Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 834 December 12, 1941

Malaya. Colonel Saeki’s troops (an advance party of Japanese 5th Division) make gradual progress against 11th Indian Division at Jitra. At 7.30 PM, 11th Indian Division receives permission from commander of Indian III Corps, General Lewis “Piggy” Heath, to fall back to positions at Gurun. The overnight withdrawal is confused due to poor communications and many forward units are left behind.

Philippines. 2500 Japanese troops land at Legaspi in the Southeast corner of Luzon (from Japanese-held Palau, 500 miles East). American General Douglas MacArthur, commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, recognizes this as a diversion (along with yesterday’s landings); he retains the bulk of his 31,000 US and Filipino Scout troops near Manilla.

Italian cruisers Alberto da Giussano & Alberico da Barbiano depart Palermo, Sicily, for Tripoli, Libya, carrying 135 troops, 900 tons of food and fuel in large drums on deck (100 tons of gasoline, 250 tons of diesel fuel & 600 tons of fuel oil) for Rommel.

Romanian Zionists charter a passenger ship to ferry Jews to Palestine (via the Black Sea and the Aegean). SS Struma sails from ConstanĊ£a carrying 790 Jews but the engine, which had been salvaged from a Danube River wreck, breaks down repeatedly. SS Struma will be towed to Istanbul and remain there for several weeks as the British and Turkish governments argue over the fate of the ship.

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