Siege of Leningrad Day 89. German forces still hold Tikhvin 110 miles East of Leningrad (the main railhead for supplies to come by ship across Lake Ladoga) despite continuous attack since November 12. German defenses start to wither, isolated and only able to resupply by air, and Soviet General Meretskov launches a final assault.
Operation Crusader. Rommel continues to confound the British with his unorthodox thrusts and parries. 4th Armoured Brigade remains near the Egyptian border, confused by the cancellation of Rommel’s infantry expedition to Bardia, Sollum and Halfaya Pass. Meanwhile, Afrika Korps gets 49 tanks back in action, sending them at dusk to raid 11th Indian Brigade fighting Italian troops near the Tobruk breakout. British air and sea attacks on Axis shipping is choking off Rommel’s supply line. As Operation Typhoon is over, Hitler transfers Luftwaffe 2nd Air Corps from USSR to regain control of the Mediterranean.
Red Army has reinforced 3 Fronts (Kalinin Front under Konev, Western Front under Zhukov, Southwestern Front under Timoshenko) with newly-raised “shock” divisions as well as veteran troops moved from Central Asia and Far East, to push the Germans back from Moscow. Northwest of Moscow, Kalinin Front launches the counteroffensive at 3 AM, attacking German 9th Army.
American aircraft carrier USS Lexington departs Pearl Harbor to fly aircraft to Midway Island, escorted by cruisers USS Indianapolis, Astoria, Chicago & Portland and 5 destroyers. The fly-off will not happen but these warships will be away from Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attack.