, battleships Warspite, Malaya, Nelson and Rodney, and numerous cruisers, destroyers and other escorts.

May 8
A mutiny by Indian soldiers on Cocos Island is put down by troops from Ceylon. It is one of the final sparks that triggers the Quit India protests that are coming.

May 9
Operation Bowery is postponed until June due to a shortage of carriers in the Atlantic. The earlier cancellation of Operation Calender for the same reason has reduced the RAF fighter force on Malta to a token force. The situation in Malta grows increasingly desperate. The battlecruisers Renown and Repulse are removed from escort duty in the Indian Ocean and sent to Alexandria.

The Siege of Malta and the Siege of Corregidor hold the attention of the English Speaking world.

May 12
The Second Battle of Kharkov begins, which by May 28 will result in a shattering Soviet defeat. Italian intelligence confirms that neither the battleships Valiant or Queen Elizabeth are fit for combat and that the Valiant has left the Mediterranean Sea, and that the only British battleships in the Mediterranean is the Duke of York at Gibraltar and the two battlecruisers at Alexandria. The final decision to launch Operation C3 is approved in Rome.

American carriers cover a major convoy to the South Pacific. In the Atlantic, the US Navy organizes a major task force built around the battleships North Carolina and Washington, the carriers Wasp and Ranger, and several cruisers and destroyers under the direct command of Admiral Kimmel, which are assembling in Norfolk.

May 14
Fort Drum is destroyed by a brilliantly conceived and executed Japanese artillery bombardment. Fort Frank is taken by a costly but highly successful Japanese amphibious landing.

May 15
A proposed 2nd Washington Conference is moved up to May 30 from its originally scheduled date of June 19.

May 16
The Quit India Movement demonstrations begin but so does violence. Over the next two months protestors attack hundreds of post offices, railway stations, and dozens of government buildings as well as cutting telegraph and telephone lines and damaging railway tracks and bridges. This ties down almost 60 battalions of British and Indian troops to suppress it. Mass arrests begin with the arrest of Gandhi and most of the Congress Party leadership.

May 17
The first ground elements of the US 8th Air Force arrives in England. American engineers are still building airbases in Iceland, Greenland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

May 18
Admiral Philips, who has as his Eastern Fleet the battleships Warspite and Malaya, carrier Indomitable, and several cruisers and destroyers finally finds the German raider Thor, and the cruiser Newcastle and aircraft from the Indomitable find and sink her 1,500 miles west of Australia.

May 21
Convoy PQ16 leaves Iceland. It arrives in Murmansk on May 30, less 8 merchant ships lost on the way. Heavy air and submarine attacks plague its journey while the possibility of a German task force built around the Tirpitz with the Admiral Hipper, Admiral Scheer and Lutzow in support keeps the British Home Fleet at sea and unavailable for other operations. The battleships King George V, Prince of Wales, carriers Illustrious and Victorious, numerous cruisers and destroyers are tied down at Scapa Flow or covering the Murmansk convoys.

May 21-25
The bombardment of Malta by air, and the bombardment by artillery and aircraft of Corregidor reaches a crescendo. The last aircraft on Malta are knocked out. Admiral Cunningham assembles a task force at Alexandria to defend Malta in the event of invasion, while Admiral Somerville is waiting for the arrival of the carriers Argus and Furious from England with deckloads of Spitfires for an emergency run to Malta. However those carriers are still days away from Gibraltar.

May 26-28
The Battle of Bir Hakeim begins in North Africa as part of Operation Venice, the planned attack on the British Gazala Line. In the Pacific, the Americans defeat the first amphibious assault on Corregidor while American carriers raid the Japanese held Admiralty Islands, supported by American bombers from Rabaul.

In Europe, the Italians land 70,000 troops on Malta by sea, while Italian/German airborne force of 29,000 troops comes by air. Losses are appallingly high but the Axis troops gain footholds and landing zones. The British respond as Admiral Cunningham takes to sea with his fleet, but very heavy air attacks by Italian and German aircraft out of Crete and Sicily damage many ships and sink the Repulse and Renown. Among the lost is Admiral Cunningham.

A full scale Japanese amphibious assault on Corregidor is all but wiped out by fierce American and Filipino soldiers, sailors and marines.

May 27-June 2
Operation Mail Call in the Philippines as several US submarines bring mail, supplies and vital parts to Corregidor and evacuate 1,000 people from that island.

May 30
Axis forces secure Malta after the surrender of the survivors of the 30,000 man British garrison. Axis airborne casualties are catastrophic, amphibious forces suffer heavily, but the sacrifice of the airborne troops was not in vain.

early June 1942
June 3
Monsoon season begins in Burma and India, ending operations for now
The Battle of Gazala intensifies in North Africa

June 3-10
Japanese forces conduct Operation MA, the Invasion of Attu and Kiska, an air strike on Dutch Harbor. American have not defended the western Aleutians but put up fierce resistance at Dutch Harbor resulting in the loss of 30 American and 28 Japanese aircraft.
author notes:
There is some argument on the feasibility of the Fall of Malta, but it will eventually get a full explanation when I do one of these for Europe or as a stand alone piece
I still have to catch up and read the actual story threads, but thank you for the summations. Otherwise sides have gotten big wins and huge losses. The Allies will will in time, but will pay heavy costs.

On with the show and may the stories flow.
finally figured out what the next couple of months are going to be (July-September 1942) so I can finally resume and finish "Shoe String Warriors" reasonably soon
finished: "Battle at Dawn", "Rising Sun on Tropical Seas" and now "Eisenhower in the Pacific: The Shoestring warriors of Luzon"
Coming soon, chapters in "Flattops and Flyboys" and "A Hard Won Victory" as events in the Pacific move forward in July - October 1942

Also an interlude set in the European Theater of Operations will appear in "Flattops and Flyboys"
This isn't dead, just on hiatus while I work on another project. The butterflies have gotten pretty complicated so I will come back to it when I have finished my other project.

I do thank recent readers for all the likes I have been getting .. its greatly appreciated.